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.
HAVING gone through with the first year's care of the vineyard, we proceed seriatim with a description of the second year's routine. The treatment of the vine during the second year does not differ very materially from that recommended for the first. If the vines were not pruned in the fall, it must be done early in the spring. It will be necessary to cut all the vines down to three buds; for it is in this way only that canes sufficiently stout for arms can be obtained, or, indeed, for any good system of training. If the vines were pruned and covered in the fall, they should be uncovered as soon as the frost is out of the ground. The only mischance that can happen to them after this from cold weather will be from frosts that happen when the vines are breaking into flower. The dormant buds are in no danger from freezing after the severity of the winter is past. There is danger, however, in leaving the vines covered till late in the season, especially if left till the buds begin to break. The young shoot is brittle enough at all times, but is rendered still more so by allowing the buds to break under cover, and the handling, under such circumstances, however carefully done, must result in the destruction of many young shoots, and consequent permanent injury of the vine.
We mention this matter particularly at this time to meet several cases which have recently come to our knowledge, and also because it has been recommended by some to leave the vines covered till vegetation begins. The vines having been pruned, plowing will be the next thing in order. This should be done precisely as recommended for the first year, care being taken not to injure the roots. Whatever crop is intended to be grown between them may then be put in. If strawberries occupy the intervals between the rows of vines, plowing, of course, can not be done; and herein consists the chief objection to growing perennials in the vineyard; it renders high culture quite a difficult matter. In such cases, recourse should be had to the forked spade, with which all the unoccupied ground should be well broken up. A narrow, long-pronged rake is the only implement which should be used among the strawberries. This will loosen the ground, so that all weeds may be easily taken out without injury to the roots of the strawberries. Plowing and spading among strawberries are things that should not be tolerated.
The strawberries must not be allowed to make runners.
But to return to the vines. Our object during the second year is to obtain two stout canes; and this can easily be done if the vines were good ones when planted, and our directions have been followed out. If, however, for any reason, some of the vines should have grown feebly the first year, they must the second year be grown precisely as we directed for the first; that is to say, we must grow them to a single cane. With this remark, we will leave out of consideration these exceptional cases, and proceed on the supposition that every thing has gone on favor-ably for the production of two canes. The vine is pruned to three buds. If these are in good condition, the two uppermost will break strongest, and this is what we want. In this case, break off the lowest shoot when some four inches long, that the whole strength of the vine may go to the remaining two. Choose, however, the two strongest shoots, whether these be the two upper or the two lower ones. These two shoots, in reference to pinching in the laterals, stopping the leaders, etc, must be treated just as directed for a single cane. If a trellis has not been put up, two stakes should be put in, one for each cane, though this is not indispensable, as both canes can be tied to the same stake.
There is one point, however, connected with growing these two canes, which we wish to impress upon the reader. It is very desirable, in growing the vine upon any of the arm systems, that the buds should be in a uniform line, and not irregularly around the cane, as is often the case from irregular tieing. There is but one certain mode of accomplishing this, and that is by tieing the shoot regularly to one aide of the stake, so as to prevent it from deviating from a straight line, at least for four or five feet of its growth. The buds in this case will not only alternate each other uniformly, but the cane will be free from curves and crooks. Something more than mere appearance is concerned in this; for it will be found that the buds will break much more uniformly. The canes may be grown perpendicularly or at an acute angle, but they must preserve a uniform straight line from the point of origin. In other respects, the treatment of the two growing shoots should be the same as directed for the first year.
How they should be pruned at the end of the season will form the subject of our next article, this being already sufficiently long.