Growing Grapes in Your Backyard

Jun 1, 2016
Growing Grapes in your backyard - Pixabay

If you have a sunny space, try your hand at growing grapes!

Photo by Pixabay


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Have you always wanted to have grapes in your backyard? Or, do you have an old grapevine that has grown completely out of control?

There are several things to consider if this is the case—not every location is actually ideal for the growing of grapes:

First of all, grapes need to be in the Sun all day long. They will not grow well if they are in the shade for all or a good part of the day. Wet areas are also not favored by this crop. Grapes do NOT like to have wet feet; they actually can reach down quite far into the ground for their water.

Up next to a building or surrounded by trees (where the breezes don’t blow) are also not good spots. Breezes cut down on potential funguses that can invade grape vines. And a wild grape vine growing in a tree has no hope for actually producing grapes.

If you happen to have a sunny location and you inherit an overgrown tangle; here’s what you do.

  • First, you give the plant a blast of nitrogen to push up the leaves.
  • Then, you trim the vines back to the three best trunks. It’s good to wait until you can see the buds in order to be sure which vines are still alive.
  • A bamboo or steel post, 7 feet tall and sunk one foot into the ground is needed to support them. Wind the vines around it tying them with loose bread bag ties. There will be no grapes the first year, but they will regain their strength for the future.

  • If you are looking to create a patch of grape vines, get the soil analyzed. These fruits need a balanced soil.
  • Find a variety that grows well in your area (check out Double A Vineyard for free information).
  • Put in your posts then insert some kind of post wires going across.

Ideally, these are placed one at 30” and one at 36.” Those are your two “fruiting wires” where you loosely wind your four “keeper” canes around. When you chose your four “keeper” canes, try to pick four closest to the trunk, and leave 4 to 6 two to three bud “renewals” near the trunk also. Place two “catch wires” at four feet, five feet and six feet so you have a place to tuck in the new growth. These will be your “fruiting canes” next year. At first, you will be looking to spread out about 30 buds total but in later years (especially for commercial applications) 45 buds is common.

Just remember that the further the vines are from the trunk, the flavor diminishes. This is why the best person in a winery situation to be growing the grapes is the wine maker him or herself.

  • When the grapes get to look like green peas, it’s time to take off the leaves over the fruit. The Sun will help to keep problems away. Also keep the area under the grapes weed-whacked so that rain doesn’t splash up on the plants.

Virginia Carter from Walpole Mountain View Winery was kind enough to help me with this blog. Check out her photos at  She will be starting her summer wine-tastings  May 24 through May 27. Beautiful views, delicious reds, whites and varietals await your presence at this exquisite spot.

                           (photo credit: Virginia Carter)                                                                                                   (2012 vintage ready to bottle)

And, just because…. Some enterprising birds found the cotton ties that I use for my tomatoes and incorporated them into their nest.

About This Blog

Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens. Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer and gardens by the Moon. Her new book, “Celeste’s Garden Delights,” is now available! Celeste Longacre does a lot of teaching out of her home and garden in the summer. Visit her web site at for details.


Reader Comments

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Grape tree

I have a grape tree and for years now it doesn't grow it buds and spreads its leaves during rain season nothing else what can i do

no grapes?

Grapes grow on vines. You’re calling your plant a tree; just checking: Are you sure it’s a grape vine? Grapes should be pruned pretty severely to be productive, and this should be done when the vines are dormant.

Some grape vine plants are male; they flower but do not produce grapes (some people don’t want the fruit, they only want the flower).

You refer to it as a tree. It may be that no sunlight is penetrating the canopy. It would need severe pruning.

Those are just a few ideas. You could contact your local cooperative extension service and ask their opinion. Click on your state here and choose from the listings:

We hope this helps!

