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A complete manual for the cultivation of the cranberry. With a description of the best varieties online

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swamp, either in the spring or fall of the year. If the
vine is taken up and left exposed to the winter weather
it is almost sure of being killed, and therefore no one
to whom this fact is known would do so. The vine
can be removed from the soil and left without earth
through the winter under some circumstances. If
they are taken up in the fall and left in a moist cellar
until spring, they will, when planted, take root and
do well. "I would as soon have vines left in my
cellar through the winter, for spring planting, as I

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would have those fresh from the yard or the swamp."*
Experiment has proved that the vine can be treated
according to the latter method without detriment to
itself. It will, therefore, be evident that the vine can
be taken up and have all the soil taken from its roots,
be packed in barrels, and forwarded to any part of the
country, without being injured

It is admitted by most cultivators of the cranberry
that in the absence of ability to " flood the patch" in
the winter, that it is better to plant in the spring than
the fall, because those vines set out in the fall, which
are not " flowed," will get frozen, and when the frost is
thawed out, it will throw the young plants up and out
of the soil. In circumstances like these, spring plant-
ing is the best.

Those who determine upon this season instead of
the fall for setting out, will, of course, not remove
their vines until they are prepared to transplant. May
and the early part of June, for spring planting, are
believed on Cape Cod to be the most favorable
months. Should you determine upon either one of
these months, which you may do with perfect assur-
ance that the removal will not injure your vines, you
will, therefore, defer their removal until you are ready
to give them a place in your newly-prepared situation,

* Aaron Crowell, Esq.


In other words, do not remove your vines until you
can plant them. Though vines may be taken up and
kept from the soil for three or four months in a moist
and warm situation, yet all cultivators prefer the
former method or time of removal.

There are two or three advantages connected with
spring planting, which we will name, which he who
sets out his vines in the fall cannot possibly have.

If in the spring you intend to plant, you have the
winter before you for preparation. You may proba-
bly with your own labor and a little assistance be able
to make as much as you think it best to plant. You
have more time on your hands, and therefore you can
afford to do your work better and thoroughly. To get
ready for fall planting, you have to hurry everything,
and consequently your work is likely to be slighted.
In making your patch in the winter, you can study
the characteristics of the location, and learn to what
depth and extent it is liable to be flowed, and whether
it is flowed from natural springs or water that is carried
into it from other sources.

Having called your attention to the time of re
moving and planting vines, we will present to the
reader the various methods of planting, and specify
those modes which are preferred. It must not be sup
posed that there is one uniform plan of treating the
vine. The cultivation of this plant is but in its infancy,


and consequently growers will continue to make trials
and experiments, until they acquire a knowledge of a
method which to them is satisfactory. Various
methods have been adopted and pursued with differ-
ent degrees of success, which we will now mention :
(See Plate No. 6.)

1. SOD PLANTING. This is the oldest plan. It waa
customary in the early days of cranberry culture to
cut out a square or oblong sod on which the vine was
growing, and then to prepare the yard to receive it
just as it was taken up. It was thought that this plan
was the best, because the vine did not suffer by such a
removal. But experience has taught cultivators that
this is not the best mode. There is this forcible objec-
tion lying against it. In removing the sod, rank weeds
and foul grasses are brought with it, and it has been
proved that these grasses and weeds retard the matting
process of the vine, and the yard becomes one of
weeds and wild grasses rather than of healthy cran-
berry plants. If you plant on the Sod System, it will
entail much labor upon you; for even if you determine
upon keeping down this wild stuff, you will find the
difficulty to be greater than you anticipated.

"We may safely advise the intending cultivator to
guard against the method which has just been de-
scribed. Another plan is,



which is far superior to the former.

On obtaining the sod, and before planting, you take
the sod on which the vine is growing, examine it
closely, then place your fingers beneath or among the
roots and tear them out as carefully as you can.
"When this is done, separate the vine into as many as
you can conveniently, but be careful to leave two or
three small spears or runners on the roots. When you
plant, place the roots in the soil first, then spread out
the spears or runners, and bury them in the soil, but
being careful to leave out of the earth the ends or tips
of those spears or runners.

The reason for this method is, that from those parts
of the spears or runners which are buried in the soil
will start new roots, and each root will be a new vine,
and instead of only having one root from which the
vine may start, you have two, or a half dozen, accord-
ing to the number of spears on the vine you plant.
This is a favorite method among the most successful
growers of the cranberry.

A patch planted on this system matts rapidly, and
has rarely been known to fail. It is about the best
method now known; you may follow it with safety:
(See Plate No. 7.)

3. CUTTING PLANTING. In pursuing this method


when the vine is obtained, it is cut up into convenient
lengths, say from four to six inches. One of these
cuttings is taken, but not planted with the end down
and one end out of the soil ; it is planted in the middle
of the cutting, leaving up both ends, so that when it
takes root, instead of there being but one runner, there
will be two. This is a good and safe method. (See
Plate ISTo. 8.)

