Grumpy Gardener's Guide to Muscadines

Grumpy Gardener Steve Bender shares tips and tricks on how to plant and care for one of the South's favorite plants.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

[MUSIC] And now the Grumpy Gardener. Hi, I'm Steve Bender, on SouthernLivings, Grumpy Gardener. [SOUND] One of the Essential Southern Plants is the musket iron grape, you know, we don't have too many popular fruits that are native to the South. If you think about it, apples, they're not native. Oranges, they're not native. Peaches, plums, they're not native. But Muscadine grapes are native, and they grow really well here. And is, something that I think that if you're gonna have an Essential Southern Garden, you might try and grow. Now, they're not the same as European grapes. You don't make fine, fine wine from Muscadine grapes. That's why they don't call Montgomery Alabama the Bordon of the South, right. Muscadine grapes makes a sweet wine. But if it's a really really hot Summer day. It's really stinking hot out there on the back porch. It is kinda nice to pour yourself from a bottle a little of Muscadine wine, and just kind of sip it, just kind of sip it. Now Muscadines are easy to grow, unlike the European grapes, they don't get a lot of diseases in the South and all they really need is plenty of sun. You wanna plant 'em in full sun because the more sun you give 'em, the more fruit you're gonna get. And you wanna plant 'em in well drained soil. Between the time that you plant a Muscadine vine and the time that you can first be harvesting the grapes, is generally about two to three years. But after that, you're gonna get more grapes than you know what to do with. For most Muscadines, they are what we call self pollinating. If you plant only one type, you're still going to get fruit. Other types of Muscadines like scuffernons. You need to plant them with another type of Muscadine grape for cross pollination. So you get grapes on all of them. Some people just grow them and train them on a wire between two posts. Just have 'em out in the yard, and they're just there for fruit. Other people like to grow them on the top of an arbor, that maybe they can sit underneath. Now, I really don't recommend this, because those grapevines are gonna have grapes. And grapes are gonna fall to the ground underneath that arbor and they're all gonna get squished, all over the ground. And what's the best way I know to attract yellow jackets and that is to have fermenting grapes all over the ground. So [LAUGH] if you like yellow jackets, plant an arbor for Muscadine grapes and you will have them. One of the most common questions I'm asked regarding Muscadines is, what cheese would you recommend for a good Muscadine wine? And I always answer immediately, Velveeta. [LAUGH] For more tips on Essential Southern Plants pick up a copy of Southern Living and go to southern living.com. [SOUND]
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