Raising your own grapes is definitely easy. When it is harvest time, you have a lot of options on how you can enjoy your grapes. You can eat them fresh. You can dry them and relish raisins. You can juice or ferment them and feast on wine. Or, you can just simply cook them and have good servings of jellies and jams. However, the real challenge happens when you are about to buy the grapevines. You need to consider a number of factors so you can reap delicious grapes. Read on:
- Measure your available space. Grapevines grow well in a comfortable area. Ideally, each grapevine requires about 8’ x 8’ so it can expand properly and bear fruits naturally. Don’t get too many grapevines if your space is limited. Also, clear your target area before you start planting your grapevines.
- Prefer an open space. Grapevines need to get a lot of sunshine. Choose a space where they can enjoy a full sun – at least eight hours daily. The availability of sunlight can make a great difference in raising your grapevines.
- Learn about the growing period. Note that most grape varieties can grow and be harvested between four and five months. That’s without the risk of frost. So, be very particular on the kind of grapevines that you are going to plant. Double-check with your local nursery if the specific kind that you are eyeing can thrive in your target space.
- Be familiar with the variety. Grapes can be differentiated according to flavors, sizes, and colors. So, pick the variety that can grow favorably with the climate in your area. Otherwise, if the variety that you got isn’t conducive for your region, raising it may become really problematic. Again, discuss with your local nursery some of the possible options that you may consider.
- Set your specific purpose. Ask yourself why do you want to plant the grapevines. If you are raising them so you can ferment wine, you need to scour for the suitable variety. Look for grapevines that can meet the desired sugar and acidity levels for wine making. Meanwhile, if you intend to harvest them for your jellies and jams, go for the seedless variety. Also, ask around if the acid level is comparatively lower than the other varieties. In other words, inform your local nursery about your plan so you can get the right variety.
- Prepare your soil. Grapevines demand a rich soil that is well drained. You should plant them approximately three-inch deep. Aside from tilling the soil before you plant the grapevines, you should also add fertilizer or compost in the whole area. That should allow the roots of your grapevines to spread out easily and quickly.
After you have planted your grapevines, you next task is to nurture them. You should be able to follow a routine of some sort. You should spray them for pests, cut back grapevines if they grow too wide, build trellises and coax the grapevines to cling on them, and net the grapes so you can protect them from birds.