Home Vegetable Gardening
F. F. Rockwell
Part 3 out of 4
Cucumber-beetle | Cucumber and vines | a | 1, 11, 8
(Striped beetle) | | |
Cucumber-wilt | Cucumber and vines | c | 11
Cucumber-blight | Cucumber, muskmelon, | c | 11
| cabbage | |
Cut-worm | Cabbage, tomato, onion | a |2,4,12,13
Flea-beetle | Potato, turnip, radish | a | 11, 5
Potato-beetle | Potato and egg-plant | a |12, 13, 4
Potato-blight | Potato | c | 11
Potato-scab | Potato (tubers) | c | 10
Root-maggot | Radish, onion, cabbage, | a | 4, 3, 9
| melons | |
Squash-bug | Squash, pumpkin | b |4,8,12,5
White-fly | Plants; cucumber, tomato | b | 6, 5, 8
White-grub | Plants | a | 4
However, that the home gardener may be prepared to meet any
contingency, I shall take up in brief detail the plant enemies
mentioned and the remedies suggested.
_Aphis:_--The small, soft green plant-lice. They seldom attack
healthy growing plants in the field, but are hard to keep off under
glass. If once established it will take several applications to get rid
of them. Use kerosene or soap emulsion, or tobacco dust. There are also
several trade-marked preparations that are good. Aphine, which may be
had of any seed house, has proved very effective in my own work, and it
is the pleasantest to use that I have so far found.
_Asparagus-beetle:_--This pest will give little trouble on cleanly
cultivated patches. Thorough work with arsenate of lead (1 to 25) will
take care of it.
_Black-rot:_--This affects the cabbage group, preventing heading,
by falling of the leaves. In clean, thoroughly limed soil, with proper
rotations, it is not likely to appear. The seed may be soaked, in cases
where the disease has appeared previously, for fifteen minutes in a
pint of water in which one of the corrosive sublimate tablets which are
sold at drug stores is dissolved.
_Borers:_--This borer is a flattish, white grub, which penetrates
the main stem of squash or other vines near the ground and seems to sap
the strength of the plant, even when the vines have attained a length
of ten feet or more. His presence is first made evident by the wilting
of the leaves during the noonday heat. Coal ashes mixed with the manure
in the hill, is claimed to be a preventative. Another is to plant some
early squash between the hills prepared for the winter crop, and not to
plant the latter until as late as possible. The early squash vines,
which act as a trap, are pulled and burned.
Last season almost half the vines in one of my pieces were attacked
after many of the squashes were large enough to eat. With a little
practice I was able to locate the borer's exact position, shown by a
spot in the stalk where the flesh was soft, and of a slightly different
color. With a thin, sharp knife-blade the vines were carefully slit
lengthwise on this spot, the borer extracted and killed and the vines
in almost every instance speedily recovered. Another method is to root
the vines by heaping moist earth over several of the leaf joints, when
the vines have attained sufficient length.
_Cabbage-caterpillar:_--This small green worm, which hatches upon
the leaves and in the forming heads of cabbage and other vegetables of
the cabbage group, comes from the eggs laid by the common white or
yellow butterfly of early spring. Pick off all that are visible, and
spray with kerosene emulsion if the heads have not begun to form. If
they have, use hellebore instead. The caterpillar or worm of tomatoes
is a large green voracious one. Hand-picking is the only remedy.
_Club-root:_--This is a parasitical disease attacking the cabbage
group, especially in ground where these crops succeed each other. Lime
both soil and seed-bed--at least the fall before planting, unless using
a special agricultural lime. The crop infested is sometimes carried
through by giving a special dressing of nitrate of soda, guano or other
quick-acting powerful fertilizer, and hilled high with moist earth,
thus giving a special stimulation and encouraging the formation of new
roots. While this does not in any way cure the disease, it helps the
crop to withstand its attack. When planting again be sure to use crop
rotation and to set plants not grown in infested soil.
_Cucumber-beetle:_--This is the small, black-and-yellow-striped
beetle which attacks cucumbers and other vines and, as it multiplies
rapidly and does a great deal of damage before the results show, they
must be attended to immediately upon appearance. The vine should be
protected with screens until they crowd the frames, which should be put
in place before the beetles put in an appearance. If the beetles are
still in evidence when the vines get so large that the screens must be
removed, keep sprayed with Bordeaux mixture. Plaster, or fine ashes,
sifted on the vines will also keep them off to some extent, by keeping
the leaves covered.
_Cucumber-wilt:_--This condition accompanies the presence of the
striped beetle, although supposed not to be directly caused by it. The
only remedy is to get rid of the beetles as above, and to collect and
burn every wilted leaf or plant.
_Cucumber-blight_ or _Mildew_ is similar to that which
attacks muskmelons, the leaves turning yellow, dying in spots and
finally drying up altogether. Where there is reason to fear an attack
of this disease, or upon the first appearance, spray thoroughly with
Bordeaux, 5-5-50, and repeat every ten days or so. The spraying seems
to be more effective on cucumbers than on melons.
_Cut-worm:_--The cut-worm is perhaps the most annoying of all
garden pests. Others do more damage, but none is so exasperating. He
works at night, attacks the strongest, healthiest plants, and is
content simply to cut them off, seldom, apparently, eating much or
carrying away any of the severed leaves or stems, although occasionally
I have found such bits, especially small onion tops, dragged off and
partly into the soil. In small gardens the quickest and best remedy is
hand-picking. As the worms work at night they may be found with a
lantern; or very early in the morning. In daytime by digging about in
the soil wherever a cut is found, and by careful search, they can
almost invariably be turned out. As a preventive, and a supplement to
hand-picking, a poisoned bait should be used. This is made by mixing
bran with water until a "mash" is made, to which is added a dusting of
Paris green or arsenate of lead, sprayed on thickly and thoroughly
worked through the mass. This is distributed in small amounts--a
tablespoonful or so to a place along the row or near each hill or
plant--just as they are coming up or set out. Still another method,
where only a few plants are put out, is to protect each by a collar of
tin or tar paper.
_Flea-beetle:_--This small, black or striped hard-shelled mite
attacks potatoes and young cabbage, radish and turnip plants. It is
controlled by spraying with kerosene emulsion or Bordeaux.
_Potato-beetle:_--The striped Colorado beetle, which invariably
finds the potato patch, no matter how small or isolated. Paris green,
dry or sprayed, is the standard remedy. Arsenate of lead is now largely
used. On small plots hand-picking of old bugs and destruction of eggs
(which are laid on under side of leaves) is quick and sure.
_Potato-blight:_--Both early and late forms of blight are
prevented by Bordeaux, 5-5-50, sprayed every two weeks. Begin early--
when plants are about six inches high.
_Potato-scab:_--Plant on new ground; soak the seed in solution
prepared as directed under No. 10, which see; allow no treated tubers
to touch bags, boxes, bins or soil where untreated ones have been kept.
_Root-maggot:_--This is a small white grub, often causing serious
injury to radishes, onions and the cabbage group. Liming the soil and
rotation are the best preventives. Destroy all infested plants, being
sure to get the maggots when pulling them up. The remaining plants
should be treated with a gill of strong caustic lime water, or solution
of muriate of potash poured about the root of each plant, first
removing an inch or so of earth. In place of these solutions carbolic
acid emulsion is sometimes used; or eight to ten drops of bisulphide of
carbon are dropped into a hole made near the roots with the dibber and
then covered in. Extra stimulation, as directed for _Club-root_,
will help carry the plants through.
_Squash-bug:_--This is the large, black, flat "stink-bug," so
destructive of squash and the other running vines. Protection with
frames, or hand-picking, are the best home garden remedies. The old
bugs may be trapped under boards and by early vines. The young bugs, or
"sap-sucking nymphs," are the ones that do the real damage. Heavy
tobacco dusting, or kerosene emulsion will kill them.
_White-Fly:_--This is the most troublesome under glass, where it
is controlled by fumigation, but occasionally is troublesome on plants
and tomato and cucumber vines. The young are scab-like insects and do
the real damage. Spray with kerosene emulsion or whale-oil soap.
_White-grub_ or _muck-worm:_--When lawns are infested the sod
must be taken up, the grubs destroyed and new sward made. When the
roots of single plants are attacked, dig out, destroy the grubs and, if
the plant is not too much injured, reset.
The remedies given in the table above are prepared as follows:
1.--_Covered boxes:_--These are usually made of half-inch stuff,
about eight inches high and covered with mosquito netting, wire or
"protecting cloth"--the latter having the extra advantage of holding
warmth over night.
2.--_Collars_ are made of old cans with the bottoms removed,
cardboard or tarred paper, large enough to go over the plant and an
inch or so into the ground.
3.--_Cards_ are cut and fitted close around the stem and for an
inch or so upon the ground around it, to prevent maggots going down the
stem to the root. Not much used.
4.--_Hand-picking_ is usually very effective, and if performed as
follows, not very disagreeable: Fasten a small tin can securely to a
wooden handle and fill one-third full of water and kerosene; make a
small wooden paddle, with one straight edge and a rather sharp point;
by using this in the right hand and the pan in the left, the bugs may
be quickly knocked off. Be sure to destroy all eggs when hand-picking
5.--_Kerosene emulsion_ is used in varying strengths; for method
of preparing, see Chapter XVII.
6 and 7.--For use of whale-oil soap and miscible oils, see Chapter
8.--_Tobacco dust:_--This article varies greatly. Most sorts are
next to worthless, but a few of the brands especially prepared for this
work (and sold usually at $3 per hundred pounds, which will last two
ordinary home gardens a whole season) are very convenient to use, and
effective. Apply with a duster, like that described in Implements.
9.--_Carbolic acid emulsion:_--1 pint crude acid, 1 lb. soap and 1
gal. water. Dissolve the soap in hot water, add balance of water and
pump into an emulsion, as described for kerosene emulsion.
10.--_Corrosive sublimate_ is used to destroy scab on potatoes for
seed by dissolving 1 oz. in 7 gals, of water. The same result is
obtained by soaking for thirty minutes in a solution of commercial
formalin, at the rate of 1 gill to 15 gals. of water.
11.--_Bordeaux mixture:_--See Chapter XVII.
12.--_Paris green:_--This is the standard remedy for eating-bugs
and worms. With a modern dusting machine it can be put on dry, early in
the morning when the dew is still on. Sometimes it is mixed with
plaster. For tender plants easily burned by the pure powder, and where
dusting is not convenient, it is mixed with water at the rate of 1 lb.
to 50 to 100 gals. and used as a spray. In mixing, make a paste of
equal quantities of the powder and quicklime, and then mix thoroughly
in the water. It must be kept stirred up when using.
13.--_Arsenate of lead:_--This has two advantages over Paris
green: It will not burn the foliage and it will stay on several times
as long. Use from 4 to 10 lbs. in 100 gals. of water; mix well and
strain before putting in sprayer. See also Chapter XVII.
