Growing grapevines in your garden provides you with fresh fruit, shade and fencing while they're growing and producing fruit. After the harvest your grapes can be dried into raisins or used to create jelly and juice. Home-grown grapevines will continue producing for more than 10 years, and all you have to do is keep them well pruned.
A common method of grapevine pruning is also a way to create a natural living fence around your garden. This method of growing grapevines and other trees or fruit plants is known as espaliering.
The main stalk of the grapevine is allowed to grow upwards with the use of a stake or fence pole for support. Additional wires or strings spread out horizontally from one fence pole to the next, and these are used to train the grapevine into the fence shape. Each year, prune back excess grapevine growth while leaving two main culms at each level of the fence line wire. The grapevines will look as if they have multiple sets of arms spreading out to each side, and as the vines mature and age they will create a solid living fence that produces fruit for your family.
Old, untrained grapevines make wonderful shade arbors around a porch or patio. To get the most shade from grapevines you'll want to prune them rarely if at all. When left to grow unchecked, they produce much less fruit but create a wonderfully intricate pattern of twisted vines that produce excellent shade.
Grapevines start producing fruit in two to three years after they've been planted, and they continue to increase the amount of fruit produced for the next eight to 10 years. By planting just one vine, your household can have fresh, sweet table grapes to eat for many years to come. Since grapes come in white, red, green and purple, you can have a variety of flavors and sizes to eat by planting one of each kind.
Canning or Drying
Seedless grapes are an excellent choice to grow for drying into raisins or turning into jams, jellies, cider, wine and juice.
Canadice is a seedless red grape that works well for making raisins, and Valiant or Bluebell are blue grape varieties that make fine jellies and jams.