Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Muscadine Fall Maintenance Reminder

It's time to remove any fruit left on the muscadine vines
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Removal of fruit.
Any fruit left hanging on the vine that was not harvested should be removed. If left on the vine the fruit will rot or mummify (become raisin like) on the vine. This rotting fruit can lead to a build up of disease over the winter and will be present in the spring. If you do not remove the fruit you will have much more disease pressure such as ripe rot or macrophema rot that can affect next years harvest.

Many vines will also have what are called "shot berries", these are grapes that get about as big as a dime and are green and will not ripen on the vine. They are the product of the vine either trying to set a second crop or late blooms being pollinated but do not have enough time allowed for the ripening of the fruit. Any green or shot berries should also be removed this time of year.


Do not prune too early. For years we pruned our vines beginning after the Thanksgiving Holiday. But through trial, error and experience we have found the best time to prune muscadine vines is from mid January to mid March. We have found that a vine that has not been pruned can handle colder temperatures or big swing in temperatures better than a vine that has been pruned. In general we experience our coldest temperatures from late December-January, by pruning later we are giving our plants a better chance of coming through the winter with little or no cold weather damage.

If you are used Blue-X plant shelters this year and your vines have reached the top wire, now is the ideal time to remove the shelters.

On a planting report we have a beautiful crop of muscadine vines this year, so if you are thinking about adding a few vines or considering planting some acreage now is a good time to begin getting your orders in. Take advantage of the Early Bird Discount by ordering before November 15th. The all new 2013 Catalog will be available later this week. Check it out or request one to be mailed to you.

I hope these tips will ensure  that you have an abundant crop for 2013.

Happy Planting & Keep Growing!
Greg Ison

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pomegranates - An Ison's Fall Favorite

One sure way to know that the "Fall" has arrived is by the appearance of pomegranates. The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and has been cultivated since ancient times. The fruit was used in many ways as it is today and is mentioned as far back as the Old Testament in the Bible. One of its best characteristics is that it is relatively low maintenance for home gardeners. There are very few insects or diseases that affect the pomegranate and essentially can be grown organically.

Pomegranates are both self pollinated and cross pollinated by insects, wind plays little or no role in pollination. Even though they are characterized as self-fertile, cross pollination by another variety has increased yields as much as 60%.

The growing zones for pomegranates are 7-10. They are naturally adapted to areas that have cool winters and hot summers. In the United States they have been grown as far north as Washington, D.C. and in Washington County, Utah. With that being said the English Quaker Peter Collinson wrote to the botanist John Bartram in Philadelphia in 1762 " Plant it against the side of the house, nail it close to the wall. In this manner it thrives wonderfully with us, and flowers beautifully, and bears fruit."

Pomegranates prefer an alkaline soil on loamy ground. If you have more clay soil you can add peat moss or other soil conditioners to loosen the area and allow for the spreading of roots once new root growth begins.

When planting a pomegranate tree we recommend pruning it back to half of its original height. So if the tree is 4 ft tall we recommend pruning the tree back to 2 ft tall at planting. We recommend doing this the first 2 years after planting, the reason is to encourage the maximum number of new shoots on all sides of the trunk to prevent straggly development and encourage a strong framework. After the third year only suckers and dead branches are removed.

Fertilize twice a year, once in mid April and again in mid June, 1/2 lb of 10-10-10 in a 15 inch circle around the trunk.

Lastly not only are pomegranates fun to grow they are also good for you. Studies have shown that pomegranates can be effective in reducing heart disease, blood pressure, inhibit viral infections, and are high in antioxidants.

Our pomegranate trees will make a nice addition to any landscape and we recommend adding this historic fruit to your garden.

Happy Planting
Greg Ison website email