A bunch of tips on grape grow­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - GARDENING - By VICKI PRICE

If you’re quick, there’s still time to prune your grapevine. If your vine is in a tan­gle, se­lect the young strong canes and cut both younger and older thin­ner ones back – you will be re­warded with a healthy vine and a good har­vest come fruit­ing time. If you haven’t got a vine, then it’s a good time to plant one.

Other good rea­sons to prune grapes are to let light pen­e­trate the vine when in leaf; to get rid of any dead or dis­eased wood and to make sure there aren’t too many bunches of grapes. This may sound odd, but a few less bunches that are large with sweet flavour are bet­ter than loads of bunches bear­ing tiny fruit with an or­di­nary flavour.

Once bunches are formed, a sharp pair of nail scis­sors can be care­fully used to re­move the tini­est grapes in each bunch, thereby giv­ing room and sus­te­nance to those re­main­ing.

Grapes will be pro­duced on new canes, so it is these you will want to make room for on the vine, just not too many. Cut your five or six lead­ing canes back so there are two buds re­main­ing. Prun­ing is also help­ful to in­crease air cir­cu­la­tion which helps pre­vent dis­eases.

Ide­ally, you’ll wait un­til af­ter the last frost be­fore plant­ing your grape vine. It’s from the hot cli­mate of the Mediter­ranean, so choose a su­per-sunny spot where a gen­tle breeze blows.

If you have a wall that faces the sunny north, then you have a good place to plant a grape as the added warmth em­a­nat­ing from the wall will help ripen the fruit. Cover the wall in a sup­port­ing wire frame, teth­ered well to carry the weight of the ma­ture vine and plant a bit out from this, so that it has room to put down strong roots. You may need a strong post at each end.

Once planted, give the vine a dol­lop or two of com­post mulch around its roots. They do well in a good soil.

Photo: VICKI PRICE

Hi­ber­na­tion: A well-pruned grape vine sits dor­mant af­ter win­ter.

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