Grape leaves are popular in dolmas, a stuffed meat-and-rice dish native to Greece. If you want to make dolmas using home-grown grape leaves, you'll need to plant grapes and maintain healthy grape vines. Even if you're growing the plant for the leaves rather than the fruit, you'll still want to make sure your chosen grape variety will survive. Ask someone at the nursery what types of grapes grow best in your climate.
Things You'll Need
- Grape plant
- Soil pH kit
- Potting soil
- 10-6-4 fertilizer
Determine where to plant your grape vine. The plant prefers full sun, well-draining soil and plenty of space to grow. Grape vines look attractive when trellised over a fence or along a porch or garage.
Use a soil pH test kit to determine the pH of your soil. Grape plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5 to 5.5. You can add lime or other amendments to make your soil more acidic if necessary.
Turn over the earth with a shovel to aerate the ground. Remove any rocks or sticks. Add potting soil for a richer growing environment. Add lime or other soil amendments at this time. Wait for an overcast day to plant your grape vine.
Remove your grape vine from its container. Dig a hole that is twice the size of the root ball. Break apart the grape vine's root ball with your fingers and insert the vine into the hole, spreading the roots out with your fingers. Cover the hole with dirt.
Water the soil thoroughly. Insert your trellis into the ground behind the grape vine so vines can wind around the trellis as the plant grows. If you are planting near a fence, you can omit a trellis.
Water the plant when the soil becomes dry. Fertilize the grape plant with a 10-6-4 fertilizer regularly, then fertilize once every year.
Harvest grape leaves in the spring. Large leaves are easier to work with and make more attractive dolmas.
Tips & Warnings
- If planting several grape plants, leave 6 to 8 feet between each plant to allow for growth.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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