Grapes are of the genus Vitas. Grapes come in many varieties and colors such as crimson, black, dark blue, yellow, green and pink. Grapes grow on perennial woody vines which must be trained and pruned properly in order to maximize the yield.
There are 3 keys to growing grapes at home.
- (1) Know the variety of grape you are growing and its growth habits.
- (2) Know the ripening habits of the grape you are growing.
- (3) Know if the variety provides the type of grape you want – i.e. table or wine.
If you live East of the Rocky Mountains the most commonly found grapes to grow are Concord types. The Concord types are drooping in their growth habit which means that they must be trained high and allowed to droop. However, if you live West of the Rocky Mountains the most commonly found grapes to grow are the European types. The European types are upward in their growth habit and must be trained low and allowed to reach upwards. Different varieties of grapes can range in their time to harvest from a very short season to over 170 days so it is important to plant a type of grape that will have time to ripen based on your location and weather.
Also, consider which type of grape you’ll want: table or wine. Table grapes are lower in sugar content and less acidic as they are meant to be eaten. Wine grapes are small and seedy with higher sugar and acid contents more suited to wine making.
Nutritional Values of Grapes
½ cup servingCalories 60
Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg
Carbohydrate 14 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 15%
Health Benefits of Grapes
According to an article published in the journal Circulation, “Grape juice fights arterial disease.” This is because grapes contain flavonoids which are antioxidants. Research on the benefits of grapes have shown that grapes offer the ability to help lower the blood levels of cholesterol, and lower levels of triglycerides in pre and postmenopausal women. Other studies have shown that drinking 1 to 2 glasses of red wine each day can help lower the risk of hypertension.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Grapes
In order to enjoy the best grapes it is important to choose firm yet plump grapes which are still attached to the stem. Grapes may be stored in the refrigerator for at least 1 week. Grapes may be preserved in a number of ways. They can be dried and enjoyed as raisins or they may be crushed for juice which may then be fermented and enjoyed as wine.
Grape Concerns and Cautions
It is important to know which variety of grape you desire to grow to ensure that it will be successful in your home garden. Grapes require training and pruning in order to best produce fruit. The vines should not become overgrown and tangled. It is important to note that just because a grape has turned color this does not mean that it is ripe and ready to be picked. Grapes color up to weeks before they actually are ready to be harvested.