Growing Grapes in Texas Jim Kamas Central Texas Gardener
I love Tait Moring's sense ofgardening style. Thanks so much for opening your gates for us. Right now we're going to talk aboutgrowing grapes. One of the hottest topics here in Texas because of all the wineries. We have Jim Kamas with us. It's great to have you back on theprogram. Welcome. Thanks, Tom, I appreciate it. Welcome back to Central Texas Gardener. You've just published a great new bookGrowing Grapes in Texas.
Congratulations on that! Thanks a lot. It took a couple years to get done, but I'm I'm pretty happy with it. Well you know, like I said, it's a hottopic. A lot of people are very interested in growing grapes in their backyard. Maybe one ofthose famous table grapes, like Concord or something like that. Well Concord ispretty tough to grow here. Concord likes acid soils which we don'thave. And it's much more adapted a cooler climates. If you wanted to grow Fredonia or some of the other lebrusca types, they'll work, but
Concord is a pretty tough one to grow here. Ok, well your book is filled with tips aboutvarieties and things like that. Let's focus on that home grower. You know , I know for example I go out to hillcountry every now and again to go to Fredericksburg, places around there. And I see wineries springing up like mushrooms now. And it kinda makes me wanna grow grapeshere in town. What does a home gardner need to know to get startedé Well if you're a homeowner and you want to grow enough vines to produce a little bit of wine
my advice is plant what you like. If you're planting a commercial vineyards we're going to have a very different discussion. But if you like Merlot, plant Merlot. If you like Syrah, plant Syrah. For smallscale, you have no big economicinvestment, so plant what you like and go with that. Yeah okay, that makes sense. In terms of the space needs, the sun,
all those kinds of things, grapes arerather particular and disease prone. Yes. So let's give people an idea of whatthe basics are that they would need to have any kind of success. Sure. Commercially our rows are spaced nine to ten feet apart, but in the backyard if you are maintaining the row centers with alawnmower or something, you can place the rows as close as six feet apart.And you can also go as tight as five to six feet between vines. You can put a lot of vines in arelatively small space.
So small space is OK. When we talk about the rows, we are talking about providing structures on which the the vines can grow and supportthemselves. Yes, a lot of times in California you'll see these free standing vines that are called head pruned vines. They don't do very well here because we need to keep our vines up off the ground because it rains here duringthe summer and they are very disease prone as you mentioned.
What is Selection Massale How grape vines are propagated
This vineyard for example is thrity five years old. Now and again, vines are dying because they are too old so they have to be replaced by baby vines young vines. The idea is to do a selection massale and select the best woods we will use toreplace those missing vines. Here for example I have a beautifulviolent perfect vigor and the right of thickness of shoots.
What i do is that i'm going to obviously keep my two buds for next year's fruit, but also keep a section of the cane. which itself would have one two three four five buds.
The idea is to remove that cane when the sap will be a rising in late two winter early spring, and lay that shoot on the find tilth earth with only one bud coming out of the surface: the other four being undergound.
I'll leave that shoot one year, so that it forms or starts forming roots where the actual buds are. After one year we will take it out ofthe ground trim the new shoots to make them a bit more vigorous, and then back in the ground
to replace the missing vines. Selection Massale at work.
How to grow Spring Onions or Green Onions Crystal White Wax
A spring onion or green onion variety that'smellow in flavor and one of the easiest to grow let's look at growing thecrystal wax white onions so here are the seeds forthis onion variety and the reasonthey're called spring onions is because we usually plant them in fall for a springharvest so as you can see here we've sowedour seeds in this seed starting container and by September the seedlingshould have grown large enough that they are ready for transplanting on to raisedbeds or containers so around midseptember
what we can do as we can look at ourplants and if they're healthy enough or if they've grown to about this size that you seehere its ready to be transplanted so let's transplant these onion seedlingson raised beds now if you want spring onions that are smaller in size thathave smaller bulbs plant them very close about an inch away from each otherhowever I'm gonna be planting my spring onions about three to four inches apartand the reason for doing that I'm not only going to use these onions as springonions I'm gonna let some of these bulbs mature into bigger onions and if I canget slightly bigger onions from some of
these plants I can use these onions justlike a regular onions as well now how does a spring onion green oniondiffer from a regular onion well it's the same plant the only reason we callthem spring onions in some countries and green onions in some countries is thatthese onions are usually eaten before they reach full maturity so they havesmaller bulbs rather they're harvested when they have smaller bulbs and they'reusually eaten whole the onion bulb the stem and the leaves as well so theseonions these spring onions have a more mellow flavor they taste a lot milder thanregular onions and that is why these
onions are called spring onions just because of theway they're harvested and eaten now the name spring comes from the fact that theseonions are usually harvested during springtime so as you cansee here these onions that we're planting will grow through late fall which is themonths of October November and December and that's the time they will be readyfor harvest and it usually takes about 60 to 90 days for this onion variety tomature now I've mixed in a lot of compost and some organic fertilizer into the soiland that should be enough nutrition for these onion seedlings grow a littlelarger so what you need to do is add this
kind of a fertilizer during planting andthen wait for about two months and here in the month of december can see thatthe onion seedlings have now gone pretty large and this is the time when you needto start adding fertilizer I prefer using a liquid fertilizer every threeweeks I use a fishseaweed emulsion mix that I use and it works great for theseonion plans you have a lot of options though you can use a vegetablefertilizer just use any fertilizer that meant for tomatoes or peppers they workgreat for onions and you can even use slow release fertilizers which you can applyevery three to four weeks now here you
can see that in the month of decemberlate December the onion seedlings are almost ready for harvest you canactually start harvesting them anytime you want and in February you can see that these onions havegrown large enough to be harvested and eaten as spring onions or green onionsand they won't have large bulbs that's not the idea of growing these onionsthese onions are grown so that they can can form smaller bulbs but are very delicious wheneaten raw you can eat the bulbs, you can eat the stems you can even chop theleaves eat them raw you can add them to