Newbie...Growing Concord Grapes from Seeds

abfieldNovember 12, 2006

Hi all,

I've read many posts on these forums about Concord Grape growing and care but I'm having trouble getting a consensus on starting Concord grapes from seeds.

This past summer I bought a bunch of Concord grapes from a local MA grocery store. I saved the seeds as I ate them. It's now November 12 and I've been considering starting them indoors in pots for next spring.

My question is, should I just wait until after the last frost next spring and plant the seeds right outside? Is starting them indoors a better idea and if so are there any gotchas or tips? Is it a waste of time to try and start the vines from seeds that I got from a bunch that I bought at the market? They were definitely labeled "Concord Grapes" and were grown in the northeast. I have simply kept them in a bowl in my kitchen, is this bad? Do I need to germinate them first?

Many thanks in advance, I'm an amateur.


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The seeds will need to be stratified before they will germinate. If you want to start them indoors, you can put them in a ziplock bag with some lightly moistened potting soil, and leave them in the refrigerator for 2-3 months, then move to room temp. Leave the bag unsealed, but folded over to retain moisture, which will still let air in and out. If you just want to grow them outdoors, you need to plant the seeds now, so they will stratify over the winter. They will not sprout until the soil warms up enough, which should be well after the risk of frost is past.

You should also be aware that the seedlings will be different than Concord. Most will be inferior, but a few could be similar or better.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 2:04PM
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Perhaps you are unable to find a consensus on growing Concord Grapes from seed because it is not a very good idea. There are quite a few visitors to this site who want to grow things like fruit trees and grapevines from seed, but, sooner or later, they eventually discover there are good reasons why these plants are propagated from scions or cuttings.

The Concord was developed in Massachusetts, and if you can't find a good Concord grapevine at a local nursery or other convenient source, I don't know where you could find one. They are usually very reasonably priced, so cost is not a real consideration.

Google "Concord Grape", and you will easily find a site with the history of this grape. Ephraim Bull grew out 22,000 grape seedlings before he selected his Concord variety in 1849. If you are going to plant one of these things, you might as well get the real deal, which you will not do if you grow out a seedling. Even if you grow out 22,000, you might not be as lucky as Mr. Bull.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 2:39PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I live in Central Massachusetts and am surrounded by wild grapes. Some plants fruit while many do not. The fruiting vines vary in fruit flavor, size, ripening period, and color. Also, many seedlings grow in the wild from these vines and they seem to self-sow readily. I would plant your seeds now as nature does in my area and you should see seedlings in the spring. The vines will vary since they are grown from seeds, but they are still worthwhile growing. I enjoy wild grapes for fruit, leaves for stuffing, and for beautiful vines.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 9:13PM
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Thanks all for the replies. I think I mainly wanted to start them from seeds just to have something to do in the winter months. ;-) But, based on some additional research and these comments, I think I'll go buy plants from a local nursery. As was mentioned, if I can't get good, real Concord grapes just miles from Concord, then I can't get them anywhere. I guess if I did want to do them from "scratch" I could get some cuttings but I'm very much an amateur so I think I'll go visit some nurseries.

Like Chervil2, I often see many Concord-like wild grapes growing on the side of the road. The smell great! So, if I can't get them growing then I'm really doing something wrong!

Thanks for all the advice.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 1:31AM
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I have a grapevine that was on the property I purchased. I never paid much attention to it because I was focusing on the flower garden. This year the vine is growing vigorously with lots of grape cluster.

However, I noticed that the grapes are not ripening consistently. Many clusters have a few blue grapes but all the other grapes on the cluster are green.

Is there anything I should do to help them. Should I cut all the leaves so that only the grapes are left to receive the sun?

I am a real novice and my husband wants to yank them out. Please help me save the grape vine.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 11:49AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Carla: It is doubtful there is anything you can do to "help" your vine. Removing all the leaves will not help the vine and certainly not the fruit. Removing a few leaves shading the fruit might help them color up, but it might be too late even for that. Your vine will be fine on it's own. The fruit is probably inferior for the reasons discussed above... namely that it's a seedling...assuming it is.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 12:52PM
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Thank you for your response. I think you are right that it might be too late for this year.

I checked yesterday. Still lots of green grape clusters but many have one or two that turned purple and a few shirevelled and dried grapes. Not consistent.

It's an old vine, it has a large gray root. It's a shame for such a good crop, much better than other years, will have to go to waste.

Well, I hope I have better luck next year.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 10:29AM
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Sounds like you have Concord. In areas with warm/hot summers, Concord ripens very unevenly. The shriveled and dried grapes probably are infected with black rot.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 10:58AM
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I'm not familiar with grape diseases.

I'll search for black rot information.