14.--_Hellebore:_--A dry, white powder, used in place of Nos. 12
or 13 on vegetables or fruit that is soon to be eaten. For dusting, use
1 lb. hellebore to 5 of plaster or flour. For watering or spraying, at
rate of 1 lb. to 12 gals. of water.
So much for what we can do in actual hand-to-hand, or rather hand-to-
mouth, conflict with the enemy. Very few remedies have ever proved
entirely successful, especially on crops covering any considerable
area. It will be far better, far easier and far more effective to use
the following means of precaution against plant pest ravages: First,
aim to have soil, food and plants that will produce a rapid, robust
growth without check. Such plants are seldom attacked by any plant
disease, and the foliage does not seem to be so tempting to eating-
insects; besides which, of course, the plants are much better able to
withstand their attack if they do come. Second, give clean, frequent
culture and keep the soil busy. Do not have old weeds and refuse lying
around for insects and eggs to be sheltered by. Burn all leaves, stems
and other refuse from plants that have been diseased. Do not let the
ground lie idle, but by continuous cropping keep the bugs, caterpillars
and eggs constantly rooted out and exposed to their natural enemies.
Third, practice crop rotation. This is of special importance where any
root disease is developed. Fourth, watch closely and constantly for the
first appearance of trouble. The old adages "eternal vigilance is the
price of peace," and "a stitch in time saves nine," are nowhere more
applicable than to this matter. And last, and of extreme importance, be
prepared to act _at once_. Do not give the enemy an hour's rest
after his presence is discovered. In almost every case it is only by
having time to multiply, that damage amounting to anything will be
If you will keep on hand, ready for instant use, a good hand-sprayer
and a modern powder gun, a few covered boxes, tobacco dust, arsenate of
lead and materials for kerosene emulsion and Bordeaux mixture, and are
not afraid to resort to hand-picking when necessary, you will be able
to cope with all the plant enemies you are likely to encounter. The
slight expense necessary--considering that the two implements mentioned
will last for years with a little care--will pay as handsome a dividend
as any garden investment you can make.
HARVESTING AND STORING
It is a very common thing to allow the garden vegetables not used to
rot on the ground, or in it. There is a great deal of unnecessary waste
in this respect, for a great many of the things so neglected may just
as well be carried into winter, and will pay a very handsome dividend
for the slight trouble of gathering and storing them.
A good frost-proof, cool cellar is the best and most convenient place
in which to store the surplus product of the home garden. But, lacking
this, a room partitioned off in the furnace cellar and well ventilated,
or a small empty room, preferably on the north side of the house, that
can be kept below forty degrees most of the time, will serve
excellently. Or, some of the most bulky vegetables, such as cabbage and
the root crops, may be stored in a prepared pit made in the garden
As it is essential that such a pit be properly constructed, I shall
describe one with sufficient detail to enable the home gardener readily
to construct it. Select a spot where water will not stand. Put the
vegetables in a triangular-shaped pile, the base three or four feet
wide, and as long as required. Separate the different vegetables in
this pile by stakes about two feet higher than the top of the pile, and
label them. Then cover with a layer of clean straw or bog hay, and over
this four inches of soil, dug up three feet back from the edges of the
pile. This work must be done late in the fall, as nearly as one can
judge just before lasting freezing begins, and preferably on a cold
morning when the ground is just beginning to freeze; the object being
to freeze the partly earth covering at once, so that it will not be
washed or blown off. The vegetables must be perfectly dry when stored;
dig them a week or so previous and keep them in an airy shed. As soon
as this first layer of earth is partly frozen, but before it freezes
through, put on another thick layer of straw or hay and cover with
twelve inches of earth, keeping the pile as steep as possible; a
slightly clayey soil, that may be beaten down firmly into shape with a
spade, being best. The pile should be made where it will be sheltered
from the sun as much as possible, such as on the north side of a
building. The disadvantage of the plan is, of course, that the
vegetables cannot be got at until the pile is opened up, in early
spring, or late if desired. Its two advantages are that the vegetables
stored will be kept in better condition than in any cellar, and that
cellar or house
room will be saved.
For storing small quantities of the roots, such as carrots or beets,
they are usually packed in boxes or barrels and covered in with clean
sand. Where an upstairs room has to be used, swamp or sphagnum moss may
replace the sand. It makes an ideal packing medium, as it is much
lighter and cleaner than the sand. In many localities it may be had for
the gathering; in others one may get it from a florist.
In storing vegetables of any kind, and by whatever method, see to it
(1) They are always clean, dry and sound. The smallest spot or bruise
is a danger center, which may spread destruction to the lot.
(2) That the temperature, whatever required--in most cases 33-38
degrees being best--is kept as even as possible.
(3) That the storage place is kept clean, dry (by ventilation when
needed) and sweet (by use of whitewash and lime).
(4) That no rats or other rodents are playing havoc with your treasures
while you never suspect it.
So many of the vegetables can be kept, for either part or all of the
winter, that I shall take them up in order, with brief directions.
Many, such as green beans, rhubarb, tomatoes, etc., which cannot be
kept in the ordinary ways, may be easily and cheaply canned, and where
one has a good cellar, it will certainly pay to get a canning outfit
and make use of this method.
_Beans:_--Almost all the string and snap beans, when dried in the
pods, are excellent for cooking. And any pods which have not been
gathered in the green state should be picked, _as soon as dry_ (as
wet weather is likely to mould or sprout them), and stored in a dry
place, or spread on a bench in the sun. They will keep, either shelled
or in the dry pods, for winter.
_Beets:_--In October, before the first hard frosts, take up and
store in a cool cellar, in clean, perfectly dry sand, or in pits
outside (see Cabbage); do not cut off the long tap roots, nor the tops
close enough to cause any "bleeding."
_Brussels sprouts:_--These are improved by freezing, and may be
used from the open garden until December. If wanted later, store them
with cabbage, or hang up the stalks in bunches in a cold cellar.
_Cabbage:_--If only a few heads are to be stored, a cool cellar
will do. Even if where they will be slightly frozen, they will not be
injured, so long as they do not freeze and thaw repeatedly. They should
not be taken in until there is danger of severe freezing, as they will
keep better, and a little frost improves the flavor. For storing small
quantities outdoors, dig a trench, a foot or so deep, in a well drained
spot, wide enough to admit two heads side by side. Pull up the
cabbages, without removing either stems or outer leaves, and store side
by side, head down, in the bottom of the trench. Now cover over lightly
with straw, meadow hay, or any refuse which will keep the dirt from
freezing to the cabbages, and then cover over the whole with earth, to
the depth of several inches, but allowing the top of the roots to
remain exposed, which will facilitate digging them up as required. Do
not bury the cabbage until as late as possible before severe freezing,
as a spell of warm weather would rot it.
_Carrots:_--Treat in the same way as beets. They will not be hurt
by a slight freezing of the tops, before being dug, but care must be
taken not to let the roots become touched by frost.
_Celery:_--That which is to be used early is blanched outside, by
banking, as described in Chapter XI, and as celery will stand a little
freezing, will be used directly from the garden. For the portion to be
kept over winter, provide boxes about a foot wide, and nearly as deep
as the celery is high. Cover the bottoms of these boxes with two or
three inches of sand, and wet thoroughly. Upon this stand the celery
upright, and packed close together. In taking up the celery for storing
in this way, the roots and whatever earth adheres to them are kept on,
not cut, as it is bought in the stores. The boxes are then stored in a
cellar, or other dark, dry, cold place where the temperature will not
go more than five degrees below freezing. The celery will be ready for
use after Christmas. If a long succession is wanted, store from the
open two or three different times, say at the end of October, first
part of November and the latter part of November.
_Cucumbers, Melons, Egg-plant:_--While there is no way of storing
these for any great length of time without recourse to artificial cold,
they may be had for some time by storing just before the first frosts
in a cool, dark cellar, care being taken in handling the fruits to give
them no bruises.
_Onions:_--If the onions got a good early start in the spring, the
tops will begin to die down by the middle of August. As soon as the
tops have turned yellow and withered they should be pulled, on the
first clear dry day, and laid in windrows (three or four rows in one),
but not heaped up. They should be turned over frequently, by hand or
with a wooden rake, and removed to a shed or barn floor as soon as dry,
where the tops can be cut off. Keep them spread out as much as
possible, and give them open ventilation until danger of frost. Then
store in a dry place and keep as cool as possible without freezing. A
few barrels, with holes knocked in the sides, will do well for a small
_Parsley:_--Take up a few plants and keep in a flower-pot or small
box, in the kitchen window.
_Parsnips:_--These will stay in the ground without injury all
winter, but part of the crop may be taken up late in the fall and
stored with beets, carrots and turnips, to use while the ground is
_Potatoes:_--When the vines have died down and the skin of the new
potatoes has become somewhat hardened, they can be dug and stored in a
cool, dry cellar at once. Be sure to give plenty of ventilation until
danger of frost. Keep from the light, as this has the effect of making
the potatoes bitter. If there is any sign of rot among the tubers, do
not dig them up until it has stopped.
_Squash and Pumpkins:_--The proper conditions for storing for
winter will be indicated by the drying and shrinking of the stem.
_Cut_ them from the vines, being careful never to break off the
stem, turn over, rub off the dirt and leave the under side exposed to a
few days' sunlight. Then carry in a spring wagon, or spring
wheelbarrow, covered with old bags or hay to keep from any bruises.
Store in the dryest part of the cellar, and if possible where the
temperature will not go below forty degrees. Leave them on the vines in
the field as late as possible, while escaping frosts.
_Tomatoes:_--Just before the first frosts are likely to begin,
pick all of the best of the unripened fruits. Place part of these on
clean straw in a coldframe, giving protection, where they will
gradually ripen up. Place others, that are fully developed but not
ripe, in straw in the cellar. In this way fresh tomatoes may frequently
be had as late as Christmas.
_Turnip:_--These roots, if desired, can be stored as are beets or
It is hard to retain our interest in a thing when most of its
usefulness has gone by. It is for that reason, I suppose, that one sees
so many forsaken and weed-grown gardens every autumn, where in the
spring everything was neat and clean. But there are two very excellent
reasons why the vegetable garden should not be so abandoned--to say
nothing of appearances! The first is that many vegetables continue to
grow until the heavy frosts come; and the second, that the careless
gardener who thus forsakes his post is sowing no end of trouble for
himself for the coming year. For weeds left to themselves, even late in
the fall, grow in the cool moist weather with astonishing rapidity,
and, almost before one realizes it, transform the well kept garden into
a ragged wilderness, where the intruders have taken such a strong
foothold that they cannot be pulled up without tearing everything else
with them. So we let them go--and, left to themselves, they accomplish
their purpose in life, and leave upon the ground an evenly distributed
supply of plump ripe seeds, which next spring will cause the perennial
exclamation, "Mercy, John, where did all these weeds come from?" And
John replies, "I don't know; we kept the garden clean last summer. I
think there must be weed seeds in the fertilizer."
