J. C. (John Claudius) Loudon.

The different modes of cultivating the pine-apple, from its first introduction into Europe to the late improvements of T. A. Knight, esq online

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mosphere of hot-houses, there seems little (or at
least much less) doubt of its being preferable to
fire-heat.

Count Zubow, at St. Petersburg, employed steam
to heat a pit or cistern of water, over which, at about
three inches distance, a frame, covered with fag-
gots, was placed, and on this was laid the earth, in
which his Pines and other exotics were planted with-
out being in pots. The plan is said to have suc-
ceeded, and a wholesome temperature to have been
obtained and communicated to the mould above
the faggots.

Mr. Gunter, as before observed, (Chap. IV.
sect. 13.) had already tried the use of steam as a
bottom heat without success.

Mr. John Hay, horticultural architect, tried the
use of steam so early as 1794, when gardener at
Preston Hall, near Edinburgh, and he gives the
following account of his apparatus and success in
the Memoirs of the Caledonian Horticultural So-
ciety. " The application of steam to forcing-
houses early caught my attention. The first that
I designed and executed in Scotland on this plan,
were at Preston Hall in Mid-Lothian, in the year
1794. The fruiting Pine-stove, which is in the
general suite of houses, with two peach-houses on
the west, were originally adapted to steam. I ern-



174* IMPROVEMENTS IN TttE CULTURE OF

tertained the hope, that steam thrown into a cham-
ber, in the bottom of the plant pit, would act as a
proper substitute for bottom heat in place of tan,
as none of that substance was to be found nearer
than four miles distant, and when wanted was
often difficult to be procured. Other more gene-
ral considerations also made me desirous of procur-
ing some substitute, particularly the necessity of
repeatedly shifting the plants to renew the heat,
when the bark in the plant-pit gets cold : these
shiftings, besides the trouble, often retard, the
growth of the plants. Again, if the heat of the
fermentation of the tan rise much above ninety-six
degrees, (which it often does), and if the pots be
fully plunged in the tan at such a time, many in-
stances have been known of the roots of the plants
being burned, and some of them being destroyed
altogether. This, indeed, may be considered as
one of the principal reasons why so many are un-
successful in the culture of this fine fruit. With
the view of obviating the above difficulties, the
bottom of the fruiting Pine-pit was constructed
with a chamber below, into which steam was intro-
duced by means of copper and lead pipes from a
boiler placed in the shades behind : the top of the
chamber was constructed of rafters, on which were
placed broad grey slates, laid -on loose, without fill-
ing up the vacancies between them. The not
making them close, I afterwards found to be an
error ; for the moisture, from the condensation of



THE PINE APPLE. 17.5

the steam, penetrating through the openings at the
joining of the slates, communicated too much wet-
ness to the bottom of the pots ; but I found, that
there was a sufficient quantity of heat to be obtain-
ed from the steam for heating the plant-pit, pro-
vided the bottom were close. I therefore discon-
tinued this plan ; and I had not an opportunity of
making any farther experiment on the subject in
this place. From the same boiler, I conducted into
the two peach-houses adjoining, a range of pipes
furnished with steam-cocks, They passed the
whole length of the houses, (101 f. 6 in.). By
means of these, the peach-houses were regularly
steamed near one hour a- day in the evening, in the
time of flowering and of fruit-setting. Steaming,
it may be remarked, is very important at these
times. In after periods, when I had not an ap-
paratus for the purpose, I always steamed the
peach-house with a large piece of cast-iron, made
red hot in one of the furnaces, and put into a
white-iron pail nearly full of water; the whole
water thus evaporating into steam. I was always
successful, while in practice as a gardener, in rais-
ing a full crop of peaches ; and think that much
was owing to attention to steaming.

" I afterwards erected Pine-stoves for John Her-
vey, Esq. of Castlesemple, to be heated by steam j
and one of the plant-pits had a chamber below,
with a close bottom, into which chamber, steam
was thrown by means of cast-iron pipes. About



176 IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CULTURE OF

the same time, I was applied to by Sir Hew Ha-
milton Dalrymple, Bart, (through Mr. James
Dodds, his gardener), to examine his Pine-stoves
at Bargany, and to report whether I thought they
could be improved, as he hitherto had not been so
successful in Pine-Apples as he expected. One
principal cause was, the difficulty of obtaining tan.
Upon my report, it was to be determined, whether
to give up the Pine- Apple culture altogether^ or
endeavour to improve the stoves.

" Upon examining, I advised the heating of the
atmosphere of the houses with steam ; and in place
of using tan, the heating of the bottom of the plant-
pit with steam also." This advice was adopted,
and eighteen months after the plan was executed,
the gardener, Mr. James Dodds, gives the follow-
account of his success.

