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Figuring out how to start growing grapes.

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Xnke

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So I've had a large, unruly, often black-rot affected *probably* Niagara grape vine for many years now. I've finally actually started pruning on it a little more regularly and it's improving a bit-but it will die out soon as the two main canes/trunk have grown through a chain link fence, and are starting to get choked out. So far, I have not been lucky enough to get a cane to sprout out near the base, that I can re-train NOT through the fence. If things go really well this year, I'll be moving to a new home next year, and so I want to bring my hodge-podge garden with me-a lot of my stuff grows in containers until then.

My local university ag farm's vineyard is about 700ft away, and I went to talk with them today-I saw one of the faculty out at the greenhouse this afternoon. Ten minutes later, he had me out in the vines cutting off canes that had grown down low on the trunks last year, and after gave me a lesson on what he called "quick-dormant rooting" which is what I've been trying for a while with no luck-we'll see if it works his way.

Basically, it's the same as hardwood rooting, but the canes are left on the plant until spring, after the thaw, but before bud break, and after the sap has risen. He said he wants canes that are JUST dormant still, and other than that treats them just like any other hardwood rooting, but he always uses a rooting compound with them. Claims 10 days to roots, on average, and his that he started at the beginning of the month are already rooted and in the greenhouse, starting to leaf out. I've always done it this way but never had any luck. I use "Rootone" powder though, and he had some fancy "cloning gel" stuff in a large tub, so maybe that's the difference?

Anyway, he and I did 3 Syrah, and 4 Vidal Blanc from cuttings low off the trunk of the vines, and then I came home and cut up some of my pruned-off vines from the other day, that were still very green and weeping sap...now there are 10 cuttings from my old house vine too. Oh and the container grape-it's two years old and is a Mars grape. (The university also has Neptune and Jupiter...should I try for a whole solar system?)

So, if things go well enough, I'll have 1 Syrah, 1 Vidal Blanc, and 1 Mars, and a bunch of grape vines that have proven extremely hardy in my area, to play with for a while. If I'm very lucky, I'll get more than 1 of the cuttings to root and grow-but I'm pessimistic. Although I did pretty good with tomatoes this year...I've been giving them away to everyone and I still have 40+ plants left!

I'll *try* to keep a few photos and some updated info in this thread, because I'm sure I'll have lots of questions of what to do, and how to best keep things growing, in the next few weeks. Trellessing, grafting (if that's needed) and other fun stuff!
 

Xnke

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I'm more interested in the growing part than the drinkin' part, I am not able to consume alcohol as a general rule-I am missing a liver enzyme that helps the metabolization along. I can have a *little* bit and be fine, but where most people could tolerate a bottle in a night with some discomfort, it would likely hospitalize me. So, the growing is MUCH more fun! And, if it tastes good, well, that's great and I am keen to share what I can make.

Same with the tomatoes and pepper plants-I grow a LOT of Solanacea in the yard every year, more than I can consume, but I just give away whatever I can't use. I've grafted tomato plants onto potato plants, and gotten both tomatoes and potatoes from the same plant before! (it doesn't really work that well, but it is *possible*...)

I am considering ordering a rootstock plant from Double A this year, just to have something to graft onto, mainly for practice in grafting. I wonder if I could chip graft onto a 1st year cane, let the graft take this summer, then cut the cane back after it's dormant and root the rootstock this winter?
 

Xnke

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Here's a few shots of the hot room this year...Like I said, we'll see what I can get going.



The light is a 200W LED lamp I built this year, it throws down 1.15 million PAR. It also runs about 120F, and the air coming off the non-fan end is around 110F. It keeps the room warm, and warms the aluminum frame it's strapped to up to about 80F.

So, First on the 80F "hot bar" I have 3 Suspected "Niagara" sticks-it's the self-fertile rootstock of whatever the old Thomson Seedless was.



Then, 3 Syrah sticks, 1 is a 2-bud stick:



And four Vidal Blanc Sticks:



The soil temp at the base of the sticks, where the callus should form, is 80F on the money. The room temperature is 68F most days, unless it's a 70+F day in which case it's up to 78F in the room.
 

CabEnthusiast

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Here's a few shots of the hot room this year...Like I said, we'll see what I can get going.



