Richard Lamb Allen.

A Brief compend of American agriculture online

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greater or less variety peculiar to itself, and their valuable
properties appear more fully developed in these localities than
when removed to others. Such should of course be retained
when of extraordinary excellence. There are varieties,
however, which are of more general cultivation, cosmopolites
throughout the apple climates, of fine quality, and possessing
all the excellence, of which the genus is capable. Thirty
different kinds for each section or state, will probably include
all which it is desirable to cultivate, and for any one location
perhaps twenty is sufficient. We here name 30 standard
varieties, all of which are now in successful cultivation in
different parts of the United States and the Canadas. The
names and descriptions are those of Downing, as published
in his late work on the Fruit Trees of America, 1845.

Summer Apples. Early Harvest, Red Astracan, Large
Yellow Bough, Williams' Favorite.

Autumn Apples. Golden Sweet, Fall Pippin, Gravenstein,
Jersey Sweeting, Pumpkin Russet, (by some, the Belle-
bonne,) Rambo.

Wint-er Apples. Westfield Seek-no-farther, Baldwin,
Black Apple, Yellow Belle fleur, Detroit, Hubbardston None-
such, Green and Yellow Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy,
Blue Pearmain, Peck's Pleasant, Rhode Island Greening,
American Golden Russet, English Russet, Roxbury Russet,
Swaar, Ladies' Sweeting, Talman's Sweeting, Esopus Spit-
zenberg, Waxen Apple, Wine Apple.

THE PEAR.

The pear is the most valuable and one of the most luscious
and wholesome market fruits, though not comparable to the



FRUITS. 169

apple for variety and general use. In a good soil and under
proper cultivation, it is both vigorous and hardy. It is bud-
ded and grafted like the apple, and requires the same treat-
ment ; it is as easy of propagation, attains a greater size and
age, and although longer arriving to maturity, it is a more
abundant bearer. Its favorite soil is a clay loam. It needs
little pruning as it usually throws out an upright, graceful
head, free from excessive bushiness. The trees may be
planted 25 or 30 feet apart, an abundance of sun being re-
quisite to full bearing and the perfection of the fruit.

DISEASES. The pear is seldom subject to more than one
formidable disease, the fire blight, and to this some localities
are more subject than others. The disease manifests itself
generally in mid-summer, in the sudden withering of the
leaves on one or more branches. The only effectual reme-
dy is to cut off and burn the diseased limb immediately on its
discovery. The causes are imperfectly known, but it has
been variously ascribed to the presence of minute insects, to
the abundant flow of sap and to the severity of the winter.

COLLECTING AND PRESERVING THE FRUIT. The pears in-
tended for market or for long keeping, should be hand-picked
and laid in a cool place ; and when perfectly dry put up in
casks like apples. Winter pears should be packed for pre-
servation like winter apples.

THE VARIETIES to be selected depends entirely on the ob-
ject of their cultivation. For market the best and most pop-
ular kinds only should be chosen, and for family use, an
equally good selection should be made of those running
throughout the entire season.

We name in their order of ripening, a dozen choice kinds,
the cultivation of which has thus far been thoroughly success-
ful and the qualities universally approved. The most of
these are pears of American origin, which are to be prefer-
red as promising more durability, hardiness and perfect adap-
tation to our climate and soils. We quote Downing.

Summer and Early Autumn Pears. Bloodgood, Dear-
born's Seedling, Bartlett or Williams' Bon Chretien, Stevens'
Genesee.

Autumn Pears. Beurre Diel, Dix, White Doyenne or Vir-
galieu, Duchess D'Angouleme.

Winter Pears. Beurre D'Aramberg, Columbia, Winter
Nelis, Prince's St. Germain.
G



AMERICAN AGRICULTURE.

THE QUINCE.

This is also a valuable market fruit. It makes a rich,
highly flavored sweetmeat, and to this use it is entirely
limited. The tree is easily raised by suckers and the
cuttings, and should be planted fifteen feet apart, in a rich,
warm, heavy soil, (a clayey loam is the best,) rather moist,
and in a sunny exposure where it wi'llbe well sheltered from
severe and cold winds. The wash of a barnyard is its best
manure, and it repays equally with the apple, for good cul-
tivation. The fruit is large, sometimes weighing a pound,
of a rich yellow color, and generally free? from worms and
ether imperfections. It ripens in October and November-
The orange quince is the best variety for common cultiva-
tion. The tree requires but little pruning. The'tirunk may-
be entire for two or three feet, or branch from t$e ground'
by two or more stems. The top should be kept open to-
admit the sun and air, and the trunk freed from sucktf&- So
treated it xvill live long and produce abundantly.

