How to Grow Grapes

Overview

You can use grapes (Vitis spp.) to make wine or jellies, as well as eating them fresh. They're considered high in health-promoting antioxidants. You will have success as long as you provide a grapevine with its basic needs such as full sun, adequate water and a support system for the vines to cling to. Grapes do better in soil that is considered poor quality for other plants, and need little if any fertilizer. Choose a variety that is best suited to your USDA hardiness zone.

Step 1

Choose a location for your grapes that receives full sun. If a grapevine receives too little sun, it will produce few, if any, grapes. Break up the soil with a hoe or tiller and remove any loose sticks and rocks. The soil should be loosened to a depth of 36 inches to give the roots ample room to grow. Do not fertilize the soil unless it is very poor quality. Grapes prefer a slightly acidic environment.

Step 2

Plant your grapevine roots in the early spring. A mature grapevine will produce approximately 15 lbs. of grapes. So keep this in mind when deciding the number of grapevines to plant. Rows should be at least 8 feet apart with a trellis running the length of each row to provide support for the growing vines. Using twine, train the vine by loosely tying the strongest sections to the trellis as they grow.

Step 3

Prune the grapevine by removing the weaker vines by snipping off with your fingers or garden shears. Two strong vines on each side of the trunk are all you need.

Step 4

Remove weeds as they sprout to keep your grapevine from having to compete for nutrients with other vegetation. Avoid adding mulch around the grapes because this will attract pests and prolong harvesting. Use a pesticide if necessary to rid the area of damaging insects. Avoid fertilizers, as they will cause the leaves and vines to grow large while stunting grape production.

Step 5

Pick or harvest your grapes when they are mature, usually late summer or early fall. Taste one first to make sure it is not sour. Even if the color indicates it is ripe, the true maturity test the taste.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use extreme caution when using pesticides to treat your grapevines.

Things You'll Need

  • Grapevine root
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Grapevine trellis
  • Gardening shears

References

  • University of New Hampshire: Growing Grapes
  • University of Minnesota: Growing Grapes For Home Use

Who Can Help

  • North Carolina State University Extension: Bunch Grapes In The Home Garden
  • Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center: Resveratrol
  • The United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: grape growing instructions, garden grape care, grapevine pruning harvesting

About this Author

Yvonne Ward began her professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of "Pickin' Cotton Sure Is Hard Work" in the book "Golden Short Stories Volume 1" for the Dahlonega Book Festival. She has since written a true crime book published in 2010, with contracts for two more. Ward is pursuing a Master of Arts in history and culture from Union Institute and University.