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working the ground twice as much as I would for corn, in the fall and again in the spring, when I would set my plants, in rows three feet apart and plants one foot apart; never allow them to fill the ground, so as to stand nearer than a foot apart, except some of the smallest varieties might stand a little closer. The first crop ought to be 150 bushels an acre. If I could get spent tan-bark I would put it around the plants as soon as set, and this would prevent the weeds from growing near the plants, while the plow and cultivator would keep them down between the rows. I would not use a hoe, because the roots grow at the surface. The third year
I would let the runners fill in between the rows and plow the old plants under. The English theory is to pack the ground hard all around the plants, and that is the practice when grown in pots.
Mr. A. S. Fuller.—I do not think I follow any person's practice, but I have a way of my own. I set 4,000 Triomphe de Gand plants last year, , rather late in the spring, and, by manuring and careful cultivation, I have been able to sell 100,000 plants this year. My theory is to manure well, and to cultivate with the hoe all that I can. If I was working for fruit, I would use less manure than working for plants. If for hand cultivation, I would plant one foot by one and a half feet, and keep off the runners, and mulch the ground, and after the first crop dig under the plants.
Mr. Pardee.---Will Mr. Fuller inform us what kind of manure he uses?
Mr. Fuller.-—The best kind of manure I have found for the strawberry is a mixture of one load of cow droppings and two loads of sod, composted. If you intend to use a plow, plant in rows three feet apart; if a scuffle hoe, eighteen inches.
The subject was continued for the next meeting.
JOHN W. CHAMBERS, Secretary.
June 10, 1862
Mr. Geo. H. Hite, of Morrisania, N. Y., in the chair.
PRESERVING APPLES AND PEARS. Mr. Wm. S. Carpenter presented some apples which he had received from Dr. Wm. Hibbard, of this city. They had been kept in the barrel in a cool cellar with the head of the barrel off. They are in size, shape and color like the iron apple, but are not of so good a quality.
Great attention is being paid to the preservation of fruits. I am trying some experiments, and shall next year be able to give the results.
I have found apples keep better in the upper tiers of barrels, when they are packed one upon another, than they do in the lower tiers. This is accounted for by the fact that the air near the ceiling of a cellar is in a much drier condition. The lower the temperature of the fruit room, if it is above the freezing point, the better. Last year I put up a number of barrels of Bartlett and Flemish Beauty pears, and stored them in my house, partially surrounded with ice, which kept the fruit perfectly sound until late in October, when they were brought to market and produced over $20
per barrel, which was more than double the price they would have brought when stored away.
Prof. Mapes.--I hope the Club will at a future meeting discuss the subject of detention houses. I think all the pears can be brought up to the proper period of ripening. I have seen fine Bartlett pears on the first of February
GAPES IN CHICKENS-How To PREVENT THEM. Solon Robinson read the following letter from a farmer in Mansfield, Tioga county, Pennsylvania:
"In the discussion of the Farmers' Club of May 17, on the subject of gapes in chickens, there seemed to be a lack of interest in trying to trace out the cause. One ounce of preventive, &c. This doctoring the effect with a horse hair, or trying to make a chicken less than a week old eat cracked corn, does not remove the first, if it does the secondary cause. How is it that nearly all our farmers are very particular to not breed in and in with horses and cattle, and partially with sheep and swine, while with fowls there is no attention paid to it, as though they were so small that it made no difference. I presume thtough the country not one farmer in ten even thinks of crossing or changing his breed of fowls, unless for some new large breed, like the miserable Shanghae or Bramah-pootre, never thinking that the medium or small size, like the creepen or bantams, are the best layers, and far the most profitable. How few farmers ever think. of changing the place where their fowls roost, or where their chicken-coops stand, from what their fathers or grandfathers had them. Some thirty years since I occupied a place where my chickens were sorely afflicted with the gapes, and nearly all died. My fowls roosted in the same place of those owned by former occupants, or rather I had the fowls with the place. Perhaps these and their progenitors had occupied the same place for thirty or forty years. I just tore away the roost, and constructed another some rods from it that was open and airy, the six or seven warmest months, and could be easily closed the remaining part of the year. I am particular to remove all the manure every year, and to change the site of the roost once in three or four years; and also to change my male fowls every three or four years. I feed with Indian meal and water until the chickens are large enough to eat whole corn. My chickens, without exception, have been healthy for thirty years. My fowls never trouble me by scratching in the garden or elsewhere, for the simple reason I always give them corn enough to eat."