THE CHERRY.

Aside from the value of its fruit, the cherry is an orna-
mental shnde tree, hardy and vigorous in its growth, and!
easy of propagation. It should be planted like the apple.
For culinary purposes, the common red cherry is perhaps
the best. This may stand sixteen to twenty feet apart,
according to soil and situation. The large Mazard or the 1
English cherry requires more room, and if on a deep, warm,
sandy loam, itsfavotite soil, it should be planted two rods
apart, as it grows to a large size. It will flourish luxuri-
antly on a clay loam, or on an open gravel, provided- the
soil be rinh and deep ; but on these, it demands more careful
cultivation. It seldom requires much pruning. Care must
be ueed with this as with all other fruit trees, to give it an
open head and to keep the limbs from crossing and chafing
each other. The varieties most in use are the Common Red
Kentish or Pie Cherry, with which every one is familiar, the
English May duke, Black Tartarian. Bigarreau, (Graffion or
Yellow Span sh,) the large Red Bigarreau, Elton, Belle de
Choisy and the late Ditke. These will form a succession of six
weeks in ripening and embrace the entire cherry season.
The cherry is remarkably free from disease and it usually
requires but ordinary care in its cultivation.



FRUITS. 171



THE PLUM.

In its superior varieties, this is a delicious fruit, and is gen-
erally easily cultivated. It prefers a strong clay loam, but
does well in any ordinary ground except a light sand. It
should be planted like the apple, though on a smaller scale,
as it has a smaller and less vigorous growth. The proper
distance is sixteen to twenty feet apart. There are t\vo for-
midable impediments in the cultivation of the plum. One
i ; an insect, which attacks the wooil, and deposits its egg in
the s nailer branches. This is followed by a large swelling
or excrescence and if suffered to remain, will soon destroy
its prodtictivness. The best and surest remedy is to cut off
the branch at once and burn it. The Curculio commits its
depredations on the young fruit sooa after the blossoms dis-
appear. These are frequently so destructive as to kill the
fruit of an entire orchard. Several methods of destroying
them have bc^en suggested of which the most simple and
effectual is, to plant the trees in such places as will admit the
wine and poultry to feed upon the fallen fruit and insects.
Salt sprinkled around the tree in the spring is said to destroy
t!i":ii. The smoke of rotten wood, leaves and rubbish which
have been burned under the trees when in blossom has
s mictim^s proved beneficial. Paving the earth under the
limb.? to prevent the burrowing of the insects, and some
o^her ivmDriies are recommended. This is a serious evil,
requiring more observation and experiment than it has yet re-
ceived.

VARIETIES. The common blue or horse plum is cultiva-
i-.vi i:i numerous sub-varieties. Some of these are very good,
others utterly worthless. Good plums are as easily raised
as poor one?. Young trees bearing an indifferent fruit, can
bo headed down and grafted as readily as apples, but this rc-
q-iiros to 1)3 done a month earlier in the spring and before the
buds begin to swell. The best kinds are the Yellow, Green,
Autumn, Bleeckers, Imperial, Prince's Yellow, Frost, Purple,
and the Red Gages ; Coe's Golden Drop, the Jefferson, the
Grunge, the Washington, the Columbia, Smith's Orleans,
and the lied Magnum Bonum.

This last variety is more liable to the attacks of the circu-
lio than many others. But its vigorous growth, great pro-
ductivnes.s when not attacked and its excellent quality for
the table renders it a desirable fruit. For drying, the Ger-
man prune is perhaps the best, although several of the plums



172 AMERICAN AGRICULTURE.

above named answer an excellent purpose. We have enume-
rated a larger variety of plums from the difficulty in our
northern climates generally, of cultivating the peach, which
ripens nearly at the same time, and although not so delicious
a fruit, the plum is a valuable substitute for it. It is a more
durable tree though liable to several diseases, and its cultiva-
tion is comparatively easy.

THE PEACH.

This fruit on virgin soils and in the early settlement of our
country, was one of the easiest of propagation and most abund-
ant in its bearing, but it is now the most uncertain in its ma-
turity and the shortest lived of all. So liable is it to casual-
ties as to have become almost entirely discarded in large
sections of the United States, where it once flourished in the
highest perfection. It is now generally reared on an extensive
scale for market by those who make it an exclusive business.

