Grape Vines In Cooler Climates

Soil and Situation. Grapes can be grown in a wide variety of soils if well prepared. Heavy barns require adequate drainage. Only sandy soils, wet clays, and solid chalks are unsuitable.

When grown in a glasshouse it is usual to prepare a special border. This may be surrounded by brick or concrete to prevent roots penetrating to unprepared soil. Such borders may be inside the house, when they usually occupy its whole length and width with the exception of the path, or outside, when they are the length of the house and 10-12 ft. in width. All should be 3 ft. in depth with a slight slope to the front. Holes are left near soil level in the wall of the vinery if the border is outside. The main stems are taken into the house through these.

Place a layer of rubble in the bottom for drainage. Over this place a layer of turves grass side downwards. Fill the remainder of the border with a mixture of eight parts of chopped turf (preferably medium yellow loam), one part of old mortar rubble, half a part of wood ashes, and a quarter part of charcoal broken to the size of peas. Add lb. of bonemeal to each bushel of mixture.

Vines can be grown indoors or out. For the latter purpose only hardy, early varieties should be chosen. The position must be warm and sheltered, such as against a wall facing south or west.

VINERIES may be of any shape and size, but must have ample provision for ventilation at the ridge, along the sides and in the walls near soil level. Lean to and three-quarter-span houses should face south or south west. Span-roofed houses should run from north to south. Vines can be planted on both sides of span roofed houses.

Planting. November is the best month for purchasing vines. Obtain strong specimens in pots and prune back so that the top eye is level with the bottom panes of glass in the vinery. Do not plant till buds begin to break in late February or early March. Tease out roots with a pointed stick and spread them widely in a shallow hole. Cover the topmost with 2 in. of soil. Make thoroughly firm. Water in freely. Vines to be grown on the single stem system are planted 5 to 6 ft. apart. If to be grown on the multiple stem system, any multiple of 4 ft. may be allowed between the vines.

System of Training. Each vine may be restricted to a single main stem or ‘rod,’ which is trained direct from the floor to the ridge of the house. Alternatively, the main stem can be trained horizontally at the top of the front or side wall and at every 4 ft. a branch stem can be trained from it to the ridge of the house. This is known as the multiple stem system. Almost any number of branch stems may be grown, depending upon the vigour of the vine. Examples are known in which one vine fills the whole of a large house, as at Hampton Court. The single-stem system is the better for the amateur. In all methods, training wires should be provided, stretched horizontally 9 in. beneath the glass and about 15 in. apart.

Pruning. Vines are thinned and stopped periodically during the spring and summer and hard pruned in winter.

Thinning and stopping start as soon as the vine starts into growth. In an established vine there are spurs every 15-18 in. on each side of every main rod. Only one new shoot is required from each spur. If more form, the weakest should be rubbed out. That retained is allowed to grow until it produces a flower truss or is 2-3 ft. in length. Its point is then pinched out. One leaf must be left beyond the flower truss. If secondary shoots are produced, these should be pinched beyond the first leaf. All young growths are tied down to the training wires. Foliage must not touch the glass. Tying down must be done gradually, as the young shoots are brittle.

In November or early December, when all leaves have fallen, each lateral (side growth) is cut back to within one dormant bud of the spur on the main rod.

Pruning and Training Young Vines. When shoots have made six leaves, remove points from all except the leading one which is to form the rod. Stop all secondary laterals above the first leaf. Tie in young growths gradually to avoid breakage. When the leading growth is 6 ft. long, pinch out the tip, also any side growths it is producing above the first leaf, except the top one, which may be allowed to grow unchecked. Leave all further shoots on the leading growth until mid-September, when they should be pinched. Any later growths that form should be pinched out at once. If vines have grown well, they should have filled available space. In November, when all leaves have fallen, cut back all side growths to the main rod and shorten the leading growth to within 3 or 4 ft. of ground level, according to its strength.

The second year’, rub out superfluous side growths on the main stem as they form. Retain one strong growth every 15— 18 in. on each side of the main stem to lay the basis of future spurs. Subsequent treatment of these side growths is as for established vines. The leading growth is allowed to grow 7 ft., or until it reaches the ridge of the house, when it is stopped. Side growths on this portion are treated as those on the young vine the first year.

