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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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IN the immediate neighborhoods in which cran-
berries are cultivated, but few are consumed. The
reason of this is, people living at a distance from the
place in which they are ,raised are willing to pay a
higher price for them. Time was when the cranberry
was not valued more than the common barberry. But
people have lived to discover its excellent qualities,
and since it is so highly appreciated for its culinary pur-
poses, there are those who are willing to pay an almost
fabulous price for the berry. It has become in many
families a necessary luxury. The wealthy would as
soon part with the apple as the cranberry, and it is
the rage among the rich, and even those who are
not so fortunate, for this fruit, which keeps it up
to that price which puts it beyond the reach of the


Boston is the great market for cranberries. It ia
nearest to those regions in which the vine is cultivated,
and the fruit-dealers, knowing how much it is sought
after, can, by the course they have recently pursued,
realize handsome profits upon what they purchase.
Of such profit is the cranberry, that growers have
been visited by city dealers a month or six weeks
before the berry has been ready to pick. They have
offered a price which was deemed handsome by the
cultivator. Some took them, as they bid for the
whole crop, and others refused. Even the last season,
growers received from ten dollars to fifteen dollars per
barrel. This has been obtained in the Boston market.

The New York market is said to be good for the
cranberry, and this is well known to the Boston dealers
who ship the fruit to that port and Philadelphia, and
the other great cities of the Union.

The consumption of the cranberry in the great
cities is such that the dealers can realize their own
prices, by doing as they did last fall, buy up the berry
and get it into their own hands. The wealthy will
have the cranberry, and it is immaterial to them
whether they pay eight or twenty dollars per barrel.

The American cranberry is coming into notice in
many parts of Europe, but more especially in Eng-
land. The way in which it is sold there is in small
bottles, into which the fruit is first put, and then filled


w&tcr and hermetically sealed. These are sold at
a hi^L. pice. "We have seen a pint of cranberries
marked " Cape Cod Bell Cranberry," sold at four shil-
lings sterling, in the Strand, London. There is not
the slightest doubt that as the American cranberry is
superior to the English or Eussian, a market will be
found for it, at paying prices, in almost any part of the
civilized world. It seems to us that the American
agriculturists do now take the lead in the cultivation of
this fruit, and will continue to do so. We are con-
vinced from what we know of this country that if our
farmers only proceed in making those trials and experi-
ments which it will be worth their while to do, and
bring their swamps, ponds, and bogs into a proper
condition to receive the vine (in the way we have pre-
viously pointed out), they will not only be able to
supply all that are needed for home consumption, but
foreign demands likewise. But let not any one sup-
pose that more cranberries are now raised than can be
disposed of at paying prices. If the cultivation of the
cranberry proceeds as rapidly as we hope it may, all
that can be raised will find a market in the country.
The influence of the weather upon the English
grain market is well known. How dry. or wet weather
will affect prices there is astonishing. The cranberry
for its market price before it is picked is somewhat
dependent upon the climate


If there has been a frost about the time of blossom-
ing, then that circumstance is laid hold upon, and the
cry is raised, there will be a short crop ; or should
there be too much rain, or too much sunshine, or a
frost early in October, all are equal blessings to the
great dealers, who know well how to manage this part
of the business to their own advantage.

All cranberries are not of equal value. Some will
not keep so long as others, neither are they so highly
colored or flavored as the best varieties, yet the poor-
est berry is often disposed of at the same price as the

There are cranberries which are picked before they
are ripe in order to save them from the frost. In some
parts of the country producers do this to save them-
selves, or their fruit would be affected, and rot. Cran-
berries gathered before they are ripe will not keep so
long as those that have matured.

Hundreds of bushels are taken into the market in
this condition, and they are afterwards branded and
sold as a superior fruit, realizing just as much as the
very best.

Those cranberries which come into the market that
have lost their green hue, and only have a delicate
flesh color must be used within a few months or they
will decay.

Growers of cranberries have their preferences foi


certain varieties of fruit, yet it is strange that there
should be a difference in the quality of this berry, and
all kinds should bear a uniform price.

