How to Grow Grapes

The 2 year grape journey is a sweet and interesting journey of planting Thompson seedless grapes all the way to harvest so sit back and enjoy as we go through grape paradise.

So we started our grapes back in January of 2015.  It is the flame seedless grape. We got this at home people and you can get these grape plants at any gardening center in your area and the first thing you need to do is once you get the package you just open it and you want to make sure that the roots stay hydrated while you’re preparing your potting mix or while you are planning to plant this in the ground. As you can see here this is a bare rooted plant and you just keep it in water just make sure the roots stay hydrated while you prepare your potting mix. We will be planting this in a container you can plant it in the ground as well and here we go. It’s just a simple container with water and now we’re going to prepare our potting mix we’re going to be using a large pot. Grape trees grow into very large plants and need a lot of space for the roots so we’re going to be using a large container. It has a lot of holes drilled as you can see a common question that a lot of users ask me is if you need holes in containers when growing plants and the answer is yes you do.

We’re going to be using a mix of peat moss one-third of peat moss. I’m just using a compressed bale of peat moss that you can get at any garden store. Make sure that you break up the pieces very well and to this mix we’re going to be adding one-third of compost. Now I’m using some homemade compost but you can buy bagged compost if you want and some of my compost is unfinished so I’m going to be removing some of the unfinished compost from this mix and make sure that I have a lot of finished compost. Now it doesn’t really matter even if you have a lot of unfinished compost it will eventually break down but I just want to make sure that the compost that I have is almost finished and I’m going to be mixing this in very well with the peat moss and what I’m going to be doing for the third part is adding some vermiculite. Now I had an option to use perlite here. I just had some vermiculite with me and it was relatively hot weather, not very hot but it was sunny, and I just want to make sure that there is adequate moisture retention for the plant especially moving into the spring season and the summer season now. You can substitute this with perlite. Perlite is equally good. It improves drainage and it doesn’t retain moisture, though vermiculite does retain moisture while providing good drainage for your plants.

The potting mix for your plants. Now mix in thoroughly and your potting mix is created. Now I’m going to be just add this potting mix to our container, a large container. Now this is a pretty large container as you can see here it’s probably about 22 inches in diameter and about 20 inches high very similar to a whiskey barrel container but just a little better shaped. Now when you add the potting mix just make sure that you add some water at every stage so if you fill up the entire container and then add water. You’re going to be having some issues with the drainage so what I’m doing is I’m adding some potting mix, adding some water and then continuing to add the potting mix until we complete the container.
Grow grapes in a pot
Now it’s time to plant. We’re going to be planting it just this way. It is important just to make sure that the plant is well balanced in the center and then you can add additional potting mix along the sides to make sure that the plant is well seated. This is exactly what you need to do for planting your plant and what we have done before this is made sure that the roots are hydrated so that the plant roots doesn’t dry, and the plant is not in shock. Then finally you need to water the plant. So just make sure you water it a few times. Make sure that the potting mix is well soaked then and it might take some time for the mix to start draining. Just be patient. You might have to water this two or three times. And this is the trellis for our grape plant as you can see here not this one. This one is the one on the raised bed but the one along the wall the wooden trellis or the arbor of the home that’s right next to the wall.

So fast forward one month and you can see that the plant has started producing a lot of new growth. Now as long as you get this new growth you can consider your planting as a success. You’re going to be getting a lot more shoots growing from this grape plant now. Now as you can see here I have tied some mason line. What Mason line does is it is a strong trellis support for these grape plants to grow and what I’m going to do is as the plant grows I’m just going to train it to grow around this string or this Mason line. You can get Mason lines very easily at any hardware store. I’ll also try to provide a link in the  description below  Now let’s go back to the selection for the grape plant. The reason we chose flame seedless grapes to plant is because they require less chilling hours or chill hours. It’s very important to understand what is chill hours. In places like Southern California we get very less cold in the winters so the chill hours is a number which tells you whether your fruit plants will produce fruit or not for that year. So this variety of grape, the flames seedless, requires very less chill hours. If you noticed when we planted the plant on the the package it had a chill hour rating of hundred chill hours. Usually we get about a hundred to 200 chill hours every year during the winters, however some years are exceptions. For example the year before last we got just 72 chill hours.

