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.





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