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 house is a lean-to, 40 feet long by 13 wide, 8 feet high at the back and 3 feet in the front, with a walk 2 feet wide and 18 inches deep in the centre, and a door in each end. The house points south south-east; the back, front, and north 6ides are made by setting cedar posts three feet in the ground and squaring them on one side, to which are nailed one-inch plowed and grooved floor-boards, making the back and north side tight enough to exclude frost, but sufficiently open to admit some air through the joints in the boards, which I think advantageous. The roof and other end are made of hemlock, 3 by 4 rafters, between which are one-inch pine strips grooved to let in the glass, which is 10 by 12 size, 4th quality; 4 two feet square and 2 four'feet square ventilators in the roof; and 4 two feet wide and 10 feet long ventilating sash hung on the front plate, together with the two sash doors, complete the ventilation.
The top ventilators are raised and lowered at pleasure by means of an iron rod shown in the sketch, which at its lower part is pierced with holes and fastened by means of a nail to the back posts. The border is 20 feet wide, running under the entire house, and extending 3 feet 3 inches beyond the front and back, except at one end of the house, where the soil is simply incorporated with wood ashes for the purpose of experiment.
The border is three feet deep, under-drained with rough stones, on top of which are layers of oyster shells, 50 bushels of bones, several cart-loads of coach-makers' trimmings, leather straps, (thus getting the old horse devoid of the putrid carcass;) the top strata consists of the old soil of an adjacent pasture field thoroughly incorporated with well-rotted manure, wood ashes, sand, charcoal, and leaf-mold, the whole of which had been prepared a year previously and suffered to be thoroughly intermingled. The border was prepared last autumn. At each end of the house are oil hogsheads, (200 gallons,) from which the rain-water is conducted into the interior tanks, thus having always a supply of soft warm water.
The rough cost was, lumber, $40; labor, $50; glass, $22; hardware, putty, hinges, nails, etc, $8; making a cost of $120, exclusive of border and vines. It might have been constructed cheaper by avoiding the plane; but being in the immediate vicinity of the dwelling, this was undesirable. 40 vines are planted in this house, 32 of the 40 being Black Hamburghs, 2 West St. Peter's, 2 White Frontignan, 1 Black Frontignan, 1 White Nice, 1 Muscat of Alexandria, 1 Golden Hamburgh. The front row are planted 18 inches from the front posts, and intended to be trained up 14 inches from the glass, with the intention of stopping them when they have proceeded half way up the rafters.
The front row will be pruned on the long rod renewal system, i e., having two canes, allowing one to bear a full crop, then cutting it down to a single eye, staking the crop the next year from the other rod, thus getting the fruit from the new rod each year.
The back row will be trained up on vines one foot from the back posts, on the spur system; the front vines being kept in check, and the length of rafter given will prevent shading. This season it is expected to fruit fifteen pot vines, which are now standing on the front border, as shown in the sketch, with the expectation of removal to back border when the front permanent vines may be encroaching, and there allowed to ripen their fruit To many, this would be an agreeable feature, as the characteristic of the American is to have the fruit the first year. This plan of house is well calculated for pot trees or vines, and was partly erected on account of its correspondence with a proposed house exclusively for orchard culture. The interior has had several coats of white-wash, with which sulphur had been intermingled; this and the cost of the posts, which were got out of the woods during winter, are not included in the estimate. A wooden latticework is placed at the bottom of the walk. The house, as far as tried, works admirably; the advantage of the two sized ventilators is perceived, as in cool clear days the small ventilators only may be opened, and as the heat increases the larger ones may be raised.
Should more ventilation be thought necessary, sliding doors may be cut in the back walk: for an orchard house this would be required. The house presents a very good appearance; and were another to be erected, no change would be made. To some the pitch of the roof will appear too low; but as we expect during the heated term to keep the glass clouded either by white washing externally, or by the painting to resemble frosted glass internally, we have no fears of the vines burning. The glass is all 4th quality, 10 by 12, and is remarkably good for the price; no better would be desired. A tank for liquid manure water will be an indispensable adjunct, and has been already provided for. The vines came fromi Ferguson's and Bright's, Philadelphia, were carefully planted, and are starting beautifully. More anon.
[The above is a good and cheap plan, and within the means of a good many who ought to have graperies. We should put in fewer ventilators rather than more, and are far from regarding the roof as being too flat. With a proper degree of moisture in the house, (a condition not consistent with free ventilation,) there is no danger of burning the vine, even with the thermometer at 175°; a proposition which may startle some of our friends, but which we know to be true. - Ed].