Growing Grapes

Growing your own grapes can be a rewarding and delicious experience. Whether you are thinking about a table or wine variety, there are some important factors to consider, such as choosing the right variety for your area. This is a guide about growing grapes.
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March 21, 2006 Flag
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Planning Tips:

With over 100 varieties available, the secret to growing grapes is to choose a problem resistant variety suited to your climate and soil. The classic wine grapes from Europe, for example, prefer sunny, dry summers and are hardy to zone 6, although they will grow as far south as zone 9. American grapes tolerate cold winters and humid summers. They are hardy to zones 4-7. Certain varieties are also bred to thrive in the humid climate of the southeast (zones 7-10). Most grapes are self-pollinating, but check with your supplier to find out which ones are best. You can expect as much as 10 to 20 pounds of grapes per vine after 4 to 5 years of growth and smaller yields as soon as 2 years after planting.
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Site Preparation:

Choose a site that has exposure to full sun and well-drained soil with an acidic pH (5.0 to 6.0). Avoid areas where frost and standing water can be problematic or where wild grapes are growing nearby. Prepare the site by working plenty of organic matter into the soil. Because different varieties have different growing habits, it's best to erect the appropriate trellises or wire supports on the site before planting. One popular method is to make a fence by driving sturdy wood or metal poles into the ground at 8 foot intervals and connect them with galvanized wire spaced at 3 foot and 6 foot heights.

Planting:

Root stock should be planted in the early spring or mid-fall. Space European, American and hybrid grapes 8 feet apart with 8 feet between rows. Dig holes deep and wide enough to accommodate the root systems and fill up the hole with replacement dirt mixed with a little bit of peat moss and compost. Finish with a good watering. The area around the vine should be kept free of weeds and grass during the early stages of growth.
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Care & Maintenance:

Young grape vines need to be trained (pruned) to establish a physical structure that will eventually support the weight of their grapes. There are a number of ways to do this, and the best method for your cultivars depends on their particular growing habits. Consult with your supplier for specific details. Grapes need less nitrogen than other fruit trees and should not be fertilized unless your soil is poor and foliage is exhibiting nutrient deficiency.

Harvesting & Storage:

Harvest grapes when they are fully ripe-they will not continue to ripen on the vine. Grape's sugar content rises as much as 20% as they ripen, so a taste-test is the best way to tell if they are fully ripe. American and European grapes can be harvested by cutting the fruit off in whole bunches. Other varieties should be spot-picked every few days because they ripen unevenly. Grapes can be stored in you refrigerator for two months or more depending on the variety.
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July 7, 2014 Flag
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Photo Description
This grapevine has taken over my gazebo.

Photo Location
Plum Grove, TX

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August 25, 20140 found this helpful

Beautiful!

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December 14, 2012 Flag
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I have a large garden and would love to grow a grapevine. How do I start?

By Charlie

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December 17, 20120 found this helpful

First, check with your local nursery to make sure you are in an area where grapes will grow. They will also advise you which varieties are best. When I was a child in Illinois we had a concord grape vine in our back yard which did produce grapes.

Now I have one in my yard in Santa Clara county in California which is also doing very well.

Next, plant it somewhere that you can have a very good trellis. Mine is made from 2x2s and leans against the side of the house. It supports the almost 100 lbs of grapes every year without falling down. That is just from one plant!

You could also train the vines horizontally along a fence. Every Fall we prune the vines way back to just the thickest ones. It might be a good idea to go to the library and take out some books about growing grapes or buy one at that local nursery.

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August 27, 2009 Flag

We have small flies on our grape leaves. We have about 1/3 of an acre and so far about 5 plants are infected. Can you recommend a soap mixture that would get rid of the flies and not hurt the grapes?

Hardiness Zone: 9a

By Rae Ann

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August 28, 20090 found this helpful

I sug to mix 1 teaspoon of liquid soap to 1 quart of water, in a spray bottle.I get them at Dollar store for a dollar, if that's not strong enough add more soap, good luck.

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August 31, 20090 found this helpful

"Liquid soap" meaning something like Ivory soap, not harsh dish detergents. I use Dr. Bronner's liquid soap which can be found in some health food stores, supermarkets, or drug stores.

