By Kathee Mierzejewski
Often, it is believed that only wineries can grow grapes, but this is so untrue. Growing grapes can be done by anyone with the right climate and the right type of soil. Let’s take a look at how to grow grapes.
Climate for Growing Grapes
The right climate for growing grapevines will always entail a minimum number of days of frost-free temperatures to mature the growing grapevines. You might wonder how long does it take grapes to grow. It takes 165 to 180 days, which includes harvesting of the fruit and acclimation of the wood for winter.
How Do Grapes Grow?
The first thing you need to do when planting grapevines is to make sure the soil is good. Clear out the area where you want to plant, then make sure the soil has good drainage yet sufficient moisture.
Growing grapes requires a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5. You can also mix in organic matter so the soil contains two to three percent. This means spreading 20 pounds of nitrogen per acre. A pH above 6.8 can be acidified by using sulfur. This will create the best soil for growing grapevines. The perfect soil is a gravelly loam that has been prepared to a depth of 12 inches or so.
If you want to know how to plant grapes, you should know they are grown from hardwood cuttings of the grapevine. When you think about how to plant grapes, remember that the vines have a shallow root system. You have to be careful when you are weeding around the vines.
When thinking about how to plant grapes, you need to realize that the best way to keep weeds out when planting grapevines is to use a cover crop. A good cover crop can be rye, wheat or barley. This will help maintain the growing grapevines roots and keep out most of the weeds.
You can train your grapevines to grow on fencing and arbors alike. Second year plants will produce the most fruit. First year plants are basically a way to help establish good roots and plants.
You can pick your grapes when they are ripe. Once they color, you should taste them daily until they reach the desired sweetness, or the desired ripeness for their purpose. The sugar increases the longer the fruit is on the vine after ripening. Keep this in mind in case you need your grapes for something more tart, like wines or jellies.