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Growing Grapes Naturally

 
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I have a mystery grape.   I bought a Thompson seedless bear root  when we moved here 14 years ago.   I didnt have time to plant it so I punched holes in the bag and set it in a planter.   I forgot about it and the roots made their way out of the bag and into the dirt.   The graft died so I no longer had a Thompson seedless but whatever the root stock was.   Of which I have no idea.   But it is still growing there and has the sourest grapes i have ever tasted.   But they make the best grape jelly you have ever had.   I want to propagate them but don't know where to start.   I need to move the plant but I am afraid I will kill it moving it so I want to propagate it so I already have more in case it doesn't survive the move.   Thanks for your help
 
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i have two established grape vines i need to dig up if i want to keep them
i plant to dig them up in the spring before they start to leaf out
hopefully they make it

one way to propagate is to pile some dirt mid way on one of the vines and once it roots sever it from the main plant
disclaimer: i have always failed at this
 
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Saralee Couchoud wrote:I have a mystery grape.   I bought a Thompson seedless bear root  when we moved here 14 years ago.   I didnt have time to plant it so I punched holes in the bag and set it in a planter.   I forgot about it and the roots made their way out of the bag and into the dirt.   The graft died so I no longer had a Thompson seedless but whatever the root stock was.   Of which I have no idea.   But it is still growing there and has the sourest grapes i have ever tasted.   But they make the best grape jelly you have ever had.   I want to propagate them but don't know where to start.   I need to move the plant but I am afraid I will kill it moving it so I want to propagate it so I already have more in case it doesn't survive the move.   Thanks for your help



Hardwood cuttings can be a great and easy way to propagate table grapes, and now is the perfect time of year to do it.

You can snip off a few sections of the vine that are either overcrowded or too long. I usually cut them into one foot long pieces, making a diagonal cut through a bud at the very bottom and making a slightly slanting cut at the top about an inch above a bud.

My preferred spot for putting the cuttings is an area with very well draining soil with fertile soil that preferably has lots of organic matter. I stick the cutting with at least one bud below ground and 1 or two buds above ground. Fall leaves make a great mulch and can be lightly and gently spread over them after sticking the cuttings.

In an ideal spot you'll have a few vines a few feet long ready as a backup and can transplant the original vine this Fall.
 
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M. Phelps wrote:one way to propagate is to pile some dirt mid way on one of the vines and once it roots sever it from the main plant
disclaimer: i have always failed at this



I've heard that this works especially good for muscadine grapes, which may be harder to root from cuttings than table grapes. I haven't tried it yet though, but hope to try it very soon.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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Thank you both for the information. I have tried putting dirt over the vine but never got any roots. I have tried with cuttings as well but the instructions I had said put them in sand and it also did not work. However,, with your suggestions to put them in good dirt with organic material I am going to try it again. Question,  do you put them in pots to set out after they get going or do you put them in their permanent location?   Thanks
 
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I let them grow throughout the growing season, and then when they go dormant in the Fall and lose their leaves, I move them and plant them in their permanent home.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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So you plant them in pots? And do you put rooting compound like root tone on them?
 
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I put them in a raised bed outside with no sides, just a mound with a trench around it. I use natural willow water (cuttings of a willow tree soaked in water overnight) to help encourage rooting.

I've had really high success rates with this method with grapes, probably over 90%.
 
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That's fantastic, I will start looking around to see if I have some willows and try this right away. I am very excited to have a proven way. Thank you
 
Saralee Couchoud
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One more question, do you keep watering them with the willow water or just when you plant them. Thanks
 
Steve Thorn
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I did a willow watering when I stuck the cuttings, another one about 1 week later, a final one 2 weeks after that, and then I didn't water them at all even with regular water going forward, just from rainfall.

They developed really strong roots and put on a few feet of growth by Fall.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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Thank you, I have a good feeling about this working.   I appreciate your help
 
Steve Thorn
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Glad to! Hope you get some good young grapevines soon!
 
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We have patches of wild grapes on our place, Concord variety used to be grown commercially in the area many decades ago and naturalized. In brushy areas the vines can get very thick and make clearing difficult because the vines, even young ones are strong hd make the normal cutting, mowing hard because you are struggling with all the vines attaching to everything so once a pile is cut away it is still attached with vines, requiring additional cutting of each vine before hauling the brush away. We decided to allow the grapes a section of old fence and will try to contain it as it has old, massive roots along the fence as it has lived there so long. We’ll try to see if we can get a harvest next year. I collected and tried some of the grapes and found them slightly sweet with a nice grape flavor.