The Bugle cranberry, or egg shaped, large and
small, is a good variety. It is pale in color, not so
deep and dark a crimson as some other varieties,
neither is it valued so highly by those producers who
are acquainted with the qualities of the Bell or Cherry.

The Cherry is round and large ; of this there are two
varieties, large and small. It is hard, its color dark
almost black when properly cultivated. See Plate
No. 10.

The Bell is the favorite of some of the most exten-
sive cultivators of the cranberry. It is a large variety,
and grows in some parts to great perfection.

The Southern cranberry will ripen, but it is small
and light, consequently not so valuable.

The cranberry grown in those regions of country in
which the season is too short for them, cannot be so
valuable as they otherwise would be.

The cranberry produced on Cape Cod attains greater
perfection than it does in any other country with
which we are acquainted. It is larger : it is deeper in
color ; it will keep better than any other.

The " Cape Cod BeU Cranberry" and the " Cape
Cod Cherry" now take the lead, and must continue to
do so ; and we think that the time will come when


these varieties must command a higher price than any
other that will be offered in the market. The climate
and soil of Cape Cod are well adapted to the perfect
development of the cranberry, and these natural ad-
vantages combined with the experience of cultivators,
gives them the advantage over others.

There is a great increase in the consumption of
cranberries, and this fact should encourage those who
possess lands, of the kind pointed out in the body of
this manual, to make an effort to cultivate the vine.
If you can but get the vine into a favorable situation,
and know how to manage it, it must pay you for the
pains taken in its cultivation.

The cultivation of the cranberry is but in its infancy.
Ten years more of hard and practical experience in its
management will do much to establish or destroy the
theories which have been set up by some cultivators.



SINCE writing the previous parts of this manual, I
have been favored with communications from Professor
Shepherd of the "Western Reserve College, Ohio, and
from Mr. Trowbridge of New Haven, Conn., on a
recently discovered upland cranberry, and also with a
specimen of the fruit gathered from the vine in its un-
cultivated condition.

It has long been desired to adapt the lowland or bog
cranberry to the dry, poor, upland soils. Many have
made the attempt to do so, but have failed. If the
variety now under notice is what it purports to be, I
see no reason why it cannot be appropriated by farmers
who possess poor land, thereby superseding the neces-
sity of wasting efforts on attempts to naturalize the
swamp vine to arid uplands.

Professor Shepherd found the upland cranberry
during his recent explorations around Lake Superior.
It was growing on the dryest and poorest soils, flourish-
ing and producing an abundance of fruit.



The fruit, a specimen of Vhich I now hare in my
possession, is much smaller than the lowland cran-
berry. It resembles an ordinary pea in size and shape.
Its color is of a beautiful pale red. The skin is bright
and glossy. It is not so hard a fruit as the swamp
berry, and therefore will not keep so long. It is soft
and is excellently adapted for jellies and preserves.
The flavor is not so acetous but remarkably pleasant
and agreeable. If the fruit becomes known, it is more
than probable that it will be much sought after. I
have seen a variety much resembling this ; growing on
the moors and barren mountains in the north-western
parts of England. The inhabitants of those regions
seek them in their season with great avidity, prizing
them highly for their rare qualities.

The vines on which they are found resemble some-
what the bog cranberry, and they usually bear well,
It is seldom, indeed, tfyat this crop is cut off, for they
are invariably gathered, being ripe, in the early part of
September. The upland cranberry found in the British
Provinces only requires to be known in order to be

The question arises, can it be cultivated and made
to subserve the purposes of the agriculturist ? Can it
be made profitable as a fruit? Why not? If the
swamp cranberry has been cultivated and found to be
of great value to those who have taken pains to grow


them, wliy not the upland? The objections which
lie against the latter, ten or fifteen years ago applied
with equal force against the former. "What is now
wanted is only a fair trial on the part of those who
take any interest in the cultivation of cranberries.
These vines must be experimented with and tried ; and
doubtless Professor Shepherd feels convinced that they
will be highly remunerative, or he would not recom-
mend them. There are thousands of acres of land in
this country which are dry and parched, and seemingly
unfit for the development of vegetation, but if future
experience in connection with this variety should
prove them to be of value, and their cultivation prac-
ticable, we may hope to see these now useless tracts
occupied and made of use to the farmer.

