Four Arm Kniffin System for Growing Grapes
David Handley: I'm David Handley, vegetableand small fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Today we'regoing to be talking about a simple system for pruning hardy grapes here in Maine. The pruning system I like to use is very simple.It keeps the plant open, so it gets light in the summer time, but it also protects theplant a little bit in the winter. This system works best with concord type or labrusca typegrapes, which are the grapes that tend to grow best in Maine. There's really a couple of systems that willwork well for labrusca type grapes. The first
one I want to talk about is the four arm kniffin,and that's what we're going to prune first. The four arm kniffin consists of a perennialtrunk, which goes from the ground right up to a top wire, which is set at about fivefeet. Coming off of this trunk, we will have four arms, or canes, oneyear old growth.Two on the top wire, running each side of the top wire, and two on a lower wire. Thislower wire should be set at about two and a half feet off the ground. Every year, we're going to come in and pruneit so we continue to have a perennial trunk, but only four one yearold trunks to producethe fruit.
Here is our permanent trunk. You can see here,this is a cane from last year. Two yearold cane, this was our fruiting cane last summer,and you can see the difference. Here's this year's cane, that nice chocolate brown colorand smooth bark, and here we go with the older cane, the two yearold cane. The bark is startingto peel, and has more of a gray look to it, so we know that this particular shoot isn'tgoing to fruit again. It's the one yearold shoots that come off it that will fruit. This is going to get pruned out, so that wecan keep our fruiting wood closer to the trunk. We'll just take that back to a good fruitingshoot, and we'll start to cut it out. This
is where it gets fun. We need to wrestle thisout of the trellis, and of course, all these little tendrils have tied it up and aroundmost of the growth that's there. It takes a little bit of cutting, but be careful notto break the fruiting canes that you want to leave behind. Pull it off, and that will open the plantingup so we can see what we have left for good fruiting wood for this year. We've taken offthe four fruiting canes that we left last year, and you can see pretty much all that'sleft, at this point, is the green shoots from last year, that will provide us with goodfruit for this year.
Now we need to choose which four we want toput up. We're going to have four canes. One, two, three, four. Two for the lower wire,two for the upper wire, each heading off in different directions. What I want to look for in this case is canethat's got this nice chocolate brown color, and is about 38 of an inch in diameter. Aboutthe width of your little finger. If it's thinner than that, if it's very weak, it won't producegood fruit. Thin stuff like this, less than 38 of an inch in diameter, we'll just cutthat right out. Here we've got one that's going to go in thisdirection, that looks very nice. I'm going
to count, remember we want about 10 buds onit, so we'll count our buds. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. ThenI just cut out beyond that, because the weaker stuff at the very end isn't going to producevery good fruit. I have my four arms, but you can see I stillhave some leftover canes. What I'm going to use these for are what we call quot;renewal spurs.quot;I'm going to cut these back so that they just have one or two buds on them. What I'm goingto use these buds for, the green shoots that will emerge from these buds and grow out,will be the canes that I'll be putting on the wire next year for fruiting. We call thesequot;renewal spurs.quot;
Best Perennials Monarda Grape Gumball Bee Balm
Bee Balms or Monardas as they're knownbotanically make terrific garden perennials, they're very hardy, easy togrow, cope with a variety of soil types, give a long lasting display, they havearomatic foliage that things like deer normally don't browse on, and of coursesmells nicely when you brush against it, and also what's interesting is that theyhave tubular flowers that things like hummingbirds love to come and visit,butterflies like to come and visit them too. And this very nice variety that'scalled Monarda 'Grape Gumball' grows only less than two foot tall and as you seemakes these rounded mounds that are
covered with this beautiful kind ofmagenta color, that just sparkles in a bed or a border. Makes a lovely plant forputting near the front of anywhere where you really want to accentuate the color,and the nice thing about these too, is that when their first flush begins to goover in summer time, if you trim it back, they'll quickly regrow again and then come with another burst of flower that will extend the color intothe early part of the autumn. So very hardy, easy to grow, able to cope with allsorts of cold conditions, this is a very nice form of the Bee Balm that wasdeveloped at Walters Gardens, it's part
of their quot;Sugar Buzzquot; series and this isMonarda 'Grape Gumball'.
How to Grow Potatoes
Hi, I'm Tricia, a California organic gardener. There are some major benefits toplanting potatoes in your backyard. You can plant varieties that are hard to find,or are very expensive, and you can harvest virtually all year long if you live in a climate like I do. The best way to plant potatoes is to start with certified seed potatoes. It's not a good idea to use the potatoesyou find in the grocery store, because they're not certified diseasefree and sometimes they're treated to prevent sprouting. Notice these eyes, this is where the potato sprouts from.
First of all, we need to cut up thepotatoes. Cut them into chunks with one to two eyes per chunk. Small potatoes, like this little fingerling,can be planted whole. So lay the potatoes out in a well ventilated area just for a couple of days, so that they callus over. The potatoes should go from this look tothis calloused over look, and this will help prevent rot. Plant potatoes early in the season,about 4 weeks before the last frost.
The soil also needs to be at least 40 degrees, and potatoes can be fall planted after the first frost if they're protected from frost by a thick mulch. In addition to weed free soil, potatoeslike sandy loamy soil with a low pH. There are many different ways to growpotatoes, the only requirement is some way ofburying them as they grow because as the tubers form theyneed protection from the light. These Smart Pots will help you achieve that,as well as help you maintain the pH and make it a snap to harvest because all you have to do is pour the potatoes out when they're ready!
You need about three gallons of soil foreach potato that you plant, so in this 15 gallon Smart Pot I canplant five potatoes. In a thirty gallon smart pot I could plant 10 tomatoes. Your soil mix should fill a third of the pot and should be a half and half mixture of compost and potting soil. Make sure and use green waste compost,because animal manure can cause scab. Adding a little bit of fertilizer likethis Acid Mix will help lower the pH. So we're going to plant the potatoes about one to two inches deep. Plant the pieces of potato with the eyesfacing up,
and as the potatoes grow I'm gonna addmore of the compost mixture and be careful not to cover the top six inches of leaves. If you want to plant your potatoes in yourgarden bed, instead of in the pots, amend the soil with an acidicfertilizer and plenty of compost. Since I'm doing a late fall planting,I will dig out about an 8 inch deep trench. Plant potatoes about 8 to 9 inches apart, with rows about 3 feet apart. Remember to plant with the eyes up, cover the potatoes with about 4 inches of soil, and then we're gonna mulch heavily.
Mulching will help protect from the frost. In the spring when the plants get to be about 4 to 6 inches tall, you can start to hill them up. Hilling is important,no matter how you plant your potatoes. Tubers exposed to sunlight turn green and form the toxic substance called solanine. Never eat green potatoes! You can harvestthe potatoes anytime after they flower, but only harvest what youcan eat because they won't keep. For winter storage potatoes, allow the vines to be killed by frost or scythe them down and leave the bed unwatered for two weeks.