Grapes are wonderful food and available in so many varieties for so many uses. Savvy gardeners cultivate grapes for a sweet snack, for drying into home-made raisins and for making their own unique wines. When planted in appropriate sun and soil, grapes are not hard to grow.
Visit a reputable gardener's supply store in your area. Grapes come in many varieties; think about what is available in stores and see if you can get a grape variety that is not readily available in the grocery store. Look for a selection of healthy, small grape plants ready for transplant.
Grape plants are available for online purchase, but it is always safer to see and hold what you purchase before doing so.
Choose a spot that gets full sun to transplant the grape vine. Try to orient the plants on a North-South axis for the best sun and heat. Grape plants like much heat and sun, and the warmer the grape plants are kept, the sweeter the fruit will be.
Dig up the sunny area in which you want to plant grapes. Use a four-tine pitchfork to till up any grass and weeds, and run over the dirt with a dirt rake to make a soft, smooth cover.
Grapes like loamy soil that drains well. If you have clay-like or sandy soil, dig up at least a foot down. Fill the area with clean topsoil mixed with vermiculite or perlite--5% is fine but no more than 10%. Vermiculite/perlite insulates and helps drainage.
When making compost, add pine and fir needles to the compost for grape plant soil. Grapes like slightly acidic soil, 5 - 5.5 pH, and evergreens like and keep soil acidic. Tossing some pine or fir needles on top of the soil after planting the grapes will also help prevent weeds.
Leave enough space between grape plants. If planting a vineyard, plants should be 5 feet apart in rows. Leave 8 feet between rows.
Some gardeners grow just a few grape vines to crawl up a garden structure, such as an archway or canopy. It is not necessary to grow numerous plants to be successful.
Plant stakes next to grape plants, but do not expect them to climb the first year. You may find you need to move the stakes after a few months or a year; grape plants will show you which way they want to climb and grow.
Grapes grow fruit after the first year. Prune grapes in the earliest Spring before sap starts to flow. Pruning grapes ensures larger bunches at harvest time.