Josiah T Marshall.

The farmers and emigrants complete guide : or, A hand book, with copious hints, recipes, and tables designed for the farmer and emigrant online

. (page 19 of 33)
Online LibraryJosiah T MarshallThe farmers and emigrants complete guide : or, A hand book, with copious hints, recipes, and tables designed for the farmer and emigrant → online text (page 19 of 33)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the stem and then coated with whitewash. Straw in an
upright position has also been applied. Tan in small
boxes has answered the same purpose ; and its properties
are also repulsive. Lime and ashes have the same effect.
Common salt, either alone or mixed with nitre, has been
found efficacious, besides promoting the growth and pro-
ductiveness of the tree. Half a pound has been scattered
round it at a time. Soot employed in the same way, is


highly recommended. A small red cedar, planted in th*
same hole with a peach tree has protected it by its offen-
sive odor. Charcoal in small pieces, heaped up, is sup-
posed to smother the worm by choke damp, and sulphur
to poison it with its fumes. Doubtless all are useful, but
the appendages should be removed when the warm sea-
son is over.

Sometimes a worse evil than the worm, however, over-
takes the peach tree. This malady was named by the
late Judge Peters of Pa. " the yellows;" but the leaves
are not always yellow as the name would imply. A
more certain indication is the premature ripening of the
fruit, with purple discolo rations of the pulp, and deficient
flavor. As the disease advances bundles of slender twigs
protrude from the larger branches, and increase till the
vital energy is exhausted.

This case is perhaps the only instance of a contagious
disease among vegetables, communicated by contact of
tne roots, or the application of pollen. That such
are the facts, indeed, has not been directly proved, but
the circumstantial evidence is strong and pointed. Young,
nealthy trees, speedily decline when planted among
diseased roots. Frequently, the first appearance of the
premature ripening is confined to a solitary branch, when
no trace of the disease can be found in any other part of
the tree. When this happens, it is prudent to amputate
immediately, although it is doubtful if the tree itself can
be safely left to stand till it blooms again. In particular
cases we have pruned closely, destroying the blossom
buds and giving it a chance for recovery, without endan-
gering other trees ; but we would not recommend it as a
general rule, but extirpate the tree in due time.

It is certainly known, however, that the disease can be
communicated like the small-pox. We have set buds of
sickly trees into healthy stocks, and all have perished in


the course of the year. Yet different degrees of virulence,
perhaps depending on the stage of the disease, are ob-

There can be no doubt that on a sickly tree, the pit or
kernel is as much affected as the pulp that surrounds it ;
and therefore *<uch stones ought never to be planted in a
nursery. A peach tree not attacked by worms, and free
from this malady, ought to live at least fifty or a hundred
years ; and we believe no reason whatever, except the
two just mentioned, can be assigned for their early decay.
If the worm is not at the root therefore, when the tree is
sickly, we may conclude it has the yellows ; and that
this disease, if the pit was tainted, has

" Grown with its growth, and strengthened with its strength."

Some varieties of the peach and nectarine, are subject
to a white mildew, which appears on the new shoots about
midsummer, checking their growth, but not attended with
any other ill effects. It seems analogous to the mildew
on the grape and gooseberry ; and may be cured (it is
said) by the application of sulphur water. A better course,
however, for culturists in general, would be to stimulate
the tree, to make a handsome growth in the early part of
the season, and to take no further care.

This disease appears to be exclusively confined to
Lindley's FIRST CLASS of peaches and nectarines, " whose
leaves are deeply and doubly serrated, having no glands."
Some varieties of this class, however, suffer very little ;
while others, such as the early Anne, are much impeded
in their growth.

The peach is justly considered the most delicious fruit
of the temperate zone ; and yet it is scarcely known in a
large proportion of the State of New-York, which we have
much reason to believe would admit of its successful cul-
ture. Not only in the high lands between the Cayuga


lake and the Susquehanna, but also in the elevated region
between the Great Bend and the Blue Mountain in Penn-
sylvania, this tree has been found healthy and fruitful.
We saw several in fine order, the very next season after
some had perished with the cold in the low and beautiful
valley of Stroudsburgh.