Thanks for your help.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 1:29PM
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Okay, so you got the "grape growing bug" huh? Many people live in their homes for over 20 years and from day one often thought about growing some sort of fruit tree or another yet put it off for some reason. Many of their neighbours could be known to have such trees and could have planted them 10, 20 or even 30 years ago and its odd that most people don't pickup on that and get going themselves. Now for the real speech when it comes to growing grapes. Your best bet is to hit the garden centers in the spring and you'll probably pay about 10 bucks or so for a gallon pail with a vine in it. Buy at least 3 so they have company :) That's the easiest way and most newbies can do it this way. Once your vine(s) starts producing fruit, no matter what you initially paid to get it all going, the amount your vines yield will far exceed the low startup costs. Those thinking ahead to next spring should be doing many many other things right now-during the fall and yep, sometimes some of it can be done during the winter too. There's a fair amount of prep to get ready for your vines that will be available at the garden centers or nurseries next spring. First of all you should check with some of them and find out exactly when they get them each year and they'll give you a close enough date. Before that though, you have to worry about where you'll position these ever-advancing vines, you can't really change them to another location later on unless you are pretty lucky or you get advice from someone with more experience. Soil bed preperation is very very important and you'll need to prepare some kind of trellis-these things get realllll heavy too so be prepared to build strong supports. Choices for supports are the older cast iron plumbing pipes that are often ripped out of renovated homes and you use angle joiners etc. to make an overhead trellis. You can also use thick posts such as 4X4's-the kind used for fence building and build something that resembles a child's jungle gym. If you plan on placing the vines near your home, you can use thick wire or thick nylon mesh, or wooden lattice affixed to the home's walls to support the vines but remember this, the vines and fruit can weigh well into the hundreds of pounds during the years they produce decent amounts. Trust me on this too, you need to read read and then read about proper yearly maintenance-fertilizer, soil testing, cutting/pruning back once in awhile. Yeah I know, its sad to cut back something you desire to keep growing really fast but it IS important to do this, the pruning part is important to get rid of slow or poorly growing shoots and once pruned, the vines seem to take off once again. The dead stuff you ignore, stresses the vine s even more so get rid of the ugly stuff and treat the vines with the respect they deserve. Yep, some people I know have grown pretty good Concords and work at it alot all summer long and then again, some I know just abuse the heck out of them-the usual "I inherited these with the home I bought and I hate the things so I hope they die thing." The latter seem to grow more aggressively and maybe just maybe they're telling the guy something ya think (spite?)? To summarize the yearly yield thing here in as short an answer as possible, they do NOT always grow ALOT each year and some years they seem to just need a break as do crabapple trees and plum trees too. I live in the western part of Canada, we get pretty nice weather starting in May and it usually goes right until Halloween and almost always the grapes have been picked by then. I still have some Concords ripening right now, has alot to do with the fact we haven't had any frost this time of year but its coming. For making wine from these grapes, the first frost seems to help and they've always ripened at that point but frost seems to increase their sugar content without rotting them by then. Lastly, "if" you can find a friend or neighbour or someone in your city who's willing to provide you with some cuttings, try them too, you might be surprised in how well they grow. For this thread, too much to explain at why you could get some right now and keep them in the refrigerator (in peat moss) and they'd be okay to start next spring if so desired. Google it or search around and you'll find out how easy that really is. Yes I know, some things seem quite bizarre but strange things can and do work and I use this example: Where I live almost all seeds for the garden advise against planting anything until after the last frost. Well, on a package of dill seeds it also advises this. This year's dill will drop alot of stray seeds in my garden and come next spring when the garden is near frozen, I've got seedlings going-everywhere! Also, root crops can be planted late in the fall and by next spring they do start growing on their own. Carrots are easy and carrot seeds started now will lay dormant during the 6 months I'll see snow on the ground and then they'll grow with a vengeance next spring. Beets, turnips, some onions etc.-same thing, plant now. I've used these examples because for the grapes, they're even hardier than the dill and carrots so if they can grow here under many different conditions, harsh winters and serious owner neglect, if you are more serious and dedicated to growing your own for jelly, juice and wine etc., then you shouldn't have much to worry about. Personally, I'm quite serious about it and I protect my vines very well each winter-going on 12 years now-they need to be placed where there's little traffic around them and do NOT trample on their beds when the earth is rock-solid frozen if you can help it. Same goes for the spring when they put alot of energy into pushing away their former "winter blues." And for heaven's sakes, put aside the budget-starter-from-seed-thing and pay the nurseries or garden centers for the things they import each year and you'll be glad you did. When you need a helping hand, I'm sure they'll help as much as they possibly can. Grape vines can also teach you alot about patience to be sure. Good luck and I hope this addition reaches those who've asked before me....

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 7:56AM
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i am working on growing grapes and i don't know when the grapes are usually ready!
can someone help me?!?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 4:40PM
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i am working on growing grapes and i don't know when the grapes are usually ready!
can someone help me?!?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 4:43PM
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Just taste a few. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 6:45PM
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