This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
From an article in the Cosmos of April 1st, 1882, I have translated a few extracts which you will find below, and which you are at liberty to print.
Of all the grape-vines which, since the appearance of the Phylloxera, have been brought to the public notice, none has attracted the attention of grape-growers as much as the tuberous-rooted vines which were brought from Soudan by the late Mr. Lecard, on his return from his travels in Central Africa. Unfortunately, the seed, which were distributed somewhat late, came up so imperfectly and made such slow growth that it has been impossible, thus far. to test fully the merits of this interesting recent introduction.
Should the seed, still remaining in the hands of the Lecard family, fail, when sown at a more favorable season, to give a more satisfactory result than that obtained from the sowings of last year, there is ground to fear that many years may elapse before practical experiments can be made with this new variety of the grave-vine, so great is the difficulty of procuring a fresh supply of seed from the source whence Mr. Lecard obtained his.
In view of these facts, we are pleased to learn that Vilmorin and Andrieux have, in an altogether unexpected manner, just received, not from Soudan, but from Cochin-China, a small invoice of seeds precisely similar to those brought by Mr. Lecard. They doubtless belong to the same botanical genus as the latter, and as Cochin-China is easier of access than Soudan, we feel confident that if, when tested, this new vine should justify the expectations which have been formed in reference to tuberous rooted vines, there will be little difficulty in obtaining, at comparatively short notice and small cost, enough seeds to test them on an extensive scale.
Mr. Martin, head-gardener of the government at Saigon, and to whom is due the honor of the first introduction of those seeds in France, in a recent letter spoke thus of this vine :
" I strongly recommend this wild-growing vine. It may prove a highly useful addition to the vines cultivated in France. The vine is tuberous-rooted. It loses its leaves, and its stalks die every year, and each year new ones spring from the tubers. One vine may yield one hundred kilogrammes of grapes. This it will not do as a general rule, but I have seen vines which bore that quantity. I found bunches which weighed four kilogrammes. This vine grows in every section of Cochin-Chin a. It could, I think, be cultivated in France in the same manner as the ordinary vine is trained in some countries, that is either on trellises or stakes".