growing grapes in a container

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Hello,
I'm a new gardener, and new to this group. If any I ask should be better asked elsewhere, let me know. I'm in Atlanta.
I've acquired from a neighbor a "wishing well", think of the as a large pot, 16" deep and 16" across or so (inside dimensions). I have a sunny entrance to my yard but it is on the edge of a concrete driveway, so I thought of the "wishing well". I can set up a long "trellis" for this to grow along
Can I grow a grape in such a container and have it yield fruit. What sort of soil and do I need drainage in such a large pot? Will it need a companion grape and does that have to be of the same type?
If this is all crazy, I'll find some other use for the wishing well...
Jeff
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On 5/2/2009 10:02 AM, Jeff wrote:

Grapes tend to send their roots very deep and wide. If the container is sitting on concrete or has a bottom, I doubt if the grape vine will thrive.
If the container is sitting on the ground and has no bottom, this will work. About a year after you plant it, however, you will be unable to move the container without injuring the grape. Since grapes have very tough roots, you might be physically unable to the the container more than 10 years after you plant it.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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You need soil that will drain. Any potting mix should do. Typically Europeans plant wine grapes 1 meter X 1 meter. In California it is 10' X 6'. They are self pollinating.
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- Billy
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Billy wrote:

Thanks to you and David. I think I'll give up on the "wishing well" and look for another place to plant. I have a typical 1/3 acre lot with just the edges in full sun and was thinking of letting it grow from the sunniest part. I think now I'll plant it back it a bit where it can root well and grow into the sunniest.
I see lots of grape plants for sale and had decided to try it without realizing what a science it is to raise and prune grapes. My neighbor across the street was an old Frenchman who used to have a number overhead "trellises" under his walkways with grapes. I wish he was around now... Table grapes is all I want...
Jeff
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Don't worry about the science. Some plants are as tough as old boots and grapes are in that category. Even if you aren't the worlds best grape pruner, you'll still get grapes if you have enough warmth for them to grow in. And if the Frenchman could grow them in your area, you can too.
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On 5/2/2009 4:21 PM, Jeff wrote:

If they grow well in your area (ask at a nursery, not at a hardware store or lumber yard), try 'Perlette'. The vine will produce many very large bunches of quite sweet yellow-green seedless grapes. Another variety to consider (if suitable for your area) is 'Black Monukka', a dark red seedless grape that is also good for raisins; this one is not as prolific a producer of grapes as is 'Perlette' but is worth having.
Grape vines can be quite heavy. Make sure your trellis or other supports are strong enough. See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_grapes.html for a suggestion ifyou are planting on a slope.
For a flat area of garden, consider using a clothes line as a arbor, the type with two T-bar posts and 3-4 wires between them. Make sure you have ample footings for the posts, set into concrete. Align the clothes line to run east-west so that the vines get uniform sunshine. You can plant a vine at each post and train them overhead to meet in the center, creating a nice shady arbor. You might plant different varieties at each post. Plan ahead regarding the height of such an arbor. You will want to reach the wires for pruning the vines every winter, but you will want to be able to walk and sit under the vines.
Optional: Set up a wood or vinyl grid on the south side to complete your arbor and provide shade for a sitting area. The top of the grid should be about 2-3 ft below the cross-bars of the posts to make sure enough light reaches the vine where it hangs down from the clothes line; the grid should extend the entire length of the clothes line, not from post to post but under the south-most wire. Put a bench or a couple of lawn chairs under the arbor with a small table. Paradise!
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David E. Ross
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David E. Ross wrote:

Are these the kind of green grapes you commonly find in grocery stores? I've never been to fond of them (so I'm thinking/hoping not).
Another

I think I'll do that, and where I want to set this up it would be running east/west and run about 16'. I take it that's enough room for two vines? I can buy vinyl covered cable. How far apart should I space the wires, 6"??? horizontally (I assume)?
You might plant different varieties at

OK.

