Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Home Vegetable Gardening 9


The day has gone, probably forever, when setting out fruit trees and giving them occasional cultivation, "plowing up the orchard" once in several years, would produce fruit. Apples and pears and peaches have occupied no preferred position against the general invasion of the realm of horticulture by insect and fungous enemies. The fruits have, indeed, suffered more than most plants.

Nevertheless there is this encouraging fact: that, though the fruits may have been severely attacked, the means we now have of fighting fruit-tree enemies, if thoroughly used, as a rule are more certain of accomplishing their purpose, and keeping the enemies completely at bay, than are similar weapons in any other line of horticultural work.

With fruit trees, as with vegetables and flowers, the most important precaution to be taken against insects and disease is to have them in a healthy, thriving, growing condition. It is a part of Nature's law of the survival of the fittest that any backward or weakling plant or tree seems to fall first prey to the ravages of destructive forces.

For these reasons the double necessity of maintaining at all times good fertilization and thorough cultivation will be seen. In addition to these two factors, careful attention in the matter of pruning is essential in keeping the trees in a healthy, robust condition. As explained in a previous chapter, the trees should be started right by pruning the first season to the open-head or vase shape, which furnishes the maximum of light and air to all parts of the tree. Three or four main branches should form the basis of the head, care being taken not to have them start from directly opposite points on the trunk, thus forming a crotch and leaving the tree liable to splitting from winds or excessive crops. If the tree is once started right, further pruning will give little trouble. Cut out limbs which cross, or are likely to rub against each other, or that are too close together; and also any that are broken, decayed, or injured in any way. For trees thus given proper attention from the start, a short jackknife will be the only pruning instrument required.
The case of the old orchard is more difficult. Cutting out too many of the old, large limbs at one time is sure to give a severe shock to the vitality of the tree. A better plan is, first, to cut off close all suckers and all small new-growth limbs, except a few of the most promising, which may be left to be developed into large limbs; and then as these new limbs grow on, gradually to cut out, using a fine-tooth saw and painting the exposed surfaces, the surplus old wood. Apples will need more pruning than the other fruits. Pears and cherries need the least; cutting back the ends of limbs enough to keep the trees in good form, with the removal of an occasional branch for the purpose of letting in light and air, is all the pruning they will require. Of course trees growing on rich ground, and well cultivated, will require more cutting back than those growing under poorer conditions. A further purpose of pruning is to effect indirectly a thinning of the fruit, so that what is grown will be larger and more valuable, and also that the trees may not become exhausted by a few exceptionally heavy crops. On trees that have been neglected and growing slowly the bark sometimes becomes hard and set. In such cases it will prove beneficial to scrape the bark and give a wash applied with an old broom. Whitewash is good for this purpose. Where extra fine specimens of fruit are desired, thinning is practiced. It helps also to prevent the tree from being overtaxed by excessive crops. But where pruning is thoroughly done this trouble is usually
avoided. Peaches and Japan plums are especially benefited by thinning, as they have a great tendency to overbear. The spread of fruit diseases, especially rot in the fruit itself, is also to some extent checked. Of fruit-tree enemies there are some large sorts which may do great
damage in short order--rabbits and field mice. They may be kept away by mechanical protection, such as wire, or by heaping the earth up to a height of twelve inches about the tree trunk. Insects and scale diseases are not so easily managed; and that brings us to the question of spraying and of sprays.

For large orchards the spray must, of course, be applied with powerful
and expensive machinery. For the small fruit garden a much simpler and very moderate priced apparatus may be acquired. The most practical of these is the brass-tank compressed-air sprayer, with extension rod and mist-spray nozzle. Either of these will be of great assistance not only with the fruit trees, but everywhere in the garden. With care they will last a good many years. Whatever type you get, be sure to get a brass machine; as cheaper ones, made of other metal or plastic , quickly corrode from contact with the strong chemicals used.
Where spraying is recommended, follow the practices outlined in Chapter XIII. For help in determining the type of infestation contact your County Cooperative Extension Service office. County Cooperative Extension Service offices are usually listed in the telephone directory under county or state government; these offices often have a range of resources on garden care and maintenance, including plant selection, pest control, and soil testing.

