Grapes are a versatile fruit, which can be used as drinks, ingredients for making breads, made into jams, and eaten as fresh fruit. With its ability to grow in many places around the world, grapes can be a great addition to your garden.
Method 1 of 2: Preparation For Planting
Step 1. Choose the type of wine
As with other crops, certain types of grapes grow better in different regions and vary in taste and appearance. There are three common types of wine: American, European and Muscat. American grapes grow best in warm, sunny weather like central California. European grapes are common in Europe and the Northern U. S. region, and Muscat wines are common in the U. S. South side.
- Within each type of vine, there are many species to choose from that each have their own taste, color, texture and size. Visit your local nursery to find one that fits your needs and environment.
- Choose plants that look healthy and strong and are 1 year old. Whenever possible, look for certified virus-free ones to ensure healthy growth.
- Look for plants that have an even distribution of roots and symmetrical stems.
Step 2. Prepare your vine cuttings
If you or a friend have a vine to plant, you can take the cutting and plant it in a new location. If using your own cut: Cut the sections directly from the vine or freshly pruned vine. Make sure the length of the cut includes 3 stalks (the stalks will look like lumps). At the bottom of the cut, make a corner at the cut. The cut should be at a 45-degree angle and be 1/4 to 1 inch above the stem.
When taking cuttings, plant as many as possible – in as many locations as possible – for a higher chance of success. Surplus plants can be given to others
Step 3. Select the appropriate location
The vine is a long-term plant that can live between 50 and 100 years. Therefore, make sure that the location you choose is a permanent location that has plenty of room for your vines later on. The vines thrive in sloping and hilly areas with plenty of water and sunshine. If possible, plant your vine on a downhill slope on a south-facing hill, in an area free of other trees and large plants.
In cooler areas be sure to plant the vine in a sunny area, especially one facing south. A south-facing location can prevent frost from freezing the grapes
Step 4. Prepare the soil
Vines are a bit picky when it comes to soil conditions so you should make sure you choose the right one before planting. Use slightly rocky or sandy soil with a pH above 7. If necessary, till the soil to encourage good drainage as water-holding roots are not conducive to healthy vine growth.
- Test the soil pH with a home appliance to determine if anything needs to be added or removed from the soil prepared for planting.
- Although it may seem counter-intuitive, vines do not like soil that is too rich in nutrients. As much as possible avoid soil that is too heavily fertilized, and seek advice from local plantation workers.
Step 5. Prepare the trellis for your vines
Grapes are plants that grow upward along the supporting structures. If you don't plan on growing grapes along fences or other structures, build or purchase a trellis to allow the vines to grow. There is usually a wooden piece of furniture made of interlocking boards that allow it to bend, with a solid support system.
- Wood and wire lattices can be purchased and attached to the ends of fences to make simple homemade trellises, if you don't have the funds or the ability to buy or build your own.
- Don't use a single sapling (as with tomato plants) as that won't provide enough support for your vine as it begins to grow.
Step 6. Know when to plant
In a four-season country, wait while planting your vine until a dew-free day in late winter or early spring. Pruning will occur at that time in the years to come as well. Contact your local farm office for exact planting dates.
Method 2 of 2: Growing Your Vine
Step 1. Plant your vines
Depending on the grape species you are growing, spacing is different for each plant. For American and European grapes, plant each vine 1.8-3 m apart. Muscat vines require more spacing, and should be planted approximately 4.8 m apart. Plant the cuttings in a trench with a closed bottom and middle bud. The top bud should be just above the soil surface. Press the soil firmly around the newly planted vine cuttings.
How deep you plant the vine will depend on the age and size of each plant. Don't bury the vine any higher than the first bud, but make sure the roots are completely covered in the soil
Step 2. Water your plants well
The vine doesn't like to get a lot of water or heavy rain. So, after the first watering, water it with as little water as possible. Keep the water close to the roots so that most of it is absorbed instead of being evaporated by the sun. If your area doesn't rain much, a drip system is directly at the roots so the vines get a little water at regular intervals.
Step 3. Prune your vines
In the first year, the vine should not produce fully ripe fruit because it can damage the grape shoots with their weight. Cut all the plants, as well as all the grapes except the strongest ones whose branches are broken. In later years, prune as necessary after established local practice, and in older grapes prune about 90% of the tree.
Step 4. Prune the grapes when they are dormantAlways prune the vine when it is dormant. Otherwise, the vines will lose their sap – lose their strength. This usually occurs in late winter when it is not cold enough for snow to condense outside.
Step 5. Apply mulch around the plant
A layer of mulch will help regulate soil temperature, retain water, and reduce weeds.
Step 6. Use pest control as necessary
The vine doesn't need much pest control because it is naturally a tough tree. Remove weeds periodically, and cover the vine with bird netting to keep birds out, if necessary. Ask your local gardening community or farm for guidance on how to deal with vine beetles. This animal is one of the few pests that can damage the vine.
- Be sure to plant the vine so that it gets enough airflow to prevent powdery mildew.
- Aphids can be a problem for vines; Ladybugs are natural consumers of aphids and won't damage your vines any further.
Step 7. Harvest your grapes when it's time
Strong, edible fruit will not appear from 1-3 years. When they do emerge, test for ripeness by taking a few grapes from a different region and tasting them. If the grapes are sweet, start picking them when they are ready to be harvested and eaten.
- Grapes won't continue to ripen after they've been picked (as with other fruit), so be sure to pick them prematurely.
- Color and size are by no means a good indication of ripe fruit. Only pick the fruit after you taste it and make sure it's ready.
- If you have questions about the development of your vines, contact your local farm.
- Some of the popular types of wine for drinks include:
- Chenin Blanc
- Some popular grapes to eat include:
- Thompson seedless
- Red Flame
- Concord to make jelly