• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

No grapes

 
Posts: 197
Location: Northern California Mediterranean climate zone 10b
6
dog forest garden books urban chicken greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi peeps,

Hope this is the right forum.  I have a Muscat grape that I grew from a cutting in my community garden plot.  It's 4 years old.  It has never had blossoms on it.  It seems healthy otherwise, no bugs or blight or mildew, but it's not very robust.  I mean, the stem is only pencil thick.  Too cold in summer?  Not cold enough in winter?  Any ideas?  I'm in zone 10b in San Francisco---cool and foggy.  
20190517_135537.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20190517_135537.jpg]
Muscat, taken in May 2019.
 
Posts: 46
Location: South East Kansas
3
trees books cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have read that Muscat grapes are hard to grow. It takes time for grape to product a good crop sometimes years.  In the past my family has planted grapes and three years later had a few grape cluster.
 
Posts: 515
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
137
transportation hugelkultur cat forest garden fish trees urban chicken cooking woodworking homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lori Ziemba wrote:I have a Muscat grape that I grew from a cutting in my community garden plot.  It's 4 years old.  It has never had blossoms on it.  It seems healthy otherwise, no bugs or blight or mildew, but it's not very robust.  I mean, the stem is only pencil thick.  Too cold in summer?  Not cold enough in winter?  Any ideas?  I'm in zone 10b in San Francisco---cool and foggy.  



The family has grown table grapes for over 100 years in three main climate zones: temperate, sub tropics and tropics.

At a glance, I’d say there’s too much competition, fertiliser and root disruption.

Grapes thrive on neglect and don’t like competition around their roots. So they’re best grown in their own area with partial to full sun and good airflow. They like some watering but only enough to keep the soil cool, not even moist. We never fertilise them, otherwise they produce too much foliage at the expense of fruit. You may have heard that wet-season grapes make crap wine, dry season grapes produce good wine? Same goes for table grapes - less moisture produces less grapes, but the taste is superior.

At four years old, the trunk should be quite substantial and the main leaders organised. They look like one year old cuttings!

Hint 1: try not to grow them on metal stakes, the heat transfer can burn the tendrils and new sappy growth. Best to use timber poles.
Hint 2: break off any shoots that emerge on the trunk that is old wood – not the green wood. That way the growth will be directed upwards. When the trunk gets to a height that you want, choose two main leaders and trim off any others.
Hint 3: grapes don’t like to be transplanted when mature and they can grow BIG, so site selection should be made from the get-go. E.g. if it’s a community garden, maybe along one of the perimeter fences. (Since those cuttings are somewhat stunted, they should be okay to transplant – just take a large root-ball.)

Hope that assists.
 
Lori Ziemba
Posts: 197
Location: Northern California Mediterranean climate zone 10b
6
dog forest garden books urban chicken greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

F Agricola wrote:At a glance, I’d say there’s too much competition, fertiliser and root disruption.  At four years old, the trunk should be quite substantial and the main leaders organised. They look like one year old cuttings!



I know, I feel sorry for them.  They're so puny.  This is the first time I've ever tried to grow grapes; everyone always said they wouldn't do well here.  


When the trunk gets to a height that you want, choose two main leaders and trim off any others.



Just 2?  Not 4, like I see the wine grapes?

Since those cuttings are somewhat stunted, they should be okay to transplant – just take a large root-ball.



I've been thinking of moving into a bigger plot this winter, and moving the grape outside along the fence, where we have fruit trees.  Should I wait until it's dormant, or is it OK to move it now?  Will it be OK near fruit trees that get watered once a week?  Otherwise, I do have a section out there with a lot of native plants that don't get watered.  The thing is, I'm very near the beach, and the area was completely sand dunes just 60 years ago.  So the "soil" is extremely sandy.  The fence is metal, but it very rarely gets hot here... I hope that's OK.  

As far as watering goes, I have noticed that the leaves are looking a little yellowish lately.  I suspected too much water, but everyone kept telling me they needed more water!

