Friday, December 16, 2011

Muscadines



We planted muscadines along the north side of our fence on kind a whim. My husband found the plant at Costco of all places and if you know my husband you'll understand how this happened. The man, God love him, has a thing for Costco. When he dies, his version of heaven will be a giant warehouse of bargains in bulk.

I was first introduced to muscadines, which are a kind of grape, when I lived in Atlanta. They have a thick skin and seeds like a concord grape, along with the same astringency. They make your throat scratchy, but they're also addictively delicious, which is why they're so popular in the deep south where they grow best. There, I've seen them incorporated into all sorts of creative recipes and made into wine, though most often they're eaten plain and their appearance sometime mid-September always marks the beginning of the fall harvest season.

Doubtful that muscadines would grow here in South Florida, I did a little research and hoped for the best when we planted the pot in the ground. Unfortunately, and this is a tremendous peeve I have, nurseries and garden centers down here often sell plants that are not suited to a sub-tropical climate, but it turns out that muscadines are a grape that actually will grow in Florida.

So far so good. The muscadines seem to be enjoying their new home. The vines have plenty of new growth and have sent runners spiraling up their trellis. We've watered regularly and put a fertilizer spike for fruits into the sandy soil where the vine is planted, but other than that we haven't done a lot. I guess whatever we did is working because we have fruit! When the grapes turn a darker shade of bronze,which looks like it will happen shortly, I'll pick them and have a mini-feast (if you can call six grapes a feast).

Here is a site that gave us some good information about growing muscadines down here.

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