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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


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.

Next: The Propagating House

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