grapes on the terrace

Hi folks,
I am hoping someone knowledgeable will be able to answer this question. I am trying to grow a grape plant on my terrace one floor above the ground to provide shade. I can't plant it down below because the goats will whack it. So I am going to build a giant "flower pot" out of bricks and cement on the terrace and fill it with earth and compost and start from there to have it wend its way across the trelisses I put up. My question is how much earth/soil do I need for a viable plant? (expressed in cubic metres or yards)
The proposed size of the "flower pot" is 40cm X 40cm X 18Ocm giving roughly 3 tenths of a cubic meter of soil area to root in. Would this be enough to sustain the plant throughout its lifetime? presuming I'd be feeding it from above with compost every year, as I would ordinarily do in the garden...
thanks for reading this far,
eric
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snipped-for-privacy@egypt.net writes:

Wow! This goes against everything I've read or been told about grapes. Here goes on what I understand though I am certainly no expert, not even a novice. Grapes need deep soil as they have deep roots, so right off the bat, a pot is not the way to go. The grape plants are better with age and it takes as long as 20 years for a grape plant to reach its potential in flavor which is why vineyards are so old. A grape plant takes 2-5 years to start bearing. Vineyards are not planted by people who want a quick return on their investment.
My own grape plants are planted in the ground and in two years, they are nowhere near anything that would be providing a shaded area like you seem to want.
If fruit is what you want, a pot is not the answer. If shade is what you want, try hops. They grow very quickly and will provide abundant foliage for shade in one season. Other possibilities are honeysuckle and jasmine or clematis.
Kiwis might work better in a pot than grapes.
As for being on a second floor, that may not be the best idea considering the weight involved. You didn't say if the terrace has solid concrete or rock support under it; wood support won't bear the load you are describing. It seems a much better idea to plant in the ground and build a tomato tower around it to keep out the goats. A tower built with a cattle panel will be strong enough to keep out the goats and can be bent with the right tools in the size square you need (or have a welder do it for you). Cattle panels are 16 feet long and 52 inches high. You could use one panel 4 feet square and 52 inches high or one panel cut in half for 8 feet high and 26 inches square (or two for one 52 inches square). Lay chicken wire (or lawn fencing) on the inside of it, wired to the cattle panel, to keep them from pushing their noses/mouths through the holes (4 or 6 inches square). You could also use a PVC trellis on the outside instead to keep them from reaching through the holes and have a very attractive trellis for the grapes to grow up/through on their way up. With the PVC trellis, you could probably get by with one cattle panel 4 feet square and 52 inches high with the trellis extending about it as the cattle panel would be strong enough to keep the goat(s) from pushing it over and the trellis farther up keeping them from reaching the plant.
If it were my project, I'd put in the cattle panel bent to a cage 4 feet square and 52 inches high, the trellis 6 feet or all the way to the bottom of the deck above. That for appearance. Than I'd cover the trellis with regular lawn fencing or chicken wire to ensure the goats didn't eat the trellis to get to the grapes. Of course, an electric fence wire around it would work more effectively, but it'd get the people too. Of course, realistically, I'd probably just fence the goats out in the first place so it would be a non-issue and plant the grapes however I wanted them and forget everything except support for them.
Good luck on your project and happy and successful planting.
Glenna
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