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Cold Hardy Grapes

Posted by Collin001 2b (My Page) on
Sun, May 6, 12 at 13:52

I was hoping for advice on finding some cold hardy grapes. I am almost done constructing a pergola and would like a vine to hang on it. This is the sunniest part of the yard and will have a white metal shed behind it to bounce heat off it it.

What varieties have you had success with? I have the room to grow more than one vine. I had my eye on the Morden 9703 as it is a table grape. I don't know much about vines so don't be afraid to state the obvious.

Intended uses:
Juice, jam, fresh eating. No wine making, deathly allergic to the fermentation process.

Thanks

Collin


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

A former colleague has had great success with "Valiant" cultivar -- her vines produce fair-sized clusters abundantly with, I understand, no special care. Her grapes are a little tart to be used as table grapes (for my taste), but you take what you can in our climate. I have a few young vines myself, but they suffer winter kill each year. I understand that older vines are more cold-hardy. I live in Peace River, AB.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

The neighbour across the street has a Valiant grape. They convinced me to make the decision and adopt a vine. The neighbour doesn't do anything with them, outside of stringing
Christmas lights through them. Last year I made juice out of them. It takes a fair bit of sugar but they do give a richer flavour than the bought stuff.

Valiant is on the short list. Thanks David.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Valiant is probably your best option. Makes amazing jelly and juice, lousy wine, too seedy for serious fresh eating. Ripens late August. Unprotected vines have some winterkill above snowline but winter protection not needed for healthy growth each year. New Canadian Prairie-hardy grape cultivars being developed at University of Saskatchewan, really hard to find out much about them...


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

I'll give Valiant a try Don. I'm preparing a couple spots for grapes. I'm in a bit of a waiting game until I see more progress from the University. I may take on the challenge of trying out a blue moon wisteria for something to do in the interim!


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

davidcalgary29,
i do my grapes in the double guyot system
not good for trellises,
but for less winter die-back it is the way to go
in winter just keep snow covering the vines,
my low wire is about 4" off the ground,
off a deck that i sweep snow off to cover the grapes

you can also delay flowering by shoveling snow over the roots as far into spring as possible
we usually get a late snow that can be used for this purpose

also a deep mulch (4"-6") will keep the soil cool longer to delay early sap rising and budding-out of any fruit
then you run less risk of late frosts killing off your future fruit


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

here is a list of the grapes that made it through a rather tough winter and spring
the first cold snap happened without snow on the ground,
then what little snow was on the ground i did shovel onto the grapes as best as i could

blue bell
valiant
prairie star
beta
kay gray

eona and kandiyohi did not make it


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Intotheark, I'm curious about the flower-delaying tactic. I have only ever grown Valiant, but early-flowering has never been an issue -- right now my plants are still in bud stage, with flowering maybe a week or so away. Have you had issues with Valiant? Do other varieties flower earlier?


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

I'm definitely going to try these tips this fall. Thanks!

I think my problem, ironically enough, is that the microclimate where I have my grapes is too mild for successful overwintering. My grapes are on a trellis on the southwestern side of my house, and snowcover in that spot is both highly variable and intermittent throughout the winter...it was bare ground well into December this year. I think that the constant freeze/thaw cycles in that spot simply damaged my vines. I'm going to weight them down this fall and cover the vines with straw, and hope for the best. My experiment this year is the 'Minnesota' cultivar.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

that thick mulch will definitely help with the freeze-thaw cycles
i just build a box out of 2x6's and fill with mulch

the delay in flowering just means less risk for damage,
the grapes have been ok,
and if frost is threatened i spray all the fruit with comfrey late in the night

on a side note,
i pruned the fruiting stems last year similar to indeterminate tomatoes
and judging by the number and size of clusters so far on the older valiants,
they liked it
basically on each fruiting stem (and the replacement stems) any sideshoots are allowed 1 leaf only
and their height was restricted to about 7'
it keeps it clean looking, but they are vigorous and do require some attention


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

I'm with Don,..Grapes push late and early flowering is not a issue.
We had a mild winter and my Valiant is looking better this year.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

the eona came back from underground about 2 weeks ago,
and is growing strong
hopefully with a better snow pack this year the main stem will survive

the kandiyohi i yanked
it was the second try with this variety from the same place
at least they replaced the first one that died for free
but no sense beating a dead horse


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

BUMP!
'Tis the season for grapes again... seems like this will be a good year. Here's a ripening Valiant cluster, still a bit tart but should hit prime in a week or two. How are everyone else's grapes doing?

