I'm preparing to build an arbor for a few grape vines, all in the same row (trained to a single downward hanging canopy system). My question is how much space do I need to leave in front of and behind the arbor? My yard is not huge, so I want to make things as close together as possible, without causing issues for myself down the line.
The arbor will be at the north edge of my garden, with a path just north or the arbor, running parallel to it. So how close could I install the arbor to the path without me getting snared by errant shoots every time I walk along the path?
I've read that 9 or 10' between rows is pretty typical... but is that really necessary? If I have to leave 10' on both sides of the arbor, that's 20' less garden space for me...
Any feedback would be much appreciated!
I have noticed that a lot of people recommend 20' square for a tree , 10 feet either way for a grape plant. I agree with you. Either those people have a huge amount of land or they only want to grow a few things. If you really prune your grapes right, you don't need that much space. I tie them to a wire, and I have all kinds of different plants pretty close. The diversity is useful because it leads to less disease. I think you can do it with two feet either way. That's how do it. Remember that for me, grapes are vegetables as well as fruit. When it starts to lead to far out, I pinch off the end, chop it up and put it in my casserole. The end is the most tender part anyway.
My one experience was growing grapes on a trellis near a wall. It was easy to keep the growth within one foot of the trellis, both behind and in front. However, it takes a lot of pruning to keep vigorous grape plants opened up for good air flow and prevention of fruit rot. Your row in open space may tolerate more foliage.
Large row spacing recommendations may be based on use of mowing and other commercial-type activities. Like getting 4- or 6-foot dimension tote bins between rows.
Thanks, John and Larry, for your feedback. I'm now leaning towards giving the vines ~18" on each side; I'll have paths on both sides beyond that, so I won't be packing them too closely with neighboring vegetation, so hopefully this will be enough airflow.
Thanks also, John for the tip on the edible grape shoots -- I'll definitely try it!
My mature grape vines' canopies extend 30" out from the trellis wire. The vines are about 24'' and the foliage another 6".
Thanks, Dubyadee! That's really helpful. What type of training system are you using? (e.g., single downward hanging canopy, Geneva double curtain, etc.)
Perfect! This is great info, Dubyadee. And thanks for referencing the photos - it makes it a lot easier to visualize what things are going to look like some years down the line. ( I'm pretty much starting from a blank slate - my current yard originally featured a dozen or so mature volunteer trees, all in bad locations. I tore just about everything out last year and now have quite the widely- spaced orchard in miniature. I look forward to seeing things fill in...)
Here’s what the corner post looks like today in full growth.
That looks great, Dubyadee -- thanks for sharing the photos with the vines leafed out. I hope you had a good harvest this year -- I hear that with all the smoke eclipsing the sun around here, some vines stalled out during veraison. What a ride this summer has been...