I love eating grapes. They are the perfect snack or accompaniment on a cheeseboard.
Little bursts of sweetness that are easy to eat (no peeling or cutting required).
Children love them as much as adults – No mess, no fuss!
Like everything, homegrown tastes significantly better than store bought and you know and control exactly what goes into them in terms of chemicals.
The grapes you can buy from the supermarket may look big and juicy, but trust me, they lack the flavour and sweetness you get from homegrown grapes, not to mention they are often imported from across the globe (e.g. USA) meaning their carbon miles are huge! I’d much rather the smaller, sweeter homegrown grapes.
And on that point, I’ve got great news! Growing your own grapes is easy!
The Barossa Valley produces not just wine grapes but table grapes too.
Grape vines are actually really hardy and tolerate a wide range of soils and they can be grown in small gardens as well as large.
To successfully grow your own grape vines you need to know and have a few things:
A trellis or fence to grow along and support your grapevine. Or for something a little different you could grow a grape vine up and over your patio. You get great shade in summer plus yummy fruit – winning! Just remember grape vines love a full sun position.
As I mentioned, grape vines tolerate a wide range of soils, but it never hurts to add some compost into the soil at planting time for the best results.
No doubt we have all seen pruners out in the vineyards over the winter months. For best results, Grape vines need to be pruned. The general rule of thumb is for seedless table grape varieties you do a rod and spur prune and for seeded varieties just spur prune.
While grape vines are hardy plants, they will do best if watered over the warmer months. Drip irrigation with long, slow soaks is the most effective way to water.
There aren’t too many pests that worry grape vines so they shouldn’t need much, if any, in the way of insecticides, but on the other hand they can be prone to some fungal issues, particularly powdery mildew.
The best way to combat/prevent this is to spray with a fungicide (sulphur or mancozeb) after the vines have shot (when the shoots are around 20cm long).
Continue on this spray programme every few weeks until around Christmas. By then the weather should be hot and dry enough that fungal issues aren’t such a problem. Just remember to avoid spraying your vines with anything when flowering.
Another way to help prevent powdery mildew on grape vines is ensure that you plant them in an open position (full sun) where there is plenty of airflow. You can also use a mixture of one part milk to three parts water once a week for a natural alternative.
There are a huge range of different table grape varieties. White, red and black varieties. Seedless and with seeds.
Different ripening times starting from January right through until May or even June for the real late varieties. In fact there are so many varieties that you will be spoilt for choice!
To help you out here is a list of our favourite varieties. White grapes: Centennial seedless, Thompson’s seedless, Thomuscat, Emerald seedless, Perlette.
Red grapes: Flame seedless, Emperor, Blush seedless and Christmas rose.
Black grapes: Maroo, Ruby seedless and Autumn black. Super tasty, super hardy and easy to grow.
Like with all fruit trees, growing your own grapes is so rewarding.
We are perfectly situated in the Barossa with some of the best grape growing conditions in the world – along with these tips success is almost a given!
So go on, why not try growing your own tasty table grapes today!
If you have any more questions about growing table grape vines, come see the staff at Barossa Nursery. Happy gardening!
If you have any questions you would like answered, feel free to leave a comment online on the Barossa Mag’s website.
In the meantime, happy gardening!