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Grape Vines in the Forest Garden  RSS feed

 
Posts: 386
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It's not so hard to coppice grape vines and growing them without support.
Important thing is height of the coppice.
It should be at least chest high - pollarding actually.

I pollarded some old vines successfully at head height and they are growing really well and also fruting.

Young vine with main growth only half meter high is also growing two beautiful new shoots.
At first they were growing up, then sideways, now they are on the ground because of their own weight.
I will just pruned them back in winter and slowly the vine will grow up to head height where i will do the pollarding in future, as i don't want the new growth and fruit being on the ground.

Here it is, young vine in july starting to fall down by it's own weight.

16072013118.jpg
[Thumbnail for 16072013118.jpg]
 
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Growing a small grape "tree" is called head trained or goblet in the vineyard. It works best in hot dry conditions but I plan on trying it in VA. There are vineyards that do it in CA and Europe to this day. I recently saw
some when visiting Croatia but these were not trained up to 4 feet, rather they were only a foot off the ground at best.

There is a grape in Umbria Italy called Sagrantino that for a long time was forgotten. Only a few small vineyards had it and one of them used to run the vine between fruit trees in effect using the trees as the trellis.
The vine has become very popular and I think they have taken those down in order to plant more using a traditional trellis.

So yes vines can be grown this way. If you are in a humid climate and not too far north ( i think MD might be the cut off for muscadines) I imagine head training a Muscadine could work well but I have not seen a Muscadine trained in this way yet.
 
Posts: 35
Location: Central Italy (zone 8-9)
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I wrote a post about grapevine-tree guilds here before reading this thread. Maybe our threads should be put together...
 
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Rob Sigg wrote:Do they function like tree limbs in the sense that the bear fruit when weighted down(festooned)?



Wow, look at that! The first time I've seen a reference to that after having watched the Permaculture Orchard! I have searched for other references to this but have not been able to find any. Most vineyards seem to grow the vines horizontally so it make sense.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Rob Sigg wrote:Just to clarify, I am not interested in growing them in trees. Just an alternate method to trellis and/or arbor.



I planted these grapes about 20 years ago and forgot about them as they never produced much. I rediscovered them last year when I was clearing out some reeds. They are doing pretty good this year, trellising themselves on the reeds and then I tie up the ones that make it to my fenced in area where I have blueberries and apples.

I might actually get to harvest some!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1223
Location: northern northern california
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out here we have our local native grapes going crazy over sometimes acres of forests, climbing the trees as a trellis.
vitis californica is really hardy, shade tolerant, and doesnt seem to get any funks even growing thickly and crowding itself out with little sunlight coming through the forest canopy.it's pretty cool, though most people dont go for eating the grapes, they are on the small side and kinda have a wild taste, but i really enjoy the taste.

one of my neighbors has some nice sweet red grapes that she lets grow up plum trees into walls. i always like that idea, making hedges and walls with plants. the way the plums grow seems pretty ideal for this purpose, neither the trees or the grapes seem negatively affected by this...think i have some pics somewhere but cant find them just now...

i have done this with willows too, and kiwis and other vining plants. the way the willows grows works well for this purpose too...
 
leila hamaya
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Location: northern northern california
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actually went and found some pics

this is a plum and grape wall, theres at least a dozen grape plants and 6 or seven small plum trees here





==========================================================================

btw, if anyone wants some seeds from either vitis californica, or this sweet red grape, i have tons. either for trade or for postage,
hit me up with a message if you would like some of these seeds. i've got a lot of sprouts from both of these from the seeds i gathered.

i have a bunch of muscadines too, a lot of cool varieties, but most of them are still young....so far no fruit or extra seeds.
i'm eventually going to do something with all the different muscadines i have like this, use plum and other fruit trees (serviceberry maybe ?!? + some others)
as a trellis and make some walls of fruit =)

==========================================================
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Do those plum trees produce even though they are cover in grape vines?
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
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Cj Verde wrote:Do those plum trees produce even though they are cover in grape vines?



yep, huge amount of plums come off the trees every year. so many you cant even get to them all!
well you could, but i was harvesting those trees last year and after a while i had to give up, but got more than i could eat and make jam with, and that was just the leftovers after the neighbor had already harvested them.

and grapes too, theres tons of grapes that come out of the fedge there.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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leila hamaya wrote:...got more than i could eat and make jam with, and that was just the leftovers after the neighbor had already harvested them.



