Notice

Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 4: Forming the Vineyard and Planting Vines

Letter V – Formation of the Vineyard

Supposing the site to have been selected comprising the various requisites according to the object the cultivator has in view, I purpose, in this paper, to explain what steps seem best calculated to promote the successful formation of the vineyard, at the least ultimate expense. I shall first describe the method I consider preferable in situations which are level or of gentle inclination (where the fall does not exceed one foot in 12 or 15 for instance), because, in such situations, no preliminary leveling for the terraces will be necessary.

Should the site occupy one of those deep dry banks of sandy alluvium, such as in a preceding paper, under the head of Soil, I have mentioned as common on the banks of the rivers Hawkesbury, Nepean, &c., nothing appears requisite but to trench to the depth of two or three feet; and should the vineyard be of any extent, to mark out roads or alleys wide enough for carts to pass completely round the area, but within the enclosing fence, and to intersect it at convenient distances. If, as an example, we suppose this area to comprise 15 or 20 acres in the form of a parallelogram, it will be expedient to divide it by means of these intersecting alleys into strips not exceeding 80 to 100 or 120 yards in breadth, by about double that length. The rows of vines being afterwards planted across the breadth of the strips, carts may thus be brought to receive the grapes during the vintage, and to deposit manure opposite to the end of each row; and within 50 or 60 yards of any part of it. Attention to this precaution in laying out a vineyard of any considerable extent will occasion a very material saving of labour in its subsequent management.

Should the site be upon what is, in the colony, usually termed “Forest land," where the inclination of surface will probably be greater, and an equal degree of porousness or permeability in the-subsoil rarely or never to be met with, it will be advisable to take precautions to prevent the superfluous waters, which are poured down during heavy rains, from doing mischief. To this end, any little hollows or water courses, or, at all events, the lines along which the surface waters can most readily be made to flow, should be chosen for the alleys or cartways, sacrificing to this object the regularity, which in a plain surface, or soil of the description mentioned in the last paragraph, would be desirable. The position of the alleys having been determined upon, a drain, two feet wide at bottom, should be opened down the centre of each, and 12 or 18 inches below the depth of the proposed trenching. What that depth should be must depend upon circumstances, and if the ground should not have been sufficiently well examined previously, may, now that the drains are opened, be decided upon. Should the surface soil prove to be of a friable nature, with a loose open subsoil, offering no impediment to the roots of the vines for the depth of a yard or two, two feet may suffice; but, in all cases, I should advise this to be considered as the minimum depth; if, however, the subsoil should be clay intermingled with stone, or clay resting upon shale or some other rock, soft and frangible when turned up, but lying, as is frequently the case, in tolerably compact layers until stirred, 3 feet, or 3 feet 6, may be advisable. Whatever depth then may be adopted, the drains having been opened to a foot or 18 inches below it, are to be filled up again as the trenching is proceeded with, to within 12 or 15 inches of the top, with any large stones which may be turned up during the progress of the work; or, should these be wanting, with logs of hard wood, smaller pieces or brushwood being placed above; in either case to be ultimately covered with a few inches of soil or gravel to form the road way.

Secure hollow drains for any superfluous water, which may percolate after long continued heavy rains, having thus been constructed, whilst the alleys also are intended to serve as channels for the surface water, the trenching of any intermediate strip of ground may be proceeded with. For this purpose it will be most convenient to commence at the lowest part of the ground and there to open a trench three feet wide, extending across the strip from alley to alley, quite to the edge of the drains, reserving the material thrown out from the excavation to fill up the last trench at the top of the strip, or any inequalities of surface. Then to mark out another trench of equal width, and with its contents to fill up the one first opened, taking care to place the turf and surface mould at bottom, the clay intermingled as much as possible with a portion of the stone next, and the lowest stratum, presumed to be the most stony or gravelly at top.

