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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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 9 of 12)
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if hot-houses be kept in a good state of temperature
for the growth of the Pine Apple, the great evapor-
ation of the tan-bed, and of the moist earth about
the roots of the plants, may supply the leaves suffi-
ciently with water, especially in houses managed in
the way this real practical gardener says he man-
ages his Pine plants ; that is, his hot-houses are
very close, and he admits no air at the roof, so that
the moist air which ascends up is thrown back
among the plants. I would here remark, that
when Pine Apple plants are watered all over their
leaves when in fruit, the water should not be suf-
fered to stand long in the heart of the crowns on
the fruit, which it will seldom do if the heat in the
house be good, but with a little care the plants may
be watered all over their leaves, without letting it
fall on the fruit, or the crowns of them.

" He recommends that beds for the culture of
the Pine Apple be built of wood : excepting it be
oak, which is dear, other sorts of timber will not
last long in such a situation ; and therefore, for
this and other reasons, (given in Section VII. page
67), I think beds built of brick, in a similar way to
the one I invented, are preferable, and in the end
cheaper than those of wood.

" With regard to the method which this gardener
usetli to destroy insects on Pine Apple plants, it is

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a troublesome operation, and can be practised only
on young plants, and indeed, according to his own
account, insects on the Pine Apple may be destroy-
ed in the course of their culture, which coincides
exactly with the methods I used and recommend
to be carried into practice by those who have the
management of Pine Apple plants, and are troubled
with insects. I have no doubt but his method of
laying young plants in a hot-bed of rank dung, will
effectually destroy the insects, though I think, how-
ever, they had best remain in the bed longer than
one hour ; but perhaps remaining even an hour,
or a longer time, in such a dreadful situation, where
I conceive no animal could long exist, might 'hurt
the plants, if not destroy them. But let it be re-
membered, that if Pine plants be perfectly free of
insects, if they are put into a hot-house where the
scale or the bug insects are in the tan, or in any
part of the house, the insects will find their way to
creep to the Pines and breed upon them ; for
these insects are natural to the plant."


Culture of the Pine Apple as given in Abercrombie's Practical
Gardener) edited by Mr. James Mean, head gardener to Sir
Abraham Hume, Bart, at Wormleylury^ in Hertfordshire.

THE culture of the Pine Apple was given by
John Abercrombie, in his " Every man his own


Gardener," when that work was originally published
in 1780 ; but we prefer taking it from the work
above cited, as giving the modern practice. It is
proper to observe, however, that the directions in
the " Practical Gardener" are much less to be de-
pended on than those given by M'Phail and Bald-
win ; for as the first of these authors observes, in
his preface to the Gardener's Remembrancer, the
Practical Gardener has been evidently dressed up,
and in some parts rather affectedly, by some man
who knew little of the practice of gardening. As
to what Mr. Mean may have done in revising the
book, it is more certain that he has not done enough,
than that he has done any thing, for there are many
passages, besides those pointed out by M'Phail, that
appear quite ridiculous as coming from a practical
gardener. Notwithstanding these faults, however,
which would have escaped unnoticed in a less
valuable book, " The Practical Gardener" is the
best book of its kind extant.

Form of House. " The fruiting-house," he says,
" need not be higher than five feet in front, and
eight feet six inches at the back wall ; or, whatever
be the breadth of the house, the difference between
the height in front and in rear, need not exceed
one-third of the breadth." By this means the
chamber of air to be heated will be materially re-
duced. To give a full command over the tem-
perature of this air, let the lappings of the panes
of glass be closed with putty.
vThe roof of the succession-house may be four or


six inches lower than that of the fruiting-house ;
and the roof of the nursing-pit may be a foot lower
than that of the fruiting-house.

Soil. The soil recommended is nearly the same
as that used by Nicol. It consists of: " 1. Ve-
getable mould; 2. The top-spit earth from an
upland pasture, loamy, friable, and well reduced ;
3. Hard-fed dung, rotted and mellowed by at least
a year's preparation ; 4. Small, pearly river-gravel ;
5. White sea-sand ; 6. Shell-marl.

