Grape production is not a new concept; grapes have long been grown in greenhouses and there has been recent interest in the development of soilless vineyards. Like many fruiting plants, grapes respond well to the controlled nutrition and climatic advantages of protected cultivation and produce high-quality fruit with an intense, sweet flavor and aroma.
While grape vines can become large with an extensive canopy, they are able to be heavily pruned to restrict the size and fit into compact spaces. Indoor garden environments also provide warm, bright, and humidity-controlled conditions that allow for easy production and prevention of the common fruit-rot diseases that often affect outdoor-grown fruit.
Grapes are climbing vines and need wires, strings, or trellis to train the stems upwards and support the weight of the developing fruit. In an indoor garden, a grapevine container can be positioned in a corner while the vines themselves are trained and held against walls or up over supports to maximise the use of growing space.
Grapes are also fruiting plant that benefits from some root zone restriction and can be grown in surprisingly small containers. Dutch buckets or growing containers of at least 1.5 feet in depth are suitable for well-pruned grapevine production, filled with a free-draining substrate such as perlite or a coco fiber/perlite mix.
Drip irrigation is commonly used for indoor grape production and provides a good level of moisture, while at the same time allowing for some dry down of the substrate between irrigations; this assists with the production of fruit with high compositional quality and optimal sugar levels.
One of the main advantages of hydroponic grape vine production is that grafted plants are not required as soil-borne pests and diseases that can severely affect the vines are not present in soilless cultivation.
Cuttings can be taken of any good dessert grape variety and, once roots have formed, established into a hydroponic production system. Hardwood cuttings from healthy vines are typically taken in late fall or winter from outdoor-grown plants as grapes do not grow true to type from seed.
New buds will start to sprout in spring after roots have formed and at this stage, the new young plant is ready to establish into an indoor growing system, alternatively, young vines can be purchased and the growing medium carefully removed before planting.
There are a huge number of different grape varieties ranging in fruit size, color, and sweetness and with subtle differences in flavor. Table or dessert grapes are commonly white, black, or red in color, however, green types also exist with popular greenhouse varieties that are suitable for indoor gardening being Black Hamburg, a well-flavoured, dark-skinned type, and Chasselas, an early season grape that produces well in pots.
Temprature: With optimums of 72-82°F (22-28°C) suitable
EC: 2.0 –2.4 range are suitable for young vines with EC level up to 4.0 for those in fruit.
A well-controlled, pruned, and the trained grape vine can make a valuable addition to a grow room and be trained up against a suitable wall or over tall supports. The quality and flavour of the fruit under grow nutrition and in an optimal environment can be far superior to outdoor-grown fruit with opportunities to maximize sweetness and grape size by manipulating factors such as EC, nutrients, moisture levels, and climate.