Grape vines will naturally grow on a variety of structures like fences, trees or walls. Therefore it is important to establish a well-constructed structure that your grape vines can use as an anchor. A trellis system is important because grape vines cannot support the weight of a full harvest by themselves.
There are many different ways to build a trellis. Some trellises are built for functionality while others are meant to add to the landscape of the home. They can be simple or complex, and you can build it yourself or contract the job out to professionals. It all depends on the taste of the grape grower.
A trellis can come in an array of different shapes and sizes in order to suit the needs of the grape grower. They can be made out of a variety of different materials such as iron, pre-treated wood, stainless steel, PVC pipe, or aluminum. The height of the trellis depends on the area where the grapes are growing. Shorter trellises are used in colder climates, since a trellis that is shorter has a better chance of withstanding winter weather. It also makes it easier for the grape grower to prepare the grape vine for winter. Taller trellises can be used in warmer climates. Shorter trellises use posts that are about three feet high while larger trellises require a post that is about eight feet high. While every trellis system is different, there is one thing that they all have in common – they must be sturdy and well made. Since a grape vine usually takes a few years to produce any grapes, the trellis system is going to be in place for a while.
The trellis system should be placed in the yard so that the grape vines will be exposed to a good amount of sunlight and good air movement. Natural sunlight and good air movement are huge factors in ripening the grapes and controlling grape diseases. After you have found the best location for your trellis, you should cement the posts that will support the trellis into the ground. Some grape growers secure their trellis posts by using catch wires anchored to the ground or by placing another much shorter post set in the ground next to the main post. The posts should be set into the ground about eight feet apart. Two rows of galvanized steel wire should be run between the posts. The first wire row runs along the bottom of the posts about three inches from the ground. The second wire needs to run along the top of the posts. A staple gun can be used to staple the wires in place.
As soon as your grape vines starts growing, you will want to start training them to grow on the trellis. This can take years. The main shoot that is growing should be tied vertically to the trellis. You can use string to do this. String will not damage the shoot like wire could. Grape vines grow very slowly, and after the next dormant period, two shoots from either side of the main shoot should be tied horizontally to the trellis. These shoots will serve as the base for the fruit.
Doesn’t the thought of relaxing with a bottle of great tasting wine sound luxurious? The thought of sipping on wine that you made yourself sounds even better. Planting and growing a successful grape vine is not as complicated as it might seem, and it is the first step in making this dream a reality.
It is up to you to decide how large you want your vineyard to be. If you are just getting started it is a good idea to plant only a few vines. And by a “few”, I mean ten. It takes about ten vines to make homemade wine since most homemade wines are made in five- gallon batches. You can obtain year old bare-rooted dormant grape vines from a nursery to start off with. Typically, these vines have been grown by the nursery in their fields. The vines are usually sold in early spring which is a good climate for grape vine planting. The early spring rains will benefit your grape vines and give them a chance to settle in before the growing season begins. But until your vines are ready to be planted, keep the vines moist by spraying them with water.
Planting your vines is quite easy and straightforward. You will need to dig a hole large enough to contain the root system. The buds on the vine should not be covered with soil. Gently hold your vine in the hole while you tap the soil down lightly. This allows any remaining air pockets to be removed from the soil. If you leave a slight depression around the base of the vine, it makes it easier to water them. After the vine is well planted in the soil, you do not need to water the dormant vines if the soil is damp.
After your vines begin to show signs of life you will need to make sure that your soil remains moist. Sometimes if you get a few good soaking showers, you may not have to water your vines. But if the rainfall in your area is weak, you will need to add water to your vines. Sandy soils need to be watered more often. Clay-based soils need to be watered less often since clay absorbs and retains water longer. With any kind of soil, proper soil drainage is required. With the proper drainage, you do not need to worry about too much rain soaking your vines.
Another aspect of growing a successful grape vine is ensuring that your vines get the right amount of sunlight and air flow. You should not plant your grape vines near trees or structures that can block sunlight and prevent air circulation. In order for plants to undergo photosynthesis, they need sunlight. Photosynthesis is the process that converts carbon dioxide into sugar. It is the sugar within the grapes that becomes alcohol after fermentation. As a result of poor air circulation and too little sunshine, grapes can suffer from fungus disease problems.
Growing a successful grape vine can be a reality for you. Be prepared to give your vineyard year-round attention. It can take up to three years for a grape vine to produce a crop of grapes but, when you have put the time and effort into your vines, the rewards from your first group of grapes will be that much sweeter.