The future treatment of the Vines comes after planting, so that if we take things in their proper order we must leave them for a few minutes and consider the border. Vines may be planted under one of three conditions: (1) In an inside border; (2) in an inside border with access to an outside border; (3) in an outside border. The advantages and disadvantages may be summed up as follow:
A properly made inside border puts the roots under the grower's control, and is so far good; but in a very small house may not afford sufficient room.
An outside border is usually watered by the elements, thus saving labour; but sometimes there is too much, and at other times too little, moisture. Again, the roots may ramble into a bad medium, in which case shanking may ensue.
The inside-cum-outside border is an excellent compromise when the house is small; but the lower part of the front wall must be built in arches, to allow the roots to get outside when they have increased so much that the interior no longer provides them with an adequate supply of food.
In making an outside border there should be a slope from the house to the path, where a row of drain pipes should be laid, dropping slightly from right to left or left to right, so that surplus water may be carried off. Good vegetable soil will grow Grapes very well, and frequently there is no necessity to remove the natural soil; but where the soil is very poor it may be well to remove it to a depth of 2 feet, lay in some turves grass side downwards, and, in filling in, incorporate with the soil a dressing of thoroughly decayed manure or a mixture of road scrapings, burnt garden refuse, and 1/2 inch bones. Make the soil firm.
In making an inside border it will be advisable to be a little more thorough. Remove the soil to a depth of at least 2 feet, cut the base of the trench into a slope from the middle of the house to the front wall, and either ram it very hard or lay down a coating of concrete, the latter for choice. Then spread on a 6-inch thickness of brickbats or other hard rubble, laying this also over the drain pipes, which should run along under the front wall. This done, put in a double thickness of turves, grass side downwards, and fill up with the best soil at command, preferably chopped turves, with a tenth part each of broken hones and mortar rubbish. A depth of not less than 2 feet and not more than 3 feet is desirable. Let me strongly deprecate a very rich compost. It is not very long ago that I had to totally undo, on behalf of a friend, the work of a "first-rate practical man" (this was the hero's own description of himself). His border was nearly half leaf mould and rich, decayed manure, and was naturally loose. The roots went clean through it, and the Vines languished; but when the stuff was wheeled out, taken to its proper place (the potting shed), and a stack of turves built in its place, the Vine roots had to fight their way through the firm, fertile mass, fibres multiplied, and the Vines went ahead. So did the "first rate practical man" to another place, in disgust.