How to Grow Grapes
So You Want to Know How to Grow Grapes? It seems hard to find anyone who does not know what grapes are. They are grown across the world, and are enjoyed by most people. These morsels of juicy deliciousness are berries in the botanical sense. They grow in bunches with at least 6 individual fruits. Some varieties produce bunches numbering an astonishing 300 grapes!
Grapes can be grown for eating or for making wine. Table grapes are the ones for eating, and wine grapes are for making wine. Centuries of cultivation and study has led to the development of a specialized branch of plant science just for grapes. This special science is called viticulture, and it deals with everything about grapes. Breeds and varieties, soil composition and sun exposure, basically everything that has to do with how to grow grapes, falls under the umbrella of viticulture.
Before you ask how to grow grapes, you need to know exactly what you plan to do with the grapes. Will it be for making wine, or for eating? Both do follow the same step-by-step procedures for planting, but the specific requirements might change depending on what you plan to grow.
Table grapes need fertile soil with good drainage. This means that the proportion of clay to loam or sand must not be too high. Too much clay makes the soil retain a lot of water, which will cause the grapevine's roots to rot. The amount of sunlight that the plant will receive is critical to the development of sugars in the fruits.
Start with planning your plantation or plot of land. The plot should receive a lot of sunlight. The plants should be about six feet apart to allow for growth. Check the soil. Is it fertile enough? Does it drain well? If not, add compost to it and loosen it before planting. After this, it is time to start building a trellis for the vine to cling on. It should be just tall enough to make picking easier. Make sure to choose wood that will not rot easily under the elements.
Only now can we begin the actual planting. Dig holes for the plants. The holes should be larger than what you need to plant the vines. This is because you want the soil to be loose when you put it back over the roots. Tie the strongest tendril to your trellis with string, not wire which can cause damage to the vine. Water your plants unless the rain is enough to keep them healthy. During the dormant season, prune the weakest or unhealthiest vines. This will improve the quality of the fruit.
When the vine starts producing fruit, it is time to prepare for the harvest. Picking grapes at the right time will ensure maximum sweetness and juiciness. A hydrometer will prove useful in determining the sugar content of your grapes and tell you when to start harvesting.
Wine grapes are more complicated. Each variety of grapes produces specific qualities in wine, and will also have different growing requirements. Regardless, the steps for how to grow grapes are the same. Plan your plantation, build your trellises, and plant your vines. Special techniques are applied to encourage the development of specific qualities in the grapes that will affect the wine.
If you seriously plan to grow wine grapes, it would be best to ask a viticulturist. They can tell you the different varieties and requirements, and how to grow grapes for wine making purposes. With all that being said, remember that grapes require time. You will need to be disciplined in setting up and taking care of your plants, but the end result will be worth every second and every drop of sweat.
Eddy Lee is grape growing and wine making expert. For more great tips on how to grow grapes and make wine visit http://www.winemakinganswers.com