Growing and Planting Grape Vines
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How to grow grapes instructs the home grower in variety and site selection for planting grape vines. Training grapes on a grape vine trellis or arbor. Growing and planting grape vines.
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Which Grape Where?
This page will tell you which varieties grow best where you live.
The first step is to choose the type of grapes you’d like to grow. Red, green, or black grapes? Seedless or with seeds? Table or wine grapes?
Be sure to choose a variety that suits your climatic and regional conditions. Concord types (Vitis labrusca) grow best in the eastern U.S. while the European vinifera varieties do better on the west coast. American types are usually hybrids created by crossing V. vinifera with V. labrusca. They are more cold hardy and disease resistant than European grapes.
These groups also have different growth habits. The Concords tend to droop and so must be trained high and allowed to hang down. The viniferas are more upright so train them low and allow them to grow high like they want to.
It’s always easier to work with a plant’s natural growth habit than against it.
Before you plant your vines, you’ll need to install a grape trellis or grape arbor sturdy enough to support their weight when fruiting.
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Plant them in full sun. Sunshine is as vital to the healthy growth of grape plants as water is to most other plants. Good sunshine together with well-drained soil will be the best climate for growing grapes.
Planting Grape Vines
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Plant the vines at the onset of spring. This will give them a whole season to become established before facing the stress of winter.
The vines should be planted 6-10 feet apart depending on their vigor. The more vigorous varieties will run into each other if planted too closely together. If you plant more conservative growers too far apart you’ll always have gaps.
Keep young grape plants moist until they grow and establish roots.
Grape Vine Care
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Grape vine pruning will need to be carried out each year or the vine will become a tangled mess.
Check the color of the leaves to determine the health of the plant. If the leaves are lush green rest assured that your grape plant has the right nutrients and is healthy. If not, you can spread compost over the roots of the plant.
Some growers never fertilize their plants and grow splendid grapes! A European, telling you how to grow grapes, would say that grapes grown “lean” make the best wine. California growers, on the other hand, tend to prefer to feed their grapes lightly with compost and organic fertilizers.