The perfect first grape plant, 'Lakemont' will treat you to its flavoursome fruits which appear abundantly from August onwards. Heavy cropping and self-fertile too, the fruits of this cultivar have a delightful honey-like taste which can be enjoyed fresh or as part of a dessert recipe. After these grapes have ripened, the maple-like leaves mature to a resplendent bronze shade; gracing your landscape with fine autumn colour! Although considered hardy, 'Lakemont' will not fruit outdoors in the colder parts of the UK (such as northern areas). In this instance, it is best to cultivate your plant in a greenhouse, conservatory, or polytunnel. For southern locations, plant in a sunny and sheltered site - ideally on a pergola for sufficient support.
Grape vines are quite vigorous, and as such, will need to be trained. This can be done in three ways:
Guyot system: Train one or two fruiting stems along a wire in differing directions.
Cordon: This involves training one or more stems (which have fruiting side shoots) onto multiple wires across a structure such as a fence.
Standard: This method is best for those who are growing their grape vines in pots. In this instance, simply train your plant on a tall, clear stem.
It is important to regularly water your grape vine; at least bimonthly for two months. Grapes differ from other fruiting plants because their roots grow deeper. Therefore, it is important to give them a thorough watering. You should also ensure adequate spacing (1.8 - 2.7m) between each vine, depending on the planting system you use. Mulching around the base of your vine is recommended. White pebbles can be used to reflect sunlight onto your plant, while darker mulch helps warm up the soil (just make sure that is isn't manure as this can encourage too much greenery and too little fruits).
When browsing grape vines, gardeners often turn away worrying that they won't suffice in the English garden. While grape vines are more accustomed to warmer climates (deriving from the Mediterranean and Central Asia) they can successfully be grown in the UK, even in small gardens!
- Position: Dessert grapes will appreciate a sunny, sheltered site. If you are based in a colder part of the UK (such as a northern region), we recommend planting them in a greenhouse, but they can be planted outside if trained under glass.
- Soil: Grape vines are relatively unfussy when it comes to soil, but make sure that it is free-draining.