How to Plant Grapes in Your Backyard

How to Plant Grapes in Your Backyard

Do you want your home to look like a vineyard? Well, after reading this post, you will know everything you need to plant healthy, luscious, and delicious grapes in your own backyard. From making Jams and jellies to perhaps brewing your own wine, there are a lot of fun things you can do with your fresh grapes, or you could simply eat them while relaxing in your backyard. 

Grapes also aren’t that difficult to grow, and with their large sculpted leaves and colorful fruits, they can beautify the landscape of your home, especially if you grow them on an arbor or a trellis. Moreover, once your grapevines are established, they can keep giving fruit for years. 

With spring around the corner, now is the time to start learning about how to plant grapes, so, read the rest of this post, and learn how you plant grapevines in your backyard and take care of them in 5 simple steps.

Step 1: Choose the grapes that suit your growing zone:

Before you start the planning process, you need to know which variety of grapes is suitable for your environment. In the United States, the USDA has designated different growing zones, which determine which plants can be grown in them.

Where do Grapes Grow?

You can grow some variety of grapes in any USDA growing zones from 4-10, which means that grapes can grow almost anywhere in the US, except the northern parts of Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota. 

If you have good soil, decent growing space, and the time and will to maintain your vines annually, Growing grapes is not any more difficult than growing any other backyard crop. 

In general, there are three basic Varieties Of grapes that you can grow— American, European, and Muscadine. 

Grape Varietals

American Varieties, like Catawba Grape, Niagara Grape, and Eastern Concord Grape is ideal for colder regions, in USDA zones 4, 5, 6, and 7. These grapes are grown best in the Northeast, in short-season growing areas, and are best suited for making jams, juices, and jellies, or to be used for table grapes. 

European grapes usually prefer warm and dry weather, like the Mediterranean. These grapes have a longer growing season and can be grown in USDA zones 7, 8, 9, and 10. Depending on the kind you choose, European grapes can be used for making wine, or as simple table grapes. They can also be used to make Jams and Juices, but are better suited for wine. 

Flame, Thompson, and Ruby Seedless Grapes are great to be used as table grapes, whereas European varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon Grape, Chardonnay Grape, and Merlot Grape are better suited for making wine. 

Muscadine grapes are also native to North America and prefer the hot and humid environment of the south. They are grown in USDA zones 7,8 and 9 and are often used to make American Wines, and as table grapes as well. 

So, use this information to choose the right kind of grapes for your region and climate.

Step 2: Choose the best spot to plant your grapes in your backyard. 

Next up, you need to make sure that you select the rich spot in your backyard to grow your grapes. Ideally, you need a place that is large, open, has good soil, and gets a lot of sunlight. You should have at least 50 square feet of space per vine if you are going on an arbor or trellis, or if you are planting horizontally, in rows, you should have 8 feet of space between each row. 

Grapevines also need a lot of direct sunlight, at least seven to 8 hours a day, so make sure that you plant your vines in a part of your backyard that gets a lot of light. 

In terms of soil, different varieties can grow in a wide range of conditions, however, ideally, your solid should be well-drained, organic, and rich. Grape plants don’t grow well in wet conditions, if the solid becomes over-saturated with water, it displaces the available oxygen, and can cause the roots to suffocate. This can damage your vines and even kill them. Your solid will also need an ample amount of compost or soil conditioner. 

Step 3: Plant your grape vines:

Now that you know which grapes to plant, and where to plant them in your backyard, let’s get to it. Ideally, you should prune your grapevines in spring. In some regions, where the winters are mild, like USDA zones 7 and warmer, you can start planting in winter, still, Spring is the best time to start since you can find bare-root varieties at that time. 

The roots of grapevines can go really deep, sometimes even as much as 15 feet. Therefore, when you are planting your vines, dig a hole that is about 1-2 feet deep, and enrich the soil with compost as well. Make sure to gently tamp the soil around the roots, and don’t make it too tight or compact. The loose soil is better for drainage and circulation. 

Remember to cut the existing roots down to about 6 inches when planting the vines, since this allows new feeder roots to grow closer to the trunk, and result in a healthier plant.

Step 4: Prune your grape vines:

Pruning is a very important part of maintaining and growing grapevines. The pruning process starts from the time to plant the vines, to as long as you want them to stay healthy and be fruitful. When you are planting the vines, Prune all the stems except one, and cut the single stem down to two buds. This helps improve the growth of the new plant. 

Generally, grapes grow on vines that are about a year old, so. It is important to maintain a regular pruning schedule and prune off older growths. This will ensure that new, fruitful growths can develop. Grapevines need to be pruned at least twice a year. Once in the dormant season and one in summer or spring, to make sure that the vines are tidy. Typically, grapevines can be both canes pruned and spur pruned, depending on the variety. However, most of the time, table grapes are cane prunes, while wine grapes are spur pruned. 

Step 5: Feed your grape vines and take care of them:

Grapes are generally not too difficult to maintain. However, in the first couple of years, you will need to pay more attention to watering and fertilizing. After that, when the stem is established, the vines are much easier to care for. 

Let’s start by talking about watering grapevines. For the first couple of years, your grapevines will need about 1/2 to 1 inch of water every week. Depending on the climate and weather conditions such as rainfall. You should add about 5 gallons of water and a 3 square foot area around the roots to get 1 inch of water. 

If you have planted vines that grew in a post, they might need additional watering until the roots and leaves have acclimated to growing in the soil. It’s best to keep an eye on these vines, in the beginning, to make sure they don’t suffer drought stress.

Care of Grape Vines for Winter

In the winter, you should decrease how much you water the new grapevines. This allows the plant to develop harder canes in preparation for winter. 

After the second growing season ends, your grapevines will have a well-established trunk. At that point they don’t need regular watering. Unless there are any specific soil conditions, or it doesn’t rain for a very long time. Keep in mind that over-watering grapevines can also be bad. 

If you are wondering how to care for grapevines in spring, feeding and fertilizing is very important. Especially for the growing season in the first couple of years. You should look for a Nitrogen fertilizer, ideally,  10-10-10 or 10-20-20 fertilizer is a good option. 

As the grapevines mature, you won’t need to do any fertilizing, most of the time it depends on your observations. If the plants are looking healthy, then there is no need for any fertilizer or mulch. 

Keep in mind, if you are adding compost or mulch to the soil, don’t add it too close to the roots. Since that can decrease the departure of the soil, and keep it moist. Whereas grapevine roots prefer to stay warm. 

Grape Weeding

Weeding is also an important part of growing any backyard crop, so make sure to prevent the growth of any weeds, or even grass under your grapevines. This allows the solid to heat up quickly in the spring, and leave all the nutrients for the grapevines. 

Lastly, make sure to take care of grapevines for winter as well, this includes pruning in late winter, to get rid of old, and overgrown shoots. You want to leave only a couple of buds on each shoot and trip off the rest. Also make sure to strip off any shoots that are growing under the canopy. If you have an arbor, since these shoots won’t get much direct sunlight anyway.

Plant Grapes in Your Backyard – Final Thoughts:

So, here was a quick guide to how you can start growing grapes in your backyard. In addition, take care of them as they grow. Though some of these steps may seem like a lot of work, remember that only the first couple of years require extra attention. After that, when your vines have matured, it becomes a lot easier. Moreover, they are an excellent crop to grow in your backyard, as they can do wonders for your landscape, and provide you with delicious fruit that can be used for a variety of purposes, from simple eating to making jams, juices, jellies, and even wine.