As you saw here we trimmed off some of the shoots that were growing towards the bottom during the first year. You want to make sure that you grow two to three main branches. Some people recommend growing just one branch but i would recommend growing at least two branches for your grape plant. The reason is it eventually becomes easier to manage your grape plant in the second and the third and the later years and as you can see here our Mason lineMason lines are still intact and we are training our grape plant around this support trellis support using the Mason line. In the first year you can see that the plant is producing some buds and some flowers and it looks like it’s going to be producing some grapes. Remember that during the first year it is recommended that you remove all the fruit from your grapes so that your plant concentrates on growing shoots now I did not do that because I just wanted to see if this would produce any grapes and the results are interesting. So I’ll let you watch the video through this year and see what do you think about it. You can see here it’s going pretty well. It’s following our trellis. Coming back to the chill hours just make sure that you buy your grape plant with the chill hours that are specific to your region. Most of the grapes have very high chill requirements and they will not grow in your area if you have warm winters.

So in April you can see that the plant has produced a lot more foliage and the grapes that it produced are also growing a little larger but the plant has shown a lot of lush growth. Now let’s talk about the fertilizer requirements for grapes. Grapes must have adequate nutrition and fertilizer during the growing season which is February through September and every three months you need to make sure that you add some kind of fertilizer.. You can follow the schedule that you see on your screen here and that’s a good idea of when you should add fertilizer to your grape plant. You can use organic fruit tree fertilizer or you can use slow release fertilizer. All of them work very well for growing grapes. We keep training our plants as we discussed as they keep growing. Just make sure that you train them. We’ve been doing that for a while now and you can see that the plants are now reaching towards the arbor that they’re supposed to grow on. So how about the grapes that were growing on the plant, what happened to them. By now I recommend that you remove all your grapes during the first year, just cut them and throw them away because they won’t produce true grapes.

What happened in my case is the grape plant was growing very well and the grapes were actually showing on the plant but one fine day when I looked at the grapes on the plant they had all dried and vanished so they didn’t really produce well. They were premature fruits and it’s best to get rid of them. So yes if you’re growing grapes for the first year you can just cut and threw away all your grapes. It might be difficult to do that but as you can see here the plant has grown into a very lush green plant. That’s our progress of the grape plant in the first year and as you can see here it’s now June in the first year and the plant has produced a very nice network of stems that will grow very well in the next growing season so let’s look at how the next growing season turns up.

So the plant has remained dormant for the fall in the winter season and now in march of the next year  the plant has grown into a very nice network of stems. A lot of leaves are now sprouting and showing up you can see a lot of new growth in the plants right here in March which is the spring season. Now you must add fertilizer for your grape plants starting the season. March is the first month when you should start adding fertilizer you can even do it in February and you can see here the plant is now producing a lot of new growth and some new buds that now look like grapes. Second year grape plantBunches of grapes growing and the key to getting good fruit from your grape plant is that you need to see a lot of these bunches being produced on the plant. If you see one or two you’re not going to get a lot of fruits from your grape plant so in April you can see that there’s more lush green foliage produced by the plant and more buds that are growing and these buds will form flowers and eventually form grapes. So all-in-all the plant looks very beautiful and just look at the fruits here. These are the buds and they will eventually open up into flowers and they look very pretty. You can see some of the buds that have transformed into fruits and you can see those dried flowers along the fruits and the grapes are very interesting fruits. They look pretty interesting and you can see that they already start looking like grapes, like a bunch of grapes. At this stage here’s another flower, you can see very clearly the flowers the buds sprouting into flowers and they are self pollinating. You don’t need any other pollinators for your grape plant and you here you can see we have about three to four main branches.

