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 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.
How to plant bare root treesJohn DromgooleCentral Texas Gardener
Hello gardening friends, welcome to BackyardBasics. So it's this time of the year, December, January, February, when you're going to findbare root plants in you gardening center. And a lot of folks are kind of concerned aboutdealing with bare root plants. But, you can go down to the garden center, there's fruittrees, sometimes they're in a sleeve, sometimes they're bare root buried out there, and somethingreally important your success. They're easy to do, a lot of folks have never done it andthey're kind of concerned about bare root, might find something like this and a grapeor a berry, or fruit trees too. So you'll pull them out of the ground and they'll bringthem to you, you know when you're looking
around, you might find that there's damagedroots, and we might want to remove those, here's one right here that's just dangling,so I'm going to go in there and make a nice clean cut on it. Any other damaged onesé No,it's looking good right now. So let's say if it's a peach tree, you might when you gethome, soak the roots so they rehydrate, for two to four hours, not that long, they needair too, but it really helps, and I add a little seaweed to the water, it seems to havethat hormone in there that stimulates roots, so that's the way I get them going. All ofthem, any of the bare roots. Another one of the things is to bury the hole, make the holeone step wide, two steps out, so it's one
to two, and you make an ugly hole too, youkind of have rough edges on it. So dig it twice as wide as it is deep. You put thatcrown on there, so let's say that this is a little pile of soil. And so what you'regoing to do is you're going to put the plant right on top of the little pile and we doit on purpose so the roots spread out, if you put it in there without that, you mightfind that they grow down and begin to girdle themselves, so any of the bare root you'llput up on a little piece of soil like this and then they're going to spread and go inall directions. When you fill the hole, kind of halfway fill it, use the soil that cameout of there, if it's really poor maybe you
want to mix something special to go in there,and then you'll kind of put half of it in there, and then you add a little water toit, and then tap it down a bit, we're just trying to get the air out of there, and thenyou fill up the rest of if and you're on your way. Some folks will build a dam around itin order to keep the water focused in that area. The first two weeks are the more crucialweeks of them all. This is the difference between the survival of your plant and thesuccess of it. You know one of the things that can happen is that the roots will dryout, you don't give it enough water and yet you have to be careful not to overwater, thereare many benefits to products that you'll
find in the nursery trade, this is one ofthem right here. This is a little tree guard. It keeps critters from eating on the bark,squirrels for example, and killing the plant right off the bat. The other thing it doesis it keeps those weedeaters off of there, a lot of folks are careless with their weedeaters,so when you take it home, make sure that it's wrapped very well, keep it moist, put it ina dark place, and ideally you would be planting it in the 24 to 48 hour period, that's alsocrucial at keeping these things going. So there's a few hints for you on getting thosefruit trees off to an excellent start, whether it's grapes, peaches, apples, or blackberrieslike this, they all benefit from the same
thing. For Backyard Basics, I'm John Grongul. Whether it's a berry or a grape or a fruittree, you never want to plant above the original soil line, or it can damage the plant.