How To Grow Your Very Own Grapes

How to grow your own grapes

Nothing tastes as sweet as homegrown grapes. Whether you just want to eat the fruit as is, or use them to make jam, jellies and wine, growing this tasty treat is simple if you follow our steps.

The most crucial part to growing grapes successfully in your own backyard is choosing the right variety for where you live. Even though grapes will grow in almost any section of the country, you need to pick a type that can handle your local conditions. This includes the summer heat and the winter cold. Once you have decided on what kind of grapes to plant, make sure that you’re growing this fruit where there’s full sun all day and well-drained soil that isn’t surrounded by weeds and grass. That’s because they will take away water and nutrients from your grapes.

Next, it’s time for planting the grapes. It’s best to do this around early spring, when you’ll find bare-root varieties in stock. As you begin planting, cut the current root back to 6 inches. This helps feeder roots grow near the trunk. Use well-cultivated soil, as the root system of a grapevine has a tendency of growing deep.  Also, chances are you will need to do some pruning at planting time, so prune off all the stems except for one. Then, search around for the buds on the stem and cut them back until there are only two of them.

You must feed the grapes to achieve a growing garden. For the first two or three years, apply a nitrogen fertilizer. Once the vines begin to mature, this may not be necessary, so use your best judgment. If the vines look strong and healthy, you probably don’t need any fertilizer.

Learn how to grow grapes trained on a vertical trellis or an overhead arbor. While either method is acceptable, this support must be in place before you begin planting vines.  With a vertical trellis, branches from the previous year’s growth are chosen to grow along the wires of it. The buds found on the stems will flower and set fruit. Sometimes, the trellis can have two or three levels, resulting in the center of the stem growing up to the next level. If you prefer to see the grapes hanging down from overhead, position the vines that way. Don’t forget to keep shortening the branches and selecting only a couple to protect the metal or wood arbor.

Lastly, and most importantly, prune the grapes.  As each dormant season arrives, take a few stems that grew the previous year and train them on the trellis. Most likely, you will need to shorten them to fit your space. Everything else needs to be pruned off.  Even if it seems like you’re cutting a lot off, don’t be alarmed. Your grapes will be better off because of it. There will be buds on the remaining growth, which will produce several shoots that grow leaves and flowers. Often times, vines overproduce grapes, leading to rotten fruit. To avoid this, thin flower clusters that look deformed and cut off fruit clusters that aren’t growing properly. Wait until the grapes are fully ripe to begin picking.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


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