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.
I thank my old friend, Mr. Reid, for coming to my rescue at a time when I had to spend, not a single hour, but every hour of daylight in my vineyard. He also is a Pratiquer, and I take much pleasure in reading his articles in the Horticulturist. Dear Mr. Editor, I hope you do not intend to give up your Hints on Grape Culture. Positively 1 shall drop my subscription to the Horticulturist if yon do. I would as soon be without cream in my coffee. No, no, don't; not that 1 love Pear culture less, but that I love Grape-growing more, and these little short (too short) hints make roe feel willing to overlook all shortcomings in your ever welcome monthly. Where are your promised Entomological articles? Do give us grape entomology: which of the insects is hurtful, which friendly? Why the Pennsylvania proverb, no rose bugs, no grapes? 1 like proverbs, especially Solomon's, sincerely believing that he was really a wise man, in some things; but I like to understand their application. I have learned by experience that the rose bug destroys the grape blossoms, and will prevent a crop; last year I had the satisfaction of pinching upwards of eleven thousand of them on a small grape patch, and this season had not as many score, which I pinched with equal pleasure.
They also injure the leaves of the vine. The steel-blue beetle is an enemy, boring the buds, which decay without breaking into leaf, and this includes leaves and blossoms.
* Nouvelle Maison Rusttique, vol. ii., p. 148.
I know that the lady bug is a friend, but what are the snapping bug, the large brown beetle, the blue-green rose bug, the same size and general appearance of the steel-blue beetle, coming two months later; the ink bug, the lightning bug, the fetid bug, and the squash bug? What insect is it that heads in the tender shoots, cutting them square off, except a little piece of the outer bark by which it hangs? What good or evil does the black aphis to the tender ends of the grape? What insect causes the swelling on the Delaware leaves? We are on the threshold, and have every thing yet to learn. I have heard of a currant-like parasite on the Delaware and Clinton grape, but have never seen it. Can you describe it 1
It is rather early in the season to describe grape experience for 1862. In 1858 I set out many different kinds of grapes, obtained at high cost, and the plants were; highly attenuated; some of them I should think were the twentieth dilution. This is my fifth season. Dianas, Concords, and Hartford Prolines have recovered, and now cover the trellis, and show perfect gems of fruit. Delawares of same season, price $5, come up to the third wire, and show some fruit To-Kalon nearly the same. Rebecca and Anna very feeble, not reaching the second wire. They have ail had the same treatment. 1 have Delawares of my own raising from buds under glass the last season, which promise another year to surpass their older namesakes, planted in 1858, and growing in the same ground; the difference is, that my own roots were very fine; those that I bought very feeble. The only really good grape roots (except Isabella and Catawba) which I have had from abroad, fit to set out in the open air, was the Creveling you sent roe - an honest root, put up, I doubt not, by an honest man, and it is doing credit to its producer.
[Thank you for your good opinion of our humble Hints on Grape Culture. The scores of commendatory letters that we have received in regard to those brief articles are more than a sufficient inducement to continue them to the end, and we shall do so. The articles are doubtless too short, but they are made so in obe- dience to a popular clamor, the good sense of which we have never been able to perceive. They have all been written just as they were wanted, and without forethought; and just as we get warmed up it is time to stop. Very short articles on most subjects are the veriest trifles, so far as communicating any amount of sound knowledge is concerned. We have not forgotten the Entomology of the grape vine; that will come in due season. In the mean time we treasure up your suggestions and all others that we receive, and in this way hope to make the subject as perfect as may be. The lady bug and'the lightning bug you may spare, but all the others you name may be introduced to the familiar acquaintance of your thumb and forefinger. - The little globules referred to are not peculiar to the Delaware and Clinton. You will find them on vines in common, especially in your grapery. If you look, they can scarcely escape your eye, though they are not much like currants.
Grape culture has been much retarded by the sale of poor vines. Having raised good ones yourself, you can judge to what extent this cause has operated. The Creveling we sent you was put up by Mr. Goodwin, of Kingston, Penn., and he must have the credit of it. We know it to have been good. Do not keep silent so long again. - Ed].
Grape culture is no abstruse science, but no one can expect to produce crops of this fruit without labor and care. After the vineyard is set out and arranged, and is ready to return, some fifty, some a hundred fold, the cultivator in many instances begrudges the amount of labor requisite to produce a crop of corn, worth perhaps in market one-fifth the grape crop; but so it is. As I ride about the country, I see so-called vineyards growing up with grass and weeds, the vines running on the ground, or upon poles or trellises without care; neither pruned nor pinched, making long, slender shoots (not arms) on the ends of equally slender growth of former years. This carelessness is unpardonable. " Do men expect to gather grapes from thorns?" They might as well; for well-cultivated thorns will produce nearly as many grapes as well-neglected vines. It is painful to see and hear the excuses among the owners of such patches (I can not call them vineyards) of grapes. All mean to do it; but one has his corn to plant or to hoe, his hay to make, his potatoes to dig, and his crops to gather, and so he neither prunes and lays down his vines in the fall, nor ties them up or digs around them in the spring; the ground is not plowed, the laterals are not pinched, and, finally, the fruit is not gathered, for there is none.
Now, common sense ought to teach every man, that after he has expended his money to buy or cultivate the roots, prepare the ground, set stakes or erect a trellis, his money is wasted unless he does a little something more; and a man who will not do that something more brings disgrace upon the profession, and virtually informs the world that the culture is a humbug; yet there are enough who know to the contrary. There are those who really lore to cultivate the grape, "to whom the pleasure is as great of being cheated as to cheat," if it is a fraud. Some persons may thus neglect the culture of their grapes from ignorance; the remedy for them is to take the Horticulturist and read it. Homoeopathic doses will core this disease. An ancient writer informs us that neglect is no new feature, for he says, "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding, and lo! it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down".
[We have seen too many so-called vineyards not to know that the picture drawn by Bog Meadow is only too truthful. We can and do sympathize with a poor man who, under every adverse circumstance, and with limited means, is trying to establish a little vineyard that he may call his own; but Bog Meadow does not refer to such. He has in his eye men who can find plenty of time to cultivate their corn and potatoes, and yet, for some unaccountable reason, neglect their vineyards. They deserve to be scolded, for their neglect entails failure, and this greatly retards the progress of grape culture. It may be doubted whether a man has a moral right to enter upon such an enterprise unless he means to give it such reasonable attention as will insure success. We hope all the vineyards will be put in good order before we make our summer tour, so that we may say a pleasant word for all. - Ed].