THE CULTIVATION OF THE NATIVE GRAPE,
MANUFACTURE OF AMERICAN WINES.
OF HERMANN, MISSOURI.
GEO. E. WOODWARD, PUBLISHER AND IMPORTER, Art, Architectural and Rural Books, 136 CHAMBERS STREET, NEW YORK.
ORANGE JUDD CO., 245 Broadway.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by GEO. E. & F. W. WOODWARD, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.
TO THE GRAPE GROWERS OF "OUR COUNTRY, ONE AND INDIVISIBLE," THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATED BY THEIR FRIEND AND FELLOW-LABORER, THE AUTHOR.
Remarks on its History in America, especially at the West; its Progress and its Future, 13
PROPAGATION OF THE VINE.
I.—From Seed 27
II.—By Single Eyes 30 The Propagating House 31 Mode of Operating 32
III.—By Cuttings in Open Air 37
IV.—By Layering 39
V.—By Grafting 40
Location and Soil 43 Preparing the Soil 45
WHAT SHALL WE PLANT?
Choice of Varieties 47 The Concord 48 Norton's Virginia 48 Herbemont 49 Delaware 49 Hartford Prolific 49 Clinton 50
Planting. 51 Treatment of the Vine the First Summer 56 Treatment of the Vine the Second Summer 57 Treatment of the Vine the Third Summer 63 Treatment of the Vine the Fourth Summer 69 Training the Vines on Arbors and Walls 71 Other Methods of Training the Vine 75 Diseases of the Vine 78 Insects Injurious to the Grape 80 Birds 84 Frosts 85 Girdling the Vine to Hasten Maturity 86 Manuring the Vine 91 Thinning of the Fruit 91 Renewing Old Vines 92 Pruning Saws 93 Preserving the Fruit 95 Gathering the Fruit to Make Wine 96
VARIETIES OF GRAPES. CLASS I.—VARIETIES MOST GENERALLY USED.
Concord (Description) 97 Concord (Plate) 111 Norton's Virginia (Description) 98 Norton's Virginia (Plate) 87 Herbemont (Plate) 99 Herbemont (Description) 101 Hartford Prolific (Description) 101 Hartford Prolific (Plate) 105 Clinton 102 Delaware (Description) 102 Delaware (Plate) 81
CLASS II.—HEALTHY VARIETIES PROMISING WELL.
Cynthiana 103 Arkansas 104 Taylor 104 Martha 107 Maxatawney (Description) 107 Maxatawney (Plate) 177 Rogers' Hybrid, No. 1 107 Creveling (Description) 108 Creveling (Plate) 117 North Carolina Seedling 108 Cunningham 109 Rulander 109 Louisiana 110 Alvey 110 Cassady 110 Blood's Black 113 Union Village (Description) 113 Union Village (Plate) 167 Perkins 113 Clara (Description) 114 Clara (Plate) 127 Ive's Seedling 114
CLASS III.—HEALTHY VARIETIES—BUT INFERIOR IN QUALITY.
Minor Seedling 116 Mary Ann 119 Northern Muscadine 119 Logan 119 Brown 119 Hyde's Eliza 119 Marion Port 120 Poeschel's Mammoth 120 Cape 120 Dracut Amber 120 Elsinburgh 120 Garber's Albino 121 Franklin 121 Lenoir 121 North America 121
CLASS IV.—VARIETIES OF GOOD QUALITY, BUT SUBJECT TO DISEASE.
Catawba 121 Diana 122 Isabella 122 Garrigues 123 Tokalon 123 Anna 123 Allen's Hybrid 123 Cuyahoga 123 Devereux 124 Kingsessing 124 Rogers' Hybrid, No. 15 124
CLASS V.—VARIETIES UNWORTHY OF CULTIVATION.
Oporto 124 Massachusetts White 125
Gathering the Grapes 131 The Wine Cellar 133 Apparatus for Wine Making.—The Grape Mill and Press 136 Fermenting Vats 137 The Wine Casks 138 Making the Wine 140 After Treatment of the Wine 146 Diseases of the Wine and their Remedies 147 Treatment of flat and Turbid Wine 147 Use of the Husks and Lees 148 Dr. Gall's and Petoil's Method of Wine Making 148 The Must Scale or Saccharometer 150 The Acidimeter and Its Use 151 The Change of the Must, by Fermentation, into Wine 157 Normal Must 161 The Must of American Grapes 162 Wine Making Made Easy 173
Cost of Establishing A Vineyard 179 Cost of an acre of Concord 179 Cost of an acre of Herbemont 179 Cost of an acre of Norton's Virginia 180 Cost of an acre of Delaware 180 Cost of an acre of Catawba 180 Product 181 Produce Fifth Year 182 Yield of Mr. MICHAEL POESCHEL'S Vineyard 184 New Vineyard of Mr. M. POESCHEL, Planted in 1861; First Partial Crop, 1863; Second Crop, 1864; Third Crop, 1865, 184, 185 Yield of Vineyard of Mr. WILLIAM POESCHEL, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860 185 Yield of Vineyard of Mr. WILLIAM POESCHEL 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864 186 Yield of Vineyard of Mr. WILLIAM POESCHEL 1865 187 Yield of Delaware Vineyard of JOHN E. MOTTIER 189
It is with a great deal of hesitation I undertake to write a book about Grapes, a subject which has been, and still is, elucidated every day; and about which we have already several works, which no doubt are more learned, more elaborate, than anything I may produce. But the subject is of such vast importance, and the area suitable for grape culture so large, the diversity of soil and climate so great, that I may be pardoned if I still think that I could be of some use to the beginner; it is for them, and not for my brethren of the craft more learned than I am, that I write. If they can learn anything from the plain talk of a practical worker, to help them along in the good work, I am well repaid.
Another object I have in view is to make grape growing as easy as possible; and I may be pardoned if I say that, in my opinion, it is a defect in all books we have on grape culture, that the manner of preparing the soil, training, etc., are on too costly a plan to be followed by men of little means. If we are first to trench and prepare the soil, at a cost of about $300 per acre, and then pay $200 more for trellis, labor, etc., the poor man, he who must work for a living, can not afford to raise grapes. And yet it is from the ranks of these sturdy sons of toil that I would gain my recruits for that peaceful army whose sword is the pruning-hook; it is from their honest, hard-working hands I expect the grandest results. He who has already wealth enough at command can of course afford to raise grapes with bone-dust, ashes, and all the fertilizers. He can walk around and give his orders, making grape culture an elegant pastime for his leisure hours, as well as a source of profit. But, being one of the first class myself, I had to fight my way up through untold difficulties from the lowest round of the ladder; had to gain what knowledge I possess from dear experience, and can therefore sympathize with those who must commence without means. It is my earnest desire to save them some of the losses which I had to suffer, to lighten their toil by a little plain advice. If I can succeed in this, my object is accomplished.
In nearly all our books on grape culture I notice another defect, especially in those published in the East; it is, that they contain a great deal of good advice about grape culture, but very little about wine-making, and the treatment of wine in the cellar. For us here at the West this is an all-important point, and even our Eastern friends, if they continue to plant grapes at the rate they have done for the last few years, will soon glut the market, and will be forced to make them into wine. I shall therefore try to give such simple instructions about wine-making and its management as will enable every one to make a good saleable and drinkable wine, better than nine-tenths of the foreign wines, which are now sold at two to three dollars per bottle. I firmly believe that this continent is destined to be the greatest wine-producing country in the world; and that the time is not far distant when wine, the most wholesome and purest of all stimulating drinks, will be within the reach of the common laborer, and take the place of the noxious and poisonous liquors which are now the curse of so many of our laboring men, and have blighted the happiness of so many homes. Pure light wine I consider the best temperance agent; but as long as bad whisky and brandy continue to be the common drink of its citizens we can not hope to accomplish a thorough reform; for human nature seems to crave and need a stimulant. Let us then try to supply the most innocent and healthy one, the exhilarating juice of the grape.
I have also endeavored throughout to give plain facts, to substantiate with plain figures all I assert; and in no case have I allowed fancy to roam in idle speculations which cannot be demonstrated in practice. I do not pretend that my effort is "the most comprehensive and practical essay on the grape," as some of our friends call their productions, but I can claim for it strict adherence to truth and actual results.
I have not thought it necessary to give the botanical description of the grape-vine, and the process of hybridizing, etc.; this has already been so well and thoroughly done by my friend FULLER, that I can do no better than refer the scientific reader to his book. I am writing more for the practical farmer, and would rather fill what I think a vacancy, than repeat what has been so well said by others.
With these few remarks, which I thought due to the public and myself, I leave it to you, brother-winegrowers, to say whether or not I have accomplished my task. To all and every one who plants a single vine I would extend the hand of good fellowship, for he is a laborer in the great work to cover this glorious land of the free with smiling vineyards, and to make its barren spots flow with noble grape juice, one of the best gifts of an all-bountiful Creator. All hail to you, I greet you from Free Missouri.