Do you know if grapes secrete any allelopathic chemicals?  I notice things just don't seem to grow that well in my plot, often being stunted.  Or is it just from crowding?  I thought it was something I was doing, or not doing, but I "borrowed" another plot for the summer and grew corn and pumpkins, and they look great!  Over my head now and putting out tassels and silks.  

Thank you so much---this is very helpful!
 
F Agricola
Posts: 515
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
137
transportation hugelkultur cat forest garden fish trees urban chicken cooking woodworking homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just 2?  Not 4, like I see the wine grapes?

Sure, you can grow as many as you like. But, it's a balance of fruit size and volume. Based on the marginal sandy soils, too many leaders may slow the plant down and weaken it.


Should I wait until it's dormant, or is it OK to move it now?

Definitely when they're dormant.


Will it be OK near fruit trees that get watered once a week?  Otherwise, I do have a section out there with a lot of native plants that don't get watered.  The thing is, I'm very near the beach, and the area was completely sand dunes just 60 years ago.  So the "soil" is extremely sandy.  The fence is metal, but it very rarely gets hot here.

Preferably not near something that gets that much water, but, if it's deep sandy soil, then it shouldn't be an issue other than grapes usually like a sandy loam – suggest incorporating a lot of organic material like compost and even clay into the holes before planting.


As far as watering goes, I have noticed that the leaves are looking a little yellowish lately.  I suspected too much water, but everyone kept telling me they needed more water!

It’s likely a nutrient deficiency caused by leaching through the sand, hence the need to bolster it with organic matter and clay.


Do you know if grapes secrete any allelopathic chemicals?  I notice things just don't seem to grow that well in my plot, often being stunted.  Or is it just from crowding?  I thought it was something I was doing, or not doing, but I "borrowed" another plot for the summer and grew corn and pumpkins, and they look great!  Over my head now and putting out tassels and silks.  


I don’t know, but have had volunteers grow (too) successfully beneath them – 'weeds', tomatoes, even potatoes!

I suggest the plot is probably deficient in a whole array of nutrients and trace elements because of it being sandy. Perhaps the best way to grow stuff in that type of soil is to use the ‘lasagne’ method of no-dig gardening. Simply layer compost, manure, lawn clippings, charcoal/ash, very fine gravel (rock minerals), etc in alternating layers, keep it moist and allow to sit for a few weeks to settle; then plant directly into it and mulch.

When the crops are ready, simply start layering again. Over time the patch will be deep humus capable of holding a lot of moisture – the envy of other gardeners. The whole bed doesn’t need to be done all at once, for example, if the crops in one section are still growing, simply layer the empty bit.

A cheap pH tester is very useful to gauge the acidity/alkalinity of the soil, particularly in sand where losses and gains can seesaw dramatically - most vegetables prefer the 6-7 range.
 
Lori Ziemba
Posts: 197
Location: Northern California Mediterranean climate zone 10b
6
dog forest garden books urban chicken greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator



Preferably not near something that gets that much water, but, if it's deep sandy soil, then it shouldn't be an issue other than grapes usually like a sandy loam – suggest incorporating a lot of organic material like compost and even clay into the holes before planting.



I suspect that the sand goes down at least 50 feet, or more.  This entire part of the city was built on sand dunes back in the 50's.


It’s likely a nutrient deficiency caused by leaching through the sand, hence the need to bolster it with organic matter and clay.



I have been adding manure and things like "forest mulch" for years, and they just seem to disappear.  It's like the sand just sucks everything down.  I also use a lot of MaxSea fertilizer.  We put a lot of woodchips down on the paths, and 6 months later, you can't even tell.  My friends in other places think that, because this is California, I can grow anything I want.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Between the sand and the fog and the lack of winter cold and summer heat and the wind, gardening here is extremely challenging.  



I suggest the plot is probably deficient in a whole array of nutrients and trace elements because of it being sandy. Perhaps the best way to grow stuff in that type of soil is to use the ‘lasagne’ method of no-dig gardening. Simply layer compost, manure, lawn clippings, charcoal/ash, very fine gravel (rock minerals), etc in alternating layers, keep it moist and allow to sit for a few weeks to settle; then plant directly into it and mulch.