Without saying anything further, I call the atten-
tion of the reader to Professor Shepherd's letter, upon
which he can form his own opinion, and also to the
announcement found at the end of this manual, that
Mr. Trowbridge has made arrangements to supply this
variety of vine to those who may require it.

HAVEN, Dec. 28, 1855.
DEAR SIR : As Mr. Trowbridge is about to forward
to you a specimen of the Oxycoccus Palustris, or Up-
land Cranberry, at his request I would respectfully
state that these berries are such as I have seen growing


in great quantities in various sections of British
America, particularly on the Neepegon coast of Lake

The plant is much like our common cranberry, but
more vigorous, covering the ground entirely with a
green mat, while the surface is flaming red with
berries, more delicious than anything of the kind I
have ever tasted.

I have no doubt the plants may be propagated to
great advantage on poor, cold, sterile lands of a north-
ern exposure in all the United States. But they
should not be put in marsh or bogs.
Bespectfully yours,


Prof. Jig. Chcm., Western Reserve Coll., Ohio.


KEY. B. EASTWOOD : Your letter, asking questions
in regard to planting and raising cranberries, is now
before me, and should have had an earlier reply but
for my absence from home.

1. The location I chose was peat swamp, thickly
grown with what are called whortleberry bushes, and
other wild shrubs. I cleared the bushes and turf clean
to the peat. If any turf is left, rushes and other wild
stuff will get in. Planted the vines in the fall. If
planted in the spring on peat they would suffer from
the drought of summer, and very likely many of them
would die. Peat bottom is very wet and muddy in
the spring, and bad for setting the vines ; while in the
fall the surface of the ground is dry, and the process
is performed comparatively easy.

2. I flood mine, otherwise they would be very likely
to be thrown out of the ground by the frost, particu-



larly the first year, and perhaps the second. A friend
of mine cleared a peat swamp the same year I did, but
could not flow it in consequence of its location, the
whole of his vines were thrown out, and had, of course,
to be reset in the spring. Last year, the heavy fall
rains flooded it, and they have since done first rate.

I prefer fall planting, particularly on peat, as the
flooding in winter settles the soil round the roots ; and
in spring as soon as the water is let off, say about the
middle of April, the vines set at once to growing rap-
idly ; very much faster, and come into bearing sooner
on peat bottom than any other.

I set my vines in the fall, say in August and Sep-
tember. The following autumn I only had a bushel
or two ; the next year, about twelve bushels ; and last,
the third year, seventy-three bushels of the very finest
quality of fruit, and I look for a large increase the next
year. It cost me, I think, to clear my swamp (about
one acre and a half), including the cost and setting of
vines, about three hundred dollars, then the turf that
was taken off I consider worth half the money for
manure. Eespectfully, your ob't serv't,


[NOTE. This is one of the most beautiful yards we
have seen. Before Mr. Hall appropriated it to the culti-
vation of cranberries, it was a useless, worthless swamp.


We call the reader's attention to the cost of this yard,
and the returns which Mr. Hall had from it from the
first to the third year. Setting the third year's yield
at three dollars per bushel, which was a very low price
indeed for cranberries this fall, it gave him two hun-
dred and nineteen dollars, equalling within eighty-one
dollars the original cost of the yard, allowing it, to
have been three hundred dollars. (See plate No. 10.)


DEAR SIR : Yours of the 1st inst. has this moment
been received, and in reply I would say :

1. My cranberries are grown on a soil of peat muck
and loose beach sand (not common earth), which I am
convinced is the element for cranberries to grow in.

