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How to Plant and Harvest Grape Vines

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How to Plant and Harvest Grape Vines

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Overview

The best way to plant and harvest grapevines is to train your vine to grow in a tree formation. This will allow for easy harvesting and maximum fruit production. After several years of growth, your grapevines will form a woody trunk and produce fruit for many years. Grapes come in an endless array of shapes and sizes, and different varieties are used for different products. Learn about the specific characteristics of your grape of choice before planting.

Step 1

Choose the right location in your yard to plant grapes. Find an area with eight hours or more of sunlight per day, well-drained soil and plenty of room for your grapevines to grow vertically and horizontally. Each grapevine should be at least 8 feet apart from the next.

Step 2

Prepare the soil. Use a rototiller to break up any clumps in the soil and loosen the dirt. Mix in compost or well-rotted manure to original soil.

Step 3

Dig a hole as deep as the container and wide enough to spread the root system without bending any roots.

Step 4

Place the young vine in the center of the hole and cover the roots with dirt. Do not to bury the roots too deeply.

Step 5

Water immediately. After planting, soak the soil with an open hose. Continue to water the plants every one to three days without allowing standing water to accumulate.

Step 6

Spread mulch around the base of the plant. Use high-quality organic mulch to keep the soil moist and temperatures steady.

Step 7

Tie the vine to a stake. As your vine grows, continually tie new shoots to a firmly planted stake. This will encourage the growth of a single, straight trunk. You may have to adjust your ties as the plant gets larger. When the plant reaches maturity, a pergola is ideal for supporting your plant.

Step 8

Encourage upward growth. During colder months, prune any lower shoots or leaves that may emerge, and allow growth only on the uppermost part of the grapevine. Aim for one central trunk, two secondary trunks and two to four additional shoots.

Step 9

Watch your grapes. Depending on the variety of grape you are trying to grow, different colors indicate ripeness. Keep an eye on your vine in the summer months for the right color to appear.

Step 10

Test your grapes. When grapes on the lower part of the bunch taste sweet, they are ready to be harvested and eaten.

Step 11

Clip the stem halfway between the bunch of grapes and attached branch.

Tips and Warnings

  • It may take several years for your plants to grow large enough to produce fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Rototiller
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Wooden stake or pergola
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Purdue University
  • Ohio University
  • University of Minnesota
Keywords: grow grapes, grapevine, harvest grape, plant grapes

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. She is a featured poet on NYC public radio, is the winner of the San Jacinto & Alethean Literary Societies' Poetry Award, and has authored three collections of poetry including "cold days," "bastante" and "short poems." She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Southwestern University.

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