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 ensuing number will contain some illustrations of a cheap glass structure which has been built in Belgium for sixty cents a running foot, the most economical we have ever heard of. It is a subject of extreme interest to discover a mode of having cold orchard and grape houses at a moderate cost; they may be attended almost without expense when the plants are established, so that the man who goes out to daily labor may grow his ton of Black Hamburghs and reap a reward proportionate to his intelligence. His wife, if there was no other assistance, with the least exertion, could regulate the ventilation, and shut it up in high winds or during rain; but there are hundreds who work at home, who could obtain an income equal to that from a small farm by a simple grapery. At the latest exhibition in London, the prises for grapes were taken from all the expensive houses, by a gardener who built a small shed for growing vines for sale; a few of them were left to run over the structure, as will be more fully detailed in our next number, with a neglected little border and but little attention.
It is the season now when all will be looking about how to protect their valuable plants, and to facilitate this object, we give the dimensions of a complete pit of very simple construction, which we know to have produced a succession of bloom that shamed some finer structures.
It is in form something like the pit described in the April number, page 195, but has no flue, and from it the plants are taken to a little conservatory, made by simply inclosing a portion of the piazza communicating with the drawing-room, as fast as they appear likely to bloom. It is built of one and a half inch plank made double, and the space between the two sides filled with tan, which is cheaper than manure, renewing it every two or three years. Charcoal, where it is to be had cheaply, would answer equally well.
Length of the outside *
Breadth " "
Height in front "
3 ft. 6 in.
" hack "
7 ft. 6 in.
Length of the inside . •
24 ft. 4 in.
Breadth of the inside . .
5 ft. 8 in.
Height in front " . .
4 ft. 6 in.
" back " . .
6 ft. 8 in.
Outside front above ground
1 ft. 8 in.
" back " "
Probably another foot in breadth, making 9 feet, would be preferable.
It fronts S. S. E. with the door of entrance at the W. S. W. end, which in winter is closed, in addition to the door, with mattings of straw. There are 8 sashes of 6 by 8 glass, with straw mats, and half-inch board covers.
There is one shelf on the interior front, running the whole length for small pots, and behind, three shelves of half the length of the pit, to allow room for the largest plants to stand .on the ground.
This pit should be drained in some way, say by digging down to sand, but if that is impracticable, dig; one or more holes and fill them with broken stones, to keep the bottom dry.
Again, as to graperies: Lean-to houses are considered better adapted for forting-hotises than those haying span roofs, not so much in respect to the quantity of light which passes into them, as in their longer retention of the heat which enters with light, and which, as every gardener knows; escapes more rapidly from houses having glass on all sides, than from those having only one side, and that facing the south. To carry out, says an authority on this topic, the ripening of fruit to its highest point Of excellence, the leaves, from their earliest development, must be kept fully exposed to light, to insure the healthy action of their organs in furnishing an abundant supply of the necessary food for the fruit while in a young and growing state; and as the fruit approaches maturity, light, and a more full exposure to air than what may even be necessary during the period of growth, should be admitted, to enable the vital force within the fruit itself to perform the changes requisite to give flavor and proper consistence to its component parts.
To effect this, forced fruits should be allowed to ripen slowly, that the processes whereby their characteristic qualities are obtained, may be formed without being hurried, and the fruit consequently may. attain its fullest development of site, color, and flavor.