Grape Vines: There are all sorts of varieties of grapevine, some are really hardy and will grow anywhere and some are so delicate that you need to really have a greenhouse to help them crop. Our favourite and the one that we sell is the sweet grape variety grows very well in the UK and is both hardy and disease resistant. In particular, the Lakemont variety of grape vine is a sweet honey like grape which is delicious straight from the vine and makes a good sweet wine.
But despite our grape vine’s being a particularly hardy strain, there still needs to be a degree of care and planning to ensure an excellent crop of grapes in late September. And April is THE time to start working on training your grape vines – do it now to make sure you get a good crop!!! So today’s blog post is all about how to succeed with your first grape growing experience.
Choosing the right place to plant: When you are looking at where to plant your vine tree, make sure that you choose an area that receives plenty of sunlight. A good tip is to choose to grow your grape along an existing fence line or trellis if available. This will avoid the hassle of trying to put something together whilst your grapes are growing – remember it’s easier to have the trellis in place before you plant your grape vine.
Making sure the ground is right: Grapes hate to get their roots totally drenched through – if you put them in a place where they receive too much water, their roots will eventually rot and die. Therefore you need to make sure that you place your grape vine in an area that does not get waterlogged and fairly well drained.
Before you plant your grape vine, ensure that you break up the soil well so you aren’t left with any large clumps. If your soil is very clay heavy, you can add a little peat moss to even things out. The ideal pH balance should be between 6 and 7.
Planting the Vine: When you dig a hole for your grape vine, make sure that the hole is wider and deeper than the root ball of the plant. About 15cm (6in) away from your fence or wall would be ideal. Next you need to carefully place the grape vine in the hole you have dug. It might be a good idea to replace some of the dirt you have dug and mound it up underneath the centre of the vine to give it some support. Make sure there is at least 1 or 2 inches of soil covering the roots.
Caring for your grape vine: depending on the time of year, how much sun light you receive etc, your grape vine will need varying levels of watering. In the height of summer, ensure that you keep your grape vine regularly watered, although remember the golden rule – not too over water your vine!! Root rot is something that we definitely want to avoid - eeesh.
During the first year of growth, allow around three or four stems to grow vertically. Attach them to the cane and pinch any shoots growing to one side.
Dealing with pesky pests: Wasps love to break the flesh of your grapes, for a sweet treat. You can help avoid this by creating a wasp trap. Do a quick google search for wasp trap and you can find out how to make one really easily.
I’ve also read that planting a rose tree nearby to your grapes can help you avoid pesky pests and attract them to the rose bush instead. However not great news for your rose bush, so not really sure if this is an effective method really.
Grape Vines make a great gift, perfect for anyone interested in wine making – imagine that grapes straight from the source!