Just Veggies with Ellen Wells

Crisp asparagus, mouthwatering tomatoes, crunchy carrots, even juicy berries. You don’t have to be a vegan to appreciate the value of good tasting vegetables. Ellen Wells, our Just Veggies blogger, talks about her experiences in starting them, planting them, growing them, and best of all, eating them. Yum, yum!

A New Miniature Grape Vine Blog Image

A New Miniature Grape Vine

I’m a small-space gardener. I may have grown up on a 500-acre farm with lots of elbow room, but I am currently restricted to a small community garden plot that’s about 10 ft. by 18 ft. A good size by urban gardening standards, yes – but still small.

That’s why when there is a new plant that comes along that is not only unique but also small, I get excited about it. I was introduced to a miniature grape called Pixie at the recent Cultivate ’14 horticultural trade show, and my … it really is miniature. Here’s what makes it unlike anything you have seen before:

- The Pixie plant you see in the photo is full size. I’d say that’s no bigger than 2 ft. tall. And the fruit are about the size of currants.

- The size is the result of a genetic mutation that makes the growing plant fruit rather than grow. In other words, the growing tendrils of the plant have had their switches flipped so that instead of growing into vegetative cells, they become reproductive cells.

- Because they grow fruit instead of vegetative plant cells, Pixie is basically an everbearing fruit bush. That is, they will produce several rounds of fruit per year, not just one.

- This grape is the perfect size for growing on a patio in a pot. If you do so, Pixie can be grown in areas as cold as Zone 5.

- Why confine it? Plant a row of them as a low hedge or include in your urban garden plot right in the ground. If you choose to do that, they are hardy enough to handle the temperatures found in Zone 3. Wow!

- Pixie is a Pinot Meunier grape, a wine grape, but can also be eaten. Fruit will be sweet and ready for harvest when it turns a dark blackish purple. I’m guessing it would take a lot of these grapes to make a bottle of wine. Since I’m not a viticulturist, I can’t really speak to that though.

- From what I understand, additional varieties of Pixie grapes will be available beginning next year.

Really, I think owning this plant is more about the novelty of it rather than growing a full crop of grapes. But it sure would be fun to set up your own personal vineyard of Pixies.


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Ellen Wells

Meet Ellen

When you are raised on a farm, you can't help but know a thing or two about gardening. Ellen Wells learned about agriculture from her parents/grandparents and then went an extra step by studying biology at college. She¹s now editor-at-large for Green Profit magazine, a trade publication for garden centers. Ellen also writes for the Boston Globe.

Previous Entries

A New Miniature Grape Vine
Bird Damage on Chard Leaves
A Lightweight Trellis System
Dealing with Cabbage Worms
TomTato - The Tomato-Potato Plant
Growing White Strawberries
When the Garden Is Planted, the Real Work Begins
Grapes in the Small-Space Garden
Growing Delicate, Delectable Radishes
Growing Onions In the Small-Space Garden
Beating Flea Beetles
Collards: The Trending Leafy Green
Rice Hulls As Soil Amendments
Mixing Veggies With Ornamental Flowers
Preparing a Garden Tool Bag for the Season
Spring Sowing With Seed Tape
Fertilize and Fuhgeddaboudit
The Scoop on Cukes
Modern Sprout Hydroponics
Small-sized Apple Tree for Urban Gardens
Apps in the Garden
Closing the Garden
Garden Lessons from 2013
The Basics of Growing Cabbage
Fall Application of Compost
Late-Season Tomato Plants
Black Cherry Tomatoes
Two Great Things About Broccoli
Planting Fall Seeds
A New Basil Mix
My First Batch of Worm Compost
A Take On the Florida Weave for Tomatoes
Growing Eggplant
Caging Cucumbers
Creating a Squash Trellis
Prolific Dill in the Garden
Reasons Why Basil Leaves Turn Yellow
The Garden Through May
Using Straw & Hay As Mulch
MobileGro for Small-Space Veggie Gardening
Moo Poo Tea
Trying Mushrooms at Home and In the Garden
Gardening As a Community
Get a Jump with Garden Tunnels
BrazelBerries Jelly Bean Blueberry
Veggies Get Vertical
BrazelBerries Peach Sorbet Blueberry for Compact Spaces
Time to Plant Peas
A Thornless, Compact Raspberry
Fish-Based Fertilizer
The Power of Earthworms
A Dozen Thoughts on Compost
Save Room for Watermelon
Growing Sprouts Indoors
Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors
The Pumpkin Patch
What to Do With Green Tomatoes? Soup!
Composting with a Composter
A Garden’s Resilience
Basil and Other Herbal Adventures
My End-of-Summer Planting of Fall Crops
Tomatoes and Powdery Mildew
Flea Beetles
The Importance of School Gardening
Transplanting Cabbage and Other Cole Crops
General Vegetable Garden Maintenance
Hilling Potatoes
Why Tomatoes Crack
Oregano: Learning a Lesson
Tomatoes: Seeds vs. Plants
Planting Leeks
Perfectly Parsley
Giving Garlic a Go
Chives: This Spring’s First Crop
Planting Potatoes
Bumper Crop Grafted Tomatoes
Sage: What to Do in Spring
Seed Terms Simplified
Early Arrivals: Garlic, Chives & Shallots
Sowing Arugula Indoors
Try These Garden Veggies in 2012
Try These Garden Veggies in 2012
Plant When the Weather
Burpee Youth Garden Award
Broccoli Basics
Of Thyme and the Tie
First Frost: What Will Survive & How to Prepare
New to Me: Kohlrabi
Vermont Cranberry Beans
Gearing Up for Slowing Down
Time to Clean the Pruners
Squash Vine Borer Causing “Wilt”
Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes
Powdery Mildew on Cucurbits
Soft Rot on Early Zucchini
Homemade Insecticidal Soap
Using Hose-End Sprayers for Fertilizing
Tomato Maintenance
The Mighty ‘Mato
Hot Days, Cool Soils
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