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Growing Grapes

Growing Grapes

Starting from seed.

1. Choose the right variety: select by hardiness zone of your area, type of soil you have and what you plan to use grapes for (e.g. for making wine special varieties must be planted).

2. Check that your seeds are viable: put seeds in glass of water, viable seeds will sink. Throw away those seeds that float on top of water.

3. Stratify seeds by placing them into tight container and into fridge (not freezer !) for 1-2 months. Check periodically - do not allow mold in the container. Temperature 3-5 degrees Celsius.

4. In March plant seeds individually into small pots filled with potting soil, cover seeds with 1/2" layer of soil. Temperature for germination required 20 degrees Celsius. Keep soil moist. Seeds germinate in 2-5 weeks.

5. Transplant plants that have 6 true leaves (or 1 foot tall) outside into full sun spot after all frost dangers are behind - approximately mid June. Amend your soil if required, grape thrives in regular soil with medium clay content , but requires good drainage, i.e. no standing water around grapevine roots at any time. If you are into PH measurement of your soil, grapevine like slightly acid soil of PH 5.0-6.0

6. Space seedlings 8 feet apart from each other in all directions - this is very important for air circulation between plants when they grow to full maturity.

7. Support growing vines - in first year a simple stake is enough to support the plant. When plant grows bigger (second year) - it will require serious trellis, and needs to be trained on trellis.

8. Grapes do not require lots of fertyilizer, but little compost when just planted will give them a good start.

Maintaining grapevine.

 It usually takes 3 years to grow before the grapevine starts producing good fruit clusters. Fruit clusters are developed only on the "current year" branches of the vine, i.e. branches that grew up this year from buds, therefore prunning is very important for grapevine maintenance. Prunning is done in late Winter or early Spring - before plants start growing.

1. 2nd year select the stongest branch (cane) to become future trunk of the vine. From the trunk you should allow only 2 branches to grow in each direction of the wire (trellis).

2. 3rd year the vine keeps growing and will reach the top wire, select 2 strongest branches on each wire (trellis) to grow to opposite directions from the trunk. Pinch all other brunches. On selected branches leave only first 5-6 buds - they will produce fruit clusters.

3. Year 4 and beyond: on each wire you should keep only 2 strongest branches prunned to have only 6-10 buds left - those buds will grow into the fruiting branches this year.