Growing Grapes

Growing Grapes

Growing grapes are used for a variety of purposes throughout the world. Grapes are a delicious fruit.

Soil Preparation
Cholorsis
Planting Grapes
Creating New Grape Plants
Building a Grape Trellis
Harvesting Grapes

Soil Preparation

Grapes are relatively easy to grow, but the grape plants are sensitive to the pH of the soil. Some varieties are more sensitive than others. The soil in the Western States is more alkaline than the soil in the Eastern States and coastal areas of California.

    Growing Grapes Foliage

    Cholorsis

    Grape plants require iron for proper growth. Having enough iron is essential in the formation of the chlorophyll molecule. When the plant is deficient in iron, the area between the veins of the leaves turn yellow.

    When the soil’s pH is above 7.0, the soil has plenty of iron, but the plant has difficultly absorbing it. You can help the growing grapes by spraying chelated iron (Ferriplus by Miller Chemical is a good brand) on the leaves of the grape plant or by adding the chelated iron to the soil. Cholorsis is more prevalent in the spring when the grape plants are developing their green foliage.

Add a liberal about of peat moss and/or manure with some 16-16-16 fertilizer to the soil. If you have alkaline soil, it’s important to add inorganic sulfur to your garden soil to help make it more acidic. Mix these soil conditioners into the soil before planting your grapes. See Types of Soil.

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Planting Grapes

Unripe Grapes on Vine

You can plant different varieties of grapes. The concord grapes (purple) make delicious grape juice. These can be mixed with the green or red eating grapes when you’re making juice.

You can buy grape starts from a local or online nursery. They usually come bare root, which means that they don’t have dirt around the roots.

After you’ve prepared the soil, dig a hole that’s 18 inches in diameter. Set your new grape plant in the hole and spread out the roots. Cover the roots with dirt.

Give the new grapevines a good drink of water after you plant them. See Garden Watering Systems

If you add a root stimulator to the water or soil, it will encourage and support the development of the roots. The root stimulator isn’t necessary, but it helps.

Let the vines grow as much as they can the 1st year. In the spring of the second year start training the vines into a double tee. See Pruning Grapes.

Always remember to keep your garden weeded. See Garden Weeds.

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Creating New Grape Plants

You can create your own grape plants from existing grape vines. Bury the end of a long grapevine during the late summer. It will start to grow roots. In the spring, cut the new grape plant away from the mother grapevine and transplant it.

You can also cut off pieces of young grapevine wood and plant them in moist soil. Most of the vines will develop roots and start growing. It’s important to keep the new vines moist until they establish a root system.

We discovered, by accident, how easy it is to make grape plants when we rototilled our grape clippings into the garden. The next spring we had a whole bunch of grapes springing up in the garden. We dug them up and transplanted them to a spot along the fence.

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Building a Grape Trellis

Growing grapes need a trellis or fence to support the vines. The vines send out curly grabbers that hold onto the wire as the plant grows.

There are many ways to make a trellis. If you have a preexisting wire fence, you can let the grapes grow along the fence.

Grape Trellis

Trellis Wire for Grapevines

We have a white vinyl fence. We nailed a 2 x 4 to the fence, so that we could attach a wire to the fence. We have another grape trellis along the edge of the garden that we made using green steel posts and wire. The grapes need to attach to something thin and sturdy. Simple Grape Trellis

Build a simple trellis using two rows of wire stretched between supporting posts. The posts should be about 8 feet apart. One wire should be 2 feet off the ground and the other wire 4 feet off the ground. Stretch the wires tight so that they can support the vines and growing grapes clusters.

You will train your growing grapes each year as you prune them. The grapevines will come off the main stem with one vine going to the left and one to the right at 2 feet high. A second set of vines will be trained with one going to the left and one the right at 4 feet high. Prune the grapes in the early spring before the sap starts running in the grapevines. See Pruning Grapes.

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Harvesting Grapes

In central Utah, the grapes that you use for making juice are usually ready to pick just before it begins to freeze. The eating grapes can be picked any time after the grapes are mature and have a sweet taste.

Each year we enjoy making several quarts of homemade grape juice (100-200 quarts). See How to Make Grape Juice.

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