|Muscadines are native Southern vines that are valued for their fruit, thick-skinned sweet grapes that make excellent jelly, a favorite of mine in my childhood. They also can be made into a sweet table wine which many people enjoy. Moreover, the vines themselves provide a touch of color in the autumn landscape as their leaves change to their fall colors. |
The quick-growing vines will provide enough growth each year to arch over and shade a walkway, an arbor, or provide an umbrella of shade over a deck or terrace. Indeed, the vines should be carefully pruned each year to direct their growth and to keep them from taking over the world!
|The grapes begin to ripen at this time of year. The bunches don't ripen uniformly; rather, they turn color one or two at a time in each cluster. I have only two vines in my garden and they don't provide enough fruit for a lot of preserving. But they do provide enough for me to pluck a few for a snack as I walk by. And they serve their main purpose which is to provide food for wildlife - especially the birds. As the fruits ripen and fall to the ground, mockingbirds are on them like ducks on a June-bug! They do love those muscadines.|
|As more of the leaves fall, the fruits will be exposed to the sun and ripening will come more quickly.|
Muscadines are very hardy vines that are resistant to many of the diseases that afflict grape stocks that come from Europe or other parts of the world. They are easily grown in the South, where, in fact, they grow wild, and they require very little care beyond winter pruning, but their fruit production can certainly be enhanced by the regular application of a 10-10-10 fertilizer or organic plant food.