Grapes in Berea
Good morning! Wife and I are interested in growing grapes here in Madison County. Not for wine - eating, jams etc. Enough to keep a large family and relations happy. Have a decent amount of home gardening experience but zero experience with anything grape related. Where do I start and thank you! Brian J
Hi Brian, grapes are not too hard to grow, but they are very susceptible to disease due to our climate. However, with proper management and sanitation, you should have good luck.
Picking the right variety is important, here is a list of fruit varieties recommended for Kentucky: http://www.uky.edu/hort/sites/www.uky.edu.hort/files/documents/homefruitrec.pdf
This publication from Penn State has a lot of good information about planting and care. You would plant the grapes in Spring. So that means choosing a potential site this fall and preparing the soil. We do offer free soil testing to Madison County Residents (up to ten samples). More info on that here.
that first year of planting you will not need a trellis system, however by year two you will need to start a trellis for the plants to grow up and on.
Pruning occurs in late winter or early spring and it is at that time you will also fertilize.
Disease control is important. Black rot is a disease that is bad in our area on grapes. http://weather.uky.edu/disease/PPFS-FR-S-16.pdf Pruning out and removing effected vines and fruit and help alot with control, but you may have to spray a fungicide to get a crop in years where the conditions are right for disease. This publication talks about management culturally and with chemicals, mentioning organic and conventional controls.
I know that's a lot of information! But if you have any other questions, please let me know. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 859-623-4072.