To some persons this statement may appear like a para-
dox. But what are the other facts in this case ? Warmth
in winter is pernicious. It starts the sap, swells the bud,
and the intense cold that follows destroys bud and branch.
On the contrary, the steady cold of the hills is conserva-
tive. The bud is so exquisitely folded and prepared for
a severe season, that unless it is disturbed by the sap, it
is safe from the greatest cold of our latitude. Like the
seeds of the melon, or a grain of corn, it appears to be
too dry to freeze.

In the middle districts of our State, let horticulturists
therefore remember, that the hills are more favorable to
the peach than the valleys ; and if their labors are unre-
warded in the low precincts of their villages, let them oc-
cupy the neighboring heights, and lay out fruit gardens
there. Let them also remember that many trees and
shrubs, which are hardy in a dry rocky soil, perish with
the cold in a rich' border. In the latter case, the wood is
not sufficiently matured, and the frost strikes it when it is
full of sap, like a weed. To crop the ends of the peach
shoots, when they grow too late, has been useful not so
soon in the season as to start the buds, but as soon as that
danger is over. We have alluded to the loss of the fruit
buds in winter, and the early bloom of this tree. These
two causes render the peach a more uncertain crop than
the plum or the cherry; but particular circumstances,
perhaps not well understood, have had an influence on its
productiveness. When trees stand in the same imme-
diate neighborhood, some are barren while others bear ;


and a belief is becoming prevalent that grassy ground is
most favorable. Though we are not entirely prepared to
decide on this point, yet most of our observations lean in
that direction ; and if it be proved, an exception to our
plan of managing the fruit garden, ought to be made on
behalf of the peach, nectarine and apricot, as soon as those
trees are of full bearing size.

Some years ago, we drained a shallow swamp; and
though the situation is high and airy, peach trees of the
"best bearing kinds planted there, have always been unpro-
ductive. Now the annual cultivation of the soil, doubt-
less rendered it more spongy,* and consequently more
frosty, because it radiated more heat than the paler and
firmer ground. But was this the only cause ? and if so,
did it cause the destruction of the buds in winter, or in
the spring?

One fact, however, should not be forgotten : To ac-
celerate the growth of the peach tree when bearing, by
either culture or pruning, endangers the fruit. In sum-
mer, therefore, the soil should not be disturbed.

The quince tree as well as the apple tree, is subject to
the attacks of the borer. The larva of this insect, re-
sembles the peach worm ; but it cuts through the solid
wood, and therefore is much more difficult to extract.
With a barbed wire, we have often succeeded, and some,
times failed. In a young tree that had been neglected,
we found them so deeply intrenched, and their holes so
winding, that they kept possession. We then made a
small auger hole through the heart of the tree, and filled
it with sulphur. A few days after we found one of them
in a dying state, and no more filth was ejected. Quince
trees should be examined on this account, at least once a

Would the lncreaed radiation from thii cauie, be counteracted by ipreadiug
ftraw, chaff, or ihaving* under the trees 1


As the pear tree is not infested by the borer, it has
been employed as a stock for the quince tree, and if bud-
ded or grafted a foot or more from the ground, it must
generally be safe from such attacks.

The quince tree like the pear tree, however, is subject
to fire blight ; but only a few inches of the ends of the
branches, suffer. Whether this appearance is owing to
the more stunted nature of the tree, or to a different in-
sect, is not positively known ; but as it is probably caused
by an insect, it would be prudent to cut off the dying tops,
and burn them.

Though winter pears have something like a determinate
time for ripening, or becoming soft, yet this period may
be accelerated or retarded, by increasing or diminishing
the temperature of the place where they are kept. Our
experiments on this point within the last year, have been
very conclusive. Pears of a sort that had continued hard
until spring in a cool cellar, have ripened toward the
close of autumn, in a warm room ; and by placing them
in different temperatures, the season for each particular
kind, may be greatly extended.

When winter fruit is buried in the ground for long keep,
ing, it should be placed in a box, or on a bed of straw,
and be well covered with the same, so as not to come in
contact with the damp earth, which causes it to swell,
crack, and lose its flavor ; and to prevent it from becom-
ing musty, it should be kept in an out-house, till the
ground begins to freeze. We have never known fruit to
be damaged, that was treated in this manner, and then
timely removed in the spring.



