Growing grapes at home from seeds

People don’t have access to grape plants in different part of world so this would be the best idea to have your plant at home despite of any challenge.  The store brought  grapes could be your life saver at this stage to have the plants you want. 

Introduction

Grape is a fruit belonging to genus Vitis with more than 65 species. Most commonly used scientific name for grapes is Vitis vinifera. They are found to be native to different part of the world.

Grapes produces fruits, which are botanically referred as berries, on grape vines. Fruits are produced on clusters of 15-300. Grapes can be found in varieties of color, green/white, red, black, yellow, crimson, pink, purple etc.   Besides consuming as fresh fruits, grapes are widely used for making wine, raisins, jam, jelly, vinegar, etc.

Grapes grow well on sandy loam soil with pH 6-7.5.  They can be cultivated in tropical as well as temperate regions. Grapes show deciduous behavior in temperate region whereas evergreen in tropical region.

Grapes are primarily propagated by vegetative cuttings; hardwood cuttings are done during the dormant season and softwood cuttings are done during growing season. Besides, grafting, layering and propagation from seed are also done in grapes. Here, we are going to learn about growing grapes at home from seeds:

  1. First of all, get some seeded variety grapes from grocery store. (Given images are of Red Globe grape variety)             
  2. Then collect as many seeds as possible. Many in numbers – more possibilities of getting plants.       
  3. For better germination results, grape seeds can be stratified by placing them on refrigerator at 1-3⁰C for 2-3 months or placing the seeds buried under soil keeping on a plastic bag during winter season works as well.
  4. If you bought supermarket seeds, they already went thought that process. So we can start right away.
  5. Now place the seeds in the growing media which can be as follow –
    – peat moss and perlite 1:1 mixture or
    – ordinary garden soil and compost 1:1
    – commercial mix for growing seeds from market
                                   
  6. After planting the seeds, water them thoroughly and place on indirect sunlight or in shed.
  7. After 2-4 weeks seedlings can be seen growing on the media.                                                                                                 
  8. Now place them on the sun and water them lightly on regular basis to keep the media moist. This will allow proper growth of the seedlings and placing them on sunny area will prevent disease attack on them.                     
  9. After 30 days, true leaves can be seen. At this stage seedlings should be transplanted to individual pots for better development. Same media as used while planting seeds can be used.                                   
  10. Once transplanted water them thoroughly and place on sun.
  11. After the seedlings have gained about 30 cm height with at least 5-6 leaves they are ready to be transplanted to the garden or in big pots.

Transplant the grape plant on area with 7-8 hrs of sunlight in a day, if it is not possible plant them on the area where morning sun shines.

Soil

Grape plant thrives on sandy loam soil with good drainage. Good drainage in soil can be assured by adding sand on the soil while transplanting the grape plant. The soil pH should be 6-7.5 for better results on yield. Soil should be prepared well while transplanting the plant by mixing good amount of compost to ensure the better growth of plant and also compost helps to keep the soil aerated and well drained.

Fertilization

Fertilization is not necessary on the first year of transplantation if the compost is mixed on the soil while transplanting the grapes. Starting from the next year nitrogen rich fertilizer should be applied after the vines have blossomed. Additional application of zinc just before the flowering or during full blossom prevents stunted shoots and leaves and provides better yield. Similarly deficiency of potassium can show the symptoms like chlorosis , decreased growth and burning during summer. Application of potassium fertilizer during spring whenever the symptoms start to show is sufficient.  Applying small amount of fertilizers whenever you feel necessary as per the symptoms shown by the plants is sufficient.

Training and pruning

Training and pruning are very essential in grape plants for keeping them well aerated and  penetrated with sun shine and thus keeping them away from disease and pests.

Grapes are generally trained on trellis or arbor. The plants can be supported by stakes for the first two years of plantation and after that they can be trained as desired.

Pruning in grapes is started from first year of the plantation. It should be performed during the early spring.

When the plant reaches to the desired height (about 70-80 cm) vertically, the terminal growth should be cut to encourage the growth of branches. Branches are selected according to the requirement for the training style you choose and other branches are cut off.

Generally, in trellis two branches are allowed to grow on the opposite direction which are again pruned after the desired length on lateral side is gained (it depends on the space you have for your grape plant in your garden). The lateral branches are supported on horizontal wires tied on stakes. Now, the branches growing from the lateral branches are those which are allowed to set fruits.

Whereas, in arbor the branches are allowed to grow freely into  the design.

Special attention

  • Heavy pruning is the key for best fruit in grapes, light pruning gives more fruit but smaller in size with poor quality. But make sure you are not doing very heavy pruning leaving very less leaves.
  • Branches from previous year growth i.e one year old branches give fruits on grapes. So make sure you do not prune those branches for gaining yield.
  • Spacing the yielding branches 12-15 cm apart provide enough space for the clusters to develop which can give bigger and better fruits.
  • Fruit clusters in early 2-3 years of plantation should be removed for the better vegetative growth and development of the plant.
  • During the winter frost the plant may be damaged or dead on some parts which should be recognized and pruned off.

Blossom of Grapes

 

Branches on trellis system in grapes

Grape vines on arbor system

Grape vine during winter season

Health Benefits of grapes

  • They are high in antioxidants.
  • They contain nutrients that help to make your bones stronger and prevent osteoporosis.
  • They are good source of fiber, vit c and vit k.
  • Though they contain sugar, they have low glycemic index making them suitable for diet of diabetic patient as well.

Interesting facts

  • Table and wine grapes are different varieties. Normally wine grapes are smaller, sweeter and have thicker skin in contrary to table grapes.
  • Wine grapes are sweeter than table grape at harvest. Fermentation of sugar into alcohol at the process of wine making decreases the sweetness in wine.
  • Grape skin naturally host yeast. It is thought to be the reason of using grapes for making wine at the beginning.
  • China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of grapes worldwide.
  • The largest variety of grape is Ruby Roman also the most expensive mainly grown in Japan, it has the size of a ping-pong ball.
  • The earliest evidence of wine production is dated back to 4100 B.C in Armenia.

Image courtesy: Pixabay.com

Barsha Bhandari

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