Grape

In the southern areas of the UK, grapes can be grown outside in a very sunny and sheltered location. Further north, grapes can often still be grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel. Grapes provide a delicious crop from their attractive vines and of course can also be used to make wine.

Growing grape vines:

Grapes need a lot of sunshine and a free-draining soil in order to ripen up properly. There are varieties which can be chosen for more northerly sites that will be better able to cope with colder climes.

Grapes that are grown inside will need to be watered carefully but those grown outside will only need to be watered in severe and prolonged dry periods.

If you do decide to grow grapes you will need to be aware that it is a long term project. You will need patience. Two years after planting your vines you will have to remove all the flowers in order t allow the vine to thrive. Three bunches of grapes should be allowed to form on three year old vines, four on four year old vines and you can allow full cropping thereafter.

Mulch the ground around your vines in spring when the soil is moist. This will also aid in keeping down competitive weeds around the plants. It is a good idea to place stones or grave to a depth of around 5cm around the base of the plants. White gravel will reflect sunlight into the canopy while black gravel or similar will adsorb sunlight and warm the soil. Never use manure around grape vines.

It is a good idea to add a high potash fertiliser or feed in the spring once the growth starts. In a greenhouse, conservatory or polytunnel ventilation is vital on bright days in spring and summer. Damping down the floor to maintain humidity is a good idea, except during flowering or when the fruit is ripening.

It is a good idea to use scissors to thin the bunches of grapes grown inside to improve ripening and circulation. It is a good rule of thumb to take one in three grapes per bunch. Outside grapes do not need to be thinned. Check all grapes and remove any that are diseased or damaged two or three times a week. In September, gradually remove leaves to expose the branches to sunlight and further improve air circulation. Grapes can be harvested some time between August and October.

Inside growing spaces should not be heated and grapes need a period of cold in winter in order to develop properly.

Why grow grape vines in the garden?

Grape vines do not need to take up much space and can be grown and trained in a variety of shapes and in a variety of ways. They can look attractive and provide a delicious fruit crop once fully established. While they do take some effort to grow, they are worth it in order to get some of these delicious fruits.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Vitis vinifera