" If no vegetable mould has been provided, light
rich earth, from a fallowed part of the kitchen gar-
den, may be substituted : there is no difference of
any account between one and the other, further
than this : The vegetable mould is sure to be virgin
earth, from which no aliment has been extracted ; the
mould from the kitchen garden, however you may
trench, and rest, and enrich it, cannot but contain
many particles which have given out their fertilizing
qualities to previous crops. Dung perfectly decom-
posed comes to the same thing as vegetable mould ;
therefore that one of them which is most attainable,
or best prepared, may fitly serve instead of the

" Of the first three take equal quantities; making
three-fourths of the intended compost. Constitute
the remaining fourth thus : Let river-gravel^ sea-
sand, and shell-marl, furnish each a twelfth part. The
small gravel is to afford something for the roots to
lay hold of; the sea-sand, to promote lightness and^
dryness; the shell-marl, the better to support the


growth of fibres and integuments and parts not
pulpy. Mix with the whole a fortieth part soot, to
offend and repel worms. Incorporate the ingre-
dients fully ; and turn the heap two or three times
before using it."

General management. " As soon as either crowns
or suckers are detached from the parent plant,
directions are given to twist off some of the leaves
about the base; the vacancy, thus made, at the
bottom of the stem, is to favour the emission of
roots. Pare the stump smooth ; then lay the in-
tended plants on a shelf in a shaded part of the
stove, or of the green-house, or of any dry apart-
ment. Let crowns and fruit off-sets lie till the part
that adhered to the fruit is perfectly healed ; and
root-suckers, in the same manner, till the part which
was united to the old stock is become dry and
firm. They will be fit to plant in five or six days.
As to the prolonged period for which they may re-
main out of culture : Pine-plants have been kept
six months without mould, in a moderately warm
dry state, and the only injury has been loss of time.
Crowns or suckers coming off before Michaelmas
should be planted without any unnecessary delay,
to get established before the winter* When late-
fruiting plants do not afford off-sets till after Mi-
chaelmas, it is best to keep them in a dormant state
during the months least favourable to artificial cul-
ture : therefore, as you obtain these late off-sets,
hang them up in the house, not too near the flues,
to rest till March."


Insects. Mr. NicoPs method, and also that by
M'Phail, are both quoted with approbation. The
following wash is directed to be applied exclusively
to the building, and by no means to the plants.
" At the annual cleansing of the house, if insects
are supposed to breed in the building, introduce
the wash with a brush into the cracks and joints of
of the wood- work, and the crevices of the wall.

Recipe for the Wash. " Of sulphur vivum take
2 oz. soft soap, 4 oz. Make these into a lather,
mixed with a gallon of water that has been poured
in a boiling state upon a pound of mercury. The
mercury will last, to medicate fresh quantities of
water, almost perpetually."

Fruit produced. To ripen eminently large fruit,
he directs the removal or destruction of suckers; to
retard the progress of fruit that have appeared too
early, he shifts in NicoPs manner ; and when fruit
is ripening too fast, or too many advancing to a
ripe state together, he retards a part of the plants
by setting them into a dry airy place, affording both
shade and shelter. " Give no water as long as you
wish to suspend their progress. For the same pur-
pose, others may be set out green ; but whilst the
excitment of these is lowered, they must be kept in
a growing state." Practical Gardener, 643.



Culture of the Pine Apple by Mr. James Andrews, commercial
gardener, Vauxliall.

MR. ANDREWS has been considered the best
grower of Pines in the neighbourhood of London
for many years ; his principal object is to grow
fruit for the market ; but the demand for the
plants by private gardeners, and others, has generally
been so great, that he can seldom keep the plants
till the last stage of their growth.

Form of House. Both pits and larger houses are
used ; but there is nothing particular in the form
of either. Mr. Andrews seldom erects new work,
but generally purchases old hot-houses and sashes
at the sales of decayed gentlemen, or bankrupt
tradesmen. In this respect he follows the practice
of Mr. Lee of Hammersmith, and both have gene-
rally a stock of old sashes and rafters on hand ready
to put up when wanted. But though the form of
Mr. Andrews' houses may be said to be in a great
degree matter of accident, yet the arrangement of
the flues within is his own. These generally en-
ter at the front corner of one end, pass to the op-
posite end, return along the back wall, where they
sometimes serve as a path, and at other times are
placed at one side of the path, occasionally a re-
turn is made, and the chimney-top is formed in the
back wall, at the opposite end to that in which the
fire enters ; when this is not the case, the smoke