There are several reasons, in addition to its being really the easiest method, for reversing the natural position of the different strata. First, by throwing all the turf and surface mould to the bottom, the vine is at once encouraged to strike its roots deeply where they will be supplied with the most abundant nourishment, and become least liable to suffer from the vicissitudes of the seasons, whilst the seeds of all weeds and plants, the growth of which would be pernicious, by being buried so deep are prevented from vegetating. Next, a sufficient quantity of the stony or gravelly material having been mixed with the clay to keep it “open,” the remainder should be placed to form the surface, because it is less liable to favor the growth of weeds, it more readily absorbs all the rain which falls, until the ground is saturated, it neither cracks in dry weather, nor becomes miry during rain, it tends to preserve a more uniform temperature and state of moisture in the soil below, and finally, becomes of material use at the period of the maturation of the crop, by increasing the mean temperature, in absorbing heat during the day, and radiating it upwards throughout the night, and by preventing the bunches of grapes which hang low from being splashed with dirt when it rains. The first trench having been filled up, a third may be thrown into the second, and so on until the area between any two of the alleys is finished.

I do not consider it advisable to reduce the ground too minutely, a certain portion in lumps of two or three inches diameter being advantageous. They increase the permeability of the soil, and are useful in giving out the moisture they absorb during rains more slowly than the finely pulverized soil. In dry seasons, I may observe, most plants will retain their freshness longer in a soil containing many lumps than where there are none. It is likewise proper to leave the surface of newly trenched ground as rough as possible, until the period for planting approaches, that a larger portion may be exposed to the action of the atmosphere; and it is advantageous to have it so exposed for several months previously, that it may receive the autumn and winter rains, and settle down. This will be the means of preventing any after-settlement in the soil, which, as I propose that it should be formed into a series of flats or levels before it is planted, would occasion additional trouble. These flats, which may be made wider or narrower according to the inclination of the ground, are intended to be supported by earthen banks, made firm by compression with the back of the spade, each terrace extending across the breadth of the strip, and having the slightest possible inclination from the centre towards the alley or water channel on either hand.

Having explained the mode I consider best to adopt in trenching a slope of gentle inclination, in such a manner, I hope, as to render the subject intelligible to those persons who may not previously have been conversant with it, I shall new endeavor to shew how an abrupt site may be effectually managed, although, I apprehend, reference to two rough sketches which I send you, will be required to make the explanation clear.

The alleys with their trenches, as in the former instance, should be marked out and opened (following the direction by which the water can be most easily conveyed out of the vineyard) to be afterwards filled up again with stone or timber, as the trenching is proceeded with; with this difference, however, that the more rapid the slope, the more broken and irregular the ground is, the nearer to each other these channels for the water will require to be formed. Where the descent is as much as one foot in four or five, I will assume from twenty-five to forty yards as a proper distance, unless, indeed, some considerable irregularity in the form of the ground should render it expedient to have them closer. In all cases where the slope exceeds one foot in seven or eight, the vineyard will probably be too steep to admit carts, the alleys may therefore be reduced to the width of mere water channels, not exceeding four or five feet. Even where the inclination is not too great for carts, it will not be necessary to form roads for them nearer to each other than eighty or one hundred yards, so that with a view to their free passage, part only of the alleys need, be made to the requisite width. The alleys having been fixed upon, the intervening spaces should be carefully leveled, commencing at the bottom or, in other words, the rate of ascent for any given distance should be accurately ascertained and noted down. For this purpose a good strong light carpenter’s or stonemason’s plumb-line level, and a quantity of pegs of hardwood should be provided. Battens inch square, and cut into convenient lengths, answer best for the last purpose. The object in leveling the ground at this stage of proceeding, is to mark out the area between any two of the alleys into convenient. strips for terracing, as it is necessary that the width of these terraces with the height of the terrace walls should he fixed upon, previous to trenching the ground. As a general rule, I do not think it convenient to have the terrace walls more than 2 feet 6 inches high, and although they should not be put up until afterwards, I may here observe that they may he built in a very rough manner of almost any stones which may be turned up in trenching, and, providing that they do not exceed the height above mentioned, need not exceed 18 inches wide at the bottom, tapering or “battering” about a foot at top. Assuming 2 feet 6 inches then as a convenient height for the walls, and 4 feet as the distance at which the rows of vines are to be planted from each other, the following are the spaces I should propose to allot for the terraces according to the inclination of the ground:

