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Growing grapes-The Successful Way

Announcement: Growing Grapes – The Better Way

Thursday Nov 19, 2009

 

Growing grapes takes about 165 to 180 days and vines need to be taken care of properly. It’s important to choose the kind of grape vines that will grow well in the type of climate where you live and the type of soil that you have. Only choose plants that aren’t diseased, well rooted and at least 1-year-old. The seedless varieties are usually the most disease resistant. Cut the root to check for a light colour and firmness. Grape vines needs to have excellent soil to ensure they grow healthy. They can grow in several different types of soil but grow best in drained loamy or sandy soil. The best range for soil PH should be 6.0 to 7.2.

When growing grapes the grape vines should be planted approximately eight feet apart and if you plant the rows about eight to ten feet apart you will get the absolute best productivity. You can make the rows about three feet apart if you don’t have much space. The planting hole should have enough room for the root system to grow properly. Grape vines also need lots of sun so they need to be put in a place where there’s direct sunlight. If possible, each side of the vine likes an equal amount of sun. A trellis system will help the sun reach every flower cluster on the vine. Grapes vines should not be planted near trees, buildings or anywhere there’s a lot of shade because it can prevent grape formation.

Pruning grapes is another very important part of growing grapes and is beneficial for grape quality. Without proper pruning the amount of grapes produced and the size of the grapes will decrease. After vines are set using a trellis system they should be pruned to one stem and cut back to only a few buds. Pruning can be done in winter, but not during severe winter weather. Over and under pruning will cause grapes to be not as healthy. One particular expert says on his blog about how to grow grapes, that a grape vine reacts to the way you prune. Which means you will have fruit if you prune for fruit and you will have shoots if you prune for shoots.

Another important part of growing grape vines is air circulation; this prevents disease which can occur if the air is able to stagnant. Air circulation will also keep the vines moisture free and dry so there’s less chance for fungus to grow. Don’t plant grape vines anywhere that interferes with air circulation or movement.

Taste the grapes for sweetness when they’re ripe and before you harvest. A grape that’s very ripe will have more of a robust flavour. Growing grapes properly will give you healthy and delicious grapes.


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How to plant and prune vines in winter

Thursday Dec 19, 2013

 

 

IN THESE grey December days it’s good to look forward to sunnier times, and if sitting under a vine-clad gazebo is one of your daydreams then now is a good time to make it come true next year.Grape PruningGrape vines can be planted any time between late November and March, as long as the soil is not flooded or frozen.Broadly speaking there are two types of grapes: wine and dessert.

Dessert grapes can be planted outside but really need to be trained into a greenhouse or conservatory so that they are kept warm enough to grow sweet grapes.Wine grapes, on the other hand, will happily grow outside as long as they are in a south-facing position that is not in a frost pocket and not at too high an altitude.

Also, unlike most other plants, they prefer poor soil because the roots need to be in very free-draining soil – which is why vineyards are often on chalky soil.

So instead of adding nutritious compost to the planting hole, dig in a few handfuls of grit to make sure the soil drains well after breaking up any compacted soil below the topsoil level, so that the roots can make headway.Follow the usual planting guidelines of teasing out the roots if you have a pot-grown plant, so they will grow straight out instead of continuing to go round and round.

Then make sure you don’t plant the vine deeper than it was planted before – there will be a tell-tale mark on the trunk to use as a guide.
Fill in the hole, firm down the soil with your feet and water the vine if the soil is dry when you plant it – and make sure you keep it watered during parched periods for the rest of the year.

Winter is also the time to prune your vines and, assuming you are not growing rows of them in your garden but just have one or two scrambling over patios or sheds, you are best off creating a cordon vine.

Just prune the leader – or main shoot – by about a third and cut back side shoots to two buds.Well-established vines will have formed several spurs that may be too close together, in which case these will also need reducing.

And during the summer you will have to tie in the leader so that it grows straight up, and prune back the sideshoots as they grow to keep things tidy.

Of course, there is no guarantee that you will be able to grow grapes good enough to make wine but you can still enjoy summer days under your vine-shaded gazebo – and the garden birds will love guzzling the grapes at harvest time.

By: Deborah Stone

 

 

 

 


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Soil preparation vital to growing grapevines

Sunday Oct 20, 2013

Grapes Green Black redDid you know that Pennsylvania is one of the country’s top grape producers?

The vineyard titans of California have little to fear, however. While Pennsylvania certainly has its share of fine local wineries, the bulk of the commonwealth’s production consists of Concord grapes, which are used for commercial nonalcoholic grape juice. Pennsylvania’s cold winters pose a challenge for temperamental wine grapes, but fortunately for the home grower, table and jam grapes are not so demanding. Pennsylvania’s climate is conducive to growing a number of grapevines that will be a welcome addition to any home garden.