Its FAVOKITE SOIL is a light, warm, sandy or gravelly
loam, in a sunny exposure, protected from severe bleak winds.
Thus situated and in favorable latitudes, it often flourishes in
luxuriance and produces the most luscious fruit. In Western
New- York and on most of the Southern borders of the great
Lakes the peach grows more vigorously and lives longer than
in any other sections of the United States, frequently lasting
20 or 30 years, and bearing constantly and in abundance.
Peaches are produced in immense quantities in the States of
New Jersey and Delaware, on the light soils near the Atlan-
tic coast for the large city market:?, and in those states the.
crop of a single proprietor often amounts to $5000, and
sometimes exceeds '$20,000 annually. None but the choi-
cest kinds are cultivated, and these are inoculated into the
seedling when a year old. They are transplanted at two and
three, and are worn out, cut clown and burned at the ai?;e of
from six to twelve years. The proper distance at which they
should be planted i.s .sixteen to twenty feet apart, according to
situation, soil i\i\-.\ exposure. Constant cultivation of the
ground is necv-s;r.-y tor (heir best growth and bearing.

DISKASKS. It is liable to many diseases and to the depre-
dations of numerous enemies. The Yellows is its most fatal
disease, and this can only be checked by the immediate rcmjb*
val of the diseased tree from the orchard. Of the Insects, the
grub or peach worm is the most destructive. It punctures
the bark, and lays its egg beneath it at the surface of the
earth, and when discovered it should be killed with a pen-



FRUITS. 173

knife or pointed wire. A good preventive is to form a cone
of earth a foot high around the trunk about the first of June ;
or if made of leached ashes it would be better. Remove this
heap in October, and the bark will harden below the reach of
the fly the following year.

VARIETIES. The best kinds in succession from early to
late, are the Red and Yellow Rareripes, Malacatune, Early
York, Early Tillotson, George the Fourth, Morris' Red and
White Rareripes, Malta and Royal George. These succeed
each otherfrom August to October.

THE APRICOT AND NECTARINE. These are of the peach
family, but generally inferior as a fruit and much more diffi-
cult of cultivation, being more liable to casualties and insects.
They require the same kinds of soil and cultivation as the
peach with a warm exposure. As they are propagated solely
as an article of luxury and are not wanted for general use,
we omit further notice of them.

THE GRAPE.

The details for the proper rearing of this fruit demand a
volume, but we can only refer to some prominent points in its
cultivation. It grows wild in abundance and of tolerable
quality in many parts of the United States, climbing over
trees, rocks and fences in great luxuriance. We have seen
in the Eastern States a dozen excellent native varieties of
white, black and purple, of different sizes, shapes and flavor,
growing within the space of a single furlong. So abundant
were the clustering vines on the Atlantic coast in the vicinity
of Narraganset Bay, that the old Northmen who discovered,
and for a short time occupied the country in the 12th century,
gave it the appropriate name of Vinland, or the Land of Vines.
The finer kinds require loose, shelly soils with warm, sunny
exposures and proper trimming. Thus cultivated they are
often raised with profit. The more choice and delicate kinds
must have protection in winter and glass heat in summer, and
are therefore better suited to large towns, or to a well arran-
ged conservatory.

VARIETIES. The best American kinds are the Isabella
and Catawba, for the Middle, and the Scuppernong for the
Southern States. North of latitude 41 30' neither of the
two former ripen certainly except in long, warm seasons, and
it would be better for the cultivator north of this to select some
of the hardiest and best wild grapes of his own latitude for
out- door propagation. Grafting a foreign variety on a



174 AMERICAN AGRICULTURE.

hardy native stock has been found to give a choice fruit in
great abundance, and with more certainty than could be se-
cured by an entire exotic. Of the European, the varieties of
Chasselas, Black Hamburgh, and White Muscat of Alexan-
dria, are the best. In a good grapery and with artificial heat
and proper attention, these can undoubtedly be raised at a
price which would yield to the horticulturist an adequate re-
turn, and for this purpose they are the best kinds to propagate,
furnishing a long succession of fruit in its finest variety.

