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Wondering what to grow at your home that won’t need a lot of space or even time? If you haven’t thought about it yet, you need to consider growing grapes.
Growing grapes will be a nice addition to your home. What’s more? Grapes can even grow on walls and arches so having no garden space should not worry you. Vines are known to grow well in any garden soil provided there is ample sunlight. With careful pruning, you will have a full vineyard in no time.
How to grow grapes at home
Not everyone is cut out for home gardening. It might be the resources needed or the time investment that most of us don’t have. Between going to work every day and having so many other responsibilities, we have no time or energy left for gardening.
Good news is, growing grapes won’t need as much time and resources. You only need to have the willingness to do it, and the rest will be easy. And that’s not all. Growing grapes doesn’t even have to be an outdoor affair. You can have grown them indoors as well. You only need to know which types of grapes you want to grow.
Desert grapes thrive in indoor settings, while wine grapes are grown outdoors. The only thing you should be wary of is the soil and climate of your area. Grapes can thrive in any three-year-old soil so long as it has good drainage. All this is dependent on the variety of grapes you want to grow.
Outdoor grape growing
I would say this is the easiest method. The most essential part is soil preparation before planting the vines. You are required to water the grapes once in a while especially before a drought onset.
Reducing the grape bunches is not necessary. You are advised to cover the stems during the early growth stages but remove the mulch after the grapes ripen to prevent the plant from rotting.
Indoor grape growing
If your ideal method of cultivation is using a greenhouse, then there are a few things you should keep in mind. For grapes to grow well, they need ample light, ventilation, high potash liquid fertilizer, and water. Always ensure you water in regular intervals to prevent them from drying out.
Another way that you can speed up the process is by cutting out some bunches periodically. This will aid in circulation of air and ripening. You are required to do this in spring. Before you start growing grapes, there are a few factors you need to know:How to prepare for planting
How to prepare for planting
The very first thing you should decide on is what type of grape you want to grow. Grapes have many different varieties. It’s crucial that you know the variety that will thrive better in your climate and soil conditions.
When buying the vine, opt for one that is not less than one year old. Also, consider its health; it should be virus free with a symmetrical cane and its roots evenly distributed. The location you select for the planting is another essential factor. Generally, grapes can grow even up to a hundred years.
Therefore, you should pick a location with rich soils and good atmosphere. The final step in the preparation is the soil itself. Ensure that it is not heavily fertilized and also that it has good drainage. It’s ph. level should also be neutral; not too acidic or basic.
When this is done, you are finally ready to commence with the planting. Opt to plant during late winter or in early spring, when there is no frost since young vines do not do well in adverse weather conditions like winter.
Growing is not all about cultivation. You have to harvest the grapes after they ripen. This is the part you have been waiting for ever since you decided to grow grapes from your home- enjoying the fruits of your labor.
The most ideal time for pruning is early winter, before leaves start emerging, which is from late November to December.by this time, most grapes will have begun to ripen. What you should keep in mind, however, is that during your first year of planting, you should cut out all the mature fruits.
Why? The vine is not stable yet, and the weight of the produce makes it weak that it’s barely productive in its subsequent years. Always try to distinguish the dormant vines from the active ones. The dormant vines should always be cut off to let the other vines to thrive.
You can begin the harvesting the third year after planting. The vine will have become strong enough to carry the weight of the matured fruits. Growing grapes requires a lot of patience too. You will hardly get any sweet edible grapes the first three years of planting.
Let the vines grow and mature first within those years before you begin harvesting. You will know that they are ready to be harvested if the grapes are soft to touch and their skins, especially for white grapes, become yellow.
The only sure way of knowing that they are ready, however, is by tasting the grapes. The sweetest ones are riper and thus, should be harvested first.
How to make own grapes wine
You must spend a fortune every month buying wine from the stores. Grapes make excellent wine, especially a variety called wine grapes. If you grow grapes at your home, then you should not have to buy wine. Instead, you can make your own, right from the comfort of your home. How cool is that?
Making wine is quite easy, even for a beginner. What happens is that the yeast found in grapes acts as a catalyst for the whole process. Knowing the right temperatures to store the grapes is the most vital step. During storage, yeast will turn sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
It’s the yeast that gives the wine flavor during fermentation. And voila! You have wine. At this point, you must be wondering just how many grapes you will need for one bottle of wine. Around 600 to 800 grapes will do the trick. This is about six to 10 grape clusters, which is not a hard find if you already have a vineyard.
I have come across people who are either allergic to yeast, or they just don’t like it. Well, you can even get the same wine result without using yeast.
The first step is separating the grapes from the stalks. Wash the grapes well and dry them out using a cloth. You are required to boil water depending on how much wine you want, and let it cool. Add the water to mashed dry grapes and sugar in a bottle, and stir.
The best part about making your own wine is you get to choose whether to make red or white wine. I guess you didn’t know that you can make white wine out of red grapes. The only difference between making red or white wine is that for the white wine, you remove the grape skins before fermentation begins.
Making your own wine is ideal because you can use the wine for drinking or even cooking. This will have you saving a lot of money, and even energy spent running to the store for these supplies.
How long can you store grapes?
Grapes have different varieties, and thus, they are not subject to the same conditions. For instance, desert grapes are best grown indoors while wine grapes thrive outdoors. After harvesting, grapes do not last that long. You are advised to eat them as soon as they are harvested, or store them in a refrigerator.
