[NAFEX] Grapes

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Sun Sep 21 09:45:19 EDT 2003

On Sunday, September 21, 2003, at 07:30 AM, Jim F wrote:

>    Re Tom's letter, I have spent a number of years in California's San 
> Joaquin, have observed thousands of acres of grape vines and have yet 
> to see any planted in gravel.  Evidently some do plant in gravel, 
> somewhere that Tom Knows of - I'd like to learn how well they do in 
> that medium.

Grapes in the Finger Lakes were historically planted in thin gravel and 
shale soils on fairly steep hillsides where corn etc. wouldn't grow. 
This usually gives less crop than growing in the better soils in the 
valleys (where they're now mostly grown due among other things to 
difficulties working the old hillside sites with tractors), but the 
flavor is often better from the old hillside vineyards.

>    In zone 5, there should be no problem overwintering grapes whereas 
> we, in zone 3 get our (tender) grapes through the winter using the 
> "Minnesota tip."  We dig a 6" trench on one side of the plant, then, 
> with a fork, loosen the roots on the other side of the plant.  Finally, 
> tip the plant into the trench and cover with soil.

In zone 5 and some warmer bits of zone 4 here, the varieties of grapes 
usually grown here have no problem at all overwintering without being 
buried or otherwise protected. Concord in particular is very hard to 
kill once started, though I don't know about the "seedless Concord" that 
was mentioned, which must be a different grape, I doubt the problem 
Scott's father was having was the winter weather, unless he was growing 
varieties only suited for the South, which is possible. In that case it 
might help to bury them.

Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly

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