Tiny grapes

Discussion in 'Grapes and Grape Vines' started by soccerdad, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Several years ago I planted three vines of dessert grapes here in zone 7. One red, one green, one blue.

    I prune them well. They grow well. But although I was assured (by the nursery) that they produced very large grapes, the grapes are in fact very very tiny. Hardly worth eating. We have never been at all satisfied with them.

    So I'm going to bite the bullet and replace them.

    Can anyone recommend any really really large, decent tasting, table grapes? Seedless would be nice, but the essential characteristic is: LARGE.

    Getting a but late, since children #1 and #2 have already moved out and the remainder are girls and eat like birds, but maybe the grandkids will like grapes ...
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure yr. soil etc is ok???
    Liz
     
  3. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    The soil may in fact be too good: two of them are at the edge of the vegetable garden, which has been composted for at least 40 years and which has very fertile soil to a depth of at least two feet. The vines thenselves grow well, it is just that the grapes are microscopic.
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Hmm maybe the rich stuff is encouraging the leaf growth and they need to be tricked to fruit because they are not going to exist next year.
    I know when dad had some grapes he broke the long leaders back to expose the grapes to sun. This might have been the side of the house they were on but I remember being told off for pruning them wrongly one year (long time ago).
    Will be interested to see what answers you get.

    Liz
     
  5. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    If the grapes are really tiny (like BBs), then they must not be getting polllinated, although that is hard to imagine. I see a few unpollinated grapes on my vines most years, but this past spring was excellent for pollination. If the grapes are just small, rather than tiny, that is normal for seedless table grapes. They are naturally small; the commercial grapes that you see are treated with a hormone, Gibberellic acid, to make them larger. I don't know of any truly large seedless grapes that grow in the Vancouver area. I grow 5 varieties of seedless grapes, and I use girdling to make them larger. Girdling has the same effect as Gibberellic acid. If you are interested in the technique, you can find lots of information by Googling "girdling grapes".

    The largest variety that I grow is a seeded Concord type, Fredonia I think; and I also use girdling on it to make the grapes even larger.
     
  6. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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  7. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks all.

    It may be that I do not give them enough water, and I'll try girdling them this spring.

    A seed caltalog that just arrived from T & T Seeds in Manitoba offers Kandiyohi grapes, described as "immense blue berries" and "giants". Marketing talk, but has anyone heard of them?
     
  8. glenn10

    glenn10 Member

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    A local nursery has them here, I believe they are a Elmer Swenson variety very hardy in our zone 4b 5a.From what I've seen here they are definitely large for a northern grape but are small in comparison to California grapes found in stores but as you know with grapes they can vary greatly in size and taste depending on the region where they are grown .They are a slip skin seeded grape really good for fresh eating with a taste I find similar to Concord(but sweeter and less lip puckering,I don't like Concord grapes for fresh eating at all but I love these)but everyone has different taste. If you have the space they are definitely worth a try.
     
  9. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks.

    My size standards are set by supermarket grapes from calif so when I read about large grapes I assumed that they mean larger than those that one finds in the supermarket.

    I have seen a few travellers rave about grapes that they bought in Japan, but I have never seen them for sale here.
     
  10. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Problem with growing grapes in the Pacific Northwest is lack of heat. Very few varieties are suitable. And a site with rich soil will often produce rampant vine growth but poor fruit. If you are going to try new varieties, put them in lean, fast draining soil, even a raised bed if necessary. I would try one of the Planet Series grapes, such as Jupiter or Saturn. Reasonably big berries (smaller than supermarket grapes), seedless, good flavor. Also, bunch thin in the spring, allowing only one bunch per shoot to grow. I train my Jupiter grape in a vertical shoot position method, same as my wine grapes, with only one bunch allowed per shoot, and get pretty good sized and excellent flavored grapes.
     