Do not let up on your fight with weeds, for every good vegetable that
is left over can be put to some use. Here and there in the garden will
be a strip that has gone by, and as it is now too late to plant, we
just let it go. Yet now is the time we should be preparing all such
spots for withstanding next summer's drouth! You may remember how
strongly was emphasized the necessity for having abundant humus
(decayed vegetable matter) in the soil--how it acts like a sponge to
retain moisture and keep things growing through the long, dry spells
which we seem to be sure of getting every summer. So take thought for
next year. Buy a bushel of rye, and as fast as a spot in your garden
can be cleaned up, harrow, dig or rake it over, and sow the rye on
broadcast. Just enough loose surface dirt to cover it and let it
sprout, is all it asks. If the weather is dry, and you can get a small
roller, roll it in to ensure better germination. It will come up
quickly; it will keep out the weeds which otherwise would be taking
possession of the ground; it will grow until the ground is frozen solid
and begin again with the first warm spring day; it will keep your
garden from washing out in heavy rains, and capture and save from being
washed away and wasted a good deal of left-over plant food; it will
serve as just so much real manure for your garden; it will improve the
mechanical condition of the soil, and it will add the important element
of humus to it.
In addition to these things, you will have an attractive and luxuriant
garden spot, instead of an unsightly bare one. And in clearing off
these patches for rye, beware of waste. If you have hens, or by chance
a pig, they will relish old heads of lettuce, old pea-vines, still
green after the last picking, and the stumps and outer leaves of
cabbage. Even if you have not this means of utilizing your garden's by-
products, do not let them go to waste. Put everything into a square
pile--old sods, weeds, vegetable tops, refuse, dirt, leaves, lawn
sweepings--anything that will rot. Tread this pile down thoroughly;
give it a soaking once in a while if within reach of the hose, and two
or three turnings with a fork. Next spring when you are looking for
every available pound of manure with which to enrich your garden, this
compost heap will stand you in good stead.
Burn _now_ your old pea-brush, tomato poles and everything that is
not worth keeping over for next year. Do not leave these things lying
around to harbor and protect eggs and insects and weed seeds. If any
bean-poles, stakes, trellises or supports seem in good enough condition
to serve another year, put them under cover now; and see that all your
tools are picked up and put in one place, where you can find them and
overhaul them next February. As soon as your surplus pole beans have
dried in their pods, take up poles and all and store in a dry place.
The beans may be taken off later at your leisure.
Be careful to cut down and burn (or put in the compost heap) all weeds
around your fences, and the edges of your garden, _before_ they
If the suggestions given are followed, the vegetable garden may be
stretched far into the winter. But do not rest at that. Begin to plan
_now_ for your next year's garden. Put a pile of dirt where it
will not be frozen, or dried out, when you want to use it next February
for your early seeds. If you have no hotbed, fix the frames and get the
sashes for one now, so it will be ready to hand when the ground is
frozen solid and covered with snow next spring. If you have made garden
mistakes this year, be planning now to rectify them next--without
progress there is no fun in the game. Let next spring find you with
your plans all made, your materials all on hand and a fixed resolution
to have the best garden you have ever had.
Part Three--Fruits and Berries
THE VARIETIES OF POME AND STONE FRUITS
Many a home gardener who has succeeded well with vegetables is, for
some reason or other, still fearsome about trying his hand at growing
his own fruit.
This is all a mistake; the initial expense is very slight (fruit trees
will cost but twenty-five to forty cents each, and the berry bushes
only about four cents each), and the same amount of care that is
demanded by vegetables, if given to fruit, will produce apples,
peaches, pears and berries far superior to any that can be bought,
especially in flavor.
I know a doctor in New York, a specialist, who has attained prominence
in his profession, and who makes a large income; he tells me that there
is nothing in the city that hurts him so much as to have to pay out a
nickel whenever he wants an apple. His boyhood home was on a
Pennsylvania farm, where apples were as free as water, and he cannot
get over the idea of their being one of Nature's gracious gifts, any
more than he can overcome his hankering for that crisp, juicy,
uncloying flavor of a good apple, which is not quite equaled by the
taste of any other fruit.
And yet it is not the saving in expense, although that is considerable,
that makes the strongest argument for growing one's own fruit. There
are three other reasons, each of more importance. First is quality. The
commercial grower cannot afford to grow the very finest fruit. Many of
the best varieties are not large enough yielders to be available for
his use, and he cannot, on a large scale, so prune and care for his
trees that the individual fruits receive the greatest possible amount
of sunshine and thinning out--the personal care that is required for
the very best quality. Second, there is the beauty and the value that
well kept fruit trees add to a place, no matter how small it is. An
apple tree in full bloom is one of the most beautiful pictures that
Nature ever paints; and if, through any train of circumstances, it ever
becomes advisable to sell or rent the home, its desirability is greatly
enhanced by the few trees necessary to furnish the loveliness of
showering blossoms in spring, welcome shade in summer and an abundance
of delicious fruits through autumn and winter. Then there is the fun of
doing it--of planting and caring for a few young trees, which will
reward your labors, in a cumulative way, for many years to come.
But enough of reasons. If the call of the soil is in your veins, if
your fingers (and your brain) in the springtime itch to have a part in
earth's ever-wonderful renascence, if your lips part at the thought of
the white, firm, toothsome flesh of a ripened-on-the-tree red apple--
then you must have a home orchard without delay.
And it is not a difficult task. Apples, pears and the stone fruits,
fortunately, are not very particular about their soils. They take
kindly to anything between a sandy soil so loose as to be almost
shifting, and heavy clay. Even these soils can be made available, but
of course not without more work. And you need little room to grow all
the fruit your family can possibly eat.
Time was, when to speak of an apple tree brought to mind one of those
old, moss-barked giants that served as a carriage shed and a summer
dining-room, decorated with scythes and rope swings, requiring the
services of a forty-foot ladder and a long-handled picker to gather the
fruit. That day is gone. In its stead have come the low-headed standard
and the dwarf forms. The new types came as new institutions usually do,
under protest. The wise said they would never be practical--the trees
would not get large enough and teams could not be driven under them.
But the facts remained that the low trees are more easily and
thoroughly cared for; that they do not take up so much room; that they
are less exposed to high winds, and such fruit as does fall is not
injured; that the low limbs shelter the roots and conserve moisture;
and, above all, that picking can be accomplished much more easily and
with less injury to fine, well ripened fruit. The low-headed tree has
come to stay.
If your space will allow, the low-headed standards will give you better
satisfaction than the dwarfs. They are longer-lived, they are
healthier, and they do not require nearly so much intensive culture. On
the other hand, the dwarfs may be used where there is little or no room
for the standards. If there is no other space available, they may be
put in the vegetable or flower garden, and incidentally they are then
sure of receiving some of that special care which they need in the way
of fertilization and cultivation.
As I have said, any average soil will grow good fruit. A gravelly loam,
with a gravel subsoil, is the ideal. Do not think from this, however,
that all you have to do is buy a few trees from a nursery agent, stick
them in the ground and from your negligence reap the rewards that
follow only intelligent industry. The soil is but the raw material
which work and care alone can transform, through the medium of the
growing tree, into the desired result of a cellar well stored each
autumn with fruit.
Fruit trees have one big advantage over vegetables--the ground can be
prepared for them while they are growing. If the soil will grow a crop
of clover it is already in good shape to furnish the trees with food at
once. If not, manure or fertilizers may be applied, and clover or other
green crops turned under during the first two or three years of the
trees' growth, as will be described later.
The first thing to consider, when you have decided to plant, is the
location you will give your trees. Plan to have pears, plums, cherries
and peaches, as well as apples. For any of these the soil, of whatever
nature, must be well drained. If not naturally, then tile or other
artificial drainage must be provided. For only a few trees it would
probably answer the purpose to dig out large holes and fill in a foot
or eighteen inches at the bottom with small stone, covered with gravel
or screened coal-cinders. My own land has a gravelly subsoil and I have
not had to drain. Then with the apples, and especially with the
peaches, a too-sheltered slope to the south is likely to start the
flower buds prematurely in spring, only to result in total crop loss
from late frosts. The diagram on the next page suggests an arrangement
which may be adapted to individual needs. One may see from it that the
apples are placed to the north, where they will to some extent shelter
the rest of the grounds; the peaches where they will not be coddled;
the pears, which may be had upon quince stock, where they will not
shade the vegetable garden; the cherries, which are the most
ornamental, where they may lend a decorative effect.
And now, having decided that we can--and will--grow good fruit, and
having in mind suggestions that will enable us to go out to-morrow
morning and, with an armful of stakes, mark out the locations, the next
consideration should be the all-important question of what varieties
are most successfully grown on the small place.
[Illustration: A suggested arrangement of fruit trees on the small
place.] [ED. Unable to recreate in text format.]
The following selections are made with the home fruit garden, not the
commercial orchard, in mind. While they are all "tried and true" sorts,
succeeding generally in the northeast, New England and western fruit
sections, remember that fruits, as a rule, though not so particular as
vegetables about soil, seem much more so about locality. I would
suggest, therefore, submitting your list, before buying, to your State
Experiment Station. You are taxed for its support; get some direct
result from it. There they will be glad to advise you, and are in the
best position to help you get started properly. Above all, do not buy
from the traveling nursery agent, with his grip full of wonderful
lithographs of new and unheard-of novelties. Get the catalogue of
several reliable nurseries, take standard varieties about which you
know, and buy direct. Several years ago I had the opportunity to go
carefully over one of the largest fruit nurseries in the country. Every
care and precaution was taken to grow fine, healthy, young trees. The
president told me that they sold thousands every year to smaller
concerns, to be resold again through field and local agents. Yet they
do an enormous retail business themselves, and of course their own
customers get the best trees.
The following are listed, as nearly as I can judge, in the order of
their popularity, but as many of the best are not valuable
commercially, they are little known. Whenever you find a particularly
good apple or pear, try to trace it, and add it to your list.
Without any question, the apple is far and away the most valuable
fruit, both because of its greater scope of usefulness and its longer
season--the last of the winter's Russets are still juicy and firm when
the first Early Harvests and Red Astrachans are tempting the "young
idea" to experiment with colic. Plant but a small proportion of early
varieties, for the late ones are better. Out of a dozen trees, I would
put in one early, three fall, and the rest winter sorts.