Rev. Mr. Weaver, of Fordham.—All that won't cure this disease, neither are these frequent changes of the roosting place necessary. If the room is kept clean there will be no need of change. Whitewashing and cleaning should be practiced often.' As for breeding in and in, it is the fault of all poultry keepers. It is a fault of all fairs that they do not offer prizes for pure breeds. Prizes are more frequently taken by those who produce the largest fowls or the greatest assortment, and prize poultry is often of very poor quality. It is very difficult to get pure breeds when a number of varieties are kept together. I tried three years to get pure Dorkings, and
only lately succeeded. It is the same way with pigeons. I found the stock of nearly all the poultry fanciers mixed.
Mr. Carpenter expressed himself in favor of crossing, particularly some of the large China breed and black Spanish.
Mr. John G. Bergen, of Long Island. I have invariably traced the disease called the gapes in chickens to feeding them corn meal recently wetted. It should always be mixed a day before it is used; if not, it swells in the chicken's crop, and causes the disease. I have pursued that course for thirty years, and do not know that I have lost a chicken by the gapes in that time; and I only clean my hen house once a year, so that the gapes is not caused with me by not cleaning the roost.
Mr. R. G. Pardee spoke of a Jersey lady who has very fine success in raising chickens, who is very careful not to feed them meal recently mixed with water. For young chickens she prefers crumbs of stale bread to any other feed. This year she set a hen upon twenty-two eggs, and raised twenty-two chickens; another upon eighteen and raised seventeen; another upon fifteen and raised fourteen. It is a common fault with those who keep poultry, that they try to keep too many sorts at the same time. It is just as foolish for a person to try to keep all the varieties, as it is to try to raise all the kinds of strawberries in one garden. I was in one the other day where the owner had thirty kinds of strawberries. It would be much better for him to confine himself to two or three of the best sorts; and it would be much better for any person who keeps fowls to select the best variety for laying, and keep no other.
Mr. Weaver.--I do not think the Dorkings the best layers, but they have some other good qualities which make them valuable. They are fair layers, good mothers, grow to a good size, and are excellent for the table.
THE HESSIAN FLY IN Iowa. Mr. Solon Robinson read a letter from D. W. Thynne, Lyons, Clinton county, Iowa, with specimens of the larvæ of an insect which is destroying the growing wheat crop in that State. He says:
“I herewith send you for your inspection, and that of persons skilled in the science, a specimen say three or four of them of a species of grub that threatens to devastate this section of country, and leave us entirely destitute of as promising a wheat crop as we have harvested in years gone by. From the ravages already committed by this insect, hundreds of acres are being plowed up for corn that promised a fair yield of wheat but ten days ago. On entering the wheat field, the blighted stems are quite discernible, as they are wilted, drooped and faded. On pulling down the leaves, the insect can be found between the outer leaf and the stem, generally on the crown of the root. If some philanthropist, on seeing those grubs, should publish a speedy remedy for their destruction, he will be the means of saving countless acres of the great 'staff of life.”
Dr. Trimble. These specimens are very imperfect, but I believe they are the larvæ of the Hessian fly-an insect that has long been a dread to wheat growers.
Mr. Solon Robinson.The description of it given by the letter writer corres
ponds with my observations of the habits of that insect, which has been such a great wheat destroyer, although itself so minute. I am sorry to hear it has made a lodgment in Iowa. I know of no remedy that we can advise the gentleman to apply to save the present crop.
Dr. Underhill, of Croton Point. There is no remedy for the present, but there are several methods of preventing the ravages of an insect that nearly drove wheat growing out of all the eastern States. Perhaps the best remedy is to sow early, and let the wheat get a good start, when the egg is deposited in the stalk. Then feed off the field with cattle, and if there are signs of the insect in April, feed off again. Horned cattle are better than sheep, which are apt to bite too low and injure the crown of the root.
John G. Bergen. This insect was first discovered upon Long Island after the ground had been occupied by the Hessian troops, brought over by Great Britain in the Revolutionary war, and it has existed there ever since, though of late to a very limited extent, as it does not multiply rapidly in anything but wheat, and that has not been much grown on the Island, and since the wheat growers were first driven to abandon its cultivation by this pest. Those who still grow wheat find the most effectual remedy in sowing very late, for then the wheat does not get sufficient growth to enable the fly to deposit its eggs in the stalk.
