How to Grow Grapes:

Vineyard Grape, where do you plant grapes, how do you prune grapes, how do you harvest grapes, how do you make grape juice, when do grapes produceAlthough most notably considered Mediterranean, grapes are also native to the Americas. European varieties have been around so long that their history is even recorded in The Bible. Noah even planted a vineyard. The Egyptians show details of vineyards and wine, marking as far back as 2440 B.C. Romans helped to spread them across Europe. When European settlers came to America they brought grapes with them, but soon found the native grapes grew better than the European varieties; however, the American varieties did not make as nice of wine as the European varieties. To solve this dilemma, the European branches were grafted onto the roots from America. This made a hardy variety of grape that they were accustomed to.

Planting and Growing:

Grapes are easily propagated from dormant cane cuttings rooted in sand. When growing cane cutting, make sure to plant the top of the cane up in a hole 4-6” (10-15 cm) below soil line. Dig the hole about 3 times the size you would normally dig for a plant that size to give the roots plenty of space to grow. Back fill with soil, mixed with compost. After the last frost is past, and the shoot growth has begun, remove all but the 2 strongest shoots. Keep the plant well watered to help it establish their roots, but don’t let it sit in water, as they do not like that. Be sure to remove all the flower buds that appear in the first year, and possibly the second, to let the grapes establish themselves. A few weeks after planting, fertilize with a nitrogen fertilizer to help the roots. Also, fertilize every spring; unless the vine is too vigorous then hold off fertilizing for a year or two.
Grapes are a climbing vine and can be conformed to almost any shape. They should have some sort of trellis in place for the Grape, can you grow grapes from seed, how much room do you need to grow grapesvines to grow on. During the dormant season, which is late winter or early spring, prune the canes up to 90 percent. Leave about three or four buds per foot of the horizontal vine length.

Grapes bear their fruit on one-year-old wood. When pruning, make a judgment of how many buds to leave based on the size of the plant. A smaller plant can support a smaller fruiting, and a larger plant will support a larger fruiting. If the plant is very vigorous then leave 3 or 4 buds per foot, and 2 per foot if less vigorous.

Harvesting and Preserving:

After grapes are harvested they will not ripen any further; therefore, it is important to pick grapes at the correct time. There are a few things to look for to tell when grapes are ripe and ready to harvest.
First, when grapes begin to ripen their color will begin to sharpen. Lighter colored varieties will become more yellow, where red and purple varieties will take on a deeper color. When the grapes begin to look ripe begin tasting them every day or so for peak sweetness. This is probably the best sign when grapes have reached full maturity. Pick the grapes when their taste is just right, and, of course, be sure to beat the birds.
Grapes can be used and preserved in a few different ways. One way is to dry them and make raisins. Raisins are surprisingly easy to make. Begin by dipping the grapes, while still attached to the stem, in boiling water for 30 seconds to spit the skins. Place the grapes in a dehydrator at 115 degrees F (46 degrees C) for 24 to 48 hours, until the fruit is dry to the center. They can also be dried in a conventional oven, occasionally rotating trays or stirring the grapes. The last method is to dry them in the sun for 3 to 5 days, until dry to the center, bringing trays in at night. Store the raisins in airtight containers.
Grape juice makes an excellent finished product. Wash and stem grapes. Place them in a saucepan and cover with boiling water, until the skins are softened. Press the boiled grapes through a double layer of cheesecloth or damp jelly bag, and then refrigerate the juice for 24 to 48 hours. Without mixing or stirring juice, carefully pour off the clear liquid layer that will form at the top and discard the sediment that has accumulated at the bottom. Store the juice in airtight jars or freeze in freezer containers, leaving some headspace.
To store grapes in a root cellar, put 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) of sawdust in the bottom of the box, and then add a single layer of grapes with 2 inches all around. Cover with another inch (2.5 cm) of sawdust, and continue to layer in the same manner until the box is full. Keep in the coldest area of the root cellar, and use within 2 months.
To make grape jelly, first follow the directions for making juice, but omit the bottling part. Pour 4 cups of the juice into a saucepan, add 3 cups of sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil until it reaches a temperature of 220 degrees F (104 degrees C), and then remove from heat and skim off the foam. Pour the juice into prepared jars and seal them. Make sure to label jelly with the month and year it was prepared. It will store for a few

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