An agriculture officer from Alor Setar has successfully grown quality and sweet grapes around his backyard here with 100 grapevines from various countries such as Ukraine and Japan.
With a fascination with the fruit, Zairizal Zainon, 41, started to grow grapes in his backyard at Taman Merbau, Kedah. He began with only two varieties back in 2001. What started as a passion project turned out a sweet surprise as he never expected such a fruitful success with the grape yield!
Grapevines at Zairizal's backyard in Alor Setar. Image source via kosmo.com
"Looking at the encouraging harvest, I've expanded the 0.14-hectare land for planting near Taman Chengal here," he said.
Zairizal spent around RM20,000 to build proper rain shelters, and now all the vines are bearing fruits.
"I find that when I harvest the grapes during the dry season between January and February, the fruits are especially sweet; it's comparable to the grapes from European countries," he said.
The results of his research showed that hot weather countries like Malaysia are indeed suited for growing grapes. It seems the sunlight significantly fertilizes the plants and sweeten the fruits.
According to Zairizal, his selection of grapevines includes Akademik, Dixon, Velez, and Krasotka. One of the most popular variations he has in his vineyard is Akademik from Ukraine. The fruit is black; it is sweet and crunchy.
Zairizal said, "When fruits are in season, it attracts many people to visit my vineyard. Visitors will take photos to capture the environment that looks like they are abroad."
Each season, he harvested between 50 to 60kg of grapes. Those grapes are not for sale, but they are given out for free to those who visit his vineyard to see or have a taste of the freshly plucked grapes.
Now we know that grapes do not just grow in temperate climate regions; there are vineyards in Malaysia too! If you love gardening and enjoy watching them grow, you may consider growing grapes. Not only can it be a rewarding hobby, but at the same time, you can also own a beautiful vineyard that can be admired by neighbours and visitors.
Get to more about growing grapes in your backyard here.