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Gary Barlettano

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Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Gary Barlettano » Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:14 pm

Happy Father's Day to me! My daughter knows the my inner, wannabe grape grower and winemaker. She just surprised me with two potted grape plants, an Eastern Concord and a Niagara. (Paul B, was she talking to you? I mean, after all, we do live in CA!?) As I have no property to speak of, I will need to plant these in pots and grow them on my balcony. Can this work? Any advice would be welcome.
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:27 am

Gary, don`t you have allotements down there? Hope spelling is right? They are still around in the UK and there is one close to one of our sports bars here in Edmonton. Rhubarb, carrots, lettuce, peas they are all a growing!! Couple of rows of Niagara would look great.
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Howie Hart

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Howie Hart » Sun Jun 18, 2006 8:03 am

Generally, grapes, especially labrusa, need a deep root system. Delaware, for instance has been known to have roots as deep as 28 feet. Perhaps if you planted them in garbage cans or something that size. :?
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Gary Barlettano » Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:14 am

Bob, when I was a grad student at Rutgers University in the 80's, those of us who lived in married student housing were allowed to grab a parcel on Busch Campus in Piscataway, NJ. It was more than 600 sq.ft. and I had plenty of room to grow veggies. Today, here in CA they would probably try to build two townhouses and a parking garage on a parcel that small before they would give it away for something as nice as a garden.
Last edited by Gary Barlettano on Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Gary Barlettano » Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:16 am

That's what I was afraid of, Howie. I know how deep grapevines root. Now, how am I going to break this to my daughter!? :(
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Randy Buckner

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Randy Buckner » Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:50 am

how am I going to break this to my daughter!?


Tell her you accidentally dropped them in front of a speeding 18-wheeler, and in fact was lucky to get away with your life (on both counts). :wink:
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Howie Hart

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Howie Hart » Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:05 pm

Perhaps your daughter or a friend could could grow them for you and if you ever decide to get a place with a little dirt you could get cuttings from the vines. :?
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Gary Barlettano » Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:15 pm

Howie, my daughter, 24, still lives with me and, believe me, these plants need to be planted here and nowhere else. You gotta know my daughter to appreciate that. :)

Well, I may just have to come up with some creative land management scheme and find a place for them somewhere along the perimeter. Now, however, I need to go out and buy a spade. The ex took mine with her!
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Peter May

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Peter May » Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:16 pm

Gary, Micro winery Africus Rex grows vines in pots that are brought indoors in winter to save them from the inclement Canadian winter. Have a look at http://www.africusrex.com/page4.html
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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Gary Barlettano » Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:33 pm

Peter, I'll have to give that one some thought. What they suggest isn't too difficult. I believe, however, the plants may be too old for transition to hydroponics. Thanks!
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Bill Buitenhuys

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Bill Buitenhuys » Sun Jun 18, 2006 8:20 pm

So you get the eastern grapes and my son gave me a cabernet sauvignon plant. :shock: I'm going to have to go with the potted plant method as well until we move next year.
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Bob Ross

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Bob Ross » Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:45 pm

Gary, hydrophonics may be the way to go. Here's an offbeat approach:

http://www.growingedge.com/community/ar ... =yes&q=753

I'm in the process of running the pond water from my koi pond down the hill and into a trench where we are growing vegetables, pachysandra and rhodos. First year results were amazingly good -- I only screwed up by not making my surge basin large enough and washing out the down hill side.

What I would do, is run the tap root down a foot or so in the trench, then turn it 90 degrees and let it grow laterally. If you keep the trench moist enough, and if you keep moving the growing end up and into the trench, I think it would work fine. This approach would actually work better if the grape plants were already established. I dug up a wild grape plant this afternoon in our woods, and although the tap root was more than three feet long, I was able to easily make it bend and run at a 90 degree angle at the one foot depth.

You know, the grape plant wants and grows a long tap root, but I don't think it has to go down, just be long. It's very easy to train grape vines -- grape roots must be just as easy to train. [I think.]

I'll play with this wild plant this summer and see if it survives -- I'll bet your daughter would love to help you solve this problem and although I'm always overly optomistic with hairbrained ideas, this one might actually work.

Let me know what you think.

