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How to Keep Vines Healthy

    • 1). Choose healthy vines when purchasing seedlings or buy seeds from trusted retailers. It's easier to keep vines healthy if they are healthy from the beginning. Look for seedlings that are brightly colored without any signs of wilting, soft spots or disease. Plant them as soon as possible to prevent their roots from drying out.

    • 2). Prepare the ideal surroundings for the type of vine you are planting. Most vines enjoy plenty of sun and well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Mix soil with well-rotted manure or compost. Add sand to clay soil or peat moss to dry soil. Soil should feel like a wrung-out sponge when squeezed. Take a soil sample to your local agricultural extension office for a test to see if it meets the requirements of the vine you are growing--particularly the pH level.

    • 3). Provide a support structure for the vine, if necessary. Some vines such as potato are happy to grow along the ground, but others require a trellis or cage to help them grow. Tomatoes do well with a cage, while sweet peas grow up a trellis or other structure. Use an organic mulch like straw for vines that grow along the ground, particularly potatoes or squash, to keep the fruit from sitting on wet ground.

    • 4). Take the appropriate measures to control pests. This includes erecting fences to keeping out animals and spraying insect deterrents around the vines. Treat fungus with a fungicide spray as soon as you detect it. Fungicide usually appears as a white powder on the plants.

    • 5). Prune the vines as required--a key step to maintaining health. Some vines need pruning as soon as they are planted. Cut grape vines back so only two buds remain. Others such as tomatoes are pruned continuously because they frequently sprout suckers at the base of the plants. Still others--clematis, for example--are pruned every winter to help its shape.

    • 6). Fertilize the vine during the growing season to provide extra nutrients. Amounts depend on the type of plant, but often an organic, nutrient-rich mulch like compost can be applied to the surface around the vine. Liquid fertilizers such as compost tea work well at providing nutrients deep in the soil.

    • 7). Water the vines regularly. One inch a week is a good rule for all plants. This varies considerably, however, depending on the soil, weather conditions and specific requirements of each plant.



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