How to Grow Grapes
This is the most fun you can have
with your bibs on. I promise!
It could also be a life changing adventure and
I’m asking you to join us today.
I’m giving away 20 boxes of plants in honor of
my late father. Have you entered?
St. Patrick’s Day has always had a special meaning
around our house. My father was born and raised in
Ireland and didn’t come to America until he was 18
or 20 years old. So every year around St. Patrick’s
Day the gifts and cards would start showing up around
the house. Everybody that knew my dad loved him, and
they never failed to acknowledge him around St.
Patrick’s Day. You would have loved him too!
He loved to laugh and made everybody around
him laugh as well.
So in honor of “Grampa Joe” as the grandkids called him,
even though his name wasn’t Joe, I’ve decided to give
away 20 boxes of plants throughout the month of March.
How to Grow Grape Vines
Like most plants, grape vines really like rich soil
that is fairly well drained. However, they will grow
well in soils heavier than most ornamental plants
prefer. For one, they are very vigorous growers so
soil that holds some moisture actually helps them.
New grape plants should be set out (planted) in the
spring. Fall planting is not recommend in cold
climates because the heaving of the soil during the
freezing and thawing process can actually push freshly
planted grapes vines out of the ground. So plant in
the spring so they are rooted in nicely by fall.
If planting on an arbor you can put the plants as
close as 48″ apart. If you are planting them in
more of a garden setting on a trellis they should
be 7 to 8 feet apart. After planting wait about
7 to 10 days then apply about 8 ounces of 10-10-10
garden fertilizer. Just sprinkle the fertilizer on
top of the soil, over the root zone.
Do not over fertilize. After the grape vines have
been established for a year you can apply about 16
ounces of fertilizer around the root zone each of
each plant in the early spring.
Grape vines need support. (no support jokes!)
You need a system for supporting your grape vines.
You can put posts in the ground and stretch a heavy
wire between the posts. Or two wires. Make the
top one about 60″ high and the lower one about 36″
As your new grape plants grow you’ll want to keep
them pruned to a single vine until they almost reach
the top wire, then allow the vine to grow in two
directions like a “T”. Then keep the vine tied to
the wire as it grows. Grape vines can easily grow
as much as 12′ in a season.
In the latter part of each winter grape vines
require aggressive pruning. Left unpruned they
will produce a great deal of grapes, but with that
much fruit on the plant none of it will mature into
quality fruit. So you control that with heavy
Leave the main vine that grows along the wire or
wires, then all vines coming off of that vine need
to be pruned back to just 3 to 5 nodes or buds. The
nodes are the little bumps on the vine with the
little curly cues growing from them.
How’s that for a technical explanation?
The part of the vine that you leave is called a
spur. Space the spurs that you leave evenly along
the vine so they are not too close together. This
part of the plant needs sunlight and good air
On a mature plant the pruning will require removing
as much as 80% to 90% of the previous years growth.
In Ohio mid to late February is a good time to
prune, so adjust your pruning around that time
These varieties are all very popular and tolerate
cold climates well. Concord, Niagara, Delaware,
Reliance, Candice, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc.
A well maintained grape vine will produce grapes
for over 30 years.
Got it? Good. Now drag out those canning jars.
Do me a favor and send this newsletter
to at least three of your gardening friends and tell them
why you like or why you don’t like me. Okey dokey?
You can get my plant propagation book here:
Take care, have a great day and by all means