Regards, Bob
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Randy Buckner

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Randy Buckner » Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:52 pm

until we move next year


Where you moving to?
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Gary Barlettano » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:34 am

Bill, that's exactly what I did today. I figure one more year in the pot won't hurt too much. That old tap root can curl around the bucket for a while. I'll have made a place for them somewhere here by next year. At them moment, I'd need a jackhammer to break through the dry clay in the limited accessible area I do have.
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Gary Barlettano » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:41 am

Bob, That just might be a way to go. My daughter has visions of bunches of grapes dangling from trained vine along the bottom of our upper deck. (We have two, one over the other.) Maybe she will help.

If my vines look unhappy in the pot and I can't find a home for them here, I might just try out your suggestion. My sense is, however, that the roots will only grow as much as they need to grow to reach water. I may end up with a bunch of surface roots which would otherwise be undesirable, but may do the trick here. But what do I know?
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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Bob Ross » Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:30 am

Ah, no lateral space.

Here's another way that might work -- let the roots curl around as you say, but prop the basic pot up on two or three bricks. Make a big hole in the main pot -- the one that the grapes are in now.

Put the main pot in a larger, shallow pot resting on the bricks. Put a good mixture of liquid fertilizer in the bottom shallow pot.

When the roots grow through the hole in your main pot, train them into another pot and let them grow there, covering with earth as they curl around.

I'll play around with this sort of a setup -- I did something like this as an experiment many years ago with alfalfa plants, which also have very long tap roots.

My impression is that grapes have a single main tap root, that they don't just seek water, but send that long tap root down even if water is fairly close to the surface. I haven't grown grapes this way, but I know that I got tap roots on the alfalfa plants that were over 15 feet long, even though they were in a fairly shallow trough next to the main pot.

My memory is that the tap roots were pretty easy to train, and the wild grape plants have roots that do the same thing here in northern New Jersey.

Interesting problem -- I'm going to call a fellow in Brooklyn -- he trained a grape vine up the side of a building four stories high, then ran the vine around the copice of a roof, 20 by 60 by 20 and then 30 feet on the fouth side -- a total of about 130 feet of vine with leaves and grapes. There were a few leaves on the stem growing up from the ground to the roof, but not many, and he prevented the vine from bearing fruit until it reached the roof. The roots were in a very small area in the back yard, couldn't have been more than two feet by two feet.

If you are moving soon, this may not be a solution, but I'll give him a buzz and see what he thinks. He may even have a picture that shows his technique better than I can describe it.

The vines on our farm in Wisconsin grew just like this -- a very small footprint on the ground, but vines that climbed 20 to 50 feet up into the tree tops.

Regards, Bob
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Bill Buitenhuys

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:53 am

Where you moving to?
Phoenix.
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Randy Buckner

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Randy Buckner » Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:11 am

Phoenix


Talk about a climate change! My folks retired to Apache Junction, just east of Phoenix.

It is not the end of the world AFA wine either.
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Bill Buitenhuys

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:07 pm

We;ll probably be in Gilbert, just west of Apache Junction. Yup, it is going to sure take some getting used to, climate-wise.
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Gary Barlettano » Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:36 pm

Well, it's been two years since I planted these things in pots and I haven't killed them yet. My three year-olds are getting some fruit!

000_0236.jpg
This bud's for me?
(29.53 KiB) Downloaded 3887 times
And now what?
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Robert Reynolds

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Robert Reynolds » Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:06 pm

It's possible to prune severly - vines and roots - to make a grape bonsai. I've seen pictures of the results, and it was simply amazing.
http://www.bonsai-bci.com/species/grape.html
Here's a commercial site with pictures of grape bonsai:
http://www.organicstyle.com/p_704/Wine-Grape-Bonsai.html?subCatId=167
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: Grape Growing Advice Needed

by Gary Barlettano » Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:29 pm

Robert Reynolds wrote:It's possible to prune severly - vines and roots - to make a grape bonsai. I've seen pictures of the results, and it was simply amazing.
http://www.bonsai-bci.com/species/grape.html
Here's a commercial site with pictures of grape bonsai:
http://www.organicstyle.com/p_704/Wine-Grape-Bonsai.html?subCatId=167

Interesting. Hadn't thunk of the Bonsai idea. One of the local grape growers simply commented that the plants would get root bound and only grow so big in the containers in which I have them. But they will set fruit, albeit just a couple of bunches which, of course, the birdies and squirrels will probably get. Still in all, just having the vines out on the deck does indeed make me feel more organically bound to the growing season. Yeah, I know, I've always had a vivid imagination.

P.S. I sent the Bonsai link to my daughter as a Father's Day suggestion ...
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