Among the summer apples are several deserving special mention: Yellow
Transparent is the earliest. It is an old favorite and one of the most
easily grown of all apples. Its color is indicated by the name, and it
is a fair eating-apple and a very good cooker. Red Astrachan, another
first early, is not quite so good for cooking, but is a delicious
eating-apple of good size. An apple of more recent introduction and
extremely hardy (hailing first from Russia), and already replacing the
above sorts, is Livland (Livland Raspberry). The tree is of good form,
very vigorous and healthy. The fruit is ready almost as soon as Yellow
Transparent, and is of much better quality for eating. In appearance it
is exceptionally handsome, being of good size, regular form and having
those beautiful red shades found almost exclusively in the later
apples. The flesh is quality is fully up to its appearance. The white,
crisp-breaking flesh, most aromatic, deliciously sub-acid, makes it
ideal for eating. A neighbor of mine sold $406 worth of fruit from
twenty trees to one dealer. For such a splendid apple McIntosh is
remarkably hardy and vigorous, succeeding over a very wide territory,
and climate severe enough to kill many of the other newer varieties.
The Fameuse (widely known as the Snow) is an excellent variety for
northern sections. It resembles the McIntosh, which some claim to be
derived from it. Fall Pippin, Pound Sweet and Twenty Ounce, are other
popular late autumns.
In the winter section, Baldwin, which is too well known to need
describing, is the leading commercial variety in many apple districts,
and it is a good variety for home growing on account of its hardiness
and good cooking and keeping qualities; but for the home orchard, it is
far surpassed in quality by several others. In northern sections, down
to the corn line, Northern Spy is a great favorite. It is a large,
roundish apple, with thin, tender, glossy skin, light to deep carmine
over light yellow, and an excellent keeper. In sections to which it is
adapted it is a particularly vigorous, compact, upright grower.
Jonathan is another splendid sort, with a wider range of conditions
favorable for growth. It is, however, not a strong-growing tree and is
somewhat uncertain in maturing its fruit, which is a bright, clear red
of distinctive flavor. It likes a soil with more clay than do most
apples. In the Middle West and Middle South, Grimes (Golden) has made a
great local reputation in many sections, although in others it has not
done well at all.
The Spitzenberg (Esopus) is very near the top of the list of all late
eating-apples, being at its prime about December. It is another
handsome yellow-covered red apple, with flesh slightly yellowish, but
very good to the taste. The tree, unfortunately, is not a robust
grower, being especially weak in its earlier stages, but with good
cultivation it will not fail to reward the grower for any extra care it
may have required.
These, and the other notable varieties, which there is not room here to
describe, make up the following list, from which the planter should
select according to locality:
_Earliest or Summer:_--Early Harvest, Yellow Transparent, Red
Astrachan, Benoni (new), Chenango, Sweet Bough, Williams' Favorite,
Early Strawberry, Livland Raspberry.
_Early Autumn:_--Alexander, Duchess, Porter, Gravenstein, McIntosh
_Late Autumn:_--Jefferies, Fameuse (Snow), Maiden's Blush,
Wealthy, Fall Pippin, Pound Sweet, Twenty Ounce, Cox Orange,
_Winter:_--Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, Northwestern Greening,
Jonathan, Northern Spy, Yellow, Swaar, Delicious, Wagener, King,
Esopus, Spitzenberg, Yellow Bellflower, Winter Banana, Seek-no-further,
Talman Sweet, Roxbury Russett, King David, Stayman's Winesap, Wolf
Pears are more particular than apples in the matter of being adapted to
sections and soils. Submit your list to your State Experiment Station
before ordering trees. Many of the standard sorts may be had where a
low-growing, spreading tree is desired (for instance, quince-stock
pears might be used to change places with the plums). Varieties
suitable for this method are listed below. They are given approximately
in the order of the ripening:
Wilder: Early August, medium in size, light yellow, excellent quality.
Does not rot at the core, as so many early pears are liable to do.
Margaret: Oblong, greenish, yellow to dull red.
Clapp Favorite: Very large, yellow pear. A great bearer and good
keeper--where the children cannot get at it.
Howell: A little later than the foregoing; large, bright yellow,
strong-growing tree and big bearer.
Duchesse d'Angouleme: Large greenish yellow, sometimes reaching huge
size; will average better than three-quarters of a pound. The quality,
despite its size, is splendid.
Seckel: Small in size, but renowned for exquisite flavor--being
probably the most universally admired of all.
Beurre Superfine: October, medium size, excellent quality.
Bartlett: The best known of all pears, and a universal favorite.
Succeeds in nearly all sections.
Anjou: One of the best keepers, and very productive. One of the best in
flavor, rich and vinous.
For trees of the standard type the following are worthy of note:
Congress (Souvenir du C.): A very large summer sort. Handsome.
Belle Lucrative: September to October.
Winter Nelis: Medium size, but of excellent quality and the longest
Kieffer: Very popular for its productiveness, strength of growth and
exceptional quality of fruit for canning and preserving. Large fruit,
if kept thinned. Should have a place in every home garden.
Josephine de Malines: Not a great yielder but
of the very highest quality, being of the finest texture
and tempting aroma.
Success with peaches also will depend largely upon getting varieties
adapted to climate. The white-fleshed type is the hardiest and best for
eating; and the free-stones are for most purposes, especially in the
home garden, more desirable than the "clings."
Greensboro is the best early variety. Crawford is a universal favorite
and goes well over a wide range of soil and climate. Champion is one of
the best quality peaches and exceptionally hardy. Elberta, Ray, and
Hague are other excellent sorts. Mayflower is the earliest sort yet
The available plums are of three classes--the natives, Europeans and
Japans; the natives are the longest-lived, hardier in tree and blossom,
and heavier bearers.
The best early is Milton; brilliant red, yellow and juicy flesh.
Wildgoose and Whitaker are good seconds. Mrs. Cleveland is a later and
larger sort, of finer quality. Three late-ripening plums of the finest
quality, but not such prolific yielders, are Wayland, Benson and Reed,
and where there is room for only a few trees, these will be best. They
will need one tree of Newman or Prairie Flower with them to assure
setting of the fruit. Of the Europeans, use Reine Claude (the best),
Bradshaw or Shropshire. Damson is also good. The Japanese varieties
should go on high ground and be thinned, especially during their first
years. My first experience with Japanese plums convinced me that I had
solved the plum problem; they bore loads of fruit, and were free from
disease. That was five years ago. Last spring the last one was cut and
burned. Had they been planted at the top of a small hill, instead of at
the bottom, as they were, and restricted in their bearing, I know from
later experience that they would still be producing fruit. The most
satisfactory varieties of the Japanese type are Abundance and Red June.
Burbank is also highly recommended,
Cherries have one advantage over the other fruits--they give quicker
returns. But, as far as my experience goes, they are not as long-lived.
The sour type is hardier, at least north of New Jersey, than the sweet.
It will probably pay to try a few of the new and highly recommended
varieties. Of the established sorts Early Richmond is a good early, to
be followed by Montmorency and English Morello. Windsor is a good sweet
cherry, as are also Black Tartarian, Sox, Wood and Yellow Spanish.
All the varieties mentioned above are proved
sorts. But the lists are being added to constantly,
and where there is a novelty strongly recommended
by a reliable nurseryman it will often pay to try
it out--on a very small scale at first.
PLANTING: CULTIVATION: FILLER CROPS
As the pedigree and the quality of the stock you plant will have a
great deal to do with the success or failure of your adventure in
orcharding, even on a very small scale, it is important to get the best
trees you can, anywhere, at any price. But do not jump to the
conclusion that the most costly trees will be the best. From reliable
nurserymen, selling direct by mail, you can get good trees at very
As a general thing you will succeed best if you have nothing to do with
the perennial "tree agent." He may represent a good firm; you may get
your trees on time; he may have a novelty as good as the standard
sorts; but you are taking three very great chances in assuming so. But,
leaving these questions aside, there is no particular reason why you
should help pay his traveling expenses and the printing bills for his
lithographs ("made from actual photographs" or "painted from nature,"
of course!) when you can get the best trees to be had,
direct from the soil in which they are grown, at the
lowest prices, by ordering through the mail. Or,
better still, if the nursery is not too far away, take
half a day off and select them in person. If you
want to help the agent along present him with the
amount of his commission, but get your trees direct
from some large reliable nursery.
Well grown nursery stock will stand much abuse,
but it will not be at all improved by it. Do not
let yours stand around in the sun and wind, waiting
until you get a chance to set it out. As soon as you
get it home from the express office, unpack it and
"heel it in," in moist, but not wet, ground; if under
a shed, so much the better. Dig out a narrow trench
and pack it in as thick as it will go, at an angle of
forty-five degrees to the natural position when
growing. So stored, it will keep a long time in
cold weather, only be careful that no rats, mice, or
rabbits reach it.
Do not, however, depend upon this knowledge to
the extent of letting all your preparations for planting
go until your stock is on hand. Be ready to
set it the day it arrives, if possible.
Planting can be done in either spring or fall. As a general rule, north
of Philadelphia and St. Louis, spring planting will be best; south of
that, fall planting. Where there is apt to be severe freezing,
"heaving," caused by the alternate freezing and thawing; injury to the
newly set roots from too severe cold; and, in some western sections,
"sun-scald" of the bark, are three injuries which may result. If trees
are planted in the fall in cold sections, a low mound of earth, six to
twelve inches high, should be left during the winter about each, and
leveled down in the spring. If set in the spring, where hot, dry
weather is apt to follow, they should be thoroughly mulched with
litter, straw or coarse manure, to preserve moisture--care being taken,
however, against field mice and other rodents.
The trees may either be set in their permanent positions as soon as
bought, or grown in "nursery rows" by the purchaser for one or two
years after being purchased. In the former case, it will be the best
policy to get the strongest, straightest two-year stock you can find,
even if they cost ten or fifteen cents apiece more than the "mediums."
The former method is the usual one, but the latter has so many
advantages that I give it the emphasis of a separate paragraph, and
urge every prospective planter to consider it carefully.
In the first place, then, you get your trees a little cheaper. If you
purchase for nursery row planting, six-foot to seven-foot two-year-old
apple trees, of the standard sorts, should cost you about thirty cents
each; one-year "buds," six feet and branched, five to ten cents less.
This gain, however, is not an important one--there are four others,
each of which makes it worth while to give the method a trial. First,
the trees being all together, and in a convenient place, the chances
are a hundred to one that you will give them better attention in the
way of spraying, pruning and cultivating--all extremely important in
the first year's growth. Second, with the year gained for extra
preparation of the soil where they are to be placed permanently, you
can make conditions just right for them to take hold at once and thrive
as they could not do otherwise. Third, the shock of transplanting will
be much less than when they are shipped from a distance--they will have
made an additional growth of dense, short roots and they will have
become acclimated. Fourth, you will not have wasted space and time with
any backward black sheep among the lot, as these should be discarded at
the second planting. And then there is one further reason,
psychological perhaps, but none the less important; you will watch
these little trees, which are largely the result of your own labor and
care, when set in their permanent positions, much more carefully than
you would those direct from the nursery. I know, both from experience
and observation, how many thrifty young trees in the home orchard are
done to an untimely death by children, careless workmen, and other
So if you can put a twelve-month curb on your impatience, get one-year
trees and set them out in a straight row right in your vegetable garden
where they will take up very little room. Keep them cultivated just as
thoroughly as the rest of your growing things. Melons, or beans, or
almost any low-growing vegetable can be grown close beside them.
