I’ll admit I have got into a pickle with my grape. It is very happy growing along the south-facing side of the garage but I haven’t really got the hang of pruning it.M
y variety is Black Hamburg, a dessert grape. “Viticulture” is as old as the hills but the pruning and training of grapes is still quite complicated.
I decided to try the Guyot method as outlined by the RHS but my vine had other ideas. The shoots that are supposed to replace the horizontal arms were weedy and weak so I let it send up vertical shoots. These were very vigorous and produced several flower clusters but unfortunately the developing fruits didn’t ripen. I think I should have pruned some of the clusters out so it could concentrate its energy on the remaining few. Also late summer last year wasn’t very sunny or hot.
I have now decided to try the multiple rod or cordon system – largely because it seems to have evolved that way and also my vine seems to have plenty of vigour. I don’t feed or water it and it seems to thrive: its roots are in the shade while the shoots are in the sun. I’ve given it a little compost mulch for good behaviour.
Grapes should be pruned in early winter so I’m a little late (February) but it still looks totally dormant. It has two horizontal arms from which I’ve allowed eight vertical shoots. I’ve cut the others back to one bud. Hopefully the vertical shoots will sprout side branches on which flower clusters will form.
That’s the plan – I’ll keep you posted!