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  • Spetchley Red grapevine

    Evening all,

    I have just taken delivery of a Spetchley Red grapevine in a 1l pot. It's a couple of feet high so I'm quite pleased with the size.

    I don't have greenhouse space, but I do have a covered area at the back of the house.


    I intend to grow it in a planter where that longtom is by the nearest post, and train it up the post and under the covered area. I don't know if it'll work but I won't know unless I try.

    For a planter I plan on using a 1 tonne builders' bulk bag (I'll build something nice round it to hide it later). It'll be sitting on tarmac. I've not tried filling the bag with water but it seems fairly impermeable, so will I need drainage holes?

    Can I plant directly from the 1l pot into the builders' bag, or do I need to grow it on a bit first? How deep should it be planted?

    My garden's a bit windy - will it need protection? It's supposed to be fully hardy.

    What substrate is recommended? I need a tonne, obviously, and I have a zero budget. I'll have to beg or forage what I need. What do they like?

    I've never grown a grapevine before so any advice would be appreciated, including things I've forgotten to ask or didn't realise I needed to ask.

    Please don't offer advice like: "If it was me I'd grow it somewhere else / in the ground etc". I don't have anywhere else it can go so I have to make this work.

    Many thanks,
    MBE
    Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
    By singing-'Oh how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
    While better men than we go out and start their working lives
    At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner-knives. ~ Rudyard Kipling

  • #2
    I have two blueberry plants that can't go in my Derbyshire limestone soil.
    I just salvaged some Victorian bricks and bought some sand and cement and built three sides leaving the cement out in a few slots for drainage on the side facing my main growing bed.
    I had the opposite problem to you as one of my plants was too heavy to lift so I actually dragged the root ball into the partly built container and then finished it off later.
    Builders bags are good for spuds because it is easier to harvest them by rolling the thing over. They are self draining.
    Just go hunting for second hand bricks and save up for a bag of cement powder and a couple of bags of sand. Most old bricks still have at least one nice looking side. I got permission to pick over a heap of soil that was due to be sent away for recycling by our local water company for the bricks.
    Old bricks moss over nicely with damp soil behind them.
    Just look up what soil you need on the web and chuck loads of kitchen scraps in the bottom as the roots will not get to them for at least a year after you have planted it up.
    If I dig a deep hole I can have natural local stone for building containers too. The water company just did the digging for me.
    Near Worksop on heavy clay soil

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd actually recommend cutting some holes in the bag, but not in the bottom but rather at the bottom of the sides. When placed on impermeable surfaces, bags tend to hold water, even if they have holes in the bottom, as the bag deforms to the shape of the surface and the holes end up blocked. A vine, especially, will not appreciate having its roots sitting in water over winter.

      Otherwise, I think you should be fine. I grow a vine in a large pot (rather smaller than a 1 ton builders bag) and it does fairly well. The crop is somewhat modest, but as I say, the pot isn't nearly as big as your planned container.

      You should be fine planting it straight in the bag.
      For filling the bag, try to make it soil-based if you can, although if you can incorporate a bit of extra compost or manure, that would be helpful. Some sand would probably be good, too.
      Vines are actually pretty tough and resilient (aggressive, in fact). They say you should never plant them on clay, but I planted two at my allotment last year, which has heavy clay subsoil just 10 inches or so down (although the top soil is fairly well improved), and they're doing pretty well. I have half a dozen bunches on one of them, and both have grown a lot.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you.

        I have builder's sand which is a bit orange, not sure about using that?
        I have a dalek full of manure which I collected fresh in August so could use any or all of that but I'd like it to rot a bit more first? Would there be any benefit in filling the bottom third of the bag with manure? I don't want to scorch it. In my head I see a load of nutrients that will give up some heat as it breaks down.
        I have, or will have a lot of spent tomato compost as and when I chop the plants. I can probably get some free topsoil. I have a good amount of home made compost.

        Am I looking to plant this as soon as possible or when it's dormant? I could do with another month really.
        Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
        By singing-'Oh how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
        While better men than we go out and start their working lives
        At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner-knives. ~ Rudyard Kipling

        Comment


        • #5
          If it's currently potted then planting time doesn't matter too much. If you need more time to prepare, just leave it as it is until then.

          I'm not sure about using fresh manure, especially on the bottom, as manure holds water well and you don't want a water-holding layer at the bottom of the bag. I'd just leave the manure to rot somewhere then maybe top-dress with the rotted stuff next year.
          Spent compost is fine as long as it doesn't make up too large a proportion of the total volume.

          As for the sand, the colour makes no difference. All that indicates is the type of rock it's made of. Any sand sold for building purposes ought to be fine, as it is washed before being sold (salt in sand for cement, etc. is just as harmful for the cement as it is for plants). If you want to be extra sure, just taste a tiny bit and see if it tastes salty. Sometimes concerns that building sand might be alkaline are cited, but I've never found this to be an issue myself, and grapes are pretty tolerant of somewhat alkaline soils, anyway.
          I will say that if you only have one bag or so of sand then don't bother. You need at least 10% by volume to make any real difference, and ideally you want 25%. So for a 1 ton builders bag that would be at least four standard bags of sand mixed in.
          Sometimes you see people giving away sand left over from building projects cheap or free on Facebook marketplace, so maybe keep an eye out.