passes off by the back wall at the same end. The
width of the pit depends on the room left by the flue;
to increase it no path is formed at the ends or in front,
and that along the back wall does not exceed two
feet in width. The depth of the pits is from two
feet and a half to three feet deep, and their distance
from the glass from four to six feet. Vines are
trained up the rafters and over the back path.
The sashes in front open in various ways, and air
is given by them, and by the sliding sashes of the
roof. On the whole, Mr. Andrews' best houses
greatly resemble those of Mr. Gunter, to be des-
cribed in the following section.

In the pits there is nothing uncommon in the
construction ; they are, in general, sunk deep in the
ground, which being dry at bottom, is a great sav-
ing of heat. In some the tan is enclosed by brick
walls, in others by a frame of wood; some are
without flues, but the greater number have a flue
in front, or a steam tube, or both.

In the year 1817, Mr. Andrews tried the effect
of steam, and was so much satisfied with it, that in
the following year, he put up an extensive appa-
ratus in the centre of his forcing department,
from which branch-pipes proceed in all directions,
and heat the air in the whole of his hot-houses,
pits, and frames.

Soil. As near as possible that of Baldwin's, or
M'Phail's; a rich loam, rendered sufficiently free
by coarse sand, to admit the ready passage of the


General management. The crowns and suckers,
when they are detached at irregular seasons, as
in winter, or very early in spring, are planted in
any spare corner of the bark bed, till a number is
collected, when they are planted in pots, according
to their sizes, and plunged in common hot-beds,
or pits. Mr. Andrews has no particular months
for shifting, no fixed sizes of pots, and no prede-
termined manipulation as to shaking the plants out
of their balls, or otherwise. He is present at every
operation himself; and acts as the case requires.
He encourages forward plants, by giving them
larger pots than the rest ; sometimes he looks over
the nursing-pits, and selects the most vigorous
plants, shifts them, and puts them into a stronger
heat, leaving the others for some weeks longer :
the balls of earth he does not disturb, if they do
not appear hard, the roots injured, or the plant
enfeebled. Sometimes he takes off the bottom of
the ball, and the bottom roots, paring off any part
of the stump of the plant which may appear de-
caying ; at other times, he contents himself with
removing the surface-mould, and top-dressing. In
general, he places the plants somewhat deeper in
the pots at each shifting.

The plants which he removes to the fruiting-
houses are shifted, for the last time, about nine
months before the fruit is expected ; their pots are
generally twelve or fourteen inches in diameter ;
but not of the usual proportion in depth, to lessen
the risk of overheating from the tan. The depth


is generally the same as the width. The pots are
plunged up to their rims, unless the heat be very
violent, and are liberally supplied with heat, air,
and water. Mr. Andrews does not fear 90 or 100
degrees of heat in the bark bed, even when the
air of the house by fire-heat is not above 60 or
65. In summer, he allows the thermometer to
rise to 90 or a 100 before he gives air, and he
often leaves some at the top-lights all night.
Insects. On this subject nothing new can be
gathered from the practice of Mr. Andrews, for
he has never had any worth destroying by a regu-
lar process. His practice affords an ample proof
that regimen and cleanliness will never allow in-
sects to increase to an injurious degree.

Fruit produced. We have already noticed the
circumstance of Mr. Andrews' plants being often
sold before they arrive at the stage for fruiting.
His stock, however, has been lately greatly in-
creased by the erection of additional houses, and
the easy mode of heating them from the steam
apparatus ; he now, therefore, sends a number to
market, and chiefly in the winter season, and early
in spring, when the price is highest. Their fruit
weigh from one to four pounds, and are almost
exclusively of the Queen Pine.




Culture of the Pine Apple, as practised by Mr. Gunter, at
Earlscourt, near Kensington ; Mr. Grange, at Kingsland ;
and Mr. Wilmot, of Isleivorth.

THE family of Mr. Gunter have long possessed
the very extensive gardens of Earlscourt, and
grown in them kitchen vegetables, excellent hardy
fruits, and melons, for the London market j but it
is only within the last seven years that they have
commenced the culture of the Pine Apple for the
same purpose. This Mr. R. Gunter has done on
the most liberal and extensive scale, and with great
and merited success.

