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[53] So, in early spring, the branches which are left at every joint bring forth a bud, from which the grape, offspring of this bud, appears, growing with the moisture of the earth and the heat of the sun; and though at first it is very bitter to the taste, it afterwards becomes sweet as it ripens; and, enwrapped in foliage, it has no lack of tempered warmth and turns aside the more ardent glances of the sun. What, I ask, can be more delicious to the taste or more alluring to the eye?

Indeed it is not only the utility of the vine, as I said before, that gives me joy, but I find joy also in its culture and very nature; in the even-spaced rows of stakes, with strips across the top; in the tying up of the branches; in the propagating of the plants; in the pruning of some branches (to which I have already referred), and in the leaving of others to grow at will.

Why need I allude to the irrigation, ditching, and frequent hoeing of the soil, whereby its productiveness is so much enhanced? Why need I discuss the advantage of manuring, already dealt with in my book on agriculture?

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