Page images

attention to two remarkable changes in the weather, and as indicated by the barometer since that tiine, not according to the learned, but the rules I send, viz.: On the 4th inst., the barometer rose in the evening to 30.95 inches, the highest I have ever seen it. While at that point the air became cloudy-indicating à humid atmosphere--and consequently stormy and wet weather, because the barometer had nearly an inch to fall to reach 30, and with the rapidity of the fall would be the increase of the storm.

On the 5th, at sunrise, thermometer 7 degrees, barometer 30.90, and by nine o'clock barometer 30 87, wind east, and snow storm commenced. It continued through the day, and was succeeded by a rain storm through the night, wind hard from southward. Next morning, thermometer 47 degrees, a change of 40 degrees, and barometer 30 inches, a change of nine-tenths of an inch.

"The other change commenced on the 19th instant; barometer 30.87, and somewhat cloudy. On the 20th, 30.85, wird northeast, cloudy, air humid, storm threatening. On the 21st the storm followed, which has been reported as defeating the plans of General Burnside at Fredericksburg. According to the rules laid down by the learned, we should have had fair weather during the time of those storms, as the mercury did not fall below the point marked fair on the barometer. The latter storm was indicated by the barometer nearly two days before it commenced; and had Burnside used a barometer, and known its true indications, he would not have attempted such plans.

"SORGHUM SYRUP. "Last year I made above 3,300 gallons of good thick syrup, from the juice of the Chinese sugar cane, but have not succeeded yet in graining it sufficiently to make our own sugar. We think the syrup much superior to New Orleans molasses. It is of a lighter color and more like honey. I used Cook's evaporators, but, as you live further north, a more detailed account may not interest you. The African cane will come to maturity as easily with you as the Chinese will with us; and, judging from experiments made with both, I believe where they will ripen their seed they will be among our most profitable crops.

“COTTON IN NEW JERSEY. “Late last spring I planted a small lot of cotton séed received from the Patent Office. The result was 160 pounds, good ginned cotton to the acre. Many of the bolls did not open as they would have done if I had planted early. The green bolls I pulled off, and, after drying them some, took the cotton out. The superintendent of the Gloucester cotton factories, to whom I presented a sample, pronounced the staple good and strong. It was then worth seventy cents, but is worth more now. At the present price of cotton it must be one of the most remunerating crops in this latitude. I intend to plant largely if I can procure seed.

16 JUTE.

"I planted last spring a small lot of seed of the jute plant-a species of the chorchorus—from the fiber of which the gunny-bags are made; but the plant comes up too weakly to succeed well where there is foul seed in the land. Mine was a partial failure, but I saved some seed to try again. WHEAT KILLED BY CORN SHOOKS. “I sowed wheat one year among my corn; and late in the season for cutting up corn, I cut up that and stacked it on the wheat eight hills apart each way, thinking as the stacks were small the wheat would live under them; but every stool of wheat died where the stacks stood, although the air could pass through or between the stalks, and the sun shine in or under them in many places. This fact has led to the reflection;

"VEGÉTATION REQUIRES THE DIRECT RAYS OF TĦE SUN. "How far can vegetation succeed where there is a total absence of the direct rays of the sun ? I can say I know of not a single instance where there has been a healthy plant produced, of any considerable size, nor of a sickly one either, tree or plant, to arrive at a state of maturity in the absence of the light from the direct rays of the sun. If this view is correct—is founded on a law of nature, which is unchangeable—what becomes of the theory of the learned Hugh Miller, in his " Testimony of the Rocks," where, after describing the first and second days of creation, dividing them into periods of many thousand years, he speaks of the third day as a day of extraordinary Hora-a day corresponding to the carboniferous period which formed our coal beds-ere the sun first broke through the clouds (which had through all previous time of creation hung as a thick mantle around the globe), and shone on sea and land ? Then, after describing the other days of creation, he adds: 'I know of not a single scientific truth that militates against even the minutest or least prominent of its details.''

KEEPING OF WINTER PEARS. Mr. Wm. S. Carpenter.--I have brought to-day a number of varieties of pears, to show the perfection in which they have been kept. The Vicar of Winkfield is as green as when they were picked, and I think will keep until May.

Mr. John G. Bergen. I wish Mr. Carpenter would inform the Club how he keeps them in this state; mine have been ripe some time.