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August 31, 20090 found this helpful

Your "flies" I imagine are Whiteflies. You could also just purchase and organic product like Safer's insecticidal soap and not chance using regular soaps that that can burn leaves once exposed to sun.

Soaps MUST come in direct contact with the pests to be any use because there is no residual effect. You will need to apply more than once because the adult flies will fly off when disturbed. Be sure to hit both tops and undersides of the leaves.

Whiteflies are not easy to control. Good luck!

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7401.html

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August 31, 20090 found this helpful

Check with www.Jerrybaker.net. He gives you recipes for tonics for pests in the garden, as well as other issues. Most of the ingredients you already have in your home, so the cost is reasonable. I purchased a 20 page phamplet from him more than 25 years ago and had such great success, that I have purchasd several other books. His website has some tonic recipes and you can e-mail him for answers to your specific questions also. I hate to send you to just another site, but I can attest to fact that his advice is sound. Good Luck!

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September 26, 2011 Flag
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Are grape vines perennials or annuals? My zone is Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Teresa

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September 26, 20110 found this helpful

They are perenials. Check with a local nursery.

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September 27, 20110 found this helpful

They're perennials, but some varieties are hardier than others. I've grown Concord grapes in Salt Lake City, but that's too cold, I think, for most varieties. Wasshrunk is right, talk to your local nursery, if possible, or check your zone in a nursery catalog and then look for a variety that will thrive there.

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August 21, 2013 Flag

We have a grapevine that has been out back for over 50 years. It started in my backyard before I was born, then my parents gave it to the next-door neighbor who later moved away. After a 2nd owner came and went, the house had no occupant this summer.

This year's crop was especially delicious and I was able to harvest a lot of grapes before the birds got to them. I shared them with friends and neighbors.

I would like to take cuttings of the vines and propagate the vines for myself and anyone who is interested. Would you please help me with tips on how this can be done?

By Cheryl from Washington, DC

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May 15, 20141 found this helpful

If you choose, you can get very technical about rooting grape cuttings. A simple approach works well for me. After the vine has entered dormancy and lost all its leaves in late Fall to early Winter, take a long hardwood cane and cut it into six to eight inch pieces. Ideally, each piece will have a node at the bottom, and the stem will have two or more nodes. Bury these cuttings vertically to half their height near the base of the parent plant and hope for the best. Obviously, you will want to make sure the upper end of the cuttings are in the up position.

The picture below shows the results I obtained from using this method. In early January, I cut a cane into six pieces and buried them in a bundle beside the parent plant. In late March, I noticed buds forming on the cuttings. By mid April, leaves had formed. In early May, I lifted the cuttings. Two were dead and four had developed healthy roots. I potted the rooted cuttings and they are thriving.

If you want detailed information, you can find it, here:

http://www.bunchgrapes.com/cuttings.html

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March 11, 2010 Flag
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I was wondering if anybody knew about grape vines. I have a Concord vine in my back yard. Last year it produced quite a bit of fruit. I am not quite sure if it was just proper conditions or if it is getting more mature. My question is does anyone know how to train it without ruining it?

By Andrea from Canada

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March 11, 20100 found this helpful

Pruning grapes is another very important part of growing grapes and is beneficial for grape quality. Without proper pruning the amount of grapes produced and the size of the grapes will decrease. After vines are set using a trellis system they should be pruned to one stem and cut back to only a few buds. Pruning can be done in winter, but not during severe winter weather. Over and under pruning will cause grapes to be not as healthy. One particular expert says on his blog about how to grow grapes, that a grape vine reacts to the way you prune. Which means you will have fruit if you prune for fruit and you will have shoots if you prune for shoots.

Another important part of growing grape vines is air circulation; this prevents disease which can occur if the air is able to stagnant. Air circulation will also keep the vines moisture free and dry so there's less chance for fungus to grow. Don't plant grape vines anywhere that interferes with air circulation or movement. As you may see on t v where grape growers prune them way back to about head high ,for more go to "how to grow grapes"lot of info there, Good luck.

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