4. CUTTING PLANTING may be continued in another
form, take two or three slips or cuttings, about three
or four inches long, and force the lower ends into the
soil with a dibble ; each slip will take root and form a
vine. This has been tried with success, and in some
parts of the country it is a popular method.

5. BROADCAST PLANTING. When the vines are
secured in sufficient quantities, they may be cut about
two inches in length by a common hay cutter. When
the patch is prepared to receive them, they may be
scattered over the surface as is wheat or oats, and then
well harrowed into the soil. The cuttings will take
root from the base of the leaves, and will soon spring
up and present the appearance of young and healthy
vines. Some prefer to bury these cuttings in drills.
But it is mere matter of opinion as to which plan is
the best.

A. Surface of Soil,

B. Out portions of Vines.

C. New Hoot s growing from
Base of Leaves.



6. PROPAGATION FROM SEEDS. If the seeds of
the cranberry are sown, they are not always certain
of coming up. The situation may be too cold for
them, and the seed is destroyed. Seed is often tried,
and will send up a small fine spear, but generally is
killed after the first year. We have heard it stated
by several cultivators that the seed may, under some
circumstances, be used, and in the third year the vines
raised from them would bear small quantities of fruit.

The best situations in which to sow the seed of the
cranberry are the edges of fresh meadow land ; such
places are generally protected, and they seem favor
able, or rather the most favorable situations for propa-
gation from seed that are known.

Some persons who have tried this experiment have
put into the soil the whole berry; few have been found
to come up, the seeds have rotted. We tried another
plan, which was as follows: we obtained the berry
and then broke it in water. The seeds separated from
the berry ; these we collected and sowed in the patch
prepared for them, and found them to do better than
any other method. But raising vines from seed is un-
certain, hazardous, and if you succeed, you have a
long time to wait for the fruit.* We would not
advise seed planting ; from vines and cuttings the best
patches are formed.

* Asa Shiverick, Esq. - Joseph Hall, Esq.


7. DISTANCES OF PLANTING. This is wholly regu
zated by the quantity of vines you have at your com-
mand, and the extent of land to be covered. Some
will plant them three feet apart. In this case, it must
take them a long time to mat. Some plant them
eighteen inches apart, which of course is better than
the former plan, because they will be matted all the
sooner. The rule is, the nearer you can plant your
vines the better, providing your patch is not overrun
with weeds and foul grass. The object in such a
case of planting them wider apart would be to give
the cultivator an opportunity of getting between the
vines and destroying the weeds, and whatever else
might be likely to choke them.




WHEN the vines have been planted, their develop-
ment depends much upon the treatment they receive
from the cultivator. If they are neglected, or not
noticed, they will have to contend against wild grass
and foul weeds, so that it will be impossible for them to
be very thrifty.

If the patch which is but moderately cared for is com-
pared in appearance, condition, and fruitfulness with
the one that is neglected, the advantage will be found
to be with the former, over the latter. Cranberries do
not need that amount of labor bestowed upon them
which is given to the cultivation of corn ; but never-
theless, they must be watched and attended to, in order
to be saved.

In patches of land converted to cranberry cultiva-
tion in which there is an abundance of weed, it will
be necessary to destroy it, or keep it down in such a
way that the young vine may have few obstacles

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to its spreading and matting. In some regions of
country this is done by walking over the patch a
short time after planting, and if the wiry grass has
made its appearance, pulling it up. If this stuff is kept
down and out of the way, in the first year the vines
will give encouragement to the cultivator. In manag-
ing the young vines, it is deemed necessary to attend
to them in this way for the first three years, when
after that period they require less attention and labor;
but it will always be well to do a little every year by
way of keeping down any foul stuff which may have
made its appearance.

In some localities, it is customary to go over the
patch in the spring of the year, and to pull up any
briers, or the roots of wild grass which may be met with.
In well-established yards more labor than this is sel-
dom called for. For a large yard a day is sufficient.

Hoeing is resorted to by some cultivators. Where
the vines are planted two feet apart this is necessary,
or may be resorted to with safety for the first two years.
In that time, the heavy or thick tufts of weed can
be killed, and the soil, thus lightened, will prove
a benefit to the vines, as it is thereby rendered more
porous. After that period it will be hazardous to hoe,
as it can hardly be done without cutting and destroy-
ing some of the vines. Should the weeds threaten to
become troublesome after this, they can be removed by


pulling them up with, the hand, after having loosened
them with a fork. But generally after the second or
third years' careful cultivation, the vines will take
care of themselves and will eat out weeds and grass,
and thus leave but little to be done by the grower.

