Grapes are not too challenging to grow. There are two examples of growing grape vine polytunnel and outdoors. According to experts, the best quality grapes are grown outdoors because sun rays are essential to ripening fully. Grapes vines are climbers in nature, so they fundamentally require substantial support to climb. The tendrils need sturdy help such as wires, trellis, posts, and a lot more on a well-built wall.
If you are residing in the UK, you can cultivate grapevines both outdoors and inside greenhouses. In Northern Ireland, farmers practice grafting and various other mechanical techniques like soil slotting. Nowadays, people seek an interest in organic farming by raising sustainable vineyards through an ecologically sensitive approach.
If you are a genuine UK gardener at heart with an overwhelming passion for growing trees, it is more likely that you will have a desire to grow a grapevine in an open or enclosed garden at one point or the other. Who knows! One day you may become the sole owner of a vineyard yielding extraordinary grapes giving people the chance to buy the best grade fruits. Even restaurateurs will start purchasing the product from you as they significantly use grapes to prepare desserts.
Have you ever had a close encounter with the grapevine? The fully grown grapevine is truly delightful to watch as it grows more prominent, with beautiful leaves covering the fruits, especially during the autumn.
Grapevine cultivation in Polytunnel
It is said that the best grapevines are those cultivated in Polytunnel because most greenhouses in the UK comprise a structure made of galvanised tubes with polyethene foil; the enclosures invite maximum sunlight; thus, helping grapevines to thrive better in a controlled temperature.
Planting the roots outside the Greenhouse
UK studies say that experts consider it to be one of the best-practised methods. The process involves the planting of a grapevine with its roots placed outside of the Greenhouse. The approach renders the plant a whole lot of advantages alongside a set of disadvantages.
- The plants can be watered quickly and sometimes naturally due to rain.
- One of the disadvantages is that the process may go slower down the plant growth as the roots surrounded by soil turn colder since you cannot control the temperature.
Planting the roots inside the Greenhouse
When people in the UK plant grapevine roots inside a container, it shows some advantages and disadvantages, like the following. Get a quick view now:
- As the temperature remains controlled, the soil becomes warmer, leading to quicker and steady growth.
- Proper blending of soil is primary for improved growth of grapevine. An ideal blend in a proportion of 20% coarse grit, 60% loam, and 20% peat. You can also blend the bone powder with the mixture for better results.
For both set-ups, you will need to ensure that there is sufficient drainage of excess water. Also, proper maintenance is a must.
Sunshine and space
One of the most critical factors that play a vital role in maintaining the quality of grapes, their sweetness, ripening, attractiveness is the exposure of the plant to sun rays.
You don’t need a vast space; even a tiny, organised area works fine for cultivating grapevine. If allowed, grapes ramble, forming more giant clusters. Meanwhile, you will need to execute proper knowledge to foster pruning, which will ultimately help the plant reap better quality fruits. Furthermore, you must remember that land is vital in boosting grapevine growth, just like its application in commercial vineyards.
Methods of growing grapevines
Firstly you will require a supporting frame and tie the vine to it; as it’s a climber, it requires strong support; or else there are other methods used for fixing grapevines at sides of a greenhouse. These suitable methods are applicable based on individual requirements and situations. Additionally, you must note that all these methods will involve three strong wires tightly tied at 18 inches of interval until the length reaches 6 feet.
Two methods of growing grapevines
Cordon (Guyot) process
It is one of the simplest of processes requiring much less space. It focuses mainly on the development of one or two primary stems. Post vine planting, the plant is trimmed to one-third of its substantial growth. Suppose there is a growth of any side lateral, the same trimmed back. You should expect vines to thrive during the summer season, keeping in mind that you will need to trim the side shoots and organise them regularly.
When the second autumn arrives, trim the vines to 36 inches. Also, don’t forget the side laterals. They need to be pruned to one bud only, especially from the primary stem.
You will then see the primary stem thrive again during the same growing season. By the end of the year, you need to trim the stem to half its size. The Maximum length of side shoots must not extend beyond 1 inch.
Untie the grapevine when January arrives. Make sure you pull down the upper portion of the stem towards the earth, which will, in turn, allow the upward movement of the buds; at that very moment, you need to release the stem so that it can go back to its original position.
Now that the grapevine is ready to bloom and bear fruits, all you will need to do is trim down the growing tips just above the flowers. The primary shoot will continue growing strongly; you will need to tip it when it reaches a desirable height.
Meanwhile, during December, the laterals need to be trimmed to an inch.
Fan (Spur & Rod) process
For this process, all you will need is to allow the development of a single primary stem. It would help if you further considered that the shoots on either side should not have more than 1 or 2 leaves. Upon completing a year, the primary stem requires trimming to stay at the height of 15 to 18 inches from ground level.
These will lead to results during spring and summer when new shoots evolve, which you will need to train vertically during their growth process. By the end of autumn of that same year, tie up one shoot horizontally down on the left side and another on the right side; one vertical shoot should remain at the left.
