Those who follow this blog will know that I grow grapes in the polytunnel, very successfully.
This recent experiment is about growing a fruitful grapevine outside, in Ireland.
The first thing is to try to emulate the conditions most favourable for grapes and a recent visitor to Bealtaine cottage spent some time giving me lots of good advice to this end…thanks Sigi!
Sigi grows lots of vines in Austria and is very knowledgeable indeed on this subject.
First, the vine detests wet feet…so ensure that the soil is very well drained.
Well in this case I replanted the vine onto the gravel at the back of the cottage, which faces south, banking it up well.
Stone collects the heat of the sun and holds it well…thermal mass! I added lots of stone around the plant.
Sigi advised me to keep to one main stem, so I cut it back and will cut some more too.
Recycling tins…this one has been serving the Sedum for about 3 years now!
Just punch a few holes in the bottom using a hammer and nail!
The experiment with the tomatoes outdoors as opposed to the tunnel is good so far.
This one is cropping earlier than the several in the tunnel!
Everything in the raised bed is growing fast and furious…less than a month after the first stone was set in place!
Plenty of time yet for sowing seeds…I started these off on Saturday.
The Rudbeckia on the left were transplanted from a small pot.
Harvesting seed from Parsley…save seed, it’s our independence and our future!
Borage flowers adorn the water in the tunnel…ensuring lots of bees visit the plants in here, there’s lots of Borage!
Just purchased Marchal Foch and planted it in the Polytunnel. Will now add grit and sand to the tyre container, I’ve been told that a comfrey feed is good for vines so I’ll make up some in old water bottles to keep me going for the year.
It sounds great…I sense a home-made vintage developing!
Marechal Foch should ripen quite early in a polytunnel. I’d expect it to do quite well, grapes usually thrive in them.
What varieties have you planted? Solaris (white), Rondo (red), Seigerrebe (red) and Madeleine Angevine 7672 (white) are all varieties I’d recommend for Ireland or Scotland.
All are amongst the earliest ripening of all grapes and all of them perform well in cool. wet, difficult climates. Solaris and Rondo also have superior disease resistance from American and Asian wild grapes.
There are more varieties too, but these are the easiest to find. Some of the others are hard to get hold of.
I grow many varieties in England and there are varieties now for almost every climate. Especially with hybrid grapes which are wild grapes bred back with standard European grapes, they grow everywhere from South East Asia and the Caribbean to Southern Siberia and Canada.
I’m currently breeding European grapes with North American riverbank grapes, a species that is the cold hardiest of them all and tolerates pests, diseases and difficult climates well. This sort of crossing is what gave rise to varieties such as Triomphe d’alsace, Leon Millot and Marechal Foch.
Thanks for all the great information on growing grapes! My grapes are from illicit cuttings I’m afraid, so have no idea what variety they are. I shall look out the ones you have mentioned here!
Blessings X Colette
Grapevines in the west of Ireland…one imagines interesting possibilities for wine production; a Bealtaine vintage in the years to come perhaps? Will it be a smooth Merlot, a rich Cabernet Sauvignon, or maybe (my personal favourite) a cool, crisp Chardonnay! Anyway all the best with this new venture. In the meantime one wonders if Missy’s unusually shaped tail and legs could be a genetic inheritance from her ancestors in ancient Eygpt – where a particular breed of Royal cat was revered and worshipped for its auburn fur and short stature!!
Really? I had never heard of this…but it sounds plausible enough when regarding Missy and her high-pawed approach to everyone, not least of all, Che! As for the wine, I will have some white grapes from the tunnel to add to this year’s vintage fruit and veg concoctions…some of which are excellent and…potent!