Grapes

Like most of the crops in our garden, grapes (Vitus vinifera) need a cold winter and chilling factor, as well as warm summer. They make a great screening plant and look beautiful in autumn.

MAIN TASKS:

Autumn – Pick fruit. Take cuttings of green wood for propogating. Grapes can also be budded or grafted in spring.

Winter – Prune. Depending on how much you want of the plant – fruit or foliage/screening/growth – will determine pruning approach. Like fruit trees, the main framework is formed in the first few years, trained on wires, with the aim to have main stems covered in fruiting spurs. These spurs will shoot each spring, sending out canes.  In winter cut canes right back to the spur, leaving one bud on each shoot.

Spring – Weed, mulch. Feed every 3 to 4 weeks with seaweed, wormjuice or compost tea diluted 10 to 1. Watering; longer and less often is better than a sprinkle regularly.

Summer – Tie in shoots, cut off tips and may need to protect from birds with netting.The fruiting spurs will shoot each year nip out the shoots about 4 or 5 leaves along and thin the bunches to about 2 or 3 for each meter of cane.

Generally – Companions are said to be mulberry, elm, blackberry, sage, mustard, hyssop.

Eating – There’s the fruit, and the vine leaves can be used for dolmades, or stuffing….

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