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times, stir the _surface only, and often_.
11. If you water at all, water thoroughly, and keep the soil moist till rain comes; otherwise watering is an injury.
12. The easiest and cheapest way to keep a garden clean is to rake the ground over once a week on sunny days. This method destroys the weeds when they are just appearing, and maintains moisture.
18. Pick fruit, if possible, when it is dry, and before it is over- ripe. Do not leave it in the sun or wind, but take it at once to coolness and shade. Pack carefully and honestly. A quart of small, decayed, green, or muddy berries scattered through a crate of fine fruit may reduce its price one half.
14. Mulch everything you can. Save all the leaves and litter that can be gathered on the place, and apply it around the plants only when the ground is moist. _Dry_ ground covered with mulch may be kept dry all summer.
15. Practice summer pinching and pruning only when plants are in their spring and early summer growth, and not after the wood begins to ripen. If delayed till then, wait till the plant is dormant in the fall.
16. Sandy or gravelly land can usually be worked immediately after rain; but if heavy land is plowed or cultivated when wet, or so dry as to break up in lumps, it is injured.
17. Watch all crops daily. Plants are living things, and need attention. Diseases, insects, drought, or wet may destroy them in a few days, or even hours, if left uncared for.
18. If you cultivate strawberries in the spring, do the work _very early_--as soon as the ground is dry enough to work. After the fruit buds show themselves, stir the ground with a rake or hoe only, and never more than an inch deep. I advocate early spring cultivation, and then the immediate application of the mulch.
19. Just as the ground begins to freeze, in the fall or early winter, cover strawberry plants with some light material that will prevent alternate freezing and thawing during the winter. Never use heavy, unfermented manure for this purpose. Leaves, straw, salt, hay, _light_ stable manure, or any old litter from the garden, answer.
20. In setting raspberry plants, or any fruit, never set in hard, unprepared soil. Do not stick them in little, shallow holes, nor in deep, narrow ones, wherein the roots are all huddled together; make the holes large and deep, either with the plow or spade, fill the bottom partly with fine, rich, moist, surface soil, free from lumps and manure, and _spread_ the roots out on this, then fill in with very fine pulverized earth, setting the plant, in light land, one or two inches deeper than it grew naturally; and in heavy land at the same depth. If manure is used, spread it on the surface, _around_, not up against, the stem of the plant.
21. Both for the sake of economy and thoroughness, use the plow and cultivator rather than fork and hoe, whenever it is possible. Ground can be laid out with a view to this rule.
22. In cultivating crops among trees, use short whiffle-trees, with the traces so fastened as to prevent the young trees from being scratched and wounded.
23. Save, with scrupulous economy, all wood-ashes, soap-suds, and all articles having fertilizing qualities. A compost heap is like a sixpenny savings bank. Small and frequent additions soon make a large aggregate. The fruit-grower and his land usually grow rich together, and in the same proportion.
24. Once more I repeat--in handling and setting out plants, _never_ let the roots shrivel and dry out. After plants and cuttings are in the ground, never leave them just long enough to dry out and die. Keep them moist--not wet and sodden, but _moist_ all the time. In setting out plants, especially strawberries, spread out the roots, and make the ground _very firm_ about them. In trenching stock, put the roots down deeply, and cover well half-way up the stems. The gardener who fails to carry out the principles under this number has not learned the letter A of his business.
Mr. William Parry gives the following rule for ascertaining the number of plants required for one acre of land, which contains 43,560 square feet:
"Multiply the distance in feet between the rows by the distance the plants are set apart in the row, and their product will be the number of square feet for each plant or hill, which, divided into the number of feet in an acre, will show how many plants or hills the acre will contain, thus:
"Blackberries . . . 8 feet by 3 == 24)43,560( 1,815 plants. Raspberries . . . 7 " 3 == 21)43,560( 2,074 plants. Strawberries . . . 5 " 1 == 5)43,560( 8,712 plants. Strawberries . . . 3 " 16" == 4)43,560(10,890 plants."
The same rule can be applied to all other plants or trees.
I would suggest that fruit-growers take much pains to secure trustworthy pickers. Careless, slovenly gathering of the fruit may rob it of half its value. It often is necessary for those who live remote from villages to provide quarters for their pickers. Usually, the better the quarters, the better the class that can be obtained to do the work.