2. I plant my cranberries in hills eighteen inches
apart, by making a hole in the ground about three
inches in diameter, and of sufficient depth to receive
the roots of the plants ; then, after placing the vines
in their places, I am careful to have them opened, and
the soil placed in such a manner so as to spread the
hills all around to the sides of the hole that is made
to receive them, so that the hills after they are set
resemble a saucer placed in the ground and partly


filled with earth. If they are set in a bunch in the
middle of the hole, and the soil placed or filled in close
around them, it keeps them too close or compact to do

3. My cranberries that I depend on are surrounded
by wood and brush, so that they are not exposed to
winds and are warm ; such a situation, I think, is much
to be preferred to one that is cold and bleak.

4. I flood my premises at the time the worm makes
its appearance, and no other time.

Yours in great haste,

December Sd, 1855.


DEAR SIR: In reply to your inquiry regarding
my success in cultivating a certain piece of cranberry
ground, which I have selected near the sea-shore and
by a sandy pond, where the tide had in previous years
flooded it with salt water during heavy storms, I
would say : I commenced stopping out the water by
throwing up dikes ; after which I planted a few vines
near the pond. The next summer the vines most of


them died, the ground being too salt for them to thrive.
In two or three years, however, they sprang up and
spread their runners in every direction.

In 1851 1 commenced carting sand, making as much
land in the pond as out, leaving the land on the in-
cline towards it. I then planted the vines three feet
.apart, in hills, in the spring of the year. The first
season I got but little fruit ; the second, four bushels ;
the third, seventeen; and this autumn, from thirty
rods of land I gathered seventy-one bushels of cran-
berries. Eespectfully,

November 28, 1855. A. CROWELL.


DEAR SIR: I have a small piece of cranberry
ground near the sea shore, the soil is part peat and
part beach sand. Those vines that were placed in the
sandy soil look well ; have yielded from one bushel
to two and a half per rod the past year. Those in the
peat soil look very well, but have net been so fruitful

Yours truly,

November 27, 1855. JOHN



DEAR SIR : I received yours bearing date of 4th
inst., asking a few questions in relation to my experi-
ence in the " culture of cranberries," which is not very
extensive ; but have some experience as I have now
under cultivation four different lots, one of about
three-fourths of an acre; one fine mixed sand of a
red'ish and white, intermixed with quick sand, which
have been set, one-half eighteen, and the other eight
months, and have flourished well.

My second lot was set about eighteen months on a
redish sand, with stones, mixed with a clay loam ; this
also is doing well.

My third lot is on a salt meadow, dyked in, this lot
has but a small part been set with vines, as it was
found to be too salt, which will kill the vines in mid-
summer; the meadow is covered with white beach
sand where the vines are set, I think this flourishes
the best if the salt is sufficiently soaked from the soil.
This I consider my best piece, except a lot lately
bought; the material to set the vines being coarse
beach sand, and sufficiently low that water is not too
far from the vines in the driest season.

My opinion is, that the cranberry vine will grow
the fastest, and bear the largest and finest fruit on
what I call coarse beach sand, in low, wet soil ; such


places we value the most, as the vines run over the
ground so as to cover it, in from two to three years, when
set three feet apart, in hills, and will pay from twenty-
five to fifty per cent, on all investments in land, where
it does not require much expense to remove the land
to a suitable distance from the water.

Yours respectfully,

NEW YORK, December 7, 1855.


DEAR SIR: In answer to your request for some
account of my experience in the production of the
cranberry, I will say, that some ten years since I was
encouraged (from the success of some of my neigh-
bors in the cultivation of the cranberry), to try the
experiment on a small spot of ground, very near the
sea-shore, in a hollow, where the water in the winter
and spring stood to the depth of a foot in the deepest
part. It generally dried away by June. I had pre-
viously drained and sowed it down to grass, in plough-
ing for that purpose, I had discovered some two or
three vines which stretched out before the plough to
the length of six feet or more, which I thought indi-
cated a favorable location.