REMARKS ON ITS HISTORY IN AMERICA, ESPECIALLY AT THE WEST—ITS PROGRESS AND ITS FUTURE.
In an old chronicle, entitled, "The Discovery of America in the Tenth Century," by CHARLES C. PRASTA, published at Stralsund, we find the following legend:
"LEIF, son of ERIC the Red, bought BYARNES' vessel, and manned it with thirty-five men, among whom was also a German, TYRKER by name, who had lived a long time with LEIF'S father, who had become very much attached to him in youth. And they left port at Iceland, in the year of our Lord 1000.
But, when they had been at sea several days, a tremendous storm arose, whose wild fury made the waves swell mountain high, and threatened to destroy the frail vessel. And the storm continued for several days, and increased in fury, so that even the stoutest heart quaked with fear; they believed that their hour had come, and drifted along at the mercy of wind and waves. Only LEIF, who had lately been converted to CHRIST our Lord, stood calmly at the helm and did not fear; but called on Him who had walked the water and quieted the billows, with firm faith, that He also had power to deliver them, if they but trusted in Him. And, behold! while he still spoke to them of the wonderful deeds of the Lord, the clouds cleared away, the storm lulled; and after a few hours the sea, calmed down, and rocked the tired and exhausted men into a deep and calm sleep. And when they awoke, the next morning, they could hardly trust their eyes. A beautiful country lay before them, green hills, covered with beautiful forests—a majestic stream rolled its billows into the ocean; and they cast the anchor, and thanked the Lord, who had delivered them from death.
A delightful country it seemed, full of game, and birds of beautiful plumage; and when they went ashore, they could not resist the temptation to explore it. When they returned, after several hours, TYRKER alone was missing. After waiting some time for his return, LEIF, with twelve of his men, went in search of him. But they had not gone far, when they met him, laden down with grapes. Upon their enquiry, where he had stayed so long, he answered: "I did not go far, when I found the trees all covered with grapes; and as I was born in a country, whose hills are covered with vineyards, it seemed so much like home to me, that I stayed a while and gathered them." They had now a twofold occupation, to cut timber, and gather grapes; with the latter, they loaded the boat. And Leif gave a name to the country, and called it Vinland, or Wineland."
So far the tradition. It is said that coming events cast their shadows before them. If this is so, may we not recognize one of those shadows in the old Norman legend of events which transpired more than eight hundred years ago? Is it not the foreshadowing of the destiny of this great continent, to become, in truth and verity, a Wineland. Truly, the results of to-day would certainly justify us in the assertion, that there is as much, nay more, truth than fiction in it. Let us take a glance at the first commencement of grape culture, and see what has been the progress in this comparatively new branch of horticulture.
From the very first settlement of America, the vine seems to have attracted the attention of the colonists, and it is said that as early as 1564, wine was made from the native grape in Florida. The earliest attempt to establish a vineyard in the British North American Colonies was by the London Company in Virginia, about the year 1620; and by 1630, the prospect seems to have been encouraging enough to warrant the importation of several French vine-dressers, who, it is said, ruined the vines by bad treatment. Wine was also made in Virginia in 1647, and in 1651 premiums were offered for its production. BEVERLY even mentions, that prior to 1722, there were vineyards in that colony, producing seven hundred and fifty gallons per year. In 1664, Colonel RICHARD NICOLL, Governor of New York, granted to PAUL RICHARDS, a privilege of making and selling wine free of all duty, he having been the first to enter upon the cultivation of the vine on a large scale. BEAUCHAMP PLANTAGENET, in his description of the province of New Albion, published in London, in 1648, states "that the English settlers in Uvedale, now Delaware, had vines running on mulberry and sassafras trees; and enumerates four kinds of grapes, namely: Thoulouse Muscat, Sweet Scented, Great Fox, and Thick Grape; the first two, after five months, being boiled and salted and well fined, make a strong red Xeres; the third, a light claret; the fourth, a white grape which creeps on the land, makes a pure, gold colored wine. TENNIS PALE, a Frenchman, out of these four, made eight sorts of excellent wine; and says of the Muscat, after it had been long boiled, that the second draught will intoxicate after four months old; and that here may be gathered and made two hundred tuns in the vintage months, and that the vines with good cultivation will mend." In 1633, WILLIAM PENN attempted to establish a vineyard near Philadelphia, but without success. After some years, however, Mr. TASKER, of Maryland, and Mr. ANTIL, of Shrewsbury, N.J., seem to have succeeded to a certain extent. It seems, however, from an article which Mr. ANTIL wrote of the culture of the grape, and the manufacture of wine, that he cultivated only foreign varieties.
In 1796, the French settlers in Illinois made one hundred and ten hogsheads of strong wine from native grapes. At Harmony, near Pittsburgh, a vineyard of ten acres was planted by FREDERIC RAPP, and his associates from Germany; and they continued to cultivate grapes and silk, after their removal to another Harmony in Indiana.
In 1790, a Swiss colony was founded, and a fund of ten thousand dollars raised in Jessamine county, Kentucky, for the purpose of establishing a vineyard, but failed, as they attempted to plant the foreign vine. In 1801, they removed to a spot, which they called Vevay, in Switzerland County, Indiana, on the Ohio, forty-five miles below Cincinnati. Here they planted native vines, especially the Cape, or Schuylkill Muscadel, and met with better success. But, after about forty years' experience, they seem to have become discouraged, and their vineyards have now almost disappeared.
These were the first crude experiments in American grape culture; and from some cause or another, they seem not to have been encouraging enough to warrant their continuation. But a new impetus was given to this branch of industry, by the introduction of the Catawba, by Major ADLUM, of Georgetown, D.C., who thought, that by so doing, he conferred a greater benefit upon the nation than he would have done, had he paid the national debt. It seems to have been planted first on an extensive scale by NICHOLAS LONGWORTH, near Cincinnati, whom we may justly call one of the founders of American grape culture. He adopted the system of leasing parcels of unimproved land to poor Germans, to plant with vines; for a share, I believe, of one-half of the proceeds. It was his ambition to make the Ohio the Rhine of America, and he has certainly done a good deal to effect it. In 1858, the whole number of acres planted in grapes around Cincinnati, was estimated, by a committee appointed for that purpose, at twelve hundred acres, of which Mr. LONGWORTH owned one hundred and twenty-two and a half acres, under charge of twenty-seven tenants. The annual produce was estimated by the committee at no less than two hundred and forty thousand gallons, worth about as many dollars then. We may safely estimate the number of acres in cultivation there now, at two thousand. Among the principal grape growers there, I will mention Messrs. ROBERT BUCHANAN, author of an excellent work on grape culture, MOTTIER, BOGEN, WERK, REHFUSS, DR. MOSHER, etc.
Well do I remember, when I was a boy, some fourteen years old, how often my father would enter into conversation with vintners from the old country, about the feasibility of grape culture in Missouri. He always contended that grapes should succeed well here, as the woods were full of wild grapes, some of very fair quality, and that this would indicate a soil and climate favorable to the vine. They would ridicule the idea, and assert that labor was too high here, even if the vines would succeed, to make it pay; but they could not shake his faith in the ultimate success of grape culture. Alas! he lived only long enough to see the first dawnings of that glorious future which he had so often anticipated, and none entered with more genuine zeal upon the occupation than he, when an untimely death took him from the labor he loved so well, and did not even allow him to taste the first fruits of the vines he had planted and fostered. Had he been spared until now, his most sanguine hopes would be verified.
I also well remember the first cultivated grape vine which produced fruit in Hermann. It was an Isabella, planted by a Mr. FUGGER, on the corner of Main and Schiller streets, and trained over an arbor. It produced the first crop in 1845, twenty years ago, and so plentifully did it bear, that several persons were encouraged by this apparent success, to plant vines. In 1846, the first wine was made here, and agreeably surprised all who tried it, by its good quality. The Catawba had during that time, been imported from Cincinnati, and the first partial crop from it, in 1848, was so plentiful, that every body, almost, commenced planting vines, and often in very unfavorable localities. This, of course, had a bad influence on so capricious a variety as the Catawba; rot and mildew appeared, and many became discouraged, because they did not realize what they had anticipated. A number of unfavorable seasons brought grape growing almost to a stand still here. Some of our most enterprising grape growers still persevered, and succeeded by careful treatment, in making even the Catawba pay very handsome returns.