If you want your garden to pay for your whole lot of fruit trees this
season dig up a hole about three feet in diameter wherever a tree is to
"go permanently." Cut the sod up fine and work in four or five good
forkfuls of well rotted manure, and on these places, when it is warm
enough, plant a hill of lima pole-beans-the new sort named Giant-podded
Pole Lima is the best I have yet seen. Place a stout pole, eight to ten
feet high, firmly in each hole. Good lima beans are always in demand,
and bring high prices.
Let us suppose that your trees are at hand, either direct from the
nursery or growing in the garden. You have selected, if possible, a
moist, gravelly loam on a slope or slight elevation, where it is
naturally and perfectly drained. Good soil drainage is imperative.
Coarse gravel in the bottom of the planting hole will help out
temporarily. If the land is in clover sod, it will have the ideal
preparation, especially if you can grow a patch of potatoes or corn on
it one year, while your trees are getting further growth. In such land
the holes will not have to be prepared. If, however, you are not
fortunate enough to be able to devote such a space to fruit trees, and
in order to have them at all must place them along your wall or
scattered through the grounds, you can still give them an excellent
start by enriching the soil in spots beforehand, as suggested above in
growing lima beans. In the event of finding even this last way
inapplicable to your land, the following method will make success
certain: Dig out holes three to six feet in diameter (if the soil is
very hard, the larger dimension), and twelve to eighteen inches deep.
Mix thoroughly with the excavated soil a good barrowful of the oldest,
finest manure you can get, combined with about one-fourth or one-fifth
its weight of South Carolina rock (or acid phosphate, if you cannot get
the rock). It is a good plan to compost the manure and rock in advance,
or use the rock as an absorbent in the stable. Fill in the hole again,
leaving room in the center to set the tree without bending or cramping
any roots. Where any of these are injured or bruised, cut them off
clean at the injured spot with a sharp knife. Shorten any that are long
and straggling about one-third to one-half their length. Properly grown
stock should not be in any such condition.
Remember that a well planted tree will give more fruit in the first ten
years than three trees carelessly put in. Get the tree so that it will
be one to three inches deeper in the soil than when growing in the nursery.
Work the soil in firmly about the roots with the fingers or a blunt wooden
"tamper"; do not be afraid to use your feet. When the roots are well
covered, firm the tree in by putting all your weight upon the soil
around it. See that it is planted straight, and if the "whip," or small
trunk, is not straight stake it, and tie it with rye straw, raffia or
strips of old cloth-never string or wire. If the soil is very dry, water
the root copiously while planting until the soil is about half filled in,
never on the surface, as that is likely to cause a crust to form and
keep out the air so necessary to healthy growth.
Prune back the "leader" of the tree-the top above the first lateral
branches, about one-half. Peach trees should be cut back more severely.
Further information in regard to pruning, and the different needs of
the various fruits in regard to this important matter, will be given in
the next chapter.
Standard apple trees, fully grown, will require thirty to forty-five
feet of space between them each way. It takes, however, ten or twelve
years after the trees are set before all of this space is needed. A
system of "fillers," or inter-planting, has come into use as a result
of this, which will give at least one hundred per cent, more fruit for
the first ten years. Small-growing standards, standard varieties on
dwarf stock, and also peaches, are used for this purpose in commercial
orchards. But the principle may be applied with equally good results to
the home orchard, or even to the planting of a few scattered trees. The
standard dwarfs give good satisfaction as permanent fillers. Where
space is very limited, or the fruit must go into the garden, they may
be used in place of the standard sorts altogether. The dwarf trees are,
as a rule, not so long-lived as the standards, and to do their best,
need more care in fertilizing and manuring; but the fruit is just as
good; just as much, or more, can be grown on the same area; and the
trees come into bearing two to three years sooner. They cost less to
begin with and are also easier to care for, in spraying and pruning and
in picking the fruit.
The home orchard, to give the very finest quality of fruit, must be
given careful and thorough cultivation. In the case of scattered trees,
where it is not practicable to use a horse, this can be given by
working a space four to six feet wide about each tree. Every spring the
soil should be loosened up, with the cultivator or fork, as the case
may be, and kept stirred during the early part of the summer. Unless
the soil is rich, a fertilizer, high in potash and not too high in
nitrogen, should be given in the spring. Manure and phosphate rock, as
suggested above, is as good as any. In case the foliage is not a deep
healthy green, apply a few handfuls of nitrate of soda, working it into
the soil just before a rain, around each tree.
About August 1st the cultivation should be discontinued, and some
"cover crop" sown. Buckwheat and crimson clover is a good combination;
as the former makes a rapid growth it will form, if rolled down just as
the apples are ripening, a soft cushion upon which the windfalls may
drop without injury, and will furnish enough protection to the crimson
clover to carry it through most winters, even in cold climates.
In addition to the filler crops, where the ground is to be cultivated
by horse, potatoes may be grown between the rows of trees; or fine
hills of melons or squash may be grown around scattered trees, thus,
incidentally, saving a great deal of space in the vegetable garden. Or
why not grow a few extra fancy strawberries in the well cultivated
spots about these trees? Neither they nor the trees want the ground too
rich, especially in nitrogen, and conditions suiting the one would be
just right for the others.
It may seem to the beginner that fruit-growing, with all these things
to keep in mind, is a difficult task. But it is not. I think I am
perfectly safe in saying that the rewards from nothing else he can
plant and care for are as certain, and surely none are more
satisfactory. If you cannot persuade yourself to try fruit on any
larger plan, at least order half a dozen dwarf trees (they will cost
about twenty cents apiece, and can be had by mail). They will prove
about the best paying investment you ever made.
PRUNING, SPRAYING, HARVESTING
The day has gone, probably forever, when setting out fruit trees and
giving them occasional cultivation, "plowing up the orchard" once in
several years, would produce fruit. Apples and pears and peaches have
occupied no preferred position against the general invasion of the
realm of horticulture by insect and fungous enemies. The fruits have,
indeed, suffered more than most plants. Nevertheless there is this
encouraging fact: that, though the fruits may have been severely
attacked, the means we now have of fighting fruit-tree enemies, if
thoroughly used, as a rule are more certain of accomplishing their
purpose, and keeping the enemies completely at bay, than are similar
weapons in any other line of horticultural work.
With fruit trees, as with vegetables and flowers, the most important
precaution to be taken against insects and disease is to _have them
in a healthy, thriving, growing condition_. It is a part of Nature's
law of the survival of the fittest that any backward or weakling plant
or tree seems to fall first prey to the ravages of destructive forces.
For these reasons the double necessity of maintaining at all times good
fertilization and thorough cultivation will be seen. In addition to
these two factors, careful attention in the matter of pruning is
essential in keeping the trees in a healthy, robust condition. As
explained in a previous chapter, the trees should be started right by
pruning the first season to the open-head or vase shape, which
furnishes the maximum of light and air to all parts of the tree. Three
or four main branches should form the basis of the head, care being
taken not to have them start from directly opposite points on the
trunk, thus forming a crotch and leaving the tree liable to splitting
from winds or excessive crops. If the tree is once started right,
further pruning will give little trouble. Cut out limbs which cross, or
are likely to rub against each other, or that are too close together;
and also any that are broken, decayed, or injured in any way. For trees
thus given proper attention from the start, a short jackknife will be
the only pruning instrument required.
The case of the old orchard is more difficult. Cutting out too many of
the old, large limbs at one time is sure to give a severe shock to the
vitality of the tree. A better plan is, first, to cut off _close_
all suckers and all small new-growth limbs, except a few of the most
promising, which may be left to be developed into large limbs; and then
as these new limbs grow on, gradually to cut out, using a fine-tooth
saw and painting the exposed surfaces, the surplus old wood. Apples
will need more pruning than the other fruits. Pears and cherries need
the least; cutting back the ends of limbs enough to keep the trees in
good form, with the removal of an occasional branch for the purpose of
letting in light and air, is all the pruning they will require. Of
course trees growing on rich ground, and well cultivated, will require
more cutting back than those growing under poorer conditions. A further
purpose of pruning is to effect indirectly a thinning of the fruit, so
that what is grown will be larger and more valuable, and also that the
trees may not become exhausted by a few exceptionally heavy crops. On
trees that have been neglected and growing slowly the bark sometimes
becomes hard and set. In such cases it will prove beneficial to scrape
the bark and give a wash applied with an old broom. Whitewash is good
for this purpose, but soda or lye answers the same purpose and is less
disagreeably conspicuous. Slitting the bark of trunks and the largest
limbs is sometimes resorted to, care being taken to cut through the
bark only; but such practice is objectionable because it leaves ready
access to some forms of fungous disease and to borers.
Where extra fine specimens of fruit are desired, thinning is practiced.
It helps also to prevent the tree from being overtaxed by excessive
crops. But where pruning is thoroughly done this trouble is usually
avoided. Peaches and Japan plums are especially benefited by thinning,
as they have a great tendency to overbear. The spread of fruit
diseases, especially rot in the fruit itself, is also to some extent
Of fruit-tree enemies there are some large sorts which may do great
damage in short order--rabbits and field mice. They may be kept away by
mechanical protection, such as wire, or by heaping the earth up to a
height of twelve inches about the tree trunk. Or they may be caught
with poisoned baits, such as boiled grain in which a little Rough on
Rats or similar poison has been mixed. The former method for the small
home garden is little trouble, safer to Fido and Tabby, and the most
reliable in effect.
Insects and scale diseases are not so easily managed; and that brings
us to the question of spraying and of sprays.
For large orchards the spray must, of course, be applied with powerful
and expensive machinery. For the small fruit garden a much simpler and
very moderate priced apparatus may be acquired. The most practical of
these is the brass-tank compressed-air sprayer, with extension rod and
mist-spray nozzle. Or one of the knapsack sprayers may be used. Either
of these will be of great assistance not only with the fruit trees, but
everywhere in the garden. With care they will last a good many years.
Whatever type you get, be sure to get a brass machine; as cheaper ones,
made of other metal, quickly corrode from contact with the strong
The insects most commonly attacking the apple are the codlin-moth,
tent-caterpillar, canker-worm and borer. The codlin-moth lays its eggs
on the fruit about the time of the falling of the blossoms, and the
larvae when hatched eat into the young fruit and cause the ordinary
wormy apples and pears. Owing to these facts, it is too late to reach
the trouble by spraying after the calyx closes on the growing fruit.
