Training My Grapes and Berries

Grapes

Yesterday morning I finished installing t20150616_085925he lines for my grapes. I used 9 gauge wire, and then used nylon twine to guide the grape vines up to it. I am very happy to have this completed, as I need to get serious about training them. And serious about learning how. From what I have seen and read, it will take 2-3 years to get fruit on the vines.

Here is a link to Roy Kladaric, who I stumbled upon last fall. He has a fantastic set of YouTube videos on grapes. From this video, I already see where I need to prune the tendrils (the grabby-thingy’s) so that energy is only going into growing and thickening the main vine. One vine I think I may have already to pencil thickness. The others are still small, and this morning I had to prune off quite a few off-shoots, so I haven’t really been that good of a grape gardener. Now is the time to focus the plants energy into the main vine.

The varieties of grapes I have planted:

  1. Lake Emerald (Vitis labrusca ‘Lake Emerald’) – blue color
  2. Southern Home Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia ‘Southern Home’) – black color
  3. Carlos Muscadine  (Vitis rotundifolia ‘Carlos’) –  green color
  4. Jumbo Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia ‘Jumbo’) –  dark purple color
  5. Red heirloom (purchased from a local grower, clipped from a vine that has been around a loonngg time) – red color

Berries

Wow, knowledge is always key. So I put blackberries in last fall, and raspberries last spring. I had not got any fruit from them until this spring, and I am getting berries on last years growth now. I also have new canes (what I have been calling vines, but they are “caneberries” hence “canes”) coming up, some of which are probably 7-8′ tall and starting to droop. I have to brush them out of the way to get through to my tomatoes. Every time I do that, I think, “I really need to do some research as to how best to take care of these!” Then alas, it slips my mind as other things take its place…

What this guy shows in his video is what I am going to do. I have seen some just try to contain the canes, but he ties them to either the top 5′ or middle 3′ line. He then twists them around the line a few times, and nips the head off of them. This encourages branching at the leaf points, and these branches will bear the fruit! I will share a picture when I finish. I already know now I need to tighten my top and middle wires.

I also learned through this video and another on Raspberry pruning, learned about the Prima Canes (first year, growth) and the Flora Canes (second year, flower/fruit). You need to remove the flora canes once they have produced their fruit – they will not fruit again (unless you have a variety that fruits twice a year). Prune them to make room for the next growth. I really had no idea this was the case! I thought it was sort of like a tree, that you would just get fruit every year, etc. Berries are actually better than a tree – within 2 years you can have steadily producing canes with lots of fruit – it you know what to do!

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