Contrary to popular speculation or belief, growing grapes in your backyard are not as difficult as one may think. When someone mentions the idea of starting a grape garden, one may immediately assume that without acres of free land at their disposal, it will be almost impossible to be successful. This is NOT true!
Many amateur grape growers today are content with their small vine gardens in their backyards. The grapes they produce are excellent for eating and making wine, and the little effort put into it has a high return.
As a full-time grape farmer, I have learned the secrets of what it takes to grow the best-tasting grapes for decades. As a child, I would work with my father on his farm planting and pruning grapevines all day long, and I continued working with him as a teenager and even now as an adult and family man. I want to teach you how to grow grapes and share the secrets of keeping a successful grapevine garden so that you, too, can enjoy what these delicious fruits offer.
First, backyard grape growing does not require expensive fertilizers or manures. You can get some really good vines from ordinary soil. Another goodie is that you won't have to invest much time in your garden because the roots will seek out what they need. You only need to concern yourself with where to put the vine itself.
It is quite amazing that no matter where you plant your vines, you must train them around your house towards the good sunlit areas. That will work even better if you have an open garden where the sun hits all day long.
The best time to plant your grapevines is during the fall. Do not let the vines fruit during the first season of planting. Instead, always remember to cut down your vines to about four buds. This is because those four buds will become the strongest points and will lead the rest of the vine up the wall where you planted them. You want your grapevine to use all of its energy-producing strong wood for the next season because it is during the second season of growth that you get the best grapes.
Remember that the wood born this year will lead to next year's fruits. So during the first year, clip away any flower buds that may form, thus making sure that the vine's energy is focused on producing wood.
When pruning during the summer, you want to cut off all new growth while leaving the old wood to provide for future fruit. Only remove old growth when they become a straggling nuisance hanging all over your garden. When pruning in the fall or early winter, you should cut back the vines to about five to six buds only so that, once again, the vines will use all their energy to produce strong wood during the winter.
Most grapevines ripen during the late summer or early September. At this time, you can enjoy the best-tasting homegrown grapes and continue preparing your vines for future growth.
Wait! Don't plant some grapevines you purchased at your local nursery and then wondered why you are getting poor results. Many of these vines came from other states and were cut from a healthy patch that will never have the strength to ripen once taken home. Learn the fundamental procedures of backyard grape growing first before making a mistake!
Matt Granger has been growing grapes for over 30 years and is an expert in backyard grape and grapevine farming. Visit his grape-growing website here