In our demonstration garden at our headquarters we have a variety of grapes, and some pomegranate trees. Both of these fruits require very little to no water in our mediterranean climate. After all these fruits originiated from the mediterranean area.
Grapes were first cultivated in central Asia, the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Romans were known to grow them domestically. There are a few species of grapes that are native to many different parts of the world. Quite a few are even from the U.S. such as the muscadine grapes and concord grapes. There is even a grape that is native to California the California Wilde Grape, (Vitis californica). The California Wild Grape can become a huge beautiful vine but the grapes themselves are tiny and very sour, not fun to eat. They are great for shading windows in the summer and letting sun in during the winter as they are deciduous. A lot of culinary grapes use the wild grape as a rootstock because it is so vigouros. All the grapes that we have in our demonstration garden are mediterranean type grapes because some of the others will require more water. We have quite a variety so that we can see which ones do the best in our park, we have a lot of critters and heavy clay soils.
Pomegranates are also from central Asia. They are commonly grown in the middle east and southern Europe along the mediterranean sea. Thomas Jefferson was one of the earliest Americans known to grow pomegranates, he planted some at Monticello in 1771. It’s such a delicious fruit that Spain even renamed one of its cities to Granada which is an old term for pomegranate.
If you want to grow these out here in Southern California, you’ll only need to water them in their first year while they establish. After that, grapes and pomegranates should do just fine with little to no water.
By Andrew Kanzler, Community Outreach and Education Coordinator