" It is now eighteen months since I first began
to heat the Pine-stoves here with steam. I have
thus been enabled to give it a fair trial, and I am
fully satisfied that it is superior to the old method
of heating by fire-flues. I have found the plants
to grow more luxuriantly, and perfectly clean of
any kind of insects. The moist heat arising from
steam is well known to be hostile to all kinds of
vermin. It is, besides, more economical : our Pine-
stoves here are seventy feet long, it formerly took
two fires to keep up the heat of the atmospheric
air of the house, whereas in the new method of
heating by steam, one fire to heat the boiler is suf-



x THE PINE APPLE. 177

ficient, except in very cold nights, when I have
found it necessary to light a very small fire to the
flue, to meet the decline of the steam in the morn-
ing, and this only to the fruiting-house in the
spring months, when the Pines begin to show their
fruit. In short, I have found no difficulty in keep-
ing up the heat of the house to sixty degrees, by
making up the fire to the boiler at ten o'clock at
night, and at six o'clock in the morning.

" With regard to the bottom heat for the Pine-
plants, by steam from the same boiler, I find, by
allowing the steam to remain in the chamber be-
low the plants about two hours a day, the pit is
kept constantly at the temperature of from ninety
to ninety-five degrees, which I have found to be as
high as the roots of the plants are able to bear. I
would, therefore, say ninety degrees to be the stand-
ard height, which I have myself adopted* allowing
it to fluctuate down. If our succession Pine-pit
had been altered to have been heated by steam, as
the fruiting one is, which the boiler is perfectly
able to do, the saving in tan alone would more than
pay the interest of all the money laid out on erect-
ing the whole steam apparatus.

" The above is my candid opinion on the sub-
ject, as far as my practice has enabled me to speak.
I am, &c.

" JAMES DODDS."

The best stoves for combining the culture of the
Pine and Vine in Scotland, have been constructed

N



178



IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CULTURE OF



by Mr. Hay, of which fine examples occur at Lord
Duncan's, Lundie-house, near Dundee, and the
Earl of Roseberry's, at Dulmeny-park (Jig. 23.),
near Edinburgh.







As substitutes for tan, leaves are the common
resource, but any vegetable matter of slow putre-
faction may be employed,, as chopped spray of
hedges or copse, wood-shavings, saw-dust, &c. and
in Scotland, it has been found that flax-dressers' re-
fuse keeps up a moderate heat for a longer period
than any other material.

The mode of employing the vigour remaining
in the old stock or plant after the fruit is cut, to
nourish, for a certain time, the sucker or suckers
which may be growing on it, was practised by
Speechly ; but scarcely to the extent which it has
been carried lately. This, we think, a considerable



THE PINE APPLE. 179

improvement, if kept within certain limits ; but, if
carried too far, what might be gained by the sucker
coming earlier into fruit, would be lost by the re-
tardation of the" plant's own suckers.

On Nov. 3. 1818. " A Queen Pine, grown by
Peter Marsland, Esq. of Woodbank, near Stock-
port, was exhibited to the Horticultural Society.
It weighed three pounds fourteen ounces, measured
seventeen inches in circumference, and was pecu-
liarly well-flavoured. The singularity of this Pine
was its being the produce of a sucker which had
been removed from the parent-root only six months
previous to the time the fruit was cut. The plant
on which the sucker grew had produced a fruit,
which was cut in October, 1817; the old stem,
with the sucker attached, was allowed to remain in
the Pine-pit till May, 1818 ; at that time the sucker
was broken off, potted, and plunged into a fresh
pit ; it soon after showed fruit, which, in the course
of four months, attained to the weight and size
above stated. Mr. Marsland is in the practice of
producing Pines in this way with equal success and
expedition. His houses are all heated by steam."
Hort. Trans, iv. 52.

On the 17th of Oct. 1819, specimens of the
New Providence, globe, black Antigua, and En-
ville, were exhibited, all which were produced in a
similar manner to the above. P. Marsland con-
siders, that " though not of the largest description,
yet as far as beauty of form and richness of flavour
are concerned, they would not yield to fruit of

N 2



180 IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CULTURE OF

more protracted growth.' 5 The success which has
attended this gentleman's mode of " treating the
Pine, so as to insure the production of fruit within
twelve months from the cutting of their previous
produce, has been perfectly satisfactory ;" and the
following is his account of it. " In November,
1819, as soon as the fruit had been cut from the
Pine plants, which were then two years old, all the
leaves were stripped off the old stocks, nothing
being left but a single sucker on each, and that
the strongest on the plant ; they were then placed
in a house where the heat was about sixty degrees,
and they remained till March, 1820. At this period
the suckers were broken off from the old stocks,
and planted in pots from eight to twelve inches
In diameter, varying according to the size of the
sucker. It may be proper, however, to observe,
that the length of time which the young sucker is
allowed to remain attached to the mother plant,
depends in some degree upon the kind of Pine ;
the tardy fruiters, such as the black Antigua, and
others, require to be left longer than the Queen,
and those which fruit readily.