At an ascent of one foot in four (the most rapid acclivity I conceive any one will he likely to plant with the vine) I should mark out the terraces 17 feet 6 inches wide: viz., 16 feet for four rows of vines, and 18 inches to be occupied by the terrace wall. In 17 feet 6 inches, at one in four, the perpendicular fall will be rather more than 4 feet 4 inches. Of this, 2 feet. 6 inches will be made up by the wall, whilst, by dividing the 16 feet of terrace into four smaller terraces, each supported by a bank of earth (made firm by compression) about 7 inches high, every row of vines may be planted on a site of its own, perfectly level, except a very slight inclination which may he given to it from the centre towards the alleys or water channels, which have been made perpendicular to them on either side. A reference to the accompanying sketches, Nos. 1 and 2, will, I trust, render this sufficiently intelligible. [Figure 1, a ground plan for a vineyard, is the illustration used here. Figure 2, a section through the same vineyard, can be see in Part 5 – Management of the Vineyard].

If the rise be one foot in five, 25 feet 6 inches will be a convenient width for the terraces: viz., 24 feet for six rows of vines, with a rise of 6 inches to each row, and 18 inches for the wall. At one foot in six, 33 feet 6 inches may be allowed, the intermediate spaces being divided into four smaller terraces, each intended for two rows of vines, and supported by a bank of 11 inches in height. At one in seven, 41 feet 6 inches may be allowed for ten rows of vines, each double row occupying a level supported by a bank little more than 10 inches in height. At one in eight, they may be of the same width, with a rise of eight inches to each little terrace of two rows: and so on, suiting the space between the terrace walls and the height of the little terraces to the inclination of the ground. At the inclination last mentioned, it will be very practicable to dispense with the walls altogether (by allowing 6 inches rise to every row, or 12 inches to every double row), although I should prefer their occasional adoption, if stone be at hand, until the slope diminishes to one in eleven or twelve feet. It must be remembered that few situations of rapid declivity exist in which stone for the walls will not be turned up in trenching, and that to form it into rough walls will frequently be the readiest mode for its disposal. If stone for the terrace wall be not readily procurable, sloping banks of earth turfed outside, may be substituted, observing simply that more room must be allowed for them, not less than one foot for every foot in height. Logs of wood piled upon each other, or split hardwood slabs, with their ends 12 or 18 inches in the ground, may also be used.

The observant reader, assisted by a reference to the accompanying sketches, will, I trust, comprehend that the object in reducing a bank or hill into a series of levels is twofold: viz., the absorption of the greatest possible quantity of rain during periods of drought, which are not infrequently broken by very heavy showers of short duration; and the safe conveyance out of the vineyard, by means of the channels which are supposed to have been formed at moderate intervals perpendicular to the rows of vines, of all superfluous water at times when the rain is in excess. In few words, to husband to the uttermost the moisture which falls when rain is deficient, and to prevent any damage when it is violent or of long continuance. None is to he allowed to escape directly down the hill from terrace to terrace.

I can testify from personal observation made in Europe, in an extensive district of vineyards, that the severest labour connected with their management, although the slopes they occupied were intersected by numerous terrace walls, consisted in the annual removal to the top of the enclosure of the soil washed down by the rains to the bottom. In the district in question, and in deed generally throughout France, where they are subject to this disadvantage, I have little doubt they would gladly have obviated it by converting the inclined planes of their vineyards into a series of levels, were they not restrained by another consideration which does not operate with us. I mean the necessity which generally prevails to turn to the best account the degree of heat which the summer affords, and, with this view, to preserve the slope of the vineyard as nearly as possible perpendicular to the meridian rays of the sun at the period of the year when their full influence is most required.

The position and height of the various terrace walls having been determined upon by the use of the level, they should be marked as the leveling is proceeded with, by driving to a secure depth pegs of hardwood, their tops being made to indicate the levels to which the summits of the terrace walls are to be carried. The area marked may then be trenched, care being taken, by leaving a shoulder of earth untreated of 10 or 12 inches diameter around each, that the pegs are not disturbed. A reference to the accompanying section, No. 2, will shew to what extent the soil from the upper part of each terrace will be required to be moved to the lower. It will only be requisite to do this in a very rough manner at first, as the terrace walls should not be built until the newly trenched ground has been settled down again by rain.

For the information of those who may not be conversant with manual operations of the kind, I may observe, that in tracing out a line of any considerable length, either upon a level or any angle of inclination, it is not necessary, unless the line be very winding, to use the leveling instrument throughout: but two or more pegs having been inserted at moderate distances, with their tops at the desired level (or angle of inclination, as the case may be) the remainder of the line may be produced by taking sights over them.

Although I so strongly advocate the formation of all slopes in this climate which are to be planted with the vine (or converted into gardens, orange orchards, &c.) into a series of level terraces, I am quite aware that situations exist in which vineyards with considerable declivity may be successfully managed without this preliminary expense. Those slopes which, after being trenched, have their surfaces entirely composed of stones, will of course not be likely to stuffer nearly so much from the action of running water, and will absorb it much more rapidly than the situations where there are few or none. All I mean to insist upon is, that if, without any considerable additional outlay, the slope can in the first instance be properly terraced, its ultimate success will be rendered much more certain, and the outlay be amply repaid by more abundant crops and diminished expense in the cultivation.

The plan of adopting low terrace walls even where the declivity is great, and reducing the intermediate spaces into a series of smaller levels, supported by banks of earth, is probably novel to the greater part of your readers, and may appear more troublesome and expensive than where higher walls and broader terraces are adopted. A reference to the section No. 2 will shew however, that although by the adoption of this plan, the use of the leveling instrument is much more frequently required, the actual labour of moving the soil is greatly diminished, not to mention the saving effected in the reduced height of the walls, and I can assure them from personal experience, that the low banks of compressed earth which support the intermediate little terraces are neither troublesome to form, nor, being once settled for a few weeks, of a nature to require any particular care to keep them up. No water being permitted to flow over them from above, they are subject to very little wear and tear. I have some in view from 6 inches to 15 inches high, which were formed five or six years ago, and although they have never since been touched, they continue to be in good preservation and fully to answer their purpose. Any annual repairs which these little banks might require would be of trifling consideration, compared with their utility; and with regard to the trouble of leveling, I may add, that two men, with a very little practice, will level and mark out as much in one day as they can afterwards prepare for planting in a week. In conclusion I would observe, that the method I recommend demands neither additional trouble nor skill on the part of the workmen, but is rather calculated to diminish the former: but in rapid declivities and surfaces of broken irregular form, more attention and some little skill to turn them to the best account are required, on the part of him who directs their progress.

