By Julio P. Yap Jr.

Cultivation of grapes has been steadily increasing in the country during past several years.

In fact, several vineyards can now be found in the different provinces of the country like in Cebu, Iloilo, Cotabato, Masbate, and La union.

Grape cultivation is also becoming popular in the province of Nueva Ecija where at least two agriculture enthusiasts have shown that grapes can grow well in their area.

Grape cultivation is becoming popular in Nueva Ecija where at least two enthusiasts have shown that grapes can grow well in their area.

As starter for those who may want to have a vineyard, the production, science, and study of grapes is called viticulture, which is a branch of the science of horticulture.

With the passage of time, the grape vine has manifested high levels of adaptability to new environments, which made viticulture popular in many areas of the globe.

While there are many factors which can affect the overall quality of a grape vine, a viticulturist should know how to monitor and control pests and diseases; proper fertilization, irrigation, and canopy management; monitoring of fruit development and characteristics; deciding when to harvest; and the time to prune the vines.

For the enthusiasts in Nueva Ecija like Efraim de Guzman Saturno, a science research specialist at the Central Luzon State University, and veteran journalist Anselmo Roque of Barangay Villa Cuizon, both in the Science City of Muñoz, they have to consider the three most important factors for raising a grape vine–climate, slope, and soil.

Since we are in a tropical country, right fertilization can compensate for the vineyard’s requirements for having the right climate, slope and quality of soil, to thrive well.

Likewise, provide the grape vines with trellises or any type of plant support made out of locally-available materials like bamboo, and prepare them in such a way to withstand wind pressure and to be able to support the weight of the vines and the fruits.

To attain fertile growing conditions, Saturno and Roque heavily focus on managing their vines’ vigorous growth by regularly applying Amino Plus Foliar Fertilizer (APFF) in their effort to develop organic, ecologically sensitive, and sustainable vineyards.

Efraim de Guzman Saturno shows a cluster of maturing grapes of his vineyard at his home.

After all, grape vines need the right nutrients to have a good growth to bear quality fruits, and produce the right amount of yield, just like many other plants.

Grape vines need an adequate supply of essential nutrients like NPK to thrive well, which the APFF can supply. NPK represents nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) which are used by the plants.

It was learned that from the elements of NPK, nitrogen is usually taken in large quantities by the vines, which influences the shoots, leaf formation, and yield.

Saturno and Roque, who manage their own vineyards in their homes, say that nutrient deficiency usually results in stunted growth, and pale leaves that shed prematurely.

Amino Plus Foliar Fertilizer promotes a vigorous root system and proper growth with its high L-Amino acid content which are easily absorbed by the plants. It also contains effective microorganisms that provide long-term beneficial effects on the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the soil.

Anselmo Roque holds a cluster of grapes at his home.

On the other hand, NPK alone cannot offer an all-in-one solution to plant nutrition and can become detrimental when supplied in excessive amounts.

This is where amino acids come in, the building blocks of protein, which are needed by the grape vines, like all other living organisms.

The APFF can likewise increase the defense mechanism of grape vines, provide stress resistance, promote nutrient absorption, improve fruit formation, activate growth hormones, and improve protein synthesis.

The other trace elements needed by the plant can also be supplied through organic fertilization, and foliar spraying.

APFF effectively adheres on the plant’s surface which can provide quick supplementation.

For best results, as what Saturno and Roque have been practicing, APFF should be applied early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

This is vital, particularly during the fruit-bearing period where intensive care is needed to attain abundant and bigger clusters of fruit.

Proper irrigation and fertilization should be done regularly, according to the two enthusiasts, adding that if the fruit clusters are over-crowded, the smaller berries between the larger ones should be removed, which will result in having a better quality of the grapes, and the fruit clusters will be heavier.

It is important to consider the training, pruning, and staking of the vines and thinning of the fruit clusters.

Other formulations are also being applied by Saturno and Roque which promote the berries to become seedless.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s August 2018 issue.