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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bunch of Grapes

Hey, I found another bunch of grapes! Big deal, you say, and by the way, Carol, that is a tiny little bunch of grapes. But remember, I thought my grape vines were 'goners' with very little life showing this spring. I almost pulled them out for non-performance.

Instead I gave them a second chance, and they came back with all kinds of vines, but no grapes that I could see, unless you make me count an earlier bunch of THREE little concord grapes I found six weeks ago.

And for awhile, it looked like one of the grapes had some kind of disease, based on some odd colorations I was seeing on the leaves.

In fact, I had to whack back some of the vines a month or so ago because they were being too aggressive toward a viburnum shrub that is next to the grape arbor. Couldn't have that! After all it was a Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii). Darn grape vine thugs.

So, suddenly, I am thinking I'll need to do a little more study of viticulture this winter, so I can learn how to prune the vines correctly this spring, and do all I can to give my vines their best shot at producing some actual grapes.

My two grapes are 'Concord' (I don't have to tell you what kind that is!) and 'Himrod', a green seedless grape. With those two varieties, I am not planning to explore wine-making, just grape-growing.

I'd like to tell you that I picked these two varieties after extensive research on the best varieties to grow in Indiana and after checking out all kinds of resources online. But I can't. I bought them on impulse, which started a whole new project to construct a grape arbor. But isn't that how it goes for most gardeners? Buy the plant because you see it and decide you must have it, then plan for where you will plant it, right?!

Enough about my little grape harvest, I obviously need some grape growing tips and advice, so am I'm happy to accept any and all advice on growing grapes in zone 5.

3 comments:

snappy said...

What do you want to grow grapes for?Just to eat, or to make wine?There is lots of information about pruning and soil management.I guess if its not producing enough fruit then change the Vine.Any harvest of homegrown food is good!!

Carol said...

Snappy, I grow grapes mostly for fun. I'll just eat any I get or give them to someone who wants to make jelly or a grape pie. I agree, any homegrown food IS good.

Daniel said...

A grape arbor is a nice place to sit in the shade in the summer. My family is in at least its 3rd greneration and probably more of growing backyard grapes.

Pruning them seems difficult to understand at first but really isnt hard. Next year's grapes are from vines that grew this year. Most vines grow very fast, so drastic pruning is needed each winter. They usually say remove 90% of this year's growth. Pruning is usually in February.

For a vine that is 3 or more years old, usually you would select 2 to 4 canes from the current year and prune them back to about 10 buds. The grow from these buds will provide next year's grapes.

Also select 2 to 4 of the current year's vines and prune back to 1-2 buds (to produce next year's canes). The rest of the new canes are cut all of the way off.

here is a good article:
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/RG502.pdf#search=%22grapevine%20pruning%22

Hopefully this information is useful.