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HELP! Muscadine grapes!

by Lily


Wanted: Northern transplant seeking assistance with Muscadine Grapes in SE Florida. HELP!

Although I love SE Florida, zone 9b, I was born and raised a midwesterner from Indiana/Illinois. I come from a family of farmers, so I'm well grounded in northern gardening. Now that I live 10 miles from the coast of SE Florida, I enjoy learning to garden all over again.  Additionally, since my husband is Greek, we thought it'd be great to grow some of the Greek staples, such as lemons and figs.  The one fruit our garden lacks (aside from olives, which I'm not fond of) is grapes...thought they couldn't be grown down here.  BUT (the big butt!!!!!) I found a variety of Florida friendly grapes and purchased two vines...the Muscadine grape.  I've read about it in books and on the internet, but I'm hoping someone has had personal experience with this variety and can give me the down and dirty.  Anyone?!?!?!?!?

Tags

Muscadine Grapes, fruit, Tropicals, Vines and Climbers, kitchen gardening

comments

We have them growing wild here and they will take over our landscape (trees, boulders etc) if we didn't seriously pull them back every now and then. If they produced grapes I could harvest, I might like them more! (Bad combo of not cultivating them well and the inevitable squirrel feast....) Our neighbor had some growing wild last year that climbed into his trees. Those actually produced grapes hanging from the tree branches over the road. I think the set up was such that the squirrels couldn't get them. My kiddos ate a few! Good luck with them - I would like to hear how it goes!
Sprite
gardengirl commented on 11/24/09
I heard that! The native vine is very weedy!!! The birds and squirrels usually do leave a few fruits, though.
Sprite
Daylilyjoy replied: on 11/24/09
Wish I could help, but I have no grape experience... maybe CajunBarry can help...
Sprite
chief cultivator commented on 11/24/09
Mustang grapes are more common in Texas, but in south Louisiana where I am originally from, Muscadine wine rules! Check out Muscadine Nursery at www.muscadines.com and this Southern Living Article: http://www.southernliving.com/home-garden/gardens/perfect-fruit-for-backyard-gardener-00400000005995/ Your local extension service should be a great resource as well on muscadine culture: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs100 Happy Gardening! cajunbarry
Sprite
cajunbarry replied: on 11/25/09
Okay, you said "anyone," and I like to put in my two cents, so here goes. I haven't grown muscadines, but I've eaten a few in my time. They are very good for you! Not quite like the northern grapes, they are large and round and a little tougher (some people don't eat the skins). Anyway, I do know people who grow them. They are very easy to grow. I've seen some live for decades with little care--mainly annual trimming. People 'round here grow them up on wire strung between poles in a straight line--perfect fit for narrow gardens. The vine is trained to grow on the wire. They live a long time and get large, so they need a sturdy structure. I love the fact that you have a Greek inspiration for your garden!
Sprite
Daylilyjoy commented on 11/24/09
Thanks DLJ! I've seen pics of the muscadines grown straight up as you describe...have you seen them on a trellis? My husband's aunt in Greece has a fantastic patio area covered with grape vines. The grape bunches hang down everywhere...very mediteranian!! I'd like the same effect. What do you think?
Sprite
Lily replied: on 11/24/09
Muscadines will grow ANYWHERE and ANYWAY! They are very pretty on a trellis or arbor. Just make sure the structure is built of strong, pressure-treated wood (6x6's) so it will stand forever and can support the weight. People just grow them up vineyard-style here to aid in picking, fruit production, trimming, etc. Trust me, the muscadine is a native of the Southeast, and it will grow anywhere. The wooded area of my son's property is smothered with this native vine...to the point of being a noxious weed. (Can a native be a noxious weed? I think so!) It has made the wooded area (about two acres) impenetrable. We are removing it with loppers, string trimmers, and bare hands, ripping it from high in trees. Very hard to make a dent in it! It has covered the ground and fallen trees as well as grown up in trees and shrubs. Reminds me of kudzu! The hybrids they sell at nurseries are not such thugs, so don't worry!
Sprite
Daylilyjoy replied: on 11/24/09

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