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.
Rebecca with me has not grown well enough. It does not make very strong wood upon my place; and the foliage sunburns. Am cultivating the Delaware, both upon an open trellis and trained upon the south side of a building. Have found very few days' difference between the Hartford Prolific and the Delaware as to the time of ripening. Hartford Prolific is not nearly as good a grape as the Delaware; yet in size of the fruit and vigor of growth, I esteem it highly. While there are few gardens which have grapes as early as peo-ple desire, this sort is rare to ripen, and to be as good as the Isabella at a time when the Isabella is not yet colored. Hartford Prolific is an earlier grape than the Concord; and so is the Delaware an earlier variety. I think that this Delaware is our very best grape. I have uniformly found it very productive. With fair culture it fruits well, and is a fine, sizable grape; while for home use the Delaware is, beyond comparison, better than the Concord.
Concord and Diana, with me, ripen up their fruit together; and this Diana is a fine, sweet, showy grape, and uniformly hardy.
As to which among the new hardy grapes I would recommend, I say Hartford Prolific, Concord, Diana, and above all the Delaware. The Delaware with me is entirely and perfectly hardy: even the lateral shoots are hardy; and no part of a well cultivated vine is ever lulled back. For training on a trellis, I would recommend planting the Delaware; would advise every man who owns a square yard of ground to plant a Delaware grape-vine; because the taste for Delaware would excite a demand for the delicious fruit, and get great prices. I mentioned the Hartford Prolific because it is our earliest good grape, and gets used up quick.
Mr. Chains, of Niagara County, had two Delaware grape-vines planted out in his grounds, one against the east end of his house, and the other trained upon an open trellis; thus having an exposure the same as vines in a vineysrd. The third year, has a good growth of wood, and we have seventy-five fine clusters of most delicious fruit, which ripened up early and welL Should not hesitate a single moment in planuting the Delaware upon a larger scale than any other grape. Have cultivated the Hartford Prolific grape for four or five years, and can most fully indorse what Mr. Barry has said. It certainly ripens four weeks earlier than Isabella, and sometimes more. On 1st September, nearly a month ago, it was as ripe as Isabella usually is on 10th October. Allowed his Rebecca vines to remain all winter tied to a stake, as grown in summer; and this spring found that even the terminal bud was sound, so sound that we used the last bud for propagation.
Mr. Hooker remarked that it was the roots of the Rebecca, and not the tops, which suffered from winter sometimes; and it required a little extra covering or protection to the roots to keep them from the effects of frost in the ground. The wood of Rebecca vine is always hardy as to the frosts of winter; but the summer's sun is apt to burn the leaves. As to Delaware, Mr. Hooker had noticed, when last at the Hudson River, a short time ago, that those who had had the most experience as to the merits of the Delaware, were now preparing to plant this variety very extensively. One man will plant out 2,500 or 3,000 Delaware vines immediately, confidently believing them to be the most profitable grape that he can grow for the New York market Delaware is certainly an uncommonly productive grape.
Mr. Langworthy here rose, and remarked that in his neighborhood Delaware is obtaining great notoriety. Some planters think they must have all Delaware to set out; and it is truly a most delicious grape.