Good enough to eat
●● Preparing ground for grapes YOU may think that growing grapes is only for those living in the Mediterranean, but if you have a sunny, sheltered, south-facing wall you could be growing vines and may even get some fruit out of them.
Prepare the spot now for outdoor grapes by digging a large planting hole, around 1m (3ft) square and lining it with bricks. This serves as an underground pocket which keeps the plants compact so they produce more fruit and less leafy growth. Fill it with good quality topsoil and add plenty of compost. Leave it a few months until you plant a new vine.
April is probably the best time and plant a pot-grown one, with the top of the rootball level with the soil surface, training the stems out over the wall and tie them to a trellis or wall nails.
Those main stems will thicken and produce side-shoots every year.
Keep vines well watered in dry spells in the summer when they are carrying fruit. The vine will need a year or two to establish before producing grapes and initially it's worth limiting each vine to four bunches, or fruit will be small. In midwinter, when the vine is dormant, thin out overcrowded growth. In spring, mulch generously and add fertiliser.