In the conditions of a short and unpredictable summer in central Russia, it is extremely difficult to grow grape varieties with very large and sweet berries. Because they ripen well only in warm southern regions. But this does not mean at all that you will not be able to harvest grapes, for example, in the Moscow region. This is very possible. You just need to choose the right variety. And it is the Zilga grape that is the very variety that is most adapted to the changeable climate and short summer.
Caring for him will not require superhuman efforts from you. And you will harvest small but tasty berries every year. You don't even need a greenhouse for this. This grape variety grows well outdoors. Some gardeners don't even cover it for the winter. Because it has a fairly high frost resistance. We will talk about this and other characteristics of Zilga grapes later in the article.
What varieties are called technical
Zilga grapes: photos
The Zilga grape variety is technical. That is, it is a variety that was originally grown for making wine. But this does not mean at all that it cannot be consumed fresh. Or prepare, for example, juice. And this despite the fact that it is early maturing. And wine made from Zilga grapes is recognized by many gourmets as unusually tasty.
The technical grades have characteristics in common. These grapes are less demanding on the soil. And also unpretentious in care. Making minor mistakes won't ruin your harvest. Industrial varieties are usually more hardy than others. Even if summer is not very happy with the weather, they still accumulate sugar. After full ripening, the berries do not deteriorate on the bush. On the contrary, they can accumulate more sugar.
Such varieties are easy to propagate and form. And also amaze with the growth rate. Berries can be used not only for making wine, they are versatile. Well, the last and very important characteristic. The yield of technical varieties is always at its best.
Zilga grapes: description of the variety and characteristics
These were the general characteristics of the technical grades. And now we will consider in more detail the varietal characteristics of the Zilga grapes. It was bred by the Latvian breeder Sukatnieks on the basis of the Smuglyanka variety. Which was pollinated with the varieties "Yubileiny Novgorod" and "Dvietes Zilas". The aim of the experiment was to obtain a variety that will yield a good harvest in the climate of Latvia. And the experiment was definitely a success. And another variety is responsible for excellent frost resistance. It is this quality that provides the gene of "Amur" grapes.
"Zilga" refers to early grape varieties. This means that the berries are ready for use within 3.5 months after flowering. The grapes are highly vigorous. And also with excellent maturation of shoots. The fruiting rate is over 80%. And this is a very high result.
To form a bush, experts recommend fan pruning. And also tie the plant to the trellis. Cut off the grapes, leaving about 7 "eyes" on the vine. "Zilgu" can be combined with all kinds of rootstocks. It is not required to normalize the harvest (remove some of the fruits so that the rest ripen qualitatively). Because the plant has enough strength to ripen the entire crop.
If we talk about frost resistance, then the temperature of -26 degrees grapes are able to endure without additional shelter. That is, only under the snow cover.Even the most frost-resistant plant will freeze without snow. Another undoubted advantage of the variety is its self-pollination. As well as high resistance to major grape diseases (mildew and mildew). On a five-point scale - four points.
The berries are medium-sized and the bunch is very small (90-100 grams). The color is blue. The sugar content in berries is 20-22%. And also they have not very high acidity. From a strong adult plant with good care in a good year, you can get 21-23 kilograms of grapes. Since wasps are indifferent to this grape variety, the berries, after full ripening, can hang on the branches for some time. Sometimes they even rave.
Despite the fact that technical varieties are considered wine, the variety "Zilga" is recognized by many as universal. And they use it both as a wine and as a table variety. And also, most gardeners say that it looks wonderful as a decoration for a terrace or gazebo.
When and how to plant
Technical varieties, as we have already said, are not too demanding on soil fertility. Typically, soil requirements for grapes are limited to the following parameters. Low groundwater level, sandy loam or loam. The acidity level of the soil is about 6. At the same time, experienced growers note that the most delicious wine made from Zilga grapes is obtained when it grows on poor land. Which contains mostly sand. And also a lot of stones.
When choosing a place for seedlings, remember that it should be well lit by the sun. And also have wind protection. If you plan to plant grapes next to a terrace or a gazebo, then you need to place it from the south.
As a rule, grapes are planted in spring or in the first half of autumn. Spring planting should be carried out after the threat of frost has passed, and the earth warms up enough (at least +10 gr.). If you plan to plant grapes in the autumn, be guided by the weather forecast, the plant should have time to take root before frost, and it will take at least a month for rooting. This rule determines the timing of the autumn planting.