In the fall of the year I went to a swamp where
vines grew wild, and dug out forty sods, I then dug
out holes with a stub hoe, about three feet apart, into
which I put these sods of vines, and stamped them in
with my feet. The next season the vines grew rapid-
ly, and as they spread, the other grasses diminished
till the vines had complete possession of about six
rods of ground on one side of the pond or hollow,
where the sand from the beach had blown in and
raised the ground a little. For the last three or four
years there has been produced from one peck to one
bushel per rod. The fruit on one side of these vines,
very soon after they are out of blossom, rots very
much, in some seasons more than one-half of the crop
is thus destroyed before maturity. I am unable to
account for the decay on one part of the lot, while on
the other they come to maturity as sound as cran-
berries in general.

Three years since I had the whole lot improved and
set with vines, they grow very well, and the fruit pro-
duced is sound and healthy. The last season was
very dry, some of the vines, I fear, are destroyed, the
fruit was literally baked on the vines. This spot is
some twenty feet above the sea, the water during the
winter and spring is held by a bed of blue clay,
which lies about three feet below the surface.

In the autumn of 1850 I commenced improving


another swamp for the production of cranberries ; this
swamp was covered with brush and briers, in the
winter it was filled with water to the depth of from
one to two feet. My operations were commenced by
cutting the brush off even with the ice in the winter,
then filling in with common earth (a sandy loam) to a
level three inches above the water line. In June fol-
lowing I set my vines in hills, about two feet apart,
they have grown very well, are nearly matted over
the ground, and in 1854 I picked about six bushels
from one-fourth of an acre. The last season there was
a prospect of an increase in the product, a much
larger quantity put out on the vines, but the crop was
almost entirely destroyed by the worm, which attacked
them before they were fully grown, and continued
till nearly ripe.

I have continued my operations upon this same
swamp till now, I have my whole claim, about two
acres, set with vines. I have, in filling in the swamp,
used common earth, dead sand from the bank, clay
loam and white sand, and in all cases taken the ground
whence I took my earth down to nearly level with the
swamp and set it with vines. I have to contend with
rushes which grow rapidly where I have filled in with
bank earth and loam, I mow and rake them off in
July. In places where I have followed three or four
years, they are fast diminishing, and will soon be over-


come by the vines. On portions of this swamp cover-
ed with the white sand the vines grow much more
rapidly. I have some which have been planted three
years, which are very well matted now over the
ground. From my inexperience I have not been suffi-
ciently careful in clearing the ground of wild plants,
but am much troubled with a species of low black
berry, which I try to exterminate by pulling it up by

I would recommend to every beginner to be very
careful to clear the ground of all noxious roots and
plants ; also in the selection of vines, and set such only
as are known to bear fruit.

On the whole, I think my experiments (though
vines grow well and look promising) have not been
attended with the success of some of my favored
neighbors. I think my location is not the best, but
am not discouraged. Bespectfully,



DEAR SIR : Agreeable to your request I proceed
to give my opinion, which is formed from my own
personal experience, on the best mode of the culture


of cranberries. Coarse light sandy soil is best adapted
to the growth of cranberries. The ground should be
low and moist. The best mode for planting is by
transplanting the vines. Sometimes I set them in
drills, sometimes in sods, say twelve inches apart.
The best time for transplanting is in October or No-
vember. I also think that great advantage is derived
from flooding although I have no means of flooding
mine, except the rains, but when they are flooded I
am almost certain of a crop. It likewise keeps the
vine from frost during the winter, and kills the many
insects that inhabit these places. I think they should
be drained about the first of May. It usually takes
from four to six years for the vines to get properly
run together they then yield the largest cranberries.
The yield per rod, as average, is from one to three
bushels. Yery respectfully yours,

December 8$, 1855. HIRAM HALL.


DEAR SIR : In reply to your inquiry concerning
the cultivation of cranberries, I will say, that three
years ago I set out in May about one-half acre with


cranberry vines, on a piece of swamp land, bordering
on the meadow. It was covered with brakes, bayberry
and whortleberry bushes. I took off the brush and top

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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 4 of 6)