If you’ve been thinking of how to grow grapes in your backyard for a long time, now’s your chance to learn. Spring is the perfect time to plant grapevines in your backyard so that you can enjoy abundant harvests for years to come.
If you choose to plant small sections of perennials like grapes, strawberries, and blueberries in your backyard, these can complement a home-grown plan to supply your family with fresh produce daily. Once these are established, grapevines can produce fruit for decades. You can choose your preferred variety and enjoy a new supply. Grapes can be eaten fresh as table grapes, used for making wine, jam, grape juice, jelly, grape seed extract, vinegar, and grape seed oil, or dried as raisins, currants, and sultanas.
Planting grapevines is not a complex process, whether on an arbor, trellis, pergola, or a traditional setup. They are surprisingly easy to grow. Along with that, they will help beautify your backyard with colorful fruit.
What Type of Grapes to Plant
There are a variety of grapes that you can plant. What type you choose entirely depends upon you. Whether it’s to enjoy eating them simply or to make juice, jams, or wine, there are many varieties better suited for each specific need.
There are three main varieties of grapes: American, European, and Muscadine. The American varieties like Concord and Mars are excellent for jams and jellies and more tolerant of cold than European ones. The European selections are mostly known for their winemaking.
When to Grow Grapes
Grapes grow best in the sun. It’s best to locate them in that area of the backyard where sunlight is abundant. The morning and afternoon sun in the backyard will serve the best for the crop’s healthy growth and ripening.
When you plant your grapes depends entirely on how you buy them. If the plant you purchased is dormant, bare-root grapevines, it is best to plant them in the early spring as quickly as your backyard soil warms up, and you can work the ground.
However, if you have purchased bare-root plants that have already flowered, the smart thing to do is to wait until past the threat of hard frost in your area and plant them.
How to Plant Grapes
The plantation is pretty much the same as any plant. Grapes are a long-term perennial crop, so you want to make sure that the soil in your backyard is prepared well from the outset, as this will allow to give them years of productivity.
- Once the soil is prepared, start by digging a 10 to 12 diameter hole about 12 inches deep.
- Start by filling in the bottom few inches of the hole with loose soil.
- Add in some well-aged compost as well to the soil mix.
- Then slowly add the grape plant to the hole.
- Now start filling in a few more inches of soil and compost mix around the roots.
- Be sure that the soil level of your plant is planted about one-fourth or so below the new soil line. It will help keep the crown secured.
Water & Plant Together
- Give little amounts of water around the plant and the first few inches of soil.
- Tamp the soil gently around the roots.
- Fill in the remaining hole with soil.
- Don’t compact the soil anymore at this point.
- Leave it loose for drainage and circulation.
You will need to come back in a few weeks to add more around each planting, but this is better when compared to stomping the ground solid around the plant.
Making Sure You Provide Long Term Support
Support is extremely crucial. Regardless of whether you plant your grapes in the backyard or your garden, they will need help. It will allow them to keep growing strong. Something as simple as a metal pole with a few wires can work, or you can make the extra effort and plant them over arbors or pergolas to create a living wall or covering of grapes.
Once your vines start to grow, trimming them will be an essential part of their maintaining them. Not so much during the first year but from the third year onwards. The trick is to trim with utmost care.
Canes that are more than a year old will produce grapes. If you end up trimming these, you will not get any grapes. And if you have too many old canes, your harvest will be thin. It is best to cut in the offseason to remove any thin canes. Along with making your work easier it will help produce the best fruit.
Harvesting Your Grapes
Work your intuition on this one. The first thing to see is the color of your grapes. And then the color of your vines. If they’re entirely harvested, they will have their full, rich color, and the vines should be bronze. If the vines are blackish and wrinkled, it’s too late.
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If your grapes feel firm and plump, they are good to go, but if they are shriveled or wrinkled, they’ve been on the vine too long.
Our Final Thoughts
Now that you have a good idea of how to grow grapes in your backyard, with time and consistent effort, you too can grow the best grapes. Just keep in mind the variety of grape you wish to grow, and in the next three years, you’ll be harvesting your backyard grapes.