Many people have a pergola incorporated into their outside space design. You might choose to grow climbing plants over your pergola purely for decoration or, if you'd like to create a flavour of the Mediterranean in your garden, you might like to consider growing grapes. Growing grapes on your pergola is easier than you might think. This article explains how to grow grapes on your pergola.
Planting grape vines
Grape vines grow with varying degrees of vigour, so it's important to choose the right variety for the size of your pergola. As a general rule of thumb, one or two vines of average vigour for every 6 square metresis about right, and you can always add more in the future. Ask your garden centre or nursery for advice on which varieties to choose.
- The best time to plant grapes is in the late autumn through to early spring when the plants are least active. This means that you are less likely to harm future growth by disturbing the vine's root ball during the planting process.
- Grapes will grow in any soil type. Choose a spot adjacent to an upright post on your pergola. Dig over the soil so that it's not compacted and add some compost or a good quality fertiliser.
- Plant the vines about 1.2m apart and 12.5cm away from the post.
Training grape vines
- Choose one training shoot only. This will make sure that the vine reaches the top of the pergola quickly. Choosing many shoots will encourage the vine to distribute its energy into each one and growth will be slower and more random.
- Fix the vine firmly, but not too tightly, to the upright post using garden twine and guide it up to the top of the pergola as it grows.
Pruning and maintenance
Grape vines should be pruned back hard in early winter to remove dead foliage and encourage more vigorous growth during the next spring. This means you'll get more abundant foliage and a heavier crop of fruit. During the spring and summer months, pinch out new shoots and thin out early fruits to encourage a heavier crop.
Grape vines are pretty hardy plants, but they can be vulnerable to a number of different pests, including types of mould and mildew. Treat vines with a preventative spray in the spring and summer – ask your garden centre for advice on which products to use.
Inspect your grape vines once a week for signs of damage to leaves by pests. Ask at your local garden centre for advice on which pest-specific control product to use and treat the problem as soon as possible. Don't just spray your grape vines with a general purpose bug killer, as this will probably not solve the problem and may do more harm than good.
Grape vines make a wonderful compliment to your pergola. They can also be grown over a verandah or even a carport as an aesthetically pleasing and potentially tasty garden addition.
For more information, contact a business such as Pro-Form Pergolas Pty Ltd.