Not exactly the new kid on the block, grapes have been cultivated on this planet for thousands of years. Some of the earliest vineyard keepers were monks who raised grapes to be used in the making of wines for religious sacrament.
If you want to add grape growing to your list of home gardening adventures, it’s not all that difficult. As with any horticultural endeavor, knowing the basics—which varieties are suited to your area and your needs, as well as when, where, and how to plant—goes a long way in getting you started in growing your own grapes.
And the health benefits of consuming grapes are plentiful.
Let’s dig in and see what we’re looking at here. First of all, what will you do with the grapes you produce—make wine (viniculture), or eat them fresh or in salads (table grapes)? Take note of the characteristics of the varieties of plants you purchase to ensure that you’re getting the kind of grapes you want to grow for your intended uses.
Plant your grape vines in full sun and take great care to prepare the site well before you put the plants into the ground. Grape vines like to send their roots deep, so don’t make it too difficult for this to happen. Dig a large hole and amend the backfill well with loose loamy soil and composted organic matter.
Adequate moisture and plentiful sunshine are needed in order to grow healthy plants, but they're absolutely imperative in order for those plants to produce an abundant crop of grapes.
As the vines grow, they need to be trained onto some sort of supporting structure such as a trellis or fence. This step also aids in your grape vines receiving sufficient sunshine and air circulation.
Grape vines need to be pruned in the dormant season, cutting back the long leggy runners in order to maintain a somewhat dense but flowing plant structure.
As the fruit of your labor begins to mature in the form of delicious ripe grapes, let’s look at some of the health benefits obtained from consuming these tasty little globes.
Numerous studies have shown a decreased risk of developing heart disease by those individuals who regularly consume red wine or grape juice. Also, the risk of developing colorectal cancer is reduced.
It is further believed that the resveratrol found in red wines may be helpful in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and may actually be an effective anti-aging agent.
Another malady commonly affecting our aging population is macular degeneration, which leads to a loss of vision. Consuming grapes on a daily basis lessens the possibility of the onset of this disease.
In addition, grapes contain powerful antioxidants that help to prevent the development of cancer cells in the body and aid in the lowering of levels of bad cholesterol.
They’re a great addition to your nutritious diet and an easy snack to keep on hand. Grab a handful of grapes and stay healthy.