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,
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
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
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.
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