Under The Grape Vine
The Gardener|August 2020
Many of us fondly remember the grape-vine-covered pergolas and arbours in the backyards of our youth. In high summer, fat bunches of sweet grapes ready to be harvested lurked in the dappled shade of lush vine leaves, which later turned rusty brown and fell off to lay bare the rough old twisted stems of winter.

With the advent of large supermarket chains selling a wide array of modern cultivars of table grapes (even out of season), the romantic fruiting vines unfortunately gave way to ornamental vines and flowering creepers. The wheel has however turned, and nowadays it is very ‘in’ to grow your own edibles, including grapes.

To find the right grape cultivar(s) to plant in your climate is as simple as visiting your local garden centre, where they should be in stock now.

You need

A sturdy structure – grape vines are vigorous growers and will probably outlive you. Give them a sturdy pergola, arch, or a structure of gum poles and strong wire to cling to.

Planting a vine

Planting hole: 60cm x 60cm.

Soil amendments – generous amounts of compost and a handful of bonemeal.

Planting depth: plant the vine slightly deeper than the level it is in, growing in its nursery container.

Water deeply and mulch afterwards, away from the stem.

Directly after planting, cut back the stem to 3 – 4 buds (nodes).

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