THE CURRANT

Is the first in importance of the small garden fruits. In
cookery it has many valuable uses and is wholesome and
delicious when ripe. It grows with the greatest certainty
and luxuriance either from the suckers or cuttings. The
ground should be rich and well worked and the bushes set at
least six feet apart. They require plenty of sun and air like
all other fruits. The Red is the most common kind, but the
large Dutch White is sweeter and more delicious, a great
bearer, larger, and as easily cultivated. The English Black
is very productive, of great size, and makes a fine jelly. It
has peculiar efficacy in sickness, The usual mode of plant-
ing currants near fences is objectionable. They should stand
out where the gardener can get around them and where the
fruit can have plenty of air and sun. This improves the
fruit, and insects and vermin are more effectually prevented
from harboring beneath the bushes.

THE GOOSEBERRY.

This makes a palatable tart and as a ripe fruit possesses
some excellence. It is easily raised, and prefers a cool,
moist, rich soil in a sheltered position. It has been brought
to the highest perfection in Lancashire, England, and in Scot-
l:iml, under the influence of their cool weather and interrnina-
Mr fogs and rains. If has long been cultivated in America,
but with little success ; for though frequently abundant, the
flavor is indifferent in comparison with American fruits gen-
erally. For those who design to cultivate them, the nursery
catalogues are a sufficient reference. As a tart they are infe-
rior to the rhubarb, or pie-plant, which can be grown with
little trouble or expense, in great profusion in every fertile
and well tilled garden ; and it is in season from May till
August, when apples are sufficiently advanced to take its
place.



FRUITS. 175

THE RASPBERRY.

Both Red and Black Raspberries are favorably known as
a wild American fruit. As market fruit near the large cities,
it is very profitable. It prefers a light, warm, dry soil, rich
and thoroughly. loosened. The best varieties grown are the
Red and Yellow Antwerps, which produce abundantly and
are of fine flavor ; the Franconia, a fine, large, purple French
fruit; and the Fastolf, a late English Red variety of superior
size and flavor. The above kinds are all hardy in latitude
43 north. They are propagated by suckers, and should be
planted three feet apart if in hills, and four feet if in rows.
The stalk lives but two years. The first season it shoots up
from the root and makes its growth. The next Spring it
should be topped to three feet in height, the old stock cut
out, and the bearing ones (which ought never to exceed three
or four in a clump) should be securely tied to a stake or
trellis. If the ground be well hoed they will bear profusely.

THE STRAWBERRY.

This delicious and wholesome fruit is rapidly spreading in
garden cultivation throughout the United Slates. It will
flourish in almost any good soil which is not too cold or wet.
The plants should be set in rows two fret asunder and one
foot apart in the roxvs, kept clear from weeds and the runners
cut off once or twice in the growing season. Beds will last
from three to six years, depending, in a measure, on the mode
of cultivation. The fruit is in season from three to six weeks,
according to their kinds. Many cultivators have found diffi-
culty in procuring an abundant supply of the strawberry,
which is probably owing (when other circumstances are fa-
vorable,) to an improper arrangement of the male and female
plants. Hovey's Seedling and several others demand the
presence of the male plant from some other variety, to fertilize
them. The most popular for the market are sub-varieties of
the Scarlet, Pine, Chili and Wood. Among these the Meth-
ven Castle, Keene's and Hovey's Seedlings are most highly
celebrated.

THE AMERICAN CRANBERRY (Oxycocus macrocarpus)

Yields one of the most delicious of our tart esculents. It
is found in great abundance in many low, swampy grounds
in our northern and western states ; and although it has been
gathered from its native haunts from the earliest settlement
of the country, yet it is only within a few years that it has be-



176 AMERICAN AGRICULTURE.

come an object of cultivation. Experience has probably not
yet fully developed the most certain means of attaining the
greatest success, but enough is already known, to assume
that they are a profitable object of attention to the farmer.

SOIL AND CULTIVATION. They are generally planted on
low, moist meadows which are prepared by thorough plow-
ing and harrowing. They are then set in drills by slips and
roots, usually in the spring, but sometimes in autumn, about
20 inches apart and at distances of about 3 inches. They
require to have the weeds kept out and the ground stirred
with a light cultivator or hoe, and they will soon overrun and
occupy the Avhole ground. An occasional top dressing of
swamp muck is beneficial. Mr. Bates of Massachusetts has
in this way, produced at the rate of 300 bushels per acre,
which were worth in the market from one to two dollars per
bushel. Capt Hall of the same state, raises them in a swamp,
first giving it a top dressing of sand 01 gravel to kill the grass,
when he digs holes 4 feet apart, and inserts in each a sod of
cranberry plants about one foot square. From these sods
they gradually spread till the whole surface is occupied.

