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Grapes

09/10/10 1:04PM By Charlie Nardozzi
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I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal.  Grapes are one of the oldest known cultivated crops, and after a warm summer, the harvest has begun!  While the center of grape growing is in warmer climates, such as California, Italy, and Australia, with the advent of new hardier varieties, cold climate gardeners can join the fun, too.

AP/Alden Pellett
Frontenac grapes, a red wine variety known for it's cold tolerance, hang heavy on the vines at the Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge, Vermont.

While making wine can be a fun home project, I'm more interested in growing table grapes. There are many hardy, seeded varieties around, but I think the best are the seedless cultivars. Unfortunately, many seedless table grape varieties are not hardy enough to survive our winters. But that's changing. With the introduction of new varieties from Minnesota and Wisconsin, such as 'Somerset Seedless', I can spend the fall lounging on a hammock gobbling up fresh seedless grapes from vines grown just a few feet away. Check out the University of Vermont's cold climate grape trials at VPR.net for more information on varieties to grow.

You don't need a vineyard to grow a few grape vines for fresh eating. Find a spot with full sun, well drained, fertile soil and build some trellising for them to grow on. Prune heavily each winter, removing up to 80 per cent of each vine, to keep your grapes from growing wild.

Now for this week's tip, late blooming annual flowers, such as Verbena bonarienesis, are setting seed now. Either let them fling their seed around the garden willy nilly, or collect some for sowing in specific areas next spring.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about overwintering perennial herbs. For now, I'll be seeing you in the garden!

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University Of Vermont Cold Climate Grape Production Northern Grape Growing Cold Climate Cultivars Of Grapes
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