Grapes have been a delicious staple for thousands of years. When we're not nibbling them from bunches, we're boiling them into jellies or fermenting them into wines. Reasons abound to grow grapes on your property, and to do so all you need is a simple trellis to support their climbing vines.
In a few easy steps, you can create the support your fruit needs and ensure your structure will hold up to strong winds under the weight of growing plants. For the longest lasting piece of fruit infrastructure, make sure you start with building materials that will resist rust from weather, as well as rot caused by insects and ground chemicals.
Step 1 - Trellis Posts
Your posts should be heavy and strong to support the weight of the cross-bars and your eventually copious crop. If you plan to bury them in the ground, they should be treated to protect against rot. That's less important if they're mounted in concrete, which will make them even more stable. Place your posts about six feet apart and bury them two feet deep into the ground. If your soil is on the softer or sandier side, either bury them deeper or set them in concrete.
If you want to build an arbor, repeat this process as many times as you'd like to create an arch or a walkway over which vines can creep. This can make a lovely shady spot for both you and any local wildlife to enjoy your yard on sunny days.
Step 2 - Planning Wire Installation
Install two rows of wire that will eventually support vines and the grapes that grow on them—the top row about five feet above ground level, the bottom one 14 inches below the top wire. You can also substitute thin pieces of wood for this step. The vines will wrap around them as they grow.
Step 3 - Wire Attachment
The quickest and most secure way to attach wire to your planted posts is to drill two holes in each post. If your trellis runs east to west, drill the holes east to west. Then run your wire through the holes, leaving the two ends of each wire loose until you've created wire anchors. If you're using wood instead, just nail or screw the cross pieces onto the posts.
Setp 4 - Wire Anchors
To keep your trellis wires from sagging, create a pair of anchors for each wire. Dig a hole in the ground beyond each end post, at least 18 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter. Fill the holes with mixed concrete. Cut two 24-inch pieces of stainless steel wire and bend each into a U-shaped loop.
Bury the ends of the loop in the concrete, leaving the curved end protruding above the surface. When the concrete has set, tie one end of the trellis wire to the secured loop, then do the same with the other wire end, pulling it taut as you attach it to its loop.
You're ready to plant your grape root! You can enjoy watching the progress of your vine's fruit, secure in the knowledge that your trellis posts are firmly planted in the ground and the wire is still taut. If you've positioned the trellis where the vine can soak in the sun, your vines will produce a nice supply of grapes (and/or jams and wines) for years to come.