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.
Some time ago, on looking over an old work on Fruits, called the "American Orchardist," by William Kenrick, I found therein a description of the management of the Grape-vine as practised at Thomery in France, a modification of which is, I think, peculiarly adapted for cold Graperies. This consists principally of planting the vines at a distance of about eight or ten feet from the front wall, according to the width of the house, in fact, as near the centre of the house as possible, and of each year laying down or burying a portion of the vine in its approach to its destined position at the front wall. By this means an extraordinary quantity of root is formed, and situated near the surface, which is a great object in the culture of the vine.
Many advantages are certain to follow from this mode of planting, and they are so apparent that I think it quite unnecessary to enumerate them.
Now I have a word to say against planting at the front wall, and will show its disadvantages. When planted so near the junction of the borders, the roots have a greater tendency to penetrate to the outside than to ramify through that rich bed prepared for them inside; and if any person doubts this assertion, I only ask him to examine his inside border, and if he finds a great quantity of roots there, he is one of the lucky ones. It is a well-known fact that the roots of vines can be brought and kept near the surface by mulching, but its appearance is unsightly, and considered to be favorable to mildew, if on the inside. This being the case, the other mode will be adopted in preference. Again, much time and labor are lost in the application of moisture, as well as expense in the use of fertilizing substances, which do not come in contact with roots. Notwithstanding all this, I am not an advocate for inside borders only, but I think that the inside border is of most importance: by the time it is well matted with roots, there are sufficient to extend outside.