7AC6DDBA-A4D1-4292-A2E4-556814ABAE66.jpeg
wild grapes growing on a fence
 
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How fortunate for you. Our dirt here is mostly chirt and it's hard to get anything to grow. Of course, add enough manure and it works. We found the grapes on this vine have big seeds and are so sour they will pucker you all the way to your toes. But they make the best jelly ever. I suspect that if you were inclined to make wine they would be excellent for that as well.  Good luck with your grapes, they look like good producers
 
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James Whitelaw wrote:We have patches of wild grapes on our place, Concord variety used to be grown commercially in the area many decades ago and naturalized. ..... I collected and tried some of the grapes and found them slightly sweet with a nice grape flavor.



That's really neat.

I hope to have many naturalized grapes growing here eventually, and hopefully many other types of fruits, veggies, and other plants as well. Couldn't get much better than to have wild, resilient, delicious food growing all around.
 
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Saralee Couchoud wrote:We found the grapes on this vine have big seeds and are so sour they will pucker you all the way to your toes. But they make the best jelly ever.



It's really awesome how there is a use for almost any kind of fruit. I know that I generally look for kinds that are good for fresh eating, but I'm quick to forget that there are so many other good uses for them, like cooking, juicing, making jelly, and drying, that can render fruit inedible for fresh eating, into delightfully delicious other forms.

Would love to see some photos of your next batch of jelly if you think about it.
 
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The three bigger grapes were all the same variety, and the darker one was a wild one. It's really interesting to see the difference in the seeds.
20200906_152356.jpg
Bronze cultivated and black wild muscadines
Bronze cultivated and black wild muscadines
20200906_152801.jpg
Muscadines seeds!
Muscadines seeds!
 
Saralee Couchoud
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I will definitely post pictures of the vine so It grows this spring and the jelly later. I do have a question for you. I rarely get fruit from the vine. It puts on a bumper crop but then they turn black and fall off. I sure I need to spray them with something but what to use that is safe? I try to use organic growing practices. Thank you for your help
 
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It sounds like it may be black rot, a fungal disease. I get it here, and it's very common in humid climates especially.

I try to avoid even organic sprays if I can, because they can actually cause more harm than good. For instance, if you spray an organic fungicide for the black rot, it will probably kill the black rot, but it will also kill the beneficial fungi on the grape vine and in the soil, which naturally compete with the black rot. The next year the black rot may come back in even stronger force since the beneficial fungi have been eliminated, and it turns into a never ending cycle of spraying.

I would recommend as a free, natural, and easy alternative, to increase the soil drainage and soil fertility, to boost the grape's immune system so it can naturally resist most diseases on its own, and growing lots of diverse plants around it if can increase the soil health as well.

Grapes especially like well draining soil, and can become sickly and much more disease prone if the soil doesn't drain well. Mounding up some soil around the trunk can do wonders to improve the soil drainage and let more air into the soil, which should increase life in the soil, and increase soil fertility as a result.

I like to also let a lot of diverse plants grow up around the grapes if possible. They will naturally mulch the soil and share nutrients with the grapes.

I still get some black rot, but it's just a grape here and there, which is easily plucked off and removed. I don't have whole or even partial clusters destroyed by black rot anymore.

Hope this helps, and hope you get some tasty grapes soon!
 
Saralee Couchoud
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I hate to keep picking at you but what plants do you grow around your grapes. And yes, this information was extremely helpful. It's dark now but tomorrow I will get some pictures of where it is planted. I didn't intend to plant it there and it's a lousy place. What fertilizer should I amend the soil with?   I really appreciate all your help
 
Steve Thorn
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No problem at all, I could talk about growing things all day!

I've been experimenting with letting the grapes grow up fruit trees and also planting berry bushes nearby. It's been working really well so far. I'm also currently working on turning a vineyard into a food forest, by adding fruit trees and other edible plants to the existing vineyard, and am excited to see how it turns out.

Most of the time the majority of neighboring plants are wild ones that come up on their own. If they get too big, the wild plants can be cut back. Wild bushes also make a good free and easy trellis.

