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Video: About Growing Grapes In Extreme Conditions
Photo 1. Shatilova White Muscat grape
The weather conditions of the past, anomalous year according to the meteorologists' estimates, of course, did not affect the development of grapes in the best way, but as they say: every cloud has a silver lining. In the extreme conditions proposed by the heavenly chancellery, non-standard qualities of some varieties unexpectedly manifested themselves, the analysis and systematization of which is an invaluable practical experience.
What was April of that year with us, in the Urals? Its first decade along the temperature line turned out to be smoother than the next two. The positive temperature during this period not only in the morning by 9 o'clock rose to + 4 ° С … + 6 ° С, but also in the evening at 21 o'clock kept at about the same marks, and during the day it reached + 12 ° С.
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At night, however, it regularly froze to - 3 ° С … - 5 ° С. In early April, after the open (March 15-16) vines had aired after wintering, I placed low (30-40 cm) arches over the rows of grapes and poured warm water over the bushes through the irrigation pipes. Under the film, buds began to swell and sprout on the vines.
However, the next two decades, with their drizzling rains and frosty matinees, when the daytime temperature tossed between + 3 ° С … + 12 ° С during the day, and from -4 ° С to + 5 ° С at night, could nullify all efforts. By the end of April, the sprouts of almost all varieties had reached 20-30 cm. In these conditions, consoling myself with the hope that spring will take its toll and the weather will improve, I carried out the second spring stimulation of the bushes with water heated to 35-40 ° С …
But the beginning of May was marked by snow last year, and on May 3 - even a severe blizzard. It would seem that in such conditions, there could be no question of any stimulation of grape bushes with heated water. But the situation when the beginning of the growth of shoots occurs under a film cover under conditions of air warming up by more than + 8 ° С … + 12 ° С, and the earth at this time at the depth of the roots has a temperature of no more than + 3 ° С is fraught with the loss of fruit shoots from major buds due to the drying out of the wood. The grape bush in this example resembles a cutting: still without roots, but already sprouting.
The fact is that the green shoot draws the first strength for its growth from the reserves of perennial wood, which, provided that the bush is grown in a fanless, stamp-free form, is almost nonexistent. And grape roots are less than 1–1.5 mm thick; the entire fibrous "beard" dies off annually in the fall and grows again in the spring when the ground temperature is not lower than + 8 ° C.
Until the very middle of May, the weather continued to present surprises, during this extreme period the vines were under a film cover. The rains turned into snow on May 1, 3 and 15, after which in the afternoon of May 16 it sharply warmed up to + 18 ° С and, finally, comfortable conditions for the growth of shoots came.
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Photo 2. Grape variety Riddle of Sharova
To be honest, I was shooting hiding places from vines with great excitement - how could the green shoots survive all these weather disasters? It turned out that they were excellent, they even grew a little and flower brushes appeared on almost all of them. Trusting the forecasts of weather forecasters, I removed the film and arcs over the rows, installed trellises and carried out the first "green" garter of shoots, since many of them grew up to half a meter.
Forecasters did not disappoint, and until the end of May the weather was very warm, and at times even hot. By this time, the height of the shoots had reached a meter or more, flower clusters on many varieties reached their peak of development and were about to bloom. But a new test awaited the grapes ahead. A sharp drop in temperature and snow.
I had to disassemble the trellis again, lay vines with meter-long shoots on the ground and, having installed arcs, arrange a tunnel from film, acrylic and burlap. As it turned out, he did it not in vain. Forecasters, announcing a storm warning, were again right. On the morning of June 3, the first frost occurred, and on the night of June 3–4, snow fell with a layer of 3-5 cm and lay until lunchtime.
It was only ten days later that the grapes were opened and lifted onto the trellis. And what was my surprise when I saw not just preserved flower brushes, but many of them are already blooming. These were the varieties Pamyati Shatilova, Krasa Severa and White Muscat Shatilova (see photo №1), and the variety Zagadka Sharova (see photo №2), which began flowering on the trellis, was already with berry ovaries. Now what about the statement that fertilization of a flower does not occur at temperatures below + 12 ° C?
This year was very surprised by the timing of the ripening of the crop. For example, such varieties as Zilga, being at least early middle ones, suddenly ripened at the same time as the early Pamyat Dombkovskaya variety - by August 10. And the Aleshenkin variety, which ripened in the first days of August in previous years, has fully collected sugar only by the end of the month. The mid-early variety White Muscat suddenly ripened ten days earlier than the Pamyati Shatilov variety, which is considered very early.
We also tried some of the new arrivals. Young bushes of such varieties as Delight (Muscat and Black), Arcadia, Victoria, Codryanka, Krasa Nikopol, Red Muscat (XVII-10-26) and Talisman gave the second harvest. What can you say? The taste is excellent! Sometimes I look at my growing vineyard, and sometimes I myself can't believe - is it really all in reality?
