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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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sod, removing all the roots, and with them built a
dyke around the piece to keep off the tide water.
Part of this swamp was a soft quagmire, the other a
knoll about three feet high. This knoll I levelled off
by wheeling the soil into the bottom. The soil was a
hard black sand. I then set out the vines in the sods
that I found growing along by the edge of this meadow,
about eighteen inches apart. The bottom, where I
filled in sand, grew up to rushes, so as to obstruct the
spreading of the vines. On the upper part the soil
being hard and surrounded by cold spring water, I
think will not prove a favorable location for the
growth of cranberries.

Kespectfully yours,
December lOih, 1855. HOWES CHAPMAN.


DEAR SIR : In the year 1813, by my father's re-
quest, I planted some two rods of cranberry vines by
the side of Scargo Lake, or pond, which I took from
a swamp where they grow in a natural state. They


flourished well for some two years and bore some
berries. Then being neglected, the sand blew over
them and they soon became extinct.

In 1840, cranberries bringing a very high price, my
attention was again called to their cultivation, I con-
cluded to go to work on the same spot and prepare the
ground, which I did by removing the sand and levell-
ing the ground of about fifteen rods, within six inches
of water. I then planted the vines, without the sod, in
hills, about two feet apart, in the spring of the year,
they grew well, bearing every year but one, when they
were overflowed, the water remaining on them until
the season for blooming was past, as the pond had then
no outlet, but now has.

I have now three-fourths of an acre set with vines,
The soil is coarse sand, and lies on the westerly side of
said pond. I have never received any injury from
frost, spring nor fall, and have always delayed gather-
ing until about the 10th of October, when the fruit
would be ripe. I have kept no record of the num-
ber of bushels I have gathered, but have taken two
and a half bushels from one rod in some years. When
I first commenced, I made the ground level, but now
I leave it in the form of an inclined plane ; my reason
for this alteration is, the land being high, and too
much cold water oozing from the ground, which I
think is a damage that causes the moss to grow and


root out the vines very soon ; all they want is the
ground moist and loose.

Yours respectfully,
December 13th, 1855. THOS. HALL.


DEAR SIR :-In the fall of 1852 I bought a piece of
low springy land adjoining a salt meadow, then well
covered with the rush grass. I put on from the ad-
joining embankment about one foot of sand ; in taking
which I widened my cranberry ground about two
rods. I set out my vines the same fall in sods eighteen
inches apart.

When spring came I found my sods or vines all
thrown out of the ground by the frost, and appearing as
though they had never been planted. I then again
replanted the vines hill by hill. The second year the
rush made its appearance again on that part of the
ground filled in, and has increased to this time, threat-
ening destruction to everything that comes in its way
I consider this piece of ground a failure, except the
strip two rods wide adjoining the embankment or

My first mistake was, selecting a cold, springy piece


of land, and my next was, planting the vines in the
fall on a piece of ground that could not be protected
from the frost by flowing, by which means the vines
were stunted and their vigor destroyed so that they
could not compete with the surrounding grass, and
were, therefore, overpowered.

I have one other piece of cranberry ground adjoining
a large pond, warm and sandy. I set out the vines on
this piece in May, and got two bushels of cranberries
to an acre the same year. This piece having been
planted but eighteen months, promises finely, but I do
not expect much yield till the third year. This piece
cost me, when competed, at the rate of $750 per acre.
It is made on the poorest sandy soil I could get, and
such I would recommend to the cranberry grower, as
I never saw a soil so poor that cranberry vines would
not grow in it. My idea is, the poorer the soil the
less trouble I shall have to keep down other grass, no
fear of the vines, they will grow where no grass will.


December llth, 1855. J. 0. HOWES.


DEAR SIR: I received yours of the 8th instant,
and will proceed to answer your questions :


" On what location do you prefer to plant vines ?"
I consider them rather of a marine plant, and there-
fore should prefer to plant as near salt water as possi-
ble, and not have them overflowed with salt water.

11 "What soil do you prefer ?" A wet, sandy soil,
the whiter the sand the better. My reasons are, there
will be less grass grow to choke the cranberry vine,
and the berry will grow larger.

