Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Growing Vines in Pots to Plant in Fall - Update

In an earlier blog I have discussed the merits of growing vines the first year in pots then planting them in fall in the vineyard.  There are several values to this;
1) With the vines in pots they can be closely managed, you don't have to go out to the vineyard every day.
2) You can utilize non-commercial irrigation (garden hose) to get the vines established.
3) You can provide specific amounts of fertilizer and control the soil type.
4) You can more easily manage pests that may feast on your vines,.
5) When you plant the vines in the fall they will not need to be watered then on - this is subject to your local conditions.

These are the benefits that I have enjoyed in growing the vines in the pots and planting in the fall.  However, now after 3-4 years of growing and planting vines this way, I can comparing them to vines planted and irrigated from the start in the vineyard and I see differences between them.

The vines grown in pots enjoy all the benefits stated above and after the first year when cut back to a single cane (that becomes the trunk) they require no irrigation and they have grown well.  However the vines planted the first year in the vineyard and grown in the ground and irrigated there seem to reach maturity a bit earlier.  It appears that growing the vines in the pots inhibits the roots the first year and there is then a lag time that the vine has in getting the roots to spread out and established.  The vines also need to get accustomed to the new soil environment in the second year.  What ever the case the vines grown in pots the first season then planted to the vineyard in the fall lag about 1 year behind vines that are grown in the vineyard from the onset.