It was about this time, that the attention of some of our grape-growers was drawn towards a small, insignificant looking grape, which had been obtained by a Mr. WIEDERSPRECKER from Mr. HEINRICHS, who had brought it from Cincinnati, and, almost at the same time, by Dr. KEHR, who had brought it with him from Virginia. The vine seemed a rough customer, and its fruit very insignificant when compared with the large bunch and berry of the Catawba, but we soon observed that it kept its foliage bright and green when that of the Catawba became sickly and dropped; and also, that no rot or mildew damaged the fruit, when that of the Catawba was nearly destroyed by it. A few tried to propagate it by cuttings, but generally failed to make it grow. They then resorted to grafting and layering, with much better success. After a few years a few bottles of wine were made from it, and found to be very good. But at this time it almost received its death-blow, by a very unfavorable letter from Mr. LONGWORTH, who had been asked his opinion of it, and pronounced it worthless. Of course, with the majority, the fiat of Mr. LONGWORTH, the father of American grape-culture, was conclusive evidence, and they abandoned it. Not all, however; a few persevered, among them Messrs. JACOB ROMMEL, POESCHEL, LANGENDOERFER, GREIN, and myself. We thought Mr. LONGWORTH was human, and might be mistaken; and trusted as much to the evidence of our senses as to his verdict, therefore increased it as fast as we could, and the sequel proved that we were right. After a few years more wine was made from it in larger quantities, found to be much better than the first imperfect samples; and now that despised and condemned grape is the great variety for red wine, equal, if not superior to, the best Burgundy and Port; a wine of which good judges, heavy importers of the best European wines too, will tell you that it has not its equal among all the foreign red wines; which has already saved the lives of thousands of suffering children, men, and women, and therefore one of the greatest blessings an all-merciful God has ever bestowed upon suffering humanity. This despised grape is now the rage, and 500,000 of the plants could have been sold from this place alone the last fall, if they could have been obtained. Need I name it? it is the Norton's Virginia. Truly, "great oaks from little acorns grow!" and I boldly prophecy to-day that the time is not far distant when thousands upon thousands of our hillsides will be covered with its luxuriant foliage, and its purple juice become one of the exports to Europe; provided, always, that we do not grow so fond of it as to drink it all. I think that this is pre-eminently a Missouri grape. Here it seems to have found the soil in which it flourishes best. I have seen it in Ohio, but it does not look there as if it was the same grape. And why should it? They drove it from them and discarded it in its youth; we fostered it, and do you not think, dear reader, there sometimes is gratitude in plants as well as in men? Other States may plant it and succeed with it, too, to a certain extent, but it will cling with the truest devotion to those localities where it was cared for in its youth. Have we not also found, during the late war, that the Germans, the adopted citizens of this great country, clung with a heartier devotion to our noble flag, and shed their blood more freely for it, than thousands upon thousands of native-born Americans? And why? Because here they found protection, equal rights for all, and that freedom which had been the idol of their hearts, and haunted their dreams by night; because they had been oppressed so long they more fully appreciated the blessings of a free government than those who had enjoyed it from their birth. But you may call me fantastical for comparing plants to human beings, and will say, plants have no appreciation of such things. Brother Skeptic, have you, or has any body, divined all the secrets of Nature's workshop? Truly we may say that we have not, and we meet with facts every day which are stranger than fiction.
The Concord had as small a beginning with us. In the winter of 1855 a few eyes of its wood were sent me by Mr. JAS. G. SOULARD, of Galena, Ill. I grafted them upon old Catawba vines, and one of them grew. The next year I distributed some of the scions to our vine-growers, who grafted them also. When my vine commenced to bear I was astonished, after what I had heard of the poor quality of the fruit from the East, to find it so fine, and so luxurious and healthy; and we propagated it as fast as possible. Now, scarcely nine years from the time when I received the first scions, hundreds of acres are being planted with it here, and one-third of an acre of it, planted five years ago, has produced for me, in fruit, wine, layers, cuttings, and plants, the round sum of ten thousand dollars during that time. Its wine, if pressed as soon as the grapes are mashed, is eminently one of those which "maketh glad the heart of man," and is evidently destined to become one of the common drinks of our laboring classes. It is light, agreeable to the palate, has a very enlivening and invigorating effect, and can be grown as cheap as good cider. I am satisfied that an acre will, with good cultivation, produce from 1,000 to 1,500 gallons per year. My vines produced this season at the rate of 2,500 gallons to the acre, but this may be called an extra-large crop. I have cited the history of these two varieties in our neighborhood merely as examples of progress. It would lead too far here, to follow the history of all our leading varieties, though many a goodly story might be told of them. Our friends in the East claim as much for the Delaware and others, with which we have not been able to succeed. And here let me say that the sooner we divest ourselves of the idea that one grape should be the grape for this immense country of ours; the sooner we try to adapt the variety to the locality—not the locality to the variety—the sooner we will succeed. The idea is absurd, and unworthy of a thinking people, that one variety should succeed equally well or ill in such a diversity of soil and climate as we have in this broad land of ours. It is in direct conflict with the laws of vegetable physiology, as well as with common sense and experience. In planting our vineyards we should first go to one already established, which we think has the same soil and location, or nearly so, as the one we are going to plant. Of those varieties which succeed there we should plant the largest number, and plant a limited number also of all those varieties which come recommended by good authority. A few seasons will show which variety suits our soil, and what we ought to plant in preference to all others. Thus the Herbemont, the Cynthiana, Delaware, Taylor, Cunningham, Rulander, Martha, and even the Iona, may all find their proper location, where each will richly reward their cultivator; and certainly they are all too good not to be tried.
Now, let us see what progress the country at large has made in grape-growing during, say, the last ten years. Then, I think I may safely assert, that the vineyards throughout the whole country did not comprise more than three to four thousand acres. Now I think I may safely call them over two millions of acres. Then, our whole list embraced about ten varieties, all told, of which only the Catawba and Isabella were considered worthy of general cultivation; now we count our native varieties by the hundreds, and the Catawba and Isabella will soon number among the things which have been. Public taste has become educated, and they are laid aside in disgust, when such varieties as the Herbemont, Delaware, Clara, Allen's Hybrid, Iona, Adirondac, and others can be had. Then, grape-growing was confined to only a few small settlements; now there is not a State in the Union, from Maine to California, but has its vineyards; and especially our Western States have entered upon a race which shall excel the other in the good work. Our brethren in Illinois bid fair to outdo us, and vineyards spring up as if by magic, even on the prairies. Nay, grape-culture bids fair to extend into Minnesota, a country which was considered too cold for almost anything except oats, pines, wolves, bears, and specimens of daring humanity encased in triple wool. We begin to find out that we have varieties which will stand almost anything if they are only somewhat protected in winter. It was formerly believed that only certain favored locations and soils in each State would produce good grapes—for instance, sunny hillsides along large streams; now we begin to see that we can grow some varieties of grape on almost any soil. One of the most flourishing vineyards I have ever seen is on one of the islands in the Missouri river, where all the varieties planted there—some six or seven—seemed perfectly at home in the rich, sandy mould, where it needs no trenching to loosen the soil. Then, grape-growing, with the varieties then in cultivation, was a problem to be solved; now, with the varieties we have proved, it is a certainty that it is one of the most profitable branches of horticulture, paying thousands of dollars to the acre every year. Then, wine went begging at a dollar a gallon; now it sells as fast as made at from two dollars to six dollars a gallon. Instead of the only wine then considered fit to drink, we number our wine-producing varieties by the dozen, all better than the Catawba; among the most prominent of which I will name—of varieties producing white wine, the Herbemont, Delaware, Cassidy, Taylor, Rulander, Cunningham, and Louisiana; of light-red wines, the Concord; of dark-red wines, the Norton's Virginia, Cynthiana, Arkansas and Clinton; so that every palate can be suited. And California bids fair to outdo us all; for there, I am told, several kinds of wine are made from the same grape, in the same vineyard, and in fabulous quantities. To cite an example of the increase in planting: in 1854 the whole number of vines grown and sold in Hermann did not exceed two thousand. This season two millions of plants have been grown and sold, and not half enough to meet the demand. It is said that the tone of the press is a fair indication of public sentiment. If this is true what does it prove? Take one of our horticultural periodicals, and nine-tenths of the advertisements will be "Grape-vines for sale," in any quantity and at any price, from five dollars to one hundred dollars per 100, raised North, East, South, and West. Turn to the reading matter, and you can hardly turn over a leaf but the subject of grapes stares you in the face, with a quiet impunity, which plainly says, "The nation is affected with grape fever; and while our readers have grape on the brain there is no fear of overdosing." Why, the best proof I can give my readers that grape fever does exist to an alarming degree, is this very book itself. Were not I and they affected with the disease, I should never have presumed to try their patience.
But, fortunately, the remedy is within easy reach. Plant grapes, every one of you who is thus afflicted, until our hillsides are covered with them, and we have made our barren spots blossom as the rose.
Truly, the results we have already obtained, are cheering enough. And yet all this has been principally achieved in the last few years, while the nation was involved in one of the most stupendous struggles the world ever saw, while its very existence was endangered, and thousands upon thousands of her patriotic sons poured out their blood like water, and the husbandman left his home; the vintner his vineyard, to fight the battles of his country. What then shall we become now, when peace has smiled once more upon our beloved country; and the thousands of brave arms, who brandished the sword, sabre, or musket, have come home once more; and their weapons have been turned into ploughshares, and their swords into pruning hooks? When all the strong and willing hands will clear our hillsides, and God's sun shines upon one great and united people; greater and more glorious than ever; because now they are truly free. Truly the future lies before us, rich in glorious promise; and ere long the words and the prophecy contained in the old legend will become sober truth, and America will be, from the Atlantic to the Pacific one smiling and happy Wineland; where each laborer shall sit under his own vine, and none will be too poor to enjoy the purest and most wholesome of all stimulants, good, cheap, native wine. Then drunkenness, now the curse of the nation, will disappear, and peace and good will towards all will rule our actions. And we, brother grape growers? Ours is this great and glorious task; let us work unceasingly, with hand, heart, and mind; truly the object is worthy of our best endeavors. Let those who begin to-day, remember how easy their task with the achievements and experiments of others before them, compared with the labors of those who were the pioneers in the cultivation of the vine.
PROPAGATION OF THE VINE.
This would seem to be the most natural mode, were not the grape even more liable to sport than almost any other fruit. It is, however, the only method upon which we can depend for obtaining new and more valuable varieties than we already possess, and to which we are already indebted for all the progress made in varieties, a progress which is, indeed, very encouraging; for who would deny that we are to-day immeasurably in advance of what we were ten years ago. Among the innumerable varieties which spring up every day, and which find ready purchasers, just because they are new, there are certainly some of decided merit. But those who grow seedlings, should bear in mind, that the list of our varieties is already too large; that it would be better if three-fourths of them were stricken off, and that no new variety should be brought before the public, unless it has some decided superiority over any of the varieties we already have, in quality, productiveness and exemption from disease. It is poor encouragement to the grape growing public, to pay from two to five dollars a vine for a new variety, with some high-sounding name, if, after several years of superior cultivation and faithful trial, they find their costly pet inferior to some variety they already possessed, and of which the plants could be obtained at a cost of from ten to fifty cents each.
The grapes from which the seed is to be used, should be fully ripe, and none but well developed, large berries, should be taken. Keep these during the winter, either in the pulp, or in cool, moist sand, so that their vitality may remain unimpaired. The soil upon which your seed-bed is made, should be light, deep and rich, and if it is not so naturally, should be made so with well decomposed leaf-mould. As soon as the weather in spring will permit, dig up the soil to the depth of at least eighteen inches, pulverising it well; then sow the seed in drills, about a foot apart, and about one inch apart in the rows, covering them about three-quarters of an inch deep. It will often be found necessary to shade the young plants when they come up, to prevent the sun from scalding them, but this should not be continued too long, as the plants will become too tender, if protected too long. When the young plants have grown about six inches, they may be supplied with small sticks, to which they will cling readily; the ground should be kept clean and mellow, and a light mulch should be applied, which will keep the soil loose and moist. The young plants should be closely watched, and if any of them show signs of disease, they should at once be pulled up; also those which show a very feeble and delicate growth; for we should only try to grow varieties with good, healthy constitutions. In the Fall, the young plants should be either taken up, and carefully heeled in, or they should be protected by earth, straw, or litter thrown over them. In the Spring, they may be transplanted to their permanent locations; the tops shortened in to six inches, and the roots shortened in to about six inches from the stem. The soil for their reception should be moderately light and rich, and loosened up to the depth of at least eighteen inches.
Make a hole about eight inches deep, then throw in soil so as to raise a small mound in the centre of the hole, about two inches high; on this place the young vine, and carefully spread the roots in all directions; then fill up with well pulverized soil, so that the upper eye or bud is even with the surface of the ground; then press the soil down lightly; place a good stake, of about four feet high, with the plant, and allow but one shoot to grow, which should be neatly tied to the stake as it grows. The vines may be planted in rows six feet apart, and three feet apart in the rows, as many of them will prove worthless, and have to be taken out. Allow all the laterals to grow on the young cane, as this will make it short-jointed and stocky. Cultivate the ground well, stirring it freely with plough, cultivator, hoe, and rake, which generally is the best mulch that can be applied.
With the proper care and attention, our seedlings will generally grow from three to four feet, and make stout, short-jointed wood this second season. Should any of them look particularly promising, fruit may be obtained a year sooner by taking the wood of it, and grafting strong old vines with it. These grafts will generally bear fruit the next season. The method to be followed will be given in another place.
At the end of the second season the vines should be pruned to about three eyes or buds, and the soil hilled up around them so as to cover them up completely. The next spring take off the covering, and when the young shoots appear allow only two to grow. After they have grown about eighteen inches, pinch off the top of the weakest, so as to throw the growth into the strongest shoot, which keep neatly tied to the stake, treating it as the summer before, allowing all the laterals to grow. Cultivate the soil well. At the end of this season's growth the vines should be strong enough to bear the following summer. If they have made from eight to ten feet of stocky growth, the leading cane may be pruned to ten or twelve eyes, and the smaller one to a spur of two eyes. If they will fruit at all, they will show it next summer, when only those promising well should be kept, and the barren and worthless ones discarded.
II.—BY SINGLE EYES.
As this method is mostly followed only by those who propagate the vine for sale in large quantities, and but to a limited extent by the practical vineyardist, I will give only an outline of the most simple manner, and on the cheapest plan. Those wishing further information will do well to consult "The Grape Culturist," by Mr. A. S. FULLER, in which excellent work they will find full instructions.
The principal advantages of this mode of propagation are the following: 1st. The facility with which new and rare kinds can be multiplied, as every well ripened bud almost can be transformed into a plant. 2d. As the plants are started under glass, by bottom heat, it lengthens the season of their growth from one to two months. 3d. Every variety of grape can be propagated by this method with the greatest ease, even those which only grow with the greatest difficulty, or not at all, from cuttings in open ground.
As to the merits or demerits of plants grown under glass from single eyes, to those grown from cuttings or layers in open ground, opinions differ very much, and both have their advocates. For my part, I do not see why a plant grown carefully from a single eye should not be as good as one propagated by any other method; a poor plant is not worth having, whether propagated by this or any other method, and, unfortunately, we have too many of them.
THE PROPAGATING HOUSE.
I will only give a description of a lean-to of the cheapest kind, for which any common hot-bed sash, six feet long, can be used.
Choose for a location the south side of a hill, as, by making the house almost entirely underground, a great deal of building material can be saved. Excavate the ground as for a cellar—say five feet deep on the upper side, seven feet wide, and of any length to suit convenience, and the number of plants you wish to grow. Inside of the excavation set posts or scantlings, the upper row to be seven feet long above the ground, and two feet below the ground; the lower row four and one-half feet above the ground, so that the roof will have about two and one-half feet pitch. Upon these nail the rafters, of two-inch planks. Then take boards, say common inch-plank, and set them up behind the posts, one above the other, to prevent the earth from falling in. This will make all the wall that is needed on both sides. On the ends, boards can be nailed to both sides of the posts, and the intervening space tilled with spent tan or saw-dust. Upon the rafters place the sash on the lower side; the upper side may be covered with boards or shingles, where also the ventilating holes can be left, to be closed with trap-doors. The house is to be divided into two compartments—the furnace-room on one end, about eight feet long, and the propagating house, The furnace is below the ground, say four feet long, the flue to be made of brick, and to extend under the whole length of the bench. To make the flue, lay a row of bricks flat and crosswise; on the ends of these place two others on their edges, and across the top lay a row flat, in the same way as the bottom ones were placed. This gives the flue four inches by eight in the clear. The flue should rise rather abruptly from the furnace, say about a foot; it can then be carried fifty feet with, say six to nine inches rise, and still have sufficient draft. Inside of the propagating room we have again two compartments—the propagating bench, nearest to the furnace, and a shelf for the reception of the young plants, after their first transplanting from the cutting-pots or boxes. Make a shelf or table along the whole length of the house; at the lower end it should be about eighteen inches from the glass, and five feet wide. To a house of, say fifty feet, the propagating bench may be, say twelve feet long, and the room below it and around the flue should be inclosed with boards, as it will keep the heat better.
MODE OF OPERATING.
The wood should be cut from the vines in the fall, as soon as the leaves have dropped. For propagating, use only firm, well-ripened wood of the last season's growth, and about medium thickness. These are to be preferred to either very large or very small ones. The time to commence operating will vary according to climate; here it should be the early part of February. The wood to be used for propagating can be kept in a cool cellar, in sand, or buried in the ground out doors. Take out the cuttings, and cut them up into pieces as represented in Figure 1.
