Growing seedling grapes is the simplest of operations. The seeds are

taken from the grapes at harvest time, after which they must pass

through a resting period of a few months. At once or in a month or

two, the seeds should be stratified in moist sand and stored in a cold

place until spring, when they may be sown in flats or in the open

ground; or seed may be sown in a well-prepared piece of garden land in

the autumn. When planted in the open, autumn or spring, the seeds are

put in at the depth of an inch, an inch or two apart and in rows

convenient for cultivation. Subsequent care consists of cultivation

if the seed are sown in garden rows, and in pricking out when true

leaves appear if planted in flats. In ground that crusts, an expedient

is to mix grape seed with apple seed; the apple seedlings, being more

vigorous, break the crust and act as nurse plants to the more tender

grapes. Sometimes it is helpful to the young plants to mulch the

ground lightly with lawn clippings or moss. Grape seedlings grow

rapidly, often making from two to three feet of wood in a season.

The young plants are thinned or set to stand four or five inches apart

in the nursery row. At the end of the first season, all plants are cut

back severely and almost entirely covered with earth by plowing up to

the row on both sides. This earth, of course, is leveled the following

spring. If the seasons are propitious and all goes well, the seedlings

are ready for the vineyard at the end of the second season, but if for

any reason they have fared badly during their first two years, it is

much better to give them a third season in the nursery. Seedling vines

are seldom as vigorous as those from cuttings, and unusual care must

be taken in setting in the vineyard, though the operation is

essentially the same as that to be described for vines from cuttings.

The third season the vines are kept to a single shoot and are pinched

back when the canes reach a length of five or six feet. In the autumn,

they are pruned back to two or three feet. In the spring of the fourth

season, the trellis is put up and a few fruits may be allowed to


The vines of promise may now be selected. The plants, however, must

fruit twice or oftener before it can be told whether hopes are

consummated or must be deferred. Growing seedlings for new varieties

is a game full of chances in which, while there may be little

immediate or individual gain, there is much pleasure. It is hardly too

much to say that the grape industry of eastern America, with its

300,000 acres and 1500 varieties, betokens the good that has come from

growing seedling grapes.

Secretary Selecting And Preparing The Vines facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail