Have you ever thought about having your own vineyard? Or perhaps you’d just like to grow a few grapes for fruit salad and jelly. Either way, you can grow grapes in your own backyard if you choose a variety that is well-suited to your climate.
To be successful at growing grapes, you must start by choosing the right variety. First, narrow it down by deciding whether you want table grapes, wine grapes or slip skin grapes, which are eaten without the skins. When shopping for grapes in a nursery catalog, each listing will indicate which zones the grapes will grow in. Make sure you choose a variety that will grow in your zone. If you buy plants at a local nursery, they will only carry varieties that grow in your area. However, you can find out which varieties are easiest to grow by talking to the staff of the nursery.
Now that you have your plants or cuttings, you need to find the best place to plant them. Grapes need to be planted in a located with full sun in order to produce well. Adequate sunlight helps keep the plants from developing fungal diseases as well.
Before you plant your grapes, you need to make sure the soil is ready. You need to loosen the soil to about 24-36 inches because grapes have very long roots. The soil should be loamy and provide good drainage. Follow the instructions from the nursery for planting the cuttings or grape plants. The distance required between plants can vary depending on which variety you choose to plant.
Grapes like to climb, so they need something to climb on. Once you have planted your grapes, you should install a trellis for them to climb on so that the fruit will be kept off the ground. Grapes that are left to grow along the ground are more likely to rot before they are ready to harvest. If you have a fence around your property, you can plant the grapes along the fence in a sunny location and train them to climb the fence.
You’ll need to trim any long runners that develop on your grape plants around the middle of each season and prune the vines during the winter when the plants are dormant. Make sure you do not prune away any stems that have smooth bark. These are the stems that will produce fruit. Trim away vines with old, shaggy bark.
Remember that growing your own grapes is not a one-season project. Grapes take approximately two to four years to start producing fruit. However, if you take good care of your grape vines, once they mature they will provide grapes for many years.