The insects most commonly attacking the apple are the codlin-moth, tent-caterpillar, canker-worm and borer. The codlin-moth lays its eggs on the fruit about the time of the falling of the blossoms, and the larvae when hatched eat into the young fruit and cause the ordinary wormy apples and pears. Owing to these facts, it is too late to reach the trouble by spraying after the calyx closes on the growing fruit. Keep close watch and spray immediately upon the fall of the blossoms, and repeat the spraying a week or so (not more than two) later. During July, tie strips of burlap or old bags around the trunks, and every week or so destroy all caterpillars caught in these traps. The tent-caterpillar may be destroyed while in the egg state, as these are plainly visible around the smaller twigs in circular, brownish masses. The railroad-worm, a small white maggot which eats a small path in all directions through the ripening fruit, cannot be reached by spraying, as he starts life inside the fruit; but where good clean tillage is practiced and no fallen fruit is left to lie and decay under the trees, he is not apt to give much trouble.

The borer's presence is indicated by the dead, withered appearance of the bark, beneath which he is at work, and also by small amounts of sawdust where he entered. Dig him out with a sharp pocket-knife, or kill him inside with a piece of wire.

The most troublesome disease of the apple, especially in wet seasons, is the apple-scab, which disfigures the fruit, both in size and in appearance, as it causes blotches and distortions.
The San Jose scale is of course really an insect, though in appearance it seems a disease. It is much more injurious than the untrained fruit grower would suppose, because indirectly so. It is very tiny, being round in outline, with a raised center, and only the size of a small pinhead. Where it has once obtained a good hold it multiplies very rapidly, makes a scaly formation or crust on the branches, and causes small red-edged spots on the fruit . For trees once infested, spray thoroughly both in fall, after the leaves drop, and again in spring, before growth begins.


Sour cherries are more easily grown than the sweet varieties, and are less subject to the attacks of fruit enemies. Sweet cherries are troubled by the curculio, or fruit-worm, which attacks also peaches and plums. Cherries and plums may be sprayed, when most of the blossoms are off.

Do not spray peaches. For the curculio, within a few days after the flowers are off, take a large sheet of some cheap material to use as a catcher. For large orchards there is a contrivance of this sort, mounted on a wheelbarrow frame, but for the home orchard a couple of sheets laid upon the ground, or one with a slit from one side to the center, will suffice. If four short, sharp-pointed stakes are fastened to the corners, and three or four stout hooks and eyes are placed to reunite the slit after the sheet is placed about the tree, the work can be more thoroughly done, especially on uneven ground. After the sheet is placed, with a stout club or mallet, padded with a heavy sack or something similar to prevent injury to the bark, give a few sharp blows, well up from the ground. This work should be done on a cloudy day, or early in the morning--the colder the better--as the beetles are then inactive. If a considerable number of beetles are caught the operation should be repeated every two or three days. Continue until the beetles disappear.

Peaches are troubled also by borers, in this case indicated by masses of gum, usually about the crown. Dig out or kill with a wire, as in the case of the apple-borer. Look over the trees for borers every spring, or better, every spring and fall.

Another peach enemy is the "yellows," indicated by premature ripening of the fruit and the formation of stunted leaf tufts, of a light yellow color. This disease is contagious and has frequently worked havoc in whole sections. Owing to the work of the Agricultural Department and the various State organizations it is now held in check. The only remedy is to cut and dispose of the trees and replant, in the same places if desired, as, the disease does not seem to be carried by the soil.

Pears are sometimes affected with a scab similar to the apple-scab, and this is combated by the same treatment of spraying
A blight which causes the leaves suddenly to turn black and die and also kills some small branches and produces sores or wounds on large branches and trunk, offers another difficulty. Cut out and dispose of all affected branches and scrape out all sores.

Plums have many enemies but fortunately they can all be effectively checked. First is the curculio, to be treated as described above. For leaf-blight--spotting and dropping off of the leaves about midsummer- thin out the fruit so that it does not hang thickly enough for the plums to come in contact with each other. In a well kept and well sprayed orchard black-knot is not at all likely to appear. It is very manifest wherever it starts, causing ugly, black, distorted knarls, at first on the smaller limbs. Remove and dispose of immediately, and keep a sharp watch for more. As this disease is supposed to be carried by the wind, see to it that no careless neighbor is supplying you with the germs.

