The concord grape.
The Concord grape, which gets its name from Concord, Massachusetts, is a
marble sized fruit that fills you entire mouth with a burst of robust
sweetness! Developed in 1849 by Ephraim Wales Bull, today more than 400,000
tons of Concord Grapes are produced each year. Although most are grown
commercially, Concord Grapes are one of many grape cultivars grown in the
flower and fruit gardening guides home garden.
When choosing a grape cultivar, your best source of advice on growing grapes
is a reputable nursery. Besides directing you to those that grow
successfully in your area, a nursery will also help you choose a cultivars
suitable for your intended use.
There are many choices in Grape cultivars.
The choices are many. Grapes are green, red, purple, or black. Some have
seeds; some do not. Some grapes separate easily from the fruit (slip-skin)
and some do not. Some are best for table use, some are best preserved in
jellies or jams, some are grown especially for winemaking, and some (like
the Concord Grape) are multi-purpose.
One thing all grapes have in common is the way they grow. Plant in early
spring after the frost leaves the ground in thoroughly tilled, weeded, and
composted soil. Pre-conditioning of the soil makes it rich in organic
matter, yet provides good drainage.
In addition to growing in your garden, grape vines are a beautiful
ornamental and valuable as shade or screen plants around your flower and fruit gardening guides home when
trained on a trellis or arbor. Grapes love full sun. Cultivars will produce
best if planted on the south slope of your garden. It typically takes three
years to establish a grape planting, but once established, one grape arbor
will produce up to 40 years, a single vine producing up to 20 pounds of
grapes per year!
Pruning your grapes
The most difficult part of growing grapes is the hefty amount of pruning
required. When pruning, keep in mind that the current season?s growth
produces fruit from last season?s wood. Too heavy pruning results in an
abundance of foliage, but very little fruit. Too light pruning results in
large yields of poor quality fruit.
Depending on your location, prune grapevines once during winter. However,
this can be tricky because you should neither prune vines when sap begins to
rise until leaves are fully developed nor during periods of severe frost.
Grapes grow new shoots from early spring blossoms. If left unattended, these
shoots will transform your grapevine into an unproductive and unruly
problem. Remove all weak, thin shoots and leave only the strongest shoot to
develop. Flowers from this shoot precede the development of fruit.
Keep your vine tidy throughout the summer. Prune shoots back to the third or
fourth leaf after the fruits. Remove any new growth. Also remove all leaves
from around growing clusters to get maximum sun.
And when all is done.... picking grapes.
Grapes change color long before they are ripe. To avoid picking clusters
before they reach their peak, taste the grapes first. If they aren?t ripe,
wait for them to develop. Since grapes will not improve after harvest, this
way you will avoid ?sour grapes?.
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