If you’ve ever thought about recreating Tuscany on your back porch with a pergola and some grape seed, well … yeah, you better believe you can do it.
But, like all cool things in life, it takes a little work and a smidge of luck, at least when it comes to where you live.
Good Grape-Growing Geography
Your garden-variety grapes, as one may call them, will grow just about anywhere in the U.S., but grapes that are good for eating and (eventually) drinking are a bit tougher to cultivate.
Grapes require specific soil, temperature and water levels to flourish, and then there are matters of drainage, subsoil and so on. Take heart, though – your grapes have a good chance of growing, especially if you live in …
… Arkansas, California, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. This is per the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which monitors actual grape-producing states.
Grape Types & Characteristics
There are three broad varieties of grapes (American, Muscadine and European), and all are a long-season fruit. They are also a long-lived plant that will last for literally decades – as long as 30 years in some instances.
This makes them as good for your outdoor décor as they are to consume, which is why putting them on your pergola or trellis can be even better than having them out in the garden.
American grapes are the best all-around plant for the U.S. because they weather cold temps well, but North American Muscadine will also grow in warmer southern climes.
Now Grow Your Grapes
You must have your pergola, arbor, etc. in place before you plant, and you must plant dormant grape roots in the early spring.
No matter where you live, you want to pick a place that gets good sun. Soak your roots for an hour first, then plant them 5 to 10 feet apart at the base of your structure. Prune the tops back, water and wait.
Cultivate Your Grapes
Pruning is a must for fruitful grapevines, and your vines shouldn’t be allowed to produce fruit for the first couple of years. This will give them time to grow into their roots.
Prune buds back with a vengeance for those first two years. Eventually, you’ll have sturdy vines – or canes – that will produce more flowers and be able to support the grapes.