If you’re under the impression that growing grapes isn’t something you can contemplate if you’re based in the UK, then think again. Grapes can be successfully grown and, if you’ve got a greenhouse, you’ve got even more chance of growing a great crop of grapes. Here are some tips and advice for getting started with growing grapes in a greenhouse.
The warm atmosphere of a greenhouse is the perfect place to grow grapes and there are many indoor varieties that will thrive under glass. Two varieties that are renowned for being suitable for being grown in a greenhouse are Black Hamburgh, which produces large black grapes, and Thompson’s Seedless, which produces green grapes.
When to Plant Grapes in a Greenhouse
Ideally, the best time of year to start planting grapes in a greenhouse is during the winter months, from December until March, when the vine is dormant. If you’re unable to plant it during this time, then don’t worry, as you can still plant it at a later period. Grapes can be purchased in small pots from a garden centre, which is an ideal way for beginners to start.
Be aware that grapevines can grow quite considerably, so if you only have a small greenhouse, start by only planting a single vine, as you don’t want your greenhouse to become crowded.
How to Plant Grapes in a Greenhouse
According to experts, the best way of planting grapes in a greenhouse is with the root outside the greenhouse and the vine inside. This may sound a bit strange, but it has been found to be the optimum way of planting, as it reduces the amount of watering that the roots require. This can be done by creating a small hole in the side of your greenhouse near ground level and training the vine through.
If this just doesn’t seem possible in your greenhouse, or you don’t want to create the hole, then grapevines can be planted inside too – just note that they will require more irrigation and watering.
The best position for the grapes is at the other end of the greenhouse from the main door, so you won’t get any problems with the vines blocking your access – yes, they can grow very well and take up more room than you may expect!
Whether you’re planting the roots outside or in, you need to dig a hole for the roots of the vine, ensuring the soil is well fertilised – add more well rotted compost or fertiliser if required. The hole should be the same depth as the pot you’re transferring the vines from. As with the planting any other plant, gently tease the roots out with your fingers as you pop it into the hole, as this will encourage the roots to spread out and grow.
Watering and Caring for Your Greenhouse Grapes
All grapes need to be watered well during their growing season – aim to water them every seven to 10 days. Where the roots are growing outside your greenhouse, you will need to water them more frequently.
Your grapes may benefit from mulching, with more well-rotted manure, in the spring, before the main growth starts. You could also put straw around the roots in the summer months, in the same way as you would strawberry plants, to help the fruit set.