Now you can limit your grape plant to less than that I just had enough space for about three branches and I let it grow and you can see that the plant has grown very vigorously on the support and is growing very well now in the next year or the second year and it will continue to grow that way. You can see more greenery and more buds and more fruit being produced in your plants.Now grapes need full sun to grow so if you have areas which do not get about eight hours of sun it’s not a good idea to grow grapes there and this is one of the reasons why I planted my grape plant in a container because I thought I could move it later. You can see now that the plants have a lot of more bunches of grapes growing and the grapes are now showing a lot of definition and unlike the first year where they just fell off the plant the fruits are now staying very well on the tree. You can see a nice view of the garden and the arbor and the trellis where the grape plant is growing and I thought this was the best part of the garden that I could utilize to grow grapes because there’s a lot of space here. We got a lot of good support and I could just place the container along the wall of the support to grow my grape plant so when you grow your grape plant just make sure that you choose a nice spot so that the grapes can grow along the support and then produce all these beautiful grapes that you can see here.
Thompson seedless grapes
Thompson seedless grapes produces grapes that grow from green to yellow to red as they ripen. Here we can see big bunches of grapes growing and now it really looks like you’re going to be getting a lot of grapes for harvest during the season and by elevating the grapes to a height you make sure that rodents stay away from all birds stay away from at it might be possible that birds might eat some of your grapes especially when they’re very ripe now in June we made our first harvest and as you can see here the grapes are about dark green to slightly light green here and what I’m doing is I’m not harvesting the whole bunch. I’m just harvesting a few grapes from the sides and what I realized was that these grapes were still very good to eat now if you look at the grapes they are not really ripe they don’t look very ripe as they don’t look like yellow or red in color so they actually taste tangy now some people like eating tangy grapes they’re not extremely sweet but they have a very unique flavor so if you’re one of those folks that like to eat tangy grapes this is a good time to harvest your grapes and you can start eating them. You can even start putting them in smoothies make grape juice out of it they are all very good uses for that and once I realized that the grapes were sweet enough to harvest we harvested our first bunch of grapes and its really very rewarding to harvest something like grapes in your backyard grapes are extremely easy to grow in the California weather so if you live in the coastal areas, California or any other area that is conducive to growing grapes you should try it out you can see here more bunches of grapes that are now ripening and slowly we started seeing that we had a lot of grapes to harvest on any given day we would harvest 2 or 3 bunches of grapes as you can see here beautiful-looking grapes and we are still in June. So towards the end of June is when we saw that the grapes were turning slightly yellow as you can see here in fact the grapes that are right for actually falling down from the vine the grapevine so we make sure that we harvested every now and then and here you can clearly see a very good harvest and at this stage the grapes are sweet.

So we went from tangy tasting grapes to sweet grapes by end of June and with this kind of color with this kind of a yellow color the grapes are very nice very delicious and nice to eat now in July. We saw that the grapes started turning even more sweet and the colors are color was turning towards red as you can see here slightly red and at this stage when the grapes start turning red they taste very sweet you can see here most of these groups are reddish yellow in color and here you can clearly see the Thompson seedless grape harvestgrapes turning red in color and these are the ripe grapes. these are extremely sweet very delicious to eat and if you want you can wait till this stage but what I’ve realized is that if you wait for all your grapes to be in the stage you want to lose a lot of grapes because they’re going to fall down from the tree so what I recommend as a harvest schedule is to start in June harvest slowly from July through august and you’re going to get a really good harvest that way so here you can see beautiful harvest and growing grapes is a real pleasure it’s very rewarding so I highly recommend that you start growing grapes in your area if you can.

Once again a beautiful-looking harvest as you can see here and for a harvest season from June through August it’s a long harvest season from just one plant you can expect a lot of grapes and as you can see here this plant is quite large and it did produce a lot of grapes this year for the second year now the Thompson seedless grapes are the one variety I highly recommend that you grow in your home garden it’s a very easy variety you to grow and it produces a lot but if you do want to try out some other variety that’s perfectly fine just make sure that the chill hours match the chill hours in your area once again you can see here beautiful-looking grapes right out of the grape vine and in August you can see that we continue to harvest our flame seedless grapes and they’re the same they’re reddish-yellow very delicious and the sun has really increased the amount of sugar in the fruit and they’re tasting very sweet now at the end of August you can start pruning your grape plant once you have harvested all your fruits and you want to make sure that you remove all the dead and diseased stems remove all the dead leaves and make sure that your plant is ready for the next growing season so there we have it folks that was our two-year grape journey.

i also want to tell you that when you’re buying your grape plant if you have a Costco, a local Costco, do check it out. They have some great deals on grape plants and you can buy them for a very good price. Happy gardening

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