PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Grapes (Vitis spp.)

Humans have been making wine with them for at least 8000 years. Yeast lives naturally on the skin of grapes so early wine probably just made itself and someone came along, stuck their finger in it, and the definition of ‘imbibe’ was changed forever. The region between Georgia and Iraq is considered ground zero for the production of grapes for wine making and references to it come from Egypt around the same time as well.

Grapes come seedless or seeded. Generally, the seedless ones have thinner skins and are more attractive for fresh eating. Seeded grapes have somewhat thicker skins, seeds, are typically smaller and preferred for wine. We like to eat them all fresh and enjoy the range of flavors among varieties.

Grape leaves are excellent for adding to pickles as their tannin keeps the pickles crisp. They are also used to wrap meats, rice, and other vegetables as in Dolmades. The vines are used in arts and crafts. We make woven wreath rings from our pruned vines each year.

We grow six varieties of grapes, some seeded and some seedless, ranging from green to red to purple. Find your favorite and get prepared for an abundance of fruit. We like to freeze some whole, then eat them the following summer on hot days like little grape-cicles. Grapes are harvested in early autumn. They will grow in full sun or in as little as four hours of sun and bright indirect light. Give them a very sturdy structure to grow on. They are very strong and can get heavy.