Small round fruit growing in clusters along vines that have curly tendrils and wide, toothed leaves. Grapes range in color from yellow to red to purple to dark to green, can taste sour or sweet, and come in both seeded and seedless varieties.
How to Care for Grape Vines
Yes, grapevines can be pruned and do benefit from it! Grapevines grow vigorously. Dense or overgrown vines will not allow enough sunlight to reach the fruit and may create an opportune environment for diseases and pests to flourish. We offer pruning for grapevines, which you can sign up for here.
Fertilize yearly in the early spring. We offer compost tea fertilizing for fruit trees and gardens. Compost tea has many benefits, some of which are improved plant growth and increased nutrient retention.
Throughout the first growing season, new vines should be watered weekly. Established grapevines need watering weekly in the absence of rainfall, penetrating the soil surface to a depth of 12 inches. Once the vines set fruit, you can cut down on watering slightly to encourage the fruit to ripen.
Grapes will not ripen off of the vine, so be sure to avoid picking them before they are ripe. The best strategy for picking grapes is to cut off clusters with scissors or hand pruners.
Grapes are ready to harvest when…
- They are juicy and easy to crush with your fingers.
- The skin is soft and easy to tear.
- The pulp is white, rather than green, and the seeds are brown.
Schedule a Harvest with Us!
Because there are so many varieties of grapes, it is hard to estimate when particular grapes may be ripe, so monitor throughout the summer and fall for the signs listed above. We can’t harvest if…
- The load is too low. Must be at least 75 lbs of fruit.
- The fruit is overripe. Must be able to keep long enough to transport, donate, and distribute.
- The fruit is underripe. Grapes will not ripen off of the vine.
Disease & Pest Control
- Grapes can contract powdery mildew, which manifests itself as a white powder on the leaves that can cause them to turn brown and fall off prematurely. Keeping foliage dry can help reduce the likelihood of powdery mildew.
- Another condition that can impact grapevines is chlorosis, which turns the leaves yellow and is caused by overwatering and oversaturation. It can be prevented by planting grapes in areas with sufficient drainage and allowing the soil to dry between watering.
- Grapes should be stored in a cold or refrigerated space, and just before use be washed, drained, and dried.
- Remove seeds from seeded grapes by cutting the fruit in half and scooping out the seeds.
- Peel grapes when frozen: rinse in lukewarm water until the skins split, then simply peel them right off.
- Grapes can also be canned, frozen, dried, and juiced. Click here for more information on preserving grapes.
Join the volunteer team!
We love our volunteers and would love to have you join us! There are many ways you can volunteer–from picking fruit to helping in a garden to sitting on a committee.