Hi, I’m Tricia, and organic gardener. Grapes are a beautiful edible landscape plant, as well as producing delicious fruit. Today I’m going to plant a new grapevine. If you’re not ready to plant your grapes as soon as they arrive, that’s ok, you can heel them in. You can either dig a shallow trench, put the grape vines in and cover the roots with soil, or you can do like I’ve done and put the roots in a bucket, cover them with soil and protect them with a little bit of straw.
Grapes are tolerant of a wide variety of soils, but it is important to check with your Master Gardener or local ag extension to find out what varieties will do best in your climate. Your site selection should be in full sun with a southern exposure, away from trees. And avoid depressions where cool air can collect. Ideally, preparation for planting your grapes will start the year before with a soil test and an appropriate cover crop. Grapes like moderate fertility and a pH of about 5.5 7. In most climates you can plant grapes in late winter or early spring.
For northern climates you might want to wait until a little bit later in the spring. Just dig a hole the same size as the roots and don’t add any fertilizer. You don’t want to get more leaves than fruit! Soak the roots of your grapevine for about 2 to 3 hours before planting, and then you can prune off any damaged roots. But it’s important to leave as much of the root system as possible. Make sure that the roots are loose and not clumped together. The hole should be deep enough to plant the vine to the same level it was planted before,.
With a few inches of soil over the longest roots. Gently back fill the soil with the topsoil first. And if it hasn’t rained recently make sure and give your plant some water. You want to train your newly planted little grapevine to grow into a big grapevine with a straight single trunk reaching the trellis. In order to do that we’re going to prune this plant so that it has one straightish cane. By the second year you need some kind of a support system. This two wire support system is very common and easy to build.
To train your grapevine to grow straight up to the trellising, you may need to do a temporary support like bamboo and then just tie it together with a little twine or some tape. These are flame grapes, so I’ll be training them to a bilateral cordon. That is I want a nice straight trunk. And then I’ll choose two buds that will be trained into big, permanent branches on either side of the trunk. It’s really important to tag your plants. I use these permanent zinc plant tags.
Its really important to know what variety you have so that you can prune appropriately. Whether you have a big vineyard or you’ve just planted a few grape vines, grapes will benefit from cover cropping. So get ready for winter pruning, and Grow Organic for Life!.
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 4246quot; from.
The ground, then space the other two 12quot; 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 38quot; hole through the post and then put in a 516quot; 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.
Sure the eye bolt is an inch or more too long so you can tighten the nut if there’s a little slack in the wire. I’m using 12 gauge galvanized wire and I like to roll it out first and cut it to its rough length. Then I insert it through the bolt and bend it back on to itself, anchoring it with a wire clamp. The wire is stiff enough where you probably could just twist it over itself, but I just prefer the wire clamp. I drilled holes through the center post, but most people usually just staple the wire to the side of the post. I’m a bit obsessive compulsive and can’t handle having a bunch.