This method of storage is ideal because unlike cellars, the temperatures in a fridge do not keep changing. When it comes to dessert grapes, you have a limited period of about two weeks before they go bad. If you cannot eat all of them immediately they are harvested, store them in the fridge for around 10-14 days.
Wine grapes, as the name suggests, are best if used to make wine. They can also be eaten after harvesting.You can also enjoy your grapes far much longer than two weeks. By storing them in the freezer, you have up to 12 months.
However, as much as it’s not advised, storing them under zero degrees will have you enjoying the grapes as long as you want to, without any limitations. If you want to keep them fresh for long after harvesting, store in the fridge in a plastic bag without washing.
Avoid washing them before storing. This comes into play when you finally want to eat them. Place the grapes in a colander and rinse under cold water.
Do Grapevines need a lot of growing space?
As I mentioned earlier, you do not need that much space to grow grapes. You only need around 50-100 square feet per vine in your garden.
To know how much space you need between rows, depends on the type of soil the grapes are growing on. Typically, the ideal space for cultivation is only 8 Ft. apart. For deep, fertile soils, the vines can be spaced 6-9 Ft. apart while for the marginal type of soil, you will need up to 12 Ft. of space.
Weeds grow and make the space much smaller. To keep the weeds at bay, you should take them out on a regular basis to ensure the vines get the space they need to thrive.
How expensive are grapes?
The reason why most of us don’t eat grapes that often is because they are quite costly. Instead of buying one bunch of grapes, I would rather buy bananas and oranges with the same amount. Why exactly are grapes so expensive?
High spoilage rate
You have to eat grapes as soon as you buy or harvest them or you risk them going bad. Having a fridge for storage buys you some time, but also if not stored well, they will spoil. This is precisely why grapes are costly. Most stores go an extra mile to keep them fresh for you and therefore, they feel the need to add this to the charges.
I realized that one of the reasons why grapes keep being costly is because most of us are willing to pay these prices. Grapes are mostly consumed by the middle class, and the wealthy and these two groups do not shy away from high prices. Therefore, sellers do not feel the need to lower the prices if buyers are willing and able to pay.
You will not find grapes being sold in stores all year round. Just like most fruits, grapes are seasonal in nature and therefore their supply fluctuates depending on the season. Grapes are most expensive when they are not in season because they are hard to acquire.
Grapes need to maintain a certain quality or else no one will want to buy or even eat them. They always need to look appealing and juicy and this means extra care is provided during harvesting and transportation. This adds to the overall cost.
Are grapes easy to grow and maintain?
For the most part, growing and maintaining grapes is an easy affair. You only need to know which variety will thrive best at your home. This will depend on the climatic conditions in your region.
Other information relevant to the growth apart from the weather, is the soil. Does it have good drainage? Grapes need an adequate amount of water for their growth.
You are advised to buy the seedlings from a reputable dealer to avoid buying the wrong variety or a low-quality seed. What comes next is the planting, and then maintenance begins.
Whether you decide to grow your grapes indoors or outdoors, water and sunlight are the two components that should never lack during a grape vines growth. Both are vital in the ripening, flowering and eventual maturity of grapes.
Pruning is also part of the maintenance. Use special scissors that are made specifically for this purpose. Sometimes grape clusters grow to abnormal amounts which leads to over cropping. Cutting out some of these clusters ensures the grape vine matures well, as it is not weighed down, and produces high-quality grapes.
Always monitor your grapes as they grow and watch out for unexpected changes. For instance, some growers report that the vines begin turning black as a mossy looking substance starts to form on the leaves. This is known as mildew. When this happens, buy a good fungicide and spray at recommended intervals.
How many grapes will you get on a grape vine?
One grapevine can carry many grape clusters. However, over cropping prevents healthy growth of grapes and therefore, you should start cutting out some clusters to keep this from happening.
A mature grapevine can have anything between 40-60 grape clusters. For older vines, say a three- year- old vine, the clusters keep reducing, therefore you will find about 16-24 clusters.
What’s the best climate for growing grapes?
Like all crops and fruits we have out there, weather plays a pivotal role in their growth, and grape vines have not been left out. If you are a wine drinker, you know that wines are named according to the areas the grapes were sourced from. These are different parts of the world which have a different climate.
Before you start growing grapes from home, you have to first understand the climate of your area and which grape variety thrives in that kind of atmosphere. Growing the wrong variety will only give you headaches when you don’t get the results you anticipated. Different areas have different weather conditions.
However, an ideal climate for grape growing has to have enough rain, for watering the vines, ample sunlight for the warmth and no extremes such as hail and frost.
The rain ensures that the vines grow and starts producing fruit and the light provides the warmth that enables flowers to start setting on the fruits. Typically, just 150 to 170 days with over 50 degrees Fahrenheit are enough for vines to fully mature, flower and get fruits.
There are always variations to these conditions, and this is that gives grapes, specifically wine grapes, their different flavors. You might have noticed that wines from different regions taste differently. Light and elegant wines are produced from grape vines that grow in cool conditions while the full-bodied and fruit wines come from grapes that grow in warmer weather zones.
For instance, pinot noir, which is a wine grape variety, thrives under cool temperatures, ranging from 14-16 degrees Celsius. Some climatic conditions like prolonged winters, tropical temperatures, and high humidity should be avoided and therefore should not be subjected on any grapevines.