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.
Continue to keep a strict watch on all Grapes that are still hanging, as directed last month. Where it becomes a necessity to introduce plants requiring water into vineries where the fruit still hangs, it will be best to cut the fruit with a portion of the wood attached, and put them in bottles of water in a dry room, where the temperature can be kept steadily about 40°, after which the Vines can be pruned and dressed as recommended in former Calendars, the house cleansed, or, if required, painted; the border top-dressed, and then filled with plants that do not require a temperature above 40°. As soon as the early-started Vines fairly burst their buds, raise the temperature a few degrees, and when the young growths are half an inch long raise the night temperature to 60°, and that of the day to 65° in mild weather. Pot-Vines that are required very early may have a degree or two more, but it is far safest not to force too hurriedly, while the days are so short, cold, and dull; but to get well under weigh, and be ready for more rapid work when there are longer days and more heat from the sun. High night temperatures are not desirable, and where hard forcing has to be done, it should be done chiefly with day, and if possible sun, light.
A great many vineries are started this month, and instead of repeating last month's directions in reference to starting them, we refer our readers to them. Prune, and otherwise get ready for starting succession-houses. Now is a favourable time for making preparations for planting young Vines in spring, where such is contemplated. The chief source of success undoubtedly is, a good border on a good site. Perfect drainage is of great importance, and it should be so perfect that stagnant water, or water from adjoining ground or streams or ponds, will be an impossibility. In wet localities we would recommend a third of the border to be above the ground-level, if the soil is naturally heavy and damp. We do not, however, approve of shallow borders, and would not make a Vine-border less than 3 feet at the front of the vinery, sloping to 2½ feet, or 2 feet 9 inches, at the extremity of the border. As to soils, we have come to the conclusion that mixtures of such as loam and ordinary yard-manure or leaf-mould are an evil in the case of many plants besides the Vine. For Vines, however, we would recommend a sound loam, with some crushed bones, and, it may be, horn shavings; and all other stimulating material to be afterwards applied in the shape of top-dreesings.