The quality of fruit will depend very largely upon the care exercised in picking and storing. Picking, carelessly done, while it may not at the time show any visible bad results, will result in poor keeping and rot. If the tissue cells are broken, as many will be by rough handling, they will be ready to cause rotten spots under the first favorable conditions, and then the rot will spread. Most of the fruits of the home garden, which do not have to undergo shipping, will be of better quality where they ripen fully on the tree. Pears, however, are often ripened in the dark and after picking, especially the winter sorts. Apples and pears for winter use should be kept, if possible, in a cold, dark place, where there is no artificial heat, and where the air will be moist, but never wet, and where the thermometer will not fall below thirty-two degrees. Upon exceptionally cold nights the temperature may be kept up by using an oil stove or letting in heat from the furnace basement, if that is adjacent. In such a place, store the fruit loosely, on ventilated shelves, not more than six or eight inches deep. If they must be kept in a heated place, pack in tight boxes or barrels, being careful to put away only perfect fruit, or pack in sand or leaves. Otherwise they will lose much in quality by shriveling, due to lack of moisture in the atmosphere. With care they may be had in prime quality until late in the following spring.

Do not let yourself be discouraged from growing your own fruit by the necessity for taking good care of your trees. After all, you do not have to plant them every year, as you do vegetables, and they yield a splendid return on the small investment required. Do not fail to set out at least a few this year with the full assurance that your satisfaction is guaranteed by the facts in the case.


Besides the tree-fruits discussed in the preceding chapters, there is another class which should be represented in every home garden--the berries and small fruits. These have the advantage of occupying much less room than the former do and are therefore available where the others are not.

The methods of giving berries proper cultivation are not so generally known as the methods used with vegetables. Otherwise there is no reason why a few of each should not be included in every garden of average size. Their requirements are not exacting: the amount of skill, or rather of attention, required to care for them is not more than that required by the ordinary vegetables. In fact, once they are well established they will demand less time than the annual vegetables.

Of these small fruits the most popular and useful are: the strawberry, the blackberry, dewberry and raspberry, the currant, gooseberry and grape.

The strawberry is the most important, and most amateurs attempt its culture--many, however, with indifferent success. This is due, partly at least, to the fact that many methods are advocated by successful growers, and that the beginner is not likely to pick out one and stick to it; and further, that he is led to pay more attention to how many layers he will have, and at what distance he will set the plants, than to proper selection and preparation of soil and other vital matters.

The soil should be well drained and rich--a good garden soil being suitable. The strawberries should not follow sod or corn. If yard manure is used it should be old and well rotted, so as to be as free as possible from weed seeds. potassium, in some form (see Fertilizers) should be added. The bed should be thoroughly prepared, so that the plants, which need careful transplanting, may take hold at once. A good sunny exposure is preferable, and a spot where no water will collect is essential.

The plants are grown from "layers." They are taken in two ways: (1) by rooting the runners in the soil; and (2) by layering in pots. In the former method they are either allowed to root themselves, or, which gives decidedly better results, by selecting vines from strong plants and pushing them lightly down into the soil where the new crown is to be formed. In the second method, two-inch or three-inch pots are used, filling these with soil from the bed and plunging, or burying, them level with the surface, just below where the crown is to be formed, and holding the vine in place with a small stone, which serves the additional purpose of marking where the pot is. In either case these layers are made after the fruiting season.


In using the soil-rooted layers, it is generally more satisfactory to
set them out in spring, as soon as the ground can be worked, although they are sometimes set in early fall--August or September--when the ground is in very good condition, so that a good growth can at once be made. Care should be used in transplanting. Have the bed fresh; keep the plants out of the soil as short a time as possible; set the plants in straight, and firm the soil; set just down to the crown--do not cover it. If the soil is dry, or the season late, cut off all old leaves before planting; also shorten back the roots about one-third and be sure not to crowd them when setting, for which purpose a trowel, not a dibble, should be used if the condition of the ground makes the use of any implement necessary. If so dry that water must be used, apply it in the bottom of the hole. If very hot and dry, shade for a day or two.


Here I will describe the three systems most valuable for the home garden:
(1) the hill, (2) the matted row, and (3) the pot-layered.

