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.
With your permission I will give a few practical remarks on outside grape borders which will probably suit the enquirer on page 83. Having the management of vineries which produced a fair crop of fruit but poor flavor, I found the cause as I expected, i. e., insufficient drainage and the roots almost all outside in a temperature of 34° two feet below the surface, and covered as you suggested. First, I drained it properly and then added a few feet of inside border. In the past season the result was no shanking and a fair crop. This season they have started strong and regular, look promising, and are now in bloom (12th of March); while at this date of the past year, under the same treatment, a few shoots were nine inches long and many not started. I presume the obvious success is the result of drainage, and the inside border in which the roots have now grown considerably. Temperature at the roots 73°, two feet deep; temperature of outside border 50°. For forcing, from November to March, there can be no doubt of the superiority of the inside border practically.
An outside border may be of benefit when the roots come into action before the full development of foliage and branches, if after this only useless laterals are produced.
If the outside border is persisted in it should be covered with boards to throw off rain and snow, otherwise the ground will be cooled down beyond the growing degree.
Under the heading of"Seasonable Hints" is the following on pruning the grape vine:"These latter become nothing but long rope-looking apologies for what a vine should be." There is more science in it than advocating training them down a back wall. It is impossible to discuss this article in a few lines.