I've found that fertilizer isn't necessary. By letting the wild plants grow around it and naturally die back, the decaying plants mulch the soil and break down into super healthy and fertile soil, rich in organic matter!
 
Saralee Couchoud
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When I post pictures tomorrow you will see what I mean but when they poured the cement walk across the back of the house they poured it wide and put 4 planters in it. Each planter is about 2 foot square. I had temporarily set a bear root grape plant in one, still in the plastic bag and forgot it. It got it's roots out of the bag and basically planted itself. It really isn't a good place for it and not where I intended but it's where it is and doing so well. I'm afraid if I try to move it it will kill it. But I will post pictures. Please feel free to make recommendations. Thanks
 
Steve Thorn
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I bet the plastic bag could be causing some issues, probably by holding water and being a haven for disease.

Grapes have been real transplanting champs for me, I'm guessing probably since they root so easily. If your grape is still dormant, now can be a great time to dig it up and remove the bag and replant it, and I bet that will really help.
 
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My "success" with transplanting grapes is to yank the vine out of the ground, plunk it in its new place and watch it take over. I've only had one fail, and that one wasn't even really a transplant--just lifting because we'd covered it with mulch, and I was very careful. So of course that's the one that dies. I do have to admit, though, that they're mostly concords, or descendants of concords. Those things are impossible to kill.

Layering works great, as does shoving sticks in the ground, or wrapping up the vines and shoveling dirt over them.

I have a concord-interlaken seedling that has the flavor of the concord (without having to wait for the first frost) with the color and ripening time of the interlaken. Well, not a seedling at this point--it's probably 20 years old. Seed size is halfway between the two parents.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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I didn't figure the plastic bag was a big deal anymore.  It's been growing there for 14 years. What I figured would be the death of it if I transplanted it was the size. It must have some big roots by now. That is why I was trying to propogate it. So if I did lose it I would have new ones.   Do you think I can still move it after all this time? Thanks
 
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Steve Thorn wrote:I put them in a raised bed outside with no sides, just a mound with a trench around it. I use natural willow water (cuttings of a willow tree soaked in water overnight) to help encourage rooting.

I've had really high success rates with this method with grapes, probably over 90%.


Any idea if this will work with Willow Bark powder?  I mean either as a powder or as a tisane?
 
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Saralee Couchoud wrote:I didn't figure the plastic bag was a big deal anymore.  It's been growing there for 14 years. What I figured would be the death of it if I transplanted it was the size. It must have some big roots by now. That is why I was trying to propogate it. So if I did lose it I would have new ones.   Do you think I can still move it after all this time? Thanks



Yeah I would just leave it if it's that old, I thought it was a newly planted one.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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No, I've been messing with it a long time. We liked the jelly so much I didn't want to lose the vine. I was set in the planter temporarily when we moved here. But with moving 2 whole households, farm equipment and animals 1500 miles. Many trips, 9 penski trucks, neighbor made 6 trips with 40 flatbed trailer, and numerous trips with truck and trailers I just didn't get it taken care of in a timely manner. I really appreciate all your help with my abused and neglected grape
 
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Carla Burke wrote:Any idea if this will work with Willow Bark powder?  I mean either as a powder or as a tisane?



I've never tried it personally, but I bet there's a good chance it would work. Let me know how it works out if you give it a try!
 
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The muscadines started producing good in late September last year.
20200919_175256.jpg
Bronze muscadine grapes
Bronze muscadine grapes
 
Saralee Couchoud
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Those look good
 
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The sweet and tangy flavor of muscadines is really growing on me!
 
Saralee Couchoud
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Try making jelly, I bet it would be good
 
Steve Thorn
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That does sound good!
 
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Although I don't know what kind of grape I have since it was the root stock from a Thompson seedless,, I have a suspicion it could be a muscadine. Although the grapes are not as yellow as yours. They are green and look like really big green table grapes. I can't wait for them to produce this year so I can get some pictures. I'll keep you posted
 
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The muscadines were starting to produce really heavily last year by early October.
20201004_152526.jpg
Lots of muscadines!
Lots of muscadines!
 
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Those are beautiful!!!
 
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Thanks Aimee!
 
Saralee Couchoud
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Those look yummy
 
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