This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
J. C. S., Normal School, Hampton, Va., writes: "I have a lean-to greenhouse twenty-four and a half feet long, and about thirteen feet wide, in which I wish to force Grapes. It is heated by steam pipes. One end is against the dwelling. The outside border is about four feet wide and two feet deep, and in it are planted close to the brick wall of the greenhouse, three Black Hamburg vines, four or five years old. They are not more than three feet high, having made but little wood this season, and the several irregular canes are not much thicker than one's finger. Will you kindly inform me through the pages of the Monthly, how I may proceed in order to get Grapes in cold weather, and also, how many vines I may grow in such a house? There are two stages, one in front, one in the middle, and shelves, like stairs, at the back. May I grow plants without detriment to the vines before they are old enough to fruit? As the vines are so old, I hope to get fruit from them sooner than from young ones. May I bring them through the brick wall, mulching them during Winter? If they are to be treated as though they were young vines, they might as well be taken up and planted inside.
In that case, the front stage would of course, have to be removed".
Grape vines three or four years old and not over three feet high, must have something the matter with them. What is the trouble cannot be be gathered from our correspondent's commuica-tion. Vines do better as a rule when the roots are in the outside border, than when the plants are set inside. We should keep the plants outside, drawing the vines in through the wall. But as the old ones have done so badly, would new ones do any better? Perhaps the roots are too deep; or the phylloxera may be injuring them. As we remarked to another correspondent recently, plants and Grape vines can be grown together only where the gardener has very superior skill and experience. It is an art that cannot be taught, and the majority of even good gardeners will fail in the attempt to learn it by themselves.