After the application of absolutely simple and not very laborious protective measures, the grapes completely preserved the green vines and flower brushes. While the tomatoes that are familiar to us, planted in greenhouses, died. Many neighbors in the garden even froze seedlings of such a seemingly frost-resistant and common culture in the Ural garden as cabbage. Seedlings had to be bought at the market, both time and part of the harvest were lost. The same cannot be said about grapes. Of course, there is no year after year, but the harvest of the sun berry, subject to certain care rules, is predictable and stable every year.
All the varieties pleased me, but the White Muscat variety gave me special pleasure. The last bunches were ripe by 18 August. All the berries are on bunches without peas, although the flowering of grapes, due to a strong cold snap and snow and rainfall, took place under the film. The average weight of a bunch of this variety was 600–800 g when the bush was loaded with 15 shoots, of which only eight were left fruit. Small peas - no more than 15-20% were observed on the varieties Krasa Severa, Pink early Muscat and Pamyati Shatilov.
Much stronger - up to 40% went to the "pea" Talisman. But in general, the grape harvest in this difficult year can be considered very good. By the last days of September, the vine has matured on almost all varieties with 15-16 buds and only some, such as Arcadia, Pearl of Moldova, Kishmish Radiant with 8-10 buds, but this is quite enough for a successful wintering.
It turned out that the ripening dates of the varieties are in fact not much different from the dates indicated in the catalogs. The main thing I see is that I was able to speed up the beginning of the growing season by 20-30 days, which allows not only the harvest to ripen completely, but also the vine. Whereas in previous years, for the sake of ripening the vine, it was sometimes necessary to remove the bunches that did not get sugar and put the berries on the compote.
Responding to the requests of many gardeners, I photographed the process of preparing grape bushes for winter. As you can see, nothing new. But as one winegrower wrote to me: "I am a practitioner, and I would rather see once than read a hundred times."
Photo # 3 shows the center of the bushes, the so-called "head", the distance between which is 1.5-1.8 meters. The vines are laid towards each other in a trench, its width is about 40–45 cm, depth is 15 cm, the length is arbitrary. With metal hooks, the vines are pinned to the ground so that they do not touch either the soil or the shelter above them.
Photo # 4 shows a three year old grape bush. The main thing that I want to draw the attention of readers to in this example is the so-called "horns". These are the same two vines that grew on your grape in the first year of its life. It is very important at a young age, when the vines are malleable, to spread them in different directions and parallel to the ground.
It is on them that every year the fruiting vines of the next year will grow, which should also be bent down, while it is still young and green. And if all this sticks out perpendicular to the ground, then in the fall, after cutting the bush, you will understand why they are called that, and it will be almost impossible to bend them without breaking off.
Photo # 5 shows the shelter above the vines, which I invented and made from fiberboard. I'm tired of dragging around with sheets of slate and old iron every autumn, and grapes deserve some attention to themselves. From a sheet of 1.7x2.75 m, if it is cut in width, five shields come out, which are stuffed onto longitudinal bars of 2x2 cm, and the crossbars are made in the form of a truss, so that the lid turns out to be oval and water can easily flow from it.
The entire structure is impregnated on both sides with linseed oil, oil-working off or painted with oil paint, and therefore does not warp or rot. On the site, which earlier, after the shelter of several dozen bushes of grapes resembled a branch of a dump, it became much cleaner.
I cover the trenches with covers only when the daytime temperature is below zero and the ground freezes a little. I collect the first snow from the land free from planting and fill the rows to a height of 20-30 cm, and then nature itself will try. Usually 60–70 cm of snow accumulates over the vines by the New Year, and under such a blanket they are not afraid of any frost. That's all my hiding places, I don't hide anything else. Yes, it is better to plug the watering pipe with a rag for the winter.
The mistakes many novice growers make
Almost all of those who called me told me that instead of one or two vines more than a meter long, a low fluffy bush grew. All the strength of growth in this case was spent on growing unwanted stepchildren. All this suggests that beginners do not read literature. In any book on grapes, special attention is paid to the removal of this growth.
Rarely have anyone minted the shoots in August - they have forgotten. And this is a very important event for the vine, regardless of how old the bush is - a year, three or twenty. This is especially important in the life of a one-year-old vine. The more buds that ripen in the first year, the more likely you will harvest your pet in a year.
However, there are also positive results, I would even say excellent. Lyudmila Vladimirovna Bragina said by phone the following: having received rooted two-bud cuttings of several varieties from me in the spring, she was able to grow two two-meter vines on each seedling, which ripened by 15-16 buds by the beginning of October. I asked her - is this your first experience in growing grapes? Answers: yes, the first, I just followed your recommendations exactly.
Why am I focusing on these examples? Simply because they are very evidence-based. People who, four months ago, could not distinguish nettle from grapes, today have grown it on their site. And now they already tell me: “Grapes? Nothing is easier. " And they eat the first berries a year later and add: "And there is nothing tastier."
In conclusion, I would like to urge all novice winegrowers to purchase the literature on viticulture, which is abundant in bookstores today. I especially recommend books by N.I. Kurdyumov “Smart vineyard for everyone” and “Smart vineyard for yourself”. They are written in a simple and understandable language without a pretense to be academic. Those who master them will find it much easier and more interesting to grow grapes.