  11. glenn10

    glenn10 Member

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    soccerdad, do any vineyards in your area offer taste testing?That's where I would begin,that way you can make a well informed decision with varieties tried and true to do well in your area. I was hung up on the idea of growing seedless grapes like those found in the stores until I went to a festival.There I tasted in my opinion the best tasting grape ever! Waaaaaay better than any seedless grape I've eaten.It was the variety Swenson red a seeded meaty berry, I immediately bought a vine!I didn't care that it was seeded I was totally sold on the flavor.
    You should check to see if there is a grape growers association in your region, someone will be able to give you some direction if there are places where you can taste test.
     
  12. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    There is no real grape growing near Vancouver, but a mere 4-5 hours drive away is the Okanagon, where they make wine. The wineries all have tasting rooms. But I have never heard of any grape tasting place. That may be connected with the fact that I have never heard of a vinyard that grew grapes for any purpose except wine making, so it's the wine rather than the grapes that they want to interest you in buying.
     
  13. northerngrapes

    northerngrapes Active Member

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    Hi; When i was in the Okanagan we grew over 50 diffrent varieties of table grapes.

    Have you tried Coronation aka Sovereign Coronation or if you like big grapes try an old
    variety called Campbells Early. There were some trials done on Vancouver Island in the mid 1980's with wine grapes and table grapes. There were several good grapes that you could grow there. If you can get a hold of Jupiter it does quite well in the PNW.

    A good winery in your region is

    http://www.domainedechaberton.com/

    Cheers
     
  14. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I had thought of looking for Campbell's Early. Darned if I know where to look for it, though. In plants as in everything else the Yankees have so much more available than we do ...

    I haven't visited that winery yet, but we have been to quite a few. Of course after you visit Napa or Sonoma, BC wines leave a bit to be desired (though it may be treasonous for me to say so).
     
  15. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    Soccerdad, I used to grow Campbell's Early, which I got from Gardenworks (way back in 1986). However, I found Fredonia to be superior in taste and earlier ripening; so I discarded the Campbell's Early and planted a different variety. I only wanted one Concord type. I'm still experimenting and have had the first fruit from Sovereign Coronation this year. It had good flavour and ripened early enough, but the grapes were not as large as Fredonia. To me, size is not as critical with a seedless grape.
     
  16. northerngrapes

    northerngrapes Active Member

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    Campbell's Early does better in the Okanagan than the lower mainland. You could also try Van Buren. Simone Seedless (aka Sovereign Charter) is better than Coronation for the Coast. I don't know if its a availabler down there. Back in the mid 1980's to about 1991 it was tested in by BCMAAF in several test plots. It performs quite well. If you can get Jupiter it does well in your area as well. You can increase the berry size of seedles grapes by cluster thinning and girdling.

    Cheers

    Kim
     
  17. tasty

    tasty Member

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    You can increase the size by spraying the blooms with Ga3. Gibbrelic acid is what companies use to make the grapes huge, with the oblong shape. An example all grapes are small even flame (most common red grape)without the spray of gibberelin they will be very small, you can also use gibberelin as a pollinator it pollinates flowers, not only grape flowers other things like tomatoes, citrus, vegetables, fruits.etc.Before you rip out the plants try some ga3 which comes in a powder, which you mix in a water spray and spray on blooms.here's a link to a local product which is ready to spray on anything http://www.fertilome.com/ProductDetails.aspx?prod=10026 not only peppers and tomatoes again grapes this stuff contains gibberelin but pre measured.
     
  18. northerngrapes

    northerngrapes Active Member

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    GA isn't registered for use on grapes in Canada. It is only available for use by commercial growers who use it on cherry crops. Ga will only work on seedless grapes and with varying results on different varieties.

    Cheers

    kim
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  19. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I grow an acre of grapes, both wine and table. All the grapes that I produce are for my families use. GA3 does an excellent job and works very well on the varieties that it is intended for. I certainly does not surprise me that GA3 is not approved in Canada. Not much of anything is. - Millet (1,135-)
     

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