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Category: Vineyard Musings

Stories, blog, and pictures from Vicar’s Vines—our small backyard vineyard!

2012 — A Year in a Backyard Vineyard

2012 — A Year in a Backyard Vineyard

Improving the Trellis System

Spring in the Vineyard
The posts before adding the extra wires.

I realized that growing my vines on single wires stretched across from one post to another didn’t allow for the kind of canopy that would enhance the growth of my vines and protect the grapes at the same time from the sun. By placing crossbars on the end of each posts I was able to add two wires to the top of each row. The grape vines responded like kids learning that it was time for recess, as they stretched out, across, and around the new wires throughout the growing season.

Adding new wires
The new cross bars have been added to each post — thus 2 new wires!

Opps….I tried to order vines too late and winter killed some fragile vine stems!
The year before I tried to grow new vines from cuttings that I’d done in March. I’d planted the stems in a growing medium and thought that I’d have maybe twenty new vines as a result. In actuality only a couple of my cuttings have made into the second year. This is a more challenging horticultural task than I thought. By the time I realized that I had so many open spaces along the rows at the top of the vineyard I also discovered that there were no Marquette Vines to be bought. One other disappointment was that the top row which had some new seedless table grapes only had about three (not six) viable plants. I resolved to get my order in for the 2013 season in early, and that is now accomplished. I placed an order for 25 Marquette and 6 seedless table grapes vines with Winterhaven Winery and Nursery.

Green Grapes 2012
In the middle of the summer the grape clusters (few as they are) look good!

A Successful Spraying Program
I have received some wonderful help from Larry Shafer at Agro-K (http://www.agro-k.com/a), and am so pleased with the results of my spraying program. It begins in the Spring with a treatment of Molasses that is mixed in large garbage cans. Each plant receives about three quarts of this sugary rich solution. (Larry says it’s all about the carbon needs of each plant!) At various intervals, set by the plants I followed all of Larry’s protocols for the herbicide and fungicide chemicals needed. The lush foliage on my vines seemed to tell me that Larry had it right.

Purple grapes in Late August
I’m pretty sure the birds had their eyes on these grapes!

My grape production was highly uneven. It must have been to the extremely warm temperatures we had in March which was followed by a cold April. The apple growers in Minnesota said they were affected by the same phenomena. With fewer vines than I wanted and as a result of the haphazard clusters of grapes it’s a good thing I wasn’t counting on having enough grapes to sell. Maybe next year!

Grapes to be picked
Hopefully next year every row will be like this!
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