This section is from the book "The Gardener V3", 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.
Now is a good time to start Muscat and other late varieties requiring high temperature to ripen them to perfection, and fit them for keeping well through the winter. This especially applies to localities which are cold, and the seasons short. If there is a portion of the latest Grapes still hanging on the Vines, they may now be cut and bottled, or put in wadding in tin boxes, and kept in a cool dry room. This will allow of the Vines being pruned and the house thoroughly cleansed. All cuts made in pruniug should now be dressed twice over with styptic the day after the pruning, to prevent any chance of their bleeding. Where the earliest crop of fruit is from pot-Vines, pay great attention to the matter of watering, and feed them with manure-water up to the commencement of the colouring process,- after which give clear soft water only; gradually withdraw moisture from the air as the colouring process goes on, and give a more liberal supply of air on fine days, leaving a little on all night. Inspect the foliage minutely, and if there is any red-spider, sponge it off at once, or with a drier atmosphere it will increase and work mischief.
Succession-houses now stoning, and that are intended to succeed those in pots, had better not be forced hard till they take their second swelling, when, if necessary, to bring them on in succession they may be pushed along, especially on fine days. The night temperature may range to 70°, unless when the weather is cold. Take every advantage of sun to raise the heat on bright afternoons to 80° or 85° for a time, with a corresponding amount of atmospheric moisture. When the morning gives evidence of bright weather, keep the fires low and let the sun do the work. Hot pipes and a bright sun with a full flood of air, are a combination of circumstances by all means to be avoided. If the roots of these Vines are chiefly in inside borders, see that they do not become over-dry, especially near the pipes, where it is better to mulch them than to be too frequently applying water. Thin bunches and berries in succession-houses as soon as it can be seen which are the most desirable to leave; the compact bunches always to be preferred to the long and loose. Stop progressing Vines as soon as they extend to two leaves beyond the last bunch; and in the case of Hamburgs and all certain setting varieties, thin off all but one bunch to a shoot.
Do not be in a hurry to tie down the growths to the wires. To prevent injury from their coming in contact with the glass, partially tie them down and allow them to stiffen before finally tying them down, as strong Vines especially are very apt to break off at the junction of the young wood with the old. The end of the month is a good time to plant young Vines that were raised from eyes last season. Shake them entirely out of the soil; well wash their roots and spread them regularly out in planting; and when planted, water with tepid water, fix them to the wires, and allow them to break into growth in a low temperature.
Early crops will now be colouring. Where these are on Vines having their roots mostly in inside borders, let the soil be examined immediately the first signs of colouring are noticed; and if in need of water, apply it in sufficient quantity to moisten the whole border, and afterwards mulch with such as old Mushroom-bed dung, so that no more water be required for a considerable time. Where the early crop is from pot-Vines, give them water in quantity, and sufficiently often to keep the system of the Vines healthy and fresh; but as hardened and matured foliage and wood cannot make use of so much moisture, it may be slightly decreased both at the root and in the air - not suddenly, but by degrees - with the progress of the Grapes to maturity.
Increase slightly and gradually the amount of air, being more particular than ever to leave a little on all night. Let the foliage be carefully examined, and if there is the least appearance of red-spider, attack it at once with a sponge and clean tepid water; and afterwards, if clean water is at command, give the Vines a vigorous syringing, and more than likely the pest will be entirely defeated till the crop is used. Now that less fire-heat is needed to keep up night temperatures, and with longer days and more sun-heat, keep the heat at 70° at night in succession-houses where the Grapes are thinned. Shut up early with sun-heat, starting the fires just in time to prevent the heat falling below the desired point at 10 p.m. The air moisture should be increased in proportion to the sun-heat, but avoid a stagnant over-moist atmosphere with a minimum temperature, or mildew may be the result; while over-much moisture with heat and too little air produces excrescences on the leaves which check their growth. Look over all growing Vines several times weekly, and stop superfluous lateral growths.
Such growths are produced rapidly in the early stages when the Vines are vigorous and not over-cropped. It is bad practice to allow a rambling growth of these, and then to remove them in bulk at once. Thin advancing crops as soon as the berries of free-setting sorts are well formed, and thin them sufficiently at once; more shy-setting sorts, such as Muscats, should not be thinned so early nor so freely at first. In most cases all late Grapes will now be cut from the Vines. Any pruning yet to be done should not be delayed an hour. The wounds should be dressed twice over with styptic the day after they are pruned, to prevent any chance of their bleeding. The Vines and everything about the vinery should be put in readiness for starting again. Now is a good time to plant young Vines that were raised from eyes last year. Spring-put - in eyes should be shifted if in 3-inch pots into 6-inch pots, but not before they are well rooted: use turfy loam and a little bone-meal, but avoid fatty mixtures of animal manure.