In the foregoing pages, I have minutely described the modes I should prefer to adopt, in preparing portions of land variously situated for planting with vines, being persuaded that the expenses incurred trenching, &c., will ultimately be amply repaid by the more rapid progress of the vines, their greater productiveness, and probably in the superior quality of the wine. But although I so strongly advocate trenching, and trenching to a great depth, I do not wish it to be understood that to form a vineyard at all, particularly in soils naturally loose and friable it is absolutely indispensable. I am aware that in some vineyards of celebrity, even in the warmer districts of France, it is little practiced. The ground is merely ploughed or dug eight or nine inches deep, and at the planting, holes are made in the undisturbed subsoil 15 or 20 inches deep, sometimes merely with an iron bar, in which the cuttings are inserted. Planted in this manner, the greater part of the cuttings strike root, but are said usually to make little progress for several years, and to require a much longer period, before they become sufficiently strong to produce a full crop, than they would have done had the ground been previously trenched. I am the more desirous to explain this, because I believe that many persons have been deterred from planting vineyards in consequence of the great preliminary outlay required to trench the ground, an expense which many are not in a condition to afford. To such I would say, rather than have no vineyard, if your soil be suitable plant without trenching, inserting the cuttings 15 or 18 inches deep in holes made with a, narrow spade, the ground having been previously prepared by ploughing, &c.

 

Letter VI – Preparing the Ground for Planting

The site chosen for a vineyard having been trenched, the next operation we have to consider is the preparation for planting. Should the ground be naturally level, it will be necessary merely to fill up such little inequalities of surface as may have been left at the trenching, and to break any large lumps at or near the surface. For this purpose the ground ought not to be wet from recent rains, particularly if it contain clay, marle, or other earth of a binding quality, neither should it be very dry; an intermediate state is the most suitable.

If the vineyard is on a steep ascent and to be subdivided between the terrace walls into little terraces, as described in the last paper, it will be in the first instance necessary to level and mark them out with hard wooden pegs, of which part may be left in the ground (driven to a secure depth) as permanent marks. Then, having gradually made up the outside with earth in a damp state to the required level, compressing it well with the feet and the back of the spade until sufficiently firm, a garden line may be stretched from peg to peg, and the edge neatly trimmed of at a moderate slope with the spade; should the soil be too stoney, gravelly, or sandy, to enable a firm edge to be made of earth alone, stones of small size may be substituted; or if it be abundant, split hardwood timber. Stout shingles, from 9 or 10 to 15 or 16 inches long, according to the height of the little terraces, placed close together, side by side, with their thinner ends imbedded a few inches in the soil, would answer extremely well. At a tolerably steep inclination, with 4 feet terraces, from 15 to 20 thousand such shingles, of fair average width, suffice for one acre, and they would last many years.

It will be proper to leave the surface of each little terrace (particularly if the ground be porous) a little hollowed out, or lower behind than at the front, so as to be certain of retaining all the water until enough falls to be gradually carried off laterally to the regular water channels perpendicular to the terraces, and thus to prevent the possibility of its ever flowing over from terrace to terrace.

Planting the Vineyard

The operation of planting the vines is very important, and requires to be carefully attended to. Great care should be taken in the selection of the cuttings. Firstly, to procure them of good sorts, each kind (if several are to be planted) being kept apart to occupy separate rows. Much judgment and experience is requisite to adapt the varieties to the best advantage, according to the end the cultivator has in view. But, before we can hope, in all cases, to effect this object, we must acquire more extensive experience upon the subject than unfortunately we now possess. The sorts which may succeed best on one kind of soil may not prove equally well adapted to another; besides, by the admixture of certain varieties in the same vineyard, as is the practice in many of the best wine districts of Europe, we should probably combine the advantages of improved quality with greater certainty in the produce. These are lessons which time and attention alone can teach us. However, we may he sure that we shall not greatly err, if we choose only known good sorts. Secondly: the cuttings ought to be made from none but thoroughly well ripened wood, neither too slender nor too stout, and with the buds plump and well developed. Cuttings from healthy, full-bearing plants should always be preferred, and they usually succeed better if a small portion of last years wood is attached to them. They ought never to be less than 15 inches long, and it would often be advantageous to have them some inches longer. They should be out across horizontally just below the lower bud, if there is no wood of the previous year attached to them, and a little sloping, about 3/4 inch above the upper bud, the slope being always on the side opposite to the bud.

