when-to-plant-grapes

When to Plant Grapes

When growing grapes it is most common to plant bare root vine starts, although some brave souls will plant seeds. Both of these methods will be affected by the time you plant them. For the best growth and a good crop of grapes, planting at the right time is vital. Read more to find out when to get your grape plants in the ground.

The Short Answer

The best time to put grapes in the ground is early spring. However, if you choose to start your vines from seed you’ll need to begin to prepare the seeds several months in advance of planting.

The Long Answer for Seeds

Grape seeds are not started in the ground; they’re started indoors and moved outdoors later. Months before you get to this point though, you’ll be preparing your seeds for their best start.

To be ready to put starts in the ground at just the right time, you’ll need to ready your seeds – in a process called stratification – starting in December. This is an important step for grape-growing success.

Your seeds need prolonged exposure to cold in order to germinate properly. Follow these steps to do it right:

  • Use a zipper bag or other airtight container for this process. Fill this container partway with something soft, like vermiculite, sand, or even wet paper towels. For best results in this process, choose peat moss for its antifungal properties.
  • Push the seeds about half an inch down into your chosen filler, and sprinkle about a half inch of growing medium over them.
  • Seal your container and and put it somewhere with a consistent temperature of about 35F-40F (1.6C to 4.5C) for three months. The refrigerator is an excellent place for this process! You can do this in a cold garage or shed over the winter, too; just don’t let your seeds freeze.

In early spring, you can plant your stratified seeds in starter pots, then into larger pots, and finally into the ground; this process requires several weeks but will ensure strong, healthy vines.

The Long Answer for Bare Root Plants

Remember when planting a bare root vine that it’s important to locate your plant in a part of your garden that gets full sun. Grape plants prefer lots of sunshine and warm soil to grow well.

Don’t begin planting until you’ve constructed a support of some kind for your vines. Whether you choose a T-type trellis, an arbor, or just a section of fence, your plants need to have a support structure in place from the start; your plant will be pruned and trained to grow with the support.