Choosing a landing site
The place for the Zilga grape variety must be prepared in advance, preferably a year before planting. If necessary, add a sufficient amount of sand to the soil. A hole for grapes must be dug quite large - about 65 cm deep and wide, and if you plan to plant more than one bush, then the distance between them should be at least one and a half meters. Although experienced growers advise a tighter planting, if you are going to grow grapes specifically for making wine - with such a planting, the quality of the wine is much higher.
Planting grape seedlings takes place in the following order: the pit is prepared in advance, immediately before planting, at least a bucket of warm water is poured into it. The soil, which you will then fill the roots with, must first be prepared; for this, mix the earth with rotted manure, adding phosphorus and potassium fertilizers (about 200 grams each). Then fill the hole a few centimeters with broken brick, gravel or expanded clay to provide the necessary drainage. On top of the drainage layer, put a mound of earth on which you place the seedling and very carefully spread its roots. Before you start filling the hole, fix a peg next to the seedling, which at first will serve as a support for it (you need to do this now so that later during installation it will not damage the roots of the grapes). Now you can fill the hole with the prepared nutrient mixture and pour it with another bucket of warm water, after which you mulch the soil around with humus or other material.
Zilga grapes and their care
Caring for Zilga grapes is not much different from caring for other varieties and includes the main actions: timely watering and fertilization, pruning and shelter for the winter.
In the early years, young plants are recommended to be watered four times.
- In the spring, after you have removed the shelter, you need to water the plant at the root using 35-40 liters of water, having mixed it with ash beforehand. If the frost has already completely passed, then pour with warm water. If it is necessary to delay the awakening of the grapes, then it is better to take cold water for irrigation.
- Water the bushes as they begin to bud.
- And then again, when the flowering is almost over.
- The final watering is called "water-charging" and is carried out about a week before the plant is to be covered for the winter.
And for adult bushes, it is recommended to do only with water-charging irrigation.
Fertilizing and pruning the Zilga grape variety
The amount of fertilizer that you applied at the time of planting should be enough for the grapes for the first 2-3 years. Then the plant will begin to bear fruit and it will be necessary to carry out additional fertilizing throughout the season: in the spring, mainly nitrogen fertilizers, then during the flowering period, a complex mineral fertilizer should be used, during the ripening of berries, emphasis should be placed on potash and phosphorus fertilizers, and after harvesting, it is necessary to apply only potassium.
It is important to be very careful with nitrogen-containing fertilizers - after July, nitrogen should not be contained in the complex dressings, as this inhibits the development of annual shoots.
In the spring, after removing the shelter, when the average daily temperature is above zero, it is necessary to inspect the plants and bring in "sanitary" pruning, removing all frozen or damaged shoots. Be careful, this must be done before the sap flow begins. In the summer months, stepchildren should be removed, excess branches should be cut off, perhaps in the second half of summer it will be necessary to cut off part of the leaves, which will shade the berries and interfere with their ripening.
The main pruning work should be carried out in the autumn. Remove all insufficiently strong shoots, and the rest should be cut according to the scheme, leaving about 6 "eyes".
It is believed that Zigla grapes may not be covered for the winter, but if the winter in your area is not snowy enough, then it is necessary to cover, and in the first year it is necessary to do it especially carefully. There are many methods and materials for shelter, but the most reliable is a complex cover with spandbond and spruce branches, and with the onset of winter, it is necessary to throw more snow over the shelter.
Zilga grapes: reviews about the variety
At one time, "Zilga" turned out to be my grape "debut", bought out of curiosity on the principle "What if it works out?" And you know, everything worked out great! I cannot say that I was an experienced gardener, but since the third year my grape bush has always delighted me with the harvest. Yes, this is not such a sweet grape as the one that is brought from the southern regions, but I know how it grew, I know for sure that no chemistry was used for it, and I can say with confidence - do not be afraid to try, it is not the way to grow grapes hard!
Zilga grapes can be recommended to everyone who is going to start growing grapes, this is exactly what you need in order not to be disappointed in gardening. The plant does not get sick (it was aphid 2-3 times, but for a nine-year cultivation these are trifles), perfectly tolerates winter thanks to geotextiles, straw and snow, and the harvest annually allows you to prepare a sufficient amount of amazing homemade wine. So I highly recommend this variety to everyone.
Zilga grapes: results
Let's be honest, these are far from the largest and perhaps not the most flavorful berries. But nevertheless, they are delicious, ripening in large quantities every year. And the main advantage of the Zilga variety is that it is able to grow and fully bear fruit almost anywhere in our vast country with its very different climate.So if you are planning to plant your first grape bush, I recommend that you start with the Zilga variety.