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Planting and training your grapevines


By DavidS


Since posting my blogs on outdoor vine culture, I have had feedback from several members interested growing vines; recently, question have been about planting and growing in the first year. So,with the aid of some pictures and an illustration, I shall try to answer these questions.

It is easier than you may have thought: the aim in the first few years is to establish a good root system, and a framework that will produce your grapes for many years ahead.
Plant in late spring when all frosts have finished, in well prepared soil with a handful bonemeal mixed in, 5ft-6ft apart in a sunny position. Put in a 6ft cane and train ONE shoot (select the strongest shoot) and train it up the cane; any other shoots coming from the lower part of the vine can be cut off, leaving just one in reserve, cut back to two leaves, to use if the main shoot gets damaged, this is rare event, but I did have some of mine
eaten by a passing goat! Simply pinch-out any side-shoots (as we do with tomatoes) and train the shoot up the cane.

Methods of training:
There are many different ways of training vines; I find the easiest and most effective for garden growers in the UK is the “Double Guyot” replacement system.

Year one: train a single shoot up a cane, at leaf-fall in November, if the shoot in nut-brown, and about 7mm-8mm thick, this is a fruit-bearing rod, and should bent down horizontally, and tied to a wire.

Year two: in spring, the shoots from the horizontal rod, should be trained up supporting wires; in autumn after leaf-fall, prune-off most of the horizontal rod, leaving three strong rod near the main stem; bend down one each side, tie to wires, and cut the third one to three buds – the shoots from these will produce strong rods near the main stem for next seasons replacement training.

On my illustration below, you may find the text too small
to read, but drawing shows the shape you are aiming for.

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Thanks for this David ,as you know the vine cuttings you sent me have grown well ,yesterday Tony put wires up against a wall to support them 6" away from the wall ,looking at your book figures I'm thinking we may have done it wrong ., our newly planted vines look like the picture under TRAINING with a stem tied in at each side of the cane ,have we missed out 1.2.3 stages of the book pictures ..? I'll add this to favourite and then get Tony to study it .. Thanks ...

14 Jul, 2015


Don't worry Amy, stay with what you are doing, I should be ok; the reason training up just one shoot is to have a better chance of getting one thick cane, rather than two skinny thin ones; if you think you might end up with two thin shoots, you can cut off the weaker one, and train the stronger one vertically, but if that is not possible, stay with the horizontal.


14 Jul, 2015


We've changed it now David to one stem as in the picture stage one I'm glad you are at the other end of the computer to put us right Lol .... Amy ☺

14 Jul, 2015


I'm so glad you did this David. I was trying to find one of your blogs a few weeks ago to give the details to somebody and it took me ages!

15 Jul, 2015


Very useful info David. Thanks.

15 Jul, 2015

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