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Grape, Edible

Common Name: Grape

Botanical NameVitis spp.


Type and Use: Deciduous vine with edible leaves and fruit. Fruit is eaten, made into wine, jellies, jams, and other food products.

Location: Full sun

Planting Dates: Fall

Planting Method: Transplants in one gallon cans are best for the homeowner

Harvest Time: After grapes mature on the vine

Height: High climbing

Spread: Wide spreading

Spacing: 8-10 feet

Growth Habits: Fast-growing climbing vine for structures and support. Large leaves and clusters of sweet-tasting grapes. Grapes range from white to deep purple.

Culture: Relatively easy to grow in healthy soil. Use lots of compost and volcanic rock powders and either mulch heavily or use green manure cover crops such as oats, vetches, and/or clovers in the fall and black-eyed peas (or other peas) or buckwheat in the spring.

Troubles and Solutions: Grasshoppers, caterpillars, and various diseases. The diseases can be controlled using a basic organic program, broadcasting cornmeal at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet, and spraying often with Garrett Juice plus potassium bicarbonate, garlic, and pepper. Birds can be controlled with the hot pepper spray products. Grasshoppers can be controlled with biological products such as Naturalis.

Harvest and Storage: Harvest the grapes when they are mature (sweet and the seeds are brown) and before the birds and other animals get them. Cut the clusters from vines - don’t pull. Store ripe at 32-40° for 4-6 weeks. Leaves are best harvested when young and tender.

Notes: Grapes function as a good landscape vine as well as a food crop. Researchers have recently discovered that a substance in grapes called reservatrol can help the body’s cells from becoming cancerous and inhibit the spread of cells that are malignant. Tests of several foods for anti-cancer properties showed grapes to be the best.

Varieties: ‘Reliance’ (red), ‘Flame’ (red), ‘Concord’ (red), ‘Mustang’ (red), ‘Fiesta’ (white), ‘Niagra’ (white). Mustang and Concord are almost black when ripe. Muscadines (Vitus rotundifolia) need sandy soil. Our native wild Mustang (Vitus landicans) is best for jams and jellies.


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