Why Roses Are Planted Near Grapes

posted Jan 14, 2010, 7:56 AM by Friends of The Main Drain Parkway   [ updated Jan 14, 2010, 8:06 AM ]

In the Napa Valley, as throughout the wine regions of France, you'll frequently see roses planted along the edge of vineyards. Traditionally they've served as an early warning system to protect the grapevines—the equivalent of a miner's canary.

Roses and grapevines are both susceptible to a fungus called powdery mildew. In fact, roses are more sensitive than grapevines. Sulfur won't cure powdery mildew, but it can prevent it. So, if a grape-grower noticed that one day his roses had powdery mildew, he knew it was immediately time to spray sulfur on his grapes to prevent them from getting the same disease.

Roses also warn of other diseases and growing problems before they affect the grapevines, and they serve as a habitat for some beneficial insects that eat other undesirable insects.

And they're beautiful.

How to Grow Fruits

posted Jan 12, 2010, 12:00 PM by Friends of The Main Drain Parkway   [ updated Jan 14, 2010, 7:52 AM ]

So many different kinds of fruit are available, so how do you begin to decide which to grow? Start with quality. When soft berries are homegrown, they can be harvested when fully ripe, plump, and sweet, without concern for shipping and perishability. The flavor is outstanding.

The amount of garden space available will be another deciding factor. Choose between growing small fruits (berries that grow on small plants, vines, or bushes) or larger tree fruits. Start with easily raised, space-efficient small fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. But if you have a place in your landscape for a fruit tree or two, don't pass up the opportunity. Look for easy-care fruit trees or even nontraditional trees such as mulberries or crabapples.

Traditional orchard trees such as apples, peaches, pears, and cherries require some knowledge and attention to pollination, pruning, pest control, fertilizing, and other kinds of care. To minimize or eliminate spraying for disease, look for new disease-resistant cultivars of apple trees.

  • Plant dwarf fruit trees, which stay small enough for you to pick the fruit from the ground. This is a safe, easy way to harvest. You won't have to lug around ladders or balance on them while working. Another advantage of dwarf fruit trees is they begin to bear fruit much younger than full-size trees do. And if your lawn is small, a dwarf tree, which takes up less space than its full-size counterpart, is a good alternative.

  • Try growing a super-dwarf peach tree in a pot. Super-dwarfs are extra-miniature trees that may reach only about 5 feet tall. Although other fruit trees come as super-dwarfs, peaches produce flavorful fruit with only one tree and are great for beginners. (Many other fruit trees require a second cultivar for pollination.)

  • Plant your super-dwarf peach tree in a 24-inch-wide tub with drainage holes in the bottom. Keep it moist, well fertilized, and in a sunny location during the growing season. If your tree doesn't bear fruit the first year, give it time. It may need another year or two to start its career. During winter in cold climates, store the tree, tub and all, in a cool but protected location.

1-2 of 2