How to Grow Grapevines

If you're a lover of wine and homemade jams, it may be time to start growing grapevines in your garden. Not only are grapes versatile in taste, they are also often used in popular drinks and foods on a day-to-day basis.

Consider these tips on how to grow grapevines in your garden so you can enjoy your favorite grape-inspired recipes for years to come.

Selecting grapevines

Grapes can be grown just about anywhere but before you purchase grapevines or seeds, determine which type of grape will grow best in your geographic region. As a general rule of thumb, Muscadine grapes tend to grow best in the South, American grapes in the Northeast and European grapes in the West.

If you're still unsure which grape type is most suited for your garden, check with your local nursery.

It's also beneficial to inspect the stems and roots of the grapevine to ensure they are healthy and free of disease or damage.

Planting grapevines

Early spring is typically the best time to plant new grapevines, giving vines the best opportunity to properly develop over the growing season.

Since grapevines become large in size when they are fully matured and need plenty of room to grow, make sure they are spaced 6" to 10" apart. Also be sure grapevines are planted in an area that receives full sunlight - or at least partial shade - and avoid areas that consist of dry, clay-like soil as grapevines need rich, well-drained soil for needed nutrients.

Once vines eventually start producing fruit, the grapes can weigh down and potentially break the stems. This is why it is crucial to place a trellis or some type of upright, stable structure within your garden to support the grapevines.

Caring for grapevines

Keep in mind growing grapevines is a patient process. It takes a few years before vines will start producing fruit. This time is needed so vines can develop strong roots and stems that can support fruit.

During this period, however, you should heavily prune buds and canes - only leaving two or three buds - to encourage new growth. Doing so will help produce more fruit when the vines are fully developed.

A drip line irrigation system is also recommended as it consistently gives grapevines the water they need without drowning the vines. Fertilization isn't typically needed for grapevines, yet you can still maintain their health by removing any weeds that pop up around the roots or base of your vines.

When vines finally start bearing fruit, you can check to see if grapes are ready to be picked by simply taste-testing a few. Mature grapes are firmer and sweeter in taste.