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In fig. 23, (a) is the table containing the pots boxes and plants, and (6) is an enclosed space beneath containing four four-inch iron pipes, through which the hot water circulates. And fig. 24 is a ground plot (see figs. 23 and 24) showing the arrangement of the stove and the pipes. At (a) the pipe emerges froin the stove (c) and ramifies back and forwards through the box as often as the owner pleases, and returns at (b) to the bottom of the stove or heater. This is the old style of propagating when high bottom heat was supposed would not be endured by young plant roots. But since their love of a high heat has been proven, the pipes, as in fig. 25, may be laid on the table, and the (see fig. 25) equalizing material placed over them, and the pots and boxes with the germinating buds plunged with no partition between them and the pipes.
The pipes should not be less than two inches in their internal diameter; ex: periment has shown that cast iron four-inch pipes are the best. Only one objection can be offered to these pipes for the propagating table, and that is the expense. Everyway they are superior to hot air, or the brick flue.
3d. We shall name only one other method of heating the table. And that is the best, every way, notwithstanding all that can be said to the contrary. It is cheap, effective, and has the recommendation that should belong as far as possible to every agricultural implement, that it can be made by any one of common skill and energy in common carpentry. It is the hot water tank. Having had many enquiries by correspondents in different States, as to the tanks in use in the town in which I live, and their success, construction, and advantages; and the minute answer to these questions being at times quite a task, I hope the drawings and directions below will explain the subject. It is difficult to make even intelligent enquirers believe how simple they are, that nails, a few scantling, plauk and boards are the materials, and that a common carpenter with his ordinary tools will do all the work, or that there is not some secret untold.
In fig. 26 is a section of the tank in, as I believe, its best form and (a) is the bottom of the tank made of the common machine plained, tongued and grooved, inch-and-a-quarter floor plank, pitch pine is the best, but any sound pine flooring will answer the purpose. The tank should be four or five feet wide. If four feet wide, then the flooring is to be cut four feet long; and when cut, nailed on to the side pieces (, b) (see fig. 25). It is not a matter of much importance how thick these sides are, 4x4 and 3x4 inches have been used, and two inches is thick enough, four inches is wide enough though six have been used. The length of these side pieces is as long as the table; or they must be joined so as to make the lengths required to fill the house. The way of putting a tank together is, to lay the side pieces 'b b) down on the ground or other convenient place inside or outside of the house, nail on firmly and tightly the bottom pieces (a) to the side pieces, Of course the tank when thus nailed is bottom side up. If the tongue and grooves, are coated with paint, or coal tar and linseed old mixed, they will last better. At one side of fig. 26, is represented a tongue put in grooves cut in the side pieces and the bottom boards; and on the other side a three cornered cleat or batten is represented nailed in the lower corner of the inside of the tank, coated with coal tar and linseed oil. Either way is good enough since after the first two or three weeks, tanks
leak but little, if well made. When the bottom is firmly nailed to the sides, place the tank on the supports, it is to have in the house, in its permanent place, and level it as near as can be by the ordinary spirit level, or by other means. If the tank is made of several parts, either on account of its length, or because it bends on two or more sides of the house, connect these several parts; and when the whole is made as nearly level as can be, paint the inside of it, or what is better coat the inside with coal tar and linseed oil, half and half boiled together, and after drying several days, repeat the painting, or coal tar mixture; and after a few more days drying, even if the coal tar mixture is not very hard, proceed and fill the tank two or three inches deep with water, and correct the leveling of the tank by the water, if anywhere it is not level. Experience has shown that boiling water in such a tank on coal tar when but partially indurated or the strong steaming fumes of coal tar, will not injure the propagation of grapes on the table. The supporting of the tank is readily made by the longitudinal four by four inch scantling (cc) fig. 26, and the four by four studs beneath them at intervals of six feet, placed on a stone, bedded in the earth at their base. When speaking of coal tar just now, I ought to have remarked that coal tar applied directly to the leaves of plants, will kill them, but no fear of such a result from the smell or fumes of coal tar need be entertained. And if there is anything that requires the tank to be used immediately, it can be used without waiting for it to dry. At any rate the water of any tank needs to be drawn off occasionally be it painted or not, with coal tar or not; and these drawings off, and refilling the tank will soon remove any smell of coal tar, or smell of paint, or sourness that by any cause may get in the water in the tank. While on the changing of the water in the tank I will remark that when the tank is to be left for several months out of use, add three or four pounds of sulphate of copper to the water, while still in circulation, and this slight kyanizing will not cause the tank to shrink, and will keep it from decay. A large addition of sulphate of copper, will cause the tank to shrink and leak.
