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than gourds. I have faith in birds as insect destroyers, but they cannot kill them all—they are too numerous.
Mr. R. G. Pardee.- The best remedy for insects is clean culture, though I would protect the birds and encourage them to build nests near the house. One good prevention of insects is to compost all manure, and keep everything that will make manure in the compost heap, and decompose that with lime and salt mixture, which also destroys weed seeds.
STRAWBERRY CULTURE. Solon Robinson read the following letter from Dr. Meeker, of southern Illinois, upon this important branch of agriculture:
“CAIRO, May 14, 1862. “Strawberries are very nice, and at this season of the year people eagerly listen to whatever is said about them, particularly if there is even a remote prospect of their getting any. Though they are mostly seen in cities, they are raised in the country; but country people seldom see them, and our farmers may be compared to the Spaniards of Old California, who had no idea that they lived in a land of gold. The longing of children and young persons, and even of men and women, for this fruit, is general. Some make journeys of miles in wagons or on foot, often to find scattering berries, or that they are all gone.
“A town of two thousand inhabitants will buy, annually, one hundred and fifty dollars worth of strawberries. There are, probably, 500 such towns in our country, and half as many towns much larger. There are thousands of farmers, who would supply the want of these towns with strawberries if they knew how to raise them. I am going to tell them how. Five years ago I set out an acre of strawberries, and for three years I could not get enough for my family. The public shall have the benefit of my experience at the cost of this paper, while the cost to me has been more than I am willing to tell. Wealth and refinement are the fruits of long labors, of many disappointments, even of broken hearts. Our present world has grown out of the wreck and ruin of a former world. Let every one hasten, before he too lie in ruins, to impart what will be useful to others—what, to obtain, cost him more than, when young, he thought himself worth.
THE KINDS TO RAISE,
"For market purposes, and for distant shipments, no variety is equal to Wilson's Albany. For productiveness it far excels. It is sour, unless dead ripe, but people in cities have money and can buy sugar; besides, people who cannot tell scum from cream, are not likely to be particular, nor will they much care for anything but looks. Being sour, it is not easily hurt by frost; and for size, hardiness, or weight, it is celebrated. For family use, the Hooker is superior, and it is nearly equal to the Wilson for other qualities, but, for the first year it requires more care. Neither of these require any attention regarding sex. I doubt whether any berry, except the wild one, has the exquisite flavor of the Hooker. There are several new varieties, but, except for family use, I doubt whether they are equal to either of these. Fine fruit is almost always soft. Some varieties are earlier by a
few days, and only by a few days. During these few days one can eat a great many strawberries in anticipation, and they are very good this way.
GARDEN CULTURE. "A garden is supposed to be well plowed; but never mind whether it is or not. Take your spade and dig up the ground as deep as you can, where you would have your strawberries, and make it fine. Plant in the spring; but you can plant in June or July even, if you take great pains. For fear dry weather may follow planting, puddle the roots; that is, dip them in thick mud so as easily to make a lump or ball of moist earth around them. They will hardly grow when taken up with a solid lump around the roots. The way to take up the plants is to dig deep around them, bringing up all the roots you can; then, when you shake out all the dirt, then puddle them (they can be transported far this way); and if they are set out immediately the roots will swell out, and little fibers will start in a few hours. When set out in April or May, in latitudes north of forty degs., and if the ground is moist, little care is required; but if planted later, they should be put in holes, well watered, and covered with some litter to protect them from the sun.
“Plant in rows, three feet apart, and from one to two feet in the row. Let the rows be ridges a foot high, because, by this means they will not wash the soft dirt around them and smother them, and because in spring the water will settle in the furrows, and thence ascend to the roots, for no plant needs water more than the strawberry through the flowering and fruiting season. By this process you will have more and larger fruit than by the flat culture. I think the flat culture for any kind of fruit highly objectionable in many important points. During the summer you may hoe them as often as you please. They certainly should be hoed just after picking, never while in blossom or bearing fruit. The more you hoe during the summer, the more the weeds will grow, and this with increased rapidity as the season advances. If, however, the weeds should get a start of you, or should you become discouraged, do not think you will have no strawberries, but do this: when the weeds get ready to go to seed mow them down with a scythe, and late in the fall, perhaps very early in the spring, take a strong garden fork and slightly raise their roots. If you neglect this last direction you will not lose much. It is a good thing to put a little straw over them during the winter; it is, perhaps, important if you have hoed them clean, but where the weeds have been mowed, these afford sufficient protection,
"Having followed these directions, not in part, but wholly, you cannot fail to have a fine crop of strawberries. The plan now is, after picking, to thin them out to the original number, retaining the best plants, and thoroughly loosen the ground and start again with clean beds. Mind, now, I am speaking only of the Wilson and Hooker plants, though other varieties are treated in the same way, but I have nothing to say about them.