Throw these into water as they are cut; it will prevent them from becoming dry. It will be found of benefit with hard-wooded varieties to pack them in damp moss for a week or so before they are put into the propagating pots or boxes; it will soften the alburnous matter, and make them strike root more readily. They should then be put into, say six-inch pots, filled to about an inch of the top with pure coarse sand, firmly packed. Place the cuttings, the buds up, about an inch apart, all over the surface of the pot; press down firmly with thumb and forefinger until the bud is even with the surface; sift on sand enough to cover the upper point of the bud about a quarter of an inch deep; press down evenly, using the bottom of another pot for the purpose, and apply water enough to moisten the whole contents of the pot. Instead of the pots, shallow boxes of about six inches deep, can also be used, with a few holes bored in the bottom for drainage.
After the pots have been filled with cuttings they are placed in a temperature of from 40 deg. to 45 deg., where they remain from two to three weeks, water being applied only enough to keep them moist, not wet. As roots are formed at a much lower degree of temperature than leaves, they should not be forced too much at the beginning, or the leaves will appear before we have any roots to support them. But when the cutting has formed its roots first, the foliage, when it does appear, will grow much more rapidly, and without any check. Then remove them to another position, plunging the pots into sand to the depth of, say three inches, and raise the temperature at first to 60 deg. for the first few days, then gradually raise it to 80 deg.. When the buds begin to push, raise the temperature to 90 deg. or 95 deg., and keep the air moist by frequent waterings, say once a day. The best for this purpose is pure rain-water, but it should be of nearly the same temperature as the air in the house, for, if applied cold, it would surely check the growth of the plants. The young growth should be examined every day, to see if there is any sign of rotting; should this be the case, give a little more air, but admit no sudden cold currents, as they are often fatal. The glass should be whitewashed, to avoid the direct rays of the sun.
When the young vines have made a growth of two or three inches shift them into three-inch pots.
So far we have used only pure sand, which did not contain much plant food, because the growth was produced from the food stored up in the bud and wood, and what little they obtained from the sand, water, and air. Now, however, our young vines want more substantial food. They should therefore be potted into soil, mixed from rotten sod, leaf-mould, and well-decomposed old barnyard manure. This should be mixed together six months before using; add, before using, one-quarter sand, then mix thoroughly, and sift all through a coarse sieve. In operating, put a quantity of soil on the potting bench, provide a quantity of broken bricks or potsherds for drainage, loosen the plants from the pots by laying them on their side, giving them a sudden jar with the hand, to loosen the sand around them; draw out the plant carefully, holding it with one hand, while with the other you place a piece of the drainage material into the pot; cover it with soil about an inch; then put in the plant, holding it so that the roots spread out naturally; fill in soil around them until the pot is full; press the soil down firmly, but not hard enough to break the roots. When the plants are potted give them water to settle the earth around the roots, and keep the air somewhat confined for a few days, until they have become established, when more air may be given them. Keep the temperature at 85 deg. to 95 deg. during the day, and 70 deg. to 80 deg. during the night.
When the plants have made about six inches of growth they can either be placed in another house, or in hot-bed frames, if they are to be kept under glass. The usual manner of keeping them in pots during summer, shifting them into larger and larger sizes, I consider injurious to the free development of the plants, as the roots are distorted and cramped against the sides of the pots, and cannot spread naturally. I prefer shifting them into cold frames, in which beds have been prepared of light, rich soil, into which the young plants can be planted, and kept under whitewashed hot-bed sashes for a while, which, after several weeks, may be removed, and only a light shading substituted in their place, which, after several weeks more, can also be removed. Thus the young plants are gradually hardened, their roots have a chance to spread evenly and naturally, without any cramping; and such plants, although they may not make as tall a growth as those kept under glass all the season, will really stand transplanting into the vineyard much better than those hot-house pets, which may look well enough, but really are, like spoiled and pampered children, but poorly fitted to stand the rough vicissitudes of every-day life.
The young plants should be lightly tied to small sticks provided for the purpose, as it will allow free circulation of air, and admit the sun more freely to the roots. In the fall, after their leaves have dropped, they should be carefully taken up, shortened to about a foot of their growth, and they are then ready either to sell, if they are to be disposed of in that way, or for planting into the vineyard. They should, however, be carefully assorted, making three classes of them—the strongest, medium, and the smallest—each to be put separate. The latter generally are not fit to transplant into the vineyard, but they may be heeled in, and grown in beds another year, when they will often make very good plants. Heeling in may be done as shown in Figure 2, laying the vines as close in the rows as they can conveniently be laid, and then fill the trench with well-pulverized soil. They can thus be safely kept during the winter.
I have only given an outline of the most simple and cheapest mode of growing plants from single eyes, such as even the vineyardist may follow. For descriptions of more extensive and costly buildings, if they desire them, they had better apply to an architect. I have also not given the mode of propagating from green wood, as I do not think, plants thus propagated are desirable. They are apt to be feeble and diseased, and I think, the country at large would be much better off, had not a single plant ever been produced by that method.
Plants from single eyes may also be grown in a common hot-bed; but as in this the heat can not be as well regulated at will, I think it, upon the whole, not desirable, as the expense of a propagating house on the cheap plan I have indicated, is but very little more, and will certainly in the long run, pay much better. Of course, close attention and careful watching is the first requisite in all the operations.
III.—BY CUTTINGS IN OPEN AIR.
This is certainly the easiest and most simple method for the vineyardist; can be followed successfully with the majority of varieties, which have moderately soft wood, and even a part of the hard wood varieties will generally grow, if managed carefully.
MODE OF OPERATING.
There are several methods, which are followed with more or less success. I will first describe that which I have found most successful, namely, short cuttings, of two or three eyes each, which are made of any sound, well ripened wood, of last season's growth. Prune the vines in the fall or early winter, and make the cuttings as soon as convenient; for if the wood is not kept perfectly fresh and green, the cuttings will fail to grow. Now, cut up all the sound, well-ripened wood into lengths of from two to four eyes each, making them of a uniform length of say eight inches, and prepare them as shown in Figure 3.
These should be tied into convenient bundles, from 100 to 250 in each, taking care to even the lower ends, and then buried in the ground, making a hole somewhat deeper than the cuttings are long, into which the bundles are set on their lower ends, and soil thrown in between and over them. In spring, as soon as the ground is dry enough, the cutting-bed should be prepared. Choose for this a light, rich soil, which should be well pulverized, to the depth of at least a foot, and if not light enough, it should be made so by adding some leaf mould. Now draw a line along the whole length of the bed; then take a spade and put it down perpendicular along the line or nearly so, moving it a little backwards and forwards, so as to open the cut. Now take the cutting and press it down into the cut thus made, until the upper bud is even with the surface of the soil. The cuttings may be put close in the rows, say an inch apart, and the rows made two feet apart. Press the ground firmly down with your foot along the line of cuttings, so as to pack it closely around the cutting. After the bed is finished, mulch them with straw, or litter, spent tan or saw-dust, say about an inch thick, and if none of these can be had, leaves from the forest may be used for the purpose. This will serve to protect the young leaves from the sun, and will also keep an even moisture during the heat of summer, at the same time keeping the soil loose and porous. If weeds appear, they should be pulled up, and the cuttings, kept clean through the summer. They will generally make a firm, hardy growth of from one to four feet, have become used to all the hardships and changes of the weather; and as they have formed their roots just where they ought to be, about eight inches below the ground, will not suffer so much from transplanting, as either a single eye or a layer, whose roots have to be put much deeper in transplanting, than they were before, and thus, as it were, become acclimated to the lower regions. For these reasons, I think, that a good plant grown from a cutting is preferable to that propagated by any other method. In the Fall, the vines are carefully taken up, assorted and heeled in, in the same manner as described, with single eyes, and cut back to about three inches of their growth. They are then ready for transplanting into the vineyard.
This is a very convenient method of increasing such varieties as will not grow readily from cuttings; and vines thus propagated will, if treated right, make very good plants. To layer a vine, shorten in its last season's growth to about one-half; then prepare the ground thoroughly, pulverizing it well; then, early in spring make a small furrow, about an inch deep, then bend the cane down and fasten it firmly in the bottom of the trench, by wooden hooks or pegs, made for the purpose. They may thus be left, until the young shoots have grown, say six inches; then fill up with finely pulverized soil or leaf-mould. The vines will thus strike root generally at every joint. The young shoots may be tied to small sticks, provided for the purpose, and when they have grown about a foot, their tips should be pinched off to make them grow more stocky. In the Fall they are taken up carefully, commencing to dig at the end furthest removed from the vine, and separate each plant between the joints, so that every shoot has a system of roots by itself. They are then either planted immediately, or heeled in as described before.