Mr. Wm. S. Carpenter.-My method is to let the fruit hang on the tree as long as possible, and then carefully pick and carry in baskets to the barn, and take out the fruit by hand and lay it upon straw on the floor without bruising. The pile may be one to two feet deep, and is to be covered with straw, to exclude light, and the room should be a dark one. Keep the fruit here as long as possible without freezing, and then, on a cold, dry day, pack the

pears in barrels with oats in the chaff, and put them away in a dry cellar, as cool as it will be safe.

Mr. Steele.--There is something in the flavor of these pears that I do not like; they have imbibed a slight musty taste from the material used for packing them. I have placed pears in the center of barrels of potatoes, and found them in good order when the barrels were opened late in the season, and free from any unpleasant taste.

Mr. Pardee.-The remarks of Mr. Steele are very pertinent at this time. I have known pears packed in the center of barrels of hard apples, and they kept well.

Mr. Geo. H. Hite. I obviate this by using cheap soft straw paper, and changing it when the wrappers get moist. It is true that this makes a great deal of labor, wrapping and unwrapping each pear, but I think myself well paid for the trouble.

Mr. R. G. Pardee said that whether anything was used or not for packing fruit, it would not retain its odor and flavor in some cellars. There is something in the eondition of the soil or air that extracts the most valuable qualities of the finest fruit. It is also often injured by being packed in unsweet barrels. Pears may be advantageously mixed with high flavored apples, some of which impart a delicious odor to the pears when packed together. With bad packing, the most odorous apples lose much of their value. In a musty cask, the Spitzbergen apple will acquire a tainted odor that is disagreeable.

Mr. Wm. S. Carpenter.-I tried packing in oat chaff as an experiment. I have also used nice sweet hay, cut fine, which is an excellent plan; but

am satisfied that rice hulls, where they can be obtained, would be preferable to any other material,

Mr. Solon Robinson.—The most important matter in preserving fruit, is to see that it undergoes the natural sweating process before it is finally packed for winter. I think this is one of the principal reasons of Mr. Carpenter's success. He piles his fruit on straw and covers it with straw, and there it parts with its moisture before it is packed in the barrels. If nothing was put with it, it would probably keep just as well, if the room was sufficiently cool.

Mr. Steele.-I was not in the room when the letter relating to the plum was read. I understood there was something said in relation to the curculio; some years since my plum trees were very much affected by this insect. I found by using the whale oil soap, diluted in water, that I saved all my plums. I used a syringe, and applied this liquid four or five times during the season, after the plums were set.

Mr. Carpenter.-Fruit is very apt to taste musty if placed in old cellars, or put into old barrels.

Mr. Pardee. I think the cellar should be dry and well ventilated.

MONMOUTH PIPPIN. Mr. Steele exhibited a new apple called the Monmouth Pippin. This apple originated in Monmouth county, N. J. It was pronounced a good apple, and well worthy of cultivation.

The subject of the day, “Pruning-Management of Grape Vines,” was

called up

Mr. A. S. Fuller.— The importance of this subject of pruning has never been, nor do I think ever will be, over-estimated. The difference between the properly cultivated and pruned plant, and the one that is not, is as great as between the man who is entirely without education and the one who is thoroughly enlightened. The first is the wild savage of the forest the latter the master of arts and sciences.

The cultivated vine must be pruned and properly trained, or the best results will not be obtained, and often total failures will follow, as well from the half pruning as the no pruning system. With cultivated fruits we should not try to follow nature, but to improve it; and there is not a created thing, either in the animal or vegetable kingdom, that is not susceptible of improvement. This is the reason why we hold that the cultivated vine should be closely pruned. The experience of three thousand years proves that the best results are produced by pruning, and its neglect has caused more failures than all other causes combined.

So much importance was attached to this branch of fruit culture, in olden times, that wine made from unpruned vines was forbidden to be used at the sacred feasts. When the old French monarch wished to strike a death blow to the cultivation of the vine, he forbade the people to prune. One might readily imagine that a king had issued his royal decree against pruning and trimming in this country, if we were to judge by the appearance of many of the wild-growing vines that meet our eyes in every city yard, and many times in vineyards, where we should look for better things.

