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 Prune Grapes Summer
Hi, I'm Tricia, a California organic gardener and today we're going to talk about summer maintenance for your table grapes we've had an extremely wet season thisyear and my table grapes have gone bonkers I'm growing four different types of tablegrapes here and there's a lot of vegetative growth making for a very densecanopy over the grape vines earlier in the spring, the shoots were thinned when they were about six to twelve inches long you should have about six to eightshoots per foot of canopy at the same time as thinning the shoots, I also cut the suckers off at the trunk
and i'm going to continue to trim these suckers throughout the season, as necessary you see there's not enough sunlight getting into this little fruit clusters the sunlight is what helps improve theflavor and the quality of the fruit by having so much foliage around thecluster, I'm also at risk for disease the first step is to take these long shoots and tuck them into the trellising and keep them out of the fruiting zone that helped a lot but you can see there'sstill a lot of hanging vines I'm going to trim back this shoot that has no clusters on it
if you're going to trim back a shoot that has clusters, be sure and leave about 1517 fullsized leaves before you make your cut cut as little as possible and try to cut atthe point where the leaves are half the size of the mature leaves these smaller leaves haven't startedproducing food yet so the vine won't miss them as much asit would miss these larger food producing leaves the grape vines are looking a lot better the cutting is going to stimulate the growth so you don't want to do this too late in the season if the fruit is just beginning to ripen,it's too late to cut
now that I've tamed the vines, it's time to thin the fruit cluster thin when the fruit has just setand before it gets too big for goodsized table grapes leave onecluster per shoot in order to improve the size of thegrapes, snip off the very bottom of the cluster I'm happy to have completed my summermaintenence on my table grape vines now I look forward to grape jam, grape jelly,grape juice, and those frozen grape treats so enjoy your grape vines and Grow Organic for Life!.
Serving Growing Ohios Grape and Wine Industry
Last January, January 6ththe official day of the polar vortex we experienced really damaging temperatures.Anywhere from around twenty below zero to about sixteen below zerowhere it killed the fruiting buds and it killed actual grape vines.And we've never experienced any damage like this before.And we've never we really didn't know the extentof the damage on the vines until April May in that time frame when we didn't see anybuds developing and even some of thetrunks cracked.
But the impact of that was dramaticwe have no crop at all in our vinifera and we grow varieties like Chardonnay, PinotNoir, Cabernet Franc, Rieslingand without any grapes, we were forced to buya lot of grapes. But it's had a huge impactas far as the grape production not to mention the actual wine losswhich is two or three years spanning. Because in some of the vineyardsthat will have to be replaced from the ground up
with new vines we will not get the first crop is three to four years out.So the impact is just dramatic and millions and millions of dollars.Actually in the viticulture program at Ohio Stateone of our focus of the research is cold hardiness of grapes.So really that's one of my expertise in this fieldof learning more about how grapes cope with freezing with cold in general.After this cold event our growers really needed a lot of help in terms of how to not onlyassess
the damage but also how to deal with the vinesthat are damaged. And we conducted a lot of workshops just toshow them how to prune the vines. Our relationship with Ohio State goes wayback in the 1980'sWe've had a long standing relationship with ongoing research in the wineryand in the vineyards. Currently with Imed Damiour research stems lately from the cold winter vortexwhere we've had a lot of the vines killed and damagedfrom the minus twenty degree temperatures.
Current research is kind of involved tothe extent of the damage to determine the actual damage andto have pruning studies done to see what was the best way to prunethese injured vines. We have not had temperatures that coldsince 1994 here and myself and a lot of the grape growershave not experienced this cold damage. So we need research to help uskind of figure out what's the next step and see what our future is in these vineyards.