How to grow table grape in back yard

Please send a guide book or some picture guide how to thank

Grapes relocating an overgrown and neglected vine

We bought a cabernet sauvignon vine approx. 10 years ago. My husband didn't know anything about grapes and planted it up next to the house on a southern slope. I have removed the entire root (yes , I really did) and i have it soaking in my willow water rain barrel. Can I save it if I do everything correctly the next time? I have purchased a Concord, Catalba and Niagara White to be planted with it.

trasnplanting and saving a vine

This is not an easy undertaking, but you may be able to save the plant: The roots go quite deep; sometimes back hoes are required to capture all of them, but if you say so… Cut the vine back to the most vigorous cane, leaving about 8 inches. You can plant in early spring or fall. In preparation for relocation, dig a hole that is twice as wide as the roots, and loosen the soil to a depth that matches the length of the vertical roots. Set the plant at the same level or deeper than the surrounding soil surface. Stake it. Water vigorously for a year (in season), and keep it weeded.

All in all, it might be a lot easier to start a cutting from it or purchase a new vine. But then, the satisfaction to be derived from transplanting this vine might be priceless.

Grapes on fence line. I had small green (buds) grapes.

all greenbuds (grapes) were gone, stripped. What could have eaten them?? I had none left. I never saw a bird only chipmunks and squirrels, but saw nothing eating them. What can I do? I live in Michigan

What could have eaten them??

I've had "missing fruit" (peaches) the last two years. I noticed that chipmunks had moved into a bird house that I had made. So I'm leaning towards Alvin, Theodore, and Simon as the most likely culprets.
I'm certainly glad they hate their vegetables!
Good luck, sorry I haven't figured out what to do about them yet, myself. H-G + ENJOY!

Feeding on grapes

Wasps do a lot of damage to ripening grapes. I found that l need to cover my vines with tulle to keep the wasps at bay otherwise its a mess.


I have a grape vine which has grown from soil beside my backyard sun deck . I live in Vancouver BC. The plant has grown onto the deck, lots of leaves which have shrivelled, small fruit and decided to no. 1 get another plant and try again or no. 2 cut the grape back, improve soil and see what happens.

Two year old male & female

I purchased from a nursery two year old vines, I live in N.E. PA. My couple are doing fine, buds are blooming, o flowers yet and little runners coming out. One of the vines has about 5 inches of nothing, no buds growing on it. Should I cut this down to the plant? And I know I won't be getting any fruit this year, should I cut some of the buds off to strengthen the root system? They seem to be doing great where they are, but shouldn't they be touching each other when it comes time to pollinate. And last question, what about manure, would these babies like it if I gave them a little, maybe in the fall? Or now? First time growing grapes.

thanks for the knowledge! I

thanks for the knowledge! I am in Utah. I am getting some grapes going and having a hard time answering a specific question. For backyard sweet grapes how long should I go before allowing fruit to develop? I have read wait until the third year but that seems to be for folks who are trying to cultivate a commercial size crop in a tightly trained situation. I understand training the vines for the most part. But if I am not in a hurry to get the vines to the perfect spot is there any harm in letting some fruit grow early? And if that is okay how much is too much?


Cardulloup, I believe the

Cardulloup, I believe the answer is in the article. Those bugs will more than likely go away when you remove the leaves. Maybe, they are actually helpful, like a companion, that blindly understands for the grapes to ripen properly; they need to have direct sunlight.

I live in southern Nevada and

I live in southern Nevada and have a nine year old Thompson Seedless grape vine that annually produces about 3 lbs of grapes. About mid-July through the end of August, I notice small flying insects about the size of aphids that enjoy sucking the juices from the leaves. I believe they're "leaf hoppers". I've tried spraying the leaves with a dish detergent/water mix, and someone suggested adding some vinegar to that spray. They don't attack the fruit, just the leaves. How do I get rid of them?

It isn't a bug that we get in

It isn't a bug that we get in the Northeast. He should contact a vineyard in California that grows warm climate varieties such as Thompson Seedless. If he does have the infamous leaf hoppers, he's not going to like what the California folks have to tell him about getting rid of them.... or should I say... the difficulty in getting rid of them.

You can refer folks to this website for additional help.
from Virginia Carter

Thank you this is very

Thank you this is very informative....


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