This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
We saw it announced some time ago - in the 'Journal of Horticulture' - that it was to be a new edition. A mere reprint, without bringing its subject up to the present time, is not at all likely, and would be quite unworthy of the reputation of its editor. It will be advertised when ready, and any inquiry in our pages just now would not in any way further your object.
As your locality is unfavourable for keeping Grapes, we cannot, as we otherwise would, recommend you to plant Black Hamburg, which is available for December. The same applies to Muscat Hamburg. These two are the best black Grapes available for the season you name. But under your circumstances we recommend you to plant for black equal proportions of Alicante and Black Lady Downes. As a white Grape, you cannot plant any Grape to equal the Muscat of Alexandria. But if you think that under the circumstances you would not be able to keep it, then plant equal proportions of Raisin de Calabria, Trebbiana, and White Lady Downes, putting the Muscat, if you plant it, and Trebbiana, at the hot end of your house.
To ripen Vines, heat, light, and dry air are the necessary agents, and not cold. Moderate frosts will not injure well-ripened Vines, but our own practice is never to expose Vines to more than a few degrees.
Without more particulars we cannot exactly tell you why your Vines break irregularly. Vines that are started in too high a temperature are very apt to break irregularly; and we have known applications made in winter for the destruction of insects injure the buds, and so cause an irregular break. But Vines pruned on the spur system seldom break as yours have done, if in ordinary good condition. We also suspect your Laurus-tinus has been subjected to a too high temperature. If well established in properly drained pots, and forced in a temperature a little above that of an ordinary greenhouse, the blooms will not drop prematurely.
The reason of the blistering or curling of your Peaches and Nectarines is cold and wet. We know of no remedy. If the season gets warmer they will most likely grow out of it and drop the worst leaves. To prevent it, cover them with glass and make a better climate for them.