This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In answer to enquiries made of Mr. Curror respecting the treatment of the vines at Eskbank that produced the 26 lbs. bunch of grapes, recently shown by him at Edinburgh, he has kindly furnished us with the following: - The vinery in which the large bunch of Raisin de Calabre grew that I staged at the international fruit and flower show at Edinburgh is a small lean-to house with a southern aspect. It measures 20 feet in length by 14 in breadth, and 11 feet in height at the hack, and is heated by four rows of 4-inch hot-water pipes. The vines were planted in 186S, and produced four bunches each, the third year after planting. They are planted 3 feet apart in the inside of the house, with an outside border 13 feet wide and 4 feet deep, the soil of the border being composed of one-half yellowish clayey loam and one-half light gravelly soil strongly impregnated with iron. With this soil are mixed a few half-inch bones and a small quantity of manure. The border is top-dressed every year, inside and out, with 3 inches of cow or horse manure, and gets no protection from rain during winter. There are five vines in the house besides the Raisin de Calabre, viz., two Black Alieantes, one Lady Downes, one Bowood Muscat, and one Mrs. Pince, all of which carry bunches above the average size.
The Raisin de Calabre which bore the 26 lbs. bunch produced three other clusters, one of which weighed 6 lbs., another 10 lbs., and one that still hangs on the vine is calculated to weigh about 18 lbs. This gives just 60 lbs. of grapes for one rod about 14 feet long. The vines are usually started about the loth of February, when the house is shut up for two weeks without, fire-heat. The third week they are assisted by a little fire-heat, and are also syringed several times each day until they break into leaf, after which the syringe is never used. I leave from 2 to 3 inches of air on all night, both at back and front, according to the state of the weather, and give very little fire-heat, except when the vines are in bloom, until the grapes begin to color. The inside border gets a thorough soaking with water three times a year - at starting with clean water, again after the berries have set, and, finally, just before they begin to color, with guano-water. Under this treatment the leaves grow large and leathery, which, with well-ripened wood, I consider to he the secret of getting large bunches of grapes of good quality.- John Curror, of Eskbank, Dalkeith, in Garden.