The light is a 200W LED lamp I built this year, it throws down 1.15 million PAR. It also runs about 120F, and the air coming off the non-fan end is around 110F. It keeps the room warm, and warms the aluminum frame it's strapped to up to about 80F.

So, First on the 80F "hot bar" I have 3 Suspected "Niagara" sticks-it's the self-fertile rootstock of whatever the old Thomson Seedless was.



Then, 3 Syrah sticks, 1 is a 2-bud stick:



And four Vidal Blanc Sticks:



The soil temp at the base of the sticks, where the callus should form, is 80F on the money. The room temperature is 68F most days, unless it's a 70+F day in which case it's up to 78F in the room.
You really should graft onto rootstock to protect against disease as vinifera on its own won’t usually live long because phylloxera will eventually attack and kill it. Unless you have extremely sandy soil.
 

Xnke

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We have clay silt loam here, and the university vineyard grows both vidal blanc and syrah on their own roots-they've been there for 20 years now and no significant problems. That said-I plan to graft onto some 101-14 rootstock when I can get some. So far, the only source has been Double-A and while 9 bucks for the plant is fine, another 40 bucks to ship it is more than I am willing to spend on goofing around this year, especially since I have so little experience grafting yet.

Now, that said-if anyone has any 101-14 rootstock they would be willing to cut dormant sticks off of, I'd be glad to buy some! If I don't find any before winter, I'll just graft onto the Niagara. (or whatever it actually is.) It's 15 years old and has been cut back to a foot tall twice, cut right down to the ground once, when it was so much trouble we decided not to grow grapes anymore...and it's now got a 6" thick trunk on it again. That sucker just won't die, so if I do succeed in getting it to root and grow, I'll have to try grafting onto it.
 

CabEnthusiast

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We have clay silt loam here, and the university vineyard grows both vidal blanc and syrah on their own roots-they've been there for 20 years now and no significant problems. That said-I plan to graft onto some 101-14 rootstock when I can get some. So far, the only source has been Double-A and while 9 bucks for the plant is fine, another 40 bucks to ship it is more than I am willing to spend on goofing around this year, especially since I have so little experience grafting yet.

Now, that said-if anyone has any 101-14 rootstock they would be willing to cut dormant sticks off of, I'd be glad to buy some! If I don't find any before winter, I'll just graft onto the Niagara. (or whatever it actually is.) It's 15 years old and has been cut back to a foot tall twice, cut right down to the ground once, when it was so much trouble we decided not to grow grapes anymore...and it's now got a 6" thick trunk on it again. That sucker just won't die, so if I do succeed in getting it to root and grow, I'll have to try grafting onto it.
Go with novavine in California they can ship anywhere in the us at $20 an order flat rate shipping. 2-5 day delivery time.

101-14 is a good rootstock but it does slow vigour a lot. Just a heads up on that.
 

Dennis Griffith

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We have clay silt loam here, and the university vineyard grows both vidal blanc and syrah on their own roots-they've been there for 20 years now and no significant problems. That said-I plan to graft onto some 101-14 rootstock when I can get some. So far, the only source has been Double-A and while 9 bucks for the plant is fine, another 40 bucks to ship it is more than I am willing to spend on goofing around this year, especially since I have so little experience grafting yet.

Now, that said-if anyone has any 101-14 rootstock they would be willing to cut dormant sticks off of, I'd be glad to buy some! If I don't find any before winter, I'll just graft onto the Niagara. (or whatever it actually is.) It's 15 years old and has been cut back to a foot tall twice, cut right down to the ground once, when it was so much trouble we decided not to grow grapes anymore...and it's now got a 6" thick trunk on it again. That sucker just won't die, so if I do succeed in getting it to root and grow, I'll have to try grafting onto it.
They probably have a good spray program in place to control those little nasty buggers. For me (in Ohio), most of what I grow is 'own rooted', but they are considered native varieties. I have found that a good spray program year round helps keep phylloxera under control. Dormant sprays during dormancy is a good start. My biggest problem during the growing season is Japanese beetles. Here they can wipe out the foliage in half a day, so I always have to be on guard, watching for the first signs so that I can take measures. Good luck with the move.

