The table grape is a fruit currently on the rise and widely consumed in all European countries. Spain, like Peru and others, we are the largest producers worldwide.
And it is that the grapes are not only taken at Christmas but throughout the year.
TABLE GRAPE CULTIVATION
The cultivation of table grapes in Spain is mainly concentrated in the Levant. The main producing provinces are Alicante, Murcia and Andalusia, most of which are concentrated in Almería within this community.
In recent years, apirenas (seedless) varieties have been more in demand than traditional varieties. Even so, we believe that the authentic table grape is the one in which you have to calibrate the bite so as not to break too much seed, an aspect that on New Year’s Eve becomes tedious, due to the rush. There is the grace of the grapes!
In this post we are going to give some touches on the cultivation of table grapes for such a special night. One of the techniques used to keep the grapes in perfect condition until this date is usually the bagging of the bunch.
When the cultivation is carried out in a conventional way with the bagging technique, phytosanitary products are not applied until the last moments before the harvests, so it is interesting to try the conversion to organic cultivation, with certain agricultural practices that we have already commented in previous posts. and that we will mention now.
For the cultivation of table grapes in an ecological way it is recommended:
- Contribution of organic matter in the form of shoots, leaves, etc. which will end up becoming highly stable humidified material. The basis of organic farming is to maintain a stable, alive and nutrient-rich soil. If you look closely, we are creating a mulch similar to the BRF that we mentioned at the entrance of the different types of mulch in the garden.
- If the decomposition of these materials is slow, it will be necessary to make use of compost in the first stages of cultivation to provide the soil with the decomposed matter necessary at that time.
- Avoid turning the soil horizons, making fewer passes and shallower ones. Subsoiling can be a recommended option.
- Improve soil quality with green manures and crop association.
- With mulch techniques, we manage to maintain the porosity of the soil at its most superficial horizon.
- Use hedges and windbreaking vegetation on the boundaries of the plot to protect the crop.
- If the soil is affected by pests and diseases, solarization can be a method to consider.
VARIETY AND ROOTSTOCK: A VITAL CHOICE
The choice of the variety and the rootstock supposes the success or failure of the grape cultivation since once the vines are established, it is not something that can be corrected except by eliminating the existing ones and adding new strains.
Therefore, given the wide range of both parts that we currently have, it is vital to make a good selection and choice of plant material.
Mainly the variables that will influence us in the choice of the variety are going to be: climate, altitude, orientation, production objectives and final recipients of the product, that is, to what type of market and clients we are going to dedicate ourselves.
For the choice of the pattern, obviously the factor is going to be the type of soil. It should be borne in mind that the compatibility between the two plays an as much or more important role than the qualities of each part separately.
We can have the pattern best adapted to our soil and the variety that we think is best for our purposes, but if the compatibility between the two is not good, we will not obtain the expected results.
The conduction system in table grapes is also a determining factor in the type of grape and the quality to be obtained during the life of the vineyard. There are several conduction systems that provide very good grape quality. The most widespread is the vineyard. There are others that we briefly explain below:
It is the most used for late and early varieties. The arrangement and conduction is carried out at 2 m from the ground with the vegetative zone parallel to the ground. It has high costs in support and establishment structures. In areas with excessive insolation it is a good method to avoid damage to the berries.
Driving on high trellis:
The vegetative zone develops vertically. Just the opposite of parral. Alternative to take into account in areas with steep slopes of the land where the vineyard is unviable. Suitable for early white, black and red varieties.
Driving in Y: This method is a conjunction of the previous two. The vegetation zone is left with a 45º inclination with respect to the ground. It combines the advantages of vine conduits and high trellis; the most outstanding thing is that it has a foliar surface of up to 120 and 125% with respect to the soil and theoretically more production per hectare. (ROMAN, A., 1997). It is taking more and more strength.
BAGGED BUNCH TECHNIQUE IN TABLE GRAPES
And here comes perhaps the most curious technique used to obtain a late grape , of quality, sweet and of uniform color, the bagging.
The technique literally consists of bagging and covering the growing bunch with a saturated cellulose paper. The paper is tied to the peduncle of the bunch and left open at the bottom, leaving the bunch covered as with a lampshade.
This bagging is left until harvest, providing numerous advantages:
- We delay ripening. A fundamental aspect if we want to eat them on New Year’s Eve!
- We get a smooth and uniform color.
- We preserve the cluster of attacks by insects and some birds, avoiding in turn, certain diseases.
- We protect the cluster from direct sunlight and adverse weather conditions until harvest time.
- We also protect the bunch from harvesting and transportation conditions.