MANY, very many, of those who have found new homes
on the broad prairies of the West, have not regarded
\nerely the advantage to themselves that would result
from their removal, but have considered the vastly im-
proved condition of their children. It is to such the
subject of arboriculture especially commends itself. A
quarter section of timber, sown now far out on the open
prairie, with a fortnight's labor bestowed upon it annually
for a few years, would, in twenty years, be of itself a
rich inheritance. We would not, however, recommend
the using of a quarter section by itself; we would advise
the farmer to cultivate a strip of timber, of greater or less
width, as he can afford, on the north and east sides of his
farm. No more land would be used than if it were cul-
tivated in a square piece, and in a few years it would
protect the fruit and crops from the severe winds that
sweep over the naked prairies.


All good citizens, who are desirous of doing good deeds,
and of being remembered by posterity hereafter, we
would recommend to transplant a goodly number of su-
gar maples round their dwellings. We think all will
see the propriety of giving their immediate attention to
the growing of this most valuable tree, not only for adorn-
ing our dwellings, but also, a large number may be set
in a suitable place on every farm. They, in a few years,


will afford the pure juice for sugar, and the best of timber
for cabinet and other kinds of work, and all poor trees
may be worked up for fuel. Our soil is rich and well
adapted for the sugar maple.

This tree, beside or around a dwelling is an ornament,
and also by the road-side. How pleasant and beautiful
would be the scenery, if this tree, in its full growth and
splendor, were along each side of our roads! We have
seen the maple tree no taller than a walking-staff, become,
in fifteen years, so large as to afford sap and sugar. Be
not discouraged by looking forward, and say it will be a
long time before you can have any benefit by sugar.
You must remember the timber is growing every year,
and wait with patience, and be assured the other part
will not fail.

The sugar maple, if for transplanting, should be of the
size of from one to two inches in diameter, and from one
to two feet above the ground. Select those of smooth bark,
looking young and healthy. We prefer short tops, but
if long body and top, cut it off so as to leave the body ten
or twelve feet. The tree being carefully taken up and
prepared, is to be placed in the ground but one or two
inches lower than it stood before. Care should be taken
<j place fresh earth round the roots, and till well rooted,
care should be taken to keep creatures from rubbing
against them.


Those who would raise peach trees should prefer stones
that are raised in the north, for if stones from southern
peaches be planted, the trees will be tender. The peach
is a tender tree, and peculiar to warm climates, and in
cultivating it so far from its native climate, care is neces-
sary to success. We must have particular regard to soil,


location, and cultivation ; but first of all, we should be
cautious to procure hardy stocks.

Some superior kinds of peaches are propagated from
the seed, saving the trouble of budding ; and such kinds
are generally more hardy, productive, and permanent.
To propagate a good variety in this way, it must in the
first place be a seedling, that is, the tree must be the
natural fruit, without budding or grafting. Then tho
tree must set at a distance from any other kind, lest it
mix in the blossom. Some very fine varieties of peaches
are now propagated in this way.

When the meat is taken from the stones, cover them
up in the earth, or dry them, being careful that they do
not mould. Before the ground freezes, put them in the
ground, a foot below the surface, first a layer of stones,
then a layer of earth. The object in having them so deep
is to prevent their cracking ; if they are near the surface
t'^ey may crack then they will vegetate in the spring
before the ground is dry enough for planting; but bury
them a foot deep, and they will remain safe even till the
last of May. In the spring, when the land is dry enough
to work, and is ploughed and prepared for the trees, take
up the stones and crack them in evenings or stormy days
if you please, and if not ready to plant immediately, lay
the meats in a shallow vessel, lay over them a damp pa-
per or cloth, and set them in the cellar ; in this way they
will keep safe for several days. When ready, plant,
covering as you would corn, and the seeds are as sure to
come up as corn, if they be good. The seed comes up
as well when taken out of the stones as to have the pieces
of stones around them.

This is a cheaper way in raising peach trees than to
plant in the fall. For when planted in the fall, the
siones are not always opened by the frost, and failures


are common. As the land cannot be ploughed in the
spring, there will be much extra expense in cultivation.