" What is your method of setting out, in hills or
drills ?" I have set them in hills and in drills, and
am not able to decide which flourishes best.

"Do you flood?" I do, where it is practicable it
protects the vine from frost.

" Do you consider it a profitable undertaking?" I
do, if any one has a proper place. I have raised three
bushels of cranberries on one rod.

Kespectfully, J. FKEMAN.

ORLEANS, December 10$, 1855.

The following instructions were written by Mr.
Bates, to guide those who intended to cultivate the cran-
berry on uplands. We subjoin it for the purpose of
giving the intending cultivator the advantage of this
method :


"1st. Select a situation for your cranberry field on a
clay soil, on such as is not liable to bake, or on a dark
loam soil, or on all moist soils where there is a mix-
ture of sand, mostly of reclaimed lands ; such as can
be made moderately dry, are well adapted to grow the
cranberry. In fact most all soil that is natural to
grow the potatoe, is well adapted to grow the cran-
berry, (yet the first mentioned soil would be preferred).
I think there are portions on most of the farms situ-
ated in the Middle States, and their vicinity, that are
well adapted to grow the cranberry, and I should pro-
pose to all desirous of commencing the business, to put
their plants on different parts of their soil, and by so
doing the better soils may be ascertained. As far as I
have ascertained, there are three varieties of cranberry,
viz: the Bugle, the Cherry, and the Bell I have
never known of any other variety of the berry that
would naturalize to dry soil except the Bugle cran-
berry ; this species of the berry grows much in the
form of an egg it is inclined to grow in the wild
state on the borders of cranberry bogs, spreading its
way to upland soil, this species is much larger than
the others in its wild state. Persons engaging in the
cultivation of the article should commence with the
last mentioned species, and by commencing with those
that have been cultivated and naturalized to a dry soil,
they will much sooner accomplish their object, and


with nmcli less trouble and expense, as the plants
multiply and increase abundantly. Persons com-
mencing with one or two thousand will be able to ob-
tain plants of their own raising sufficient to trans-
plant acres in two or three years.

" 2d. Prepare your soil the same as for sowing grain,
by plowing, harrowing, and making your soil even
then mark it out in drills, eighteen or twenty inches
apart, putting the plants in the drills five or six inches
apart hoe them slightly at first, till the roots become
clinched, and afterwards no other cultivation is needed.
The plants may be expected to run together and cover
the whole soil in two or three years. The cranberry
grown by cultivation usually yields from 150 to 400
bushels per acre; its fruit is two or three times as
large as the wild fruit, and of beautiful flavor; it
readily keeps sound from the harvest time of it to the
time of harvest again." Maine Farmer.


DEAR SIR : I have tried the experiment of raising
cranberries on the uplands. In the fall of 1852 I set
out vines on about one-quarter of an acre of ground,
which was on a very high hill, the soil was a gravelly


loam. The vines lived and bore a few cranberries*
The .soil, I think, was rather too rich, having been
manured the year previous; in consequence of this,
the grass grew up and choked the vines. Besides this,
the summer following the one in which I set my vines
we had a severe drought, which dried and baked the
ground to the great injury of the vines. I believe
that if I had set out the vines in the spring, and hoed
them two or three times during the season, they would
have done much better and yielded a larger crop.

From the experiments which I have made in
upland cultivation of the cranberry, I believe that the
vine can be successfully cultivated on the upland ; .
providing the vines are well cultivated. I design set-
ting out another patch, on the cultivation of which I
intend to apply the knowledge I have gained from my
former experiment. Eespectfully,



DEAR SIR : Yours to Thomas Lathrop, Esq., of
the 8th inst, came duly to hand, and he has request-
ed me to answer your questions to him.

1, As to the location, " before the growing of cran-


berries there," he would state that it was a swamp
varying from two to five feet in depth of water and
springy peat. Beach sand (the only soil we have here)
was carried on so as to raise the swamp a few inches
above the ordinary height of the water in July, and
the vines were set in said sand.