(1) In the hill system the plants are put in single rows, or in beds of three or four rows, the plants one foot apart and the rows, or beds, two or three feet apart. In either case each plant is kept separate, and all runners are pinched off as fast as they form, the idea being to throw all the strength into one strong crown.
(2) In the matted row system the plants are set in single rows, and the runners set in the bed at five or six inches each side of the plants, and then trained lengthways of the row, this making it a foot or so wide. The runners used to make these secondary crowns must be the first ones sent out by the plants; they should be severed from the parent plants as soon as well rooted. All other runners must be taken off as they form. To keep the beds for a good second crop, where the space between the rows has been kept cultivated and clean, cut out the old plants as soon as the first crop of berries is gathered, leaving the new ones--layered the year before-- about one foot apart.
(3) The pot-layering system, especially for a small number of plants, I consider the best. It will be seen that by the above systems the ground is occupied three years, to get two crops, and the strawberry season is a short one at best. By this third system the strawberry is made practically an annual, and the finest of berries are produced. The new plants are layered in pots, as described above. The layers are taken immediately after the fruit is gathered; or better still, because earlier, a few plants are picked out especially to make runners. In either case, fork up the soil about the plants to be layered, and in about fifteen days they will be ready to have the pots placed under them. The main point is to have pot plants ready to go into the new bed as soon as possible after the middle of July. These are set out as in the hill system, and all runners kept pinched off, so that a large crown has been formed by the time the ground freezes, and a full crop of the very best berries will be assured for the following spring. The pot-layering is repeated each year, and the old plants thrown out, no attempt being made to get a second crop. It will be observed that ground is occupied by the strawberries only the latter half of the one season and the beginning of the next, leaving ample time for a crop of early lettuce, cabbage or peas before the plants are set, say in 1911, and for late cabbage or celery after the bed is thrown out, in 1912. Thus the ground is made to yield three crops in two years--a very important point where garden space is limited.


Whatever system is used--and each has its advocates--the strawberry bed must be kept clean, and attention given to removing the surplus runners. Cultivate frequently enough to keep a dust mulch between the rows, as advocated for garden crops. At first, after setting, the cultivation may be as deep as three or four inches, but as the roots develop and fill the ground it should be restricted to two inches at most.


After the ground freezes, and before severe cold sets in (about the 1st to the 15th of December) the bed should be given its winter mulch. Bog hay, which may be obtained cheaply from some nearby farmer, is about the best material. Clean straw will do. Cover the entire bed, one or two inches over the plants, and two or three between the rows. If necessary, hold in place with old boards. In spring, but not before the plants begin to grow, over each plant the mulch is pushed aside to let it through. Besides giving winter protection, the mulch acts as a clean even support for the berries and keeps the roots cool and moist.

New strawberries are being introduced constantly; also, they vary greatly in their adaptation to locality. Therefore it is difficult to advise as to what varieties to plant. Once again a catalog from a reputable nursery will prove invaluable in selecting the right varieties.

The blackberry, dewberry and raspberry are all treated in much the same way. The soil should be well drained, but if a little clayey, so much the better. They are planned preferably in early spring, and set from three or four to six or seven feet apart, according to the variety. They should be put in firmly. Set the plants in about as deep as they have been growing, and cut the canes back to six or eight inches. If fruit is wanted the same season as bushes are set, get a few extra plants--they cost but a few cents--and cut back to two feet or so. Plants fruited the first season are not likely to do well the following year. Two plants may be set in a place and one fruited. If this one is exhausted, then little will be lost. Give clean cultivation frequently enough to maintain a soil mulch, as it is very necessary to retain all the moisture possible. Cultivation, though frequent, should be very shallow as soon as the plants get a good start. In very hot seasons, if the ground is clean, a summer mulch of old hay, leaves or rough manure will be good for the same purpose.

In growing, a good stout stake is used for each plant, to which the canes are tied with some soft material. Or, a stout wire is strung the length of the row and the canes fastened to this--a better way, however, being to string two wires, one on either side of the row.