On uplands, where the vines are planted, the way in
which they are treated in order to make them do well
is to hoe them, and that as frequently as you can. In
this case, it is usual to plant in hills, and keep a space
unoccupied between the hills, so that in hoeing, there
will be no runners cut or destroyed. But the object
of hoeing on uplands is more with the view of making
the soil light and porous, so that moisture will the more
readily be taken in and received by the roots.

FLOODING. In fall planting, it is always best to flood.
And where the vines can effectually be covered with
two or three feet of water, they are not likely to suffer.
The depth of water which covers them prevents them
from being frozen, so that when the thaw sets in, the
vines retain the situation in which they were planted.
This water should be drawn off in the middle or latter
end of May. But if frost continues, it is not well to
drain it off until it disappears, for by keeping the vines
flowed it prevents them from blossoming, so that there
will be no danger of the flowers being destroyed by
frost. Though the vine is a hardy plant, yet its blos-
soms, and berries are very sensitive, and are soon


injured by the frost, early or late. In managing the
vines, the cultivator will have to be guided by the
condition of his yard whether it is weedy or other-
wise, dry, or too moist, and the nature of the climate
in which his patch is situated.



IN the winter, the cranberry vine appears of a dark
brownish green, and scarcely looks better than the
poverty grass which abounds in sandy regions. In
the spring, it begins to lose that peculiar color, ex-
changing it for a clear dark green. Then it is that
the uninitiated in the culture of cranberries begin to
anticipate something from the vines, which at least
will be pleasing to the eye, if not profitable to the
purse. The blossom of the cranberry makes its ap-
pearance in the latter part of June, and sometimes as
late as the first of July. The quantity of blossom
depends upon the quality of the vines, the suitability
of location, the adaptation of soil, and the season.
From the appearance of the vines at that time, the
cranberry grower begins to form some idea of the
crop he may possibly have.

The flower of the cranberry is beautiful and deli-
cately formed. It seems as though it would be sus-
ceptible to injury from trifling causes. Its color is
that of a very pale pink, slightly tinged with purple ;



and it is rarely or ever found on the runners, but in
variably on the spears or stems which are thrown up
from the creepers.

There are about this time some precautions required ;
but they are more needed in some parts of the country
than in others.

Districts in which there are cranberry yards, which
are liable to be visited by frost late in the spring, call
for especial .care from the cultivator. If his vines
blossom too soon, they will most probably be killed
by the frost, or at most he will have but a scanty crop.
The vines may, in the blossoming season, present an
abundance of flowers, and a night of frost cut them
off. In other regions where they are not so likely to
suffer from this cause, the same precautions are not

Here, and in cases of the kind just named, the ad-
vantage of flooding is apparent. Those who can flood
their vines, can retard the blossom, or keep it back
until they think their vines are not likely to suffer by
frost. The practice generally followed is, to keep the
water over the vines till the last of May or middle of
June, and then draw it off. The sooner the water is
drained from the yard, the vines will blossom all the
earlier for it; but that would be no advantage when
frost has not entirely disappeared from that locality


To keep back the blossom, nothing more is required
than to continue the water over the vines.

Flooding is not of so much importance and value in
those regions where the frost soon or early in the
spring disappears, as it is in those parts of the country
where it continues up to the last of June.

[NOTE Vines which are "flooded" during the
winter, when the water is drawn off from them are
tender, and the blossom which such vines put out
is sooner injured than that which appears on the un-
flooded vines.]




LIKE every other plant or fruit-vine, the cranberry
is subject to certain drawbacks, arising from causes
which we shall endeavor to enumerate.

1. There is the worm. We have not seen it, and
have only met with one grower who has, and he de-
scribes it as about an eighth of an inch in length.* It
has been sought after with extreme care and diligence.
Its presence seems only to be known by the devas-
tations it commits. And so great are they, that in a
night, vines which seemed doing well are rendered
sickly, and the crop is cut off. Not having seen this
enemy to the vine, and being unable to ascertain, even
from those who had suffered much by them, we are
therefore unable to identify it with any insect which
visits other fruits and destroys them. (See Plate, No. 9.)

This insect attacks the vine in a very peculiar

* Thomas Shiverick, Esq.


A. Healthy Leave*.

B. Diseased Leave*.

C. Webbing.



manner. The vine of last year will have started
spears or uprights, in that season those spears have
not attained their growth. In the following spring
they will become taller, and the new growth will be
perceptible by the contrast. The former year's growth
has a dark hue, and stronger stem ; the new growth
is thinner, green in appearance, and altogether more
delicate. "The worm begins its ravages from the
point that the new growth has started. It does not
descend down the old growth, but from the base of
the new spring growth it begins its, operations, work-
ing upward."* This insect comes in swarms. It
alights on the leaves, and extracts the moisture.
There seems to be in the vine or young leaf a juice
which by them is sought after. When it is present it
is known by the vine being webbed up and appearing
as though it was suffering from the fire blight.