you should set out two hundred good plants you will have all your family can use, let it be ever so rich in numbers; if you set out five hundred plants you can give a good many to your neighbors; in which case you will have many visitors, some of whom you will be very glad to see; some of them you scarcely know, and some have let a long time pass since they called on you. If you have girls, their beaux will pay them additional
attention; if you have boys, you will be astonished to see how many girls they have taken a fancy to, or who have taken a fancy to them. You will find also there are very many sickly persons, far and near, on whose stomachs nothing will sit but strawberries. Besides all this, you will have become a gentleman and a man of taste; instead of hard stories being told about you, it will only be whispered that you are a little odd or cross now and then, and everybody will think you the finest man in the neighborhood.
FIELD CULTURE. “For a next year's crop, take a piece of your own land, for your own land will always do better than rented land, and during the summer plow it well once a month, and, if it is inclined to grass, harrow it thoroughly, so as to tear every sod to pieces. By plowing well I mean plow as if you would like to get down to the center of the earth; plow as if you were a soldier in battle, and determined to conquer barbarism and crown freedom. But I should say, if it is clover land, don't touch it; grass you can kill, clover you cannot, and it will come up and ruin your plants. Here, in southern Illinois, grass grows with reluctance, and I have seen a gentleman take a visitor over his lot to show him his grass, and occasionally both would be on their hands and knees. Sometimes they see it. This is the kind of land for strawberries, and it is superior also for any other kind of fruit Strawberries require a fair-I might say extra fair-soil. High land is betier than low land, and hilly land is good. The very best is thin new land, or old worn out land well manured, with no clover seed in it. But let the soil be what it may, plow deep and often through the summer. A very good way to raise strawberries is after an extra crop of potatoes, which have been kept entirely clean through the summer and fall. All you will have to do with such ground will be to plow it up as early as you can in the spring
"Suppose, now, everything is ready, commence by throwing the ground into ridges, from three to four feet apart-four feet will be better-and for this purpose I would take a yoke of cattle and the heaviest plow I had, get good plants, and set them on the ridges, eighteen inches apart. Usually, they will bear enough the first year—that is, two months after planting, to pay you for all your labor. After picking, run between the rows with a one-horse turning plow, throwing the dirt towards the plants. It will cover some of the runners, and all the better, for they will take root in the soft soil and grow finely. Plants set out in the spring are worth double what they would be set out in the fall; for they commence immediately to grow; they require no puddling or watering, and every one will grow. Set in the fall, many of them are heaved out by freezing and thawing, and, being in their weak state, they are subject to all the various changes of the unfavorable winter.
“As regards the treatment now to be pursued, there is a diversity of opinion. Those who are anxious to do great things, and who are determined to do them, will set the plants thickly, cut off all runners as often as twice a week, and hoe well through the summer and fall. They are going to show how to raise strawberries. Very good. One faithful man can keep an acre clean; he cannot do more, and his labor is worth a hun
dred dollars. A quarter of an acre is as much as a single handed man, with other fruit to attend to, will be able to work; and even with only this amount, in nine times in ten, he will give up in despair before the season is through, and let the weeds grow. Having myself hoed them as much through the summer as my strength or patience would permit, and having neglected to hoe at all, I have to say, as the result of my experience, that hoeing does little or no good. Facts are what we want, not theories. I have over an acre of strawberries now, in full bearing, and entirely free of weeds, into which I did not take a hoe all last season.
I will grant that by hoeing you may show a limited number of fine plants; but after all, I can show as great a number of as good plants, where I do not hoe, and beside, have thousands of second and third-rate plants which will yield in the aggregate many bushels. Where plants are thick it is impossible to hoe them. I come, then, to this conclusion, that I can raise as many strawberries without hoeing as I can with hoeing; if I wanted to boast, I wonld say double the number, and perhaps state nothing but the truth.