DSCN3737.JPG
 

CabEnthusiast

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They probably have a good spray program in place to control those little nasty buggers. For me (in Ohio), most of what I grow is 'own rooted', but they are considered native varieties. I have found that a good spray program year round helps keep phylloxera under control. Dormant sprays during dormancy is a good start. My biggest problem during the growing season is Japanese beetles. Here they can wipe out the foliage in half a day, so I always have to be on guard, watching for the first signs so that I can take measures. Good luck with the move.

View attachment 53969
You do realize sprays have no effect on phylloxera nothing can really kill it except for some really really really toxic stuff you leech into the soil. It isn't guaranteed to kill them but it can. The only way to stop it is grafting.
 

Dennis Griffith

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That's what they say. All I know is that since I've started using Zeta-Cypermethrin to control beetles, I've seen no sign (as in zero) of phylloxera. Whether it's killing them in the soil or after they emerge, I don't know. It's also very effective on the beetles.
 

CabEnthusiast

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That's what they say. All I know is that since I've started using Zeta-Cypermethrin to control beetles, I've seen no sign (as in zero) of phylloxera. Whether it's killing them in the soil or after they emerge, I don't know. It's also very effective on the beetles.
It might be you just don't have any specifically where you are at, but UC Davis knows better than basically anyone else what does and doesn't kill phylloxera as they have a lab dedicated to examining and trying to kill it. So I'm going off what they say about it.

But if it works whatever floats your boat. That's great.
 

Dennis Griffith

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It might be you just don't have any specifically where you are at, but UC Davis knows better than basically anyone else what does and doesn't kill phylloxera as they have a lab dedicated to examining and trying to kill it. So I'm going off what they say about it.

But if it works whatever floats your boat. That's great.
I actually had it at one time. I was worried cause I didn't want to start digging and burning established vines. And you're right, some of the chemicals prescribed are almost worse than the pest. But here is a shot of some leaves the last year I had it. I still have the vines and they show no sign. Here's a couple of shots:

DSCN1984.JPG

And here's a shot of the same vine last year.

DSC_7307.JPG
 

CabEnthusiast

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I actually had it at one time. I was worried cause I didn't want to start digging and burning established vines. And you're right, some of the chemicals prescribed are almost worse than the pest. But here is a shot of some leaves the last year I had it. I still have the vines and they show no sign. Here's a couple of shots:

View attachment 53978

And here's a shot of the same vine last year.

View attachment 53980
Yeah that's biotype B flying phylloxera it can't kill vines but can screw up leaves.

The older form can kill vines but can't fly.
 

Masbustelo

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Phylloxera tends to kill the grape varieties that are European stock, hence the neeed to graft them on to resistant rootstock. The grape varieties grown in the Midwest, particularly the hybrids which are crossed with native U.S. varieties are immune to being killed by Phylloxera root disease. This is why they aren't grafted, generally speaking. ( They may be grafted for other reasons). Phylloxera is an insect and certain sprays applied at the right time can indeed kill these insects. Also removing and destroying the infected leaves removes the eggs before they hatch. In small vineyards it seems to me from personal observation and experience that with good cultural practice, Phylloxera infestation can be largely controlled or eradicated.
 

Dennis Griffith

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So I've had a large, unruly, often black-rot affected *probably* Niagara grape vine for many years now. I've finally actually started pruning on it a little more regularly and it's improving a bit-but it will die out soon as the two main canes/trunk have grown through a chain link fence, and are starting to get choked out. So far, I have not been lucky enough to get a cane to sprout out near the base, that I can re-train NOT through the fence. If things go really well this year, I'll be moving to a new home next year, and so I want to bring my hodge-podge garden with me-a lot of my stuff grows in containers until then.

My local university ag farm's vineyard is about 700ft away, and I went to talk with them today-I saw one of the faculty out at the greenhouse this afternoon. Ten minutes later, he had me out in the vines cutting off canes that had grown down low on the trunks last year, and after gave me a lesson on what he called "quick-dormant rooting" which is what I've been trying for a while with no luck-we'll see if it works his way.

