How to Grow Grapes
How to Grow Grapes
Grape vines have been grown in Britain as far back as the Roman times. They are tough plants that don't take up much space and can be planted at the back of borders, along fences or climbing up pergolas.
Growing grape vines.
The key is to spend some time on soil preparation before planting. The soil should be dug as far down as you can get incorporation lots of well rotted farm yard manure, its important that it should be well rotted because fresh manure will burn the vines roots. Another good source of organic matter is lead compost created from oak, ash and lime trees; beech leaves are best avoided, as they tend to be a little too acid for vines. Natural and well before the Romans took an interest in vines they grow naturally in woods and forests. Climbing trees in search of sunlight to ripen the fruit they produce, this is why the requirement for lots of organic matter in the soil to recreate the leaf litter found naturally on a forest floor is key to growing grapes successfully.
Most vines are supplied in pots. The same planting rules apply to vines as well as other pot grown plant, but with vines it is important that you -
1. Make sure the root ball is not to root bound or has been grown in a small pot for to long so that the roots have started to spiral in the base of the pot.
2. The planting depth should be just below the original compost surface in the pot so the root ball is just covered with soil.
Ideally the vine should be planted so that the roots are always kept cool and the head should be grown into the sun or towards a sunny spot on a wall or trellis etc. To keep the roots cool you can place large stones or rocks around the base to help shield the soil from direct sunlight.
In the first two years you should concentrate on forming a framework within the vine plant. This involves training the side branches and tying them to wires or trellis supports. The key points in this operation are not to tie the vine too firmly as the branches will expand over the next two years and the ties might constrain the branch to much and cause some damage. Secondary by training the side branched horizontally this will help encourage fruit production later. During the first two-year we recommend feeding with a liquid feed one a month through the summer to help create the frame work that will later support the grapes.
The vine will produce fruit in the first two years; this fruit is best left on the vine but thinned by removing 2/3rds of the grapes that have formed within each bunch.
Finally in the third year you can plan to produce some usable fruits. At the start of the year mulch with some well rotted farmyard manure around the base. You should no longer be feeding with liquid feed during the summer. The grapes will form again on the fruiting spurs and should be thinned in each bunch this time by one 1/3. They will develop over the summer then in late July you should remove some of the vines foliage around the grapes to allow the more sunlight to ripen the bunches.
At the end of the year you should tie in the new shoots cutting then back by 25% to encourage the formation of new fruiting spurs the following year. Finally tar washing with jeyes fluid in the winter has the advantage of killing all the pests that are over wintering in the stems and buds. This is carried out by mixing 1 part jeyes fluid to 30 parts water and spraying it on to the vine until it runs off soaking the stems and branches