American grape sodas are one of my favourite flavours in the world. As a Brit, its a difficult flavour to find over here. While in Amsterdam, I actually discovered that there are real grapes that taste just like the sodas – it was a revelation, but you can’t buy them in the UK, so I decided I needed to grow my own. I asked BackyardBoss.net for some advice on how to grow grapevines from seeds.
Backyardboss.net is a place where backyard enthusiasts and lovers of the great outdoors can gather to find the best content on the web (we think so anyway). The site provides highly informative articles on background design, gardening, grilling and even landscaping. Readers are sure to walk away feeling happy and educated, that’s a promise.
What follows is their article they’ve written to help me get started with growing my own grapevines from seeds here in the UK.
How to Grow Grapevines from Seeds
So, you want to grow grapevines from seeds? This may seem like a very challenging task but, if you follow the steps below we are pretty sure you too can grow your own grapes from seeds.
All you need are a few pots with soil, some seeds, and a little bit of know-how and you can grow fresh grapes for your cocktails. If you are serious about this check out this Apollo grow light review by the Backyard Boss.
What would you do with the grapes once you grew them you ask? That’s a very good question. One answer might be to eat them, but the reality is, not all grapes are made to be eaten like the seedless green and red varieties you might find in the produce section of the grocery store.
As bartenders, we know that grapes can be used for other things besides eating. We can make wine, or we can craft some specialty cocktails. It all depends on what you want to do with these grapes you will be growing from seedlings. These can take your growing grapes or herbs to a whole new level.
Grape Inspired Cocktails
With the different spirits available on today’s shelves, you could get seriously creative with cocktails. Since we are discussing growing grapes it’s probably a good idea to focus on grape themed cocktails. Besides wine though, what else can you do with grapes?
There’s a smashed grape cocktail which can be made with vodka, basil, lemon juice, honey, club soda, and, of course, grapes. Or you can do a crushed grape cocktail with gin, rosemary, red grapes. The fact is, grapes add a fantastic flavor to almost any liquor. It’s the type of fruit that will allow your inventive juices to flow.
Before you can make these drinks, you need to get the grapes. If you were just an ordinary bartender, you might just take a ride to the grocery store and pick up a bag. Learning to grow grapevines from seeds will take you from bartender to mixologist in only a little time.
Find Your Seeds
This may be the most important part of the growing process. There are many different varieties of grapes available. When choosing which one to plant, you need to consider what type of grapes would grow best indoors, whether or not you will be able to acquire the seeds for the kind of vine you want to grow.
You can check with your local nurseries, order seeds online, or, if you want to be ambitious, you can just cut open some grapes from the grocery store and use them. If you do that then you need to be sure you prepare the seeds well before you plant them. Just throwing them into the soil is not the best idea.
Make sure that the fruit you take the seeds from is fully ripened. Cut the grape in half and with a knife pull out the seeds out carefully. If you slice the seed or cut it at all you will render it useless. Once they are removed from the grapes put the seeds into a bowl or pot of water and let them sit for a day. If the seed doesn’t sink throw it away.
After a full twenty-four hours, drain the seeds from the water and then put them into a container with a tablespoon of peat moss. Put the top on the container and then leave it in the refrigerator for three months. This is the stratification period and it is important for germination.
Time to Sow
When the stratification period is completed remove the container from the refrigerator. Open it and plant the seeds into pots with good drainage about three times the depth of their length. Use a sterile seed-starting mix and be sure not to plant any closer to each other than 1 ½ inches apart from one another.
Once they are planted keep these under the grow lights and leave them there for sixteen hours every day. This is especially important because to germinate grape seeds need this long-day sun. When they first start out make sure the soil is kept damp. Under the right temperatures, the vines might start to appear in only two weeks although grape vines have been known to take longer to grow.
Once your seedling is growing and you see that it has produced two sets of leaves, take that seedling and transplant it into a bigger pot with at least a four-inch diameter. The soil for this pot should be more sophisticated than the mix you created for the seeds. In short, it’s eight parts potting soil, one-part sand, and one-part pumice.
Also, dissolve some plant food into a gallon of water, the measurements will depend on the fertilizer you choose to use so make sure to follow the instructions. Once they have grown for six weeks in the four-inch pots then transplant them into gallons pots to allow them more room to grow.
Time to Go Outside
Once your vines have outgrown your pots then you know it’s time to plant them outside. When selecting the site where you will grow your vines you need to make use sure the grapes will get adequate sunlight. The soil should be drained and rich in nutrients. Also, adding a trellis would help the vines grow.
When you do place them in the ground be sure to keep eight to ten feet in between each vine. The hole you plant them in should be as deep as the last pot and the soil used to fill the hole should level off with the ground. Cut the grapevines down to the two lowest leaves. Keep them watered well, at least 1 inch per week.
There are many steps to growing grapevines in your home. We suggest you do ample research before just jumping in blind. Once they get going though, the cocktails available for mixing will wow even your pickiest bar patron.
Will you try to grow grapevines from seeds?
Have you been inspired to grow grapevines from seeds? We’ll be trying (probably early next year based on the stratification time) but we’d love to know how you get on too!