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Ho Chi Minh City man’s fruit-laden grapevines inspire home gardening trend

Sunday, May 31, 2020, 14:18 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City man’s fruit-laden grapevines inspire home gardening trend
Truong Van O tends to grapevines at his home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thao Le / Tuoi Tre

A retired Vietnamese man without any farming experience has successfully grown more than twenty grapevines at his home in Ho Chi Minh City, harvesting up to one metric ton of the fruit annually.

That is the inspirational story of Truong Van O, a grape grower living in Phuoc Long Ward in the city's outlying District 9.

At the moment, O’s grapevines bear between 700 and 1,000 kilograms of the fruit each year, which he sells for more than VND100 million (US$4,300).

O said he brought home two grapevines after a trip to Ninh Thuan, a grape-growing province on the south-central coast of Vietnam, but only one vine survived.

He then spent years teaching himself to nurture the surviving vine and cross-pollinate it to create a variety that could thrive on Ho Chi Minh City soil and in the local climate.

“When I first started out, I didn’t have a lot of experience in the field. That’s why my grapevines bore fruits that were as small as peppercorns and tasted very sour,” O recalled.

“I looked for information on the Internet and tried to cross the Ninh Thuan variety with a wild vine. The result turned out surprisingly good,” he added.

Grapevines are grown at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Video: Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre

Climate plays a significant role in growing grapevines, O said. The plant grows well in areas with a hot climate and low rainfall and humidity.

He waters the vines daily but only fertilizes them every 20 days. Pruning is also crucial to help the vines bear more fruits, O said.

After enjoying some initial success, O decided to propagate new vines by layering.

O’s grapes are selling like hot cakes because of their light sweet taste and pesticide-free cultivation.

“I think it’s good to have more grape gardens like this [in the city]. These vines can be grown on the rooftop [of a house] or anywhere, creating more urban green space,” said Tran Hoang Phuoc, a resident in District 9 who recently visited O’s garden.

O said he is willing to share the techniques of growing grapes in Ho Chi Minh City’s climate with anyone who wants to create their own vine garden at home.

Bunches of green grapes hang from grapevines grown at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre

Bunches of green grapes hang from grapevines grown at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre

A visitor inspects a bunch of grapes at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thao Le / Tuoi Tre

A visitor touches a bunch of grapes at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thao Le / Tuoi Tre

Truong Van O tends to young grapevines at his home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre

Truong Van O tends to young grapevines at his home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre

Grapevines are grown at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thao Le / Tuoi Tre

Grapevines are grown at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thao Le / Tuoi Tre

Grapevines are grown at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre

Grapevines are grown at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre

A woman harvests ripe grapes at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thao Le / Tuoi Tre

A woman harvests ripe grapes at Truong Van O’s home garden in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thao Le / Tuoi Tre

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