VARIETIES OF STRAWBERRIES
To attempt to describe all the strawberries that have been named would be a task almost as interminable as useless. This whole question of varieties presents a different phase every four or five years. Therefore I treat the subject in my final chapter, in order that I may give revision as often as there shall be occasion for it, without disturbing the body of the book. A few years since, certain varieties were making almost as great a sensation as the Sharpless. They are now regarded as little better than weeds, in most localities. Thus the need of frequent revision is clearly indicated. In chapter thirteen I have spoken of those varieties that have become so well established as to be regarded as standards, or which are so promising and popular as to deserve especial mention. More precise and technical descriptions will now be given. I shall not copy old catalogues, or name those kinds that have passed wholly out of cultivation. Such descriptions would have no practical value, and the strawberry antiquarian can find them in the older works on this subject. Neither shall I name many foreign kinds, as the majority of them have little value this side of the Atlantic. Soil, climate, locality, and other reasons, cause such great differences in opinion in regard to varieties that I expect exceptions to be taken to every description. Many of the new sorts that I am testing have not, as yet, proved themselves worthy of mention.
_Agriculturist._--Originated with the late Mr. Seth Boyden, of Newark, N. J. Through the courtesy of an old friend of Mr. Boyden, I am able to give his description of his own berry, copied from his diary by a member of his family:
"No. 10.--Name, Agriculturist. A cross between No. 5 and Peabody's Georgia; a hardy, tall grower, with much foliage and few runners; berries very large, broad shoulders, slightly necked, often flat, and some coxcombed or double, high crimson color to the centre, very firm, and high-flavored. A staminate variety."
(No. 5 is the Green Prolific.) The Agriculturist was once very popular, and is still raised quite largely in some localities, but is fast giving way to new varieties. It is peculiarly adapted to light soils, but on my place has scalded and "dampened off" badly. It seemingly has had its day.
_Boyden's_ No. 30 (_Seth Boyden_).--I again let Mr. Boyden describe his own seedling:
"Plant above medium size; round leaf, deep green; bears the summer heat well; berries necked, rather long, large; abundance of seed; dark red; has buds, blossoms, and ripe berries on the same peduncle; is of the Agriculturist family, and an eccentric plant. Perfect flower."
From the reference above, I gather that No. 5, or Green Prolific, is one of the parents of this famous berry. Mr. Boyden speaks of some of his other seedlings more favorably than of this--another instance of the truth that men do not always form the most correct judgments of their own children. No. 30 will perpetuate Mr. Boyden's name through many coming years, and all who have eaten this superb berry have reason to bless his memory. No. 5 and No. 10 are rapidly disappearing from our gardens. The Boyden (as it should be named) is one of the largest and sweetest berries in cultivation--too sweet for my taste. It responds nobly to high culture, but it is impatient of neglect and light, dry soils. It is one of the best market berries, and although not hard, is firm and dry, and thus is well adapted for shipping. It is one of the few fancy berries that will endure long transportation by rail. As I have stated, Mr. Jerolemon has raised 327 bushels of this variety on an acre, and received for the same $1,386. Give it moist soil and cut the runners.
_Bidwell._--Foliage light green, plant very vigorous; truss 3 to 5 inches high; berry very conical, bright scarlet, with a neck highly glazed, glossy; flesh firm, pink; calyx close; season very early.
Not yet fully tested, but giving remarkable promise. It has seemed to me to be the best of the new early berries. Staminate.
_Beauty._--Plant fairly vigorous, leaf crinkled; truss 4 to 6 inches high; berry obtusely conical; long, glazed neck; crimson, 3 to 6 inches in circumference; flesh light pink; flavor excellent; calyx spreading; season early--a very fine and beautiful variety for the amateur and fancy market. It requires petting, and repays it. It makes very few runners. It originated with Mr. E. W. Durand, of Irvington, N. J. Staminate.
_Black Defiance._--Plant vigorous, if the soil suits it; foliage dark green, low, bushy; downy leaf-stalk; truss low; 2 1/2 to 4 inches; berry very dark crimson; very obtuse conical, often round and irregular; early, flesh dark crimson, flavor sprightly, high, and rich; moderately productive; calyx spreading; inclined to stool; its runners bear fruit in September. It is one of the best varieties originated by Mr. Durand, who has given me the following history: "It is a seedling of Boyden's Green Prolific, impregnated by the Triomphe
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