Another very important matter is that of pruning. The plants if left to themselves will throw up altogether too much wood. This must be cut out to four or five of the new canes and all the canes that have borne fruit should be cut and burned each season as soon as through fruiting. The canes, for instance, that grow in 2004 will be those to fruit in 2005, after which they should be immediately removed. The new canes, if they are to be self-supporting, as sometimes grown, should be cut back when three or four feet high. It is best, however, to give support. In the case of those varieties which make fruiting side-shoots, as most of the black raspberries
(blackcaps) do, the canes should be cut back at two to three feet, and it is well also to cut back these side shoots one-third to one-half, early in the spring. In cold sections (New York or north of it) it is safest to give winter protection by "laying down" the canes and giving them a mulch of rough material. Having them near the ground is in itself a great protection, as they will not be exposed to sun and wind and will sometimes be covered with snow. For mulching, the canes are bent over nearly at the soil and a shovelful of earth thrown on the tips to hold them down; the entire canes may then be covered with soil or rough manure, but do not put it on until freezing weather is at hand. If a mulch is used, it must be taken off before growth starts in the spring.



The large-growing sorts are set as much as six by eight feet apart, though with careful staking and pruning they may be comfortably handled in less space. The smaller sorts need about four by six. When growth starts, thin out to four or five canes and pinch these off at about three feet; or, if they are to be put on wires or trellis, they may be cut when tied up the following spring.

Cultivate, mulch and prune as suggested above. Blackberries will do well on a soil a little dry for raspberries and they do not need it quite so rich, as in this case the canes do not
ripen up sufficiently by fall, which is essential for good crops. If growing rank they should be pinched back in late August. When tying up in the spring, the canes should be cut back to four or five feet and the laterals to not more than eighteen inches. Blackberry enemies do not do extensive injury, as a rule, in well- cared-for beds.

The most serious are: (1) the rust or blight, for which there is no cure but carefully pulling and disposing of the plants as fast as infested; (2) the blackberry-bush borer, which burn infested canes; and (3) the recently introduced bramble flea-louse, which resembles the green plant-louse or aphids except that it is a brisk jumper, like the flea-beetle. The leaves twist and curl up in summer and do not drop off in the fall. On cold early mornings, or wet weather, while the insects are sluggish, cut all infested shoots, collecting them in a tight box, and dispose.


As with the other small fruits, so many varieties are being introduced that it is difficult to give a list of the best for home use.


This is really a trailing blackberry and needs the same culture, except that the canes are naturally slender and trailing and therefore, for garden culture, must have support. They may be staked up, or a barrel hoop, supported by two stakes, makes a good support. In ripening, the dewberry is ten to fourteen days earlier than the blackberry, and for that reason a few plants should be included in the berry patch.


The black and the red types are distinct in flavor, and both should be grown. The blackcaps need more room, about three by six or seven feet; for the reds three by five feet will be sufficient. The blackcaps, and a few of the reds, throw out fruiting side branches, and should have the main canes cut back at about two and a half feet to encourage the growth of these laterals, which, in the following spring, should be cut back to about one-third their length. The soil for raspberries should be clayey if possible, and moist, but not wet.


The orange rust, which attacks the blackberry also, is a serious trouble. Pull up and dispose of all infested plants at once, as no good remedy has as yet been found. The cut-worm, especially in newly set beds, may sometimes prove destructive of the sprouting young canes. The raspberry-borer is the larva of a small, flattish, red-necked beetle, which bores to the center of the canes during summer growth, and kills them. Cut and dispose.


Of the blackcaps, Gregg, McCormick, Munger, Cumberland, Columbian, Palmer (very early), and Eureka (late), are all good sorts. Reds: Cuthbert, Cardinal (new), Turner, Reliance, The King (extra early), Loudon (late). Yellow: Golden Queen.

The currant and gooseberry are very similar in their cultural requirements. A deep, rich and moist soil is the best--approaching a clayey loam. There need be no fear of giving too much manure, but it should be well rotted. Plenty of room, plenty of air, plenty of moisture, secured where necessary by a soil or other mulch in hot dry weather, are essential to the production of the best fruit.

The currant will stand probably as much abuse as any plant the home gardener will have to deal with. Stuck in a corner, smothered in sod, crowded with old wood, stripped by the currant-worm, it still struggles along from year to year, ever hopefully trying to produce a meager crop of poor fruit. But these are not the sort you want. Although it is so tough, no fruit will respond to good care more quickly. To have it do well, give it room, four or five feet each way between
bushes. Manure it liberally; give it clean cultivation, and as the season gets hot and dry, mulch the soil, if you would be certain of a full-sized, full-flavored crop. Two bushes, well cared for, will yield more than a dozen half-neglected ones. Anywhere north of New York a full crop every year may be made almost certain.