Keep close watch and spray immediately upon the fall of the blossoms,
and repeat the spraying a week or so (not more than two) later. For
spray use Paris green at the rate of 1 lb., or arsenate of lead (paste
or powder, less of the latter: see accompanying directions) at the rate
of 4 lbs. to 100 gallons of water, being careful to have a thorough
mixture. During July, tie strips of burlap or old bags around the
trunks, and every week or so destroy all caterpillars caught in these
traps. The tent-caterpillar may be destroyed while in the egg state, as
these are plainly visible around the smaller twigs in circular,
brownish masses. (See illustration.) Upon hatching, also, the nests are
obtrusively visible and may be wiped out with a swab of old bag, or
burned with a kerosene torch. Be sure to apply this treatment before
the caterpillar begins to leave the nest. The treatment recommended for
codlin-moths is also effective for the tent-caterpillar.
The canker-worm is another leaf-feeding enemy, and can be taken care of
by the Paris green or arsenate spray.
The railroad-worm, a small white maggot which eats a small path in all
directions through the ripening fruit, cannot be reached by spraying,
as he starts life inside the fruit; but where good clean tillage is
practiced and no fallen fruit is left to lie and decay under the trees,
he is not apt to give much trouble.
The borer's presence is indicated by the dead, withered appearance of
the bark, beneath which he is at work, and also by small amounts of
sawdust where he entered. Dig him out with a sharp pocket-knife, or
kill him inside with a piece of wire.
The most troublesome disease of the apple, especially in wet seasons,
is the apple-scab, which disfigures the fruit, both in size and in
appearance, as it causes blotches and distortions. Spray with Bordeaux
mixture, 5-5-50, or 3-3-50 (see formulas below) three times: just
before the blossoms open, just as they fall, and ten days to two weeks
after they fall. The second spraying is considered the most important.
The San Josť scale is of course really an insect, though in appearance
it seems a disease. It is much more injurious than the untrained fruit
grower would suppose, because indirectly so. It is very tiny, being
round in outline, with a raised center, and only the size of a small
pinhead. Where it has once obtained a good hold it multiplies very
rapidly, makes a scaly formation or crust on the branches, and causes
small red-edged spots on the fruit (see illustration). For trees once
infested, spray thoroughly both in fall, after the leaves drop, and
again in spring, _before_ growth begins. Use lime-sulphur wash, or
miscible oil, one part to ten of water, thoroughly mixed.
Sour cherries are more easily grown than the sweet varieties, and are
less subject to the attacks of fruit enemies. Sweet cherries are
troubled by the curculio, or fruit-worm, which attacks also peaches and
plums. Cherries and plums may be sprayed, when most of the blossoms are
off, with a strong arsenate of lead solution, 5 to 8 lbs. to 100 gals.
water. In addition to this treatment, where the worms have once got a
start, the beetles may be destroyed by spreading a sheet around and
beneath the tree, and every day or so shaking or jarring them off into
it, as described below.
Do not spray peaches. For the curculio, within a few days after the
flowers are off, take a large sheet of some cheap material to use as a
catcher. For large orchards there is a contrivance of this sort,
mounted on a wheelbarrow frame, but for the home orchard a couple of
sheets laid upon the ground, or one with a slit from one side to the
center, will answer. If four short, sharp-pointed stakes are fastened
to the corners, and three or four stout hooks and eyes are placed to
reunite the slit after the sheet is placed about the tree, the work can
be more thoroughly done, especially on uneven ground. After the sheet
is placed, with a stout club or mallet, padded with a heavy sack or
something similar to prevent injury to the bark, give a few sharp
blows, well up from the ground. This work should be done on a cloudy
day, or early in the morning--the colder the better--as the beetles are
then inactive. If a considerable number of beetles are caught the
operation should be repeated every two or three days. Continue until
the beetles disappear.
Peaches are troubled also by borers, in this case indicated by masses
of gum, usually about the crown. Dig out or kill with a wire, as in the
case of the apple-borer. Look over the trees for borers every spring,
or better, every spring and fall.
Another peach enemy is the "yellows," indicated by premature ripening
of the fruit and the formation of stunted leaf tufts, of a light yellow
color. This disease is contagious and has frequently worked havoc in
whole sections. Owing to the work of the Agricultural Department and
the various State organizations it is now held in check. The only
remedy is to cut and burn the trees and replant, in the same places if
desired, as, the disease does not seem to be carried by the soil.
Pears are sometimes affected with a scab similar to the apple-scab, and
this is combated by the same treatment--three sprayings with Bordeaux.
A blight which causes the leaves suddenly to turn black and die and
also kills some small branches and produces sores or wounds on large
branches and trunk, offers another difficulty. Cut out and burn all
affected branches and scrape out all sores. Disinfect all sores with
corrosive sublimate solution--1 to 1000--or with a torch, and paint
over at once.
Plums have many enemies but fortunately they can all be effectively
checked. First is the curculio, to be treated as described above.
For leaf-blight--spotting and dropping off of the leaves about
midsummer--spray with Bordeaux within a week or so after the falling of
the blossoms. This treatment will also help to prevent fruit-rot. In
addition to the spraying, however, thin out the fruit so that it does
not hang thickly enough for the plums to come in contact with each
In a well kept and well sprayed orchard black-knot is not at all likely
to appear. It is very manifest wherever it starts, causing ugly, black,
distorted knarls, at first on the smaller limbs. Remove and burn
immediately, and keep a sharp watch for more. As this disease is
supposed to be carried by the wind, see to it that no careless neighbor
is supplying you with the germs.
As will have been seen from the above, spraying poisons are of two
kinds: those that work by contact, which must be used for most sucking
insects, and germs and fungous diseases; and those that poison
internally, used for leaf-eating insects. Of the former sort, Bordeaux
mixture is the standard, although within the last few years it has been
to a considerable extent replaced by lime-sulphur mixtures, which are
described below. Bordeaux is made in various forms. That usually used
is the 5-5-50, or 5 lbs. copper sulphate, 5 lbs. unslaked lime, 50
gals. water. To save the trouble of making up the mixture each time it
is needed make a stock solution as follows: dissolve the copper
sulphate in water at the rate of 1 lb. to 1 gal. This should be done
the day before, or at least several hours before, the Bordeaux is
wanted for use. Suspend the sulphate crystals in a cloth or old bag
just below the surface of the water. Then slake the lime in a tub or
tight box, adding the water a little at a time, until the whole attains
the consistency of thick milk. When necessary, add water to this
mixture if it is kept too long; never let it dry out. When ready to
spray, pour the stock copper sulphate solution into the tank in the
proportion of 5 gals. to every 50 of spray required. Add water to
amount required. Then add stock lime solution, first diluting about
one-half with water and straining. The amount of lime stock solution to
be used is determined as follows: at the druggist's get an ounce of
yellow prussiate of potash dissolved in a pint of water, with a quill
in the cork of the bottle so that it may be dropped out. (It is
poison.) When adding the stock lime solution as directed above,
continue until the prussiate testing solution when dropped into the
Bordeaux mixture will no longer turn brown; then add a little more lime
to be on the safe side. All this sounds like a formidable task, but it
is quite simple when you really get at it. Remember that all you need
is a few pounds each of quicklime and copper sulphate, an ounce of
prussiate of potash and a couple of old kegs or large pails, in which
to keep the stock solutions,
Lime-sulphur mixtures can be bought, or mixed by the home orchardist.
They have the advantages over Bordeaux that they do not discolor the
foliage or affect the appearance of the fruit. Use according to
directions, usually about 1 part to 30 of water. These may be used at
the same times and for the same purposes as Bordeaux.
Lime-sulphur wash is used largely in commercial orcharding, but it is a
nasty mess to prepare and must be used in late fall or winter. For the
home orchard one of the miscible oils now advertised will be found more
satisfactory. While they cost more, there is no time or expense for
preparation, as they mix with cold water and are immediately ready for
use. They are easier to apply, more comfortable to handle, and will not
so quickly rot out pumps and spraying apparatus. Like the sulphur wash,
use only during late fall and winter.
Kerosene emulsion is made by dissolving Ivory, soft, whale-oil, or tar
soap in hot water and adding (away from the stove, please!) kerosene
(or crude oil); 1/2 lb. soap, 1 gal. water, 2 gals, kerosene.
Immediately place in a pail and churn or pump until a thick, lathery
cream results. This is the stock solution: for use, dilute with five to
fifteen times as much water, according to purpose applied for--on
dormant fruit trees, 5 to 7 times; on foliage, 10 or even 15.
Of the poisons for eating-insects, arsenate of lead is the best for use
in the fruit orchard, because it will not burn the foliage as Paris
green is apt to do, and because it stays on longer. It can be used in
Bordeaux and lime-sulphur mixtures, thus killing two bugs with one
spray. It comes usually in the form of a paste--though there is now a
brand in powder form (which I have not yet tried). This should be
worked up with the fingers (it is not poison to touch) or a small
wooden paddle, until thoroughly mixed, in a small quantity of water and
then strained into the sprayer. Use, of the paste forms, from one-
fourth to one lb. in 20 gals, clear water.
Paris green is the old standard. With a modern duster it may be blown
on pure without burning, if carefully done. Applied thus it should be
put on during a still morning, before the dew goes. It is safer to use
as a spray, first making a paste with a small quantity of water, and
then adding balance of water. Keep constantly stirred while spraying.
If lime is added, weight for weight with the green, the chances of
burning will be greatly reduced. For orchard work, 1 lb. to 100 gals.
water is the usual strength.
The accompanying table will enable the home orchardist to find quickly
the trouble with, and remedy for, any of his fruit trees.
The quality of fruit will depend very largely upon the care exercised
in picking and storing. Picking, carelessly done, while it may not at
the time show any visible bad results, will result in poor keeping and
rot. If the tissue cells are broken, as many will be by rough handling,
they will be ready to cause rotten spots under the first favorable
conditions, and then the rot will spread. Most of the fruits of the
home garden, which do not have to undergo shipping, will be of better
quality where they ripen fully on the tree. Pears, however, are often
ripened in the dark and after picking, especially the winter sorts.
Apples and pears for winter use should be kept, if possible, in a cold,
dark place, where there is no artificial heat, and where the air will
be moist, but never wet, and where the thermometer will not fall below
thirty-two degrees. Upon exceptionally cold nights the temperature may
be kept up by using an oil stove or letting in heat from the furnace
cellar, if that is adjacent. In such a place, store the fruit loosely,
on ventilated shelves, not more than six or eight inches deep. If they
must be kept in a heated place, pack in tight boxes or barrels, being
careful to put away only perfect fruit, or pack in sand or leaves.
