If you’re looking for a great tasting grape with an unusual appearance, try witch finger grapes. Read on to find out about this exciting new variety of grape.
What are Witch Finger Grapes?
You probably won’t find these special grapes in your supermarket, yet, but they are worth waiting for. Grown as a table grape, both their sweet flavor and unusual shape make them appealing to kids as well as adults. Maroon in color when fully ripe, a cluster of witch finger grapes look like a tightly packed cluster of chili peppers. They have thin skin over light-colored, juicy, sweet flesh. The result is a pleasing snap between the teeth when you bite into them.
Where Do Witch Finger Grapes Come From?
Developed by hybridizers using a University of Arkansas cultivar and a Mediterranean grape, witch finger grapes are a specialty fruit not yet available for home growers. At this time, there is only one company that grows them. They are grown in Bakersfield, California and sold in southern California farmer’s markets. Some are packaged and shipped for national distribution, but they are very hard to find.
Care of Witch Finger Grapes
It may be a while before you can find these special grape vines available for home gardens, but they aren't any more difficult to grow than other grape varieties. They need bright sunlight and good air circulation. Adjust the soil pH to between 5.0 and 6.0 before planting and try to maintain this pH as long as the grapes remain in the location. Space the plants as much as 8 feet (2 m.) apart if you plan to grow them on a trellis or as little as 4 feet (1 m.) apart if you are going to stake them with poles. Water the plants when the weather is dry until they become established. You can fertilize grapes with a layer of compost each year if you prefer an organic crop. If you plan to use bagged fertilizer, apply 8 to 12 ounces (225-340 g.) of 10-10-10 around each plant about a week after planting. Increase the amount to 1 pound (450 g.) the second year and 20 ounces (565 g.) in subsequent years. Keep the fertilizer about a foot (31 cm.) from the base of the vine. It can take a long time to learn to properly prune a witch finger grape vine. Prune the grape vine in late winter or early spring, after the danger of frost has passed but before the vine begins putting on new growth. Remove enough of the stems to allow in plenty of sunshine and air, and to keep the vines from exceeding their boundaries. This information about witches’ finger grapes will help you establish your vines. Good pruning technique comes with practice and observation.
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Jackie Carroll has written over 500 articles for Gardening Know How on a wide range of topics.
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