Grapes.... Reflections on failing. A solution?
So I tried planting a mini-vineyard of table grapes, all suitable to this zone. 8-10 varieties, 17-20 plants in all.
Every year I planted them, they were barefoot plants, planted in the spring at the right time. I planted them with grow tubes which were recommended, cared for them, watered them, loved them. They grew massive canes, big leafs, etc. And 90% of the time, they died over the winter and didn't come back next spring. In a few cases, the canes would die, and they'd try to grow new canes the following year, then die the next year.
My first attempt was with grafted vines. Then I tried own root vines thinking, well, if the tops die, they'll grow back true to type. Those died also. I tried planting them at soil level and on mounds,
I live east of Colorado Springs so the wind is common out here. I thought maybe the winds were desiccating the canes, so I sprayed them with wilt-pruf at the right time after they'd gone dormant. That's an anti-transpirant for those who don't know. Great for pines, still dead vines.
So then I gave up on grapes.
After a year, I decided, well maybe I need to amend my soil better. The rows the grapes were planted in was decomposed granite and clay, then sand about 2 feet down. I amended the very large hole I dug for them with compost and pebbles and perlite and vermiculite to help the soil breathe. I decided to amend on a larger scale. I had a mini-excavator brought in, ripped the soil down to the sand layer, amended with compost and the same amendments as before except on a larger scale. Tried again, death once again. To this day, 3-years later, that soil is nice and easy to dig and will grow other things, no problems.
Yesterday, I was at a nursery looking at trees and shrubs and raspberries and I noticed they had some great looking grape vines. I thought to myself, only if......
Just before I started typing this, I had an epiphany. The root system!!
The bare root vines I had gotten previously didn't have greatly established root systems, barely any at all really. My thoughts are if I buy potted vines, with much better developed root systems and stick those in the ground, maybe they'll live! Eureka! Well maybe.... I'm considering buying a few, sticking them in the ground and seeing what happens.