Besides careful cultivation, to insure the best of fruit it is necessary to give some thought to the matter of pruning. The most convenient and the most satisfactory way is to keep it in the bush
form. Set the plants singly, three or four feet apart, and so cut the new growth, which is generously produced, as to retain a uniform bush shape, preferably rather open in the center.
The fruit is produced on wood two or more years old. Therefore cut out branches either when very small, or not until four or five years later, after it has borne two or three crops of fruit.

There fore, in pruning currants, take out (1) superfluous young growth; (2) old hard wood (as new wood will produce better fruit); and (3) all weak, broken, dead or diseased shoots; (4) during summer, if the tips of the young growths kept for fruiting are pinched off, they will ripen up much better--meaning better fruit when they bear; (5) to maintain a good form, the whole plant may be cut back (never more than one-third) in the fall.

In special situations it may be advisable to train the currant to one or a few main stems, as against a wall; this can be done, but it is less convenient. Also it brings greater danger from the currant-borer.

The black currant, used almost entirely for culinary or preserving purposes, is entirely different from the red and white ones. They are much larger and should be put five to six feet apart. Some of the fruit is borne on one-year-old wood, so the shoots should not be cut back.
Moreover, old wood bears as good fruit as the new growth, and need not be cut out, unless the plant is getting crowded, for several years. As the wood is much heavier and stronger than the other currants, it is advisable gradually to develop the black currants into the tree form.


The worst of these is the common currant-worm. When he appears, which will be indicated by holes eaten in the lower leaves early in spring, generally before the plants bloom, spray at once. For the borer, cut and dispose of every infested shoot. Examine the bushes in late fall, and those in which the borers are at work will usually have a wilted appearance and be of a brownish color.


Red Dutch, while older and smaller than some of the newer varieties, is hardier and not so likely to be hurt by the borer. London Market, Fay's Prolific, Perfection (new), and Prince Albert, are good sorts. White Grape is a good white. Naples, and Lee's Prolific are good black sorts.


This is given practically the same treatment as the currant. It is even more important that it should be given the coolest, airiest, location possible, and the most moist soil. Even a partially shaded situation will do, but in such situations extra care must be taken to guard against the mildew--which is mentioned below. Summer mulching is, of course, of special benefit.

In pruning the gooseberry, it is best to cut out to a very few, or even to a single stem. Keep the head open, to allow free circulation of air. The extent of pruning will make a great difference in the size of the fruit; if fruit of the largest size is wanted, prune very close. All branches drooping to the ground should be removed. Keep the branches, as much as possible, from touching each other.


The currant-worm attacks the gooseberry also, and is effectively handled by the spraying mentioned above. The great trouble in growing gooseberries successfully is the powdery mildew--a dirty, whitish fungous growth covering both fruit and leaves. It is especially destructive of the foreign varieties, the culture of which, until the advent of the potassium sulfide spray, was being practically abandoned. Use 1 oz. of potassium sulfide (liver of sulphur) to 2 gals. water, and mix just before using. Spray thoroughly three or four times a month, from the time the blossoms are opening until fruit is ripe.


Of the native gooseberries--which are the hardiest, Downing and Houghton's Seedling are most used. Industry is an English variety, doing well here. Golden Prolific, Champion, and Columbus, are other good foreign sorts, but only when the mildew is successfully fought off.


No garden is so small that there cannot be found in it room for three or four grape-vines; no fruit is more certain, and few more delicious.

If it is convenient, a situation fully exposed to the sun, and sloping slightly, will be preferable. But any good soil, provided only it is rich and thoroughly drained, will produce good results. If a few vines are to be set against walls, or in other out-of-the-way places, prepare the ground for them by excavating a good-sized hole, putting in a foot of coal cinders or other drainage material, and refilling with good heavy loam, enriched with old, well rotted manure and half a peck of wood ashes. For culture in the garden, such special preparation will not be necessary--although, if the soil is not in good shape, it will be advisable to slightly enrich the hills.

One or two-year roots will be the most satisfactory to buy. They may be set in either fall or spring--the latter time, for New York or north, being generally preferable. When planting, the cane should be cut back to three or four eyes, and the roots should also be shortened back--usually about one-third. Be sure to make the hole large enough, when setting, to let the roots spread naturally, and work the soil in well around them with the fingers. Set them in firmly, by pressing down hard with the ball of the foot after firming by hand. They are set about six feet apart.