To flourish, grapevines need a support such as an arbor, a fence or a trellis. Their flexible, woody stems cling to the support by tendrils and, with some effort, can be pruned in limitless ways.

The prerequisite for growing grapes in this region is to choose a variety that can withstand our icy winters. A stalwart native such as ‘Concord,’ ‘Niagara’ or ‘Catawba’ is a fine choice, but a number of hybrid or European varieties can flourish as well.

Historically, native American grapes (Vitis labrusca) were disdained for their distinctive “foxy” flavors, while European grapevines (Vitis vinifera) proved too delicate for frigid North American winters. Enter Konstantin Frank, a native of Ukraine who emigrated in 1951 and devoted his career to the cultivation of European grape varieties in the chilly Finger Lakes region of New York. Frank discovered that by grafting European vines onto native American root stock, the resulting plant would be hardy enough to survive the winter, yet would offer the more refined taste of its Old World ancestor. Frank’s approach had the happy side effect of inoculating the European cuttings against the root louse Phylloxera, which is prevalent in American soils.

As a result, the home grower can choose French-American hybrids such as ‘Chambourcin,’ ‘Vidal Blanc’ and ‘Vignoles’ and classic Old World varieties such as ‘Chardonnay’ and ‘Cabernet Sauvignon.’

Native varieties, which are extremely hardy, tolerant of cold and resistant to pests and diseases, still predominate in Pennsylvania’s commercial vineyards. But newer plantings tend to feature the Old World varieties championed by Frank. If you are determined to plant a non-native vine, pay close attention to USDA hardiness zones. Generally, vinifera are hardy only to zero degrees Fahrenheit, and French American hybrids are hardy to 5 below zero Fahrenheit. Non-natives benefit from a minimum of 160 frost-free days per year.

The gardener’s job begins the year before planting, with careful attention to site selection and soil preparation. Grapevines adore a maximum amount of sunlight, good air circulation, and deep well-drained soil. Shallow unamended soils do not drain well, and damp roots can lead to an array of fungal diseases. This explains why many commercial vineyards are found on hilltops and slopes, preferably with a southern or eastern exposure. A slope will maximize the vines’ exposure to sunlight, and good air flow will allow foliage to dry out more quickly from rain and dew, further minimizing damage from fungal diseases.

Test the soil with a kit available from the Penn State Cooperative Extension, specifying grapes as your desired crop, and follow the instructions to the letter. Prior to planting, clear the space of weeds, vegetation and debris.

Most grape vines are sold as bare-root dormant plants, which should be planted in the spring as soon as the soil is workable. Prune off any dead roots and plant the vine in a large hole with the roots 4-6 inches below the soil surface. Vines should be spaced no closer than 3 feet from each other. If using a grafted variety, make sure the graft point is about 2 inches above the soil surface. Prune the plant down to one or two canes with two to three buds, or nodes, per cane.

Water and weed diligently during the first year. A few weeks after planting, apply 2 ounces of 33-0-0 fertilizer at a distance of a foot from the vine base. Test the soil every three to five years and amend accordingly. Keeping the ground beneath the vines raked and weed-free will help to protect the vine against the host of pests and diseases to which grapes are prone. Also, prune out any dead wood, leaves and fruit.

Grapevines take awhile to become established, but eventually the vine will produce much more wood than it can support. For this reason, vintners will prune out up to 90 percent of the new growth each year during the dormant season. One to two layers of leaves on the vine are ideal for grape production, as this permits adequate photosynthesis while allowing sufficient sunlight to reach the developing fruit. Do not remove all new growth, however, as grapevines bear fruit on 1-year-old wood.

By taking the time to choose a grape variety suited to our climate, and preparing for its maximum vigor and health, home gardeners can enjoy delicious grapes from their own backyards. The structure chosen to support grapes can be utilitarian or, with some time and imagination, can add vertical interest to the garden. A well-tended grapevine can bear fruit for up to 50 years. Why not make its presence a beautiful focal point in the garden?

By Kate DeSimone a Penn State master gardener.

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How To Grow Grapevines From Grocery Store Grapes

Wednesday Sep 25, 2013

Take a look at this great idea from the Morning Gardner hope you enjoy.
Growing Grapes.org


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How to Grow Grapes – The Perfect Fruit

Thursday Sep 8, 2011

 

There are as many reasons  to grow grapes as there are types of grapes.  Loved world wide for their taste, aroma and potential uses,  grapes are grown by large companies and household  enthusiasts alike.