Did you try drying any? Also, there is something called lekvar, which is a plum butter. I love prune hamantashen (a cookie) and I know my great-grandmother used to eat lekvar with cream which sound crazy good and crazy high calorie.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
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Location: northern northern california
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no, i wasnt set up enough to have a lot of space to dry stuff. probably couldve figured it out but wasnt motivated too....

i actually mixed them with a lot of the wild california grapes i had gathered, then added ginger, and made jam like that, then some just straight.

the ginger was a good call think i will do that again sometime. it did end up being more like a plum butter a bit in consistancy. it came out great and i used it all winter, and even used some of it sometimes to sweeten tea, cause i tried that one day and it was really good like that when i ran out of sweetener.

theres a LOT of plum trees in this area, theres different wild plums, three native plums... and many people grow them because they are so easy, and do ok with less water. and summer has flown by i should probably get my head together for some epic fruit gathering missions =)
 
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I have read in Mark Shepard's "Restorative Agriculture" book about putting grape vines up your apple trees. He talks about pruning the apples trees similar to espalier approach to make sure light is still getting to the grape. I think it is doable and if you are pruning your apple trees every year and your grapes every year you might as well do them both in one pass.
 
Posts: 140
Location: Zone 7a
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We were laboring how to do our grapes and this thread has been super helpful!

What we plan to do now is to plant them as free standing bushes that are "head trained" and like all of our bushes that we are planting in the fenced in chicken area (to take advantage of wind fallen fruit) surround them with three logs (forming a triangle) and staple 36" wide chicken wire all around the logs to protect them as they grow.

We have 3 dewberry, 2 hazelnut, 2 nanking cherry, and 7(!) catawaba grapes to plant using this method this season and I can't wait to see how especially the grapes turn out.
 
leila hamaya
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Location: northern northern california
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this is how mother nature grows grapes in her garden, here in northern california --













these are all our native grapes - vitis californica...this particular area has some of the best that i can find, think they are tapped into underground water and near a large creek. across the street, and surrounding this area, theres probably a solid mile of them growing here...
 
leila hamaya
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leila hamaya wrote:

i have a bunch of muscadines too, a lot of cool varieties, but most of them are still young....so far no fruit or extra seeds.
i'm eventually going to do something with all the different muscadines i have like this, use plum and other fruit trees (serviceberry maybe ?!? + some others)
as a trellis and make some walls of fruit =)



maybe strange to quote myself, but i did get around to doing what i was saying here.
or at least i have started....making food walls, and have planted a few grapes along a row of plum, cherry and other fruit trees and bushes, to grow onto the trees as trellises.



this large fedge /hedge/ living fence has three grape vines planted among all the trees, berries and bushes.

elsewhere i am going to plant a variety of muscadines with a few nearby trees around the edges. in that plan though, i think i am also going to incorporate a trellis/pergola ish / wire sort of thing... and have the trees/small bushes be off to the edges of their area.
 
Posts: 43
Location: Western PA
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Just an FYI, if you have feral grapevines that do not produce grapes, you can always make wine out of the grape leaves. Wine or mead made from the leaves is called "folly". It may end up a little heavy on tannin, but its still good. Also many cultures cook with grape leaves, Greek and Armenian come to mind.
 
Posts: 109
Location: W. CO, 6A
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Linda Listing wrote:Also many cultures cook with grape leaves, Greek and Armenian come to mind.


And Lebanese, and Israeli...
Dolma! Lamb-and-rice stuffed grape leaves. Yum!

Also, leaves are good for keeping pickles crisp due to the tannin:
Put a layer in the bottom of your container, fill with veggies to be pickled, spices, brines, etc., cover with a layer of fresh clean leaves.

