( Originally Published Early 1900's )
1.STRAWBERRIES.-To Raise Large and Abundant-We have known strawberry growers to have the soil for strawberry plantations spaded 2 feet deep, and to apply 100 two-horse wagon loads of good stable manure per acre, before a plant was put out. Then during the first season the soil, between the rows was stirred at least every 2 weeks, and in the fell the entire ground and plants were entirely covered with bog hay, which protects them in winter, and this mulch was left on the following season, not only to keep the berries clean but also to keep the soil moist underneath. Slaughter house manure of the rankest kind is also used for this purpose, and the growth of vine which follows, and the size of fruit would certainly astonish any man who w is not in the secret as to how the thing was done. This is the way in which new sorts are treated by professionals who expect to make a show of their pets at exhibitions or elsewhere.—Phonograph, Colby, Wis.
Remarks.—If this is the plan to show off their pets, it is the plan to raise them on generally. The deeper working of the soil, (see No. 3), and heavy manuring pay, also the covering or mulching with cheap hay, to avoid the soil getting upon the berries, and also the keeping of the ground moist, and weeds from growing.
2. Strawberry Growers—a Hint—Kind's to Plant with Wilson's Albany.—A correspondent of the Fruit Recorder, (see No. 4), complaining that Wilson's Albany toward the last part of the season run small in the size of the berry, and that rich soil and good cultivation do not change this habit, is told to plant amongst the Wilsons every third or fourth plant of Charles Downing, Colonel Cheney or Jucunda, all of which are in their prime-toward the last run of the Wilsons. This proportion of these large sorts mixed. in with the Wilsons will give a fine appearance to the fruit, and make them sell well to the last.
3. Strawberry Culture—Kinds, and How to Grow Them. A correspondent of the Post and Tribune says: "Any one can raise straw-berries who can grow corn or garden vegetables; yet few attain to perfection in strawberry growing.
I. The first requisite is a deep, rich bed.
II. The second requisite is good plants, and of kinds which will bear fruit without some other variety to fertilize them. If the Col. Cheney is planted alone very little fruit will be had, because this is a pistillate variety; so is the Green Prolific, and these varieties require the presence of some staminate sort to fertilize them. The Wilson's Albany is a good staminate sort, and bears fruit without the aid of any other variety, except to get larger berries the last of the season as in No. 2. It is the best kind for general planting. A good variety to plant beside the Wilson is the Green Prolific.
III. Thirdly, after the plants are done bearing, the tops should be mown off close, or cropped with a sharp knife. This prevents the plants throwing out runners so freely, and thus avoids the tendency to become matted together; it causes a strong growth of roots, and gives new, fresh and healthy foliage. It is almost equal to renewing the bed, because the plants are not taxed to support a new generation.
IV. Lastly, strawberries need the earliest culture possible in the spring. The beds ought then to be covered with manure or hay, to keep the soil cool and damp, and to prevent the growing of weeds. With these points attented to, large crops will reward the grower.
Remarks,—The author agrees with this gentleman, except in the spring culture. I believe it is a conceded fact, generally, that the culture, manuring and putting on hay, or straw, or sawdust, should be done in the fall. The manure spaded or forked in, and the straw or other covering put on, so the fall rains and the melting of the snow in the spring will carry the virtue of the manure well among the roots, and, consequently, give a better crop. In such a case as given in the next, where no time could be given in the fall to do as these •did, I would take time to put on a good covering of straw, or marsh hay, if plenty, which is no doubt best, as it is not so likely to blow off, after being wet by the rains.
4. Strawberries, Killing Weeds Among.—The Palmyra (N. Y.) Fruit Recorder, upon this subject says: " One of the finest yields cf strawberries we ever saw was years ago on an old bed of Early Scarlet, grown on the farm of a brother-in-law. It had been kept clean up to July, when the press of farm work prevented any further attention to it, and the vines run helter-skelter and weeds grew freely, so that by December it was a complete mat of vines and weeds We recommended setting fire to it, which was done, and quickly burned over. In the spring the vines started freely, and soon covered the sur-face with their green leaves, and from about one-third of an acre, nearly 50 bushels of splendid fruit was gathered. You can do this, and if the weeds are not sufficiently scattered over it to burn over the entire surface, scatter a little straw or hay over the vacant places. The fire destroys the seeds of weeds but does no harm to plants."