The Perfect Fruit
Any supermarket will reveal wines made from a variety of fruits. However, the majority of the choices are produced with wine. Part of this stems from the fact that grapes are the ideal fruit for wine-making. All of the properties needed are found right there, in that beautiful bunch of grapes. The naturally high amounts of sugar, perfect for fermentation, along with strong, recognizable flavors and colors are present. Grapes are a wonderful source rich in carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and no cholesterol, making them very nutritional.
Through the years, many grape species have been refined to contain the very best flavor and aroma. Native to the Americas, Vitis labrusca grapes have loose skins which are easily removed, making this species ideal for grape juice production. A species of grape native to Europe and East and Central Asia, Vitis vinifera grapes can now be found anywhere in the world. These grapes for growing have a tight skin and are used for wine production.

A Personal Vineyard
Many people across the globe have used the grape growing information available today, and found success growing grapes at home, and even making wine. Although they are operating on a much smaller scale than the productive vineyards, the effort is still demanding. Learning how to grow grape vines takes time, but because the techniques involved are minimal, it is a very realistic venture. Home growers must start by locating an ideal location that offers the essentials for success. Exposure to sunlight and good drainage are primary considerations. If the area you are looking at tends to contain standing water after a heavy rainfall, for example, you will know that the ground does not provide the drainage conditions necessary for grapes to thrive. A slope, even a slight one, will help to give you the drainage necessary. Another benefit to planting on a slope is that if you provide the proper orientation to the grapevines, their exposure to heat and cold can be reduced. In cool regions of America and Canada, for example, grapevines thrive when planted with south facing slopes, offering them maximum exposure to heat and sunlight. Continual tending of your vineyard will be necessary. Because you will be dealing with pest control, weed management and seasonal pruning, be sure you plan your layout for easy access. This includes access for equipment, workers, and accessibility to water and tools, all necessary parts of grape vine growing.

Time for Action
So, now you have established the best location for your vineyard, and it’s time to begin the work. First, you will need to prepare the soil. The nutrients in the ground are the foundation of your final product. Realizing that grape plants are large, but are unable to sustain the weight of the grape bunches as they grow, you will have to construct a sturdy, proper trellis that will accommodate your vines and fruit. If you were to see grapes growing in the wild, you would find them reaching out along the ground, and climbing up whatever they could find; a fence, tree or rock outcropping. So you must provide a strong trellis that will last for your grapes. Keep in mind, however, that these are perennial plants, so it will be about three years before you will have your first harvest.

The Payoff
Your hard work and attention to detail will be returned in the rewards of your crop. If you choose to make your own wine, you will realize that an amazing fact about grapes is that the soil they are planted in, the conditions of the sun, temperature, wind and water levels all contribute to the overall quality and taste of the grapes. So your wine, which you have labored so carefully for, will be distinct and unique, and something you certainly can call your own!

 

 

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Growing on a Grape Trellis

Sunday Aug 14, 2011

 It is very important that you provide a well-constructed

trellis system that your grape vines can anchor themselves to.

Any grapevine growing in the wild will seek anything they can to climb on.
You can find them on fences, trees, walls or rocks. Anything that
will provide support for the plant, as it cannot withstand the weight
of a full crop of grapes by itself.

What Type of Trellis?

You have a decision to make in your trellis system. There are a lot of
different ways to build a trellis, and they are also built for a
variety of functions. Some are simply designed to support the grape
vine, as it grows through its stages, while others are aesthetic
features meant to add to the landscape appeal of the home. Sometimes, a
trellis design becomes quite complicated, and you may want to utilize
the expertise of a professional, rather than tackling it yourself. You
will have to decide if you want your trellis to be large or small, made
out of pre-treated wood, pvc pipe, stainless steel, aluminum or iron.
If you live in a cooler climate, your trellis likely will do better if
it is closer to the ground, so it has a better chance of withstanding
the winter weather. These shorter trellises also allow the grower to
more easily prepare the vines for winter. Warmer weather locations may
call for a taller trellis, which will allow more air circulation. The
choice is yours, and you have to decide what will work best for your
needs. A shorter trellis has posts that are about three feet high, as
opposed to a taller trellis, with its eight foot high posts. No matter
which version you choose, keep in mind that all trellis systems have
one thing in common, and that is they must be sturdy and
well-constructed. Remembering that the grape vines growing on your
trellis will take several years before they produce any grapes at all,
you can see that your trellis is going to need to be functional for a while.