Form of House. Like Mr. Andrews, Mr. Gun-
ter uses both pits and large houses ; in the pits he
both nurses the plants, and fruits them, and in the
large houses he fruits the Pine Apple, and produces
very early grapes at the same time.

The large houses (fig. 12.J are, in what may be


called the usual form ; they differ from M'Phad's,
and the houses built by Speedily, and originally
by Nicol, in not having a path in front ; and from
those of Mr. Aiton, erected in the royal gardens
at Kensington, in the pit being farther from the
glass. They are about fourteen feet wide inside
measure; the pit is ten feet three inches wide,
three feet deep, three and a half feet from the
glass in front O), and about six feet and a half
behind ( b ). The back path ( c ) is a border regu-
larly dug and manured, to encourage the roots of
the vines, which pass under the bark bed to the
front border. Each house is forty feet long, and
has a flue proceeding from the back wall to the
front, and along the front to the opposite end, re-
turning to the back wall in the usual manner. As
the houses are all heated by steam, however, these
flues are erected* merely by way of security, in
case of any accident happening to the boiler or
the pipes ( d, e ), and are therefore seldom used.
Besides the vines trained over the back path, there
are others which are led up the rafters ; both root
into excellent soil, and their shoots are withdrawn
in autumn to give them three months' rest in the
open air. Those at the back wall are withdrawn
through an opening in the angle of the upper sash ;
those in front through an angle of the front sash.

The pits are sunk in the ground to the sill of
the sashes in front, and within eighteen inches, or
two feet of the sill behind. In all of them, the
tan is inclosed by brick walls; they are generally


about seven feet wide within walls, but some are
as wide as fourteen feet, with the front wall six
inches above ground, and the back wall two feet
ten inches. The sashes in these broad pits are in
two lengths, as in hot-house roofs ; none of them
have any flues, being all heated together, with the
hot-houses, and various other descriptions of pits,
by an extensive steam apparatus. This apparatus
was erected by Mr. Mainwaring, of Blackfriars,
and is one of the most complete of its kind, ex T
cepting in the circumstance of the steam-pipes
having what are technically called spigott and
faucet joints, which, it is alleged, are more apt,
by their contraction and expansion, to allow the
escape of the steam than the Jianched joints. The
advantage of the former mode of jointing is, that
the steam-tube contracts and expands in parts ;
and, of course, that this contraction and expan-
sion must be very trifling on every part ; whereas,
when iron tubes are joined by flanches, they be-
come, in effect, one tube ; and the contraction,
or expansion, takes place throughout their whole

Soil. Good garden earth, enriched with well-
rotted hot-bed dung ; the soil of the open garden
at Earlscourt, is a rich black loam, and seems to
suit the Pine Apple as well as virgin earth brought
from a distance.

General management. Much the same as that of
Mr. Andrews. Mr. Gunter tried to substitute the
heat of steam for that of tan, as a bottom heat, but

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did not succeed. He formed a chamber, or va-
cuity of about six inches in depth, and covered it
with perforated oak-plank ; on this he placed the
earth, in which, in some cases, he turned the plants
out of the pots ; and, in others, plunged the pots
in the earth, or in rotten tan. The steam was
admitted to fill the chamber ; the quantity of heat
imparted to the earth was very great, but, contrary
to his expectation, no vapour ascended into the
mould, which became excessively dry and husky ;
nor was he able, by frequent waterings, to keep it
in a state fit for vegetation ; the roots of the plants
in it, in spite of every precaution, become shriv-
elled and dry.

Insects. None of any consequence have yet ap-
peared at Earlscourt, nor is it likely they will ever
become numerous there, while steam is used. Were
they to become ever so abundant, keeping the air
of the house filled with steam for two or three
days together, would effectually destroy them,

Fruit produced. The object of every commer-
cial gardener is to have some fruit ripening in
every month of the year, but especially in winter,
when the price is high. In summer great numbers
are imported, or sent in from the hired-out gar-
dens of country gentlemen, which greatly reduces
the market value below the real value, or actual
cost of production.

The Pine Apple is extensively cultivated by Mr.
Grange, of Kingsland, and Mr. Wilmot, of Isle-
worth, in nearly the same manner as by Mr.