2. As to the kinds of soil, we have but one kind in
this town, and that is pure beach sand ; hence we can
" prefer" no other if we would.

3. Mr. Lathrop is unable to " determine" the cost
of preparing the ground and setting his vines. His
work has been expensive, as it was preparatory to his
future doings. Much of it has been in roads, beach
grassing hills, &c. He will bring into vines about
seventy acres at much less cost than his four or five of
cranberry ground now in good condition.

4. As to " flooding vines," nature does all that is or
can be done in this respect. The water in all our back
swamps (and some of these contain several hundred
acres) is upon the same level. How can you make it
otherwise with beach sand through which the water
must filtrate so readily? Vines are now in most
places one foot or more from (or above) the water.

5. The "yield per acre" cannot be definitely deter-
mined, as his vines are not regarded as yet fully in a
bearing condition. His lot first planted of two or
three acres, (he has never measured it) about the sixth


year yielded seventy barrels the next year fifteen
barrels and the next, or the last year, eighty barrels.
The springs were very low the last year, and the
berries suffered, otherwise I think he would have
doubled the quantity. He has kept most of them, and
has had offered $16 per barrel, in New York. You will
agree with me in supposing that low as it is, $1280 is
not a small income from so small a field.

In Mr. Lathrop's absence I make these statements-
Perhaps hereafter he will favor you with other and
more interesting. I have, however, been familiar with
all his management, and am personally interested in
the cranberry culture. I have recently bought one-
sixth of a cranberry swamp, where the company have
built a house, and employed a man by the year in
bringing it to cranberry vines. I also own another
lot, where at much less expense I hope to bring a large
lot into cranberry land.

There are companies, like that with which I am con-
nected, formed, and they have brought swamp into
vines at a cost from $200 to $400 per acre.

Yours truly. 0. MYEICK.

PROVINCETOWN, December 12th, 1855

The following letter, cut from the Journal of Cvm
merce, which was communicated by Mr. Bagley, will be


both instructive and interesting, as it very forcibly
illustrates some of the principles laid down in this
" Manual." We commend it to the reader, believing
that useful hints may be gathered from it, and applied
on some lands, to the successful cultivation of the
cranberry :


"I chose for the experiment a maple swamp on high
land, containing peat (95-100 vegetable matter) from
one to ten feet deep. We commenced draining it in
June, 1849, and having set a few vines for trial, we
proceeded to cultivate corn and potatoes ; but finding,
after two or three years, that we were obliged to keep
it too dry for cranberries, we concluded to set it all with
vines, in order to flow it, which would injure other
crops, and I have now nine acres of vines, mostly set
within about three years. My mode of cultivation is
as follows, viz. : we clear up the swamp by taking off
the top, roots and all, to the depth of one foot or more
(which makes excellent manure for the adjoining up-
land), and having drained it by ditching, mark out the
ground with the corner of the hoe, and set out the
vines, which we have obtained from the common wild
bogs, wherever we could get them ; and having drop-
ped five or six vines in the hoe mark, stamp them in
with the heel, and haul on some dirt with the hoe,


covering the vines about two-thirds up with dirt.
This operation may be performed at any time of the
year, when the ground is not frozen, if not too dry.
It is then necessary to keep them clear of grass and

"I have heretofore thought that grass would not
hurt them after the vines got well spread ; but I am
convinced by this year's experience that they cannot
be kept too clean. I have one acre that was set four
years ago. About three-quarters of the acre has been
covered with rushes, and is now; while the other
quarter at one end of the lot has been kept clean. I
have the past week measured off one square rod of the
clean vines, and gathered two-and-a-half bushels of
berries from the rod, which is no more than an average
of the quarter acre, which will be testified to by the
gentleman who assisted me in picking them, as also by
several other gentlemen who have seen them since, as
the other berries yet remain on the vines. The other
three-quarters acre covered with grass, has been mostly
picked ; and although the vines are as large, I shall
not get twenty-five bushels of berries from the three-
quarters acre the one yielding at the rate of four hun-
dred bushels per acre, the other about thirty, showing
the great advantage of keeping the vines clean.

