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Growing Grapes

Grape Growing Challenge(s)

One thing all grapes have in common is the way they grow. Grapes love full sun. Cultivars produce best if planted on the south slope of your garden. Grapevines are deciduous and as such are an excellent planting that provides both summer shade and lets winter sun shine through.

Planting grape cuttings is the easy part of growing grapes. Grapevines easily sprout from cuttings taken during their dormant period. Although grapes aren't fussy about climate or soil composition they are best planted in early spring after the frost leaves the ground and before buds begin to swell.

Grapevines usually need no fertilization and it's near impossible to plant a grapevine too deep. Planting grapes in pre-conditioned soil – thoroughly tilled, weeded, and composted – both provides grapevines with good drainage and gives them a rich organic bed. Dig a hole, get it good and wet, saturate the root ball of your grapevine and plant it.

If you plant vines sold in cardboard sleeves, there's no need to remove the container; it will soon rot in the soil. However, do leave the top of the sleeve just above the surface of the soil. Support grapevines with stakes or grow a trellised grape arbor. For instance, a garden pergola is a lovely support for your grapevines.

The challenge in growing grapes is threefold. First of all, grapes are a hardy perennial that bloom in the second year of growth from the old wood of the first year. So, the first year you grow grapes you must tend them patiently and train the vines (or try) to grow along the trellis or arbor you hope to confine them to in the future.

Confining grapes is the second challenge in learning how to grow grapes. Once established, grapevines like to ramble and can soon dominate your landscape if you don't take care to keep them in check.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of learning how to grow grapes is promoting pollination so the leafy vines will bear fruit. Blossoms are either male or female, and while a few cultivars will self-pollinate, most need the help of bees to get the job done.

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"Growing Grapes"