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.
A VINE grower, of Pleasant Valley, N. T., a locality famous for its fine vineyards, after some years experience, comes to the conclusion that shallow culture in the vineyard is followed by decidedly the best result. He says:
"We cultivate shallow, giving the roots the entire and undisturbed possession of the soil. By this practice, by the time the vine arrives at a proper age for fruiting, we have a root upon which we can rely for the perfect maturity of both vine and fruit, and in its proper season. Would it seem a fair inference to suppose that when the surface soil is filled with a net work of fine lateral roots that they would sooner be warmed into active life and give more strength and vigor to vine, than when by deep cultivation nothing remains but coarse tap-roots reaching down deep into the cold soil.
"It is my observation that our old vineyards that have been subjected to the yearly infliction of deep plowing are necessarily growing later in their period of ripening their fruit, year by year, for the reason that the growth in the spring is late and feeble, the leaf is weak and not sufficiently matured in season to ward off adverse influences; therefore, they become an easy victim to mildew, leaf blight, etc. My practice is to cultivate often until the last days of July, when all cultivation is closed for the balance of the season. The depth in the early part of the season does not exceed two inches, gradually working less deep as the season advances, when, by the month of July it will not exceed one inch, hoeing twice during the season under the trellis, all done with the utmost care, so as to avoid breaking or wounding any of the roots, as it is upon them I rely for the maturity of the vine and fruit. I would here say, that by this treatment I can ripen the Isabella and Catawba grapes with as much certainty as corn."