Pruning grapevines is necessary, if you wish to keep your fruit vines young and productive.
There are many different types of grapes. Green, black and red grapes are commonly seen in the market. In my opinion, most challenging types of grapes should be the red wine grapes and the green wine grapes; as they need special types of soil and consistant temperature to grow.
We bought a grapevine bare-root stock "Vistis Boskoop Glory (Vitaceae)" in 2005 year end. "Vistis Boskoop Glory" is the oldest grapevines variety in Netherlands. The fruits are in dark blue to black.
When we first bought her (below picture left), we put her in our well prepared backyard garden bed immediately with plenty of water; and enough space at the bottom for the roots.
We placed her at the position that she would be receiving full summer sunlight. We gave her thick layer of fresh potting soil under the roots; and cover her top soil with dried organic soil (Coconut fibber) for the winter protection.
We thought she would be happy and would grow well.
However, after 2006 summer we discovered that she was not growing well. So, we started our pruning work before the frost. We pruned her a little backwards and watch her again for another year.
After the 2007 summer, we decided to move her into our green house. Because the grape plant was not happy with what we had provided her.
In 2008, we decided to leave her alone and let her grow her grape vines as long as she wanted.
In the spring, we prepared garden wires and plastic pipes for her to climb. In the summer, our green house roof was totally occupied with all the cheerful fruit vines and the beautiful green grape leaves.
Conclusion is she needed "space and freedom"! She needed space to grow her vines and freedom to grow to what she desired. She was very happy!
Organic growing grapes needs a little more attention than growing shrub berries; or planting strawberries.
When the 2008 cycle is almost over, we pruned the plant backwards when all the leaves had fallen; and the vines were brown and dried; in the late autumn.
We pruned all the newly developed vines two third backwards; and covered her with some ordinary potting soil. She was then ready for a sweet winter sleep.
After a long winter sleep, we sprinkled some rain water; and a little of dried brewed coffee ground on top of her soil; it was a frost free sunny day in the spring.
We examined her a little to see whether there were any insects around her. We prepared only PVC pipes this time as the climbing lines for her creeping vines.
We inserted three thick bamboo sticks vertically to secure the old vines; and provide three plastic coded sticks horizontally to the height of 100cm; from left to right across the back of our green house; as the guiding lines.
Once you see the tender vines climbing supper fast over the 100cm guide lines, you have to spread the vines as soon as possible; and hold them in place; to provide enough breathing space for their further healthy growth.
Once the creeping vines are on their way to the pipes, you have to guide them along the pipes and hold them in place with some soft plastic wires.
The flower buds came first; and they are wrapping with a white dress coat. When the fancy-dress is disappeared; the mini clusters would be there; and they are in bright green colour.
The grape flowers are in yellow; and they are supper mini. Soon they come with their cute tiny fruits; and the small fruits would be enlarging in days.
When we saw the grape vines were spreading to half the length of our DIY fresh-air green house, we decided to stop her for growing further, due to the short summer season.
The grapes needed time to develop to their best size and best quality. So, we pruned the vines off when they were two meters in length and kept the soil moist all the time.
Pruning grapes is necessary when you see the grapes are grown into different sizes. Trim away those very mini grapes early, so that your grape plant will reserve all the energy to grow those bigger ones, and the bigger grapes will have more space to stretch their tummies.
Let's learn how to grow delicious grapes in Part Two.