Planting





The distance at which the vines may be planted will of course vary

somewhat with the growth of the different varieties. The rows may all

be six feet apart, as this is the most convenient distance for

cultivating, and gives ample space for a horse and man to pass through

with plough or cultivator. Slow-growing varieties, such as the Delaware

and Catawba, may be planted six feet apart in the rows, making the

distance six feet each way; but the Concord, Norton's Virginia,

Herbemont, Hartford Prolific, Cunningham, and all the strong growers,

will need more room, say ten feet in the rows, so as to give the vines

ample room to spread, and allow free circulation of air--one of the

first conditions of health in the vines, and quality of the fruit.



The next question to be considered is: Shall we plant cuttings or

rooted plants? My preference is decidedly for the latter, for the

following reasons: Cuttings are uncertain, even of those varieties

which grow the most readily; and we cannot expect to have anything like

an even growth, such as we can have if the plants are carefully

assorted. Some of the cuttings will always fail, and there will be gaps

and vacancies which are hard to fill, even if the strongest plants are

taken for replanting. Therefore, let us choose plants.



But we should not only choose rooted plants, but the best we can get;

and these are good one year old, whether grown from cuttings, layers or

single eyes. A good plant should have plenty of strong, well-ripened

roots; not covered with excrescences and warts, which is always a sign

of ill health; but smooth and firm; with well-ripened, short-jointed

wood. They should be of uniform size, as they will then make an even

stand in the vineyard, when not forced by the propagator into an

unnaturally rank growth by artificial manures. This latter

consideration, I think, is very important, as we can hardly expect such

plants, which have been petted and pampered, and fed on rich diet, to

thrive on the every-day fare they will find in the vineyard. Do not

take second or third rate plants, if you can help it; they may live and

grow, but they will never make the growth which a plant of better

quality would make. We may hear of good results sometimes, obtained by

planting second-rate plants, but certainly the results would be better

if better plants had been chosen. Especially important is the selection

of good plants with those varieties which do not propagate and

transplant readily, such as the Norton's Virginia, Delaware, and other

hard-wood varieties. Better pay double the price you would have to give

for inferior plants; the best are the cheapest in the end, as they will

make the healthiest vines, and bear sooner.



But I would also caution my readers against those who will sell you

"extra large layers, for _immediate_ bearing," and whose "plants are

better than those whom anybody else may grow," as their advertisements

will term it. It is time that this humbug should cease; time that the

public in general should know, that they cannot, in nature and reason,

expect any fruit from a plant transplanted the same season; and that

those who pretend it can be done, without vital injury to the plant,

are only seeking to fill their pockets at the cost of their customers.

They know well enough themselves that it cannot be done without killing

or fatally injuring the plant, yet they will impose upon the credulity

of their confiding customers; make them pay from $3 to $5 a piece for a

plant, which these good souls will buy, with a vision of a fine crop of

grapes before their eyes, plant them, with long tops, on which they may

obtain a few sickly bunches of fruit the first season; but if they do

the vines will make a feeble growth, not ripen their fruit, and perhaps

be winter-killed the next season. It is like laying the burden of a

full grown man on the shoulders of a child; what was perhaps no burden

at all to the one, will kill the other. Then, again, these "plants,

superior to those of every one else." It is the duty of every

propagator and nursery-man to raise good plants; he can do it if he

tries; it is for his interest as much as for the interest of his

customers to raise plants of the best quality; and we have no reason to

suppose that we are infinitely superior to our neighbors. While the

first is a downright swindle, the latter is the height of arrogance. If

we had a good deal less of bombast and self laudation, and more of

honesty and fair dealing in the profession, the public would have more

confidence in professional men, and would be more likely to practice

what we preach. Therefore, if you look around for plants, do not go to

those who advertise, "layers for immediate bearing," or "plants of

superior quality to all others grown;" but go to men who have honesty

and modesty enough to send you a sample of their best plants, if

required, and who are not averse to let you see how they grow them.

Choose their good, strong healthy, one year old plants, with strong,

firm, healthy roots, and let those who wish to be humbugged buy the

layers for _immediate_ bearing. You must be content to wait until the

third year for the first crop; but, then, if you have treated your

plants as you ought to do, you can look for a crop that will make your

heart glad to see and gather it. You cannot, in reason and nature

expect it sooner. If your ground has been prepared in the Fall, so much

the better, and if thrown into ridges, so as to elevate the ground

somewhat, where the row is to be, they may be planted in the Fall. The

advantages of Fall planting are as follows: The ground will generally

work better, as we have better weather in the Fall; and generally more

time to spare; the ground can settle among the roots; the roots will

have healed and callused over, and the young plant be ready to start

with full vigor in spring.





Mark your ground, laying it off with a line, and put down a small stick

or peg, eighteen inches long, wherever a plant is to stand. Dig a hole,

about eight to ten inches deep, as shown in Figure 5, in a slanting

direction, raising a small mound in the bottom, of well-pulverized,

mellow earth; then, having pruned your plant as shown in Figure 6, with

its roots and tops shortened in, as shown by the dotted lines, lay it

in, resting the lower end on the mound of earth, spread out its roots

evenly to all sides, and then fill in among the roots with rich,

well-pulverized earth, the upper bud being left above the ground. When

planted in the fall, raise a small mound around your vine, so that the

water will drain off, and throw a handful of straw or any other mulch

on top, to protect it. Of course, the operation should be performed

when the ground is dry enough to be light and mellow, and will readily

work in among the roots.





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