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;
How To Grow Tomato Seeds tutorial with Thompson Morgan
Gardening made easy with Thompson Morgan Home grown tomatoes taste delicious and growing them for yourself couldn't be easier.Today I'm going to look at sowing seed. This variety is called 'Sungold'. I'm going to sow them into this wide potusing fresh multipurpose compost. Fill the pot and firm the surface gently soit's flat. Then water it lightly to settle the compost. Open up the seed packet and tipthe seeds into your hand.
Space them evenly over the surfacebut don't sow too many so that they've got room to grow. Sprinkle a thin layer of compost over the seeds to cover them. Write a label for the pot. Within a few weeks you should havesturdy seedlings. Once you see the true leaves emergingthey're ready to be potted up. I'm going to put these into pots ofmultipurpose compost. Use a dibber or a pencil to lift the seedlinggently out of the pot
making sure you hold it by a leaf. If the leaf tears it won't matter but if you bruise the stemthe plant may die. Tease the roots very carefully out ofthe compost they can be quite long already. Transfer the seedling into a hole in the newcompost and firm it slightly. Do the same for each seedling then water them gently to settle them in. After a few weeks growing on your windowsill your tomato will be big enough to go into a pot of its own
and it can go into a grow bag. You normally fit three into a grow bag. or one of these special tomato pots from Thompson Morgan. The Thompson Morgan tomato pots aremade of a strong woven material and can be reused year after year. Fill the pot with multipurpose compostto around half way. Now take the plant and carefully remove the pot from thebase of the plant so you don't damage it.
Place it in the container and add more compost, firming it gently. Don't fill the container to the top just yet because tomatoes can root from the base of the stem and by adding more compost later on you'll increase the rooting area giving you ahealthier plant. Water well to settle the compost. As the tomato plant grows it will form trusses of flowers up the stem. In order to allow all the fruit to ripen restrict each plant to 4 or 5 trusses then stop the plant by removing thegrowing tip.
Side shoots like this one need removing or they will take energy away from the fruit. Keep tying the plant to a cane as it grows or it may fall over or become damaged inthe wind. When your tomatoes are ripe pick them bypulling the fruit away from the stem. Be careful not to knock any of the othertomatoes off. By the middle of summer you should have beautiful healthy ripe tomatoes bursting with flavour and ready to eat.