" My meadow would probably have yielded one hun-
dred barrels more this year, had it been kept clean. I


pick my berries by hand, as I am convinced there is no
advantage in raking them.

"We have to pick after the rake, and I do not think
the vines will bear as well the next year. I flow my
meadow about two feet deep in the month of December,
and keep it on until the middle of May, when I draw it
down, leaving about two inches of water on the surface
under the vines, as long as there is any fear of the frosts ;
then keep it as near the top of the ground as I can.
The rake also bruises the berry, and causes it to rot.
I find the cranberry will begin to bear well from three
to five years after setting. - The cost of cultivation I
shall put in round numbers as follows, viz. : Cost of
land, $12 per acre; cleaning, $100; vines and setting,
$50 ; cost of cultivation, $10 per year for four years,
$40 : total, $202. But the top that we take off is worth
$20 for manure, leaving $182. Interest for four years,
makes $229.34 per acre. My four-year-old vines that
are clear from grass (say half an acre more or less),
will average three hundred bushels per acre. I have
been offered $2.50 per bushel above the cost of pick-
ing, which gives one a clear profit over and above the
tjost of land and cultivation on the half acre, of
$260.33. I do not gather my berries until they are
ripe ; for if picked while green, they are bitter and un-
fit for use ; although by spreading they may become
quite red, still they are not worth half price.


" They may be spread on floors, or put in good bar-
rels and piled on the north side of a building, until
cold weather, when they should be put under cover,
in a cool cellar, or building, where it will not freeze

" The berry will not be as red as it would be if
spread, but I think it will keep better. For my ex-
periment with the cranberry on upland, I selected a
piece of new land where the wood had just been cut
off. I had it dug over with the grub hoe in the fall of
1849, taking out the loose stones and roots ; and hav-
ing prepared four square rods, I had it drilled eighteen
inches apart, filling the drills with peat mud. I took
the vines from a wild wet bog in the month of Novem-
ber, and set them about one foot apart in the drills.
This is all that has been done for them except to keep
them clear from weeds for two years.

"In the fall of 1853, I picked from the lot two
bushels and three pecks of berries. In the summer of
1854, they bade fair to yield a much better crop, but
were cut off by the hot and dry weather in August, and
I did not get quite two bushels.

"Last winter the vines were killed, probably by the
extreme cold weather, but sprang up again from the
roots and bloomed very fully but so late in the season
that they have been much affected by the drought, and
I shall not get more than one-and-a-half bushel. Tho


land and labor, with interest for four years, cost about
$1.25 per rod. This, as will be seen, gives a good
profit ; but the cranberry crop is uncertain, unless in
situations where they can be flowed in winter and kept

"VARIETIES. The folly of asserting that there is
but one variety of the cranberry, can only be equalled
by asserting that there is but one variety of the apple,
the pear, or the potato the former maintaining their
peculiar forms, colors, and times of ripening, as dis-
tinctly as either of the latter; the large white cran-
berry, on which there is nothing but a faint blush
(some of them being entirely white), growing side by
side with the small and entirely red berry, that is never
one-quarter as large. So with many other kinds. In-
deed, they vary in form much more than many distinct
varieties of the apple.

" I have a large variety on my meadow, by getting
the vines from all the wild bogs in the vicinity. I
have several kinds growing in separate beds, and have
marked several other kinds, which I intend to set by
themselves in the spring. I have twenty varieties
put up for " The American Institute Fair." EDMUND
BAGLEY, in Journal of Commerce.

me producers are not prepared to admit
that there are more than two or three varieties of the


cranberry, but we believe that more extended ac-
quaintance with this fruit will set them at a higher
number.] SEPTIMUS.


DEAR SIR , Having had some experience in the
cultivation of the cranberry, I find that the soil best
adapted to the growth of the cranberry is beach sand,
or light sandy earth.

In our selection of a plat we should be particular in
making use of one that can be flooded from November
to the first of June, which prevents the insects from
destroying the blossom or cranberry. To do this, level
the surface and dyke the land where it does not com-
municate with a pond.

The best time for transplanting the vine is the
spring months, not removing the earth from the roots.

