Mode Of Operating

The wood should be cut from the vines in the fall, as soon as the

leaves have dropped. For propagating, use only firm, well-ripened wood

of the last season's growth, and about medium thickness. These are to

be preferred to either very large or very small ones. The time to

commence operating will vary according to climate; here it should be

the early part of February. The wood to be used for propagating can be

kept in a
cool cellar, in sand, or buried in the ground out doors. Take

out the cuttings, and cut them up into pieces as represented in Figure


Throw these into water as they are cut; it will prevent them from

becoming dry. It will be found of benefit with hard-wooded varieties to

pack them in damp moss for a week or so before they are put into the

propagating pots or boxes; it will soften the alburnous matter, and

make them strike root more readily. They should then be put into, say

six-inch pots, filled to about an inch of the top with pure coarse

sand, firmly packed. Place the cuttings, the buds up, about an inch

apart, all over the surface of the pot; press down firmly with thumb

and forefinger until the bud is even with the surface; sift on sand

enough to cover the upper point of the bud about a quarter of an inch

deep; press down evenly, using the bottom of another pot for the

purpose, and apply water enough to moisten the whole contents of the

pot. Instead of the pots, shallow boxes of about six inches deep, can

also be used, with a few holes bored in the bottom for drainage.

After the pots have been filled with cuttings they are placed in a

temperature of from 40 deg. to 45 deg., where they remain from two to three

weeks, water being applied only enough to keep them moist, not wet. As

roots are formed at a much lower degree of temperature than leaves,

they should not be forced too much at the beginning, or the leaves will

appear before we have any roots to support them. But when the cutting

has formed its roots first, the foliage, when it does appear, will grow

much more rapidly, and without any check. Then remove them to another

position, plunging the pots into sand to the depth of, say three

inches, and raise the temperature at first to 60 deg. for the first few

days, then gradually raise it to 80 deg.. When the buds begin to push,

raise the temperature to 90 deg. or 95 deg., and keep the air moist by frequent

waterings, say once a day. The best for this purpose is pure

rain-water, but it should be of nearly the same temperature as the air

in the house, for, if applied cold, it would surely check the growth of

the plants. The young growth should be examined every day, to see if

there is any sign of rotting; should this be the case, give a little

more air, but admit no sudden cold currents, as they are often fatal.

The glass should be whitewashed, to avoid the direct rays of the sun.

When the young vines have made a growth of two or three inches shift

them into three-inch pots.

So far we have used only pure sand, which did not contain much plant

food, because the growth was produced from the food stored up in the

bud and wood, and what little they obtained from the sand, water, and

air. Now, however, our young vines want more substantial food. They

should therefore be potted into soil, mixed from rotten sod,

leaf-mould, and well-decomposed old barnyard manure. This should be

mixed together six months before using; add, before using, one-quarter

sand, then mix thoroughly, and sift all through a coarse sieve. In

operating, put a quantity of soil on the potting bench, provide a

quantity of broken bricks or potsherds for drainage, loosen the plants

from the pots by laying them on their side, giving them a sudden jar

with the hand, to loosen the sand around them; draw out the plant

carefully, holding it with one hand, while with the other you place a

piece of the drainage material into the pot; cover it with soil about

an inch; then put in the plant, holding it so that the roots spread out

naturally; fill in soil around them until the pot is full; press the

soil down firmly, but not hard enough to break the roots. When the

plants are potted give them water to settle the earth around the roots,

and keep the air somewhat confined for a few days, until they have

become established, when more air may be given them. Keep the

temperature at 85 deg. to 95 deg. during the day, and 70 deg. to 80 deg. during the


When the plants have made about six inches of growth they can either be

placed in another house, or in hot-bed frames, if they are to be kept

under glass. The usual manner of keeping them in pots during summer,

shifting them into larger and larger sizes, I consider injurious to the

free development of the plants, as the roots are distorted and cramped

against the sides of the pots, and cannot spread naturally. I prefer

shifting them into cold frames, in which beds have been prepared of

light, rich soil, into which the young plants can be planted, and kept

under whitewashed hot-bed sashes for a while, which, after several

weeks, may be removed, and only a light shading substituted in their

place, which, after several weeks more, can also be removed. Thus the

young plants are gradually hardened, their roots have a chance to

spread evenly and naturally, without any cramping; and such plants,

although they may not make as tall a growth as those kept under glass

all the season, will really stand transplanting into the vineyard much

better than those hot-house pets, which may look well enough, but

really are, like spoiled and pampered children, but poorly fitted to

stand the rough vicissitudes of every-day life.

The young plants should be lightly tied to small sticks provided for

the purpose, as it will allow free circulation of air, and admit the

sun more freely to the roots. In the fall, after their leaves have

dropped, they should be carefully taken up, shortened to about a foot

of their growth, and they are then ready either to sell, if they are to

be disposed of in that way, or for planting into the vineyard. They

should, however, be carefully assorted, making three classes of

them--the strongest, medium, and the smallest--each to be put separate.

The latter generally are not fit to transplant into the vineyard, but

they may be heeled in, and grown in beds another year, when they will

often make very good plants. Heeling in may be done as shown in Figure

2, laying the vines as close in the rows as they can conveniently be

laid, and then fill the trench with well-pulverized soil. They can thus

be safely kept during the winter.

I have only given an outline of the most simple and cheapest mode of

growing plants from single eyes, such as even the vineyardist may

follow. For descriptions of more extensive and costly buildings, if

they desire them, they had better apply to an architect. I have also

not given the mode of propagating from green wood, as I do not think,

plants thus propagated are desirable. They are apt to be feeble and

diseased, and I think, the country at large would be much better off,

had not a single plant ever been produced by that method.

Plants from single eyes may also be grown in a common hot-bed; but as

in this the heat can not be as well regulated at will, I think it, upon

the whole, not desirable, as the expense of a propagating house on the

cheap plan I have indicated, is but very little more, and will

certainly in the long run, pay much better. Of course, close attention

and careful watching is the first requisite in all the operations.