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Beginning on page 349, the reader will find supplemental bits of varieties which have appeared to me worthy of mention at the present time. I may have erred in my selection of the newer candidates for favor, and have given some unwarranted impressions in regard to them. Let the reader remember the opinion of a veteran fruit-grower. "No true, accurate knowledge of a variety can be had," he said, "until it has been at least ten years in general cultivation."
I will now take my leave, in the hope that when I have something further to say, I shall not be unwelcome. E. P. R.
CORNWALL-ON-THE-HUDSON, N. Y. _January 16,1886._
I. PRELIMINARY PARLEY
II. THE FRUIT GARDEN
III. SMALL FRUIT FARMING AND ITS PROFITS
IV. STRAWBERRIES: THE FIVE SPECIES AND THEIR HISTORY
V. IDEAL STRAWBERRIES VERSUS THOSE OF THE FIELD AND MARKET
VI. CHOICE OF SOIL AND LOCATION
VII. PREPARING AND ENRICHING THE SOIL
VIII. PREPARATION OF SOIL BY DRAINAGE
IX. THE PREPARATION OF SOILS COMPARATIVELY UNFAVORABLE--CLAY, SAND, ETC
X. COMMERCIAL AND SPECIAL FERTILIZERS
XI. OBTAINING PLANTS AND IMPROVING OUR STOCK
XII. WHEN SHALL WE PLANT?
XIII. WHAT SHALL WE PLANT? VARIETIES, THEIR CHARACTER AND ADAPTATION TO SOILS
XIV. SETTING OUT PLANTS
XVI. A SOUTHERN STRAWBERRY FARM, AND METHODS OF CULTURE IN THE SOUTH
XVII. FORCING STRAWBERRIES UNDER GLASS
XVIII. ORIGINATING NEW VARIETIES--HYBRIDIZATION
XIX. RASPBERRIES--SPECIES, HISTORY, PROPAGATION, ETC
XX. RASPBERRIES--PRUNING--STAKING--MULCHING--WINTER PROTECTION, ETC
XXI. RASPBERRIES--VARIETIES OF THE FOREIGN AND NATIVE SPECIES
XXII. RUBUS OCCIDENTALS--BLACK-CAP AND PURPLE-CANE RASPBERRIES
XXIII. THE RASPBERRIES OF THE FUTURE
XXIV. BLACKBERRIES--VARIETIES, CULTIVATION, ETC.
XXV. CURRANTS--CHOICE OF SOIL, CULTIVATION, PRUNING, ETC.
XXVI. CURRANTS, CONTINUED--PROPAGATION, VARIETIES
XXVIII. DISEASES AND INSECT ENEMIES OF SMALL FRUITS
XXIX. PICKING AND MARKETING
XXXI. SUGGESTIVE EXPERIENCES FROM WIDELY SEPARATED LOCALITIES
XXXII. A FEW RULES AND MAXIMS
XXXIII. VARIETIES OF STRAWBERRIES
XXXIV. VARIETIES OF OTHER SMALL FRUITS
XXXV. CLOSING WORDS
In the ages that were somewhat shadowed, to say the least, when Nature indulged her own wild moods in man and the world he trampled on rather than cultivated, there was a class who in their dreams and futile efforts became the unconscious prophets of our own time--the Alchemists. For centuries they believed they could transmute base metals into gold and silver. Modern knowledge enables us to work changes more beneficial than the alchemist ever dreamed of; and it shall be my aim to make one of these secrets as open as the sunlight in the fields and gardens wherein the beautiful mutations occur. To turn iron into gold would be a prosaic, barren process that might result in trouble to all concerned, but to transform heavy black earth and insipid rain-water into edible rubies, with celestial perfume and ambrosial flavor, is indeed an art that appeals to the entire race, and enlists that imperious nether organ which has never lost its power over heart or brain. As long, therefore, as humanity's mouth waters at the thought of morsels more delicious even than "sin under the tongue," I am sure of an audience when I discourse of strawberries and their kindred fruits. If apples led to the loss of Paradise, the reader will find described hereafter a list of fruits that will enable him to reconstruct a bit of Eden, even if the "Fall and all our woe" have left him possessed of merely a city yard. But land in the country, breezy hillsides, moist, sheltered valleys, sunny plains-- what opportunities for the divinest form of alchemy are here afforded to hundreds of thousands!
Many think of the soil only in connection with the sad words of the burial service--"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes." Let us, while we may, gain more cheerful associations with our kindred dust. For a time it can be earth to strawberry blossoms, ashes to bright red berries, and their color will get into our cheeks and their rich subacid juices into our insipid lives, constituting a mental, moral, and physical alterative that will so change us that we shall believe in evolution and imagine ourselves fit for a higher state of existence. One may delve in the earth so long as to lose all dread at the thought of sleeping in it at last; and the luscious fruits and bright-hued flowers that come out of it, in a way no one can find out, may teach our own resurrection more effectually than do the learned theologians.
We naturally feel that some good saints in the flesh, even though they are "pillars of the church," need more than a "sea-change" before they can become proper citizens of "Jerusalem the Golden;" but having compared a raspberry bush, bending gracefully under its delicious burden, with the insignificant seed from which it grew, we are ready to believe in all possibilities of good. Thus we may gather more than berries from our fruit-gardens. Nature hangs thoughts and suggestions on every spray, and blackberry bushes give many an impressive scratch to teach us that good and evil are very near together in this world, and that we must be careful, while seeking the one, to avoid the other. In every field of life those who seek the fruit too rashly are almost sure to have a thorny experience, and to learn that prickings are provided for those who have no consciences.
He who sees in the world around him only what strikes the eye lives in a poor, half-furnished house; he who obtains from his garden only what he can eat gathers but a meagre crop. If I find something besides berries on my vines, I shall pick it if so inclined. The scientific treatise, or precise manual, may break up the well-rooted friendship of plants, and compel them to take leave of each other, after the arbitrary fashion of methodical minds, but I must talk about them very much as nature has taught me, since, in respect to out-of-door life, my education was acquired almost wholly in the old-fashioned way at the venerable "dame's school." Nay more, I claim that I have warrant to gather from my horticultural texts more than can be sent to the dining table or commission merchant. Such a matter-of-fact plant as the currant makes some attempt to embroider its humble life with ornament, and in April the bees will prove to you that honey may be gathered even from a gooseberry bush. Indeed, gooseberries are like some ladies that we all know. In their young and blossoming days they are sweet and pink-hued, and then they grow acid, pale, and hard; but in the ripening experience of later life they become sweet again and tender. Before they drop from their places the bees come back for honey, and find it.
In brief, I propose to take the reader on a quiet and extended ramble among the small fruits. It is much the same as if I said, "Let us go a-strawberrying together," and we talked as we went over hill and through dale in a style somewhat in harmony with our wanderings. Very many, no doubt, will glance at these introductory words, and decline to go with me, correctly feeling that they can find better company. Other busy, practical souls will prefer a more compact, straightforward treatise, that is like a lesson in a class-room, rather than a stroll in the fields, or a tour among the fruit farms, and while sorry to lose their company, I have no occasion to find fault.
I assure those, however, who, after this preliminary parley, decide to go further, that I will do my best to make our excursion pleasant, and to cause as little weariness as is possible, if we are to return with full baskets. I shall not follow the example of some thrifty people who invite one to go "a-berrying," but lead away from fruitful nooks, proposing to visit them alone by stealth. All the secrets I know shall
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