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Title: Ten Acres Enough - How a very small farm may be made to keep a very large family
Author: Morris, Edmund
Language: English
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                           TEN ACRES ENOUGH:

                        A PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE,


                       KEEP A VERY LARGE FAMILY.


                  Extensive and Profitable Experience


                            EIGHTH EDITION.

                               NEW YORK:
                      PUBLISHED BY JAMES MILLER,
                  (SUCCESSOR TO C. S. FRANCIS & CO.,)
                             522 BROADWAY.

        Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864,

                           BY JAMES MILLER,

 In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for
                  the Southern District of New York.


The man who feeds his cattle on a thousand hills may possibly see the
title of this little volume paraded through the newspapers; but the
chances are that he will never think it worth while to look into the
volume itself. The owner of a hundred acres will scarcely step out of
his way to purchase or to borrow it, while the lord of every smaller
farm will be sure it is not intended for him. Few persons belonging to
these several classes have been educated to believe Ten Acres Enough.
Born to greater ambition, they have aimed higher and grasped at more,
sometimes wisely, sometimes not. Many of these are now owning or
cultivating more land than their heads or purses enable them to manage
properly. Had their ambition been moderate, and their ideas more
practical, their labor would be better rewarded, and this book, without
doubt, would have found more readers.

The mistaken ambition for owning twice as much land as one can
thoroughly manure or profitably cultivate, is the great agricultural sin
of this country. Those who commit it, by beginning wrong, too frequently
continue wrong. Owning many acres is the sole idea. High cultivation of
a small tract, is one of which they have little knowledge. Too many in
these several classes think they know enough. They measure a man’s
knowledge by the number of his acres. Hence, in their eyes the owner of
a plot so humble as mine must know so little as to be unable to teach
them any thing new.

Happily, it is not for these that I write, and hence it would be
unreasonable to expect them to become readers. I write more particularly
for those who have not been brought up as farmers--for that numerous
body of patient toilers in city, town, and village, who, like myself,
have struggled on from year to year, anxious to break away from the
bondage of the desk, the counter, or the workshop, to realize in the
country even a moderate income, so that it be a sure one. Many such are
constantly looking round in this direction for something which, with
less mental toil and anxiety, will provide a maintenance for a growing
family, and afford a refuge for advancing age--some safe and quiet
harbor, sheltered from the constantly recurring monetary and political
convulsions which in this country so suddenly reduce men to poverty. But
these inquirers find no experienced pioneers to lead the way, and they
turn back upon themselves, too fearful to go forward alone. Books of
personal experience like this are rare. This is written for the
information of the class referred to, for men not only willing, but
anxious to learn. Once in the same predicament myself, I know their
longings, their deficiencies, and the steps they ought to take. Hence,
in seeking to make myself fully understood, some may think that I have
been unnecessarily minute. But in setting forth my own crudities, I do
but save others from repeating them. Yet with all this amplification, my
little contribution will occasion no crowding even upon a book-shelf
which may be already filled.

I am too new a farmer to be the originator of all the ideas which are
here set forth. Some, which seemed to be appropriate to the topic in
hand, have been incorporated with the argument as it progressed; while
in some instances, even the language of writers, whose names were
unknown to me, has also been adopted.



Chapter I.--City Experiences--Moderate Expectations                    9

CHAPTER II.--Practical Views--Safety of Investments in Land           15

CHAPTER III.--Resolved to go--Escape from Business--Choosing a
Location                                                              22

CHAPTER IV.--Buying a Farm--Anxiety to sell--Forced to quit           29

CHAPTER V.--Making a Purchase--First Impressions                      37

CHAPTER VI.--Planting a Peach-orchard--How to preserve Peach-trees    42

CHAPTER VII.--Planting Raspberries and Strawberries--Tricks of
the Nursery                                                           53

CHAPTER VIII.--Blackberries--A Remarkable Coincidence                 60

CHAPTER IX.--The Garden--Female Management--Comforts and Profits      69

CHAPTER X.--Cheated in a Cow--A Good and a Bad One--The Saint of
the Barnyard                                                          76

CHAPTER XI.--A Cloud of Weeds--Great Sales of Plants                  86

CHAPTER XII.--Pigs and Poultry--Luck and Ill Luck                     98

CHAPTER XIII.--City and Country Life contrasted                      110

CHAPTER XIV.--Two Acres in Truck--Revolution in Agriculture          118

CHAPTER XV.--Birds, and the Services they Render                     131

CHAPTER XVI.--Close of my First Year--Its Loss and Gain              141

CHAPTER XVII.--My Second Year--Trenching the Garden--Strawberry
Profits                                                              148

CHAPTER XVIII.--Raspberries--The Lawtons                             167

CHAPTER XIX.--Liquid Manures--An Illustration                        177

CHAPTER XX.--My Third Year--Liquid Manure--Three Years’ Results      188

CHAPTER XXI.--A Barnyard Manufactory--Land Enough--Faith in Manure   200

CHAPTER XXII.--Profits of Fruit-growing--The Trade in Berries        212

CHAPTER XXIII.--Gentleman-farming--Establishing a Home               230

CHAPTER XXIV.--Unsuccessful Men--Rebellion not Ruinous to Northern
Agriculture                                                          238

CHAPTER XXV.--Where to Locate--East or West                          248

                           TEN ACRES ENOUGH.



My life, up to the age of forty, had been spent in my native city of
Philadelphia. Like thousands of others before me, I began the world
without a dollar, and with a very few friends in a condition to assist
me. Having saved a few hundred dollars by dint of close application to
business, and avoiding taverns, oyster-houses, theatres, and fashionable
tailors, I married and went into business the same year. These two
contemporaneous drafts upon my little capital proving heavier than I
expected, they soon used it up, leaving me thereafter greatly straitened
for means. It is true my business kept me, but as it was constantly
expanding, and was of such a nature that a large proportion of my annual
gain was necessarily invested in tools, fixtures, and machinery, I was
nearly always short of ready cash to carry on my operations with
comfort. At certain times, also, it ceased to be profitable. The crisis
of 1837 nearly ruined me, and I was kept struggling along during the
five succeeding years of hard times, until the revival of 1842 came
round. Previous to this crisis, necessity had driven me to the banks for
discounts, one of the sore evils of doing business upon insufficient
capital. As is always the case with these institutions, they compelled
me to return the borrowed money at the very time it was least convenient
for me to do so--they needed it as urgently as myself. But to refund
them I was compelled to borrow elsewhere, and that too at excessive
rates of interest, thus increasing the burden while laboring to shake it

Thousands have gone through the same unhappy experience, and been
crushed by the load. Such can anticipate my trials and privations. Yet I
was not insolvent. My property had cost me far more than I owed, yet if
offered for sale at a time when the whole community seemed to want money
only, no one could have been found to give cost. I could not use it as
the basis of a loan, neither could I part with it without abandoning my
business. Hence I struggled on through that exhausting crisis, haunted
by perpetual fears of being dishonored at bank,--lying down at night,
not to peaceful slumber, but to dream of fresh expedients to preserve my
credit for to-morrow. I have sometimes thought that the pecuniary cares
of that struggle were severe enough to have shortened my life, had they
been much longer protracted.

Besides the mental anxieties they occasioned, they compelled a pinching
economy in my family. But in this latter effort I discovered my wife to
be a jewel of priceless value, coming up heroically to the task, and
relieving me of a world of care. Without her aid, her skill, her
management, her uncomplaining cheerfulness, her sympathy in struggles so
inadequately rewarded as mine were, I should have sunk into utter
bankruptcy. Her economy was not the mean, penny-wise, pound foolish
policy which many mistake for true economy. It was the art of
calculation joined to the habit of order, and the power of proportioning
our wishes to the means of gratifying them. The little pilfering temper
of a wife is despicable and odious to every man of sense; but there is a
judicious, graceful economy, which has no connection with an avaricious
temper, and which, as it depends upon the understanding, can be expected
only from cultivated minds. Women who have been well educated, far from
despising domestic duties, will hold them in high respect, because they
will see that the whole happiness of life is made up of the happiness of
each particular day and hour, and that much of the enjoyment of these
must depend upon the punctual practice of virtues which are more
valuable than splendid.

If I survived that crisis, it was owing to my wife’s admirable
management of my household expenses. She saw that our embarrassment was
due to no imprudence or neglect of mine. She thus consented to severe
privations, uttering no complaint, hinting no reproach, never
disheartened, and so rarely out of humor that she never failed to
welcome my return with a smile.