Otherwise they will lose much in quality by shriveling, due to lack of
moisture in the atmosphere. With care they may be had in prime quality
until late in the following spring.
FRUIT | PEST | REMEDY | TIMES TO APPLY
| | | AND WHEN
Apple | Apple-scab | Bordeaux 5-5-50, or summer | 3.--b B O--a B
| | lime-sulphur spray | F--f 14 d.
| | |
| Apple-maggot | Pick up and destroy all | (See key below.)
| or | fallen fruits |
| Railroad worm| Dig out or kill with wire; |
| Borer | search for in fall and spring|
| | |
| Codlin moth | Arsenate of lead, 4 in 100; |
| | or Paris Green, 1 in 200. | 2.--a B F-f
| | Burlap bands on truck |20 d.
| | for traps during July |
| | |
| Cankerworm | Same as above |
| | |
| Tent- | Same as above, also wipe out |
| caterpillar | out or burn nests |
| | |
| Blister-mite | Lime-sulphur wash; kerosene | Late fall or
| | emulsion (dilute 5 times) | early spring.
| | or miscible oil (1 in 10 gal.)|
| | |
| Bud-moth | Arsenate of lead or Paris | 2.--When leaves
| | Green | appear--b B O.
Cherry| Leaf blight | Bordeaux 5-5-50 | 4.--b B C--a
| | | calyx closes--f
| | | 15 d--f 15 d.
| | |
| Curculio | Arsenate of lead, 8 in 100. | 1.--a B F.
| | Curculio catcher (see Plum) | 3 times a week
| | |
| Black-knot | Cut out and burn at once |
| | (see Plum) |
| | |
| Fruit-rot | Pick before fully ripe. |
| | spread out in cool airy room |
Peach | Borer | Dig out or kill with wire |
| Yellows | Pull out and burn |
| | tree--replant |
| | |
| Curculio | Do not spray. Catch on sheets |
| | (see Plum) |
| | |
| Brown-rot | Summer lime-sulphur; open |
| | pruning; pick rotten fruit | 3.--When fruit
| | | is half
| | | grown--f 10
| | | d--f 10 d.
| | |
| Leaf-curl | Bordeaux 5-5-50; lime-sulphur | 1--b buds swell,
| | wash | fall or early
| | | spring.
Pear | Blight | Cut out diseased branches; |
| | clean out sores; disinfect |
| | with corrosive sublimate 1 |
| | in 1000; paint over |
| | |
| Scab | Bordeaux 5-5-50, or summer | 2.--b B O--a B
| | sulphur (see Apple) | O--f 14 d.
| | |
| Blister-mite | |
Plum | Leaf-blight | Bordeaux or summer sulphur | 1.--After fruits
| | | set.
| Fruit-rot | Same; also thin fruits so as |
| Black-knot | not to touch (see Cherry) |
| Curculio | also have neighboring trees |
| | cleaned up |
| | Jar down on sheets stretched |
| | beneath trees and destroy | a B F--cool
| | | mornings-3
| | | times a week.
Any | San Josť | Lime-sulphur wash, kerosene | Late fall or
| scale | emulsion, 5 times diluted; | early spring.
| | miscible oil, 1 in 10 gals |
| | |
| Oyster-shell | Kerosene emulsion | May or June,
| scale | | when young
| | | whitish lice
| | | appear.
a-After. b-Before. d-Days. f-Follow up in. B-Blossoms. O-Open. F-Fall.
Do not let yourself be discouraged from growing your own fruit by the
necessity for taking good care of your trees. After all, you do not
have to plant them every year, as you do vegetables, and they yield a
splendid return on the small investment required. Do not fail to set
out at least a few this year with the full assurance that your
satisfaction is guaranteed by the facts in the case.
BERRIES AND SMALL FRUITS
Besides the tree-fruits discussed in the preceding chapters, there is
another class which should be represented in every home garden--the
berries and small fruits. These have the advantage of occupying much
less room than the former do and are therefore available where the
others are not.
The methods of giving berries proper cultivation are not so generally
known as the methods used with vegetables. Otherwise there is no reason
why a few of each should not be included in every garden of average
size. Their requirements are not exacting: the amount of skill, or
rather of attention, required to care for them is not more than that
required by the ordinary vegetables. In fact, once they are well
established they will demand less time than the annual vegetables.
Of these small fruits the most popular and useful are: the strawberry,
the blackberry, dewberry and raspberry, the currant, gooseberry and
The strawberry is the most important, and most amateurs attempt its
culture--many, however, with indifferent success. This is due, partly
at least, to the fact that many methods are advocated by successful
growers, and that the beginner is not likely to pick out _one_ and
stick to it; and further, that he is led to pay more attention to how
many layers he will have, and at what distance he will set the plants,
than to proper selection and preparation of soil and other vital
The soil should be well drained and rich--a good garden soil being
suitable. The strawberries should not follow sod or corn. If yard
manure is used it should be old and well rotted, so as to be as free as
possible from weed seeds. Potash, in some form (see Fertilizers) should
be added. The bed should be thoroughly prepared, so that the plants,
which need careful transplanting, may take hold at once. A good sunny
exposure is preferable, and a spot where no water will collect is
The plants are grown from "layers." They are taken in two ways: (1) by
rooting the runners in the soil; and (2) by layering in pots. In the
former method they are either allowed to root themselves, or, which
gives decidedly better results, by selecting vines from strong plants
and pushing them lightly down into the soil where the new crown is to
be formed. In the second method, two-inch or three-inch pots are used,
filling these with soil from the bed and plunging, or burying, them
level with the surface, just below where the crown is to be formed, and
holding the vine in place with a small stone, which serves the
additional purpose of marking where the pot is. In either case these
layers are made after the fruiting season.
SETTING THE PLANTS
In using the soil-rooted layers, it is generally more satisfactory to
set them out in spring, as soon as the ground can be worked, although
they are sometimes set in early fall--August or September--when the
ground is in very good condition, so that a good growth can at once be
made. Care should be used in transplanting. Have the bed fresh; keep
the plants out of the soil as short a time as possible; set the plants
in straight, and firm the soil; set just down to the crown--do not
cover it. If the soil is dry, or the season late, cut off all old
leaves before planting; also shorten back the roots about one-third and
be sure not to crowd them when setting, for which purpose a trowel, not
a dibble, should be used if the condition of the ground makes the use
of any implement necessary. If so dry that water must be used, apply it
in the bottom of the hole. If very hot and dry, shade for a day or two.
METHODS OF GROWING
I describe the three systems most valuable for the home garden: (1) the
hill, (2) the matted row, and (3) the pot-layered. (1) In the hill
system the plants are put in single rows, or in beds of three or four
rows, the plants one foot apart and the rows, or beds, two or three
feet apart. In either case each plant is kept separate, and all runners
are pinched off as fast as they form, the idea being to throw all the
strength into one strong crown. (2) In the matted row system the plants
are set in single rows, and the runners set in the bed at five or six
inches each side of the plants, and then trained lengthways of the row,
this making it a foot or so wide. The runners used to make these
secondary crowns must be the first ones sent out by the plants; they
should be severed from the parent plants as soon as well rooted. All
other runners must be taken off as they form. To keep the beds for a
good second crop, where the space between the rows has been kept
cultivated and clean, cut out the old plants as soon as the first crop
of berries is gathered, leaving the new ones--layered the year before--
about one foot apart. (3) The pot-layering system, especially for a
small number of plants, I consider the best. It will be seen that by
the above systems the ground is occupied three years, to get two crops,
and the strawberry season is a short one at best. By this third system
the strawberry is made practically an annual, and the finest of berries
are produced. The new plants are layered in pots, as described above.
The layers are taken immediately after the fruit is gathered; or better
still, because earlier, a few plants are picked out especially to make
runners. In either case, fork up the soil about the plants to be
layered, and in about fifteen days they will be ready to have the pots
placed under them. The main point is to have pot plants ready to go
into the new bed as soon as possible after the middle of July. These
are set out as in the hill system, and all runners kept pinched off, so
that a large crown has been formed by the time the ground freezes, and
a full crop of the very best berries will be assured for the following
spring. The pot-layering is repeated each year, and the old plants
thrown out, no attempt being made to get a second crop. It will be
observed that ground is occupied by the strawberries only the latter
half of the one season and the beginning of the next, leaving ample
time for a crop of early lettuce, cabbage or peas before the plants are
set, say in 1911, and for late cabbage or celery after the bed is
thrown out, in 1912. Thus the ground is made to yield three crops in
two years--a very important point where garden space is limited.
Whatever system is used--and each has its advocates--the strawberry bed
must be kept clean, and attention given to removing the surplus
runners. Cultivate frequently enough to keep a dust mulch between the
rows, as advocated for garden crops. At first, after setting, the
cultivation may be as deep as three or four inches, but as the roots
develop and fill the ground it should be restricted to two inches at
most. Where a horse is used a Planet Jr. twelve-tooth cultivator will
be just the thing.
After the ground freezes, and before severe cold sets in (about the 1st
to the 15th of December) the bed should be given its winter mulch. Bog
hay, which may be obtained cheaply from some nearby farmer, is about
the best material. Clean straw will do. Cover the entire bed, one or
two inches over the plants, and two or three between the rows. If
necessary, hold in place with old boards. In spring, but not before the
plants begin to grow, over each plant the mulch is pushed aside to let
it through. Besides giving winter protection, the mulch acts as a clean
even support for the berries and keeps the roots cool and moist.
INSECTS AND DISEASE
For white-grub and cut-worm see pages elsewhere in the text. For rust,
which frequently injures the leaves so seriously as to cause practical
loss of crop, choose hardy varieties and change bed frequently.
Spraying with Bordeaux, 5-5-50, four or five times during first season
plants are set, and second season just before and just after
blossoming, will prevent it. In making up your strawberry list remember
that some varieties have imperfect, or pistillate blossoms, and that
when such varieties are used a row of some perfect-flowering (bi-
sexual) sort must be set every nine to twelve feet.
New strawberries are being introduced constantly; also, they vary
greatly in their adaptation to locality. Therefore it is difficult to
advise as to what varieties to plant. The following, however, have
proved satisfactory over wide areas, and may be depended upon to give
satisfaction. Early crop:--Michel's Early, Haverland, Climax; mid-
season crop:--Bubach No. 5, Brandywine, Marshall, Nic. Ohmer, Wm. Belt,
Glen Mary, Sharplesss; late crop:--The Gandy, Sample, Lester Lovett.
The blackberry, dewberry and raspberry are all treated in much the same
way. The soil should be well drained, but if a little clayey, so much
the better. They are planned preferably in early spring, and set from
three or four to six or seven feet apart, according to the variety.
