Copyright
John Sanders.

A practical treatise on the culture of the vine, as well under glass as in the open air online

. (page 1 of 3)
Online LibraryJohn SandersA practical treatise on the culture of the vine, as well under glass as in the open air → online text (page 1 of 3)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


.



LIBRARY ^

OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.

GIKT OF

CALIFORNIA WINE MAKERS' CORPORATION
Accession ,0112.8 ClMS ...









PRACTICAL TREATISE



ON THB



CULTURE OF THE YINE,



AS WELL UNDER GLASS AS IN THE OPEN AIK.



BY



JOHN SANDERS,




Ju JRNAL OF HORTICULTURE & COTTAGE GARDENER OFFICE,

162, FLEET STREET.
1862.



SB 397

p|



AC-



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



DESCRIPTION OF PLATES . , ; .= . . . . ^

INTRODUCTION . \ . . .,. , v ... . xi

CHAPTER I. CULTURE OF THE VINE UNDER GLASS . 1

CHAPTER II. CULTURE OF THE MUSCAT GRAPE . . 15

CHAPTER III. CULTURE OF THE VINE IN THE OPEN AIR 23

CHAPTER IV. CULTURE OF THE VINE IN POTS 26



91128



DIRECTIONS TO BINDER.



PLATES I., II., Ill,, and IV., before Page 1

PLATES V. and VI. before Page 15

PLATE VII. before Pa ge 23

PLATES VIII. and IX. before Page 26



DESCRIPTION OF PLATES,



PLATES I., II., III., and IV,

PLAN OF DOUBLE-FRONTED WALL HOUSE FOR GRAPES AND
OTHER PURPOSES AS EXPLAINED IN CHAPTER I.



PLATE I.

EXTEEIOR END SECTION.

a. Pillar.
b b. Front lights.

c. Wrought-iron tie bar.

d. Hollow space for vine-stems.

e. Door-way.

/. Gutter to carry off the rain-water.



PLATE II.

FRONT ELEVATION.

a. Concrete to prevent the roots from descending into the

subsoil.

b. Brickbats for drainage.



Vlll DESCRIPTION OF PLATES.



PLATE III.

GROUND PLAN.

a. Pillar.

b b. Walls whereon to carry the front lights
ccc. Pathway.

d d. Walls dividing the paths from the pit.
e. Pit for growing various plants.



PLATE IV.

INTERIOR END SECTION, WITH SHED FOR BOILER.

a. Pillar.
b b. Front lights.

c. Hollow space for vine-stems.

d. Shelf for plants.

e. Small pillar for support of the above shelf.
//. Hot-water pipes.

g. Pit wherein to grow various plants.
h. Back path.

i. Front path.

k. Gutter to carry off rain-water,

L Shed for boiler, &c., and for growing mushrooms, &c.
m. Gutter.



DESCRIPTION OF PLATES.

PLATES V. and VI.

PLAN OF HOUSE FOR MUSCAT GRAPES (SEE CHAPTER II.)



PLATE V.

INTEEIOR END SECTION.

a a. Vines pruned and trained in readiness for forcing.

b. Border for the vines' roots.

c. Brickbats for drainage.

d. Concrete.

e'e. Hot-water pipes.
//. Iron support for the pipes.

g. Gutter to carry off rain-water.
h h. "Wire to train the vines.
t. Path.

PLATE VI.

GROUND PLAN.

a a. Vines.

b b. Border.

c c. Base of arches.

e. Path.

PLATE VII.

SHOWING VINES AS GEOWN IN THE OPEN AIE.

a, a. Showing vines in full bearing.

b b. Showing them after the crop has been cleared, and the

vines pruned ready for future bearing.
c. Border.
d d. Galvanised nails for training vines.



X DESCRIPTION OF PLATES.

PLATES VIII. and IX.

PLAN OF A HOUSE FOR GROWING VINES IN POTS AND TROUGHS.



PLATE VIII.

INTERIOR END SECTION.

a a. Troughs for the vines.

b b. Cavity formed with bricks and laths for drainage.

c c. Iron bar and pillar for support of trough.

d d. Vines.

e e. Shelves for growing a succession of young vines.

/. Pit for propagating or growing various plants.
g g. Hot- water pipes.
In h. Wire to which the vines are trained.

i. Back path.

k L Steps leading from back to front path.
/, Front path.

m. Gutter.



PLATE IX.