Photobucket


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

  • Posted by mytime 3/4 Alaska (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 14, 12 at 11:17

Those are luscious looking!


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

The heat this summer has made 'Valiant' taste sweeter and better than ever, too bad I just have a few clusters.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

The neighbour across the street gave us about their valiant grapes to make into juice and a bit of jam. We did notice the grapes are a bit sweeter than last year but the fall has so far been a dry one here. To be honest I think these grapes are a bit smaller than yours Don. Then again they grow around a crab that is not watered so are left to fend for itself.

We also had a chance to try out a concord grape. The grape is like a bagful of marbles it has so many seeds! 3 seeds for every grape but they are somewhat sweeter to eat out of hand. The is like those old sour rolls you could buy at the candy store.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

I harvested the Valiant today, ..first little crop, heaving them sit for a while with several light frost made them nice and sweet.
They have HUGE seeds!

Oct. 14, 2012


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Nice. The best use I've found for these is grape jelly - prepare to be amazed! It needs pectin though to set properly, especially if picked when fully ripe. Juice (can be frozen) is nice too. I eat some fresh but the seeds are an issue so most of the grapes go to jelly/juice. I tried making wine from them one year but it was like really really bad "Baby Duck" cheap wine.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

  • Posted by RpR_ 3-4 (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 16, 12 at 17:13

I have a vine of copper-green colored slip skin type grapes that survive sub-zero temps. in mid-Minn.

This summer they suddenly just dried up on the vine, while the plant thrived.

My Concords came out just fine.
Does anyone have any idea what caused this?

I can not give you the variety as the specie card is fifty miles from me.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Intothedark:

I bought some young Valiant canes last season and am looking to buy another variety that will survive inner city Calgary. I was looking for an eating grape, like Concords and things of that ilk. Do you have any suggestions?

-Dave


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

In the fall I picked up two grapes, Frontenac and Prairie Star. I figured they would complement the Valient grapes we get across the street.

I decided to just let them be to test their hardiness. They had good snow cover against the shed, definitely not exposed. We'll see if they made it in a few weeks. If they did pics to follow.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

penniwali, Concords will never ripen for you in this climate, summers aren't long enough or warm enough, even if the vines survive the winter. Some of those cold-hardy earlier ripening grapes like Colin is trying would be a better choice.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

the beta grapes were just as good as any concord i've had
the bluebells finally fruited, i left them on till the very end,
then i went to go pick them and my 'friend' george (13-striped ground squirrel) ate every single one
so i can't say how they were

the eonas should be fruiting this season

at the first blush of color i trim all the leaves around the clusters,
this should help sweeten up your fruit (even my valiants were unbelievable last season)

here is a pic of a valiant trimmed for sunlight


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

here is a pic of last seasons valiants (left) and beta (right)

i apologize for the quality of all my pics
we are on dial-up and i have to have a small file size to upload them

This post was edited by intotheark on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 22:40


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Nice showing!
Looks like Valiant is still the King of the cold north!


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

RpR,
sounds like black rot
did you notice little reddish/orange circles on the leaves?
if so, then it was

copper sprays may help, as well as judicious pruning of infected canes

let new replacement canes come from the bottom, and the first time you notice those little orange spots on leaves, or brown spots on fruit,
cut all infected canes out completely
even if it is all your old canes, you will lose fruit that season but the new canes should be okay for fruiting next season


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Intothedark:

Thanks for the posting. I think I worded that poorly. I was looking for something like Concords knowing full well they wont grow here. I just used it as a baseline because most folks know what they taste like and when th eseason is on, they are readily available in stores.
I put Valiant in the ground last season but it will be a while before I have any idea what they taste like. I see other varieties such as F-130 and Blue bell and wonder if they are a better eating grape than Valiant. Your description of Beta is very helpful, thanks.

