The first settlers in America found growing grapes growing wild, although the fruit tended to small, thick-skinned, and seedy.
Grape growing has been much improved since those early days.
Now with cultivation, growers are able to produce larger, sweeter, disease-resistant, seedless varieties of growing grapes.
Bunch grapes are the first to bud, flower, and ripen. The fruit is sweet, thin-skinned, and ranges in colors from purple to light green. Gardeners can harvest clusters from June through July.
Plants are vigorous and easy to grow. Popular varieties are self-fertile where no pollinator is needed to produce fruit.
Plant grapes in any open spot where a trellis or arbor will fit. Use the lush growth to screen a less than perfect view and reap a double benefit of fresh summer fruit on the vine.
Container grape growing can be started anytime during the year. Any loose well-drained soil will do fine as special preparation of the site is usually not necessary.
Obtaining the exact soil pH is not that critical. Bunch grapes perform well in soils with a pH level between 6.0 and 8.0.
If grapes are grown in fertile soil, no additional fertilizer will be required. For maximum production, growing grapes need to be kept under control.
Ideally, it is good for you to plant vines during the dormant season from December through February. You can begin planting along an arbor or trellis and you can expect the bunch grapes to go to eight or nine feet apart.
String wire between poles set about twenty feet apart. Run two wires at heights of 2 and a half and 5 feet.
Growing grapes for wine video
Encourage plant and fruit vigor with a good fertilizer schedule. Feed new vines monthly from March through September. Apply 2 ounces per vine of 12-4-8 fertilizer at every feeding.
Follow a similar program the following year. During the second year of grape growing, use 5 ounces of fertilizer instead of two.
Start by training each new vine up a 5-foot stake. Remove all growth except single shoots to grow each way along the wires.
Water frequently when the vines are initially planted. The limited root systems may require watering every two or three days. Soon, growing grapes will only need to be watered every 3 to 4 days.
Spread a mulch to stretch the time needed between watering and discourage weeds. Grapes are tolerant of drought and often develop the finest taste on limited water supply.
As harvest time approaches, water more frequently, up to four times a week to prevent fruit from cracking.
Gauge the soil fertility needed by the vines’ growth rate. During the initial three years of development, healthy vines should grow four feet or more.
As the grapevines mature, there will be a reduction in vine growth as the plant invests its energy in producing grapes. If the vines grow more than two feet per season, no fertilization is required.
A vine that grows less than this amount may need extra feeding.
Grape Vine Maintenance
Grapevines will grow in abundance with care and attention. Summertime yields depend on winter pruning. Growers must reduce vines to just a few canes that bear flower and foliage buds for the new year. It is very important not to skip the pruning process, as it is a major step in growing grapes.
All grapes produce best when trained to a single upright trunk with four to six canes left to grow sideways. Bunch types of growing grapes need specific treatments before spring growth begins to maintain high yields.
With bunch grapes, vital new growth should replace the old fruiting cane each year. Traceback along the grapevine four to six healthy canes to near the main trunk. Shorten these to 8-12 buds.
Cut off all other growth, leaving a single short stem containing several buds near each main cane. These stubs will produce new canes for the next pruning time.
* Renew the canes of bunch grapes each year.* Save one new cane per trellis wire.* Tip the ends of the canes back to 8-12 buds.* Leave a small 2 to 3 bud spur branch at the base of each major cane.
After pruning, grape plants ooze sap from the cuts. This bleeding does not hurt the plant or affect future fruit production.
Besides growing grapes for wine, and picking your own to eat straight off the vine, there are many delicious ways to enjoy grapes! Recommended varieties include Venus and Stover to make wine and Blue Lake for making juice and jelly.