GROUND PLAN.

a a. Troughs.

b b. Laths.

c c. Open cavity for water to pass off.

d. Back path.

e. Front path.

/. Pit for propagating or growing various plants.
gg. Steps.



v ^

.

- ' ....



.



fcj




m


m


I


m\


a


m


L i


-






OF THE

UNIVERSITY



INTKODUCTION,



Nullam, Vare, sacra vite prius severis arborem.

HOR. Ode. xviii.



THE early history of the vine is involved in obscurity,
Many people consider its native country to be Syria ;
but this appears exceedingly doubtful. It has been
supposed that the vine was trained and reared by the
hand of man almost immediately after the subsiding
of the great waters of the deluge, as we find recorded
in the 9th chapter of Genesis, that "Noah began to
be an husbandman, and planted a vineyard."

The early cultivation of the vine in Egypt is proved
by the paintings on the ancient tombs. We have no
account of its introduction into Greece, where ifc
evidently flourished before the time of Homer; and it
is supposed to have been introduced somewhat later
into Italy, and spread from thence through the north
of Europe, and into Great Britain, as the venerable
Bede, writing in 731, makes mention of several vine-
yards. At that period they were generally attached
to monastic institutions; subsequently, however, the



xii INTRODUCTION.

monks and the vineyards, in a great measure, dis-
appeared together. After a time the grape-vine again
made its appearance, and might be seen not only
about the abodes of the rich, but gracing many a
cottage home in the southern provinces of England,
affording a source of emolument as well as of pleasure.
But, though much cultivated, it is rare that Grapes
are found to ripen properly in the open air, in our
high latitude and clouded skies. The forcing system
of cultivating grapes, by means of artificial heat,
was then resorted to, and, when properly managed,
fruit the most delicious in all the world may be thus
procured. The author of the following pages has no
intention, even if he had the ability, of adding one
to the many elaborate treatises written upon this
subject. His desire is only to lay down general,
comprehensive, and practical rules, which he has
worked out and tested for himself, and to which
he would fain draw the attention of others. A few
simple plans, also the result of experience, which he
trusts will be found generally useful to others, are
here offered to their notice. All conventional terms,
and words familiar alone to the horticulturist, are
studiously avoided ; and the advice of Cobbett has
been attended to, namely, that, in teaching any
science, we should avoid using scientific expressions
beyond the understanding of the unlearned, and
endeavour to teach our readers from what they do
already know that which they do not know.



A

TBEATISE



ON THE



CULTURE OF THE YINE.



CHAPTER I.

CULTURE OF THE VINE UNDER GLASS.

IN selecting a site for a vinery, choose a southern aspect, and
as elevated a spot as convenient. It is most desirable that it
shouldbe so situated, as it ensures many advantages by stand-
ing on high ground. It not only commands more light, air, and
sun, all of which are of the most vital importance, but it also
escapes much of that pernicious damp which always settles on
the lower ground, acting most prejudicially on the health and
purity of the spot ; and, in consequence, the borders, in low
situations, frequently become both sour and sodden, from the
difficulty there is in obtaining a sufficient declivity to carry
off the superabundant moisture. I would, therefore, always
recommend that, in building a house for grapes, it should
occupy a spot sufficiently elevated to prevent the necessity of
digging deeply. The advantages to be gained by carrying out
these suggestions must, I think, be sufficiently obvious to
recommend themselves ; for in very many cases houses of
long standing occupy low situations, and therefore, in order



2 A TREATISE ON THE

to secure a proper declivity to carry off all superfluous wet,
a very considerable excavation must necessarily be made, or
the border can never be properly drained.

Having said thus much relative to the situation, I now pro-
ceed to the erection of the grape-house ; and as every grape-
grower is fully aware of the difficulty in protecting the stems
of vines, planted in outside borders, from the frost during the
progress of early forcing (and even at a later period of the
spring they often receive injury from the same cause), I have
presented a plan for a vinery, which I feel assured will not
only remedy that evil, but will also possess other advantages,
which will be better explained as I proceed.