Starting Vines. Vines may be started at any time from January to March, according to the date at which fruits are required. This is done by closing the ventilators, raising the temperature to a minimum of 50° at night, rising to 60 degrees by day, watering the border, mulching with 3 in. of rotted manure and maintaining a moister atmosphere by syringing with tepid water in the morning, and filling troughs over hottwater pipes with water. Vines are lowered from training wires to check uprush of sap and ensure even growth from bottom to top. Later, when growth starts, they are retied.

Vines in Flower. When vines come into flower, syringing should be discontinued and temperature raised by 5 degrees.Soak the border occasionally with very weak liquid manure. Tap the rods daily or dust flowers lightly with a camel-hair brush to assist pollination.

Thinning the Fruits. The bunches must be thinned a little at a time from about a fortnight after berries first start to form. Use a pair of pointed grape scissors. Begin thinning at the bottom of the bunch. Leave the extreme point of the bunch, but remove all berries within 4 in. of it. Berries at the top of the bunch can be left almost twice as thick. Those between should be given intermediate spacing. Do not touch berries by hand. Use a small pointed stick to turn them if necessary.

General Management. Ventilation throughout should be as free as possible consistent with maintenance of necessary temperatures. Keep water trays filled or damp paths and walls every morning until berries start to colour. Then empty trays or discontinue damping and allow temperature to rise slightly. Water when soil appears dry on surface. Give sufficient to soak border thoroughly. Feed in winter and spring with vine fertilizers,.

Picking and Storing. Early grapes should be gathered as soon as they are well coloured or have a full, sweet flavour. No attempt should be made to keep them for any length of time. They are cut with a short length of lateral to serve as a handle for the bunch. Later varieties may be allowed to hang on the vine for a considerable time if the house is well ventilated and there is plenty of foliage to shade the berries. Later, when the foliage has fallen, each bunch may be cut with about 1 ft. of lateral. The lower end of this is slipped into a bottle nearly filled with water, and this is stood, at an angle of 45°, in a cool, dark, but dry room.

Outdoor Culture.. This follows the same general lines as for vines under glass, except that growth is allowed to start naturally in the spring, no syringing is practised and a rather freer growth is permitted. Outdoor vines are generally permitted to form several main rods. Overcrowding must be prevented or berries may be shaded excessively by foliage.

Routine Pest Control. Each winter, when vines are dormant, loose bark is rubbed off and the rods are sprayed with tartoil winter wash. If red spider or mildew appears in summer, give increased top ventilation and avoid cold draughts, also dust foliage and berries with powdered green sulphur or dinocap but not after thinning. Scalding of foliage and berries is caused by too hot and dry an atmosphere. Shanking, i.e. withering of the footstalk of the berry with consequent collapse of the berry itself, is an indication of impoverished soil or lack of water.

Propagation. May be effected by eyes, cuttings, layers, grafting, marching and seed. ‘The first named is the best for the amateur. Eyes (dormant growth buds) are secured in autumn or winter from sturdy, well-ripened laterals. They are either scooped out with a shieldtshaped portion of bark and wood or else are cut complete with a short section (about in.) of stem. They are inserted singly in small pots filled with a light compost and are started into growth in a propagating box or frame, placed over the hottwater pipes in the greenhouse. The buds should be just level with the surface of the soil.

Varieties of Grape. UNDER GLASS. Alicante, Oct.— Feb.; Appley Towers, Nov.; Black Hamburgh, Aug.—Oct.; Black Prince, Sept.; Buckland Sweetwater, July—Aug.; Canon Hall Muscat, Nov—Jan.; Gros Colmar, Oct.—Jan.; Gros Guillaume, Nov.—Mar.; Lady Downe’s Seedling, Nov.—Mar.; Lady Hastings, Oct.—Dec.; Lady Hutt, Nov.—Dec.; Madresfield Court, Aug.—Sept.; Muscat Hamburgh, Oct.; Mrs Pearson, Nov.—Mar.; Mrs Pince, Nov.—May; Muscat of Alexandria, Nov.—Mar.; Prince of Wales, Nov.—May.

OUTDOORS. Brandt, Sept.—Oct.; Buckland Sweetwater, Sept.; Chasselas Rose, Sept.; Foster’s Seedling, Sept.; Muscat Hamburgh, Sept.; Perle de Czaba, Sept.; Reine Olga, Sept.; Royal Muscadine, Sept.—Oct.

Similar Posts