Grapes Are Great For Wines, Jams & Snacks

Posted by Tammy Sons on 27th Jan 2016

By Tammy Sons

Grapes

Let me offer a little insight into the beautiful world of grapes. Besides being

fantastic in a fruit salad, grapes offer a variety of different uses from

Jams to wine. Winter is the time to consider if you want to plant your vineyard. Read on and decide.

The earliest settlers in the New World found wild grapes growing along.

Streams and in timbered areas. Crossing them with species from Europe has

produced plants that combine the hardness of the native American grapes with

The high quality of most European types. Grapes are very sturdy plants that

Can withstand drought and succeed even in rocky, infertile soils. With

decent care, the vines can remain productive for 20 to 30 years.

Because of the many cultivars, you have a choice of fruit colors, flavors,

Ripening times, and culinary uses. If you can, buy only disease resistant

Varieties. Choose a location to plant that is warm and sunny. An ideal site

Is a gentle slope to the south with excellent drainage. Special soil

preparation may not be necessary, though the plants will appreciate a

Halfway rich soil with plenty of organic matter mixed in. The best time to

a plant is a late winter or early spring, especially for bare root plants, so

they can be established by summer and be able to withstand the summer

weather extremes.

Grapes respond well to shallow cultivation to get rid of weeds. Try to keep

An area of the soil under the vines at least 4 feet wide weed free. Mulch to

Help with the weed problem and to retain moisture. It also looks nice. Avoid

moist, rich organic materials because they may release nitrogen into the

soil too long and contribute to uneven ripening and over-vigorous growth.

A good use for grape vines is to train them on an existing border fence or

Trellis. This will set off the property boundaries, add privacy, and screen

Undesirable views. The type of landscape use, amount of leisure time you

have, and desire for fruit need to be considered in determining the number

Of plants you need. Weeding, tying, pruning, and spraying is necessary

cultural operations for the best production.

Vigorous-year-old plants are probably best to use. Two-year-old plants are

more expensive and usually don't grow any better than the one-year-old ones.

Get your stock from a reputable nursery that will guarantee the plants are

high quality, true to name, and are disease-free.

To have productive grapes that will produce quality fruit, the vine must be

Trained and pruned to a definite system. Unlike most other fruits, grape

Plants should be pruned rather severely. When you plant your grapes, put

them at the same depth as they were in the nursery, 5 to 8 feet apart in

The row. Spread the roots, so they radiate out from the stem. Cut off any

broken or damaged portions of the roots and shorten any that are excessively

Long. Cover the roots with topsoil and tamp it down to eliminate air pockets

And ensure good root-soil contact. Leave a shallow basin around the plant

And fill with water. This will settle the soil around the roots as well as

Supply needed moisture. Later, fill the hole to the level of the surrounding

Soil. Prune each dormant plant to a single cane, then head or cut back that

cane to 2 or 3 strong buds.

Shoots will arise from these buds. Select the most vigorous 2 or 3 and tie

Them loosely to a stake next to the plant. One or 2 of these will become the

trunk.

Erect a permanent trellis for the vine with the top wire about 6 feet above

The ground. The first year, train the trunk shoot up to the top wire. The

following year, two lateral shoots or cordons, are directed along the wires.

Once the horizontal cordons are developed, fruiting spurs of 2 to 5 buds are

Left along the cordon. These will produce the shoots with the grapes.

Grapes themselves don't need direct sunlight to ripen, but the amount of

a light was hitting the leaves very important to the fruit quality. Leaves

Manufacture the sugars that are then translocated to the fruit. Give them

full sun if at all possible for the best results.

One of the hardest things about growing grapes is getting to the ripe ones.

Before the birds do. You can put netting over the vines or tie brown paper

bags around the clusters of fruit, but how do you know when they are ripe?

Although color change is important in deciding when to harvest, it isn't the

Only thing. Most grapes change color as they approach maturity, but most

color-up before they flavor-up. When ripe, there is a natural bloom, or

Whitish coating, on the fruit. Seeds change from green to brown. Size and

the firmness of the grape is another factor; most grapes become less firm when

Ripe. The best sign of ripeness is the sweetness of the grape. Go ahead and

Test them! Unlike most fruits, once grapes are cut from the vine, they will

not ripen any further.

Once you have harvested your grapes, you can store them up to 8 weeks with

Ideal conditions. Store at 32 degrees with 85% humidity. If you have too

many to eat, make jelly, jam, juice them, or maybe make some wine!

Buy wild grape vines at our wholesale Garden Nursery.