The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to start grapes from hardwood cuttings

Steuben grapesDid you ever want to start a vineyard?  I don't particularly want a vineyard, but I do want fruit of any and all sorts coming out my ears.  At $6 and up per plant, a vinyard doesn't really fit into our budget, though.  Luckily, there's a cheaper option.

Early this spring, one of Mark's friends gave us some vines he'd pruned out of his vineyard.  I did some reading and learned that grapes are easy to root from hardwood cuttings like these --- just cut dormant vines into pieces with four buds per piece in early spring, soak the cuttings in water for three days, poke them into the ground about a foot apart so that three of the buds are underground, and wait a while. 

We had a 55% success rate with our grape cuttings this year --- many other people get up to 100%, but they probably water their plants during the drought rather than ignoring them.  Which is all to say that we are overflowing with extra Golden Muscat and Steuben grapevines! 

VineyardSo --- time for a giveaway (click for our usual guidelines)!  The lucky winner will get two Golden Muscat and one Steuben vine --- just the right amount to fit in a 12 foot row.  The vines are one year old (so a little smaller than the two year old vines you'd buy in most stores), and vary in size.  The Golden Muscats have put out a lot of new growth (over a foot in some) while the Steubens are still pretty stubby.  We'll  cut the vines back to two buds so that they'll spend another year developing roots (and so that it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to mail them.)

Steuben and Golden Muscat are both seeded grapes, but they are delicious!  Mark's friend uses them to make wine, and also sells the fruits from his 75 plant vineyard at the farmer's market every year, bringing home a couple hundred dollars each time he goes.  We had great luck making delicious grape juice out of ours.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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