Growing Table Grapes in the High Desert

Quail SpringsFarm and Garden, Permaculture 1 Comment

This past April, Margaret Waterhouse, a former farm and garden apprentice, came down from Davis California to the high desert home of Quail Springs Permaculture Farm in southern California with about 120 grape cuttings carefully packed in moist wood shavings. A small group of friends, family, former apprentices, and students had gathered for the weekend to visit, walk the land, play music, and learn about planting grapes.

Margaret’s father, Dr. Andrew Waterhouse, and his associate, Dr. Andy Walker, both of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture, chose 7 varieties of table grapes suited to our climate and needs – varieties for fresh eating, dehydrating, and for making concentrate. Three of the varieties, Blush, Beauty, and Centennial were developed by the late Harold Olmo,

who had a huge impact on the California wine/grape industry.

In addition to those were cuttings of

Autumn Royal: Fiesta: Thompson Seedless:  and Princess grapes:

Here’s how we planted the cuttings:

We started with nice cuttings bundled according to variety, and with 4-5 good nodes each.

We made a flat cut right below the node that we planted in the ground, pruned off that bottom bud, and pruned off any beginning buds in the second and third nodes above that, leaving the top node unpruned! Make a clean diagonal cut 1/2 to 3/4 inch above the top node.

We dug the holes about 18-24 inches deep, and mixed compost in with the native soil.

The rule of thumb we used for planting was 2 nodes below the soil, and 2 nodes above.

We packed the soil in firmly around the newly planted cutting.

Mulched well!

Watered in well!

We send out our deep appreciation for Margaret, her father, Andrew, and their friend Andy up in Davis, California for their knowledge, experience, and generosity.




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