As stated above, the vine is cut back, when planting, to three or four eyes. The subsequent pruning--and the reader must at once distinguish between pruning, and training, or the way in which the vines are placed--will determine more than anything else the success of the undertaking. Grapes depend more upon proper pruning than any other fruit or vegetable in the garden. Two principles must be kept track of in this work. First principle: the annual crop is borne only on canes of the same year's growth, springing from wood of the previous season's growth. Second principle: the vine, if left to itself, will set three or four times the number of bunches it can properly mature. As a result of these facts, the following system of pruning has been developed and must be followed for sure and full-sized crops.

(1) At time of planting, cut back to three or four eyes, and after these sprout leave only one (or two) of them, which should be staked up.

(2) Following winter (December to March), leave only one cane and cut this back to three or four eyes.

(3) Second growing season, save only two canes, even if several sprout, and train these to stake or trellis. These two vines, or arms, branching from the main stem, form the foundation for the one-year canes that bear the fruit. However, to prevent the vine's setting too much fruit (see second principle above) these arms must be cut back in order to limit the number of fruit-bearing canes that will spring from them, therefore:

(4) Second winter pruning, cut back these arms to eight or ten buds--and we have prepared for the first crop of fruit, about forty bunches, as the fruiting cane from each bud will bear two bunches on the average. However these main arms will not bear fruiting-canes another year (see first principle above) and therefore:

(5) At the third winter pruning, (a) of the canes that bore fruit, only the three or four nearest the main stem or trunk are left; (b) these are cut back to eight or ten buds each, and (c) everything else is ruthlessly cut away.

Each succeeding year the same system is continued, care being taken to rub off, each May, buds or sprouts starting on the main trunk or arms. The wood, in addition to being cut back, must be well ripened; and the wood does not ripen until after the fruit. It therefore sometimes
becomes necessary to cut out some of the bunches in order to hasten the ripening of the rest. At the same time the application of some potassium fertilizer will be helpful. If the bunches do not ripen up quickly and pretty nearly together, the vine is overloaded and being damaged for the following year.

The matter of pruning being mastered, the question of training is one of individual choice. Poles, trellises, arbors, walls--almost anything may be used. The most convenient system, however, and the one I would strongly recommend for practical home gardening for results, is known as the (modified) Kniffen system. It is simplicity itself. A stout wire is stretched five or six feet above the ground; to this the single main trunks of the vine run up, and along it are stretched the two or three arms from which the fruiting-canes hang down. They occupy the least possible space, so that garden crops may be grown practically on the same ground. I have never seen it tried, but where garden space is limited I should think that the asparagus bed and the Kniffen grape-arbor just described could be combined to great advantage by placing the vines, in spaces left for them, directly in the asparagus row. Of course the ground would have to be manured for two crops. A 2-8-10 fertilizer is right for the grapes.

If using stable manure, apply also potassium fertilizer. If the old-fashioned arbor is used, the best way is to run the main trunk up over it and cut the laterals back each year to two or three eyes. The most serious grape trouble which the home gardener is likely to encounter is the black-rot. Where only a few grapes are grown, the simplest way of overcoming this disease is to get a few dozen cheap manila store-bags and fasten one, with a couple of ten-penny nails,
over each bunch. Cut the mouth of the bag at sides and edges, cover the bunch, fold the flaps formed over the cane, and fasten. They are put on after the bunches are well formed and hasten the ripening of the fruit, as well as protecting it. On a larger scale, spraying will have to be resorted to. Besides the spraying, all trimmed- off wood, old leaves and twigs, withered bunches and grapes, or "mummies," and refuse of every description, should be carefully raked up in the spring and disposed of. Also give clean culture and keep the main stems clean.

The grape completes the list of the small fruits worth while to the average home gardener. If you have not already experimented with them, do not let your garden go any longer without them. They are all easily obtained, and a very limited number will keep the family table well supplied with healthy delicacies, which otherwise, in their best varieties and condition, could not be had at all. The various operations of setting out, pruning and spraying will soon become as familiar as those in the vegetable garden. There is no reason why every home garden should not have its few rows of small fruits, yielding their delicious harvests in abundance.

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