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How to Grow Grapes

How to Grow Grapes

Growing good quality grapes depends on several factors. And while growing them, you need to have patience, not only to wait for the 'fruits' of your labor, but also to take good care of your vines.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Aug 31, 2018
Vineyard with unripe fruits
Grapes belong to the family of berries. They grow on perennial and deciduous woody vines. Adequate sunlight, water, and nutrient-rich soil are the prerequisites to grow grapes.
But beyond these basics, the most important thing needed for growing them is a lot of patience. It takes almost 2-4 years before your grape plant will start bearing fruit.
Every type of grape has its own growth characteristics, which have to be kept in mind during their cultivation. The duration of the growing season varies according to the type of grapes being cultivated. So, it is important that you choose the right type or species of grapes, on the basis of the climatic conditions of your locality.
The Right Climate
Climatic conditions like temperature, rainfall, humidity, and the duration of sunshine in the region where grapes are grown are very important considerations. Extreme climate (hot or cold) can have a damaging effect on the crop.
Warmth of the sun is required for ripening of grapes, and frost can cause a lot of problems during their growth. Planting of grape-cuttings should start at the time when the weather is consistently warm and there is no threat of frost. Early spring is the ideal time for plantation.
Use the Correct Soil
Gardeners Hands Sifting Soil In The Garden
Select the land for growing grapes very carefully. The soil is responsible to provide support to the roots of the vine. The quantity of minerals and nutrients reaching the vines and the drainage levels around the roots also depend on the soil. 
It should have a capacity to retain water, and at the same time, should have a good drainage ability to protect the roots from saturation. It is advisable to get the soil tested to ascertain the presence of any toxic substances.
Plant Young Vines
The roots of the bare rootstock that you want to plant should not get dried up. If required, soak them in water for a day. However, soaking them for more than a day can lead to rotting of the roots.
The roots of the rootstock cannot be left in open air for more than a day, as they tend to lose their moisture. In case you are unable to plant them within a day, just make a temporary trench where you can place the roots of the saplings and cover them with soil.
New Vineyard
When you start the plantation work, care should be taken to see that there is a minimum gap of 8-10 feet between two grapevines. This practice is essential because the roots of the full-grown grapevines tend to spread up to 3-6 feet from the base of the plant.
Proper Irrigation
After planting, you should give plenty of water to the roots of the young vines for the first few months. This is done to allow the plant to root itself in the ground. However, in the later period, the drainage of your land is very crucial for the grapes to grow.
Grape leaf disease
If the water does not get drained out from the root area of the plant, there is a high chance of your plant getting infected by diseases.
Addition of Manure
Observe the leaves very carefully on a regular basis. The color of the leaves can tell you whether your plants are getting proper supply of nutrients. The leaves should be healthy and dark green in color. When you see that your plants are not getting the right amount of nutrients, it means the soil quality is not good enough.
Hands holding Compost
Add some compost in a thick layer of 5-6 inches on the soil. This step will make the soil fertile and the supply of nutrients to the vines will improve significantly.
Setting Up of the Trellis
Italian-style Trellised Vineyard with Grapes
Once the vines have grown substantially, a trellis should be constructed to provide support to the vines. Normally, for every grape vine, around eight feet high trellis is required. Shorter trellises are useful for winter and taller ones for summer.
It is important that the trellis is made strong enough to support the vines as well as the full-grown crop. Make sure that the trellis does not collapse due to strong winds and any other rough weather conditions. Making the vines follow the direction of the trellis is a difficult task.
Pruning
Harvesting time
Clipping your vines after regular intervals is important. It helps to direct all the metabolic energy from the roots and the shoots towards the fruit. Pruning should start once the cold rough winter comes to an end.
Buds often get damaged due to extreme cold weather and you should search out all the damaged buds from the vines and prune them. Additional shoots that come out at the sides of the main stem should be pruned, as they normally do not bear any fruit and rather, inhibit the growth of the main vine.
Protection from Pests and Animals
Grapevine can get infested by fungi, insects, birds, or animals. Common symptoms of any pest attack are discolored leaves, decay in fruits, or presence of a thin coating over the leaves. Such infestation needs to be controlled by using fungicides.
Various insects like wasp and beetle often try to destroy grapes. This kind of attack drastically brings down the total produce of grapes from the grapevine. Insecticides need to be spread to keep all the insects at bay.
Birds can also cause a lot of damage to a grapevine. Covering the grapevines with a net is one way of protecting them from birds. Another way is to put up some visual objects, like artificial birds or snakes to scare away the real ones.
Harvesting
Grape Harvest???
The most exciting part of the entire process of growing grapes is to harvest them. After dedicating so much of time and energy and giving so much of personal care, time comes when you can pluck those small juicy fruits from the grapevine grown by you.
Observe the lower and middle sections of the grapes carefully and if you find them rich in color, it means your grapes are ready to be harvested. To confirm further, you can use the ready-made testing kits available in the market.
The experience of growing grapes yourself is going to give you immense satisfaction. If you follow these guidelines carefully, the task of growing grapes is not going to be difficult. Hope you enjoy this tasty, nutritious fruit with your family and friends.