We have plenty of wild concord grapes on our property. however, the insurance company doesn’t approve of our harvesting methods so it’s probably best to plant some cultivated grapes. When I cleared the land for the greenhouse, it left plenty of area to plant various fruit producing plants which don’t need the greenhouse to thrive. Plus why waste the space just growing grass? Taking a look at my 3rd grade drawing skills, I’m going to set three 4x4x10′ treated posts.
34 feet into the ground and space them 24′ apart. this will allow for 8 plants in the space. Then I’ll string 12 gauge galvanized wire starting with the first wire 4246 from the ground, then space the other two 12 apart. The plants can be spaced 6′ apart and over time the vines can be trained along the 3 wires. I had planned to set the posts first in the event that I hit any large rocks while digging, however I blew a seal on the backhoe and had to find some parts for it. So I took my chances.
And put the plants in first. the row should go in a straight line and a 100′ tape measure works well for marking out the locations of each post and plant. Jamming a piece of survey’s tape at each mark does the trick. We’re going oldschool and using a pickaxe and shovel and digging a hole about 1 foot deep. Luckily there weren’t any large rocks in the way just a few roots and small stones that the pickaxe was able to pluck out. Later, looking at the post holes, you’ll see why I didn’t dig them by hand.
Planting the vines is fairly easy. i got these seedless concord grapes from gurney’s for half price. I just remove the fiber that’s used for keeping the roots damp, spread out the roots a bit, and set it in the hole so that all the roots that emerge from the vine will be just below the finished level of the soil. All the dirt that came out of the hole was hardpan so I filled it with nice organic soil, then compacted it down, and gave it a really good watering. It also important to cover the area with mulch to help maintain.
The moisture in the soil until the roots can get established. these will get watered every day for a couple of weeks. The actual work of planting the vines is quick. It’s the preparation of digging out the rocks that takes all the time. A 30 cent Oring and a day to dismantle and reassemble the valve assembly and the backhoe is running again. I can now install the posts for the wire arbor. It may not be the fastest.
Backhoe, but it beats digging through the rock with a pick and shovel. the holes are dug to about 4 feet which will provide a deep enough anchor to prevent the posts from leaning from the future weight of the vines. Some of the rocks that I pulled out where bigger than the hole. If I had to dig these by hand, I probably would have only dug down a couple of feet, and then would have to anchor the posts with concrete and guywires. It seems like a really big hole for a post, but without an auger with rock drilling bit,.
It’s probably the easiest way to set a post. a little cleanup at the bottom of the hole and it’s ready. I’m using 4×4 treated lumber rated for direct burial. I’m not a fan of using treated lumber, but in order for it to last a long time, it’s a necessary evil. I like to add two temporary cleats to the post to help support it while I’m set it plumb and backfill the hole. I also like to drop a few rocks around the base to hold it in place when I start to fill it in. I’ll fill the hole several inches at a time and compact.
It between each layer, then clean up the area with some more woodchip mulch. The first wire starts roughly 4246 inches from the ground and the second and 3 wires are spaced 12 inches apart. It will be the perfect snacking height for the deer. At each marking I’ll drill a 3/8 hole through the post and then put in a 5/16 eyebolt. The back side has a large fender washer and nut. Having a large washer will help to keep the nut from pulling into the post under the weight of the vines. It’s fairly important to make.
Growing Grapes for Wine
The way that Remember when we were standing out in the vineyard, we were looking at all these clusters and we were saying this is too much fruit we’re going to have to thin this? The person who created the system for figuring out how much that fruit.
Was going to weigh when it was harvested long enough in advance, i.e. now, so that we could do something about it to get the crop right, was Steve Price in the Hort department at OSU in the 80s who came up with this simple system.
That is used all around the world now to predict crop level. Well the system is You’d think that somebody would have figured this out in advance of 1980s Corvallis, but nobody had.
You basically wait until the sort of one to two week window when the grapevine shifts gears. It’s been sort of building the cluster weight and growing all at the same time, so that the.
Are still growing and the clusters, the berries, the individual berries, are still getting bigger. And they’ll continue to do that until sometime in late July basically, maybe early August. But then there’s this window where the vine kind of changes.
What it’s about to do, because from then on it’s going to be all about making sugar and growing the grape size. But for the two weeks, sometimes only a week and a half, the grapes don’t change weight.
It’s a lag growth phase. And if you weigh the grapes at that point, and do a good job of estimating how many grapes are out there and you double it, you basically know what the weight.
Of that block that you just estimated. Obviously it depends on grape estimation skill and it depends on, to some extent, on the year because not every year does it double. There was a year a couple years ago where it didn’t really double.