They should be put in firmly. Set the plants in about as deep as they
have been growing, and cut the canes back to six or eight inches. If
fruit is wanted the same season as bushes are set, get a few extra
plants--they cost but a few cents--and cut back to two feet or so.
Plants fruited the first season are not likely to do well the following
year. Two plants may be set in a place and one fruited. If this one is
exhausted, then little will be lost. Give clean cultivation frequently
enough to maintain a soil mulch, as it is very necessary to retain all
the moisture possible. Cultivation, though frequent, should be very
shallow as soon as the plants get a good start. In very hot seasons, if
the ground is clean, a summer mulch of old hay, leaves or rough manure
will be good for the same purpose.
In growing, a good stout stake is used for each plant, to which the
canes are tied with some soft material. Or, a stout wire is strung the
length of the row and the canes fastened to this--a better way,
however, being to string two wires, one on either side of the row.
Another very important matter is that of pruning. The plants if left to
themselves will throw up altogether too much wood. This must be cut out
to four or five of the new canes and all the canes that have borne
fruit should be cut and burned each season as soon as through fruiting.
The canes, for instance, that grow in 1911 will be those to fruit in
1912, after which they should be immediately removed. The new canes, if
they are to be self-supporting, as sometimes grown, should be cut back
when three or four feet high.
It is best, however, to give support. In the case of those varieties
which make fruiting side-shoots, as most of the black raspberries
(blackcaps) do, the canes should be cut back at two to three feet, and
it is well also to cut back these side shoots one-third to one-half,
early in the spring.
In cold sections (New York or north of it) it is safest to give winter
protection by "laying down" the canes and giving them a mulch of rough
material. Having them near the ground is in itself a great protection,
as they will not be exposed to sun and wind and will sometimes be
covered with snow.
For mulching, the canes are bent over nearly at the soil and a
shovelful of earth thrown on the tips to hold them down; the entire
canes may then be covered with soil or rough manure, but do not put it
on until freezing weather is at hand. If a mulch is used, it must be
taken off before growth starts in the spring.
The large-growing sorts are set as much as six by eight feet apart,
though with careful staking and pruning they may be comfortably handled
in less space. The smaller sorts need about four by six. When growth
starts, thin out to four or five canes and pinch these off at about
three feet; or, if they are to be put on wires or trellis, they may be
cut when tied up the following spring. Cultivate, mulch and prune as
Blackberries will do well on a soil a little dry for raspberries and
they do not need it quite so rich, as in this case the canes do not
ripen up sufficiently by fall, which is essential for good crops. If
growing rank they should be pinched back in late August. When tying up
in the spring, the canes should be cut back to four or five feet and
the laterals to not more than eighteen inches.
Blackberry enemies do not do extensive injury, as a rule, in well-
cared-for beds. The most serious are: (1) the rust or blight, for which
there is no cure but carefully pulling and burning the plants as fast
as infested; (2) the blackberry-bush borer, for which burn infested
canes; and (3) the recently introduced bramble flea-louse, which
resembles the green plant-louse or aphis except that it is a brisk
jumper, like the flea-beetle. The leaves twist and curl up in summer
and do not drop off in the fall. On cold early mornings, or wet
weather, while the insects are sluggish, cut all infested shoots,
collecting them in a tight box, and burn.
As with the other small fruits, so many varieties are being introduced
that it is difficult to give a list of the best for home use. Any
selections from the following, however, will prove satisfactory, as
they are tried-and-true:--Early King, Early Harvest, Wilson Junior,
Kittatinny, Rathburn, Snyder, Erie.
This is really a trailing blackberry and needs the same culture, except
that the canes are naturally slender and trailing and therefore, for
garden culture, must have support. They may be staked up, or a barrel
hoop, supported by two stakes, makes a good support. In ripening, the
dewberry is ten to fourteen days earlier than the blackberry, and for
that reason a few plants should be included in the berry patch. Premo
is the earliest sort, and Lucretia the standard.
The black and the red types are distinct in flavor, and both should be
grown. The blackcaps need more room, about three by six or seven feet;
for the reds three by five feet will be sufficient. The blackcaps, and
a few of the reds, like Cuthbert, throw out fruiting side branches, and
should have the main canes cut back at about two and a half feet to
encourage the growth of these laterals, which, in the following spring,
should be cut back to about one-third their length. The soil for
raspberries should be clayey if possible, and moist, but not wet.
The orange rust, which attacks the blackberry also, is a serious
trouble. Pull up and burn all infested plants at once, as no good
remedy has as yet been found. The cut-worm, especially in newly set
beds, may sometimes prove destructive of the sprouting young canes. The
raspberry-borer is the larva of a small, flattish, red-necked beetle,
which bores to the center of the canes during summer growth, and kills
them. Cut and burn.
Of the blackcaps, Gregg, McCormick, Munger, Cumberland, Columbian,
Palmer (very early), and Eureka (late), are all good sorts. Reds:
Cuthbert, Cardinal (new), Turner, Reliance, The King (extra early),
Loudon (late). Yellow: Golden Queen.
The currant and gooseberry are very similar in their cultural
requirements. A deep, rich and moist soil is the best--approaching a
clayey loam. There need be no fear of giving too much manure, but it
should be well rotted. Plenty of room, plenty of air, plenty of
moisture, secured where necessary by a soil or other mulch in hot dry
weather, are essential to the production of the best fruit.
The currant will stand probably as much abuse as any plant the home
gardener will have to deal with. Stuck in a corner, smothered in sod,
crowded with old wood, stripped by the currant-worm, it still struggles
along from year to year, ever hopefully trying to produce a meager crop
of poor fruit. But these are not the sort you want. Although it is so
tough, no fruit will respond to good care more quickly.
To have it do well, give it room, four or five feet each way between
bushes. Manure it liberally; give it clean cultivation, and as the
season gets hot and dry, mulch the soil, if you would be certain of a
full-sized, full-flavored crop. Two bushes, well cared for, will yield
more than a dozen half-neglected ones. Anywhere north of New York a
full crop every year may be made almost certain.
Besides careful cultivation, to insure the best of fruit it is
necessary to give some thought to the matter of pruning. The most
convenient and the most satisfactory way is to keep it in the bush
form. Set the plants singly, three or four feet apart, and so cut the
new growth, which is generously produced, as to retain a uniform bush
shape, preferably rather open in the center.
The fruit is produced on wood two or more years old. Therefore cut out
branches either when very small, or not until four or five years later,
after it has borne two or three crops of fruit. Therefore, in pruning
currants, take out (1) superfluous young growth; (2) old hard wood (as
new wood will produce better fruit); and (3) all weak, broken, dead or
diseased shoots; (4) during summer, if the tips of the young growths
kept for fruiting are pinched off, they will ripen up much better--
meaning better fruit when they bear; (5) to maintain a good form, the
whole plant may be cut back (never more than one-third) in the fall.
In special situations it may be advisable to train the currant to one
or a few main stems, as against a wall; this can be done, but it is
less convenient. Also it brings greater danger from the currant-borer.
The black currant, used almost entirely for culinary or preserving
purposes, is entirely different from the red and white ones. They are
much larger and should be put five to six feet apart. Some of the fruit
is borne on one-year-old wood, so the shoots should not be cut back.
Moreover, old wood bears as good fruit as the new growth, and need not
be cut out, unless the plant is getting crowded, for several years. As
the wood is much heavier and stronger than the other currants, it is
advisable gradually to develop the black currants into the tree form.
ENEMIES OF THE CURRANT
The worst of these is the common currant-worm. When he appears, which
will be indicated by holes eaten in the lower leaves early in spring,
generally before the plants bloom, spray at once with Paris green. If a
second brood appears, spray with white hellebore (if this is not all
washed off by the rain, wipe from the fruit when gathered). For the
borer, cut and burn every infested shoot. Examine the bushes in late
fall, and those in which the borers are at work will usually have a
wilted appearance and be of a brownish color.
VARIETIES OF CURRANTS
Red Dutch, while older and smaller than some of the newer varieties, is
hardier and not so likely to be hurt by the borer. London Market, Fay's
Prolific, Perfection (new), and Prince Albert, are good sorts. White
Grape is a good white. Naples, and Lee's Prolific are good black sorts.
This is given practically the same treatment as the currant. It is even
more important that it should be given the coolest, airiest, location
possible, and the most moist soil. Even a partially shaded situation
will do, but in such situations extra care must be taken to guard
against the mildew--which is mentioned below. Summer mulching is, of
course, of special benefit.
In pruning the gooseberry, it is best to cut out to a very few, or even
to a single stem. Keep the head open, to allow free circulation of air.
The extent of pruning will make a great difference in the size of the
fruit; if fruit of the largest size is wanted, prune very close. All
branches drooping to the ground should be removed. Keep the branches,
as much as possible, from touching each other.
The currant-worm attacks the gooseberry also, and is effectively
handled by the arsenate of lead, Paris green or hellebore spraying,
The great trouble in growing gooseberries successfully is the powdery
mildew--a dirty, whitish fungous growth covering both fruit and leaves.
It is especially destructive of the foreign varieties, the culture of
which, until the advent of the potassium sulfide spray, was being
practically abandoned. Use 1 oz. of potassium sulfide (liver of
sulphur) to 2 gals. water, and mix just before using. Spray thoroughly
three or four times a month, from the time the blossoms are opening
until fruit is ripe.
Of the native gooseberries--which are the hardiest, Downing and
Houghton's Seedling are most used. Industry is an English variety,
doing well here. Golden Prolific, Champion, and Columbus, are other
good foreign sorts, but only when the mildew is successfully fought
No garden is so small that there cannot be found in it room for three
or four grape-vines; no fruit is more certain, and few more delicious.
If it is convenient, a situation fully exposed to the sun, and sloping
slightly, will be preferable. But any good soil, provided only it is
rich and thoroughly drained, will produce good results. If a few vines
are to be set against walls, or in other out-of-the-way places, prepare
the ground for them by excavating a good-sized hole, putting in a foot
of coal cinders or other drainage material, and refilling with good
heavy loam, enriched with old, well rotted manure and half a peck of
wood ashes. For culture in the garden, such special preparation will
not be necessary--although, if the soil is not in good shape, it will
be advisable slightly to enrich the hills.
One or two-year roots will be the most satisfactory to buy. They may be
set in either fall or spring--the latter time, for New York or north,
being generally preferable. When planting, the cane should be cut back
to three or four eyes, and the roots should also be shortened back--
usually about one-third. Be sure to make the hole large enough, when
setting, to let the roots spread naturally, and work the soil in well
around them with the fingers. Set them in firmly, by pressing down hard
with the ball of the foot after firming by hand. They are set about six
As stated above, the vine is cut back, when planting, to three or four
eyes. The subsequent pruning--and the reader must at once distinguish
between pruning, and training, or the way in which the vines are
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