Organic farming is considered as the most efficient technique of farming these days. This method incorporates natural products to enhance the growth of the crops. No chemical additives are used in this farming technique. Organic farming is a cultivation criterion which is related to the environment. Manures, fertilizers and pesticides, everything are extracted from the nature. Due to this reason, organic yields do not cause any health issues.
Here we are going to discuss about the farming techniques of grapes.
Grapes are a nutritional fruit that comes in different colour and forms. Based on colour, they are categorized into red, green and purple. Based on form, they divided as seeded grapes, seedless grapes, grape jellies etc.
Grapes are found to be originated in the Middle East countries. They are the main source of wine. In a year, around 7.2 trillion gallons of wine are produced around the world.
Grapes are found to have many medical benefits. They are proven to heal cancer, high blood pressure, heart diseases and constipation. The major contents in grapes are fibre and water. Apart from nutrients, they also contain antioxidants which have various benefits.
Grapes come under the family of Vitaceae and the crops are mainly grown in relatively warm temperate areas. There are two different varieties of grapes, with seeds and seedless. Grapes are one of the major crop varieties in India.
Grapes tend to adapt in every soil types but the efficient ones are loamy soil which has the presence of organic matter and humus. These are soil with deep-medium texture, good drainage property and less salt content.
The optimum pH level of soil should be 6.5 to 7.5. Grapes require warm planting area which receives full sunlight and moderate water. While choosing seedlings, choose those plants which can grow efficiently in the conditions of your farmland. The planting soil should be loose, rich with nutrients and deep enough for the roots to protrude. Approximately the roots are estimated to go up to a depth of 24 to 36 inch.
Application of organic manures such as compost, cover crops etc. will help the growth of the crops and strengthens the structure.
The spacing of grape vines is decided based on the crop variety and soil fertility. The standard spacing practiced is 2.5 mx1.5 mx2.75 mx1.50 m.
Propagation of grape vines is done by using the cutting method. For this, the hardwood cutting of the previous year’s shoot is prepared. After cutting and propagation, only the healthy cuttings are transferred to the farmland. Cuttings which are healthy and disease resistant can only provide good quality vines. The cutting process is carried out in the month of January.
Farmlands with light sandy soil are applied with a standard dose of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Nutrients should be provided to the soil to enhance the healthy growth of the plant. Compromise in any of the nutrients will result in the reduction of the growth rate and the quality of the yields.
In organic farming, the soil is fertilized, more than the plant. When manures are applied to the soil, the microbes present in the soil decompose them to form nutrients and other forms such as humus.
In order to increase productivity, the vines are subjected to pruning. Pruning is a technique where any of the vegetative part in the vine is removed. This ensures an expected grape vine framework and high rate of yields.
In this process, healthy canes are cut by keeping 2-3 buds which slowly develops into healthy canes after 4-5 months. When the pruning operation is carried out in dried canes, it is known as ‘back pruning’ and when the vines are pruned for grapes, it is known as ‘winter pruning’.
Pests affect the grapes vigorously. In order to avoid the attack of pest, 4 major factors are followed by the farmers:
- Site selection
- Grape variety selection
- Farmland management
As grape vines are prone to the attack of pests and diseases, extra care should be taken. The plants need to be monitored regularly and if any infection is found, treat the early using organic pest solutions. Apart from small pests, birds are also attacking the grapes. As a preventive measure, netting is done all around the farm as soon as the grapes start to ripen.
Major pest which attacks grapes are:
- Cane girdlers
- Grape berry moths
- Leaf rollers
- Japanese beetles
- Black rot
- Dead arm
- Powdery mildew
Grapes are harvested normally after 30-70 days of fruit set. They are harvested when the colour changes from dark green to light green or red to purple. During the ripening stage, acidity inside the fruit decreases and the sugar content increases.