The tank being now leveled and joined when there are two or more parts, and supported at its level, is filled to within one inch of the top, its full height when in use; any leakage is stopped by putting cotton in the cracks, or by clay rubbed in. There being no haste for its immediate use, it is better to allow several days for the tank to swell and tighten before the cover is put on. When once tight, little leakage not caused by frost and ice need be apprehended. If the tank must be used immediately, it is best to put in bran liberally, and the cover at once put on.
The cover (e), fig. 26, if made of one-inch boards or one and a quarter floor stuff, is stout enough. It is best to allow these to project over the edge of the tank two or three inches, and nail the cover on slightly, and with short nails. This is for the purpose of removing a portion of the cover, if necessary to stop some difficult leak, a thing rarely to be done. The covering being on, the sides, (ff), for holding the plunging material, made of 2x4 scantling, are nailed on strong enough to keep their places. The tank and the table on the tank are now done. The plunging or heat equalizing material is now to be spread evenly on, and the pots and boxes added as filled with grapebuds when the water in the tank is hot. By reference to fig. 4, dotted
lines (7) are seen representing the iron pipe, four inches in diameter, the only size it is best to use, leading from the top of the boiler or water-stove to the tank, and the dotted lines (ra) representing a long pipe passing beneath the walk to the bottom of the hot water stove, to convey the return water to the bottom of the heater.
We have now a tank holding many barrels of water. It is filled to within an inch of the covering. It is tight, and will last many years with little or no repair. It is compact, it was easily built, and is every way convenient and efficient.
As to the cost of tanks, it will be seen that one of 400 square feet surface requires 400 feet of one and a quarter inch pine flooring and 400 feet of one-inch boards and a few feet of scantling. Thus, about one thousand feet of lumber, at the average of twenty dollars per thousand, has been used; not a heavy sum for so large a surface or propagating tank table. Mr. Edward S. Rodgers, of Salem, Mass., who is the famous originator of the hybrids of his name, had one made and used at my suggestion. It is about thirty feet long and four broad, and cost him about one dollar per foot. He says he never has propagated his buds as well as by this tank. He used at first a cheap box heater—a square copper box. And let me here remark that, having the last season eaten his No. 1, 3, 4 and 15 Hybrid grapes, I believe we have in them a series of grapes worthy of universal attention and propagation. For some of them have no equal as his No. 1 for champagne and No. 15 for a high flavored still wine. They are large, will be marketable grapes, for their size and appearance is just what will suit the public; especially do I believe the No. 3 and 4 to be, for latitudes south of Boston, a first quality grapes. Not to give other instances where the cost has been about fifty cents per linear foot of tank, the expense of a hot tank table, water stove and house is something, and I need not make the calculations, as they are so easily within the reach of any one at his own locality.
The next subject is how shall the tank table be filled. We answer much according to the taste of the operator.
One good plan, and on the whole it is the best, is by pots, and we make the following remarks on the size and shape of pots. The common
“ thumb" pots of the New York city market are shaped, not exaggerated by the dotted line thus, (a) fig. 27, broad at the top and small at the bottom. To this shape (see figure 27) we object that neither nature or art has as yet disposed the young vine to make any use of the top of the pot. The roots of a vine when it is time to repot are found at the bottom, leaving the top earth untouched, and the bottom a mass of large and small fibres; and by the broad top much of the space of the tank is lost. By the continuous lines (b) is figured the actual size of the best pot we ever have used. Much economy
space is in its use, and it is amply large as a propagating pot. We commend this shape as the best also for the four and six inch sizes; and when the vine is too long for a six inch pot, it must be put out of doors, in the earth, or be stunted and dwarfed. We can account for the conical appearing shape of the pots bought in cities, and they are broader than the figure, only on the principle of the strutting Indian who wished to "look big." So these pots look big to sell small plants in.