Peaches require a sandy loam. A fine sand should be
preferred, for if they be on a very dry, porous soil, they
will suffer with the drought. If the soil be moist, the fruit
will be later, of inferior quality, and the wood will grow
later of course it will 'not ripen so as to endure the cold
of winter.

Moderate elevations afford advantages, as in low lands
there is more danger from late frosts in the spring, and
in such situations the frosts of winter are more severe ;
and as the sun has more power in low plains, provided
the soil be dry, the trees will blossom the earlier, which
is a serious disadvantage, as cold weather often succeeds.

On high situations there is more exposure to the winds,
and less heat to perfect the fruit; yet in such places
peaches often succeed. An eastern exposure is consid-
ered most unfavorable. High cultivation is necessary to
productiveness and fine fruit.


Before the ground freezes in autumn, dig the earth five
or six inches deep around the fruit trees, and the distance
of eight or ten inches from each ; remove it to a suitable
place and burn it with dry brush, or whatever combusti-
ble is convenient, to destroy the germ of the canker-worm
and other hurtful insects. Mix this burnt earth with lime
or ashes, and a double crop may be expected next season.
If any farmer or gardener thinks this too much labor, let
him remember, that there is nothing good under the sun
obtained without some expense, and that everything in
nature has its price. Choice fruit is among the greatest
luxuries of the earth, but cannot be obtained without par-
ticular attention to the cultivation of the orchard.



An excellent plan for preventing young fruit trees from
becoming hidebound and mossy, and for promoting their
health and growth, is to take a bucket of soft soap, and to
apply it with a brush to the stem or trunk from top to bot-
tom ; this cleanses the bark, destroys worms or the eggs
of insects ; and the soap becoming dissolved by rains,
descends to the roots and causes the tree to grow vigor-
ously. A boy can make this wholesome application to
several hundred trees in a few hours. If soft soap was
applied to peach trees in the early part of April to remove
or destroy any eggs or worms that might have been de-
posited in the autumn, and again in the early part of June,
when the insect is supposed to begin its summer deposite
of eggs, it is believed we should hear less of the de-
struction of peach trees by worms. But the application
should not be suspended for a single season, on the sup-
position that the enemy had relaxed in his hostility. Try
it this spring, and communicate the result with all the


Apply salt and saltpetre, combined in the proportion of
one part of saltpetre to eight parts of salt ; one half pound
of this mixture to a tree seven years old and upward, to
be applied upon the surface of the ground around, and in
immediate contact with the tree ; this will destroy the
worm, but to more effectually preserve the tree, sow this
mixture over any orchard, at the rate of two bushels to
the acre. The size of the fruit is increased, and the fla-
vor very greatly improved, the worm destroyed, and the
yellows prevented.

It has been mentioned by writers on the culture of the


peach tree, that hot water poured round the trunk at the
surface of the ground, will destroy the worm.

Soot has been found excellent for this tree. In one
case that has come to our knowledge, its pale leaves were
changed into a dark green by this application round its
roots ; and though the effect may in part have been cau-
sed by the destruction of the worm, it has doubtless acted
also as a manure. Those who have stove-pipes to clean
and peach trees to cultivate, should save the soot for this

One of the most deplorable conditions that a peach tree
can be placed in, is to stand in a meadow or grass ground
which is annually mowed. Sometimes we see them in
door-yards, where the grass grows strong, but where nei-
ther pigs, nor sheep, nor cattle, are allowed to enter. A
half starved tree, however, is no ornament in front of a
house ; but we will not find fault without proposing a
remedy. Cultivate a circle round each tree, of two or
three feet in diameter; and hoe in manure from the sta-
ble, the hog-pen, the hen-roost, the leach-tub, or the wood
pile, not forgetting the stove-pipe, and the tree will soon
compensate for the labor by its beauty and productive-











THE quantity of madder consumed annually in the
United States, and imported from abroad, is perfectly as-
tonishing to those who have given no attention to the sub-
ject. Unfortunately, our public records do not give very
exact information on the subject ; but Mr. Ellsworth, as
the nearest approximation he could obtain, gives the
amount as jive thousand tons ! Estimating this at the low
average price of ten cents per pound, it makes the round
sum of one million of dollars paid annually to foreign
countries for an article that can be produced as good and
as cheap at home, were the information necessary to its
production generally diffused among farmers and others
interested in the subject.

