It is an exciting time for us in the vineyard! We are starting to see some swelling in the vines which means that we should be seeing bud break in the next couple of weeks! The next couple of weeks are a perfect time to start planting a vineyard if you want to try grape growing!
Planting and maintaining a vineyard requires a lot of time and a hard work but when September rolls around and we start harvesting all of the grapes, it makes the work well worth it. If you are thinking about growing grapes here are a few key tips for planting.
First, once you decide that you would like to plant some grapevines, planning your vineyard is key! We probably spend more time planning the vineyard than actually planting it. Our climate plays a huge role in what we plant. We are lucky enough to have some great research material available to us through the Ohio State University’s Agriculture Research and Development Center (www.oardc.osu.edu/grapeweb) which gives us a great idea of what grapevines will survive our climate and soils.
Second key point is to determine what your grapevine spacing will be, how far apart the vines will be and what the distance between rows will be. Grapevines cannot be planted too close to each other since their roots tend to spread out once the vineyard is established. Another important thing to think about when establishing your vineyard is making sure that any farm equipment that you will be using (tractors, sprayers, etc) will fit between the rows once the vines are producing.
Finally, my last point is to make sure that you plant your vineyard in the open where there is plenty of sunshine. Grapes love the sun and love to stay dry so make sure you have an area that does not get flooded too frequently and is not in the shade. This combination will produce an excellent harvest for you.
There are a number of research sites on the internet to help you determine what grapes will grow best in your area. Be sure to check out Double A Vineyards’ booklet titled How to Plant at www.rakgrape.com. It is a great reference guide and helped us establish our first four vines before we moved to Garrettsville. Or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to stop by while we are planting to pick up some tips from us.