Dang. Now I'm hungry.
 
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I have several kinds of grapes some growing here for 40 years I planted black walnut trees and Thought one of the concords was too shaded out by them to produce . I let the vines grow long and proped them up with pvc pipes and directed them across my chicken yard to a fenceThey not only produced abundantly but also provided shade and shelter from hawks.
It is important to direct the vines to where they can get sun if you want grapes. I can the juice and make wine with the pulp.
 
pollinator
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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So twice I have had to deal with grapes that have done there own thing for 30 years. When the grapes are up 50+ feet in an alder tree they are only harvestable by the birds. The ones that were in the hazel nuts were fine they had nothing higher to clime so they stabilized. We cut the alder trees down harvested the grapes then ran the vines through a corn silage chopper leaving the chopped pieces for mulch. Next spring we found hundreds of rooted cutting which we shared liberally so many farms on the peninsula have this vine growing including this one. Before the house burned we were picking apples and grapes from the second story window. The apple tree was destroyed by the fire but the grape vine which was rooted 30 feet farther away survived to where the tips were burnt off. I stretched the vine out as far as I wanted east and west then doubled it back. The base vines are around 4 inches in diameter and I have about 100 feet of row on those vines. There is shade of a 30 foot pear tree to the south near the base vines so the center wants to grow up that. anything over the vines trigers upward growth. So the problem is finding the time to keep it pruned.
The best time to prune is when the fruit is formed but not ripe yet. Then all the growing tips should be cut off. During the hot summer the pruning cut will callose over and die back to the next leaf node. with less leaf cover the small birds don't take shelter and eat as many fruit. Less energy from the mature leaves goes into growing vine and more into the fruit. Doing it with hand pruners, loppers and pole pruners was to labor intensive. Hedge shears worked fairly well but that was too much arm work. So this year I have a hedge trimmer attachment for my kombi motor. All I have to do is tilt the blade up and walk down the row. tilt the blade down and walk back with the blade above the row. Tilt the blade up and walk down the other side. So I think I will keep them in control this year.
I have 2 other patches which I had planed to keep up on an overhead trellis that that could be harvested from underneath. My sister had set up one with the chickens underneath and the other along the east side of the garden was for the ducks on slug patrol. The problem was they got too mated and a heavy snow collapsed both structures so now they are a mess. So I am going to cut off everything that the hedge trimmer can handle and then start pulling vines out and try to get them head height. Even cedar posts don't last very long under the unrelenting vines trees are better. If you have space between 2 trees and they are post size screw an eye bole into each one about head height and run a wire between them. Plant the grape vine in the middle and train it up to the wire and out both directions. When the vine starch reaching for the tree canopy you may want to terminate it at the ends each year and sheer the tips each summer as described above. A spring cleaning of any dead wood is important to keep it open. Any live wood cut in late winter or spring will drip sweet sap. You can collect it like maple sap but generally you want it going into producing bud growth.

If anyone wants to come help there will be a lot of vines that have grown roots where thy are on the ground and we might be able to make some instructive video.
 
leila hamaya
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Location: northern northern california
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what happens here with the extremely prolific wild grapes, is the animals want to get at the fruit, they tear down the limbs. when they pull downward on the limbs, and probably the grape vines too, the grape vine ends grow back toward the ground. usually the part thats growing towards the ground has the fruit on it, and most of it is reachable. and so it goes like that, the grapes keep growing upwards, the animals keep pulling them downward, the fruit manages to end up being not too high.

there are quite a few bears here, and they like the grapes, as does just about every other wild animal. they are probably the main animal pulling it downward and breaking quite a few branches of the trees too. its messy and unkempt looking, but that seems to be the way it goes, and how the animals make the grapes available lower.

they also do this with all our wild plum trees, so that they end up with an odd shape after they are old. you can see how they continually have that animal pressure and the branches are often half broken off, pulled down...and then shape like a slide or whatever...as they keep growing upwards and the animals keep pulling them downward.

not to say this is the best way or anything in your backyard, but its interesting to me.
 
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