The house should be placed on arches, with a double wall
upon them, extending along the front of the building (as shown
in the Plate), and a space or cavity of five inches to be allowed
between the walls, with a plating along the top of each, and a
groove to receive the upright lights, thus making them to slide,
instead of opening with hinges. It may be argued, that this
plan of erection would not only be more expensive, but that the
double walls would present a heavy, unsightly appearance. In
reply to this, I hope to prove that the great convenience and
utility secured thereby will more than counterbalance any
little disadvantages, more particularly as, I think, the heavy
appearance would be much less increased by the plan than
may on first view of the subject be imagined ; as, for instance,
a single wall would of necessity require to be nine inches thick,
whereas in this case each one would be four inches, thus the
increase of width would only be the five inches of space left
between the two walls, and any deficiency of strength could
be amply supplied by wood or brick ties. It may, perhaps,
be unnecessary to say more, as all other particulars are fully
pointed out in the building plan. I will, therefore, proceed
with my next subject, viz., the border. This should be at least
sixteen feet in width, three-and-a-half in depth, including
drainage, &c. And, first, the higher side of it which abuts the



CULTURE OF THE VINE. 3

vinery should, when the border is entirely finished, be exactly
on a level with the interior flooring; and that being the
criterion as to the height, the necessary calculations for the
depth required to render it so must be made before the founda-
tion of the border is commenced, and the ground should be
prepared accordingly, always remembering to preserve from the
beginning the proper declivity, not less than eighteen inches
from the house to the front of the border, and to have the
surface of the ground quite smooth before laying the foundation
over it, which must be done as follows : Spread concrete to
the depth of four inches, and when sufficiently hard, upon that
put eight inches of brickbats; and next form a drain, extending
along the front edge of the border, to receive and carry off all
superfluous moisture. Having completed this portion of the
process, place two layers of sods, each to be about fourteen
inches long, one foot wide, and six or seven inches thick ; cut
from pasture which has been lying undisturbed for some years,
and which ought to be of a fibrous, rich, loamy substance; not
too retentive of moisture, but yet of that adhesive nature termed
" strong loam." The great recommendation is for the soil to
contain much of the fibrous matter, for the twofold reason,
that it prevents the soil from becoming sodden, as well as
giving nourishment to the vine-roots, as the grass and other
vegetable matters decay. It is not, however, possible at all
times to follow out this rule, as every locality has its own
peculiar soil, varying in density and colour ; therefore much
must be left to the judgment of the cultivator. Arrange each
sod with the grass-side downwards, for the hollow spaces
formed between the layers, as well as assisting the drainage,
will prove beneficial to the roots. The remaining depth of the
border should be filled up with the following compost : two
parts of rough turfy loam, similar in quality to the sods placed
below, and cut in pieces two or three inches square ; one part
of well-decomposed farmyard manure, and the remaining fourth
part composed of equal quantities of droppings from the sheep-



4 A TREATISE ON THE

fold and leaf-mould ; let all be well mixed together, adding a
little sand if the loam be deficient of it. Choose a dry time for
preparing the whole, as much depends on its being well mixed
in good working order. When it is thus prepared, suffer this
mixture to lie in a heap for a month or two before using it, and
let it be occasionally turned, so that it may become thoroughly
amalgamated. It will be necessary to give it some shelter from
the drenching rain, either in an open shed, or other convenient
protection, not excluding it from the action of the air.

In spreading the border with the sods, and also with the
above compost, great care must be taken to avoid trampling it,
which can be done by laying a plank down for the workman's
footsteps. By so doing the sods will be preserved in their rough
unbroken state, which is most desirable ; and the whole border
will settle gradually of itself, and the surface will be smooth
and even. In preparing this compost, take care to have plenty,
so that there may be a reserve in case of casualties ; you are
thus certain of having precisely the same mixture, if it should
be required, which will be preferable in all respects to a strange
compost being added. The border, when entirely completed,
should remain undisturbed a week or ten days, and in the
course of that time it will, doubtless, settle down more or less ;
and if it be found to have sunk below the desired level, it can
easily be raised with a little of the superabundant compost.

As the health and fruitfulness of all vegetable productions
mainly depend on the state of the roots, it must be evident that
no crop can arrive at perfection unless they be in good order ;
consequently it will at once be seen how necessary it must be
to supply them with whatever is most congenial to them. Now,
as scarcely any two sorts of fruit-trees thrive equally well in
one and the same compost, I am (in order to make the necessary
distinction) the more particular in endeavouring to point out,
as clearly as I can, the method and soil which I have, in the
course of my experience, found to answer best for the growth
of grapes ; and having completed these directions for making



CULTURE OF THE VINE. 5

the border, it may be as well, before proceeding with the
planting, to offer a few general remarks on the different kinds
of grapes most worthy of cultivation.

