December 2011 Newsletter

December 2011 Newsletter

December 2011 Newsletter

This month Cristina and Pat thought it might be nice if I wrote about Christmas, so here's my article on ... GRAPES.

Grapes of very nicely in our climate. We carry a number of great jelly and wine grapes and a few table grapes.The table grapes are sometimes harder to grow. There are a few interesting diseases your grapes can contract. But it seems like the more vines you have, the more likely the disease. Pierces disease and fungal diseases are the biggies. If you are growing 5 or 6 vines in your yard, no problem (usually). But 500-600 vines in your vineyard and there is more chance for disease problems.

Some of the varieties we are usually listed are listed below. Muscadine varieties, these are developed from native Texas grapes and are mostly disease free. They have seeds and a lower sugar content. These grapes usually eat jelly and wine grapes. The grapes eat in male and female. Usually 1 male, the pollinator, can fertilize 3-4 females. We are talking about grape vines here.

We carry Carlos (green to light bronze wine grape) and Cowart (dark purple and sweet, but with seeds), are 2 pollinators. Then we carry 5-6 female varieties like Hunt, Fry, Jumbo, etc. The availability varies each year.

My dad had great success with a variety that is not usually recommended for here, Concord grapes. In the 80's at his house in Clear Lake City on the south facing wood fence he got good crops every year.

December 2011 Newsletter

My current favorite is a grape I planted 3-4 years ago. Ruby seedless, I get large clusters of small to medium sweet grapes early each summer. I also have a 3 year old Thompson seedless, no grapes yet, but the vine is very healthy. Flame seedless is another vine we carry that should well here.

Because they are a vine, they need something to grow on. A trellis, arbor, cable, wire, tree, or fence will work for the vine to grow on. They do not cling, they twine or wind around things, they do not do as well on a wood fence unless they have wires attached to the fence they can wrap around. I usually space grapes 5-8 foot to cover the fence, but they do get long runners, 1 vine can cover 20 ft in a few years unless you trim it. I usually trim my grapes to keep them where I want them. I do not trim like in a vineyard to maximize production.

I have one 20 ft vine that gives more grapes than we can eat, except when the raccoons find them! You may be willing to share with the raccoons, but the raccoons will not share with you.

Any questions that I did not cover here, you will have to ask us when you come in. Yes, I am still aggravated at the raccoons.

Till next month,

HDR Photos ... Living Nature
It appears frequently during the day, and perches on the low branches of the trees or on the stone walls of all our fields. Identification : Gray plumage barred and mottled with white; rounded wings, short tail and wavy flight; the same sex.