any experience with Concord, Reliance, Lakemont grape varieties?

I found a Concord seedless grape at the local Lowe's, which fit in to my late grape harvest. I was still looking for a red and white variety, hopefully mid and early to help spread around the fresh eating grape availability.
I ended up going with Reliance (red) and Lakemont (white). Concord supposedly has 115 days to harvest, Lakemont 80 days, and Reliance is supposed to be a mid season, but don't know exactly how many days.
Anyone have any experience with these, or have any suggestions? I'm growing grapes for the first time, after having a failure of the entire row of blueberries I planted. This is the second time I've had blueberries completely fail, despite using soil acidifiers. I'm never trying them again unless I do a midget variety in a wooden planter or pot.
I've talked to a number of folks who seem to have a grape harvest every year, and some of them say they haven't done anything other than prune them back once in a while.
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On 5/13/12 5:24 PM, Ohioguy wrote:

I have three grape vines on my hill: 'Perlette', 'Black Monukka', and 'Flame'. The support system I use is described at my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_grapes.html . My hill is describedat <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_back.html#hill .
I find that grapes require some care beyond pruning. As the vines grow during the spring and summer, they need to be either pinched back or tied to their supports. They require regular DEEP watering; during our long rainless summers, they are watered only every third weekend but thoroughly at that time. They do not require much fertilizer; they get fed with the rest of my hill once in the early spring with a house-brand of lawn food (no insecticide or herbicide).
Once birds, squirrels, raccoons, or other life discover the grapes, care becomes more complicated. For birds, I tie unwanted compact discs to the supports and vines. For squirrels, I use a cage trap and then release them about 5 miles away in a park that has coyotes, hawks, snakes, and owls. My supports should now be high enough to keep the grapes beyond the reach of raccoons; if not, I will buy a larger cage trap.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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David, nothing is out of the reach of a raccoon. My sister-in-law has a guest house on her property that the coons have been trying to claim for years. Last year I had to add metal eave vents and cut several trees near the roof edge to prevent them nesting in the attic. This year they have learned to climb the downspout onto the roof. They were then determined enough to rip out the metal vents. I'm afraid they'll rip the roof off if I put expanded metal over the vents. Execution may be in their future! Steve
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Ohioguy wrote:

I grew concord grapes for more than 50 years. Pruning is not a once in a while haphazard thing. Pruning grapes is an art form that requires due diligence. Unless grapes are properly pruned one will not be successful with a large crop of large well formed grapes and harvest will be difficult. The first pruning is done in the spring after the grapes form (the size of BBs), one removes 1/3 of the new growth by weight, experience will teach how to judge. The second pruning is in the fall after the leaves begin to brown, then one removes everything up to the last year's buds. A proper trellis and training is import too, and there are many ways to trellis and train vines. I strongly suggest you read all you can find, there is much information about how to grow grapes, how to build a trellis, and how to train vines on the net. There is no one best way, different growers do grapes differently, naturally they all swear by their method. In fifty years of growing I never fertilized or used any chemicals, no reason to, grape vine roots are extensive and grow deep... any surface fertilizing won't reach their roots and may even cause them not to seek their full depth... I never watered either. Since retirement I moved and I don't grow grapes here, however conditions in the Catskills afre ideal for grpe growing, witness by all the wild grape vines I'm constanly battling in my woods and hedgerows, just yesterday I mowed my back field and my path through my woods and after mowing I spent severl hours lopping grape vines. If left to their own devices grapes will strangle trees and kill them by blocking them from receiving any light. Some of those vines were as thick as my arm. Wild grapes grow fast and are very good at hiding as their main stem grows up a tree trunk. Anyway, after all that labor you'll have to decide what to do with concord grapes, they are not easy to give away as most folks don't like to eat them fresh, and preparing jams and jellies is a lot of work. You first need to pot their pulp from their skins so you can cook them separately, otherwise your jams and jellies will contain a lot of seeds... you need the skins for flavor and color. I used to use some for baking but I was lucky to have some Oriental neigbors to give them to, for some reason they love to eat fresh concord grapes and it's rare to find concord grapes for sale at food market produce sections. Cooking concord grapes for jams will cramp your fingers so badly you won't be anxious to do it again... was a time I used to slip skins from over 200 pounds of grapes. After a while I mostly used the leaves to make dolmas. Oh, and don't ever tie grape vines to its trellis (you'll kill the vine), anyone who tells you to tie grape vines to the trellis has never grown grapes and has never even seen grapes growing, anyone who has ever grown grapes would know that they attach themselves with strong tendrills that wrap quite tightly. This is a photo of my concords before they turned purple, anyone can plainly see the tendrils attaching to the trellis and to the vine itself:
http://i50.tinypic.com/2q9b2p0.jpg
Here is my Concord grape recipe file:
"Good Picking" GRAPE JAM
Pick 3-1/2 lbs Concord grapes. Slip skins from pulp and set aside. Place grape pulp in stainless jelly pot with 1/2c water.
Bring to boil & simmer 5 mins. Sieve to remove seeds. Finely chop skins & add to cooked pulp.
Measure 5c grape pulp mixture and return pulp to jelly pot.
Add 7-1/2c sugar, 1/2t butter.
Heat medium heat till sugar melted, then adjust to high heat.
Heat and stir to full rolling boil that will not stop.
Add 1 pouch Certo and return to full rolling boil at high heat. Boil exactly one minute stirring constantly.
Fill jars to 1/8in. Seal with lids. Invert 5 mins.
GRAPE JAM -- Ball Blue Book
2 quarts stemmed concord grapes 6 cups sugar
Separate pulp from skins of grapes. If desired, chop skins. Cook skins gently 15 to 20 minutes, adding only enough water to prevent sticking (about 1/2 cup). Cook pulp without water until soft; press through sieve or food mill to remove seeds. Combine pulp, skins and sugar in a large sauce pot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar disolves. Cook rapidly almost to jellying point, about 10 minutes. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield: about 3 pints.
Grape Pie (Welch's)
4 Cups Concord grapes 3/4 C granulated sugar 1 1/2 TBS. lemon juice 1-2 TBS. quick tapioca
Slip grapes from skins. Save skins. Cook pulp until seeds loosen. Press through sieve. Mix pulp, skins and remaining ingredients. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Pour into UNBAKED pie shell, top with second crust and bake. Pie will be done when it is bubbling in the center (takes 45-60 minutes to bake).
(Special notes: Start pie at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350. Vent top crust well since this pie tends to bubble over because of the high sugar content. You may want to put a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the oven to catch any spills.)
Concord Grape Pie (anon)
pastry for single crust pie 11/2 lbs. concord grapes (4 cups) 3/4 cup sugar 1/3 cup all purpose flour 1/4 t. salt 2 T. butter or margarine melted 1 T. lemon juice 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup butter or margarine
Prepare and roll out pastry into a 12 inch circle. Line a 9 inch pie plate and flute edge. Do not prick pastry. Slip skins from grapes and set skins aside. In saucepan bring grape pulp to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Sieve to remove seeds. Add skins to pulp. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and the salt. Stir in the butter, lemon juice and grape mixture. Pour into pastry shell. To prevent over browning cover edge of pie with tinfoil. Bake in 375 degrees for 20 -25 minutes. Mean while combine 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Cut in 1/4 cup butter until crumbly. Remove foil from pie. Sprinkle crumbs mixture over pie. Bake about 25 minutes more.
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Plan to plant your grapes in the spring if you live in Ohio. Newly planted grapevines may not withstand the deep freezes of Ohio winters. Break up the soil to a depth of 2 feet using a pitchfork and test the pH using a soil testing kit.
Amend the soil if necessary. Grapes prefer soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, so you will need to mix lime in with the soil if the pH is below 5.5. If the pH is above 6.5, add peat moss. Add the required amendment according to the manufacturers instructions. Dig holes large enough to accommodate the roots. Remove the grapevines from their nursery containers and deposit one grapevine in the center of each hole with the roots spread.
Backfill the holes and pat the soil around each grapevine to remove air pockets. Water the grapevines using a soaker hose. Supply 1 inch of water per week, maintaining moist soil at a depth of 1 inch for the first growing season.
Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch around the grapevines. Mulching with bark chips or straw will suppress weeds and improve drainage. A layer of mulch will also protect the roots during the winter.
Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer to the soil around the grapevines approximately one week after planting. Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturers instructions.
Hammer a trellis or arbor into the soil 2 to 3 inches behind the grapevines. Attach the grapevines to the trellis or arbor using elastic twine. The trellis or arbor will support the vines and give surface on which to climb. Grapevines will grow only to the height of their support.
--
allen73


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