Living here in the city, it's hard for me to get my hands on a lot of this stuff.  I can get unlimited woodchips, and buy in bags of cow/chicken manure and what they call "forest mulch".  We do have a compost heap, but it's cold, and has tons of weed seeds in it, so I don't like to use it.  It's also made from plants that grow in the same nutrient-deficient sand of the garden.  

I want to thank you again so much for your help, and especially for mentioning the charcoal!  I never realized that the often touted and very mysterious "biochar" is just...charcoal!  After reading your answers, I found an article explaining biochar and what it is, and how it was used by people in the Amazon thousands of years ago to grow crops on that very poor soil they have down there.  The amazing thing to me was that the soil is still very fertile, hundreds of years later!  I am going to do this toot sweet, LOL!  Thank you, thank you!  I would never have looked into this if it weren't for you.  I think it will cure a lot of my gardening woes.

Here's a picture of my corn, growing in an adjacent plot.  I'm very, very proud of my corn, LOL.





20190716_135658.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20190716_135658.jpg]
corn and pumpkins
 
F Agricola
Posts: 515
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
137
transportation hugelkultur cat forest garden fish trees urban chicken cooking woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I'm envious of your corn, haven't had the opportunity to grow any for several years and miss the home-grown taste. The pumpkin vines looks very happy too!

Good luck and all the best improving that sandy soil.

Also, here's a link that may be useful: layering mulch and wetting agent.

Layering Mulch and Wetting Agent

 
gardener
Posts: 6240
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
999
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would suggest you get some mycorrhizae and inject it around your grape roots, recent studies are showing that grapes do quite well in bad soil but with mycorrhizae.
The fungi support the root system with extra ability to take in water and nutrients which are provided by bacteria breaking down the rocky substrate (in your case the rocks are very small (sand).
Mulching as others have mentioned will also help the sandy soil by giving it broken down organic materials which will support the microbiome, especially in the rhizosphere.

Redhawk

 
Lori Ziemba
Posts: 197
Location: Northern California Mediterranean climate zone 10b
6
dog forest garden books urban chicken greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:I would suggest you get some mycorrhizae and inject it around your grape roots, recent studies are showing that grapes do quite well in bad soil but with mycorrhizae.
The fungi support the root system with extra ability to take in water and nutrients which are provided by bacteria breaking down the rocky substrate (in your case the rocks are very small (sand).
Mulching as others have mentioned will also help the sandy soil by giving it broken down organic materials which will support the microbiome, especially in the rhizosphere.

Redhawk



Hi Bryant,

I do have a lot of mulch, including woodchips, around the grapes.  I know there's fungus in the soil; I can see the white webs when I dig into it.  There's also a lot of worms.  But my (very small) plot of 4.5' x 9'  is overcrowded.   The roots could conceivably be going out of the plot into the pathways, where the soil has no amendments.   Not sure what else could be causing the problems, unless the vines are just unhappy in the cool, foggy weather we have here.  
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6240
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
999
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would think that grapes would love cool and foggy weather.  The mulch is good but don't mistake fungi in the mulch for mycorrhizae, mycorrhizae are highly specialized fungi that only live a. wrapped around roots so tightly that they make the root look fuzzy or b. inside the cells of the root, where we don't see them unless we slice the root and put a slide under 2000x + magnification.

It sounds to me like there is perhaps some type of compaction problem going on. with continued mulch and maybe some compost added to the mulch the soil will become better conditioned.

The best grapes I ever ate were wine grapes from a very small winery in up state California, the vines get cool, foggy breezes every day from the ocean not far away and the soil is not soil it is rocks, only rocks for 3 feet down.
The Vinter told me that he inoculates all new vines with mycorrhizae as they are planted, then they water them until it is apparent they have settled in. Once that occurs, they might get watered if there is no rain for over 40 days, otherwise only that cool fog gives them moisture.

Redhawk

I have a few vinter friends that I am going to ask about this problem of yours. I'll be back when I have more information.
 