But in this country one convulsion follows another with disheartening
frequency. I lived through that of 1837, paid my debts, and had managed
to save some money. My wife’s system of economy had been so long adhered
to, that in the end it became to some extent habitual to her, and she
still continued to practise great frugality. I became insensibly
accustomed to it myself. Children were multiplying around us, and we
thought the skies had brightened for all future time. When in
difficulty, we had often debated the propriety of quitting the city and
its terrible business trials, and settling on a few acres in the
country, where we could raise our own food, and spend the remainder of
our days in cultivating ground which would be sure to yield us at least
a respectable subsistence. We had no longing for excessive wealth: a
mere competency, though earned by daily toil, so that it was reasonably
sure, and free from the drag of continued indebtedness to others, was
all we coveted.

I had always loved the country, but my wife preferred the city. I could
take no step but such as would be likely to promote her happiness. So
long as times continued fair, we ceased to canvass the propriety of a
removal. We had children to educate, and to her the city seemed the best
and most convenient place for qualifying them for future usefulness.
Then, most of our relations resided near us. Our habits were eminently
social. We had made numerous friends, and among our neighbors there had
turned up many valuable families. We felt even the thought of breaking
away from all these cordial ties to be a trying one. But the refuge of a
removal to the country had taken strong hold of my mind.

Indeed, it may be said that I was born with a passion for living on a
farm. It was fixed and strengthened by my long experience of the
business vicissitudes of city life. For many years I had been a constant
subscriber for several agricultural journals, whose contents I read as
carefully as I did those of the daily papers. My wife also, being a
great reader, came in time to study them almost as attentively. Every
thing I saw in them only tended to confirm my longing for the country,
while they gave definite views of what kind of farming I was fit for. In
fact they educated me for the position before I assumed it. I am sure
they exercised a powerful influence in removing most of my wife’s
objections to living in the country. I studied their contents as
carefully as did the writers who prepared them. I watched the reports of
crops, of experiments, and of profits. The leading idea in my mind was
this--that a man of ordinary industry and intelligence, by choosing a
proper location within hourly reach of a great city market, could so
cultivate a few acres as to insure a maintenance for his family, free
from the ruinous vibrations of trade or commerce in the metropolis. All
my reading served to convince me of its soundness. I did not assume that
he could get rich on the few acres which I ever expected to own; but I
felt assured that he could place himself above want. I knew that his
peace of mind would be sure. With me this was dearer than all. My
reading had satisfied me that such a man would find Ten Acres Enough,
and these I could certainly command.

As I did not contemplate undertaking the management of a large grain
farm, so my studies did not run in that direction. Yet I read every
thing that came before me in relation to such, and not without profit.
But I graduated my views to my means, and so noted with the utmost care
the experiences of the small cultivators who farmed five to ten acres
thoroughly. I noted their failures as watchfully as their successes,
knowing that the former were to be avoided, as the latter were to be
imitated. As opportunity offered, I made repeated excursions, year after
year, in every direction around Philadelphia, visiting the small farmers
or truckers who supplied the city market with fruit and vegetables,
examining, inquiring, and treasuring up all that I saw and heard. The
fund of knowledge thus acquired was not only prodigious, but it has been
of lasting value to me in my subsequent operations. I found multitudes
of truckers who were raising large families on five acres of ground,
while others, owning only thirty acres, had become rich.

On most of these numerous excursions I was careful to have my wife with
me. I wanted her to see and hear for herself, and by convincing her
judgment, to overcome her evidently diminishing reluctance to leaving
the city. My uniform consideration for her comfort at last secured the
object I had in view. She saw so many homes in which a quiet abundance
was found, so many contented men and women, so many robust and bouncing
children, that long before I was ready to leave the city, she was quite
impatient to be gone.



There was not a particle of romance in my aspirations for a farm,
neither had I formed a single visionary theory which was there to be
tested. My notions were all sober and prosaic. I had struggled all my
life for dollars, because abundance of them produces pecuniary comfort:
and the change to country life was to be, in reality, a mere
continuation of the struggle, but lightened by the assurance that if the
dollars thus to be acquired were fewer in number, the certainty of
earning enough of them was likely to be greater. Crops might fail under
skies at one time too watery, at another too brassy, but no such
disaster could equal those to which commercial pursuits are
uninterruptedly exposed. They have brassy skies above them as well as
farmers. For nearly twenty years I had been hampered with having notes
of my own or of other parties to pay; but of all the farmers I had
visited, only one had ever given a note, and he had made a vow never to
give another. My wife was shrewd enough to observe and remark on this
fact at the time, it was so different from my own experience. She
admitted there must be some satisfaction in carrying on a business which
did not require the giving of notes.

Looking at the matter of removal to the country in a practical light, I
found that in the city I was paying three hundred dollars per annum rent
for a dwelling-house. It was the interest of five thousand dollars; yet
it afforded nothing but a shelter for my family. I might continue to pay
that rent for fifty years, without, at the end of that time, having
acquired the ownership of either a stone upon the chimney, or a shingle
in the roof. If the house rose in value, the rise would be to the
owner’s benefit, not to mine. It would really be injurious to me, as the
rise would lead him to demand an increase of his rent. But put the value
of the house into a farm, or even the half of it--the farm would have a
dwelling-house upon it, in which my family would find as good a shelter,
while the land, if cultivated as industriously as I had always
cultivated business, would belie the flood of evidence I had been
studying for many years, if it failed to yield to my efforts the returns
which it was manifestly returning to others. We could live contentedly
on a thousand dollars a year, and here we should have no landlord to
pay. My wife, in pinching times, has financiered us through the year on
several hundred less. I confess to having lived as well on the
diminished rations as I wanted to. Indeed, until one tries it for
himself, it is incredible what dignity there is in an old hat, what
virtue in a time-worn coat, and how savory the dinner-table can be made
without sirloin steaks or cranberry tarts.

Thus, let it be remembered, my views and aspirations had no tinge of
extravagance. My rule was moderation. The tortures of a city struggle
without capital, had sobered me down to being contented with a bare
competency. I might fail in some particulars at the outset, from
ignorance, but I was in the prime of life, strong, active, industrious,
and tractable, and what I did not know I could soon learn from others,
for farmers have no secrets. Then I had seen too much of the uncertainty
of banks and stocks, and ledger accounts, and promissory notes, to be
willing to invest any thing in either as a permanency. At best they are
fluctuating and uncertain, up to-day and down to-morrow. My great
preference had always been for land.

In looking around among my wide circle of city acquaintances, especially
among the older families, I could not fail to notice that most of them
had grown rich by the ownership of land. More than once had I seen the
values of all city property, improved and unimproved, apparently
disappear;--lots without purchasers, and houses without tenants, the
community so poor and panic-stricken that real estate became the merest
drug. Yesterday the collapse was caused by the destruction of the
National Bank; to-day it is the Tariff. Sheriffs played havoc with
houses and lands incumbered by mortgages, and lawyers fattened on the
rich harvest of fees inaugurated by a Bankrupt Law. But those who,
undismayed by the wreck around them, courageously held on to land, came
through in safety. The storm, having run its course and exhausted its
wrath, gave place to skies commercially serene, and real estate swung
back with an irrepressible momentum to its former value, only to keep on
advancing to one even greater.

I became convinced that safety lay in the ownership of land. In all my
inquiries both before leaving the city, as well as since, I rarely heard
of a farmer becoming insolvent. When I did, and was careful to ascertain
the cause, it turned out that he had either begun in debt, and was thus
hampered at the beginning, or had made bad bargains in speculations
outside of his calling, or wasted his means in riotous living, or had in
some way utterly neglected his business. If not made rich by heavy
crops, I could find none who had been made poor by bad ones.

The reader may look back over every monetary convulsion he may be able
to remember, and he will find that in all of them the agricultural
community came through with less disaster than any other interest. Wheat
grows and corn ripens though all the banks in the world may break, for
seed-time and harvest is one of the divine promises to man, never to be
broken, because of its divine origin. They grew and ripened before banks
were invented, and will continue to do so when banks and railroad bonds
shall have become obsolete.

Moreover, the earthly fund for whose acquisition we are all striving, we
naturally desire to make a permanent one. As we have worked for it, so
we trust that it will work for us and our children. Its value, whatever
that may be, depends on its perpetuity--the continuance of its
existence. A man seeks to earn what will support and serve not only
himself, but his posterity. He would naturally desire to have the estate
descend to children and grandchildren. This is one great object of his
toil. What, then, is the safest fund in which to invest, in this
country? What is the only fund which the experience of the last fifty
years has shown, with very few exceptions, would be absolutely safe as a
provision for heirs? How many men, within that period, assuming to act
as trustees for estates, have kept the trust fund invested in stocks,
and when distributing the principal among the heirs, have found that
most of it had vanished! Under corporate insolvency it had melted into
air. No prudent man, accepting such a trust, and guaranteeing its
integrity, would invest the fund in stocks.

