A few grape vines, particularly if grown over a modest pergola, or an arbor where their shade would make a pleasant place of refuge through the Summer days, give delight by the beauty of their foliage and fruit. Hardy grape vines, if they are kept in good condition, seem to bear indefinitely. I know some vines which are still bearing profusely, well into the lifetime of a third generation.
Grapes thrive in a light clayey soil which has been well enriched. The vines should be two years old when planted, and the roots must be carefully spread out and every precaution taken in setting them, which should be done as soon as the ground can be worked in the Spring. The vines must be Downing, Houghton, and Industry are probably the three best varieties.
The blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries we raise, while not adding to the beauty of the garden, are fruits so delicious and so universally liked that, whenever it is possible, a place should be found for them in the home garden.
One of the bulletins issued by the United States Agricultural Department gives a plan for a small fruit garden, occupying a plot about 60 by 80 feet, on which the following could be grown: Six peach trees; six cherries; six dwarf apple trees; six plums; twenty blackberries; forty black caps; forty red raspberries; three hundred strawberries; thirty-two grape vines, planted at intervals of ten feet all around the plot, and eighteen dwarf pear trees. Such a small piece of ground so planted, if properly cared for and cultivated, would yield a large quantity of fruit.
Blackberries require a rich, moist, but well-drained soil. They may be set out in the Fall, and should be planted about four feet apart in rows that are five feet apart. In the Spring, a good top dressing of stable manure should be dug around the bushes, which should be kept free from weeds, and in dry weather, until they cease bearing, the ground around them should be kept loose by frequent stirring with a rake or hoe. The plants must be trimmed when they cease bearing, and as a cane bears only one crop, the old ones must be cut out; not more than six canes should be allowed to a plant, and if others form they should be cut down. The canes should not be allowed to grow higher than four feet, unless they are to be kept well staked. Where the Winters are very severe, blackberries are either bent down and covered with earth or tied to stakes and wrapped in straw.
Among the best varieties of blackberries are Agawam and Erie, early, and Lawton and Kittatinny, late.
Raspberries, both the red and white, and the black, commonly called Black Caps, are grown in the same manner as blackberries; the canes should be cut out, leaving but six canes to a plant, and they should also be similarly protected in Winter. A berry plantation with careful cultivation usually bears good crops for five years; it is then advisable to set out new plants on other ground. Newly plowed ground should not be used for berries, but a place chosen where corn, potatoes or beans were grown the previous year. Raspberries may be propagated by root cuttings, or suckers from the roots.
Fine varieties of raspberries are: Clark, Fastolf, Kenesett, and Marlboro, red; Golden Queen and Orange, yellow; Eureka, Gault, and Gregg, black caps.