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Video: How To Choose The Right Grape Variety
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Growing grapes in the latitude of St. Petersburg requires a lot of effort and enthusiasm. There is no doubt that in many respects success will be determined by the choice of the variety.
Unfortunately, the experience of growing grapes in our conditions is not yet as rich as in the Moscow region or the Baltic states.
In addition, the existing grape assortment, especially for open ground, is extremely limited. And, nevertheless, for our harsh conditions, it is already possible to pick up some varieties and forms of grapes that can successfully grow and bear fruit.
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The main requirements for the variety, on the one hand, come from the climatic characteristics and structure of the soils of the area, and on the other, they should be determined by the very early ripening of berries, good or satisfactory ripening of the vines, as well as low demands on the temperature regime and the ability to lay inflorescences at sufficiently low average daily temperatures during the growing season. The cultivars should have a growing season from the beginning of budding to full ripening of the berries no more than 100-120 days with an average sum of effective temperatures above 10 ° C within 1700-2000 ° C.
Particular attention should be paid to the origin of the variety. It is known that the Amur grapes, some American species (Vitis riparia, Vitis labrusca), as well as hybrids with them, are the least demanding on the temperature regime. Unfortunately, in the literature on viticulture, there is practically no information on the sum of effective temperatures above 15 ° C and 20 ° C required for setting fruit buds in wild species and cultivars of various origins.
Nevertheless, it must be remembered that without exception, all Central Asian varieties, including those of the very early ripening period, are not capable of developing reproductive organs in the northern regions, even in unheated greenhouses. The same can be said about the early and early European varieties, of which only a few can bear fruit in "cold" greenhouses.
Grapes, grade Aleshenkin
An equally important factor when choosing a variety is the place of its reproduction. According to the author's observations, the same variety or form obtained from different climatic zones, in our conditions, significantly differ in the degree of ripening of the vines, the strength of growth and resistance to extreme influences.
This is especially true of "young" varieties and forms that were bred relatively recently and have the maximum adaptive capabilities for growing in a locality different from the place of its origin. So, for example, in the 70s of the last century, the author obtained cuttings of an elite complex hybrid form "Lebedyansky Kuzmina" from three places: the Tambov region (place of breeding), the south of Ukraine and Lithuania, where the plants grew for several years.
When planted in open ground (the village of Apraksin, Leningrad Region), after three years all the plants died due to poor maturation of the vines, however, with the exception of those obtained from Lithuania. In the conditions of an unheated greenhouse, all plants easily adapted. However, the form obtained from southern Ukraine was distinguished by poor maturation of vines and worse development in comparison with the rest.
It is also known that new early maturing interspecific hybrids have a greater ability to adapt to extreme environmental conditions compared to old varieties with conservative heredity and much less adaptive potential. However, there are also exceptions to the rule.
For example, the old early-ripening European variety Malengr early, brought to Russia from France, easily acclimatized in the northern regions of viticulture and successfully grew and bore fruit in the east of the Leningrad region in open ground with partial cover of the vines in the spring with plastic wrap. According to the author's observations, new varieties - interspecific hybrids over the years, adapt to new, harsh conditions. Their shoots ripen better, and the berries become of better quality.
Thus, when choosing a variety, it is necessary to take into account not only its early maturity, but also the origin, as well as the time of breeding. The most successful plants will grow and bear fruit obtained from the places closest to or similar in climatic conditions to our zone.
Unfortunately, the main selection work for the development of new, resistant grape varieties is carried out in the south. In this regard, it is necessary to take into account a kind of stepwise acclimatization of plants and remember that grapes of the same variety, which have grown for several years in areas located north of the place of their breeding, adapt more quickly to even more severe conditions than the one that was obtained directly from its homeland.
Plants brought from the south, from zones of industrial viticulture, adapt for a long time and poorly in our area. This is especially true of pure European or old late-ripening varieties of interspecific hybrids, the cultivation of which under our conditions is obviously doomed to failure.
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Grapes, grade Vostorg
Below are brief characteristics of only those varieties and forms of grapes that were tested by the author and other amateur winegrowers in St. Petersburg and the region in open ground and "cold" greenhouses. All varieties and forms developed and bore fruit successfully. A description is also given of promising super-early varieties and forms that are advisable to test in open ground and in "cold" greenhouses.
It should be especially noted that at present there is a completely understandable fashion for new varieties with large bunches and berries. Nevertheless, most of them have not been tested in our conditions, i.e. they did not pass the due time assessment and long-term testing, therefore, the cultivation of such varieties in the harsh conditions of the environs of St. Petersburg and in the Leningrad region does not guarantee their successful fruiting, but also their simple existence. Therefore, one should not neglect the old, adapted varieties and forms of grapes, especially those that have shown good results for several decades.
In connection with this circumstance, I give a description of such old, tested varieties, which, despite the presence of a small size of bunches and a satisfactory taste of berries, have undergone a long trial and successfully grow and bear fruit for a long time in our conditions.
Read the next part. Characteristics of grape varieties for unheated greenhouses →