When we learn the necessity of pruning, and act accordingly, we shall have made one great and sure step towards success in grape growing. One serious impediment to grape culture in this country has been that we had but few good native varieties; but, thanks to the spirit of improvement, this has been in a great ineasure removed, and the main thing for us now to learn is, how to prune and train these new and valuable varieties. I will not pretend to describe the best system; there are many good ones that we can modify and adapt to our native varieties. It is said that in Europe every district has a system peculiar to itself. Here every vineyard has one of its own or none. Scarcely any vineyard is pruned two seasons alike, for the vineyardist, not being satisfied with a good crop, is, like poor Oliver, crying for more. Each season he prunes so as to have a little more fruit than the preceding one, until his vines are so weakened by excessive bearing, that mildew, rot and general debility step in and relieve him of further trouble.

What is true of the vine is also true with other fruits and flowering plants, although the necessity may not be quite so imperative; for there is no annual, biennial or perennial in cultivation that may not be improved by judicious pruning. There is no successful cultivator of the rose, dahlia, crysanthemum or carnation that does not prune his plants. So it is with the orchardist-he prunes his trees annually. We may talk of fancy and concentrated manures, or of good old homely barn-yard manures for the vine, but with them we can only lay the foundation. We need a plain and judicious system of training, strictly followed to complete the structure.

Our great error is in not pruning enough, and a majority of persons will begin at the wrong end and prune so as to make the vine grow tall instead of low, and the only reason we ever heard advanced for doing so was that the best fruit always grows at the top of the vine, and therefore they let the vine grow tall, and bear its fruit at a high elevation. The advocates of high trellises point to the wild vine with its fruit 100 feet from the earth. This only proves that the fruit of the vine is generally better and more abundant at the top than at the base, but if that top is but four feet from the earth, the fruit will be better than if it were forty; and here is the foundation of all the successful systems of training-keep the vines so low that they may be within control, and so prune that the fruit will be produced at the top of the vines, and always within reach of a man's hand,


The vine which Mr. Fuller exhibited to illustrate this low top, is best represented by a ten-tined manure fork, of anything we can refer a farmer to. The handle of the fork representing the single trunk may be from one to three feet high, and the two arms, turning off at right angles, support the canes, represented by the tines of the fork. These arms should be three to five feet long, and support three to five canes upon each, which are trained to grow eight to twelve inches apart, and not over three or four feet long.

These canes bear the fruit close down to the arms, three to five bunches each, and are cut away every winter, and new ones grown, alternating every year, so as always to have one bearing and one wood-producing

Mr. Fuller would plant a vineyard in rows six feet apart and eight feet between vines, which would give 905 vines to an acre; and these trained upon the single arm system, upon trellises only four feet high, will be capable of producing twenty pounds of grapes per vine, but allowing an average of only ten pounds, it will give 9,050 pounds per acre. If the vines are trained upon the double arm system, on higher trellises, though in rows further apart, there would be twenty canes to each vine; and if each cane produces three bunches, averaging only two-thirds of a pound each, it would make forty pounds per vine, and make 36,200 pounds per acre, which it is possible to produce upon a well trained vineyard.

Mr. Fuller does not think it worth while to cultivate vines upon the double arm system, except upon very high priced land, because it is more expensive to build high trellises, and more expensive to manage the vines. It is very important to keep the vines evenly balanced, with just as much wood upon one arm as upon the other, and to keep each cane summer pruned, so that one is never allowed to outgrow its fellow. The old stump and arms go on increasing in size, but the bearing wood is constantly renewed, and never gets up any further from the ground. Let it be remembered that a vine always produces its fruit upon the topmost branches, but that it is just as easy to keep that top within four feet of the root as at a hundred feet. Mr. Fuller said that he had planted a vineyard of five acres, at first with Delaware, Diana and Hartford Prolific, but of late Concord only. His trellises are four feet high, with a wooden bar at the bottom and wires above, and all the vines are trained to spread their arms four

feet each way.

On motion, the same subject was continued for the next meeting.

JOHN W. CHAMBERS, Secretary.

March 3, 1863.

Mr. J. P. Veeder, Guilderland, N. Y., in the chair.

APATITE ROCK VS. BONES. Mr. Eli H. Cope, Westchester, Pa., asks in relation to the apatite rock, of Sussex county, N.J. He is a grinder of bones, and as they are growing scarce and dear, he would like to substitute the mineral phosphate.

« PreviousContinue »