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European Grapes In Eastern America








As we have seen, there were many efforts to grow European grapes in
America during the first two centuries in the settlement of the
country. The various attempts, some involving individuals, others
corporations and in early days even colonies, form about the most
instructive and dramatic episodes in the history of American
agriculture. All endeavors, it will be remembered, were failures, so
dismally and pathetically complete that we are wont to think of the
two hundred years from the first settlements in America to the
introduction of the Isabella, a native grape, as time wasted in futile
culture of a foreign fruit. The early efforts were far from wasted,
however, for out of the tribulations of two centuries of grape-growing
came the domestication of our native grapes, one of the most
remarkable achievements of agriculture.

The advent of Isabella and Catawba wholly turned the thoughts of
vineyardists from Old World to New World grapes. So completely,
indeed, were viticulturists won by the thousand and more native
grapes, that for the century which followed no one has planted Old
World grapes east of the Rockies, while vineyards of native species
may be found North and South from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Meanwhile, much new knowledge has come to agriculture, old fallacies
have received many hard knocks and chains of tradition in which the
culture of plants was bound, have been broken. In no field of
agriculture have workers received greater aid from science than in
viticulture. Particularly is this true of the diseases of the vine.
The reports of the old experimenters were much the same, "a sickness
takes hold of the vines and they die." What the sickness was and
whether there were preventatives or remedies, no one knew a hundred
years ago. But in the last half century we have learned much about the
ills of grapes and now know preventatives or remedies for most of
them. We know also that the early vine-growers failed, in part at
least, because they followed empirical European practices. Is it not
possible that with the new knowledge we can now grow European grapes
in eastern America? The New York Agricultural Experiment Station has
put this question to test, with results indicating that European
grapes may now be grown successfully in eastern America. The following
is an account of the work with this fruit at the New York Station.





Next: European Grapes At The New York Experiment Station

Previous: Vine Pruning In California



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