The principal advantages to be gained by this method are: 1st. The facility by which new and rare kinds may be increased, by grafting them on strong stocks of healthy varieties, when they will often grow from ten to twenty feet the first season, producing an abundance of wood to propagate. 2d. The short time in which fruit can be obtained from new and untried varieties, as their grafts will generally bear the next season. 3d. In every vineyard there are, in these days of many varieties, vines which have proved inferior, yet by grafting into them some superior variety, they may be made very valuable. 4th. The facility by which vines can be forced under glass, by grafting on small pieces of roots, and the certainty with which every bud can thus be made to grow.
The vine, however, does not unite with the same facility as the pear and apple, and, to ensure success, must be grafted under ground, which makes the operation a difficult and disagreeable one. It will therefore hardly become a general practice; but, for the purposes above named, is of sufficient importance, to make it desirable that every vineyardist should be able to perform it. I have generally had the best success in grafting here about the middle of March, in the following manner: Dig away the ground around the vine you wish to graft, until you come to a smooth place to insert your scion; then cut off the vine with a sharp knife, and insert one or two scions, as in common cleft-grafting, taking care to cut the wedge on the scion very thin, with shoulders on both sides, as shown in Figure 4, cutting your scion to two eyes, to better insure success. Great care must be taken to insert the scion properly, as the inner bark or liber of the vine is very thin, and the success of the operation depends upon a perfect junction of the stock and scion. If the vine is strong enough to hold the scion firmly, no further bandage is necessary; if not, it should be wound firmly and evenly with bass bark. Then press the soil firmly on the cut, and fill up the hole with well pulverized earth, to the top of the scion. Examine the stock from time to time, and remove all wild shoots and suckers, which it may throw up, as they will rob the graft of nourishment and enfeeble it.
Others prefer to graft in May, when the leaves have expanded, and the most rapid flow of sap has ceased, keeping the scions in a cool place, to prevent the buds from starting. The operation is performed in precisely the same manner, and will be just as successful, I think, but the grafts that have been put in early, have the advantage of several weeks over the others, and the latter will seldom make as strong a growth, or ripen their wood as well as those put in early.
Mr. A. S. FULLER performs the operation in the fall, preventing the graft from freezing by inverting a flower-pot over it, and then covering with straw or litter. He claims for this method—1st. That it can be performed at a time when the ground is more dry, and in better condition, and business not so pressing as in spring.—2d. That the scion and stock have more time to unite, and will form their junction completely during the winter, and will therefore start sooner, and make a more rapid growth than in spring. It certainly looks feasible enough, and is well worth trying, as, when the operation succeeds, it must evidently have advantages over any of the other modes.
Vines I had grafted in March have sometimes made twenty to thirty feet of growth, and produced a full crop the next season. This will show one the advantage to be derived from it in propagating new and scarce varieties, and in hastening the fruiting of them. Should a seedling, for instance, look very promising in foliage and general appearance, fruit may be obtained from it from one to two seasons sooner by grafting some of the wood on strong stocks, than from the original plant. Hence the vast importance of grafting, even to the practical vineyardist.
LOCATION AND SOIL.
As the selection of a proper location is of vast importance, and one of the main conditions of success, great care and judgment should be exercised in the choice. Some varieties of grapes may be grown on almost any soil, it is true; but even they will show a vast difference in the quality of the fruit, even if the quantity were satisfactory; on indifferent soil, and in an inferior location. Everybody should grow grapes enough for his own use, who owns an acre of ground, but every one cannot grow them and make the most delicious wine.
The best locations are generally on the hillsides, along our larger rivers, water-courses, and lakes, sloping to the East, South, and Southwest, as they are generally more exempt from late spring frosts and early frosts in fall. The location should be sheltered from the cold winds from the north and northwest, but fully exposed to the prevailing winds in summer from the south and southwest. If a hill is chosen at any distance from a large body of water, it should be high and airy, with as gentle a slope as can be obtained. The locations along creeks and smaller water-courses should be particularly avoided, as they are subject to late spring frosts, and are generally damp and moist.
The soil should be a dry, calcareous loam, sufficiently deep, say three feet; if possible, draining itself readily. Should this not be the case naturally, it should be done with tiles.
I was much struck by the force of a remark made by medical friend last summer, when, in consequence of the continual rains, the ague was very prevalent. It was this: wherever you will find the ague an habitual guest with the inhabitants you need not look for healthy grapevines. Wherever we find stagnant water let us avoid the neighboring hillsides, for they would not be congenial to our grape-vines. But on the bluffs overhanging the banks of our large streams, especially on the northern and western sides, where the vines are sheltered from the north and west winds, and fully exposed to the warm southern winds of our summer days, and where the fogs arising from the water yet give sufficient humidity to the atmosphere, even in the hottest summer days, to refresh the leaf during the night and morning hours; where the soil on the southern and eastern slopes is a mixture of decomposed stone and leaf-mould, and feels like velvet to the feet—there is the paradise for the grape; and the soil is already better prepared for it than the hand of man can ever do. Such locations should be cheap to the grape-grower at any price. We find them very frequently along the northern banks of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, and they will no doubt become the favored grape regions of the country. The grape grows there with a luxuriance and health which is almost incredible to those living in less favored locations.
But the question may be asked here, what shall be done by those who do not live in these favored regions, and yet would like to grow grapes? I answer, let them choose the best location they have, the most free and airy, and let them choose only those sturdy varieties that withstand everything. They cannot grow the most delicate varieties—the Herbemont, the Delaware, the Clara, are not for them; but they can grow the Concord, Hartford Prolific, and Norton's Virginia, and they at least are "very good," although they may not be the "best." There is no excuse for any one in this country why he should not grow his own grapes, for the use of his family at least, if he has any ground to grow them on.
PREPARING THE SOIL.
In this, the foundation of all grape-growing, the vineyardist must also look to the condition in which he finds the soil. Should it be free of stones, stumps, and other obstructions, the plough and sub-soil plough will be all-sufficient.
Should your soil be new, perhaps a piece of wild forest land, have it carefully grubbed, and every tree and stump taken out by the roots. After the ground is cleared take a large breaking-plough, with three yoke of sturdy oxen, and plough as deep as you can, say twelve to fourteen inches. Now follow in the same furrow with an implement we call here a sub-soil stirrer, and which is simply a plough-share of wedge shape, running in the bottom of the furrow, and a strong coulter, running up from it through the beam of the plough, sharp in front, to cut the roots; the depth of the furrow is regulated by a movable wheel running in front, which can be set by a screw. With two yoke of oxen this will loosen the soil to the depth of, say twenty inches, which is sufficient, unless the sub-soil is very tenacious. In land already cultivated, where there are no roots to obstruct, two yoke of oxen or four horses attached to the plough, and one yoke of oxen or a pair of horses or mules to the sub-soil plough, will be sufficient. In stony soil the pick and shovel must take the place of the plough, as it would be impossible to work it thoroughly with the latter; but I think there is no advantage in the common method of trenching or inverting the soil, as is now practiced to a very great extent. If we examine the growth of our native vines we will generally find their roots extending along the surface of the soil. It is unnatural to suppose that the grape, the most sun-loving of all our plants, should be buried with its roots several feet below the surface of the soil, far beyond the reach of sun and air. Therefore, if you can afford it, work your soil deep and thoroughly; it will be labor well invested; is the best preventive against drouth, and also the best drainage in wet weather; but have it in its natural position—not invert it; and do not plant too deep. Should the soil be very poor it may be enriched by manure, ashes, bone-dust, etc.; but it will seldom be found necessary, as most of our soil is rich enough; and it is not advisable to stimulate the growth too much, as it will be rank and unhealthy, and injurious to the quality and flavor of the fruit.
Wet spots may be drained by gutters filled with loose stones, or tiles, and then covered with earth. Surface-draining can be done by running a small ditch or furrow every sixth or eighth row, parallel with the hillside, and leading into a main ditch at the end or the middle of the vineyard. Steep hillsides should be terraced or benched; but, as this is very expensive, they should be avoided.
WHAT SHALL WE PLANT?
CHOICE OF VARIETIES.
It is a very difficult matter, in a vast country like ours, where the soil and climate differ so much, to recommend any thing; and I think it a mistake, into which many of our prominent grape-growers have fallen, to recommend any variety, simply because it succeeded well with them, for general cultivation. Grape-growing is, perhaps, more than any other branch of horticulture or pomology, dependent upon soil, location and climate, and it will not do to dictate to the inhabitants of a country, in which the "extremes meet," that they should all plant one variety. Yet this has been done by some who pretend to be authorities, and it shows, more than any thing else, that they have more arrogance than knowledge. I, for my part, have seen such widely different results, from the same varieties, under the same treatment, and in vineyards only a few miles apart, but with a different soil and different aspect, that I am reluctant to recommend to my next neighbor, what he shall plant.
