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Growing Grapes with Natural Plant Nursery

 
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I wanted to make this thread to help me keep track of and document my grape vines.

Hopefully it can be helpful to others also!
 
Steve Thorn
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I love the colors on this new shoot from one of my grape vines this spring!

It's so cool to me, with some types of grapes, how the vine looks completely dead, and this colorful burst of new life comes out from it!
Pink-new-growth-on-the-grape-vine.jpg
Pink new growth on the grape vine
Pink new growth on the grape vine
 
Steve Thorn
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Baby grapes!

What types of table grapes are you growing?!
Baby-grapes-.jpg
Baby grapes!
Baby grapes!
 
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Steve, have been wanting to get some grapes in, but life keeps happening and I never quite get to researching varieties, best trellis system, when to plant, etc.  Any easy references you recommend for getting started with grapes?
 
Steve Thorn
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Artie, I've really enjoyed growing grapes, and the muscadines have been almost unkillable here.

The Triumph muscadine has been my favorite by far out of the three muscadines I've grown. They have a good sweet/tart balance when fully vine ripened, and the berries turn pinkish when fully ripe.

I'm looking into getting a Fry muscadine this Fall, I've heard good things about it, and it's actually a parent of Triumph.

I prefer the taste of table grapes a little more than the muscadines, but the muscadines are still really good if left to get fully ripe on the vine.

Some of the less vigorous table grapes were a little tougher to get established the first year, but others grew vigorously. The Japanese beetles loved the less vigorous ones the first year during our very hot summers. Once they've gotten established for about a year or two though, they've really taken off and thrived, and I hope to get my first fruit from a lot of these this year.

I highly recommend planting them in the fall if you're in an area that gets pretty hot summers. I've planted some in the spring, and a few didn't make it. I think all of the ones I've planted in the Fall have survived, since they can get established a little during the winter and have better root development to get through the summer pests that first year and put on good growth.

I have really enjoyed the design of the trellis I built, which has a double wire about 6 ft high off the ground and the wires are about 3 ft apart. One of my grapes has been trellising on a bush, which has been kind of neat, and I'm looking to go more in that direction in the future as it is much cheaper and saves a whole lot of time.

I plan to add a lot more pictures and videos here this year with more information on trellises, growing, and the different varieties!
 
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Steve, you must be in a pretty good zone to be able to grow both muscadine and table grapes. I have been trying to grow grapes for years. I've planted reliance, red canadice, Niagara and Concord. The only one I've had production from is the Concord, which was supposed to be seedless but has small hard seeds. The fruit is excellent though, so I don't mind the seeds. I've planted every seed I got. I've also been selecting seeds from wild grapes that have larger than usual fruits and good flavor.
 
Artie Scott
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Very helpful Steve, thank you very much. I like your Fall answer! That gives me a bit more time to plan. Can you post a pic of your trellis when you get a chance?
 
Steve Thorn
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Dan Allen wrote:Steve, you must be in a pretty good zone to be able to grow both muscadine and table grapes.



I think of my zone as a middle zone. I can grow some cooler and warmer loving plants, but usually they take some assistance to get established. It seems like each zone has its pros and cons!

I have been trying to grow grapes for years. I've planted reliance, red canadice, Niagara and Concord. The only one I've had production from is the Concord, which was supposed to be seedless but has small hard seeds. The fruit is excellent though, so I don't mind the seeds. I've planted every seed I got. I've also been selecting seeds from wild grapes that have larger than usual fruits and good flavor.



Yeah, if the fruit is good, I don't mind the seeds either!

That's awesome about planting the seeds Dan! I think that's so important to create new varieties that will be the best adapted to each of our own unique growing areas!

 
Steve Thorn
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Artie Scott wrote:Very helpful Steve, thank you very much. I like your Fall answer! That gives me a bit more time to plan. Can you post a pic of your trellis when you get a chance?



I hope to post a picture and possibly a video soon!
 
Dan Allen
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Steve, have you tried doing any grafting with grapes, like grafting cultivars onto established wild vines?
 
Steve Thorn
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No, I haven't tried that yet Dan, have you done it? It sounds like a cool idea, maybe a way to get fruit sooner possibly or to propagate more vines? I've heard table grapes are easier to graft than muscadines.

I prefer to grow the majority of my plants on their own roots if possible, but I like grafting though to test the fruit earlier for new varieties or seedlings, or to create more plants!
 
Dan Allen
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I haven't tried it, but I've been considering it as a way to propagate good grapes like you say. I'm not a huge fan of grafted plants either myself, but it's something I play around with on my seed grown trees.
 
Steve Thorn
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These are two of our table grapes. One is flowering and the other one has baby grapes forming.



Grape flowers look really neat to me. Its something you don't see a lot of or hear about often, and I didn't even know grapes flowered before I started growing them.

I love fresh home grown table grapes, and it looks like we'll be having some in a few months!

Did you know grapes have flowers?

What types of grapes are you growing? I'd love to see pictures!

 
Steve Thorn
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I grow most of my grapes on a double wire trellis about 6 ft off the ground. Here's a link to the thread discussing it in more detail.

https://permies.com/t/113730/berry/Double-top-wire-grape-trellis

And here's a video of the trellis mentioned above.

 
Steve Thorn
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Little grapes are appearing!
Small-grapes-forming.jpg
Small grapes forming
Small grapes forming
 
Steve Thorn
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I love how table grapes look on the vine.

They are really starting to get big!

The second picture is of a Triumph muscadine that is loaded with lots of baby grapes this year!
Lots-of-table-grapes-on-the-vine.jpg
Lots of table grapes on the vine
Lots of table grapes on the vine
Baby-Triumph-muscadine-grapes.jpg
Baby Triumph muscadine grapes
Baby Triumph muscadine grapes
 
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Looking really good, Steve.
 