Here's is about what I *was* thinking:
I've found I can rip 2*4's into 4 slices of about 7/8" by 1 1/2". Standing with the 1 1/2" up (set into a slotted 2*4), I've used several of them to make a nice plant stand for my girlfriend. I thought I'd run about 6 of these 6" apart (for a 3' width) and train the grapes on top of that.
I can't quite visualize your hill side setup, but I think it is a single wire?
What motivated me was the neighbors house (the one the Frenchman used to live in) burning down. The contractor tearing down the house "gave" (dumped) me all the old bricks (~ 90 years old) from the foundation and chimney and I scavenged all the old stepping stones (including some blue slate). So I started chipping out single bricks (this took a while!) and then came the patios and walkways. I terraced the back a bit and thought it was good spot for a vegetable garden and a dwarf peach tree and a few blueberries. I suppose Obama and his arugula had something to do with it too!
Jeff

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On 5/2/2009 8:58 PM, Jeff wrote:

I'm not sure. Today, the markets seem to label grapes as "green" or "red" without indicating any variety. 'Perlette' has a round, yellow-green berry, not like the long, pure green of 'Thompson Seedless'.
'Perlette' is much more sweet and less tart than 'Thompson Seedless'. Once, when I had an over-abundant crop, I ran a bunch of 'Perlette' through a juice extractor. We couldn't drink the juice because it was far too sweet, almost as if someone added a sack of sugar.

I'm using uncoated steel wire rope. Coated wire rope might last longer, but I couldn't find any at a reasonable price when I setup my supports.
The wires can be 12"-24" apart.

Yes, it's a single wire. My hill is quite steep. A clothesline setup with multiple wires would have the downhill side too high up and the uphill side too close to the ground.

If your patio is brick set on the soil without any concrete (perhaps with a gravel base underneath the bricks), you could lift a few bricks and plant the grapes in the resulting holes. Each hole should be about 18" on a side, more for setting up the posts. Then you could have your arbor shading the patio.
I didn't have room in the flat area of my garden for grapes. Furthermore, my hill has failed twice; but it never moved near my grape vines. (See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_back.html#hill .) Thus, I planted the vines on the hill, both for the space and to stabilize the slope.
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May not be a good idea. Perlette are Vitis vinifera and west of the Rockies they would be labor intensive to keep the mildew off.
Jeff would be better off with a Vitis labrusca which is native to his region and used to the high humidity.
In any event, the University of Georgia makes recommendations at http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/B807/B807.htm
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- Billy
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On 5/3/2009 12:45 PM, Billy wrote:

While I get mildew on my roses, I've never seen it on my grapes, including 'Perlette'. However, I do spray them after pruning (January) with an emulsified mix of dormant oil and copper sulfate, at the same time that I spray that mix on my roses and peach tree (the 1st of 2 sprayings for the peach).
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Well, being in northern California and looking south, I will be excused for confusing East and West. If you ever happen to see the Sun rising out of the Pacific, some morning, you will know who is at the controls. ;O)
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- Billy
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On Sun, 03 May 2009 17:18:03 -0700, "David E. Ross"

Copper sulfate is toxic, handle with care. It prevents mold/mildew very well, but probably would not use on food plants.
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On 5/4/2009 1:14 PM, Phisherman wrote:

Yes, it's toxic. Its use as a fungicide was discovered in France, where vineyards would apply it to vines to discourage vagabonds from stealing the fruit. Knowing that it is toxic, they would apply enough to be visible as a blue-green coating. The growers noticed that, where they applied copper sulfate, the vines did not develop mildew.
I apply it as a dormant spray before any foliage appears. I spray my peach, roses, and grapes right after pruning. I repeat the spray only on the peach, just before the flower buds open. Since the plants have not yet even bloomed let alone set fruit, there is no risk of contaminating the fruit.
No, I'm not an organic gardener. But when you grow plants that are unnatural (hybrids not found in nature) in an environment where they would not grow if they were natural, you must sometimes resort to unnatural practices.
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I don't know why I'm responding to this, except my introduction to grape arbors started with an ol "Frog" too. We spent many a happy hour there, cheating each other and our wives at canasta, and eating many a delicious meal. But that is another story.
Forget wire or cable, these things can get serious. See: (Amazon.com product link shortened) 1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid41374941&sr=1-1 Click on "Look Inside" Click on "First Pages" and then go to page 4 That is a grape arbor.
(Thirty years ago, I saw 10' X 6' arbors used for growing commercial grapes in the Asti region of Italy.)
When the arbor is up, I recommend that you pour a slab for the dining area underneath with an extension off to side to place your barbecue on.
Best picture I could find of an arbor was http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/a-grape-arbor/index.html This arbor is a little too close to the house for my taste, but what ever spins your wheels. I like the stonework in the slab.
For construction see: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07202/803233-47.stm?cmpid=lifestyle.xml or http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/homefruit/grapearbors/grape . html
For growing grapes in Atlanta see: http://www.helpfulgardener.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t 77 and http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/B807/B807.htm
I've always envisioned civilization as having started with dining (conversation + food). Bon apptit.
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- Billy
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Billy wrote:

I was fond of my "Frog" also, although he had been here for decades, English was still a second language. I think all French must have a particularly high high regard for good dining and good living.
Thanks for the considered and detailed response.
We spent many a happy hour there,

Absolutely unbelievable.

Oddly, I have good shade. It's sun that is at a premium.

The UGA doc is quite comprehensive. I'm disappointed that I won't be eating Perlette, but it does get quite humid here. I do notice that the boundary between their Upper Piedmont Area and the Lower Piedmont, Middle and South Georgia Area runs right through my house, in addition, I'm right at 1000'. Perhaps Fredonia and Conquistador, to cover all bases... or miss them all...
It appears to me that I should use the American Varieties as I'll have a high arbor, that mirrors what the French neighbor did.

Thanks to you and Billy for the thoughtful answers. It appears that I'll need to do more thinking about what to buy and how to build the arbors. I have a slab on the southern sunnier end of my yard where my garage used to be (~ 8' * 16'). That looks to me like two vines max.
Jeff
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Perfect, Asti, where I saw the grapes being grown on arbors in 1982, is in the Piedmont of Italy.
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- Billy
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Billy wrote:

Do you have any suggested sources for these? Many local nurseries are in distress (and low stock variety) or out of business here, I had to go to Lowes of all places... The drought killed them off, although this is a nice rainy year, raining at the moment in fact...
On a side note, do you know anything about Goose Berries?
Jeff
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On 5/4/2009 5:41 AM, Jeff wrote:

Don't be looking for grapes now. They are best planted bare-root. If your soil doesn't freeze in the winter, plant them in January. Otherwise, plant them as soon as the soil can be dug. This means waiting until next winter.
Patience is important. After my hill was repaired, my grape vines were planted in December 2007. They might reach their supporting wire this summer. If they do reach the wire, they might have 2-3 bunches of grapes next year. (To maintain vigor, I won't let them have any more than 3.) They probably won't start producing well until 2011.
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year.
Trimming off the young clusters in June will put more of the vines energy into increased vegetative grow. This important to commercial growers who want to maximize their production as soon as possible. Commercially, grapevines are stripped of their fruit for the first three years to increase the size of the plant. The commercial vines are normally replaced after forty years, as production starts to diminish, although they can live to be a hundred. If you let the vine bear fruit for these first years, it won't damage the vine.
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- Billy
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Billy wrote:

OK. Largely what I see here is bare root and I'm assuming that mail order will most likely be bare root. So, I'll put off the planting except for the mystery potted grape (1 gallon, 3' tall) I acquired. Being a mystery, other than it has red fruit on the label, I'm wondering just what to do with it anyways, grapes apparently are a long time project.

Thanks again to you and David.
Jeff
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