Amongst the best varieties grown there is, perhaps, none that
excels the Black Hamburgh for general hot-house purposes,
the quality and flavour of which is so universally known and
approved that it would be superfluous to say much on the
subject. There are also many other kinds well worth culti-
vation; amongst them the Frontignac, West's St. Peter's, Black
Prince, and Sweet Water ; all of which thrive equally well
under one and the same treatment, which is not the case with
the Muscats. I will, therefore, refer to these latter hereafter,
and proceed at once with the above named sorts, which are
procurable at any nursery, ready for planting, at a moderate
expense. And here I would recommend that the selection be
always made from those grown from eyes instead of layers, as
the former, in their growth, are found to be more close-jointed,
and also to produce finer fruit than the latter. In the course
of the subject, I hope to be able clearly to demonstrate the
advantages derivable from the double walls.

In planting the vines (the best period for which is in the
autumn) , I would recommend their being placed two feet apart,
or as nearly so as may be practicable ; but the distance must, in
some degree, be regulated by the underground arches, for the
following reason that the stems of the vines are intended to
be introduced through them, and to be carried up between the
two walls, thus affording them that protection from the effects
of frost, which is so desirable during the progress of forcing ;
and if each vine, when planted, is sufficiently long to reach the
top of the front sash, so much the better. In training them,
let the first be brought immediately under the rafter, and the
next under the centre of the light ; and so on throughout. It
is quite necessary that the wires, under the roof, to which they
are to be tied in the course of their growth, should be at least
sixteen inches from the glass. I know they are commonly



6 A TREATISE ON THE

placed much closer to it, but the consequences arising from
the practice are highly injurious to the vines. It matters not
what sort of glass maybe used, for the same objection exists
to a closer proximity, as the leaves in their growth soon come
into immediate contact with it, and are consequently scorched,
and the evils produced thereby will soon become obvious and
multiplied. In the first place, the injury thus inflicted checks
the sap, and prevents it performing its proper functions;
secondly, every injured part not only harbours insects, but
very frequently engenders red spider and thrip, whereas, when
the vines are trained at the distance before named, a free
circulation of air passes between them and the glass, preserving
the foliage in a healthy and vigorous state, and in every way
assisting nature in the performance of her mysterious duty.

Towards the end of March or the beginning of April the sap
will, without artificial heat, begin to circulate through the
newly-planted vines, and the buds will then of course be
immediately put forth, all of which must be removed with the
exception of the two leading ones, and the safest mode of doing
it is by pressure between the finger and thumb, as the use of
the knife would, at this early stage, cause them to bleed.
When the two reserved buds have broken, and grown a foot or
rather more in length, cut off the weakest, thus leaving only
one shoot to each vine. And here it may be as well to remark,
for the information of the learner, that this shoot will in due
time become a part of the bearing-stem ; consequently, as it
progresses, great attention must be paid to tie it in regularly
and carefully, and every precaution must be taken to prevent
its being bruised or broken, either by handling it roughly,
or tying it too tightly. In the latter case, be sure to give
plenty of room for expansion. The matting used for the
purpose should never be drawn tight, as, by doing so, if the
brittle shoot is not broken by it, the circulation of the sap will
be obstructed, which is an evil to be carefully avoided. When
the shoot is grown long enough to reach the top of the house,



CULTURE OF THE VINE. 7

it will be necessary to stop its further progress by pinching it
off, and, provided it is in as vigorous a state as it ought to be
at this period, it will very shortly throw out a lateral branch
at the bud nearest the extreme end, where it has so recently
been stopped, which lateral branch must be allowed to grow
until it has attained the length of twelve or fourteen inches ;
then it should be stopped, by taking a joint off at the point,
as recommended in the case of the principal shoot. It may
be necessary to inform the uninitiated of the object of this
process. I will, therefore, endeavour to explain it.

The crop of the next season entirely depends upon the buds
along the rod remaining in a quiescent state, and the only
means of keeping them so is the encouragement given to the
sap to flow freely to the part to which the lateral branches or
buds are proceeding, and thus preventing the buds from being
prematurely excited. There will also be either a direct or
lateral shoot thrown out from the base of these important
buds, but they must not on any account be permitted to make
much increase ; and, in order to prevent it, stop them beyond
the first joint, and this must be repeatedly done if their growth
should render it necessary : and the same rule must be ob-
served with the lateral shoots at the end of the vine also.

