Row by Row Episode 17: Muscadines – A Staple of the South

Let’s Talk Muscadines

On this week’s episode, the guys discuss muscadine grapes. Muscadines are a staple of the south and are not tolerable of extended cold periods below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Muscadines are a native crop in the South that is definitely planted in the majority of everybody’s yard around here. The can grow in zone 6 through 10, so pretty much mid-south and down can grow these muscadines without a problem. Travis shows examples of the four different varieties of muscadines planted on his homestead. He has two “bronze” varieties and two purple varieties. The larger bronze variety is called Scuppernong, which is probably the most prevalent variety. The smaller bronze variety grows in huge clusters and is great for making wine. Although the variety is unknown, the larger purple variety appears to resemble the popular “Cowart” variety, while the smaller purple one appears to be similar to the popular “Noble” variety. They discuss how muscadine vines are relatively maintenance free once established, and how they only need routine pruning once a year. Greg says the best way to eat them is fresh off the vine and demonstrates how to eat the muscadines since there can be a little trick to it. However, you should definitely avoid eating the seeds inside a muscadine. Travis explains that there is a particular way to prune muscadine vines such as leaving a certain amount of growth with the vines. Greg mentions the two ways of planting muscadines — trellis system or arbors. Back in the day, they used to plant arbors and you were able to go underneath the vines to harvest the muscadines. However, arbors do not produce as many muscadines. Nowadays, the trellis system is the best and most popular technique. Greg talks about the muscadine wine that they make and mentions that too much can cause one to have the “zoomies.”

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, the guys talk about the crops they have been planting for fall. Travis has just planted a row of Rattlesnake Beans and Christmas Lima Beans on a panel trellis and they are just starting to emerge from the ground. These are both old heirloom varieties that have done well. Greg has a patch of Seminole pumpkins that are doing really well and starting to set small fruit in the garden. He has not experienced any trouble with mildew yet, so fingers crossed he does not have issues this growing season. The guys also have recently planted fall potatoes for the first time and are very hopeful for that experiment. At their demonstration garden for the Sunbelt Expo, they’ve planted zinnias, cockscomb, and okra thus far with much more to come. The tool of the week is our durable heavy-duty steel, dura rake which works perfectly for bed preparation and cleaning your garden area for planting.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about drying Indian corn and seed tray planting technique. Greg mentions that he puts his field corn in the greenhouse under a fan to keep the weevils off the corn until it dries completely. Then he will put the corn in the freezer which keeps the weevils dormant. Travis answers a question about overcrowding seed trays and he explains that they’ve never had any issues with their heavy-duty seed trays. He has a flat of scarlet kale for demonstration that is beautiful and ready to be transplanted in the garden. Greg and Travis recommended never skipping a cell when planting in a seed tray.

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