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Growing Grapes in Ontario  RSS feed

 
Stef Herron
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Hello there! My hubby and I are about to dive in and start gardening in with permaculture principles. We're in design/selection mode right now and would very much like to include a grape vine or two in an area of our yard that would work. I've sourced cold hardy organically grown vines from a nursery north of Montreal, however I would like to ask if anyone has experience with growing grapes in this climate.

The nursery suggests that after pruning in the fall, you bend over the main stalk and lay it flat on the groun. I imagine this is to allow the inevitable snow dump over winter to insulate the plant, but is there an alternative to this? Where we thought this plant would work is along our walkway from front to backyard and if we bend it over we'd be stepping all over it all winter taking out the garbage! Would wrapping it in burlap or other protection throughout the winter work just as well?

Thank you in advance everyone!

Stef
 
Miles Flansburg
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Howdy Stef, welcome to permies!

If you do not get a response here you might try reposting your question in the great white north forum.

http://www.permies.com/forums/f-22/great-white-north
 
Stef Herron
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Thanks! I'll do that.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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I've added this thread to the Great White North forum so we don't double-up on posts too much.
 
Dale Hodgins
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There are wild grapes throughout southern Ontario that are quite hardy.. You may find that they will make suitable root stock for the cultivar you choose. We had them growing in thorn trees near Kincardine. Very strong flavor, suitable for juice.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Check out these guys they have grapes hardy to zone 3/2 below -40F
http://www.sln.potsdam.ny.us/2013lcataloglores2.pdf
Prairie Star is one of them. If you must look for more local nurseries that have then.

It seems that those guys in upstate new york zone 3 (-40F) dont have to baby their sweet non-foxy table/wine grapes
 
Nick Kitchener
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I live in Thunder Bay so it gets cold in the winter. By mid November, we had -18 C daytime temps without wind chill and December didn't get over -20. Some days the high was -28: warmer than Mars

Grapes grow really well here. Species dependent of course.

A neighbour of ours has a public walkway down one side of his boundary and he's growing grapes as a privacy shelter on the chain-link fence. He prunes it in the fall but that's it. It's huge.

You probably want to protect the vine in the first few years with sack cloth or something, but once established it should be fine.
 
Stef Herron
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Thanks everyone! I think I've chosen the variety we'd like, and I'll go with a sack for the first few winters!
 
John Gratrick
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Location: Mallorytown Zone 5a
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I've been selling wine for a few years so I can chime in with some info. Dependng on where in Ontario will limit what you can grow and how long. There are some cold hardy whites, Vidal comes to mind, that will handle frosts well into the minus temperatures. Reds, unless near a large body of water, I'd focus on lighter styles like merlot, baco noir, pinot noirs. Lighter reds need a shorter growing season than heavier reds like the cab's.

Whites will do better than reds in general, and for the first few years I agree with covering them. Some places around here cover their vines in straw/hay to protect them from ice and heavy snows. Also, if you are planning a large area you might want to think about adding some rose bushes. They are great indicators of diseases as they will hit the roses faster than the vines themselves, giving you a chance to fix the problem before it gets worse.
 
Stef Herron
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Thanks John. I am looking at these 2 varieties http://www.hardyfruittrees.ca/catalog/grape-vine/hogan-grape and http://www.hardyfruittrees.ca/catalog/grape-vine/valiant-grape

We live right in the city in Richmond Hill so have a very small space to work with. In fact, I'm only buying one of each plant as that is the limit of space that I have for them to grow. Our soil is typical crappy subdivision soil and is almost clay like. I'll be heavily mulching the area. Any other ideas as to how to prep the soil before planting? I should be taking delivery of these this spring (late April)...unless our plans go astray, in which case they'll be coming in the fall.

Cheers and thanks again!
 
John Gratrick
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Location: Mallorytown Zone 5a
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Both excellent choices for our climate Stef. Definitely trellis or use an existing fence for support and keep the bottom few feet well trimmed to prevent blight from hitting. You'll need decent airflow. A lot of the pro growers use stones as their mulch to create warmer micro climates near the stalk, which gives them a stronger later harvest. Should also work for these.

If this works out I stumbled across this http://www.northscaping.com/IZArticles/IS-0128 which is a list of some of the hardier types of grapes.

Good luck
 
Stef Herron
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Awesome advice with the rocks. Thanks! There are patio stones in front of where I will plant these to help with a thermal mass as well. Can't wait for spring!
 
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