          Comment


          • #6
            Some salvaged decking later and I have my grapevine container:

            Click image for larger version

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            A bit of bamboo or willow screening will hide the bag when I manage to forage some.

            I've got a couple of inches of roadstone at the bottom to hopefully aid drainage. There aren't many holes in the bag at the moment but I've never seen one of these with a puddle in so they must drain ok. If I need more drainage I can always make more holes.

            Substrate is manure, home made compost, sand, spent tomato compost, garden soil & some perlite. I think it's a reasonable blend. I've got a couple of inches at the top of the bag so I can top up with more compost as and when.
            Attached Files
            Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
            By singing-'Oh how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
            While better men than we go out and start their working lives
            At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner-knives. ~ Rudyard Kipling

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Mrbadexample,
              As far as I know Spetchley Red is not a known wine grape. If you are wanting to make some wine, I would recommend something like Regent. It is one of the most disease resistant varieties around. You may find with Spetchley that mildew may be a problem and in the U.K. anti-fungal chemicals for grapes are not available. In the position you have the vine, the goblet pruning method may be your best bet.

              If you need Regent cuttings, I will be pruning mine in a couple of months.

              David

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Deltawhiskey View Post
                Hi Mrbadexample,
                As far as I know Spetchley Red is not a known wine grape. If you are wanting to make some wine, I would recommend something like Regent. It is one of the most disease resistant varieties around. You may find with Spetchley that mildew may be a problem and in the U.K. anti-fungal chemicals for grapes are not available. In the position you have the vine, the goblet pruning method may be your best bet.

                If you need Regent cuttings, I will be pruning mine in a couple of months.

                David
                Thanks David.
                I chose Spetchley Red for its ornamentation rather than the grapes. If I do get any, it'll be a bonus.

                I would love to try a Regent cutting if you will have spares.
                Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
                By singing-'Oh how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
                While better men than we go out and start their working lives
                At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner-knives. ~ Rudyard Kipling

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Deltawhiskey View Post
                  Hi Mrbadexample,
                  As far as I know Spetchley Red is not a known wine grape. If you are wanting to make some wine, I would recommend something like Regent. It is one of the most disease resistant varieties around. You may find with Spetchley that mildew may be a problem and in the U.K. anti-fungal chemicals for grapes are not available. In the position you have the vine, the goblet pruning method may be your best bet.

                  If you need Regent cuttings, I will be pruning mine in a couple of months.

                  David
                  Pruning in a couple of months sounds late, i thought it had to be done by mid January to avoid bleed? Ive got a vanessa grape vine, hoping for first fruit this year.

                  id love some Regent cuttings if you have any going spare?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Ben and Mrbadexample,

                    I normally leave the pruning until March. Vines do not usually start pumping sap until the ground temperature has reached 10 degrees. One grower leaves his late on the basis that if they are bleeding it prevents damage by frost. I will take some more cuttings for rooting. I am in Southampton if you can pick up or perhaps we can make some other arrangements.

                    David

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Deltawhiskey View Post
                      Hi Ben and Mrbadexample,

                      I normally leave the pruning until March. Vines do not usually start pumping sap until the ground temperature has reached 10 degrees. One grower leaves his late on the basis that if they are bleeding it prevents damage by frost. I will take some more cuttings for rooting. I am in Southampton if you can pick up or perhaps we can make some other arrangements.

                      David
                      I'd be happy to cover postage David. Southampton's a wee bit far.
                      Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
                      By singing-'Oh how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
                      While better men than we go out and start their working lives
                      At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner-knives. ~ Rudyard Kipling

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        you only need to go for a drive in the countryside and I reckon in 3 or 4 trips you could get enough bricks to build a sodding shed or you could round here any way !as to compost - again keep your eyes open - one allotmenteer on you-tube ( just up the road from me) collected 18000 litres last year from the roadside dumped by the yoofs what grow canabis init and it comes in 35ltr grow pots as well ... handy for potatoes
                        ntg
                        Never be afraid to try something new.
                        Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
                        A large group of professionals built the Titanic
                        ==================================================

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Ben and Mrbadexample,

                          please send me your addresses and I will post some cuttings. They will not be rooted but vines root very easily.

                          David

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Deltawhiskey View Post
                            Hi Ben and Mrbadexample,

                            please send me your addresses and I will post some cuttings. They will not be rooted but vines root very easily.

                            David
                            David I appear to have growth on all four of the cuttings you sent.

                            Click image for larger version

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                            Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
                            By singing-'Oh how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
                            While better men than we go out and start their working lives
                            At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner-knives. ~ Rudyard Kipling

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Mrbadexample,

                              So glad to here that they have all taken. The problem now is when they are all viable what to do with the ones you don’t need. Time to make some friends?

                              Regards

                              David

                              Comment

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