" After the suckers had been planted, they were
removed from the house, where they had remained
while on the old stock, to one in which the tem-
perature was raised to seventy-five degrees. Im-
mediately upon their striking root, the largest of
the suckers showed fruit, which swelled well, and
ripened between August and November, being,
on the average, ten months from the time the fruit

15



THE PINE APPLE. 181

Was cut from the old plant, and seven months from
the time the sucker was planted. The fruit so
produced, though, as may be expected, not of the
largest description, I have invariably found to be
richer and higher flavoured than that grown on older
plants. The suckers of inferior strength will not
show fruit in the same season, but in the following
they will yield good fruit, and strong suckers for a
succeeding year's supply. Those suckers are to
be preferred which are produced on plants that
have ripened their fruit in November, for those
taken from plants whose fruit is cut in August, or
earlier, are apt to show fruit in January or Febru-
ary, while yet remaining on the mother-plant. But
whenever this happens, the sucker should be
broken off immediately upon being perceived, and
planted in a pot so as to form a root of its own, to
maintain its fruit." Hort. Trans, iv. 392.

This experiment shows what can be done ;
though it must be obvious that a considerable part
of the saving in time is lost by the small size of the
fruit. Mr. Baldwin, in our opinion, has hit on the
proper use of this mode, the principle of which, as
already observed, consists in the employment of
the -otherwise lost vigour of the old stock. He
contrives to produce tolerably sized fruit, and
to have such a degree of vigour in his suckers, as
that they are able, in their turn, to throw out
other vigorous suckers to succeed them. In aid
of this, he often earths up the old stock, so as to
cover the lower end of the sucker ; and partially
wrenching it off, he, by these means, obtains for it



182 IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CULTURE OF

a good stock of roots before he renders it an inde-
pendent plant.

Where heat is to be supplied from fermenting horse-
dung, we should recommend for trial a pit invented
by J. West, of Castle Ashby, in Northamptonshire.
(fig' 22.) Nine years' experience enable its in-
ventor to recommend it for neatness of appearance,
the power of regulating the heat to the greatest
nicety, and for forcing asparagus, strawberries, and
the most delicate kinds of cucumbers. By raising
the walls of the pit higher above the earth, it is
evident it would answer equally well for growing
Pines, or forcing shrubs or tall growing plants.

The dung is placed in a chamber (E) three feet
and a half deep, being about eighteen inches below
the surface-line ; the walls (G) which surround
it are nine-inch brick- work ; both on the front and
at the back of the chamber are two openings (A),
about to feet six inches square each, with move-
able doors, through which the dung is introduced ;
the doors fit at bottom into grooves (B), and are
fastened by a wooden pin and staple at top. In
front of the doors, is a small area (c) sunk in the
ground, surrounded by a curb of wood, by which
the introduction or removal of the dung is facili-
tated. Along the centre of the chamber is a bar
(D), which serves as a guide for packing the dung ;
and across the top, at intervals of twelve inches,
are placed, on their edges, cast-iron bars (H), two
inches wide, and three quarters of an inch thick,
to support a layer of small wood, bushes and leaves
(i), over which is laid the soil for the plants (K).



THE PINE APPLE. 183

Just below the level of the bars all round the dung-
chamber, are holes (F), passing in a sloping direc-
tion through part of the wall into a cavity (G) in
the upper part of the wall at the back front and
both ends of the pit. In the exterior part of the
back wall, are holes with plugs (L), to let out the
steam and heat at discretion.

At the commencement of forcing, half the cham-
ber is filled longitudinally with dung, and if the
doors are kept shut, this will afford sufficient heat
from twelve to eighteen days. As the heat de-
clines the other half of the chamber is rilled, and
the temperature is kept up by additions to the top
of the dung, on either or both sides, as it settles.
When the united heat of the two sides ceases to be
sufficient, the side first filled must be cleared out,
and mixed with fresh dung and replaced, and so
on, adding and turning as circumstances require.
Hart. Trans, iv. 220.

As an improvement on the construction of this
pit, we would suggest the perforation of the whole
of the side walls (Jig. 24. a), in order to admit the

24




steam more readily than it can find admittance by
the single range of openings adopted by Mr. West.



184< IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CULTURE, &C.

Where pits on Mr. West's plan are already built,
a substitute for this perforation in the side walls
may be found in the application of a wattled
hurdle against them (Jig. %4>. b), as has been adopt-
ed by Mr. J. B. Mackay, in the Comte de Vande's
garden at Bayswater.

Remarks. All the schemes of improvement de-
tailed in this section, are either of a nature never
to become general, if they do succeed, as that of
Count Zuboff; or not yet sufficiently proved by
experience to be recommended for adoption, as the
application of steam as a bottom heat by Mr.
Hay. We therefore leave them to work their way
with the public ; and, in the mean time, till these,
as well as Mr. Knight's experiments have esta-
blished something better, we recommend all those
who wish to grow the Pine Apple in the first style
of excellence, and at a moderate expence, to adopt
the pits and houses of Mr. Baldwin or Mr. Aiton ;
and to imitate their practice, or that of Mr.
Andrews.



THE END.



LONDOM:

Printed by A. & R. Spottiswoodc,
New- Street- Square.






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Online LibraryJ. C. (John Claudius) LoudonThe different modes of cultivating the pine-apple, from its first introduction into Europe to the late improvements of T. A. Knight, esq → online text (page 12 of 12)