Basically, it's the same as hardwood rooting, but the canes are left on the plant until spring, after the thaw, but before bud break, and after the sap has risen. He said he wants canes that are JUST dormant still, and other than that treats them just like any other hardwood rooting, but he always uses a rooting compound with them. Claims 10 days to roots, on average, and his that he started at the beginning of the month are already rooted and in the greenhouse, starting to leaf out. I've always done it this way but never had any luck. I use "Rootone" powder though, and he had some fancy "cloning gel" stuff in a large tub, so maybe that's the difference?

Anyway, he and I did 3 Syrah, and 4 Vidal Blanc from cuttings low off the trunk of the vines, and then I came home and cut up some of my pruned-off vines from the other day, that were still very green and weeping sap...now there are 10 cuttings from my old house vine too. Oh and the container grape-it's two years old and is a Mars grape. (The university also has Neptune and Jupiter...should I try for a whole solar system?)

So, if things go well enough, I'll have 1 Syrah, 1 Vidal Blanc, and 1 Mars, and a bunch of grape vines that have proven extremely hardy in my area, to play with for a while. If I'm very lucky, I'll get more than 1 of the cuttings to root and grow-but I'm pessimistic. Although I did pretty good with tomatoes this year...I've been giving them away to everyone and I still have 40+ plants left!

I'll *try* to keep a few photos and some updated info in this thread, because I'm sure I'll have lots of questions of what to do, and how to best keep things growing, in the next few weeks. Trellessing, grafting (if that's needed) and other fun stuff!
Sorry, I meant to reply to this a few days ago. You can get cloning gel on Amazon (brand name Clonex) for about $20. It's enough to do about 80 -100 cuttings. Has better success rate than rooting hormone powder.
 

Xnke

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So being as I'm a cheap bast..um...a Thrifty Gentleman, I went out and found some more pots for containerized grapes this year. I'm moving soon so big pots are the answer, but cheap is the key. Free being the best. Scored two feed buckets, each holding 5 cubic feet of dirt. But...10 cubic feet of dirt...cheap...

It's well known that many garden centers discount "culled" bagged goods like mulch and potting soil. I cruise my local ones this time of year for the clumsy summer hires, because I know later as the weather warms, they'll bust a few bags a week. But then I stumbled across a new grocery in town, with a garden center attached-a grocery, it seems, that no one notices they have a garden center attached. There are stacks and stacks of last year's bagged potting soil and topsoil, mulch, and BBQ charcoal...the plastic sun-baked and brittle, the pallets rotten and broken...So I asked if they do a discount on culled dirt...They do not. But the GM decided he needed to get rid of this, and asked how much I could haul away for him. As my S-10 will only carry 1200lbs in the bed, and I didn't have a trailer hooked up, I picked a pallet that looked about right, and got 23 1cuft bags of this sandy, coal-black, topsoil mix. For nothing. Free is good enough!



Sorry for the potato phone-the camera has this weird habit of focusing nice and sharp, then after a fraction of a second, defocusing to this fuzzy crap. I have no idea how to fix that. You can see the two big buckets strapped to the cab.

5 bags filled each big pot, leaving about two inches of open space on top for mulching later. There are 8 1" holes drilled in the bottom for drainage.

Now here's a Reliance grape that came from the same store-I felt like I should at least buy *something* for the free dirt, so I got one of the inexpensive off-the-shelf grape plants. 4.99, and this one had the largest root ball in the plastic bag, and it's a red grape, so far I only have the green grape on the fence, and the dark blue one in my existing container.

I have some questions-First, is this a grafted vine? It looks like a T-bud graft, but I've only seen them fresh, since my T-bud grafts never took.



Second, should I cut this back to a single growing cane, or is it too early to tell which one will be the keeper?



By figuring out the answers to these questions, it will help identify what I should be doing with the others, should they ever root.

I also have two bare-root 1-year plants of 3309C rootstock coming from Novavine later this month.
 

Dennis Griffith

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It does appear grafted. Probably a bark or bud graft, hard to say which. Good luck with the pots. Remember, grape vines have big feet, so you'll need large shoes if you expect them to produce.
 

Xnke

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Each of those blue tubs holds 50 gallons. They should be fine in those for one or two years, trained as two arm kniffens.

In two years I plan to have a few 100ft rows set, but that isn't immediately, so the big pots are what I have till then.
 

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