Developed in New York in 1882, the Niagara grape was derived from vinifera and labrusca strains and is adapted well to the northeastern climate. Niagara grapes ripen in mid to late autumn and work well in juices and wines or for eating as table grapes. The Niagara grape tastes both sweet and tart, with a tart skin and tart center but sweet flesh near the skin. It can withstand cold winter temperatures up to -10 F.
Wait until the early spring to prepare the soil for planting. Choose a full sun location where you will be able to set up a trellis system for the grape vine.
Drive two wooden stakes into the ground, making sure they are at least 6 inches underground. Leave 4 feet of space between the stakes. At 2 feet above the ground and 4 feet above the ground, run a wire between the two stakes. Tie the wire off at each end. This will be your grape vine trellis.
Turn over the soil where you plan to plant the grape vine, and remove any weeds or rocks. Dig a hole that's twice as wide and just as deep as your grape vine's root ball.
Remove your Niagara grape transplant from its container. Place the vine in the hole so its roots are spread out in the soil. Then fill in the hole with soil. Water the newly planted grape vine until the ground becomes saturated and the soil compresses around the base of the plant.
Prune away any suckers that grow off the base of the grape vine just after planting, using your anvil pruners. Choose the most powerful shoot and trim away all other shoots. This will help train your grape vine for the second season. After this, allow your grape vine to grow until spring of the next year.
Sprinkle 8 oz. of 10-10-10 fertilizer around the base of your Niagara grape vine one week after planting, then water the ground to work the fertilizer in.
Water the grape vine two to three times a week until the soil becomes saturated.
Prune the vine for training in early spring of the second year, once the weather has warmed to 40 F and before the vine has begun growing again. Again, remove any suckers from the trunk. Tie the main vine to the first wire, and cut the main vine back so its top reaches just above that wire. Select two offshoots and string them along the first wire so that they run parallel to the ground. Trim back these shoots so they have no more than two buds apiece. Prune off all other offshoots from the main vine.
Fertilize the vine again using 1 lb. of 10-10-10 fertilizer. Continue to water the grape vine every few days until the ground is saturated.
Harvest grapes in mid autumn.
Things You Will Need
- 2 wooden stakes, 5-feet long
- Wire cutters
- Niagara grape transplant
- Fertilizer, 10-10-10
- Anvil pruners