Our country is filled with pecuniary wrecks from causes like this.
Thousands trust themselves during their lifetime, to manage this
description of property, confident of their caution and sagacity. With
close watching and good luck, they may be equal to the task; but the
question still occurs as to the probable duration of such a fund in
families. What is its safety when invested in the current stocks of the
country? and next, what is its safety in the hands of heirs? There are
no statistics showing the probable continuance of estates in land in
families, and of estates composed of personal property, such as stocks.
But every bank cashier will testify to one remarkable fact--that an heir
no sooner inherits stock in the bank than the first thing he generally
does is to sell and transfer it, and that such sale is most frequently
the first notice given of the holder’s death.

This preference for investment in real estate will doubtless be objected
to by the young and dashing business man. But lands, or a fund secured
by real estate, is unquestionably not only the highest security, but in
the hands of heirs it is the only one likely to survive a single
generation. Hence the wisdom of the common law, which neither permits
the guardian to sell the lands of his ward, nor even the court, in its
discretion, to grant authority for their sale, except upon sufficient
grounds shown,--as a necessity for raising a fund for the support and
education of the ward. Even a lord chancellor can only touch so sacred a
fund for this or similar reasons. The common law is wise on this
subject, as on most others. It is thus the experience and observation of
mankind that such a fund is the safest, and hence the provisions of the

Those, therefore, who acquire personal property, acquire only what will
last about a generation, longer or shorter. Such property is quickly
converted into money--it perishes and is gone. But land is hedged round
with numerous guards which protect it from hasty spoliation. It is not
so easily transferred; it is not so secretly transferred; the law
enjoins deliberate formalities before it can be alienated, and often the
consent of various parties is necessary. When all other guards give way,
early memories of parental attachment to these ancestral acres, or
tender reminiscences of childhood, will come in to stay the spoliation
of the homestead, and make even the prodigal pause before giving up this
portion of his inheritance.

Throughout Europe a passion to become the owner of land is universal,
while the difficulty of gratifying it is infinitely greater than with
us. It is there enormously dear; here it is absurdly cheap. It is from
this universal passion that the vast annual immigration to this country
derives its mighty impulse. As it reaches our shores it spreads itself
over the country in search of cheap land. Many of the most flourishing
Western States have been built up by the astonishing influx of
immigrants. In England, every landowner is prompt to secure every
freehold near him, be it large or small, as it comes into market. Hence
the number of freeholders in that country is annually diminishing by
this process of absorption. This European passion for acquiring land is
strangely contrasted with the American passion for parting with it.



The last thirty years have been prolific of great pecuniary convulsions.
I need not recapitulate them here, as too many of them are yet dark
spots on the memory of some who will read this. Their frequency, as well
as their recurrence at shorter intervals than at the beginning of the
century, are among their most remarkable features, baffling the
calculations of older heads, and confounding those of younger ones. As
the century advanced, these convulsions increased in number and
violence. The whole business horizon seemed full of coming storms, which
burst successively with desolating severity, not only on merchants and
manufacturers, but on others who had long before retired from business.
No one could foresee this state of things. I will not stop to argue
causes, but confine myself to facts which none will care to contradict.

These disasters made beggars of thousands in every branch of business,
and spread discouragement over every community. I passed through several
of them, striving and struggling, and oppressed beyond all power of
description. How many more the community was to encounter I did not
know; but I conceived it the part of prudence to place myself beyond
the circle of their influence before I also had been prostrated.

In spite of the losses thus encountered, I had been saving something
annually for several years, when the stricture of 1854 came on,
premonitory of the tremendous crash of 1857. Most unfortunately for my
comfort, that stricture seemed to fall with peculiar severity on a class
of dealers largely indebted to me. Many of them became embarrassed, and
failed to pay me at the time, while to this day some of them are still
my debtors. My old experiences of raising money revived, and to some
extent I was compelled to go through the humiliations of similar
periods. But the stricture was of brief duration, and I closed the year
in far better condition than I had anticipated.

But the trials of that incipient crisis determined me to abandon the
city. I found that by realizing all I then possessed, I could command
means enough to purchase ten to twenty acres, and I had grown nervous
and apprehensive of the future. While possessed of a little, I resolved
to make that little sure by investing it in land. I had worked for the
landlord long enough. My excellent wife was now entirely willing to make
the change, and our six children clapped their hands with joy when they
heard that “father was going to live in the country.”

I had long determined in my mind what sort of farming was likely to
prove profitable enough to keep us with comfort, and that was the
raising of small fruits for the city markets. My attention had always
been particularly directed to the berries. Some strawberries I had
raised in my city garden with prodigious success. My friends, when they
heard of my project, expressed fears that the market would soon be
glutted, not exactly by the crops which I was to raise, but they could
not exactly answer how. They confessed that they were extremely fond of
berries, and that at no time in the season could they afford to eat
enough; a confession which seemed to explode all apprehension of the
market being overstocked.

But my wife and myself had both examined the hucksters who called at the
door with small fruits, as to the monstrous prices they demanded, and
had begged them, if ever a glut occurred, that they would call and let
us know. But none had ever called with such information. It was the same
thing with those who occupied stalls in the various city markets. They
rarely had a surplus left unsold, and their prices were always high. A
glut of fruit was a thing almost unknown to them. It was a safe
presumption that the market would not be depressed by the quantity that
I might raise.

But here let me say something by way of parenthesis, touching this
common idea of the danger of overstocking the fruit-market of the great
cities. It is a curious fact that this idea is entertained only by those
who are not fruit-growers. The latter never harbored it. Their whole
experience runs the other way, they know it to be a gross absurdity. Yet
somehow, the question of a glut has always been debated. Twenty years
ago the nurserymen were advised to close up their sales and abandon the
business, as they would soon have no customers for trees--everybody was
supplied. But trees have continued to be planted from that day to this,
and where hundreds were sold twenty years ago, thousands are disposed of
now. Old-established nurseries have been trebled in size, while
countless new ones have been planted. The nursery business has grown to
a magnitude truly gigantic, because the market for fruit has been
annually growing larger, and no business enlarges itself unless it is
proved to be profitable.

The market cannot be glutted with good fruit. The multiplication of
mouths to consume it is far more rapid than the increase of any supply
that growers can effect. Within ten years the masses have had a slight
taste of choice fruits, and but little more. Indulgence has only served
to whet their appetites. The more of them there is offered in the
market, the more will there be consumed. Every huckster in her shamble,
every vender of peanuts in the street, will testify to this. The modern
art of semi-cookery for fruit, and of preserving it in cans and jars,
has made sale for enormous quantities of those choicer kinds which
return the highest profit to the grower. It is in the grain-market that
panic often rages, but never in the fruit-market. If it ever enters the
latter, the struggle is to obtain the fruit, not to get rid of it.

The proper choice of a location was now to be the great question of my
future success. I had determined on giving my attention to the raising
of the smaller fruits for the great markets of New York and
Philadelphia. I must therefore be somewhere on or near the railroad
between those cities, and as near as possible to a station. The soil of
Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, was too heavy for some of the lighter
fruits. New Jersey, with its admirable sandy loam light, warm, and of
surprisingly easy tillage, was proverbially adapted for the growth of
all market produce, whether fruit or vegetable, and was at the same time
a week or two earlier. Land was far cheaper, there was no State debt,
taxes were merely nominal, and an acre that could be bought for thirty
dollars could be made four times as productive as an acre of the best
wheat land in Pennsylvania. Such results are regularly realized by
hundreds of Jerseymen from year to year.

It was also of easy access from the city for manure-boats. Every town
within the range of my wants was well supplied with churches, schools,
and stores, together with an intelligent and moral population. I should
be surrounded by desirable neighbors, while an hour’s ride by steamboat
or railroad would place me, many times daily, among all my ancient
friends in the city. We should by no means become hermits. I knew the
country so well from my numerous visits among the fruit-growers, when in
search of information, as to anticipate but little difficulty in finding
the proper location.

By the mere accident of a slight revival in business in the early part
of 1855, a party came along who was thus induced to purchase my stock
and machinery. Luckily, he was able to pay down the whole amount in
cash. I received what I considered at the time an excellent price; but
when I came to settle up my accounts and pay what I owed, I found, to
my extreme disappointment, that but a little over two thousand dollars

This sum was the net gain of many years of most laborious toil. Was it
possible for farming to be a worse business than this? I had made ten
times as much, but my losses had been terrible. This, with my personal
credit, was all the surplus I had saved. I remember now, that when thus
discovering myself to be worth so little, I half regretted having given
up my business for what then appeared to me so inadequate a sum. When
selling, I was jubilant and thankful--when settled up, I was full of
regrets. I ought to have had more. So difficult is it for the human mind
to be satisfied with that which is really best.

But I little knew what the future was to bring forth, and how soon my
want of thankfulness was to be changed into the profoundest conviction
that I had providentially escaped from total ruin, and come out
comparatively rich. I had made myself snug upon my little farm when the
tornado of 1857 toppled my former establishment into utter ruin. My
successor was made a bankrupt, and his business was destroyed, leaving
him overwhelmed with debt. He had lost all, while I had saved all. Had I
not sold when I did, and secured what the sale yielded me, I too should
have been among the wrecks of that terrific visitation.

But I heard its warring in the quiet of my little farm-house, where it
brought me neither anxiety nor loss. My position was like that of one
sitting peacefully by his wintry fireside, gazing on the thick storm
without, and listening to the patter of the snow-flakes as the tempest
drove them angrily against the window-pane, while all within was calm
and genial. Instead of regrets for what I had failed to grasp, my heart
overflowed with thankfulness for the comparative abundance that remained
to me. My peace of mind was perfect. The unspeakable satisfaction was
felt of being out of business, out of debt, out of danger--not rich, but
possessed of enough. The thoughtful reader may well believe that
subsequent disturbances, rebellion, war, and even a more wide-spread
bankruptcy--from all which my humble position made me secure--have only
served to intensify my gratitude to that Divine Providence which so
mercifully shaped my ways.



As already stated, I had in round numbers a clear two thousand dollars,
with which to buy and stock a farm, and keep my family while my first
crops were growing. As I was entirely free from debt, so I determined to
avoid it in the future. Debt had been the bitter portion of my life, not
from choice, but of necessity. My wife took strong ground in support of
this resolution--what we had she wanted us to keep. I had too long been
aided by her admirable counsel to reject it now. She had a singular
longing for seeing me my own landlord. Her resolution was a powerful
strengthener of my own convictions.

Thus resolved, we set out in the early part of March to seek a home. I
was particular to take my wife with me--I wanted her to aid in choosing
it. She was to occupy it as well as myself. She knew exactly what we
wanted as regarded the dwelling-house,--the land department she left
entirely to my judgment. I was determined that she should be made
comfortable from the start, not only because she deserved to be made so,
but to make sure that no cause for future discontent should arise.
Indeed, she was really the best judge in this matter. She knew what the
six children needed; she was the model of a housekeeper; there were
certain little conveniences indispensable to domestic comfort to be
secured, of which she knew more than I did, while her judgment on most
things was so correct, that I felt confident if she were fully
satisfied, the whole enterprise would be a successful one.

I loved her with the fervor of early married life--she had consented to
my plans--she was willing to share whatever inconveniences might belong
to our new position--was able to lighten them by her unflagging
cheerfulness and thrift--and I was unwilling to take a single step in
opposition either to her wishes or her judgment. Indeed, I had long
since made up my mind, from observation of the good or bad luck of other
men, that he who happens to be blessed with a wife possessing good sense
and good judgment, succeeds or fails in life according as he is
accustomed to consult her in his business enterprises. There is a world
of caution, shrewdness, and latent wisdom in such women, which their
husbands too frequently disregard to their ruin.

I am thus particular as to all my experiences; for this is really a
domestic story, intended for the multitudes who have suffered half a
lifetime from trials similar to mine, and who yet feel ungratified
longings for some avenue of escape. My object being to point out that
through which I emerged from such a life to one of certainty and
comfort, the detail ought to be valuable, even if it fail to be
interesting. It is possible that I may sink the practical in the
enthusiastic, and prove myself to be unduly enamored of my choice. But
as it is success that makes the hero, so let my experience be accepted
as the test.

I had settled it in my mind that I would use thousand dollars in the
purchase of land, and that I could make Ten Acres Enough. This I was
determined to pay for at once, and have it covered by no man’s
parchment. But when we set out on our search, we found some
difficulties. Every county in New Jersey contained a hundred farms that
were for sale. Most of them were too large for my slender purse, though
otherwise most eligibly situated. Then we must have a decent house, even
if we were forced to put up with less land. Numerous locations of this
kind were offered. The trouble was--keeping my slender purse in
view--that the farms were either too large or too small. My wife was not
fastidious about having a fine house. On the contrary, I was often
surprised to find her pleased with such as to me looked small and mean.
Indeed, it seemed, after ten days’ search, that the tables had been
turned--she was more easily suited than myself. But the same deference
which I paid to her wishes, she uniformly paid to mine.

It was curious to note the anxiety of so many landowners to sell, and to
hear the discordant reasons which they gave for desiring to do so. The
quantity in market was enormous. All the real-estate agents had large
books filled with descriptions of farms and fancy country-seats for
sale, some to be had by paying one-fourth of the purchase-money down,
and some which the owners would exchange for merchandise, or traps, or
houses in the city. Many of them appeared simply to want something else
for what they already had. They were tired of holding, and desired a
change of some kind, better if they could make it, and worse if they
could not. City merchants, or thriving mechanics, had built country
cottages, and then wearied of them--it was found inconvenient to be
going to and fro--in fact, they had soon discovered that the city alone
was their place. Many such told us that their wives did not like the

Others had bought farms and spent great sums in improving them, only to
sell at a loss. Farming did not pay an owner who lived away off in the
city. Another class had taken land for debt, and wanted to realize. They
expected to lose anyhow, and would sell cheap. Then there was another
body of owners who, though born and raised upon the land, were tired of
country life, and wanted to sell and embark in business in the city.
Some few were desirous of going to the West. Change of some kind seemed
to be the general craving. As I discovered that much of all this land
was covered with mortgages of greater or less amount, it was natural to
suppose the sheriff would occasionally turn up, and so it really was.
There were columns in some of the county papers filled with his
advertisements. I sometimes thought the whole country was for sale.

But yet there was a vast body of owners, many of them descendants of the
early settlers, whom no consideration of price could tempt to abandon
their inheritances. They seemed to know and understand the value of
their ancestral acres. We met with other parties, recent purchasers,
who had bought for a permanency, and who could not be induced to sell.
In short, there seemed to be two constantly flowing streams of
people--one tending from city to country, the other from country to
city. Doubtless it is the same way with all our large cities. I think
the latter stream was the larger. If it were not so, our cities could
not grow in population at a rate so much more rapid than the country. At
numerous farm-houses inquiries were made if we knew of any openings in
the city in which boys and young men could be placed. The city was
evidently the coveted goal with too large a number.

This glut of the land-market did not discourage us. We could not be
induced to believe that land had no value because so many were anxious
to dispose of it. We saw that it did not suit those who held it, and
knew that it would suit us. But we could not but lament over the
infatuation of many owners, who we felt certain would be ruined by
turning their wide acres into money, and exposing it to the hazards of
an untried business in the city. I doubt not that many of the very
parties we then encountered have, long before this, realized the sad
fate we feared, and learned too late that lands are better than

One morning, about the middle of March, we found the very spot we had
been seeking. It lay upon the Amboy Railroad, within a few miles of
Philadelphia, within gunshot of a railroad station, and on the outskirts
of a town containing churches, schools, and stores, with quite an
educated society. The grounds comprised eleven acres, and the
dwelling-house was quite large enough for my family. It struck the fancy
of my wife the moment we came up to it; and when she had gone over the
house, looked into the kitchen, explored the cellar, and walked round
the garden, she expressed the strongest desire to make it our home.

There was barn enough to accommodate a horse and cow, with a ton or two
of hay, quite an extensive shed, and I noticed that the barnyard
contained a good pile of manure which was to go with the property. The
buildings were of modern date, the fences were good, and there was
evidence that a former occupant had exercised a taste for fruit and
ornamental trees, while the garden was in very fair condition. But the
land had been wholly neglected. All outside of the garden was a perfect
scarecrow of tall weeds, thousands of which stood clear up to the fence
top, making sure that they had scattered seeds enough for twenty future

But I noticed that the land directly opposite was in the most admirable
condition, and I saw at a glance that the soil must be adapted to the
very purpose to which it was to be applied. The opposite ground was
matted with a luxuriant growth of strawberries, while rows of stalwart
raspberries held up their vigorous canes in testimony of the goodness of
the soil. A fine peach-orchard on the same neighboring property, seemed
impatient to put forth and blossom unto harvest. The eleven acres could
be no worse land than this, and though I had a horror of weeds, yet I
was not to be frightened by them. I knew that weeds were more
indigenous to New Jersey than even watermelons.

This miniature plantation of eleven acres belonged to a merchant in the
city. He had taken it to secure a debt of eleven hundred dollars, but
had pledged himself to pay the former owner whatever excess over that
sum he might obtain for it. But pledges of that loose character seldom
amount to much--the creditor consults his own interest, not that of the
debtor. The latter had long been trying to sell, but in vain; and now
the former had become equally embarrassed, and needed money even more
urgently than the debtor had done. The whole property had cost the
debtor eighteen hundred dollars. His views in founding it were similar
to mine. He meant to establish for himself a home, to which at some
future period he might retire. But he made the sad mistake of continuing
in business in the city, and one disaster succeeding another, he had
been compelled to abandon his anticipated refuge nearly a year before we
came along.

All these facts I learned before beginning to negotiate for the
purchase. As the banished man related them to me, going largely into the
history of his hopes, his trials, his disappointments, I found cause for
renewed thankfulness over my superior condition. With a single
exception, his experience had been the counterpart of my own--he had
lost all and was loaded with debt, while I had saved something and owed
no man. But when, in language of the tenderest feeling, he spoke of his
wife, whose highest passion had been gratified by the possession of a
home so humble as even this--when he described how happy she had been in
her garden, and how grief-stricken at being compelled to leave it--his
eloquence fairly made my heart ache. I am sure my wife felt the full
force of all he said. Her own attachment to the spot had already begun
to take root, and she could sympathize with this rude sundering of a
long-established tie.



The owner of these eleven acres had been for some months in the furnace
of pecuniary affliction. He was going the way of nine-tenths of all the
business flesh within the circle of my acquaintance. As a purchaser I
did not seek him, nor to his representative did myself or my wife let
fall a single word indicating that we were pleased with the property.
When fifteen hundred dollars were named as the price, I did indulge in
some expression of surprise, thinking it was quite enough. Discovering
subsequently that the owner was an old city acquaintance, I dropped in
one morning to see him, and for an hour we talked over the times, the
markets, the savage rates demanded for money, and how the spring
business was likely to turn out. On real estate I was mute as a mouse,
except giving it as my decided opinion that some holders were asking
greater prices than they would be likely to realize.

This side-thrust brought my friend out. He mentioned his house and
eleven acres, and eagerly inquired if I did not know of some one who
would buy. With as much indifference as I could assume, I asked his
terms. He told me with great frankness that he was compelled to sell,
and that his need of money was so great, that he might possibly do so
whether the debtor got any thing or not. He urged me to find him a
purchaser, and finally gave me the refusal of the place for a few days.

Now, the plain truth was, that my anxiety to buy was quite as great as
his was to sell. During the next week we met several times, when he
invariably inquired as to the prospect of a purchaser. But I had no
encouragement to offer. When I thought I had fought shy long enough, I
surprised him by saying that I knew of a purchaser who was ready to take
the property at a thousand dollars. He sat down and indulged in some
figuring, then for a few moments was silent, then inquired if the offer
was a cash one, and when the money could be had. I replied, the moment
his deed was ready for delivery.

It was evident that the offer of instant payment determined him to sell
at so low a price--cash was every thing. Opening his desk, he took out a
deed for the property, ready to execute whenever the grantee’s name, the
date and the consideration should have been inserted, handed it to me,
and said he accepted the offer, only let him have the money as quickly
as possible.

I confess to both exultation and surprise. I had secured an unmistakable
bargain. The ready-made deed surprised me, but it showed the owner’s
necessities, and that he had been prepared to let the property go at the
first decent offer. The natural selfishness of human nature has since
induced me to believe that I could have bought for even less, had I not
been so precipitate. His searches and brief of title were also ready: a
single day or two was enough to bring them up--he had been determined
to sell.

The transaction seemed to involve a succession of surprises. His turn
for a new one came when he found that I had inserted my wife’s name in
the deed. So, paying him his thousand dollars, I returned with the deed
to my wife, telling her that she had now a home of her own; that, come
what might, the property was hers; that the laws of New Jersey secured
it to her, and that no subsequent destitution of mine could wrest it
from her. This little act of consideration was as gratifying a surprise
to her as any that either buyer or seller had experienced. If rejoiced
at my having secured the place, it gave to it a new interest in her
estimation, and fixed and made permanent the attachment she had
spontaneously acquired for it. Her gratification only served to increase
my own.

It is thus that small acts of kindness make life pleasant and desirable.
Every dark object is made light by them, and many scalding tears of
sorrow are thus easily brushed away. When the heart is sad, and
despondency sits at the entrance of the soul, a little kindness drives
despair away, and makes the path cheerful and pleasant. Who then will
refuse a kind act? It costs the giver nothing--just as this did; but it
is invaluable to the receiver. No broader acres, no more stately
mansion, whether in town or country, could now tempt my wife to leave
this humble refuge. Here she has been ever happy, and here, I doubt not,
she will end her earthly career.

In a week the house was vacated and cleansed, and we were in full
possession. My wife was satisfied, my children were delighted, and I had
realized the dream of twenty years! One strong fact forced itself on my
attention the first night I passed under my new roof. The drain of three
hundred dollars per annum into the pocket of my city landlord had been
stopped. My family received as safe a shelter for the interest of a
thousand dollars, as he had given them for the interest of five
thousand! The feeling of relief from this unappeasable demand was
indescribable. Curiously enough, my wife voluntarily suggested that the
same feeling of relief had been presented to her. But in addition to
this huge equivalent for the investment of a thousand dollars, there was
that which might be hereafter realized from the cultivation of eleven
acres of land.

This lodgment was effected on the first of April, 1855. When all our
household fixings had been snugly arranged, and I took my first walk
over my little plantation, on a soft and balmy morning, my feeling of
contentment seemed to be perfect. I knew that I was not rich, but it was
certain that I was not poor. In contrasting my condition with that of
others, both higher and lower upon fortune’s ladder, I found a thousand
causes for congratulation, but none for regret. With all his wealth,
Rothschild must be satisfied with the same sky that was spread over me.
He cannot order a private sunrise, that he may enjoy it with a select
circle of friends, nor add a single glory to the gorgeous spectacle of
the setting sun. The millionaire could not have more than his share of
the pure atmosphere that I was breathing, while the poorest of all men
could have as much. God only can give all these, and to many of the poor
he has thus given. All that is most valuable can be had for nothing.
They come as presents from the hand of an indulgent Father, and neither
air nor sky, nor beauty, genius, health, or strength, can be bought or
sold. Whatever may be one’s condition in life, the great art is to learn
to be content and happy, indulging in no feverish longings for what we
have not, but satisfied and thankful for what we have.



It was now the season for me to bustle about, fix up my land, and get in
my crops. I examined it more carefully, walked over it daily, and made
myself thoroughly acquainted with it. As before mentioned, it had been
utterly neglected for a whole season, and was grown up with enormous
weeds. These, after a day or two of drizzling rain, when the
seed-vessels were so wet as not to allow their contents to shatter out,
I mowed off, gathered into several large heaps, and burned--thus getting
rid of millions of pestiferous seeds. Then I purchased ploughs,
including a subsoiler, a harrow, cultivator, and other tools. One acre
of the whole was in clover, another was set aside as being occupied by
the dwelling-house, garden, stable, and barnyard; but much the larger
half of that acre was allowed for garden purposes. This left me just
nine acres for general fruit and vegetable culture. I hired a man to
plough them up, he finding his own team, and another to follow him in
the furrow with my subsoiler. The first went down ten inches, and the
latter ten more.

My neighbors were extremely kind with their suggestions. They had never
seen such deep ploughing, and warned me not to turn up the old subsoil,
and thus bring it to the surface. But they were not book-farmers.

Now, this business of deep subsoil ploughing is a matter of
indispensable value in all agriculture, but especially so in the
planting of an orchard. No tree can thrive as it ought to, unless the
earth is thoroughly and deeply loosened for the free expansion of the
roots. If I could have ploughed two feet deep, it would have been all
the better. In fact, the art of ploughing is in its mere infancy in this
country. Too many of us follow blindly in the beaten track. The first
plough was a tough, forked stick, of which one prong served as a beam,
while the other dug the earth as a coulter. Of course the ploughing was
only scratching. It would have been preposterous to expect the ploughman
of Hesiod’s or of Virgil’s time to turn up and mellow the soil to a
depth of fifteen or sixteen inches. Down to the present age, ploughing
was inevitably a shallow affair. But iron ploughs, steel ploughs,
subsoil ploughs, have changed all this. It is as easy to-day to mellow
the earth to the depth of two feet, as it was a century ago to turn over
a sward to the depth of six inches. Besides, our fierce, trying climate,
so different from the moist, milder one of England, Ireland, or even
Holland, whence our ancestors emigrated, absolutely requires of us deep
ploughing. Drought is our perpetual danger. Most crops are twenty to
sixty per cent. short of what they would have been with adequate and
seasonable moisture. That moisture exists not only in the skies above,
but in the earth beneath our plants. Though the skies may capriciously
withhold it, the earth never will, if we provide a rich, mellow subsoil
through which the roots can descend for moisture.

The hotter and dryer the weather, the better our plants will grow, if
they have rich, warm earth beneath them, reaching down to and including
moisture. We cannot, and we need not plough so very deep each year to
assure this, if the subsoil is so underdrained that the superabundant
moisture of the wet season does not pack it. Underdraining as the
foundation, and deep ploughing as the superstructure, with ample
manuring and generous tillage, will secure us ample crops, such as any
section of our country has rarely seen. Our corn should average seventy
bushels per acre. Every field should be ready to grow wheat, if
required. Every grass-lot should be good for three tons of hay per acre.
Abundant fruits should gladden our fields and enrich our farmers’
tables. So should our children no longer seek, in flight to crowded
cities or the remote West, an escape from the ill-paid drudgery and
intellectual barrenness of their fathers’ lives, but find abundance and
happiness in and around their childhood’s happy homes.

I laid out two hundred dollars in the purchase of old, well-rotted
stable manure from the city, spread it over the ten acres, and ploughed
up nine of them. I then set out my peach-trees on six acres, planting
them in rows eighteen feet apart, and eighteen feet asunder in the rows.
This accommodated a hundred and thirty-four to the acre, or eight
hundred and four in all. These would not be in the way of any other
crop, and in three years would be likely to yield a good return. The
roots of every tree underwent a searching scrutiny before it was
planted, to see that they harbored no members of that worm family which
is so surely destructive of the peach. As trees are often delivered from
the nursery with worms in them, so many of these were infected. The
enemy was killed, and the butt of each tree was then swabbed with common
tar, extending from where the roots begin to branch out, about twelve
inches up. It is just about there, say between wind and water, at the
surface of the ground, where the bark is soft, that in June and
September the peach-moth deposits her eggs. From these is hatched the
worm which kills the tree, unless picked out and destroyed.

To perform this searching operation on a thousand trees every year,
would be laborious and expensive. There would also be great danger of
its being imperfectly done, as many worms might escape the search, while
the vital power of the tree would be seriously impaired by permitting
them to prey upon its bark and juices even for a few months. Prevention
would be far cheaper than curing. The offensive odor of the tar will
cause the moth to shun the tree and to make her deposits somewhere else;
while if any chance to light upon it, they will stick to the tar and
there perish, like flies upon a sheet of fly paper.

The tar was occasionally examined during the season, to see that it kept
soft and sticky; and where any hardening was discovered, a fresh
swabbing was applied. The whole operation was really one of very little
trouble, while the result was highly remunerative. Thoughtfulness,
industry, and a little tar, did the business effectually. I believe no
nostrum of putting ashes round the butt of a peach-tree to kill the
worms, or any other nostrum of the kind is worth a copper. The only sure
remedy is prevention. Do not let the worms get in, and there will be no
effort needed to get them out.

I planted none but the rarest and choicest kinds. Economy of a few cents
in the price of a tree is no economy at all. It is the _best_ fruit that
sells the quickest and pays the highest profit. Yet there are still
large quantities of fruit produced which is not worth taking to market.
The best is cheaper for both buyer and seller. Hundreds of bushels of
apples and peaches are annually made into execrable pies in all the
large cities, merely because they can be purchased at less cost than
those of a better quality. But it is a mistaken economy with the buyer,
as a mild, good-flavored peach or apple requires less sugar, and will
then make a better pie. Many persons have a pride in, and attach too
much consequence to a tree which sprung up spontaneously on their own
farm, or perhaps which they have cultivated with some care; and then
numbers of comparatively worthless seedlings occupy the places that
should be improved by finer varieties, and which, if cultivated, would
afford a greater profit.

It is as easy to grow the choicest as the meanest fruit. I have a
relative in Ohio who has a peach orchard of eleven acres, which has
yielded him five thousand dollars in a single season, during which
peaches were selling in Cincinnati at twenty-five cents a bushel. It is
easy to understand that his orchard would not have produced him that sum
at that price. No, it did not. He received two dollars a bushel more
readily than his neighbors got twenty-five cents for the same variety of
peaches, and this is how he did it. When the peaches had grown as large
as a hickory nut, he employed a large force and put on one hundred and
eighty-five days’ work in picking off the excess of fruit. More than
one-half of the fruit then upon the trees was carefully removed. Each
limb was taken by hand, and where, within a space of eighteen inches,
there would be probably twenty peaches, but six or seven of the fairest
would be left to ripen. Thus, by carefully removing all but the
strongest specimens, and throwing all the vigor of the tree into them,
the peaches ripen early, and are remarkable for size and excellence of

But this was labor! Seven months’ labor of one man in a small peach
orchard! But be it so--the net profit was between three and four
thousand dollars. If he had neglected his trees, the owner’s profits
would have been a crop of peaches hardly fit to feed the pigs. I have
profited largely by following his example, and will relate my own
experience when the returns of my orchard come in.

I intend to be particular touching my peach orchard, as well for the
gratification of my own pride, as an incentive to those who cannot be
made to believe Ten Acres Enough. My success with it has far outstripped
my expectations; and I pronounce a peach orchard of this size, planted
and cultivated as it can be, and will be, by an intelligent man not
essentially lazy, as the sheet anchor of his safety. I was careful to
plant none but small trees, because such can be removed from the nursery
with greater safety than large ones, while the roots are less
multiplied, and thus receive fewer injuries; neither are they liable to
be displaced by high winds before acquiring a firm foothold in the
ground. Many persons suppose that newly planted trees should be large
enough to be out of danger from cattle running among them; but all
cattle should be excluded from a young orchard.

Moreover, small trees make a better growth, and are more easily trimmed
into proper shape. All experienced horticulturists testify to the
superior eligibility of small trees. They cost less at the nursery, less
in transportation, and very few fail to grow. One year old from the bud
is old enough, and the same, generally, may be said of apples and pears.
I dug holes for each tree three feet square and two feet deep, and
filled in with a mixture of the surrounding top-soil and leached ashes,
a half bushel of the latter to each tree. Knowing that the peach-tree
delights in ashes, I obtained four hundred bushels from a city
soap-works, and am satisfied they were exactly the manure my orchard
needed. Every root which had been wounded by the spade in removing the
tree from the nursery, was cut off just back of the wound, paring it
smooth with a sharp knife. The fine earth was settled around the roots
by pouring in water; after which the mixture of earth and ashes was
thrown on until the hole was filled, leaving a slight depression round
the tree, to catch the rain, and the tree at about the same level it had
maintained when standing in the nursery.

I did not stake up the trees. They were too small to need it; besides, I
should be all the time on hand to keep them in position. Being a
new-comer, I had no straw with which to mulch them, to retain the proper
moisture about the roots, or it would have been applied. But the season
turned out to be abundantly showery, and they went on growing from the
start. Not a tree was upset by storm or wind, nor did one of them die. I
do not think the oldest nurseryman in the country could have been more

This operation made a heavy draft on the small cash capital which I
possessed. But small as it was, it was large enough to show that capital
is indispensable to successful farming. Had I been without it, my
orchard would have been a mere hope, instead of a reality, and I might
have been compelled to wait for years before feeling rich enough to
establish it. But when the work of planting was over, my satisfaction
was extreme; and when I saw the trees in full leaf, giving token that
the work had been well done, I felt that I had not only learned but
accomplished much. I had been constantly on the ground while the
planting was progressing--had seen for myself that every tree was
cleared of worms--had held them up while the water and the earth and
ashes had been thrown in and gently packed about the roots--and had
given so much attention in other ways, as to feel sure that no part of
the whole operation had been neglected; and hence I had a clear right to
regard it as my own job.

The cost of planting this orchard was as follows:

  804 trees at 7 cents         $56.28
  Planting them 2 cents         16.08
  Ploughing and harrowing       20.00
  400 bushels of ashes          48.00
  Manure                       200.00

I have unfairly saddled on the orchard the whole charge of two hundred
dollars for manure, because it went to nourish other crops which the
same ground produced. But let that go--the land was quite poor, needed
all it got, and I had no faith in farming without manure. Had my purse
been heavy enough, the quantity should have been trebled.

As I am writing for the benefit of others, who, I hope, are not yet
tired of peaches, let me add that this fruit will not succeed on ground
where a previous orchard has been recently grown; neither can one be
sure of getting healthy trees from any nurseryman who grows his on land
from which he had recently produced a similar crop. The seed must be
from healthy trees, and the buds from others equally free from disease.
The peach, unless carefully watched and attended, is a short-lived tree.
But it returns a generous income to a careful and generous grower. Of
latter years the worm is its most formidable enemy. But with those who
think a good tree is as much worth being taken care of as a good horse,
there will be neither doubt nor difficulty in keeping the destroyer out.

Ten well-grown, bearing trees, which I found in the garden, were
harboring a hundred and ninety worms among them when I undertook the
work of extermination. I bared the collar and roots of each tree as far
as I could track a worm, and cut him out. I then scrubbed the whole
exposed part with soap-suds and a regular scrubbing-brush; after which I
let them remain exposed for a week. If any worms had been overlooked,
the chips thrown out by their operations would be plainly visible on the
clean surface at the week’s end. Having tracked and cut out them also, I
felt sure the enemy was exterminated, and covered up the roots, but
first using the swab of common tar, applying it all round the collar,
and some distance up.

These garden-trees were terribly scarified by the worms. But the
cleaning out I gave them was effectual. The soap-suds purged the injured
parts of the unhealthy virus deposited by the worms, leaving them so
nice and clean that the new bark began immediately to close over the
cavities, and soon covered them entirely. I thus saved ten valuable
bearing trees. Then I shortened in the long, straggling branches, for
the peach will certainly grow sprawling out on every side, forming long
branches which break down under the weight of a full crop at their
extremities, unless the pruning-knife is freely used every season. All
this was the work of less than a day, and shows that if peach-orchards
perish after bearing only two or three crops, it may be attributed
solely to mere neglect and laziness on the part of their owners. They
plant trees, refuse to take care of them, and then complain if they die
early. The world would soon be without pork, if all the pigs were as
much neglected. These ten trees have never failed to produce me generous
crops of luscious fruit. I cannot think of any investment which has paid
me better than the slight labor annually required to keep them in good

I have tried with entire success two other methods of protecting
peach-trees from the ravages of the worm. I have found gas-tar equally
effectual with the common tar, and much more easily obtained. But care
must be taken not to cover a height of more than four to six inches of
the butt of the tree. If the whole stem from root to branch be covered,
the tree will surely die. Another method is to inclose the butt in a
jacket of pasteboard, or even thick hardware paper, keeping it in place
with a string, and lowering it an inch or two below the ground, so as to
prevent the fly having access to the soft part of the bark. These
jackets will last two or three years, as they should be taken off at the
approach of winter, to prevent them from becoming a harbor for insects.
But they are an infallible preventive. I have recently procured a supply
of the thick tarred felt which is used for making paper roofs, to be cut
up and turned into jackets. This material will last for years, being
water-proof, while the odor of the gas-tar in which it has been steeped
is peculiarly offensive to the whole tribe of insects.



My peach-orchard was no sooner finished than I filled each row with
raspberries, setting the roots two feet apart in the rows. This enabled
me to get seven roots in between every two trees, or five thousand six
hundred and fifty-six in all. This was equivalent to nearly two acres
wholly planted with raspberries according to the usual plan. They would
go on growing without injuring the peach-trees, or being injured by
them; and when the latter should reach their full growth, their shade
would be highly beneficial to the raspberries, as they thrive better and
bear more freely when half protected from the burning sun. The tops were
cut off within a few inches of the ground, thus preventing any excessive
draft upon the newly planted roots. No staking up was needed. These
roots cost me six dollars per thousand, or thirty-four dollars for the
lot, and were the ordinary Red Antwerp. The season proving showery, they
grew finely. Some few died, but my general luck was very satisfactory. I
planted the whole lot in three days with my own hands.

I am sure the growth of my raspberries was owing, in a great degree, to
the deep ploughing the land had received. The soil they delight in is
one combining richness, depth, and moisture. It is only from such that
a full crop may be expected every season. The roots must have abundance
of elbow-room to run down and suck up moisture from the abundant
reservoir which exists below. Deep ploughing will save them from the
effects of dry weather, which otherwise will blast the grower’s hopes,
giving him a small berry, shrivelled up from want of moisture, instead
of one of ample size, rich, and juicy. Hence irrigation has been known
to double the size of raspberries, as well as doubling the growth of the
canes in a single season. Mulching also is a capital thing. One row so
treated, by way of experiment, showed a marked improvement over all the
others, besides keeping down the weeds.

As a market fruit the raspberry stands on the same list with the best,
and I am satisfied that one cannot produce too much. For this purpose I
consider the Red Antwerp most admirably adapted. There are twenty other
varieties, some of which are probably quite as valuable, but I was
unwilling to have my attention divided among many sorts. One really good
berry was enough for me. Some of my neighbors have as much as ten acres
in this fruit, from which they realize prodigious profits. Like all the
smaller fruits, it yields a quick return to an industrious and
pains-taking cultivator.

Immediately on getting my raspberries in, I went twice over the six
acres with the cultivator, stirring up the ground some four inches deep,
as it had been a good deal trampled down by our planting operations.
This I did myself, with a thirty-dollar horse which I had recently
bought. Having eighteen feet between two rows of peach-trees, I divided
this space into five rows for strawberries, giving me very nearly three
feet between each row. In these rows I set the strawberry plants, one
foot apart, making about 10,000 plants per acre, allowing for the
headlands. I bought the whole 60,000 required for $2 per thousand,
making $120. This was below the market price.

In planting these I got three of the children to help me, and though it
was more tiresome work than they had ever been accustomed to, yet they
stood bravely up to it. Every noon we four went home with raging
appetites for dinner, where the plain but well-cooked fare provided by
my wife and eldest daughter--for she kept no servant--was devoured with
genuine country relish. The exercise in the open air for the whole week
which it took us to get through this job did us all a vast amount of
good. Roses came into the cheeks of my daughters, to which the cheeks
aforesaid had been strangers in the city; and it was the general remark
among us at breakfast, that it had never felt so good to get to bed the
night before. Thus honest labor brought wholesome appetites and sound
repose. Most of us complained of joints a little stiffened by so much
stooping, but an hour’s exercise at more stooping made us limber for the
remainder of the day.

It occupied us a whole week to set out these plants, for we were all new
hands at the business. But the work was carefully done, and a shower
coming on just as we had finished, it settled the earth nicely to the
roots, and I do not think more than two hundred of them died. I intended
to put a pinch of guano compost or a handful of poudrette into each
hill, but thought I could not afford it, and so let them go, trusting to
being able to give them a dressing of some kind of manure the following
spring. I much regretted this omission, as I was fully aware of the
great value of the best strawberries, and plenty of them. My wife
thought at first that six acres was an enormous quantity to
have--inquired if I expected to feed the family on strawberries, and
whether it was not worth while to set about raising some sugar to go
with them, feeling certain that a great deal of _that_ would be wanted.

I forgot to say that I had planted Wilson’s Albany Seedling. This was
the berry for which we had been compelled to pay such high prices while
living in the city. Everybody testified to its being the most profuse
bearer, while its great size and handsome shape made it eagerly sought
after in the market. It was admitted, all things considered, to be the
best market berry then known. My experience has confirmed this. True, it
is a little tarter than most other varieties, and therefore requires
more sugar to make it palatable; but this objection is more theoretical
than practical, as I always noticed that when the berries came upon the
table, while living in the city, we continued to pile on the sugar, no
matter what the price or quantity. The berries were there, and must be

On one occasion, on repeating this observation to my wife, she admitted
having noticed the same remarkable fact, and added that she believed
strawberries would continue to be eaten, even if each quart required a
pound of sugar to sweeten it. She declared that for her part, she and
the children intended to do so in future.

Now, although she was extravagantly fond of strawberries, and had
brought up our children in the same faith, this threat did not alarm me,
for I knew that hereafter our berries would cost me nothing, and that if
they devoured them too freely, sugar included, a slight pain under the
apron of some of them would be likely to moderate their infatuation. I
then suggested to her, how would it do--whether it would not make our
establishment immensely popular--if in selling my berries, when the crop
came in next year, to announce to the public that we would throw the
sugar in? She looked at me a moment, and must have suspected that I was
quizzing her; for she got up and left the room, saying she must go into
the kitchen, as she heard the tea-kettle boiling over. But though I
waited a full half hour, yet she did not return.

The reader may have been all this time watching the condition of my
purse. But he has not been so observant as myself. These plants did not
cost me cash. I had intended to plant an acre or two to begin with. But
after buying my peach-trees and raspberries, the nurseryman inquired if
I did not intend to plant strawberries also, as he had a very large
quantity which he would sell cheap. His saying that he had a very large
lot, and that he would sell them cheap, seemed to imply that he found a
difficulty in disposing of them. Besides, the selling season was pretty
nearly over. I therefore fought shy, and merely inquired his terms. This
led to a long colloquy between us, in the course of which I held off
just in proportion as he became urgent. At last, believing that I was
not disposed to buy, although I went there for that very purpose, he
offered to sell me 60,000 plants for $120, and to take his money out of
the proceeds of my first crop. This offer I considered fair enough, much
better than I expected; and after having distinctly agreed that he
should depend upon the crop, and not on me, for payment, and that if the
coming season yielded nothing he should wait for the following one, I
confessed to him that his persuasions had overcome me, and consented to
the bargain.

