Grapes are an elegant and beautiful addition to any space. Here are a few tips to get you started growing your own!

Preparing a Site to Plant Grapes

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 bunch of grapes 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 cannot 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 planting 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.

Though they do not need it, adding a slow release fertilizer to the soil each spring would assist in the growth and health of the plant.

Harvesting Grapes

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.

 

 

 

A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.