The crauberry is sometimes killed by late or early frosts,
and it has been suggested, that these might be avoided by
haying the fields so arranged when they may be expected as
to be slightly covered with water. The cranberry is gather-
ed when sufficiently ripe, by raking them from the bushes.
They are cleaned from the stems, leaves and imperfect ber-
ries, by washing and rolling them over smooth boards set on
an inclined plane, in the same manner as imperfect shot are
assorted. After this they are put into tight casks and filled
with water. If stored in a cool place, the water changed at
proper intervals, and the imperfect berries occasionally thrown
out, they wiH keep till the following summer. They will fre-
quently bring $20 per barrel in European markets. The
raking is beneficial rather than otherwise to the plants, for
though some of the plants are pulled out and others broken,
their places are more than supplied by the subsequent growth.



BROOM CORN. 177



CHAPTER XI.



MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS OF CULTIVATION.



BROOMCORN (Sorghum saccharatum.)

So far as we are acquainted with its history, this is a pro-
duct peculiar to America. In its early growth and general
appearance it resembles Indian corn. It stands perfectly up-
right at a height of ten feet or more, with a stalk of nearly
uniform size throughout, from which an occasional leaf ap.
pears ; and at the top a long, compact bunch of slender, grace-
ful stems is thrown out, familiarly termed the brush, which
sustain the st,ed at and near their extremities.

SOIL. The best soil for raising broom corn, is simitar to
that required for Indian corn or maize. It should be rich,
warm, loamy land, not liable to early or late frosts. Spring
frosts injure broom corn more than maize, as the roots do
not strike so deep, nor has it the power of recovering from
the effects of frost equal to the latter. The best crops are usu-
ally raised on a green sward, turned over as late as possible
in the fall, so as to kill the worms. Clay lands are not
suitable for it.

MANURE. Hog or sheep manure is best, and rotten bet-
ter than unfermented. If the land is in good condition, three
cords, or eight loads to the acre is sufficient. This is usually
placed in hills and 12 to 15 bushels of ashes per acre may be
added with great advantage. Plaster is beneficial at the rate
of two to four bushels per acre. The addition of slacked
lime helps the ground, affords food to the crop, and is des-
tructive to worms. Poudrette at the rate of a gill or so to
each hill at planting, or guano at the rate of a table-spoonful
per hill, if the African, or two-thirds the quantity if Peruvian,
mixed into a compost with ten times its quantity of good soil,
is an excellent application, especially if the land is not in
G*



178 AMERICAN AGRICULTURE.

very good heart. To repeat either of the above around the
stalks on each hill after the last hoeing, will add materially to
the crop.

PLANTING. It should be planted in hills two feet apart, in
rows two and a half to three feet distant. If the seed is good,
15 to 20 seeds to a hill are enough ; if not, put in sufficient
to ensure eight or ten thrifty plants, which are all that re-
quire to be left for each hill. Time of planting must depend
on climate and season. The 1st of May is time for planting
in latitude 40, and 10th to 15th in 42, but as early as possi-
ble, yet late enough to escape spring frost is best. The ground
should be thoroughly harrowed and pulverized before plant-
ing. Thick planting gives the finest, toughest brush. Seed
should be buried one to one and a half inches deep.

AFTER CULTURE. As soon as the plants are visible, run
a cultivator between the rows, and follow with a hand hoe.
Many neglect this till the weeds get a start, which is highly
prejudicial to the crop. The cultivator or a light plow should
be used afterwards, followed with a hoe, and may be repeated
four or five times with advantage. Breaking the tops should
be done before fully ripe, or when the seed is a little past the
milk ; or if frost appears, then immediately after it. This is
done by bending over the tops of the rows towards each other,
for the convenience of cutting afterwards. They should be
broken some 13 inches below the brush, and allowed to
hang till fully ripe, when it may be cut and carried under
cover, and spread till thoroughly dried. The stalks remain-
ing on the ground may be cut close or pulled up and buried
in the furrows for manure, or burnt, and thus be restored
to the earth to enrich it ; or they may be earned to the
barn-yard to mix in a compost, or with the droppings of the
cattle.

CLEANING THE BRUSH. This is best done by hand, by
passing it through a kind of hetchel, made by setting upright
knives near enough together, or it may be cleaned by a long
toothed currycomb. By the first method none of the little
branches are broken, and the brush makes a finer, better
broom. We have seen horse power machines used for clean-



Online LibraryRichard Lamb AllenA Brief compend of American agriculture → online text (page 17 of 44)