Btw, great photos!

-Dave


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Peeniwali, good news for you, Valiants taste identical to Concords. The downside is they are smaller grapes, in smaller clusters, and are loaded with seeds. If you want to make homemade "Concord grape jelly", or "Concord grape juice" then Valiant grapes will do the job for you every bit as well as if you were growing real Concords. If you want to eat the grapes fresh, then the Valiants will be very disappointing compared to Concords, mainly on account of how seedy Valiants are.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Thanks Don, I appreciate the description. While I wait for my Valiants to grow up I am considering getting some F-130 or Fredonia but looks like Fredonia will need a bit more care.

Awesome photos and comments on this thread.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Do you guys winter cover your grapes ?
Some say to lay on ground and cover others I've taken the assumption they do nothing and still get grapes ?
I bought dozens and all died

I recently last week picked up a few real fat beta grapes prob 5 year old vines. I'm brainstorming ideas on location to plant. My yard is super hot even in winter. I'm assuming they cannot tolerate hot in winter do you guys think I have to plant in location I can cover in winter ?


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

I don't cover my valiants but the snow is usually about a foot deep for most of the winter. They always survive below the snow, and to varying degrees above the snow. Too early to tell this spring, but last spring some canes that ran up a nearby tree leafed out about 6' above ground. OTOH, some winters not a whole lot above the snow survives (but at least some always does).

If you get zero snow cover at times during the winter, then yes, I'd definitely cover them for insurance. I don't think you'd have to lay all the vines down, but a mulch cover that kept the vines fully dormant all winter would be a good idea.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Would any of you be willing to post pictures of how you trellis your grapes, or whatever else you grow them on? There are lots of pictures and ideas on trellising on the internet and in books, but 95% of these, are not dealing with our climate zones. I would like to learn the correct way for our zones.

It sounds like some growers remove their vines from the trellis for the winter and lay them on the ground? If this is the case, what is the proper way to refasten them to the trellis in the spring?

I haven't tried grapes yet, but this thread has made me want to give them a shot. Thanks


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

I just grabbed a few more varieties. This year I'm going to try my luck with grapes.
Has any body in Alberta tried Marquette grapes yet ?


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

northernmn,
it is more about zone rating on your grapes
if you are not pushing zones or borderline or concerned, then they are fine left on the trellis over winter
might not be a great idea to have the canes touching metal over winter
maybe a cordon system is what you are thinking of, single stem for a smaller trellis and multi-stem for a larger trellis

i have a rudimentary page on grape pruning/training,
but it might help you (link below)

Here is a link that might be useful: Grape training/pruning


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

I'm probably the wrong person to ask, since I just use the "sprawl" method on my 3 Valiant vines (one of which is shaded heavily by an apple tree and rarely produces anything, so really 2 Valiants). In the spring, I just cut off any wood that died over the winter, then I tidy the vines up a bit, thinning things where they seem too crowded. After that, I let them do their own thing, pruning them back a couple times each summer with hedge trimmers when they get too wild. Certainly not any sort of recommended method, but I get about 20 lbs of grapes each year, and I don't really want any more than that.

In a perfect world, knowing that grapes fruit on one year-old wood, you could plan your prunings to maximize the amount of year-old wood, then prune much of it out after fruiting. But zone 3 or 4 is not a perfect world for grape growing, so my feeling is that random winterkill is going to disrupt the best laid plans on pruning canes. Which brings me back to the random sprawl method and just going with whatever survived the winter....


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Intotheark... Thanks for posting that web site. Lots of good info there.

Don... Is your "sprawl method" just one low wire?

