This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The ripening of the Catawba Grape is very uncertain in this latitude. About one year in three the average temperature* is sufficiently high, and the season sufficiently long, to make the fruit worthy of cultivation. The vine may be ornamental, when trained over a tasteful arbor in the open garden; but we can not forget that the most valuable property of a Grape vine is its fruit. The writer of this has made use of a partial protection, with gratifying success. I proceeded as follows: - The vines, two years from the bud, were planted three years ago, and had fruited two years. They were planted about eight feet from a board fence eight feet high. Rafters were then erected, at intervals corresponding with the width of such sash as was designed to be used. I used in part the out tide or duplicate sash of my dwelling house, which could be spared on the first of April. The ends of the house were closed up with common boards, and the roof covered tight with boards at the top for about three feet On the first of April I laid on the sash, and removed it about the first of June. At that date, the vines were taken from their reclining posture under the rafters, and tied up to a trellis of wire, erected for the purpose, a little in advance of the position of the vines, so that they might have a full exposure to all the external influences of nature.
This exposure is very essential to the health and vigorous growth of our native Grapes in summer. Nothing else out of the common course is to be done till there is danger from frost, or a severe north wind and fall of temperature approaching a frost Last fall I unfastened the vines from the trellis, and secured them under the rafters, and replaced the sash, about the 10th of October. This secured them against the first reverse of temperature; and on the return of sunny, warm days, the sash was partially removed, to give them air. With this treatment, the maturing process went on in a most admirable manner, and the flavor of the fruit was all that could be asked for.
A few words about "Peaches under glass." I made an experiment in a small way, as a mat-ter of amusement I planted a few young trees on pieces of matting, in the vinery. The vinery was subjected to a gentle forcing by artificial heat, and the trees were, about the 20th of May, removed carefully into the open garden. The roots were not disturbed, and the growth not checked. Several Peaches succeeded and ripened about a week before the usual time. But, (as your correspondent in Utica will find,) the great evil will be, the feeble state of the impregnation. The air in the house is not fresh and tonic; and if the house be thrown open to ventilate, to a great extent, the temperature will be too for reduced, and the fruit blasted. If Mr. Barker wishes to pursue the subject, he may find some good suggestions in the article "Horticulture," in the Edinburg Encyclopedia. A. Messer. - Geneva, N. Y.