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.
Four Arm Kniffin System for Growing Grapes
David handley: i’m david handley, vegetable and small fruit specialist with the university of Maine Cooperative Extension. Today we’re going to be talking about a simple system for pruning hardy grapes here in Maine. The pruning system I like to use is very simple. It keeps the plant open, so it gets light in the summer time, but it also protects the plant a little bit in the winter. This system works best with concord type or labrusca type grapes, which are the grapes that tend to.
Grow best in maine. There’s really a couple of systems that will work well for labrusca type grapes. The first one I want to talk about is the four arm kniffin, and that’s what we’re going to prune first. The four arm kniffin consists of a perennial trunk, which goes from the ground right up to a top wire, which is set at about five feet. Coming off of this trunk, we will have four arms, or canes, oneyear old growth. Two on the top wire, running each side of.
The top wire, and two on a lower wire. this lower wire should be set at about two and a half feet off the ground. Every year, we’re going to come in and prune it so we continue to have a perennial trunk, but only four one yearold trunks to produce the fruit. Here is our permanent trunk. You can see here, this is a cane from last year. Two yearold cane, this was our fruiting cane last summer, and you can see the difference. Here’s this.
Year’s cane, that nice chocolate brown color and smooth bark, and here we go with the older cane, the two yearold cane. The bark is starting to peel, and has more of a gray look to it, so we know that this particular shoot isn’t going to fruit again. It’s the one yearold shoots that come off it that will fruit. This is going to get pruned out, so that we can keep our fruiting wood closer to the trunk. We’ll just take that back to a good fruiting shoot, and we’ll start to cut it out. This.
Is where it gets fun. we need to wrestle this out of the trellis, and of course, all these little tendrils have tied it up and around most of the growth that’s there. It takes a little bit of cutting, but be careful not to break the fruiting canes that you want to leave behind. Pull it off, and that will open the planting up so we can see what we have left for good fruiting wood for this year. We’ve taken off the four fruiting canes that we left last.
Year, and you can see pretty much all that’s left, at this point, is the green shoots from last year, that will provide us with good fruit for this year. Now we need to choose which four we want to put up. We’re going to have four canes. One, two, three, four. Two for the lower wire, two for the upper wire, each heading off in different directions. What I want to look for in this case is cane that’s got this nice chocolate brown color,.
And is about 3/8 of an inch in diameter. about the width of your little finger. if it’s thinner than that, if it’s very weak, it won’t produce good fruit. Thin stuff like this, less than 3/8 of an inch in diameter, we’ll just cut that right out. Here we’ve got one that’s going to go in this direction, that looks very nice. I’m going to count, remember we want about 10 buds on it, so we’ll count our buds. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. Then I just cut out beyond that, because the weaker.
Stuff at the very end isn’t going to produce very good fruit. I have my four arms, but you can see I still have some leftover canes. What I’m going to use these for are what we call renewal spurs. I’m going to cut these back so that they just have one or two buds on them. What I’m going to use these buds for, the green shoots that will emerge from these buds and grow out, will be the canes that I’ll be putting on the wire next year for fruiting. We call these renewal spurs.