Are you interested in growing table grapes? They are easy and so fun to grow, harvest, and eat. Find out how the varieties we grow, how to prune them and what to grow them on below.
I'm so excited to share about our grapes with you all - I can't believe how much they're producing in only their third summer!
We had a large grape arbor over a seating area in our last house and I loved the shade the vine provided, as well as how it looked with grape clusters hanging from it, so I always wanted to find a spot for a grape arbor.
We built the two arbors you can see above - at the entrances to our vegetable garden and berry patch - in the summer of 2010 and I planted one bare-root grape on each in early spring 2011.
We planted two seedless table grapes and by the first summer they made it to the top of the arbors. Last summer the red grape actually produced a couple of clusters of tiny grapes and it was the most prolific - growing all across the top of the arbor, while the green grape only made just over the top.
How to Prune Table Grapes
We didn't prune at all in the first year, just trained up the arbor. In winter of year two and following, prune the vines back to only one strong main branch.
It's a pretty severe pruning, but it's what causes the grape to really produce well. Plus, it's about the only maintenance we do, besides top dressing with compost each spring. Grapes are really a pretty easy plant to grow.
After pruning we watched them explode with growth and then grapes:
Red Seedless Grape
This is our red table grape, a variety called 'Flame' which I just learned is the second most popular variety grown in the U.S. because of its vigor, sweetness, and shelf life.
I can certainly attest to its vigor - not only has it covered the top, it's completely covered the other side of the arbor this year, too. And as you can see - it's loaded with grapes!
And they are incredibly sweet! We've been having so much fun going out and picking some each morning to eat throughout the day.
Green Seedless Grape
The green grape we're growing is 'Himrod.' It isn't quite as vigorous as the red grape and since it only made it to the top of the arbor last year, I wasn't expecting it to produce this year.
What a surprise then, when I saw some clusters forming a couple months ago. They are growing on the side of the arbor, though, since that was where the old growth was from last year.
Next year most of the clusters should hang from the top like the reds do.
There are actually quite a few clusters and the grapes seem to be more uniform in size than Flame.
This variety is also sweet and very tender and they are my favorite flavor of the two!
I can't tell you how rich and special it feels to harvest your own table grapes - I don't know why it strikes me that way, maybe it's because they seem a bit exotic to me (which is silly, as Oregon is now well-known for its vineyards and wines).
The only bummer? I didn't realize that both these grapes ripen at the same time - late August. So the final growing tip is to find two varieties that ripen at different times to enjoy them for a longer period!
Ugh - the race is on to see how many we can eat before I have to resort to juicing them.
Tell me, do you grow grapes? If so what varieties do you like?