But, while the task is a difficult one, yet we may lay down certain rules, which can govern us in selection of varieties to a certain extent. We should choose—1st. The variety which has given the most general satisfaction in the State or county in which we live, or the nearest locality to us. 2d—Visit the nearest accessible vineyard in the month of August and September, observe closely which variety has the healthiest foliage and fruit; ripens the most uniformly and perfectly; and either sells best in market, or makes the best wine, and which, at the same time, is of good quality, and productive enough. Your observations, thus taken, will be a better guide than the opinion of the most skillful grape grower a thousand miles off.
I will now name a few of the most prominent varieties which should at least be tried by every grape grower.
This grape seems to have given the most general satisfaction all over the country, and seems to be the "grape for the million." Wherever heard from, it seems to be uniformly healthy and productive. Our Eastern friends complain of its inferior quality; this may be owing partly to their short seasons, and partly to the too early gathering of the fruit. It is one of those varieties which color early, but should hang a long time after coloring, to attain its full perfection. Here it is at least very good; makes an excellent wine, and, if we take into consideration its enormous productiveness, its vigor and adaptability to all soils and climates, we must acknowledge that as yet it stands without a rival, and will be a safe investment almost anywhere. Our long summers bring it to a perfection of which our Eastern friends have no idea, until they try it here. It will do well in almost any soil.
This, so far, is the leading grape for red wine, and its reputation here and in the entire West is now so fully established, that it would be difficult indeed to persuade our people into the belief, that any other grape could make a better red wine. It is healthy and uniformly productive, and will be safe to plant, I think, in nearly all the Western States. I rather doubt that our Eastern friends will succeed in making a first class wine from it, as I think their summers are too short, to develop all its good qualities. Will succeed in almost any soil, but attains its greatest perfection in southern slopes with somewhat strong soil.
This is a truly delicious grape, but somewhat tender, and wants a long season to fully ripen its fruit and bring out all its good qualities. Will hardly do much further north than we are here, in Missouri, but is, I think, destined to be one of the leading grapes for the Southern States. If you have a warm, southern exposure, somewhat stony, with limestone foundation, plant the Herbemont, and you will not be disappointed. It is healthy and very productive; more refreshing than the Delaware, and makes an excellent wine.
Is much recommended by Eastern authorities, and where it succeeds, is certainly a fine grape and makes a delicious wine. Here at the West, it has proved a failure in most locations, being subject to leaf-blight, and a feeble grower. There are some locations, however, where it will flourish; and whoever is the fortunate possessor of such a one should not forget to plant it. It seems to flourish best in light, warm, somewhat sandy soil.
This is immensely productive; of very fair quality here; hardy and healthy; and if planted for early marketing, will give general satisfaction. It hangs well to the bunch, and even makes a very fair wine. Will flourish in almost every soil.
Hardy, healthy and productive; will make a fair wine, but is here not equal even to the Concord, and far behind the Norton's Virginia in quality. May be desirable further north.
The distance at which the vines may be planted will of course vary somewhat with the growth of the different varieties. The rows may all be six feet apart, as this is the most convenient distance for cultivating, and gives ample space for a horse and man to pass through with plough or cultivator. Slow-growing varieties, such as the Delaware and Catawba, may be planted six feet apart in the rows, making the distance six feet each way; but the Concord, Norton's Virginia, Herbemont, Hartford Prolific, Cunningham, and all the strong growers, will need more room, say ten feet in the rows, so as to give the vines ample room to spread, and allow free circulation of air—one of the first conditions of health in the vines, and quality of the fruit.
The next question to be considered is: Shall we plant cuttings or rooted plants? My preference is decidedly for the latter, for the following reasons: Cuttings are uncertain, even of those varieties which grow the most readily; and we cannot expect to have anything like an even growth, such as we can have if the plants are carefully assorted. Some of the cuttings will always fail, and there will be gaps and vacancies which are hard to fill, even if the strongest plants are taken for replanting. Therefore, let us choose plants.
But we should not only choose rooted plants, but the best we can get; and these are good one year old, whether grown from cuttings, layers or single eyes. A good plant should have plenty of strong, well-ripened roots; not covered with excrescences and warts, which is always a sign of ill health; but smooth and firm; with well-ripened, short-jointed wood. They should be of uniform size, as they will then make an even stand in the vineyard, when not forced by the propagator into an unnaturally rank growth by artificial manures. This latter consideration, I think, is very important, as we can hardly expect such plants, which have been petted and pampered, and fed on rich diet, to thrive on the every-day fare they will find in the vineyard. Do not take second or third rate plants, if you can help it; they may live and grow, but they will never make the growth which a plant of better quality would make. We may hear of good results sometimes, obtained by planting second-rate plants, but certainly the results would be better if better plants had been chosen. Especially important is the selection of good plants with those varieties which do not propagate and transplant readily, such as the Norton's Virginia, Delaware, and other hard-wood varieties. Better pay double the price you would have to give for inferior plants; the best are the cheapest in the end, as they will make the healthiest vines, and bear sooner.
But I would also caution my readers against those who will sell you "extra large layers, for immediate bearing," and whose "plants are better than those whom anybody else may grow," as their advertisements will term it. It is time that this humbug should cease; time that the public in general should know, that they cannot, in nature and reason, expect any fruit from a plant transplanted the same season; and that those who pretend it can be done, without vital injury to the plant, are only seeking to fill their pockets at the cost of their customers. They know well enough themselves that it cannot be done without killing or fatally injuring the plant, yet they will impose upon the credulity of their confiding customers; make them pay from $3 to $5 a piece for a plant, which these good souls will buy, with a vision of a fine crop of grapes before their eyes, plant them, with long tops, on which they may obtain a few sickly bunches of fruit the first season; but if they do the vines will make a feeble growth, not ripen their fruit, and perhaps be winter-killed the next season. It is like laying the burden of a full grown man on the shoulders of a child; what was perhaps no burden at all to the one, will kill the other. Then, again, these "plants, superior to those of every one else." It is the duty of every propagator and nursery-man to raise good plants; he can do it if he tries; it is for his interest as much as for the interest of his customers to raise plants of the best quality; and we have no reason to suppose that we are infinitely superior to our neighbors. While the first is a downright swindle, the latter is the height of arrogance. If we had a good deal less of bombast and self laudation, and more of honesty and fair dealing in the profession, the public would have more confidence in professional men, and would be more likely to practice what we preach. Therefore, if you look around for plants, do not go to those who advertise, "layers for immediate bearing," or "plants of superior quality to all others grown;" but go to men who have honesty and modesty enough to send you a sample of their best plants, if required, and who are not averse to let you see how they grow them. Choose their good, strong healthy, one year old plants, with strong, firm, healthy roots, and let those who wish to be humbugged buy the layers for immediate bearing. You must be content to wait until the third year for the first crop; but, then, if you have treated your plants as you ought to do, you can look for a crop that will make your heart glad to see and gather it. You cannot, in reason and nature expect it sooner. If your ground has been prepared in the Fall, so much the better, and if thrown into ridges, so as to elevate the ground somewhat, where the row is to be, they may be planted in the Fall. The advantages of Fall planting are as follows: The ground will generally work better, as we have better weather in the Fall; and generally more time to spare; the ground can settle among the roots; the roots will have healed and callused over, and the young plant be ready to start with full vigor in spring.
Mark your ground, laying it off with a line, and put down a small stick or peg, eighteen inches long, wherever a plant is to stand. Dig a hole, about eight to ten inches deep, as shown in Figure 5, in a slanting direction, raising a small mound in the bottom, of well-pulverized, mellow earth; then, having pruned your plant as shown in Figure 6, with its roots and tops shortened in, as shown by the dotted lines, lay it in, resting the lower end on the mound of earth, spread out its roots evenly to all sides, and then fill in among the roots with rich, well-pulverized earth, the upper bud being left above the ground. When planted in the fall, raise a small mound around your vine, so that the water will drain off, and throw a handful of straw or any other mulch on top, to protect it. Of course, the operation should be performed when the ground is dry enough to be light and mellow, and will readily work in among the roots.
TREATMENT OF THE VINE THE FIRST SUMMER.