In proceeding with the culture of the young vines, only
moderate heat, merely acting as a little assistance to nature,
will be required. Therefore, a temperature not exceeding
sixty degrees during the night, and ranging from seventy to
eighty degrees in the day, will be sufficient during the whole
period of their growth. At this time, the frequent use of the
syringe in the evenings will be very beneficial. Take care,
however, to admit air early in the mornings, in order to allow
any excess of moisture to escape, and also to prevent the
tender foliage being scorched by the rays of the sun.

In order to encourage the free rooting of the vines, let the
border be occasionally forked over, to the depth of an inch
or two. Be most cautious, however, in doing it, to avoid



8 A TREATISE ON THE

disturbing the young fibres ; and, as the work is proceeded
with, give a good supply of water from a pot with a rose,
provided the border is dry. Ite particular, likewise, as you
go on, not to trample on the portion fresh watered, as it is
desirable that the soil on the surface should be hollow, to give
access both to sun and air.

Many persons entertain an opinion that the border may,
without detriment to the vines, be laid under some light crop,
but I am perfectly convinced that such a plan is the very
worst economy that can be practised, for even a bed of flowers
would be sufficient to exclude from the roots below the action
of the air and sun, which are necessary to their well-doing.

When the leaves have acquired the faded appearance of a
forest tree in November, and the wood is perfectly hard and
ripe, then, and not till then, is the proper time to give them
rest by exposure. At this time the vines should be pruned,
and, in doing so, it is the practice of many persons to cut the
young rods down to within a bud or two of the original stem,
thus deferring the time of bearing for another year, with a view
of invigorating and establishing the vines ; but I am perfectly
convinced and prepared to say from experience, that, provided
the foregoing instructions for the treatment of them up to this
period have been fully and carefully observed, they will be in
a fit state to carry out a good crop the next season. My own
system of pruning is as follows : Shorten the young rods two
feet from the top downwards. By doing this, the vines, in the
next forcing, will have room to shoot forth and bear their fruit
without coming in contact with the top or back of the house.
The side lateral shoots should also be cut off to within half an
inch of the bud from the base of which they proceed. When this
is done, the next thing will be to arrange them for their season
of rest, or wintering ; a period of six weeks, at least, should
be allowed for the purpose, and as much longer as possible.

And now I hope to be able to prove the second advantage
given by the double walls. The only thing required is to slide



CULTURE OF THE VINE. 9

out the upright sashes from the outer wall, which must be
done from the end of the house, then disengage the vines from
the wires to which they have been trained, and dispose of
them by securing them to the pillars, or any other convenient
plan which may suggest itself. This can be readily done
without the vines undergoing that twisting and distortion so
liable to bruise and injure them when taking them out of
houses, as they are usually built. In the present case all that
difficulty is removed, without any danger of checking a free
circulation of the sap ; and when the vines are thus disposed
of, and the front sashes slid into the groove of the inner wall,
the house is not only enclosed and in a fit state to apply to
any other purpose, but the top lights, by projecting over the
outer wall, will be a great advantage to the dormant vines by
the protection thus afforded them from heavy rains, and also
preventing icicles from hanging about them, whereby, accord-
ing to my belief, they receive more injury than from any other
cause. A free circulation of dry and cold air is highly
beneficial to them ; at the same time, a protection from too
much moisture is necessary, and, by adopting the above plan,
they will have the advantage of both.

Having thus arranged the vines for their season of rest, it
may not be here out of place to enlarge a little on the different
purposes to which the vacant house may in the meantime be
applied ; for instance, where early vegetables are required, such
as French beans, cucumbers, or perhaps strawberries, you are
thus afforded every facility of producing them. The same
facility is afforded with flowers ; a supply of roses, pinks,
lilacs, &c., can easily be had : in short, the advantages to be
gained by judicious management of the unoccupied vinery will
be considerable, and it will, I think, be admitted that they
prove more than equivalent to the trifling additional expense
of the building. The period at which the grapes are required
to be ripe must be the guide as to the time of taking the
dormant vines again into the house, for the purpose of



10 A TREATISE ON THE

commencing forcing them. Always bear in mind that five


1 3

Online LibraryJohn SandersA practical treatise on the culture of the vine, as well under glass as in the open air → online text (page 1 of 3)