A difference of opinion prevails amongst practical men, as to the expediency of planting cuttings, or rooted plants, It has been alleged that in the districts where the practice prevails of planting vineyards with rooted plants (usually obtained by laying), they are not of such long duration as in its those districts in which they are planted with cuttings. I am unable to offer any conclusive facts upon this point; but it appears to be improbable that in the propagation of a plant which has been increased from time immemorial by extension (that is by other means than by seeds), there can be any difference in the durability of individuals raised by laying, when carefully transplanted in a young state, and from cuttings, without subsequent removal. I certainly prefer to plant a vineyard with rooted plants, not produced by laying, however, but by planting cuttings the year previously in a well prepared bed or plot of ground: and this method is prevalent on the Rhine, and occasionally in the Medoc and in other districts of France. I give this method the preference, not on account of any material saving of time in bringing the great majority of the stocks into full bearing, but because there is a greater probability, amounting indeed almost to a certainty, of their all starting into growth together, and of their preserving greater uniformity afterwards. When the vineyard is planted with cuttings, even under the best management, it sometimes happens that many of them fail. The blanks thus occasioned require to be replanted the ensuing year, and even then sometimes not all filled up. These blanks usually remain very perceptible during a number of years, for the plants last introduced are frequently in a great measure starved and stinted by their older and more vigorous neighbors, so that the vineyard continues several years longer than it might have been before it is brought into a state of full productiveness. An equal growth from the first is therefore one of the desiderata in a young vineyard which some pains should be taken to ensure. And by no means can the subject be so well effected as by using healthy one-year-old roots.

To obtain these, properly prepared cuttings of the desired sorts should be procured, and being neatly tied up in bundles of from 100 to 200, they should be kept with their butt ends immersed in water, for an inch or two only, until their upper buds begin to swell, preparatory to their unfolding themselves. This will usually happen a few days earlier than the appearance of the first spring shoots of growing vines in the same locality. Then, a plot of ground having been prepared by deep trenching, and, if it be not in perfectly good heart, by turning in a considerable quantity of well rotted manure, they should be planted as follows:·- Let the ground be marked out into beds of convenient width, and a trench he opened across one of them, to the depth of 14 or 15 inches, sloping gently at the back; spread well decomposed manure a few inches thick, mixed with fine mould or sand, at the bottom, and insert the cuttings, resting against the back of the trench, at the distance of from 2 to 4 inches from each other, with their tops at the same level; throw in gently a few inches more of a similar compost, and press it down firmly, without trampling, against the butts of the cuttings. Then, fill up the remainder of the trench with the soil taken out of the next trench, in such manner that one bud only of each cutting shall remain above the surface. The second trench may be opened at the distance of from 12 to 18 inches from the first, and so on, until the whole of the cuttings are planted. If a coat of half rotted straw or litter be afterwards shaken over the plot, to the depth of several inches, it will ensure their taking root, and greatly promote their vigorous growth. Care should be taken that the water in which the cuttings are preserved does not become putrescent, and to this end, if contained in vessels or small pools, it may require to be repeatedly changed; likewise that the cuttings are taken out only as they are required for planting, as an hour’s exposure to the hot sun or drying wind, when the buds are on the point of unfolding, might destroy many of them. By the method above described, from 25,000 to 50,000 rooted plants may be raised upon a quarter of an acre of ground, and unless the season should have proved exceedingly unpropitious, a growth of from one to three or four feet in their tops, and a corresponding extension of stout roots, be obtained.

To take them up properly and prepare them for planting, open a trench across the bed, outside the first row, 18 or 20 inches deep, as if to trench the bed over, then with a pointed stake work out the mould from amongst the roots into the excavation, and having cleared them, either cut them off with a sharp instrument, when very long and rambling, or draw them carefully out without bruising or splitting them up. As they are taken out, cut close of all the roots which may have been produced within 7 or 8 inches of the surface, and shorten the remainder to 6 or 8 inches. It would be very desirable to leave them longer, were it not for the increased trouble they would give to replant them. Prune the top to the lowest shoot, if there be more than one, and this shoot to one eye. The young plants are now ready for their final situation, but may be kept until wanted, “laid in by the heels,” as it is termed, that is, packed close together in trenches, with all but their tops covered, with moist earth or sand pressed firmly over, and amongst their roots.

