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.
Where the wood of early Vines from which Grapes were all cut in May is thoroughly ripe, let all repairs in the way of painting, reglazing, and any alterations in the heating contemplated, be attended to forthwith. Continue to put former directions in force in order to keep the foliage clean and healthy. Late Grapes now swelling off should have copious supplies of water if the weather be dry. Vines that have been bearing heavy crops for years should be nourished and stimulated by sprinkling guano on the surface of the border before watering it. This, alternately with the drainage from cow - houses or stables in a diluted state, will greatly benefit such Vines. On damp, dull days put more or less heat into the pipes to keep the air moving, and never shut the houses up closely, either by night or day. Owing to the backwardness of the season, crops in general may require more fire-heat to ripen them thoroughly by the end of September. Take every precaution to keep flies and wasps from ripe Grapes, or they will soon disfigure them. There is no better way than to fix Hawthorn's netting over the ventilating openings. Keep a constant lookout on Vines in all stages, and see that red - spider does not gain a footing.
There are few better preventives than a circulation of fresh air night and day. Remove all lateral growths from Vines now swelling their crop; and in the case of Gros Colman, all lateral leaves may be removed soon after colouring begins. We have noticed that all bunches of this Crape well exposed to light colour the best. In the case of Vines which may have their roots deep in the border, a good means of enticing the roots to the surface is to remove all surface soil down to the roots as soon as the crop is cut, and to replace it with a layer of eight inches of turfy loam, with a third of horse-droppings and a sprinkling of bone-meal. The roots will work up into this rich fresh soil; and in the case of early Vines the roots will continue to do so in spring, especially if some warm litter and leaves be applied to the surface of the border when forcing commences. Pot-Vines intended for fruiting early next year should by the end of this month have their wood hard and brown, with well-developed buds. Expose them to the full sun, and a free circulation of air to carry on the ripening process to completion.
Remove all attempts at lateral growths; and the pots being now crammed full of roots, see that they do not suffer for want of water.
The season has been so unusually wet, sunless, and cold, that Vines which are in robust health are likely to be imperfectly ripened for another season's crop. In all cases where this is likely to be the case, apply tire-heat immediately the Grapes are all cut, and keep a circulation of dry warm air about the foliage and wood until the mould is well consolidated and the buds matured. If the wet continue, it would be well also to throw the rains off outside borders by means of shutters or glass lights. It is to be feared that even the very earliest Vines will not be ready, as they sometimes are, for pruning at the close of the month. Perhaps, now that we have so many late-keeping varieties, and early crops are so generally produced from pot-Vines, there is less necessity for the very early pruning of permanent Vines. Recently-planted Vines may have made vigorous growths, and will also require an extra amount of artificial means to thoroughly ripen the wood. The stronger they are, the more heat will be necessary to mature the wood. Pot-Vines intended for early forcing should, if possible, be thoroughly ripe, and about ready for any pruning they require by the end of the month. Place them in a cool place where they will rest thoroughly until wanted for forcing.
Look over all Grapes that are thoroughly ripe, especially if the wet weather continues, at least twice weekly, and remove all signs of decayed or shanked berries, and keep air about them as dry as possible. Muscats and all other late Grapes should have fire-heat sufficient to thoroughly ripen the fruit if possible by the end of the month. Look over late Vines and remove all laterals; and if Muscats are still greener than they should be, tie aside some of the leaves to let more light to the bunches. The extra amount of fire-heat will in many cases have bred red-spider; and as healthy foliage is of the utmost importance in the matter of Grapes keeping well, let the foliage be examined, and wherever there is any spider sponge it off. The inside borders of late vineries should have a good watering, if dry, before the Grapes are quite coloured, and then be mulched with some dry mushroom-bed dung to prevent the moisture from evaporating and the border cracking. Examine the outlets from the drainage of all borders, and see that they are working properly, and that no stagnant water be about the roots.
Any Vines that have their roots far from the surface should, on an early occasion when the border is dry, have the inert soil on the surface of the border forked up and removed, and replaced with some fresh loam well enriched with bone-meal and some decayed stable-manure. In the case of borders that through judicious management have their roots well to the surface, see that, if this month be dry, they do not suffer from over-dryness after such a season. A good plan would be to add a few inches to the mulching.