Guide on Growing Grapes
Grow Your Grape
Have you ever grown grapes? Have you ever picked them fresh off the grape vine? Have you ever tasted your own grown grape?
Grapes grow wild on vines or are cultivated. They are believed to be native to northwest Asia although they have been grown throughout Europe and the United States for centuries. The seeds, skin, leaves, stems, and grape have been touted as an alternative means for treating cancer. Some chemicals found in grape extract (called proanthocyanidins) and in grape skins (called resveratrol) are currently being studied for possible uses in the prevention and treatment of cancer and other illnesses.
Grapes are a type of fruit that grow in clusters of 15 to 300, and can be crimson, black, dark blue, yellow, green, orange and pink. “White” grapes are actually green in color, and are evolutionary derived from the purple grape.
Commercially cultivated grapes can usually be classified as either table or wine grapes based on their intended method of consumption: eaten raw or used to make wine. While almost all of them belong to the same species, Vitis vinifera, table and wine grapes have significant differences, brought about through selective breeding.
Discover How to Grow Grapes
You will definitely enjoy the incredible pleasure of seeing grapes growing in your garden, picking them fresh off the vine and popping them into your mouth. When you bite into a grape that’s warn from the sun and bursting with juice, you’ll be hooked on growing grapes.
Growing grapes in the garden or backyard can be a rewarding experience, if done correctly. If not, the vines can become overgrown, tangled messes and never ripen properly. You should read as many reference books as you can before starting out to plant your vineyard. The more you know about the grapes you are planting the better.
When we think of growing grapes, we dream of green or purple grapes (the kind you eat fresh), jam and jellies, or perhaps a good wine grape.
Growing grapes successfully means selecting the right variety for your region. They can grow in almost any part of the country (Zones 5-9), but you will need to choose one that suits your country conditions of summer heat and winter cold.
Grapes need full sun all day whatever the region you live in as well as a well-drained soil that’s free of weeds and grass. Just think of the pictures you’ve seen of the hillside vineyards – that’s what you should aim for.
A better time to plant grapes is an early spring, when you’ll find bare-root varieties available.
As you plant, cut the existing root back to 7 inches; this will encourage feeder roots to grow near the trunk. The root system of a grapevine can grow deep, so well-cultivated soil is best. You will probably need to do some pruning at planting time, too. Prune off all except for one stem, and then look for the buds on the stem; cut the stem back to only two buds. You’re on your way.
If you’d like to see your grapes hanging overhead, you can train the vines to grow that way, still shortening the branches and selecting just a few to secure to the metal or wood arbor.
Good pruning practice is the technique for how to grow grapes that are the most productive. Each season keep a few stems that grew last year, and train them on the wires or trellis. You’ll probably have to shorten them to fit your space. Prune everything else off. It might be shocking to see how much you will cut off, but your grapes will definitely grow better because of it. There will be buds on the remaining growth: each of those buds will produce several shoots that grow leaves and flowers. You might need to avoid the overproducing grapes, which can be a case of too much of a good thing, because overproduction leads to poor-quality fruit. Thinning flower clusters that look misshapen and cutting off fruit clusters that develop poorly is advised.
Procedure of Thinning
- remove shoots that are bearing fruit, unless they are being retained for possible cane renewal
- remove shoots that are growing downward
- remove shots from excessive areas of vine density, a general rule of thumb is to have two to four shoots per foot of trellis
- remove excess leaf growth in fruiting zones so that grapes can dry easily and have good sun exposure
- remove shoots that have emerged from the trunk base, unless they are being retained for possible cane renewal
- each shoot should contain no more than one grape cluster at an average size of 5-8 inches. A medium size cluster needs approximately ten to fifteen leaves for proper ripening. For good results all shoots should have approximately the same amount of leaves.