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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.

Next: Treatment Of The Vine The Second Summer

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