In re-planting, any favorable weather may be chosen, from the time the leaves fall at the commencement of winter, until the buds begin to swell in the spring; but the earlier in the winter, and the sooner after they are taken up, the better. Should the distances in the rows not exceed two feet or 2 feet 6 inches, continuous trenches may be opened for the whole length. If they are greater, holes simply of the proper depth and width will suffice. In all cases I would recommend a spadeful or two of well decomposed manure to be put into the bottom of the hole, and the young plant, being inserted with its single bud just level with the surface, should have the mould made gently firm about its roots. In planting rooted plants, it will be expedient to use a line to indicate the position of the row, with bits of cloth inserted between the strands to mark the situation of each plant.

In planting a vineyard with cuttings, four different methods are practiced. The first and most troublesome, but most certain, is by opening a trench for the cuttings the whole length of the row, and planting them as described above. The second and next best method, but nearly as tedious, is by opening a hole with the spade for each cutting, and planting in the same manner. The third is by the use of an instrument very general throughout all wine countries. It is a flat bar or blade of iron or steel about two inches broad, by 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch thick hammered rather thinner and pointed at the end. This blade is about 2 feet long, and securely riveted into a cross handle of wood about 20 inches long, giving the whole, the form of the letter T. The surface of the ground having been leveled and made fine, the position of the rows having been marked by stakes, and of each individual plant by a mark on the ground, and cuttings having been distributed to each by a boy in attendance for the purpose, the vigneron proceeds first to scrape away, with a very small hoe having a handle only 6 or 8 inches long, the dry lumpy soil on the top, and indeed until he reaches the moist earth, then inserting the bar nearly up to the handle, and pressing the flat part forcibly once or twice against the earth on each side, a hole is left after the instrument is withdrawn sufficiently large to admit the cutting. The cutting is then inserted with the left hand up to the uppermost bud, pouring in with the right either moist wood ashes, sand, or fine light mould, the cutting being frequently shaken and lifted up and down, to make sure that it is solidly bedded in the finely divided material. The instrument is then again inserted about two or three inches from the cutting, and forcibly pressed with its flat side against the mould which surrounds the cutting, particularly at the bottom. It is very common to put in a second cutting into the hole thus formed, and sometimes even a third, to guard against failures. It is a good practice to cover the bud, which is left above the surface, with a little hillock of mould two or three inches high, rubbed fine between the hands. It is in this manner protected, until it has pushed forth a shoot, from extremes of heat or cold, to which it might otherwise he exposed.

The fourth method is the most expeditious, but least certain of any, excepting in light sandy lands, in which it commonly answers very well. An instrument is used of the same length as the last, and fixed into a handle of the same description, but shorter. The instrument itself is a rod of 3/8 inch round iron, beaten out for about 15 inches from its lower end upon a mandril into the form of a hollow gouge, or small auger. [For this diagram, see Plate 3, Fig. 1. This can be seen in Part 9 – Management of the Cellar]. In using it, the point in the centre is fixed into the lower end of the cutting, the top of which is hold in the left hand; whilst using the right, a hole is made with the instrument which carries the cutting down with it to the required depth. The cutting resting in the hollow part of the instrument, offers no resistance to the soil as it is carried down. The mere insertion by this mode is so expeditious, that the marking out of the distances, and the distribution of the cuttings, occupies by far the greater proportion of the time consumed in planting. It is used in light soils, which, from want of rain, are very dry near the surface, but sufficiently moist below for the vegetation of the cuttings.