Lori Ziemba
Posts: 197
Location: Northern California Mediterranean climate zone 10b
6
dog forest garden books urban chicken greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:I would think that grapes would love cool and foggy weather.  The mulch is good but don't mistake fungi in the mulch for mycorrhizae, mycorrhizae are highly specialized fungi that only live a. wrapped around roots so tightly that they make the root look fuzzy or b. inside the cells of the root, where we don't see them unless we slice the root and put a slide under 2000x + magnification.



Hmmm.  Interesting.  

It sounds to me like there is perhaps some type of compaction problem going on. with continued mulch and maybe some compost added to the mulch the soil will become better conditioned.



I think It's been about 5 years since I had to dig out the entire plot and replace the wiring.  Since then, every year I add manure, forest mulch, coir, anything I can get my hands on.  So it does have a lot more humus in it than the surrounding soil.  It also get's mulched with woodchips.  




The best grapes I ever ate were wine grapes from a very small winery in up state California, the vines get cool, foggy breezes every day from the ocean not far away and the soil is not soil it is rocks, only rocks for 3 feet down.
The Vinter told me that he inoculates all new vines with mycorrhizae as they are planted, then they water them until it is apparent they have settled in. Once that occurs, they might get watered if there is no rain for over 40 days, otherwise only that cool fog gives them moisture.



I know that grapes like rocky soil.  I think part of the problem is that they may be getting too much water, being in a vegetable plot.  We get no rain here for 6-8 months of the year.  I do have a spot I can move them to in the winter, where they can be watered less.  

I can also see that things just don't grow as well or as big as they do in the plot I used for corn.  So something is wrong in this plot, but I just can't figure it out.  


Redhawk

I have a few vinter friends that I am going to ask about this problem of yours. I'll be back when I have more information.
 
Posts: 18
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
1
cat fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't have any expertise on grapes, but I do live on the coast, where days never get much above 70 and winters almost never get below 30.  I have a grape that grows monstrously well, rescued it from some ivy when we moved in 4 years ago, and now it can grow several feet a year, but never produces grapes.  I assumed it was because it was in part shade.  Then I noticed my neighbor, a 25+ year gardener has his grape in full sun, and he prunes it well, but no grapes.  This year, I've noticed none of the grape plants around here produce more than leaves.  If I go 30 miles east though, where summer is 10-15 degrees warmer and winter 5-10 degrees colder, grapes do awesome over there.  I've been thinking about planting a native grape in full sun, but it still might just produce vegetation.  Thinking I may try making stuffed grape leaves as a use for all the leafiness.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1296
Location: northern northern california
133
forest garden foraging trees fiber arts building medical herbs
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i think the issue is simple, they just havent established themselves enough to fruit. i think a year or three will see them developed enough.

 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1296
Location: northern northern california
133
forest garden foraging trees fiber arts building medical herbs
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
also, if you want to experiment with trying it in a different location, you can ground layer grapes very easily. take one of the big stalks, and bring it back down to the ground, making a shallow trench of sorts to have the stalk in contact with the ground...scratch up the stalk a bit with fingernails or scissors...the part that touches the soil should be scratched up a bit...andwith some soil thrown on top. ome back a few months later and the parts with contact with the soil should be rooted...which you could now cut from the mother plant and move where ever...

i do like the muscat grape a lot, smells and tastes so good!

good luck....
 
Posts: 94
Location: NorCal
34
hugelkultur cat dog books chicken
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had a Thompson seedless that was not growing, it was not sickly, but not growing.  The first year I thought I just planted it to late, but the second year I know something was wrong. I did some research and found out grapes don't like to have there roots shaded.  I pulled all the wood chips away from the base of the grape, and this year it is growing like crazy.  It sounds to simple, but I haven't done anything different.  I don't know if this will work for you, but if you have a mulch on the ground by your grapes, you might want to remove it and see if it helps.  I hope it does.
 
Forget Steve. Look at this tiny ad:
Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp
https://permies.com/t/119676/permaculture-projects/Dave-Burton-Boot-Adventures-Wheaton
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!