Dr. Underhill.-That will do upon the light, sandy lands of Long Island, but it would not answer upon a stiff clay soil. There the feeding process would be preferable.
Solon Robinson.-It would never answer to recommend late sowing for most of the wheat lands of Iowa and Illinois, because unless early sown it is liable to be winter killed; and feeding in some wet seasons would be bad, because the hoofs of the animals would poach up the clay and trample the wheat all into the mud. If the Hessian fly once becomes established in the west, I fear that it will drive winter wheat out of cultivation there as certainly as it did here.
The subject of the day was then called up.
Mr. H. A. Graff, of Brooklyn, a gentleman well acquainted with foreign wines, having become satisfied that those of California are worthy of attention, brought the subject before the Club. He produced six samples of the vintage of 1858 and 1860, from the extensive wine vaults of Sansevain & Brother, and Kohler & Froling, made from what are usually termed " California grapes,” and which ripen so perfectly in that climate that there is no occasion to add cane sugar nor spirit to give the wine strength.
Three of the samples are called Alizo wine, marked at $5, $6 and $8, respectively, according to quality, per dozen bottles, as the price the makers can afford to sell them at in New York, if there is a demand, and probably if there should be any considerable demand these prices might be reduced. We did not learn whether there is any stock of California wine for sale in the city, beyond a small quantity sent to Mr. Graff as samples, to see if there may be a demand.
The sample No. 4, marked $8 a dozen, called Angelica, is undoubtedly made from very ripe grapes, dried until almost fit to pack for raisins, which gives a juice as rich as prepared cordials. It is doubtful if it would sell in this market.
Sample No. 5, marked Port, $8, is probably a much purer wine, and really better than nine-tenths of that imported under the same name, and for those who love a strong wine of that character, and are not afraid to look
upon the wine“ when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup," this California Port will be an acquisition, as it will bear transportation better than the light wines called Alizo, which compare with first class Rhine wines, or the French Sauterne.
No. 6 is a sparkling wine, marked $13, and is really a very excellent sample of the kind we call Champagne; very far superior to much that is sold as such in this market. It appears to have been well handled, is perfectly clear, and sufficiently lively and sound, but requires age.
Mr. Roberts. It appears, from comparison, that the grapes grown in California are not natives, but foreign varieties.
Mr. Robinson.-The grapes are undoubtedly foreign varieties, introduced by the early missionaries.
Prof. Mapes.--I am very glad that these wines have been exhibited, and that so many ladies and gentlemen have had an opportunity to taste wines of American vineyards, that we have no reason to doubt are pure juice of grapes, without addition of foreign materials; and I contend that nothing is worthy of the name of wine, nor the attention of wine drinkers, that is made drinkable by adding sugar, which, in its fermentation, produces alcohol. These Alizo wines, particularly the one of the vintage of 1858, is fully equal to the best Rhine wine or Sauterne. It is well worthy of the attention of those in want of a light wine--pure fermented grape juice. These are very sound, possessing just spirit enough to preserve them, and have a fine, fruity flavor, with a little of that pleasant bitter taste, that when once acquired is highly approved by those who use this class of wines. In this I think the California gentleman decidedly successful. On the contrary, the Angelica is, a failure. It is too strong for a "ladies' wine,” and a bottle full of it contains I don't know how many headaches. Besides, I do not think that the ladies of New York drink wine enough to make it an object to manufacture sweet wines for their exclusive use; and, as a general thing, the men are not fond of it. So this sample would not find a good market here. The sample of Port bears a very fair comparison with the red Burgundy from the vicinity of Marseilles. It ranks between Cape Port and Tinto Madeira, and is like the red Catalonia wine, and is really a good sample of its class, and will no doubt meet with favor in this market at the price it is offered for. It is a sound, pure wine, of good body and flavor. Of this sample of sparkling wine I cannot speak too highly, and I am satisfied that every one who has tasted it will fully indorse what I say. It is a perfect success. It is well fined, fermented in the bottle, is entirely clear and free from sediment, and is truly a good, sound, dry wine-dry in opposition to tart, without being sweet. This wine will suit the fashionable taste of the day. Still, I look upon the first three samples, the Alizo, as the best and really true wines, as I understand the term.
These sentiments were unanimously approved, though John G. Bergen could not help calling to mind the fact that Solon Robinson had once introduced some samples of wine which members smacked their lips over and