I'm going to have to pick a spot to give grapes a try. It looks like Valiant will probably be my best bet.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Northernmn, no, it's 3 wires (clothesline wire, run between metal t-bars). It's dark out now, but from recollection the wires are run at about 1.5 feet, around 3 feet, and the highest at maybe 4 or 4.5 feet. Grape vines are attached to all levels, both with clips or velcro-like tape, and also by their own tendrils. Grapes grow like crazy and run up over the trellis, up onto the fence, and up nearby trees. Needs to be sheared a couple of times each summer, then clipped back in the spring when I see what lived and what didn't. I don't have a great pic, but maybe this will illustrate... valiant start on the middle-left of the pic and extend to the right through the middle of the pic, up and over the fence and an apple tree on the right side of the pic.
 photo Sep1410garden1.jpg


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Or maybe this is a better photo, from about a month ago? Problem is, in 2009 I planted a blackberry and the only place I really had for it then was in front of the grape trellis. So the green canes in this pic are the blackberry as I unearthed it from its winter cover of leaves on April 19. The brown rambling twigs behind the blackberry are part of the Valiant grapes.

This is after I had pruned them this spring. I wouldn't normally prune the Valiants until it became clear what survived and what didn't, but this spring I went on a huge pruning blitz of all my trees, and the grapes got included when I ran out of trees to prune :) I may have to remove some of the remaining wood when I see whether all of this survived or not. During summer I now prune the grapes so the blackberry doesn't get swallowed. (I have another blackberry now, planted on its own trellis in 2010, so much easier to maintain than this grape-blackberry combo).

Oh, and I see that I actually use a 4-wire system, not the 3 I claimed above, oops. Fence is about 6 feet high. Trellis wires are kind of droopy now, as I haven't adjusted them since I set it up probably 10 or more years ago.

 photo Apr1914blackberry2.jpg


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

I wondering whether anyone has tried a variety I've been interested in from Cornhill nursery: Minnesota 78. Does it overwinter? Is the flavor good? I haven't planted any grapes yet, and I've never tried any of the hardy varieties, so I don't have anything to compare to.

Bluebell was the other one I was going to ask about, but intotheark it sounds like you had quite the frustrating experience with it/ground squirrel! Grr! Hopefully you can tell us about it this fall.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Thanks for the pictures Don. You have a lot of production packed into that 1st picture. I can see how thick and aggressive the grape is. I'm impressed with how well they do in our climates.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Well the grapes have come alive. The more shade Frontenac looks the healthier of the two. Both grapes are budding from the bottom up so I am not sure what will dead wood and what is still dormant. I guess a little patience is in order.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

The Prairie Star is a little worse for wear. I have a feeling I'm going to have to prune this one. I have no experience with grapes. I'd like to train them to follow the trellis behind them. Any tips on pruning would be appreciated. Thanks Collin.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

Generally try to keep or get the canes to pencil thickness (I have read this in many articles) and my own experience with Valiant also. I don't cover mine and most of the plants are exposed. The crowns are less than a foot off the ground so I could take them down. So to get pencil thickness only keep the most vigorous growth. I've also read and have seen that if the plant likes where it is you can't do anything wrong. That's not my plants. I have planted 2 Brianna this spring, I was looking for Prairie Star, they seem very similar.


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

This grape had been grown by an elderly Italian gentleman from west end Edmonton and the productive hardy vine even being featured on the news many years ago. Three years ago, I was kindly given a plant for trial and it has now exploded into growth and bears a nice crop. I have the plant growing sprawled on the ground and it gets covered with deep snows, though this winter I intend to leave a few vines sticking above the snow to fully test for hardiness. The fruit has better flavor and is less seedy than 'Valiant' and generally matures about the same time.

'Somerset Seedless' and 'Trollhaugen' are also really kicking into gear and vines becoming substantial, though I might get to test only a mere few berries, but hopefully next year they'll reward me. I'm now quite excited about grape growing and enjoy hearing of the varieties others are attempting.

Edmonton grape ...


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

The foliage was removed around these clusters to get the sunshine upon the fruit that is now beginning to ripen, this young vine carries a rather remarkable crop!


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RE: Cold Hardy Grapes

This is the vine as photographed in early June, so I was quite surprised it could already develop such a nice crop this year.


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