Where to Put the Trellis

Your trellis should be located where the grape vines will receive a
sufficient amount of sunlight and air flow. These two natural elements
are essential for the grapes to ripen, as well as to help prevent grape
diseases. Be sure that you keep in mind that grapes require good
drainage, so take that into consideration as well. Once you have found
the best place for your vineyard, you can begin to lay out the trellis
system. The posts should be about eight feet apart, and cemented into
the ground for sturdiness. Some grape growers use catch wires anchored
to the ground to secure the end posts, while others put a much shorter
post next to the main one. When you have your posts set, run two rows
of galvanized steel wire between the posts. Place the first wire row
along the bottom of the posts, about four inches off the ground. This
wire, in addition to acting as a guide for the vines growing on it, can
be used to attach a drip irrigation system as well. The second wire may
be run along the top of the posts. You can use a staple gun to secure
the wires in place.

Training Time

When your grape vines begin to grow, start training them to grow on the
trellis. This process can take years to accomplish. The main shoot on
each plant should be tied to the trellis vertically, using string.
String won’t damage the vine as wire will. Grape vines are slow
growing, and it will be after the next dormant period before you have
two shoots from either side of the main shoot that you can train and
tie horizontally to the trellis. Once you have reached this step in
your grape vine growing process, you will see that the vines have taken
their shape, and the shoots that will serve as the base for the grapes
have been established. Making the effort to properly use a trellis
system and train your vines to grow on it will serve you well for many
years.

 

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How do you grow grapes in texas. I have a red seedless variety recently planted. Do I need to prune,fertilize?

Monday Apr 5, 2010

 

I would like to know how to nurture grape vine in order to produce high yield and quality of fruits.
I live in the houston, Texas area.

Grape vines need sunny-days and a good watering routine. You do not want to prune in the spring. They also need a good support. Grape vines fruit only on old stems, so keep this in mind when you prune.Keeping the new growth for the next years fruit. In the fall…depending on your climate you will want to pull back on the water, letting them be on the dry-side. This will cause the sugars to develope in the grapes ..producing a very nice and sweet grape. There are little pests that bother grapes, you need to watch out for bores when you prune. If you cut off any branches larger than a nickle you will need to seal the end. You can do this with any light colored latex paint.You also need to be sure and water early enough in the day not to have moisture on the leafs at nightfall.
Good luck, I think you will do just fine!
Happy-graping…Grandma

 

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Ok People Challenge for you, Grape vine Disease or Pest What Is it & how to get rid of it?

Monday Apr 5, 2010

Ok people, challenge for you. It’s closing in on mid-June and that means in MI the grape vine leaves will start having something either happen to them or get to them. I’ve searched the web, taken samples to nurseries, and no one can tell me what the thing is or how to stop it. On the top of the leaf it looks like a pucker and on the underside of the leaf a pimple.

This has been going on for over 40 years and being married Arabic grape leaves are important to us. Please help us.

me to . my name is MAHFOOD.
it is a parasite native to the northern us. harvest the leaves in may before the temp gets to be 80 for 3 days in a row.
they would do better in a green house, on a trellus. if you want fruit you have to pollinate them your self.
control the acess to the plants by the bug.
it is like a mite and just that size.
i have seen this also as a genetic defect like a cancer,but thats rare.

 

 

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Pruning Grape vines?

Monday Apr 5, 2010

Hi,

My husband and I just bought a home with a couple mature (50+ years old) grapevines. Neither of us are green thumbs by any measure.

Can anybody tell us in layman’s terms when and how to prune them?

Oh, and we don’t know the variety. However, they are red, seeded and very very sweet!

Thanks!

Sounds like maybe a Clinton variety. In the spring before they leaf out, you can cut them back and tie them to the trellis or wire supporting them. If this hasn’t been done recently, you will end up with a lot of cut vine. New vines will grow and fill in open spaces. We ususally use willow to tie them up, but any twine or string will work. Don’t worry about cutting too much, just leave the main thicker vines and you should be fine.

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How do you re-establish grape vines?

Monday Apr 5, 2010

We recently moved into a house that has been used as a business for the past 20-25 years. We are in the process of turning it back to a home. The property backs onto a small tributary of a local river (read – almost non-existant at this point, but lots of swampy/ woodsy vegetaition.) Last fall we cut back a lot of vines and what we thought were weeds, and laid down mulch to make flower beds. This spring, we’ve noticed that some of the vines are gowing leaves that look like grape leaves (and we’ve even noted what looks like tiny grape clusters). Our neighbors mentioned that the family who used to live in the house before it was a business were avid gardeners and did in fact grow grapes. So I’m guessing that what I’m seeing are edible grapes, but they’ve been cut down to the quick. No trellises, and the vines look like roots that are coming right from the ground. How do I re-establish them? Do I need to trellis them yet? Should I prune off the grape bunches to encourage the vine to grow?

remove the mulch and cover the exposed roots with a little soil! they’ll poke back through in a matter of days! put something up to train them young!

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