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.
We have plenty of wild concord grapes on ourproperty. However, the insurance company doesn't approve of our harvesting methods so it'sprobably best to plant some cultivated grapes. When I cleared the land for the greenhouse,it left plenty of area to plant various fruit producing plants which don't need the greenhouseto thrive. Plus why waste the space just growing grassé Taking a look at my 3rd grade drawing skills,I'm going to set three 4x4x10' treated posts 34 feet into the ground and space them 24'apart. This will allow for 8 plants in the space. Then I'll string 12 gauge galvanizedwire starting with the first wire 4246quot; from
the ground, then space the other two 12quot; apart.The plants can be spaced 6' apart and over time the vines can be trained along the 3wires. I had planned to set the posts first in theevent that I hit any large rocks while digging, however I blew a seal on the backhoe and hadto find some parts for it. So I took my chances and put the plants in first. The row shouldgo in a straight line and a 100' tape measure works well for marking out the locations ofeach post and plant. Jamming a piece of survey's tape at each mark does the trick. We're goingoldschool and using a pickaxe and shovel and digging a hole about 1 foot deep. Luckilythere weren't any large rocks in the way just
a few roots and small stones that the pickaxewas able to pluck out. Later, looking at the post holes, you'll see why I didn't dig themby hand. Planting the vines is fairly easy. I got theseseedless concord grapes from Gurney's for half price. I just remove the fiber that'sused for keeping the roots damp, spread out the roots a bit, and set it in the hole sothat all the roots that emerge from the vine will be just below the finished level of thesoil. All the dirt that came out of the hole was hardpan so I filled it with nice organicsoil, then compacted it down, and gave it a really good watering. It also importantto cover the area with mulch to help maintain
the moisture in the soil until the roots canget established. These will get watered every day for a couple of weeks. The actual work of planting the vines is quick.It's the preparation of digging out the rocks that takes all the time. A 30 cent Oring and a day to dismantle andreassemble the valve assembly and the backhoe is running again. I can now install the postsfor the wire arbor. It may not be the fastest backhoe, but it beats digging through therock with a pick and shovel. The holes are dug to about 4 feet which will provide a deepenough anchor to prevent the posts from leaning
from the future weight of the vines. Someof the rocks that I pulled out where bigger than the hole. If I had to dig these by hand,I probably would have only dug down a couple of feet, and then would have to anchor theposts with concrete and guywires. It seems like a really big hole for a post,but without an auger with rock drilling bit, it's probably the easiest way to set a post.A little cleanup at the bottom of the hole and it's ready. I'm using 4x4 treated lumberrated for direct burial. I'm not a fan of using treated lumber, but in order for itto last a long time, it's a necessary evil. I like to add two temporary cleats to thepost to help support it while I'm set it plumb
and backfill the hole. I also like to dropa few rocks around the base to hold it in place when I start to fill it in. I'll fillthe hole several inches at a time and compact it between each layer, then clean up the areawith some more woodchip mulch. The first wire starts roughly 4246 inchesfrom the ground and the second and 3 wires are spaced 12 inches apart. It will be theperfect snacking height for the deer. At each marking I'll drill a 38quot; hole through thepost and then put in a 516quot; eyebolt. The back side has a large fender washer and nut.Having a large washer will help to keep the nut from pulling into the post under the weightof the vines. It's fairly important to make
Growing Aloe Vera Fruit Trees Grapes and Vegetables in the Nevada Desert
This is John Kohler with growingyourgreens on another field trip. Yes, another subscriber visit, actually these aren't subscribers,well these are subscribers and friends of mine. We're out her inÂ Mesquite,Â Nevada,and going to check out what they're growing, and I also got them a gift. This is the otherone I brought too in myÂ carryon luggage, took a lot of space. I got one other giftfor them too. Loquats, so these are fresh harvested loquats from California, beforeI took off and I know they love all kinds of fruit, so I'm bringing them some freshloquats from California. So let's go in and check out what they gotgrowing.Â So it just looks like in their front
yard here they have a couple stone fruit treesas well as a fig tree.Â So we're here in Ronnie and Minh's backyard.One of the things that immediately popped out at me was how many aloe vera plants theyhave growing. I love aloe vera and I'm growing the Japanese aloe, but they're growing theking aloe right here. It's a succulent it grows really well in the dessert and it'salso edible. Many people don't know that it's edible. Youcould cut it and get the juice and squeeze out the juice on sunburns and cuts and thingslike that, but it's also really good to take internally. It's supposed to be really healingand good for you. So Ronnie why don't you
tell me how you guys use this aloe and inwhat kind of recipes you use in it. I mean, do you just eat the leaves wholeé Or do youcut them up and take or what do you doé Minh: We cut them.Â Ronnie: Well Minh will come out and she'll cut off a leaf, a nice thick one and thenshe'll peel it with her little Vietnamese peeling tool and then she'll take the inside,wash it off, slice it up, put it in a blender with some orange juice and then from there,that's basically it. When you whip it up it'll come out like an Orange Julius, you'll havea little bit of fuzzy and it's a great drink and you can add some sweetener there if you'rea person that likes sweetener, you can add
Minh: Sweetener andRonnie: a mint, almost anything that you wanted to that. But basically it's just orangejuice and aloe vera. I tell you Minh's been drinking this all her life but when she introducedit to me John, one thing that I found immediately was this is one of those things when you drinkit you feel it right away. You can feel something is happening in your stomach and then lateron in your body because this stuff goes to work, and you can feel it, it's powerful.Â Theother thing about it is it's a beautiful plant.Â John: It is.Â Ronnie: Right now it doesn't have its stalk and it's flower, but these things will growbeautiful flowers. So you get to look at it,
it's medicinal. Out in the dessert this isalmost like a staple because if you have any kind of a skin irritation, a bug bite, ora sun burn, you rub the, you break it off and rub the gel right on your skin and it'sthe same stuff that you buy in all these packages. But the thing is when you buy something ina package it'll be telling you it's made with aloe vera and it is, but usually it'll belike five percent or three percent aloe vera. When you put the real thing on a cut or aburn, it works, it really has some powerful stuff in there.Â John: Aloe vera for the teeth, oh wow.Â Ronnie: For the gums.Â John: For the gumsé
Ronnie: Actually I researched that becauseit's the same thing, it's antibacterial, that's why they use it on wounds and things likethat. So when you do put it on your gums it's great if you have any kind of a gum diseaseor close to it.Â John: Oh wow, I didn't know that.Â Ronnie: Yeah, it's very good. This is one of those plants that really requires, basicallynothing.Â John: No careéRonnie: No care.Â John: This is like one of the plants you plantand ignore and then it's going to do better than if you water it because if you waterit you're going to over water it and it doesn't