Grapes on the vine
image by Luka Rister/sxc.hu
The first consideration when you decide to grow grapes is choosing the variety. Grapes are classified as wine, table or raisin variety. Table varieties are the most common for the home gardeners growing a small crop. Consult with a nursery or supplier to find the variety that grows best in your area and climate. There is no need for a lot of space when growing grapes. A trellis or fence is ample room and takes away little space from the rest of your garden.
Choose a planting area that is well-drained and in full sun. Avoid areas with any shade and that collect water or are prone to excessive water collection during rain.
Remove the grapevine roots from the packing material and soak them in a bucket of water for three hours. Grapevines come as bare-root stock, meaning they are dormant and not packaged in soil.
Dig planting holes larger than the vine's root system and space them six feet apart along a trellis, fence or other support structure. Spread the roots in the hole, then bury them in soil up to the existing soil line on the roots, visible as the spot where the vines change color.
Cut off all the canes with a sharp knife, except for the strongest. Cut the remaining cane down so only three buds remain.
Water thoroughly after planting. Water afterward every seven to 10 days during dry weather so the grape vines get one inch of water a week.
Tie the vines onto the trellis loosely with garden ties or strips of pantyhose. Continue tying as they grow until they are six feet up the trellis.
Harvest the grapes as they ripen. Harvest dates differ widely between grape varieties.
Prune the grape vines in autumn after all the grapes have been harvested. Remove any dead or dying vines and any vines that are growing off the secondary vines that are growing off the canes.