December llth, 1855. Asa AS HOWES.



From what has been stated in the previous parts of
this manual, some readers may have determined upon
attempting the cultivation of the cranberry, and are
desirous of obtaining vines of the quality described
vines which have been naturalized by cultivation.
I can recommend all such inquirers to William Crowell,
Esq., of No. 26 Coenties Slip, New York, N. Y., for
vines with which to set out a patch or yard. His vines
can be relied upon as being of the best quality. Letters
addressed to him or the author of this work, through
the publishers, will be promptly attended to.

The vines which Mr. Crowell has for sale are trans-
ported from his yard on Cape Cod to New York, so
that orders can be filled as soon as they are received.
Good vines, I mean those which have been improved by
cultivation, can be supplied at from $7 to $10 per thou-
sand. It will be found that plants of this description
are cheaper in the end than those which are procured
wild from the bog, though the latter are furnished at a
much lower rate. It will require some years to bring
the wild vine to that state of perfection which belongs
to the cultivated one. And the probability is, that
many vines obtained wild from the swamp are barren ;
it will therefore be cheaper to purchase those the quali-
ties of which are known and proved.




I ACKNOWLEDGE my obligations to the Hon. Simon
Brown, Editor of the New England Farmer for the ma-
terial which constitutes the appendix to this treatise.

I commend what is here embodied to the careful at-
tention of the reader, believing that he will find the
intelligent statements made on the culture of cranberries
to be worthy of his notice. They are highly practical,
and if carried out on the lands distinctly named herein,
they will be followed with some degree of success. I
would call the reader's attention more especially to the
statistics which are given, as they so clearly show that
what has been said on this fruit is not an exaggeration
of its value to the farmer.

The following are taken from the Eeport of >he Mid-
dlesex County (Mass.) Agricultural Society foi




To the Committee on Cranberries*

GENTLEMEN : I see in your advertisement of pre
miums to be distributed, one for Cranberries, which I
hope to obtain ; and I refer you, for a description of the
manner in which I proceeded to raise them, to the Ag-
riculture of Massachusetts, as shown in the returns of
the Agricultural Societies of 1853, pp. 245, as follows :

ME. FLINT'S STATEMENT. In the autumn of 1843,
I built a dam and flowed the swamp from that time till
August, 1846 ; then let off the water.

The following October, burnt over the swamp and
set the vines. The vines were cut up with a sharp hoe
or shovel, and set in hills, three and one-half feet apart;
the bunches about the size of a quart measure.

In raising from the seed, I planted in October, 1846,
about half an acre ; crushing each berry between the
thumb and finger, and placing it just under the mud,
single berries in a hill, three and a half feet apart. Also,
sowed broadcast a number of bushels of refuse cran-
berries the following spring. Yery few vines appeared
from them for two or three years ; no berries till 1852,
then very small ; in 1853, good size, in quantity worth

My practice has been to stop the water in October,


and keep it on till May, or until the weather is warm
enough to start vegetation then lower it down to the
top of the vines, and keep it on them until I think the
spring frosts are over, then let the vines be fairly out
of water until the berries are grown say from 10th to
15th August then draw it off for ripening and picking.

We found three or four small beds of native vines
on the swamp, after we let off the water to set the
vines, and a few very fine berries ; there are now proba-
bly a dozen beds that bear berries.

In 1850, we picked seventeen bushels of berries on
the swamp ; in 1851, twenty -eight bushels ; in 1852,
ninety-three bushels ; in 1853, we estimated them at
one hundred and fifty bushels.

In 1852, the native vines produced by estimation, be-
fore selling, forty bushels; the transplanted vines, sixty
bushels ; the increase this year is principally from the
transplanted vines.

I now give you a statement of the proceeds :

1850, picked 17 bushels, sold 15 l bushels for #26 20

1851, " 28 " 26 " " 70 00

1852, " 93 " 93 " 300 00

1853, 52 bbls., 52 bbls. " 380 00

1854, " 47 " " 47 " " 305 00

1855, " 50 " by estimation, probable value 500 00

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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 5 of 6)