And the garden gets bigger…Planting Grapes

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Since we have blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries we thought we might try our hand at grapes!  I love to look at pictures of grape vines growing on dewy hillsides the thought is so romantic!  We don’t have hills, but there is still lots of romance, even with 6 kids, and now we will have lovely grape vines too!

First, a little about grapes…

Choosing Cultivars

Choose a variety that is suited to your temperate zone.

Site/Soil

Grapes grow best in a sunny location, but will tolerate partial shade.  Well-drained soil is essential, but grapes do not do well in extremely fertile soils. Plants grown in fertile soils produce lots of leaves and low-quality grapes. Poor soils tend to produce moderate crops of grapes with excellent flavor.

Planting

Plant grapes 6 feet on center, with a 36 inch buffer on each side of the plant to allow for mulching. Planting holes should be dug wide enough to accommodate all the roots, and deep enough so that you can cover the uppermost roots with 3 to 4 inches of soil. Adding peat moss will aid in water retention, and increase the water holding capability of the hair root structure.

Mulching

Mulch to aid in water retention and weed prevention.  Add more as needed.

Weed Control

Prevent weed growth around grapes by mulching, or cultivating. reduce root injury due to cultivation, a mulch within the rows is highly recommended to keep weeds down.

Pruning and Trellising

Right now our plants are first year.  We have a main trunk vine attached to a stabilizer post and a vine on either side.  We are planning on putting in our big posts and wire system this winter and we will share how to do that along with proper pruning as we go.

Fertilization

For young vines, apply ¼ cup 10-10-10 fertilizer around each plant. Repeat at 6-week intervals until mid-July. On 2 year old vines, double the first year rates and use the same interval. Bearing vines will need 2 ½ pounds of fertilizer per plant applied in March.

Magnesium deficiency, a yellowing between the leaf veins on older leaves, may become noticeable in midsummer. For young plants, apply 2 ounces of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) around each vine, watering it afterward. Apply 4-8 ounces per mature, bearing vine. 2-3 years may be required to bring the magnesium levels up for the best plant performance.

Watering/Irrigation

Soil moisture content should not be allowed to become excessively dry.  Water frequently enough to keep the soil moist but not saturated. Drip systems deliver water under low pressure through small emitters. In this method, water is applied only within the rooting area. Since only the row area is wetted, foliage remains dry during irrigation, and weed development between rows is reduced. Mulching will help reduce the frequency of watering.

 

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What we did on our little farm…

These are the supplies you will need for a 30 ft. row (minus the trellis system we will put in this winter)

4 grape vines

1 bag of peat moss

shovel and hoe

4 wood steaks

garden ties

1 bale of hay

 

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DIRECTIONS:

  1. Work your ground so it is loose and free of weeds.
  2. Dig your trench 30 ft long and about 2 1/2 foot wide.
  3. Dump out and spread evenly your peat moss where you will be planting your grapes.
  4. Cover your peat moss with the dirt you pulled out of the trench.
  5. Evenly space your grapes and plant them.
  6. Cover with the straw mulch.
  7. Water and WAIT!!! :)

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