In 1849, Ephraim Wales Bull planted 22,000 seeds before he perfected the grape named after its home, Concord, Massachusetts. A relative of native New England species, the Concord grape has since become one of the most popular varieties, with over 400,000 tons harvested every year in the United States. Concord grapes, rich in calcium, phosphorous and beneficial compounds, are used to make juice, wine, jellies, jam, preserves and flavorings for other foods. Finding fresh Concord grapes in local markets can be difficult due to their fragile nature; therefore, growing grapes at home can be a cost-effective and flavorful solution.
Choose a support and training system before planting vines. Take into consideration how many vines you want to grow and where they will be located. While training of the vines doesn't begin until the second year of growth, posts and wires need to be in place beforehand, in order to allow the roots undisturbed development.
Get soil samples of the planting area tested at your local cooperative extension agency or other soil testing laboratory in your area. Concord grapes do best with soil pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5, so determining soil content and pH levels will help you choose the right fertilizers and soil amendments for your grape vines.
Apply a high-quality, herbicide-free 10-6-4 fertilizer two weeks after planting. Each year, thereafter, apply fertilizer in the early spring before growth begins. If you have several rows of vines, 10 lbs. of fertilizer should be applied for every 100 feet of rows. For single plants, apply 1 lb. per each plant.
Apply a 4 to 6 inch layer of mulch (wood or straw) on both sides of each row or in a circle around the base of single vines. Mulching helps to maintain moisture levels, prevent erosion around the vines, deter weeds and encourage productivity.
Water grapevines moderately throughout the season, about 1 inch per week. Do not allow water to stand around vines, as they are highly susceptible to root rot and other diseases caused by water overload.
Monitor vines at least once a week for signs of disease or insect infestation. Use organic fungicides and insecticides to control and eliminate infestations. Use netting, after fruit appears, to deter birds.