Strawberries, Liquid Manure for, While Growing.—I filled a half-hogshead with rainwater, and put into it a 1/4 lb. aqua ammonia and lb. common niter (saltpeter). When the strawberry plants were blossoming out I gave them a sprinkling of the solution at evening twice a week until the fruit was nearly full size. The result was double the amount of fruit on those where the liquid was applied to what was obtained from those right alongside upon 'which none of the liquid was applied.—Fruit Record.
Remarks.—With all these points, I think any one can raise strawberries, as No. 3 puts it, if they will pay reasonable attention; and if extra attention, they will get extra crops.
RASPBERRY CULTURE -How to Prepare The Ground.—The richer the soil naturally, that can be given to them the better, then, one writer says, " The ground is prepared as you would for a crop of sugar beets (that is, deep ploughing and plenty of manure), using plenty of old manure and plowing deeply as possible: Shallow culture will not do for raspberries as the roots require coolness and moisture. Without these conditions, in dry seasons the crop will not perfect itself. The plants are usually set 4 feet apart each way, though some cultivators prefer 6 feet one way and 3 feet the other."
2. Keeping Clear of Weeds the Two First Seasons, then Mulching or Covering.—C. Engle of Paw Paw, Mich. says; "Raspberries should be hoed and kept well cleaned from weeds the first two seasons after setting. After that a very good and easy way to tend them is to cover the surface, between the vines, with some kind of coarse litter, (straw or marsh hay is first rate), 5 or 6 inches in depth. That will prevent the weeds from growing, and keep the ground cool and moist. I have treated a patch in that way for 7 years past, (adding an additional light coating every spring), and see no dimunition in quantity or quality of the fruit. They do equally as well in the dryest season. I do not know that it would be practicable on a large plantation, but for a small patch it is just the thing."
Remarks.—If it is just the thing for a small patch, 'tis just the thing for a: large one, if you desire to have it pay big. Undertake no larger field than you can do well, then you may reasonably expect it to do well. If you have not. mulch enough to cover all the ground, let the hills be well mulched with manure; and if considerable straw is in it, 'tis so much the better, for the roots must be covered, if you expect large yields.
3. The Kind to Raise.—The McCormick, also called the Mammoth Cluster Raspberries, is becoming one of the leading varieties among the black caps. T. T. Lyon says it is the largest, most vigorous and productive of them all. Charles Downing says: "It has stronger and more vigorous canes, has fewer spines, and is the largest, best and most productive Black Cap we have seen."
Remarks.-There may from time to time be varieties brought out that will eclipse the McCormick. Let everyone engaged in the business look well to this in obtaining plants or canes, as everyone wants the best.
Even now, 1884, the Rural New Yorker in its brieflets suggests Shaffer's Colossal as a large berry, combining a pleasant acidity with the true raspberry flavor among the black caps; and the Crimson Beauty or Hansell as the earliest red and the Snider among blackberries to take the place of a part, at least, of the Kittatinny's, being more fruitful, and far more hardy; certainly good qualities to recommend it. And so may improvements go on.
4. Pinching Off, or Cutting Back the Leaves, the Best. Way —Those that understand the cultivation of the raspberry consider it the best way to pinch off when 3 or 4 feet high, according to the richness of the soil, else to cut back as soon as they reach 5 or 6 feet high, which certainly tends to-. make them more stocky, and to produce much stronger, lateral or side branches, which should also be pinched off or cut back, to insure a larger berry, and a larger yield of fruit.
5. Blackberries— And red raspberries need much the same treatment as the black caps.
Gardening in a Hogshead.—Sometime ago Mr. G. L. Record, of this city bored holes in rows around a hogshead, at a regular intervals, 6 inches apart, filling the hogshead with earth, and set a strawberry plant in each one of the holes, beside putting a number of plants on top. There are 100 plants growing from the sides of this novel Garden, which are now in full beauty and bloom, having a prolific growth of berries, and looking remarkably thriving and healthy. Some of the berries are ripe, and have attained great size, one measuring 3 inches in circumference.—New Orleans Times-Democrat.
Remarks.-I have seen cucumbers growing in, or rather on top of kegs filled with rich earth, so I know the thing is practicable for those who have only .a small yard and no garden.