Growing Grapes in the Pacific Northwest

April 12, 2013 12:00 am

Choosing a Site:

Grape vines require 2-3 years to produce a first harvest crop. They generally don’t reach full production until the fifth or sixth year. The first step to acquire the perfect grape is to choose a location that gets full sun. If possible choose a sloping site to help avoid spring frost damage. Even though grapes can grow in any type of soil, well drained soil is essential.

 

Young grape vines can not compete with weeds or established lawn grass for water and nutrients. It is important to select a site that is free of any competition. Compost should be tilled into the entire planning bed, not just the hole before planting begins.

 

Planting:

Grapes are generally planted in rows and trained on a trellis. The spacing between the rows should be about nine feet. The individual plants should be planted seven to eight feet apart in the rows.

 

Grapes should be planted in the early spring if possible. Before planting, prune the grape cane back to only two buds. Set the plant in a hole large enough to spread the roots out without bending them. The depth should be the same depth as they were planting in the nursery pot you bought the grapes in.

 

Grapes do not require a high level of fertility, but adding a slow release fertilizer to the soil each spring would assist in the growth and health of the plant.

 

Harvesting:

The most important part of growing grapes is the harvesting of the fruit. This can be tricky because unlike other fruits, grape color is not a good indication of maturity. In table and wine grapes, ripeness is determined by seed color. The grape is mature when the grape seed turns from a green color to brown. Maturities of seedless table grapes are simply determined by taste.