The cultivation of madder has heretofore been repre-
sented as a tedious and laborious operation, requiring
much care and skill, as well as outlay of capital. The
directions have been mainly gathered from foreign works,
detailing the methods practiced by the plodding Dutch in
Holland and Germany. These accounts have appeared
so frightful to Americans, that none of them have dared
to undertake the business ; and Yankee enterprise and
labor-saving ingenuity have never been exercised upon it.

It is true, the crop requires three or four years to arrive
at maturity, and needs considerable labor, and some
knowledge ; but the quantity of land it occupies, and the
amount of labor it requires, is far less in proportion to
the value of the crop than those of any other farm-crop
that can be named.


These assertions are fully corroborated by the experi.
ence of an enterprising American farmer, Mr. Joseph
Swift, of Erie county, Ohio, who has been engaged in the
culture of madder for five years past. A detailed account
of Mr. Swft's mode of culture and its results, was obtained
at his residence last winter, by the writer of this essay, and
published in the New Genesee Farmer for March, 1843.

From this account it will be seen, that after having in-
formed himself on the subject, and becoming satisfied that
the business was practicable and profitable, he at once
planted nine acres. This he allowed to grow four seasons,
and the crop was harvested and sold in the fall of 1842.
The following are some of the results of his experience.
The product of his best land was at the rate of 2,000lbs.
per acre, and he is certain that, with his present knowledge,
he can obtain 3,000 Ibs. per acre which is more than
the best average crops of Holland or Germany. The
quality was superior to the average of imported madder.

The labor required, including the whole time, with the
digging, cleaning, threshing, etc. was from eighty to one
hundred days' work per acre. The outlay for buildings,
fixtures, etc. did not exceed, in all, fifty dollars.

The value of the crop was at the rate of fifteen cents
per pound, at which price he sold most of it notwithstand-
ing the circumstances of its being unknown to purchasers,
and all the prejudice that usually exists in such cases.

The result, then, in figures, fairly stated, stands thus,
for an acre of good land properly managed :

By 2,000 Ibs. of madder, at 15 cents per Ib $300 00

Contra To 100 days' work, mostly boys, at 75 cts. per

day $75 00

Use of land, 4 years, at $4 per year 16 00

Grinding, packing, etc 9 00

100 00

Leaving a nett profit per acre, of. $200 00


Mr. Swift was one of the earliest settlers of that section
of the country, having resided nearly thirty years on the
farm he now occupies, which consists of about 400 acres
of choice land, mostly alluvial, in the valley of the Ver-
million river, seven miles from Lake Erie. At my re-
quest, he furnished me with the following practical direc-
tions for the cultivation of madder, which he remarked
must be understood as intended for those who wish to
cultivate only a few acres, and cannot afford much outlay
of capital. Those who wish to engage in the business on
an extensive scale, would need to adopt a somewhat dif-
ferent practice :

Soil and preparation. The soil should be a deep, rich,
sandy loam, free from weeds, roots, stones, etc. Containing
a good portion of vegetable earth. Alluvial "bottom"
land is the most suitable ; but it must not be wet. If old
upland is used, it should receive a heavy coating of veg-
etable earth, (from decayed wood and leaves.) The land
should be ploughed very deep in the fall, and early in the
spring apply about one hundred loads of well- rotted
manure per acre, spread evenly, and ploughed in deeply ;
then harrow till quite fine and free from lumps. Next,
plough the land into beds four feet wide, leaving alleys be-
tween, three feet wide, then harrow the beds with a fine
light harrow, or rake them by hand so as to leave them
smooth, and even with the alleys; they are then ready
for planting.

Preparing Sets and planting. Madder sets, or seed
roots, are best, selected when the crop is dug in the fall.
The horizontal uppermost roots (with eyes) are the kind
to be used ; these should be separated from the bottom
roots, and buried in sand in a cellar or pit. If not done
in the fall, the sets may be dug early in the spring, before

Online LibraryJosiah T MarshallThe farmers and emigrants complete guide : or, A hand book, with copious hints, recipes, and tables designed for the farmer and emigrant → online text (page 19 of 33)