I have but to add to my directions, that after I go through the strawberries with a one-horse plow, I do nothing more till the weeds get ready to go to seed, when I take a strong scythe, mow them down, and leave them where they fall. It will be found that there are few or no weeds where you last plow, and what weeds there are, started mostly in the spring. Fall weeds you will not see. It requires frequent hoeing and plowing to bring them up. I should greatly prefer, late in the fall, to spread over them a light covering of straw, not so much for protection, for they will do well enough, as to furnish a clean bed for the berries, and, in particular, to keep the ground moist, in case the spring should be dry. From the benefits they receive from straw, and from the fact that so few apply it, I suspect that strawberries were successfully cultivated in remote ages, and hence that name. Virgil mentions strawberries, but they must have been wild ones. The Romans were not given to fruit raising, nor are slaveholders anywhere. They had no cherries till Lucullus brought them from Asia. As for giving them what is called a mulching of straw, that is, so much that any part of it is to be removed in the spring, I think it likely to do more harm than good.
“During the winter get your baskets or boxes, and such side boxes and packages ready. We use here quart hoop boxes, some with covers, some not. I prefer covers. For pickers, engage married women; if they are a little cross at home, so much the better, they will be more active. Handsome girls won't do, and children I would not have, for, though they do well for an hour or so, they soon get so that they cannot work, being troubled with a kind of bloat. Active boys, twelve or fourteen years old, are very good, they do not bloat so bad.
As you go through the rows of scarlet richness you will see the advantages of ridging; for, from the crest of the ridge down into the gutter they are full, and where there are little precipices, see how thickly they hang over the edges. You will also see that in places where the ground is of a dead level, caused by washing, or other means, they are not so good; sometimes they do not bear at all. Whatever benefits arise from tile drainage are derived by ridging.
“When you get through picking come on with your heavy plow; tear through the ridges and make new ridges across the field; the old plants will send runners over to the fresh earth, and the next spring sees you with another crop. So, indefinitely, shall you raise strawberries, and as easily as you can corn.
“Now, how much? as everybody says who expects to pay or to receive money. Two hundred bushels are said to grow on an acre. Fifty bushels should content you. Still men come forward with," so many feel this way, so many that, then so many quarts, consequently $0 many bushels, húndred bushels to the acre." Farmers cannot always draw prizes. The great trouble with everybody is, they have drawn some blanks when they expected always to draw prizes. Failures run through the fruits of industry as much as streaks of lean do through pork. For instance, we here, who have from one acre to five acres of strawberries, each thought ourselves moderate in expecting a hundred bushels to the acre. It has not rained for four weeks. We may have fifty bushels; I think not so much. There is always something the matter—frosts, low prices, or something else. Nations and individuals are prosperous, not because they always are successful, but because they are not discouraged by reverses.”
Mr. John G. Bergen. I believe that with us flat culture is preferable to ridging, our land being sandy. The best practice is to take a piece of land free from weeds, after thoroughly plowing and making the land mellow, mark it off as for corn, four feet each way, and set two plants in a hill, keep the ground in good tilth by the plow, then use the cultivator until the vines have run so as to prevent further work. It is better to tear up some of the runners than to neglect the summer cultivation. This we consider a cheap mode of culture, and will be found to pay.
“Field and Garden Culture of Strawberries was made the subject of discussion for the next meeting. Adjourned.
JOHN W. CHAMBERS, Secretary.
June 3, 1862 Prof. Renwick, Corresponding Secretary of the American Institute, in the chair.
CALIFORNIA WINE. A letter was read from Mr. Peter B. Mead, one of the editors of the Horticulturist, introducing Ms. Graef, of Brooklyn, who is the agent of Messrs. Sainsevain Bros., of California, proprietors of extensive vineyards in Los Angelos and Santa Clara counties, California. Mr. Graef wishes to bring these wines to the notice of the Club.
On motion, the subject of wine was made the special subject for the next meeting
BARREN GRAPE-VINES. Solon Robinson read the following letter from C. L. Foster, of Topsham, Vt., which was written in answer to a statement made at a previous meet