Spring came early and wet to New England this year. Now that the floods have subsided, I have been turning my attention to the vines in my yard. You may recall if you go back a year in this blog that I planted 6 Marquette (Vitis vinifera) wine grape vines in the side yard and 6 Reliance (Vitis labrusca) table grape vines in the front last spring. They didn't grow upward much last year, but put down good roots. I decided this spring to move the table grapes to a new hillside location near the driveway down by my neighbor's house. This spot gets good light and has excellent drainage. This cleared up my prime sunny front yard location for the ten more Marquette vines I have coming next month. This will put my Marquette vine count at 16, which should be more than enough to give me 10 gallons of wine once they are fully mature and producing. Of course the ultimate goal of my new winemaking hobby is to make my own wine from my own grapes grown in my own yard. And yes, I want the wine to be GOOD!
While digging up and moving the table grape vines, I noticed they had produced huge and healthy root systems. (I felt kind of bad disturbing those nice roots to move them). I hadn't been seeing a lot of growth above the soil (even though they produced plenty of leaves) but as it turned out, all the growth in the first year was developing roots.
During my vineyard course at Umass in March, I was turned on to the benefits of using grow tubes on the young vines. In studies, grow tubes take nearly a year off the amount of time for vines to mature and produce fruit by giving them a "turbo boost" in growth the first year. Since my vines didn't grow much last year, I figured the grow tubes would insure that my vines all reach the top wire on the trellis this year--hopefully even the new vines that are not going in until May when they show up.
Attached here are some pictures of the side yard Marquette vines, the hillside Reliance grapes and the grow tubes. I am really excited about this season and watching thee vines grow. I have started trellises but none are finished yet.
The last picture is a cutting left over after pruning that is already budding and growing. All I did was prune it off the vine, stick it in the ground and walk away. I'll be interested to see if it grows roots. This could be the start of my nursery!