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.
Further discussing the above subject, I earnestly desire to assist those who have started to cultivate the grape vine under glass, in order that they may more successfully cope with the rigorous changes our climate is subject to, viz:: extreme cold, heat and drouth. The following-remarks are intended more directly to apply to-the treatment of a cold grapery, where the vines are planted in a prepared border outside. The roots require to be protected with a covering of leaves or rough stable manure to the depth of fifteen inches, otherwise roots near the surface - where it is all important they should be - will get destroyed. When a top-dressing can be given, equal parts of sods chopped fine and well rotted manure will be an additional advantage before covering up. Covering should be done early in December: uncovering about middle of March.
Pruning should be done when the leaves have dropped. If any insects are concealed between the loose outer bark and inner, the former requires to be stripped, being careful not to injure the eyes on the spurs. A thorough washing with the engine dislodges and destroys all insects out of. every crevice. The method is more simple and effective than painting the rods with the usual compounds. In this way I cleaned a large grapery infested with mealy hugs, and kept it so for three seasons. Before •severe weather sets in, the vine rods require to be protected, otherwise the frost will injure or kill them outright. A good way is to lay them together along the front of the house in shape of a ridge, then cover with earth to the depth of four inches, leveling the earth back to its place when severe weather is past. Extreme heat, which would be the case in a span-roofed grapery, where both sides are exposed to the sun's rays, and the glass indicating 90° in the shade. My practice is to shade with a thin coating of whitewash outside, made by dissolving equal parts of lime and salt. It can be put on thin, not to darken the house much. The salt and lime crystalize on the glass, and is not easy washed off with rain.
From the sec-ond week in June till the middle of August is the period it should be kept on. The past season it had to be renewed but once, and by the latter date it was nearly or all washed off. The method of giving air is important, especially in the early part of the season; ventilators should open all along the house at the highest point.
"Whenever the temperature inside indicates 85° to 90°, raise the ventilators slightly, increasing as the temperature rises. The temperature should be kept as even as possible, rising and falling with the temperature outside. It is not safe to use bottom ventilators when they admit a current of cold air through the house. When the thermometer indicates 75° at night, a little air should be left on the top. To counteract extreme drought, it is greatly to the advantage of the grape vine to mulch the border during the Summer months. A covering of salt hay or stable manure is well suited for this purpose. We used it the past season with best results. The border was top-dressed last Fall as recommended; now the border is a complete network of feeding roots within an inch of the surface, where they get the full benefit of air and moisture. A good plan is to plug up the leaders, and put stops in the gutters; let the water run over on the border. The gutter breaks the force, and the mulching material will keep from washing, providing the fall is slight on the border.
A liberal use of water on the floor inside is of great advantage. A covering of sand to the depth of four inches is needed, as it absorbs and evaporates freely. Although it is customary to keep the floors dry during the period of blooming and coloring, yet this season we kept the floors thoroughly watered from the time of starting the grapery till the crop was ripened, and better colored or larger berries are not often seen than we had from this practice, the vines clean and healthy, and with well ripened wood.