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Frosts








Although our winters are seldom severe enough to destroy the hardy
varieties, yet they will often fatally injure such half hardy varieties
as the Herbemont and Cunningham, and the severe winter of 1863,-'64,
killed even the Catawba, down to the snow line, and severely injured
the Norton's Virginia, and even the Concord. Fortunately, such winters
occur but rarely, and even in localities where the vines are often
destroyed by the severe cold in winter, this should deter no one from
growing grapes, as, with very little extra labor he can protect them,
and bring them safely through the winter. I always cover my tender
varieties, in fact, all that I feel not quite safe to leave out, even
in severe winters, in the following manner: The vines are properly
pruned in the fall; then select a somewhat rainy day, when the canes
will bend more easily. One man goes through the rows, and bends the
canes to the ground along the trellis, while another follows with the
spade, and throws earth enough on them to hold them in their places.
Afterwards, I run a plough through the rows, and cover them up
completely. In the spring when all danger from frost is over, I take a
so-called spading fork, and lift the vines. The entire cost of covering
an acre of grape vines and taking them up again in spring, will not
exceed $10; surely a trifling expense, if we can thereby ensure a full
crop.

We have thus a protection against the cold in winter, but I know none
against early frosts, in fall, and late spring frosts; and the grape
grower should therefore avoid all localities where they are prevalent.
The immediate neighborhood of large streams, or lakes, will generally
save the grape grower from their disastrous influence; and our summers,
here, along the banks of the Missouri river, are in reality full two
months longer than they are in the low, small valleys, only four to six
miles off. Let the grape grower, in choosing a locality, look well to
this, and avoid the hills along these narrow valleys. Either choose a
location sufficiently elevated, to be beyond their influence, or, what
is better still, choose it on the bluffs above our large streams; where
the atmosphere, even in the heat of summer, will never become too dry
for the health of the vine. It is a sad spectacle to see the hopes of a
whole summer frustrated by one cold night; to see the vines which
promised an abundant crop but the day before, browned and wilted beyond
all hopes of recovery, and the cheerless prospect before you, that it
may occur every spring; or to see the finest crop of grapes, when just
ripening, scorched and wilted by just one night's frost, fit for
nothing but vinegar. Therefore, look well to this, when you choose the
site of your vineyard, and rather pay five times the price for a
location free from frost, than for the richest farm along the so-called
creek bottoms, or worse still, sloughs of stagnant water.





Next: Girdling The Vine To Hasten Maturity

Previous: Birds



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