[NAFEX] grapes improved by sandy soil

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Sun Jul 19 11:42:57 EDT 2009

David Johnson in Tacoma has had similar results with sand.  I suspect 
it may be that the open structure allows faster penetration of warm 
air, but there's probably more to it than that.
-Lon Rombough
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Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
http://www.bunchgrapes.com  Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
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On Jul 19, 2009, at 8:21 AM, piper33 at verizon.net wrote:

  I live in Seattle, and growing grapes has been a challenge in my 
neighborhood. I don't know much about soil science, but I was 
suspecting part of my problem growing grapes had something to do with 
the soil. I don't know where the idea came from, but a few years ago I 
bought a bag of playbox sand, and dumped it on the surface around a few 
grape vines. That year, the grapes really took off. The next year I had 
enough grapes to snack on and make 2 bottles of wine. Last year I 
rooted a bunch of cuttings and planted them out without the sand. They 
barely grew. This year I tried the sand treatment, and again the grapes 
took off. Some of this growing effect has to do with the sand breaking 
up the soil, but some of the effect I think is also due to the hotter 
microclimate the sand creates. Yesterday the air temperature was around 
80F, the untreated soil was 94F, and the soil with the sand was 104F.

A question for anyone that knows about growing grapes in cool regions 
like Seattle... Is adding sand to the soil a standard way of improving 
grape production, of have I found something new?

-Mark Lee, Seattle, heatwave in the low 80's, picking juneberries, 
raspberries and the last of the sour chrries
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