Andrews and Mr. Gunter. Those of Mr. Wilmot's
are, at present, in the most luxuriant and pros-
perous state ; Mr. Grange's are also in a very re-
spectable condition. In both, the plants are grown
and fruited in pits, and larger houses, which re-
semble those of Earlscourt (fig. 12.) as nearly as
possible ; in both, also, the heat is communicated by


Culture of the Pine Apple, by Mr. Isaac Oldacre, gardener to
Lady Banks, at Spring-grove, Middlesex.

MR. OLDACRE is an excellent kitchen-gardener,
and an ingenious and curious man. He was se-
veral years head-gardener at one of the Emperor
of Russia's residences near Petersburg, and has
the merit of having introduced from that country,
the German mode of rearing mushrooms. Having
returned to this country about the year 1813, for
his health, he some years afterwards became gar-
dener to Sir Joseph Banks, in whose gardens he
has cultivated the Pine Apple with moderately
good success, and we have introduced this Section
on purpose to notice some peculiarities of treat-
ment which he adopts, and some strange opinions
which he holds, or lately held.

Form of House. The plants are brought for-
ward in dung, or tan-frames, or hot-beds, and
also in flued-pits \ but generally fruited in houses

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combining the culture of the Vine and the Pine.
Mr. Oldacre has two of these houses, one is built of
timber, in the usual way, (fig. 13.) and the other is

of the same form, but roofed with copper sashes. A
full command over the air of these houses is obtained
by the returns made by the flue in the back path
( a ) ; the curb of the pit is about three feet from
the glass in front ( b ); and about five feet from it
behind ( c ) ; vines are trained up the rafters, but
none are grown in the back path ( e ), which is

In addition to the flues, steam is also employed
as a medium of communicating heat. But the ap-
paratus was erected chiefly as matter of patriotism,
when steam first came in vogue, and is on a very
imperfect plan, and of little real use. The boilers
are placed over the furnaces, and the same fire
which heats the water of the boiler, passes along
the flue -, the steam tube of the boiler is laid on


the top of the flue, and extends no farther than it
extends. It is evident, therefore, that scarcely any
advantage can result from the use of the boiler,
unless it be that the heat is thus sent more effectu-
ally to the opposite end of the house to that at
which the fire enters, or that the vapour is very
readily admitted from the steam-pipe to fill the air
of the house. None of these advantages, however,
will compensate the expense of the apparatus ; the
first is hardly wanted where houses are placed in
a connected range, as the two outside ends of the
houses are kept warm by the flues entering there ;
and in the other houses a warm end is placed
against a cold one.

Soil. At first, Mr. Oldacre used good sound
loam and dung, with a little sand, when he found
it necessary ^ but he has for the last four years
grown his fruiting plants chiefly in powdered
bones, in which he thinks they thrive better, and
produce more highly-flavoured fruit. We have not,
however, been able to discover any thing in the
appearance of either fruit or plants, to lead us to
suppose that powdered bones are more congenial
to the Pine plant than good loam and dung; his
plants are certainly not equal to Mr. Baldwin's, nor
superior to those grown by Mr. Andrews, or Mr.
Aiton. We, therefore, consider their thriving
in this compost a proof more of the hardy nature
of the Pine, than of any thing else j we have no,
doubt it would grow in powdered granite, or

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coal, or almost any powder, not even excepting
gunpowder, if a due proportion of well-rotted
manure were added, and water, heat, light, and
air, duly supplied.

General management. In this, Mr. Oldacre has
nothing particular; he is careful not to let the
temperature of either frames or pits, containing
Pine plants fall under 60 in winter, but is not
afraid of a heat of 90 or 100 in summer. After
shifting, and occasionally during very hot weather,
he shades the plants in the frames and succession-
pits, well knowing that the want of abundant and
extended roots must lessen that supply of moisture
essential to the vigour of plants, during high sun-
shine, when evaporation is so powerful. His fruit-
ing-plants he keeps in large pots, rather broad
than deep, and so liberally supplies them with
water, that evaporation and transpiration go on
even in the hottest sun-shine, without injuring the
plants. He waters often with liquid manure, ge-
nerally the drainings of dunghills; frequently

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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 9 of 12)