Over the last hundred years, there has been an unprecedented rise of human population, such as never before seen on the planet. The housing and food needs of this huge population has led to clearing of forests for food and shelter. The result is that tree products such as timber that were available for free or near free a hundred years ago are an expensive commodity now. Food costs have become a significant portion of family budget with many having to compromise on quality and nutrition and a few even going to sleep on a hungry stomach.
It is because the rise in human population has been sudden; the value of growing food plants and trees has not yet been fully appreciated by humans. In the past Mother Earth did most of the work but at the present time when humans are removing greenery faster than Earth can plant, a new attitude is needed.
Earlier posts in this blog have mentioned that even apartment dwellers can grow things like herbs, spinach and celery in small wooden rectangular containers at home. It would make a healthy contribution to their diet. Those with gardens may consider planting useful food trees such as apples, mangoes or coconut and others with edible leaves described in this blog according to their climatic zones. There are small lemon and lime trees that can be grown in tiny gardens but as regards farmers, they may well follow the suggestion,
When a son is born unto you, plant twenty-five trees of a fruit valuable in your area and it shall be pension for you in your old age and a support for a son that stays back on the farm during his younger days.When a daughter is born unto you, plant twenty-five trees of a timber useful in your area and it shall be a dowry and support for your daughter on her wedding day. Cut them carefully for sale leaving a stump. Cover the exposed part of the stump with a plaster of wet soil and it shall be a balm unto the tree. It shall spring up again in due season to yield a dowry for the daughter of your daughter.
What about homes in villages and towns scattered across the planet that have no more than a few square feet of ground in a sunny spot to grow something in? The answer to this is a grape vine. It grows in most climates, hot ones as well as cold ones. So useful is this vine for a home that one wonders why every home on the planet does not grow one or more. There are four distinct advantages of growing a grape vine against the wall of a home,
1. Grape vines of the right variety provide healthy fruit and the leaves of this plant are edible too. One can find delicious recipes by searching on google
2. Grape vines add beauty to a home. While food feeds the body, beauty feeds the soul
3. Grape vines are excellent for climate control and reducing energy needs of a home. In summer their leaves spring up to keep a building cool while they drop in winter to warm the home with sunlight
4. The plant has medicinal benefits.
The grape plant is a fruiting berry of the woody vine with the botanical name Vitis. There are thousands of varieties of this vine and a homeowner must be careful in selecting the right variety as per his/her needs. Some vines are more ornamental than others and some have great fruit while others have a poor fruit that is barely edible. My favorite is the seedless white/green varieties similar to the Thompson grape. If there is space enough for more than one vine then one may choose different varieties for a home unlike a farm where for convenience of marketing one has the same kind.
After planting a new young vine, it must be watered regularly in the first year until the root system develops. Thereafter, one may be careless with watering if need be. Once a year, the vine needs to be pruned to remove branches in undesirable directions, whereas, one may tie up some to direct as desired. Grapes make excellent wine for wine lovers and it has also been used as a medicine since ancient times. For a modern study on its medicinal value, check out