Trim down the stalk to 3 or 2buds. Now the vines will resemble a “T” shape. Although the shoots will remain tied down, they will still stay pliable and flexible.
You will see two or three shoots rising from the central stem during the following summer, which again you will need to trim after reaching the desired height. From these horizontally tied shots, several new shoots will start growing vertically upwards. Some of them will require connecting again, while the rest you will need to trim off. You will then see the vine will resume a pleasing shape.
Feeding the plants
Like various other plants in a UK garden, grapevines require proper feeding to reap the best-grade fruits. Good quality fertilisers need to be added to the soil in February or March before growth occurs. You can use at least 2oz’s/sq yard. Take around ½ oz of potash for better results.
Also, the plant can achieve larger berries simply by watering the vine at regular intervals and during the right season. March end till mid of April is ideal for watering the plant. Also, you will need to water the earth once a week to get good results—morning is considered the perfect time for watering.
During early autumn, make sure you have cut off excess watering, which may lead to the splitting of grapes. You can use Netafim’s sprinkler to spray water.
Yielding the grapevines
Hold your patience! Wait till the time arrives. The taste of grapes enhances with ripening. If you are harvesting grapes for desserts, take some time off your busy schedule and taste a few fruits regularly. Please make sure you taste them after the grapes have started showing that they are fully ripened. Cut out the big bunch with sharp and sleek scissors as manual pulling might cause damage.
Grapes used for wine-making do not require being ripe, which is otherwise necessary for preparing desserts. Seeing to it that the fruit has a desired level of juiciness is mandatory.
If you are harvesting grapes in Greenhouse, there is no need to worry; keep a tab on growing.
Growing grapes on the WEST or SOUTH facing walls always gives better results than increasing them on the NORTH or EAST walls because the former allows the vine to receive ample sun rays, which are essential for its growth. Grapes growing under shades lack taste.
It is one of the greatest threats to grapevines. You need to take proper care and conduct regular checks to avoid a horrific fungal attack. Poor air circulation leads to fungal attacks for vines grown in a polytunnel and those grown outdoors.
To keep away from fungus, you can use the anti-mildew spray at regular intervals, which will keep the fungus at bay. Secondly, you can practice the pruning method of cultivation to prevent fungal growth. As the pruning method does not allow too much clustering, hence the fungus cannot spread.
Tiny insects sometimes damage the leaves of the grapevines by digging out small holes in them. As soon as you notice such signs, rush to the site without wasting time, as you will need to apply insecticides as a preventive measure.
Sometimes whiteflies are also noticed attacking the grapevines, which are grown under a shade; hence proper care needs to be taken by applying anti fly spray or powder to prevent loss.
From mid or towards the end of summer, grapes start swelling up quickly. It would help if you took proper care of grapes at this point, or else the berries’ size might vary. It might get stuck to a smaller length instead of growing up juicy. If you want more giant grapes, you need to perform proper thinning, which will lead to the growth of grapes.
Sleek, sharp scissors are an essential tool for thinning, removing inner and rotten fruits; you should practice this while keeping the outer and shoulder portions intact. Also, you should practice the method regularly to achieve good results.
How to grow seedless grapevines
They do grow well in covered areas as well as in the Greenhouse.
Different types of grapes
Following are the tasty varieties of grapes people like to have:
- Royal Muscadine
- Buckland Sweetwater.
- Boskoop Glory
Pots and containers used for growing grapes:
Few things are to be kept in mind while growing grapes in a pot or a container. One should take care of the size of the container for the best results. Around half a barrel is a perfect size. A proper drainage system is essential for better results. All kinds of grapes can be grown in a pot or a container. The quality depends on the skills of the cultivator. You need to take care of the watering aspect, as frequent watering helps the grapevines grow faster. Every morning during the season of growth, which extends mainly from April end to October, make sure you have watered the plant enough.
During autumn, the fruits start to ripen; however, you need to pay attention to watering the plants, as excess watering can lead the grapes to split.
Other ways to cultivate grapevines
People in the UK can successfully cultivate rapevines if they receive powerful sun rays and a suitable support system to climb and grow. Tree trunks, telegraph poles, and low walls are places where grapevines can also grow. Sunshine is a significant factor that you need to consider to ensure the maximum growth of vines. You might see delayed cropping in these cases, yet the yield will be good if it gets going.
You need to provide a proper support system such as bamboo frames or strong wires, which can climb up the wall. Once vines get the support, then people expect them to give desired results.
Grapes are grown outdoors
- Queen of Esther
- Early Van Der Laan
Grapes are grown indoors
- Fosters Seedlings
- Muscat Alexandria
- Chasselas Rose
- Gros Maroc
- Black Hamburg.
- Royal Muscadine.
Now, you know why cultivating grapevine isn’t that tough.