Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Heat, Humidity & the Muscadine

This current growing season has been as extreme as I can remember in years past. As cold as we were this winter, we have been just as hot this summer. Our excessive heat began in early May and lasted until the 3rd week in June before we received any kind of break in the temperatures. We had 26 straight days of 90 + temperatures, weather we normally do not see until mid July through August. So what does this mean for muscadines? The ideal weather for muscadines in the bloom period is warm days and some what dry, when temperatures are cooler, excessive cloud cover, or rainy days the pollen does not transfer as well from bloom to bloom. This year we went to the extreme of excessive dry weather with exceptional heat, so these conditions leads to blooms drying up on the vine before pollination occurs thus leading to below average or poor fruit set. Unfortunately even with drip irrigation when weather conditions are this severe there is not a lot one can do to prevent the blooms from burning up or the lack of pollination.
On vines that are 4 years old and older the water requirements during the year go up as the the temperatures go up.
In April 8-10 gallons per week, May and June 12-18 gallons per week, July and August 18-26 gallons per week, September 12-18 gallons per week, October 8-10 gallons per week, November (if warm and dry) 6-8 gallons of water.
We would like to hear how your grape crop is this year.

Greg Ison

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Muscadine Grape

To get things started on this blog, here is a bit of history on the muscadine grape.

What is a Muscadine Grape?
Muscadine grapes are native to the southeastern United States. Muscadines ripen from late July through mid October. They will often be on the vine until the first fall frost comes. They are large, thick-skinned and seeded grapes that grow in small, loose clusters and are often harvested as individual berries. They can be bronze, red or black in color. And they are sooooo delicious! A true southern treat. Georgia is the largest grower of muscadines with about 1200 acres in production. North Carolina is a close second.

The History of the Muscadine
Muscadines, known as American wild grapes, are native to the Southeastern United States, and thus well adapted to the warm, humid conditions of the region. The muscadine grape was discovered in America in 1584 by the early English explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh. Later a golden bronze colored muscadine was found along the Scuppernong river in North Carolina and thus was named "scuppernong." Through the years, these wonderful tasting grapes, have developed numerous nicknames such as bullis, southern grapes and swamp grapes.

Though long a favorite of southerners for their sweet, fruity taste (muscadines make a delicious, nutritious snack straight from nature), recent research reveals that muscadines contain high levels of resveratrol. Resveratrol is one of the compounds in red wine which is believed to help reduce the risk of abnormal cells and heart disease. Muscadines are high in vitamin C and ellagic acid. Muscadines also contain potassium, vitamin B, and trace minerals.

Though they still grow wild, most of today's muscadines and scuppernongs are grown in commercial vineyards. Harvest season is typically August through mid-October.

The History of the Muscadine Name
Where did the name muscadine originate? When the early settlers arrived in America, they were familiar with the Muscat grape, which is a French grape that is used in making muscatel wine. And the word muscat derives from the Latin muscus, which describes the smell of a male musk deer. The early settlers called the sweet, musk-scented wild grapes that they found here by the same name as the sweet grapes they had known in Europe, and that eventually became muscadine.
Is it a Muscadine or a Scuppernong?
One of the most common questions we are asked is….What is the difference between a muscadine and a scuppernong ? Many people in fact consider any bronze muscadine to be a “scuppernong” But this is actually not true.

How to Eat a Muscadine
To eat a muscadine, place the grape with the stem scar facing upward in your mouth and squeeze or bite the grape. The pulp and juice will burst through the thick skin into your mouth. The skin can then be removed from your mouth and discarded and the seeds can then also be discarded or simply swallowed. Many love to eat the skin as well.


Welcome to the all new Ison's Nursery Blog. This will be a great way for us to share news, information, growing tips and special offers with you. We have been growing muscadines for many many years, In fact, we are told that we are the largest growers of muscadines in the world.

Thanks for visiting!
Greg, Darlene and Janet