Steve Thorn
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It's hard to beat sun warmed fresh grapes!

I thought I liked chilled grapes, but it seems like the warmth from the sun gave these an extra flavor boost. I ate a few later, and they were still very good, but didn't have the same flavor intensity.

These Concord seedless grapes may be a little small, but they sure do pack a big flavor!
Freshly-picked-Concord-seedless-grapes.jpg
Freshly picked Concord seedless grapes
Freshly picked Concord seedless grapes
 
Steve Thorn
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I found these wild black muscadine grapes hanging down from a tree near my food forest. The vine has to be about 30 feet long, as the branch connects to the trunk about 15 feet off the ground and the branch that drapes down is about 15 feet long.

It's hard to beat just picking fresh fruit, with no other work involved.

This vine has a very good strong flavor and made for a tasty snack during my walk through the food forest.
Wild-black-muscadine-grapes.jpg
Wild black muscadine grapes
Wild black muscadine grapes
 
pollinator
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Steve Thorn wrote:I found these wild black muscadine grapes hanging down from a tree near my food forest. The vine has to be about 30 feet long, as the branch connects to the trunk about 15 feet off the ground and the branch that drapes down is about 15 feet long.

It's hard to beat just picking fresh fruit, with no other work involved.

This vine has a very good strong flavor and made for a tasty snack during my walk through the food forest.



This looks like the muscadine that was growing up through a lot of our old pines and sweetgums before they were taken down. Now the grapes are running all over the ground in the back where I have been working to eliminate thickly overgrown English ivy and poison ivy, also grown up through all the trees. I decided to leave the grapes, hoping they'll outcompete the invasives, then deal with them later if I need to thin them out. I'd never tasted the grapes, so when more grow back, I'll see what they're like. But they look exactly like your photo.

 
Steve Thorn
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That's neat Diane!

I have a friend who has one at his place that sounds like it's growing very similar to yours, and like you mentioned is growing along the ground and smothering out less desirable plants.

It seems to be very effective so far, and they seem to grow ok in partial shade too, which seems to help for the shady areas.
 
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Steve Thorn wrote:I grow most of my grapes on a double wire trellis about 6 ft off the ground.



My parents started ours on chain link and it works. The original trellis has a full four foot section of chain link (because that's what they had) so you have to have open access to both sides, but when I did the trellis on the stairs I cut it down to about a foot.

Dan Allen wrote:The only one I've had production from is the Concord, which was supposed to be seedless but has small hard seeds. The fruit is excellent though, so I don't mind the seeds.



Seedless grapes will have seeds if they are pollinated from a seeded grape. Learned that with my "seedless" Interlaken!
Grape-vine-growing-along-fence.jpg
Grape vine growing along fence
Grape vine growing along fence
 
Steve Thorn
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Neat picture Lauren!

I've seen a lot of grape vines growing on chain link fences around my area that seem to do really well that way.

It can be a great use of space too, especially in a small yard with limited growing areas.
 
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Just a few days ago, i've planted about a hundred seeds in a balcony long tray. It was a fine red grape. No idea what it is. Every year a few volunteers pop up, from bird droppngs. This winter i want to build a fence on the new plot we're transforming, it has to block the wind and provide some shade in the future so they don't have to be the best grapes. I'll select bit by bit and kill off the bad ones, layer the ground shoots of the good ones and take cuttings.  
 
Steve Thorn
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That's awesome Hugo!

I'm hoping to plant some grape seeds soon too.

There is a type of red seeded grape that is sold in the stores here, I'm not sure what variety it is, but it's delicious! I'd love to plant some of those too, and see how they turn out.

I also really want to plant some more seeded table grape varieties. I like seedless grapes, but I think grapes with seeds are even better since the seeds can be planted to breed more delicious, vigorous, and adapted grape varieties. It seems like the seeded varieties are a little tougher and more resilient growers also.

I've had some muscadines ripening recently, and I usually eat them as I'm walking outside. I spit out the seeds and toss them in a spot or push them into the soil in areas I think would work good for them. It's such an easy and enjoyable way to plant seeds and create new grape varieties at the same time.
 
Steve Thorn
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My triumph muscadine grape vine had a few seedlings growing underneath the mother plant that started growing last year.

It was really interesting after digging up the plants to transplant them, how they all had large differences in their top and root growth lengths.

I've got them planted to a new location where they can get more sunlight, and we'll hopefully have some grapes in a few years.

Here are some videos of them.

If you like these videos you can click on the icon on the top left of this video and click subscribe to see all of the updates!  

This first video shows them in their original spot before they're dug up, it also shows what the roots and tops of the vines look like, and then it shows them after I've moved them to their new spot.




This video shows an update of the growth for the year. One of the seedlings has taken off and put on a whole lot of new growth! 4 out of 5 survived. The other 3 haven't grown much, but they were planted very quickly and not in an ideal location. I plan to plant them in a better spot next year to see if they'll take off also.



 
Steve Thorn
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This video is of a grapevine from this summer that I planted along the eastern facing edge of my woodline about two or three years ago.

It gets good morning sun for about half of the day, but it is shaded by tall and thick canopies of trees for the rest of the day. It has started producing a little fruit, but I think it would start producing a lot more if it got more sunlight. I may take some cuttings from this grapevine to root this winter and create new vines to plant in some areas with more sunlight.

I originally planted it next to a large tree that I thought it may grow on. However a wild privet bush starting growing about the same time, and it trellised on that plant very well. The privet has seemed to offer a very good framework to naturally trellis on so far.

 
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