At the period when these attacks are made, there is
some degree of certainty. It is most frequently im-
mediately after blossoming time, and their ravages are
often fatal to the crop of that yard which they visit.
There is something singular about the plan upon
which they act, but as it is new, we must describe that
action, leaving the ascertaining of the cause thereof to
further research and more experience. We are fami-
liar with the situation of a large pond which is bordered
* Howes Chapman, Esq. Joshua C. Howes, Esq.


by beautiful cranberry patches. It was there that
in the last season this insect made its appearance. It
attacked certain patches and left the adjoining ones
untouched. The reason for this has not yet been
given, extended study of the subject may enable us in
some measure to account for this.

2. THE FRUIT WORM. This is different from the
insect we last referred to, it is named the cranberry
worm. It is something like the apple worm, but
smaller. It makes its appearance about the latter part
of July or the beginning of August. In its attack
upon the berry it eats its way through the exterior
skin, and then enters the interior of the fruit, which
after that is of no value to the producer. This cran-
berry worm, is one of the greatest enemies that the cul-
tivator has to contend against.

3. THE ROT. This is not so common as either of
the other enemies of the cranberry, to which we have
alluded, yet the rot appears in some yards, and sweeps
off the crop from that particular locality it visits.

"We have visited a yard, which in former years was
a shallow pond. The owner had it filled in and level-
led off. On this, he planted the vines ; they did remark-
ably well, were soon matted, and seemed to be thrifty.
The vines put out great quantities of blossom, and the
"fruit began to form. The cultivator noticed that in
the lower part of the yard the berry rotted, and this,


year after year was the case. The upper part of the
yard remained untouched. To account for this it is
difficult, but we will give the opinion of the proprietor
of this patch and of another experienced cultivator,* and
leave the reader to draw his own conclusions. That
part of the yard in which the berry rots is a little lower
than any other portion. It is supposed by the owner
to be too wet, and that this is the cause of the rot.

The vines on this patch are exceedingly well matted,
they are thick, and it is supposed that in consequence
ef this, the sun cannot fairly shine upon them, and
hence the rot.

If it is the first, then, the remedy is to raise the soil,
and bring it to the level of that part of the yard in
which the cranberry does not rot ; or, if it is the second,
there is nothing more required than to thin out the
vines, so that the sun may shine fully upon them. Is
there any remedy for the worm ? No remedy has yet
been discovered for that insect which attacks the vine
and the young spears of the plant, should it reappear
in yards that it has already visited, doubtless the pro-
prietors will try some experiments which we trust will
be successful.

To meet the case of the cranberry worm, flooding is
resorted to. It is well known, that those yards which

* Joseph Hall, Esq. Thomas Hall, Esq.


can be flowed, are not so likely to be attacked by this
worm as those which, are not covered with water during
the winter. The conclusion thus arrived at is, that
flooding is a partial remedy for this enemy to the cran-
berry. Hence, those who are constructing a yard, will
if convenient endeavor to secure this advantage, if it
does nothing more than aid in keeping down the cran-
berry worm.




THE cranberry is rarely ripe until the beginning or
middle of October. At that time the cultivators
begin to pick the fruit and get it ready for market.
There are two methods of picking. The first is by
hand. It is customary in some regions to engage chil-
dren for this purpose, who are paid at the rate of
thirty or thirty-three cents per bushel. It is seldom
that the best or quickest pickers gather more than three
bushels during one day. To do this is extraordinary
work. There must be a superintendent or overseer
with them, or they will be apt to slight them. The
interest of the cultivator is to have his vines picked

The second method is by raking. This cannot be
adopted in cranberry yards where the vines have
become matted. To attempt it would be folly, because
the teeth of the rake would tear up the vines and
runners, and do them a serious injury.

Those yards in which the rake is used from the first



year of gathering the berry, has been the plan adopt-
ed. The rake has pulled the vines in one direction,
and it is always in the direction in which they lie that
they are raked from year to year. Where this plan
is followed, it is not likely to be so injurious as it
would be in the previously mentioned case.

The packing of cranberries is of some importance.
It is usual to spread them out so that all the dew or
moisture may evaporate. Then they are winnowed or
picked over. The rotting or defective berries are re-
moved, and they are cleaned over in such a manner
that leaves and straws are not to be found among
them, when in a marketable condition.

If the market to which they are to be forwarded is
not very distant, they are packed dry in barrels, and
thus sent off. But in sending them to Europe or Cali-
fornia it is deemed best to pack them in water. Small
kegs are usually secured for this purpose. When they
are thus treated, the good ripe cranberry can be sent
on the longest voyage without being injured.




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Online LibraryB EastwoodA complete manual for the cultivation of the cranberry. With a description of the best varieties → online text (page 3 of 6)