Texas A&M University Press has published Growing Grapes in Texas: From the Commercial Vineyard to the Backyard Vine by horticulturist Jim Kamas ($25 flexbound). It is a practical, approachable manual that begins with a question: “Why do you want to plant a vineyard?"
“Planting and tending a vineyard can be a rewarding experience,” Kamas writes, “but it takes far more time and resources than most prospective growers realize. “Many couples entering the business find that, having purchased a vineyard, their ‘together’ time is spent solely erecting trellis, tying up young vines, and spaying weeds.”
He goes on in later chapters to discuss technical and practical topics in easy-to-read language, covering such matters as choosing a vineyard site, rootstock selection, canopy management, diseases affecting grapevines, and vineyard equipment.
The book includes more than 160 color photos, 10 maps, and an index.
Kamas lives in Fredericksburg and works with fruit growers across the state through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. He is co-author of The Texas Peach Handbook.
■ Seashell Guide: Texas Seashells: A Field Guide (Texas A&M University Press, $25 flexbound) covers 300 of the more common seashells found on Texas coastlines, with color photos of each species.
The authors — John W. Tunnell Jr., Noe C. Barrera, and Fabio Moretzsohn — worked together on the comprehensive Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells, also published by Texas A&M Press about five years ago. But its size and weight made it impractical as a field guide. So they have teamed up again, this time on a more compact version that will fit in a car’s glove compartment. Whereas the encyclopedia chronicled about 900 species, the field guide focuses on the most common 300 — most of which, by the way, I think I have in my own collection.
If you’re planning a trip to the Gulf Coast this summer, you might want to consult this field guide.
■ River Ride: If you like a good outdoors story, check out Running the River: Secrets of the Sabine by Wes Ferguson, with color photographs by Jacob Croft Botter (Texas A&M University Press, $23 flexbound).
Ferguson and Botter took a boat trip down the Sabine River on the eastern boundary of the state and recorded their observations about the river, the people living along the river, and their own adventure trying to navigate the muddy and often dangerous waters all the way to the Gulf.
Ferguson starts the narrative off with a bang: “A man shot at us on our first day on the river. Of course he did. You expect that sort of thing to happen on the Sabine.”
GLENN DROMGOOLE writes about Texas books and authors. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.