How to grow table grapes
The cultivation of grapes is perhaps one of humanity’s oldest agronomic techniques.
However, before starting the cultivation of table or wine grapes, it is necessary to choose the most suitable area of land.
This must be sunny as the organoleptic qualities, the sugar level, the bouquet of the wine (for the grape grapes) and other factors are very tied to this factor.
The nature of the soil is also important but it is clear to them that this choice does not depend on the farmer, since, except in very large farms, this is an obligatory choice.
In general, the grape plant does not like shady or damp places.
In the choice of cultivation you must then have clear ideas if you want to grow wine grapes or table grapes, white or red, with or without seeds.
There are so many varieties, both for the must and table grapes, that a separate treatise is needed to understand all the differences, the peculiarities, the characteristics and, therefore, the possible choice.
In general, however, we recommend, after the euphorias of the past years and experiments, some sadly failed to opt, both in the choice of must grapes and in table grapes, for native varieties. These ensure greater resistance to diseases, greater climatic adaptability and therefore greater resilience.
To choose the best type for each climatic and pedological condition, you can contact a nursery in your area, which you can best advise, or farmers in the area who may still be in possession of local varieties and perhaps endangered. In this way we will have kept a precious germplasm.
Once this choice has been made, which is a priority and preparatory, and once the characteristics of the soil and the climate in which the plants are to be positioned have been identified, it is necessary to choose the optimal arrangement of the rows, possibly on degrading soil or in any case which ensures good drainage and absence of stagnation. of water.
Once the grape variety to be planted has been identified, it is planted.
Here it must be immediately considered that, in addition to the good ventilation, exposure and sunshine of the plant, the vine needs space, therefore each stem must be spaced at least 2 – 3 meters apart.
Since grape plants live many years (it can be up to a hundred) it is good to foresee this aspect.
However the best time to plant grapes is from October to May.
Before planting, a hole of about 50 cm must be dug, which allows the roots to position themselves well. A good trick is to remove any stones and roots from the hole and, if possible, soil improved by compound manure (possibly sterilized) and planting soil should be added.
Here it must be immediately said that the vine plant must be positioned in the hole so that the grafting point is just above the ground. At this point the hole must be filled with soil and pressed well.
If you plant in the autumn period you have to press the earth around the grafting point, covering it, to protect it from frost.
Growing precautions –
It should be immediately said that during the first year the vine does not produce grapes and, if necessary, it must be decidedly pruned to allow it to fortify itself.
Since the vines must grow high, we must provide them with valid supports.
Here a separate chapter must be opened, namely that of the form of breeding.
In general, for table grapes the three most common forms are counter-espalier or pergola ones but also the sapling ones are still used in many areas.
For the various espalier or awning shapes, it is necessary to provide a real structure that can be made up of metal profiles or wooden stakes, for the sapling one, it is the form of training (precisely sapling) to support each individual plant.
And here we go into pruning.
Pruning is one of the most important aspects of growing grapes.
The grapes bear fruit on the young branches so in the rest season it must be pruned decisively. In the period from February to March, three buds are left on the secondary branches, in some cases even two. During the summer, some further pruning may be appropriate.
It must be said immediately that a well-kept and therefore pruned vine resists diseases and with routine treatments it produces good harvests without getting sick.
Before the vegetative restart, at the end of winter, it undergoes the first treatment; followed by the preventive one with Bordeaux mixture.
During vegetation, the grape plant must almost always receive fungicide treatments (powdery mildew and downy mildew) and other attentions, should particular symptoms arise.
For fertilization, it is generally fertilized in the fall, with organic fertilizer.
In the period from the first two to three years, the grape plant does not produce a valid harvest; only from the fourth year onwards will it bear fruit regularly for many decades. The ripening of the beans, or berries, takes place between mid-summer and autumn, depending on the climate, variety and location.
The best way to understand when the vines have bunches that can be harvested is to taste some grains taken in different positions: when it is sweet, it is ripe and ready for harvest.
The bunches are picked by cutting them with a scissors and leaving a few centimeters of branches on the bunch.
The grapes can be stored in a bag in the refrigerator where it is kept fresh for at least three weeks.
The polyphenols contained in the peel, especially of black grapes, are among the antioxidants of proven efficacy and, together with mineral salts and vitamins, make this fruit a true ally of health and good nutrition.
This article, due to its brevity, is a first approach for those who, as beginners, want to try their hand at growing grapes.
After that, it must be considered that, for every aspect: choice of soil, variety, pruning, fertilizing, treatments, etc. all aspects that often need real treatises should be studied in depth.