The first summer after planting nothing is necessary but to keep the ground free from weeds, and mellow, stirring freely with hoe, rake, plough, and cultivator, whenever necessary. Should the vines grow strong they may be tied to the stakes provided in planting, to elevate them somewhat above the ground. Allow all the laterals to grow, as it will make the wood stronger and more stocky. They may even be summer-layered in July, laying down the young cane, and covering the main stem about an inch deep with mellow soil, leaving the ends of the laterals out of the ground. With free-growing kinds, such as the Concord and Hartford Prolific, these will generally root readily, and make very good plants, the laterals making the stems of the layers. With varieties that do not root so readily, as the Delaware and Norton's Virginia, it will seldom be successful, and should not be practiced. The vineyard may thus be made to pay expenses, and furnish the vines for further plantations the first year. They are taken up and divided in the fall, as directed in the chapter for layers. In the fall, prune the vine to three buds, if strong enough, to one or two if it has only made a weak growth. A fair growth is from four to five feet the first summer. During the winter, trellis should be provided for the vines, as we may expect them to grow from twelve to fifteen feet the coming summer. The cheapest and most economical are those of strong upright posts, say four inches in diameter, made of red cedar if it can be had, if not, of any good, durable timber—mulberry, locust, or white oak—and seven feet long, along which No. 10 wire is stretched horizontally. Make the holes for the posts with a post-hole auger, two feet deep; set in the posts, charred on one end, to make them durable. If wire is to be used, one post every sixteen feet will be enough, with a smaller stake between, to serve as a support for the wires. Now stretch your wire, the lowest one about two feet from the ground, the second one eighteen inches above it, and the third eighteen inches above the second. The wires may be fastened to the posts by nails, around which they can be twisted, or by loops of wire driven into the post. Where timber is plenty, laths made of black oak may be made to serve the same purpose; but the posts must then be set much closer, and the wire will be the cheapest and neatest in the end. A good many grape-growers train their vines to stakes, believing it to be cheaper, but I have found it more expensive than trellis made in the above manner, and it is certainly a very slovenly method, compared with the latter. Trellis is much more convenient for tying the vines, the canes can be distributed much more evenly, and the fruit and young wood, not being huddled and crowded together as on stakes, will ripen much more evenly, and be of better quality, as the air and sun have free access to it.
TREATMENT OF THE VINE THE SECOND SUMMER.
We find the young vine at the commencement of this season pruned to three buds of the last season's growth. From these we may expect from two to three strong shoots or canes. Our first work will be to cultivate the whole ground, say from four to six inches deep, ploughing between the rows, and hoeing around the vines with a two-pronged German hoe, or karst. Figure 7 shows one of these implements, of the best form for that purpose. The ground should be completely inverted, but never do it in wet weather, as this will make the ground hard and cloggy.
Of the young shoots, if there are three, leave only the two strongest, tying the best of them neatly to the trellis with bass, or pawpaw bark, or rye straw. If a Catawba or Delaware, you may let them grow unchecked, tying them along the uppermost wire, when they have grown above it. The Concord, Herbemont, Norton's Virginia, and other strong-growing varieties, I treat in the following manner: When the young shoot has reached the second wire I pinch off its leader. This has the tendency to force the laterals into stronger growth, each forming a medium-sized cane. On these we intend to grow our fruit the coming season, as the buds on these laterals will generally produce more and finer fruit than the buds on the strong canes. Figure 8 will show the manner of training the second summer, with one cane layered, for the purpose of raising plants. This is done as described before; only, as the vine will make a much stronger growth this season than the first, the layering maybe done in June, as soon as the young shoots are strong enough. Figure 9 shows the vine pruned and tied, at the end of the second season. Figure 10 illustrates the manner of training and tying the Catawba or Delaware.
The above is a combination of the single cane and bow system, and the horizontal arm training, which I first tried on the Concord from sheer necessity; when the results pleased me so much that I have adopted it with all strong-growing varieties. The circumstances which led me to the trial of this method were as follows: In the summer of 1862, when my Concord vines were making their second season's growth, we had, in the beginning of June, the most destructive hail storm I have ever seen here. Every leaf was cut from the vines, and the young succulent shoots were all cut off to about three to three and a half feet above the ground. The vines, being young and vigorous, pushed out the laterals vigorously, each of them making a fair-sized cane. In the fall, when I came to prune them, the main cane was not long enough, and I merely shortened in the laterals to from four to six buds each. On these I had as fine a crop of grapes as I ever saw, fine, large, well-developed bunches and berries, and a great many of them, as each had produced its fruit-bearing shoot. Since that time I have followed this method altogether, and obtained the most satisfactory results.
The ground should be kept even and mellow during the summer, and the vines neatly tied to the trellis with bast or straw.
There are many other methods of training; for instance, the old bow and stake training, which is followed to a great extent around Cincinnati, and was followed to some extent here. But it crowds the whole mass of fruit and leaves together so closely that mildew and rot will follow almost as a natural consequence, and those who follow it are almost ready to give up grape-culture in despair. Nor is this surprising. With their tenacious adherence to so fickle a variety as the Catawba, and to practices and methods of which experience ought to have taught them the utter impracticability long ago, we need not be surprised that grape-culture is with them a failure. We have a class of grape-growers who never learn, nor ever forget, anything; these we cannot expect should prosper. The grape-grower, of all others, should be a close observer of nature in her various moods, a thinking and a reasoning being; he should be trying and experimenting all the time, and be ready always to throw aside his old methods, should he find that another will more fully meet the wants of his plants. Only thus can he expect to prosper.
There is also the arm system, of which we hear so much now-a-days, and which certainly looks very pretty on paper. But paper is patient, and while it cannot be denied that it has its advantages, if every spur and shoot could be made to grow just as represented in drawings, with three fine bunches to each shoot; yet, upon applying it practically, we find that vines are stubborn, and some shoots will outgrow others; and before we hardly know how, the whole beautiful system is out of order. It may do to follow in gardens, on arbors and walls, with a few vines, but I do not think that it will ever be successfully followed in vineyard culture for a number of years, as it involves too much labor in tying up, pruning, etc. I think the method described above will more fully meet the wants of the vinyardist than any I have yet seen tried; it is so simple that every intelligent person can soon become familiar with it, and it gives us new, healthy wood for bearing every season. Pruning may be done in the fall, as soon as the leaves have dropped.
TREATMENT OF THE VINE THE THIRD SEASON.
At the commencement of the third season, we find our vine pruned to two spurs of two eyes each, and four lateral canes, of from four to six eyes each. These are tied firmly to the trellis as shown in Figure 12, for which purpose small twigs of willows (especially the golden willow, of which every grape-grower should plant a supply) are the most convenient. The ground is ploughed and hoed deeply, as described before, taking care, however, not to plough so deep as to cut or tear the roots of the vine.
Our vines being tied, ploughed, and hoed, we come to one of the most important and delicate operations to be performed; one of as great—nay, greater—importance than pruning. I mean summer-pruning, or pinching, i.e. thumb or finger pruning. Fall-pruning, or cutting back, is but the beginning of the discipline under which we intend to keep our vines; summer-pruning is the continuation, and one is useless, and cannot be followed systematically without the other.
Let us look at our vine well, before we begin, and commence near the ground. The time to perform the first summer-pruning is when the young shoots are about six to eight inches long, and when you can see plainly all the small bunches or buttons—the embryo fruit. We commence on the lower two spurs, having two buds each. From these two shoots have started. One of them we intend for a bearing cane next summer; therefore allow it to grow unchecked for the present, tying it, if long enough, to the lowest wire. The other, which we intend for a spur again next fall, we pinch with thumb and finger to just beyond the last bunch or button, taking out the leader between the last bunch and the next leaf, as shown in Figure 11, the cross line indicating where the leader is to be pinched off. We now come to the next spur, on the opposite side, where we also leave one cane to grow unchecked, and pinch off the other. We now go over all the shoots coming from the arms or laterals tied to the trellis, and also pinch them beyond the last bunch. Should any of the buds have pushed out two shoots, we rub off the weakest; we also take off all barren or weak shoots. If any of them are not sufficiently developed we pass them over, and go over the vines again, in a few days after the first pinching.
This early pinching of the shoot has a tendency to throw all the vigor into the development of the young bunch, and the leaves remaining on the shoot, which now grow with astonishing rapidity. It is a gentle checking, and leading the sap into other channels; not the violent process which is often followed long after the bloom, when the wood has become so hardened that it must be cut with a knife, and by which the plant is robbed of a large quantity of its leaves, to the injury of both fruit and vine. Let any of my readers, who wish to satisfy themselves, summer-prune a vine, according to the method described here, and leave the next vine until after the bloom, and he will plainly perceive the difference. The merit of first having practised this method here, which I consider one of vast importance in grape-culture, belongs to Mr. WILLIAM POESCHEL, of this place, who was led to do so, by observing the rapid development of the young bunches on a shoot which had accidentally been broken beyond the last bunch. Now, there is hardly an intelligent grape-grower here, who does not follow it; and I think it has added more than one-third to the quantity and quality of my crop. It also gives a chance to destroy the small, white worm, a species of leaf-folder, which is very troublesome just at this time, eating the young fruit and leaves, and which makes its web among the tender leaves at the end of the shoot.