In other words, I did not run in debt--I saved just that much of my
capital, and could make a magnificent beginning with our favorite fruit.
As I was leaving this liberal man, he observed to me:

“Well, I am glad you have taken this lot, as I was intending to plough
them in to-morrow.”

“How is that?” I inquired, not exactly understanding his meaning.

“Oh,” said he, “I have so many now that I must have the ground for other
purposes, and so meant to plough them under if you had not bought them.”

This was an entirely new wrinkle to me, and fully explained why he could
afford to farm them out on the conditions referred to. Though a capital
bargain for me, yet it was a still better one for him. What he was to
receive was absolutely so much clear gain. But then, after all that has
been said and written, is it not a truth that cannot be disputed, that
no bargain can be pronounced a good one unless all the parties to it are
in some way benefited?

Here, now, were six acres of ground pretty well crowded up, at least on
paper. But the strawberries would never grow higher than six inches; the
raspberries would be kept down to three or four feet, while the peaches
would overtop all. Each would be certain to keep out of the other’s way.
Then look at the succession. The strawberries would be in market first,
the raspberries would follow, and then the peaches, for of the latter I
had planted the earliest sorts; so that, unlike a farm devoted wholly to
the raising of grain, which comes into market only once a year, I should
have one cash-producing crop succeeding to another during most of the
summer. On the remaining three acres I meant to raise something which
would bring money in the autumn, so as to keep me flush all the time.
You may say that this was reckoning my chickens before they were
hatched; but you will please remember that thus far I have not even
mentioned chickens, and I pray that you will be equally considerate. I
know, at least I have some indistinct recollection of having heard that
the proof of the pudding lay in the eating. But pray be patient, even
credulous, until the aforesaid mythical pudding is served up. I am now
cooking it, and you ought all to know that cooks must not be hurried. In
good time it will come smoking on the table.



In the course of my agricultural reading for some years previous to
coming into the country, I had noticed great things said of a new
blackberry which had been discovered in the State of New York. The
stories printed in relation to it were almost fabulous. It was
represented as growing twenty feet high, and as bearing berries nearly
as large as a walnut, which melted on the tongue with a lusciousness to
which the softest ice-cream was a mere circumstance, while the fruit was
said to be strung upon its branches like onions on a rope. A single bush
would supply a large family with fruit! I was amazed at the extravagant
accounts given of its unexampled productiveness and matchless flavor. I
had supposed that I knew all about blackberries, but here was a great
marvel in a department which had been proverbially free from
eccentricities of that kind.

But I followed it--in the papers--for a long time. At last I saw it
stated that the rare plant could not be propagated from the seed, but
only from suckers, and therefore very slowly. Of course it could not be
afforded for less than a dollar apiece! It would be unreasonable to look
for blackberries for less! It struck me that the superior flavor claimed
for it must be a little of the silvery order--that in berries bought at
that price, a touch might be detected even of the most auriferous
fragrance. Still, I was an amateur--in a small way. I rejoiced in a city
garden which would readily accommodate a hundred of this extraordinary
berry, especially as it was said to do better and bear more fruit, when
cut down to four feet, instead of being allowed to grow to a height of

It thus seemed to be made for such miniature gardeners as myself. One
generous advertiser offered to send six roots by mail for five dollars,
provided ten red stamps were inclosed with the money. I had never before
heard of blackberries being sent by mail; but the whole thing was
recommended by men in whose standing all confidence could be placed, and
who, as far as could be discovered, had no plants to sell. Under such
circumstances, doubt seemed to be absurd.

I sent five dollars and the stamps. But this was one of the secrets I
never told my wife until she had eaten the first bowlful of the fully
ripened fruit, eighteen months afterwards. Well, the plants came in a
letter--mere fibres of a greater root--certainly not thicker than a thin
quill, not one of them having a top. They looked like long white worms,
with here and there a bud or eye. I never saw, until then, what I
considered the meanest five dollars’ worth of any thing I had ever
bought; and when my wife inquired what those things were I was planting,
I replied that they were little vegetable wonders which a distant
correspondent had sent me. Not dreaming that they cost me near a dollar
apiece, at the very time I owed a quarter’s rent, she dropped the

But I planted them in a deeply spaded and rich sunny border, deluged
them every week with suds from the family wash, and by the close of the
season they had sent up more than a dozen strong canes which stood six
feet high. The next summer they bore a crop of fruit which astonished
me. From the group of bushes I picked fifteen quarts of berries superior
to any thing of the kind we had ever eaten. I then confided the secret
to my wife: she considered the plants cheap at five dollars, and
pronounced my venture a good one. I think we had more than five dollars’
worth of satisfaction in showing them to our friends and neighbors. We
gave away some pints of the fruit, and such was its fame and popularity,
that I feel convinced we could have readily disposed of it all in the
same way.

One of the reporters for a penny-paper hearing of the matter, called in
my absence to see them. My wife politely acted as showman, and being
very eloquent of speech on any matter which happens to strike her fancy,
she was quite as communicative as he desired. She did not know that the
fellow was a penny-a-liner, whose vocation it was to magnify an ant-hill
into a mountain. To her extreme consternation, as well as to mine, the
next morning’s paper contained a half-column article describing my
blackberries, even giving my name and the number of the house. By ten
o’clock that day the latter was run down with strangers, who had thus
been publicly invited to call and see the new blackberry. Our opposite
neighbors laughed heartily over my wife’s vexation, and for the first
time in my life I saw her almost immovable good temper give way. The
nuisance continued for weeks, as the vile article had been copied into
some of the neighboring country papers, and thus new swarms of bores
were inflamed with curiosity. This little vexatious circumstance
afforded unmistakable evidence of the great interest taken by the public
in the discovery of a new and valuable fruit. I could have disposed of
thousands of plants if I had had them for sale.

This was the New Rochelle or Lawton Blackberry. The numerous suckers
which came up around each root I transplanted along my border, until I
had more than two hundred of them. This was long before a single berry
had been offered for sale in the Philadelphia market, though the papers
told me that the fruit was selling in New York at half a dollar per
quart, and that the great consuming public of that city, having once
tasted of it, was clamorous for more. I am constrained to say that the
nurserymen who had these plants to sell did not over praise them. This
berry has fully realized all they promised in relation to it; and a debt
of thankfulness is owing to the men who first discovered and caused it
to be propagated. It has taken its place in public estimation beside the
strawberry and raspberry, and will henceforth continue to be a favorite
in every market where it may become known.

This extraordinary fruit was first noticed in 1834, by Mr. Lewis A.
Secor, of New Rochelle, New York, who observed a single bush growing
wild in an open field, but loaded with astonishing clusters of larger
berries than he had ever seen, and of superior richness of flavor. At
the proper season he removed the plant to his garden, where he continued
to propagate it for several years, during which time it won the
unqualified admiration of all who had an opportunity of either seeing or
tasting the fruit. Numerous plants were distributed, and its propagation
in private gardens and nurseries began. A quantity of the fruit being
exhibited at the Farmers’ Club, by Mr. William Lawton, the club named it
after him, leaving the discoverer unrecognized.

Great sums of money have been made by propagators of this berry. It
possesses peculiar merits in the estimation of market gardeners. It
ripens just as the supply of strawberries and raspberries has been
exhausted, and before peaches and grapes have made their appearance,
filling with delicious fruit a horticultural vacuum which had long
existed. Its mammoth size and luscious qualities insure for it the
highest prices, and it has steadily maintained its original character.
It pays the grower enormously, is a sure bearer, is never touched by
frost or attacked by insect enemies, and when well manured and staked up
from the wind, and cut down to four feet high, with the limbs shortened
to a foot, will readily produce two thousand quarts to the acre. Some
growers have greatly exceeded this quantity. I have known a single plant
to yield eighteen hundred berries, and three plants to produce sixteen
quarts. Its flavor is entirely different from that of the common wild
blackberry, while it abounds in juice, and contains no core. It is
evidently a distinct variety. It has also long been famous for yielding
a most superior wine.

When I went into the country I had two hundred of the Lawton blackberry
to plant, all which were the product of my five-dollar venture. In
digging them up from my city garden, every inch of root that could be
found was carefully hunted out. They had multiplied under ground to a
surprising extent--some of them being as much as twenty feet in length.
These roots were full of buds from which new canes would spring. Their
vitality is almost unconquerable--everybody knows a blackberry is the
hardest thing in the world to kill. I cut off the canes six inches above
the root, then divided each stool into separate roots, and then cutting
up the long roots into slips containing one to two eyes each, I found my
number of sets to exceed a thousand, quite enough to plant an acre.

These I put out in rows eight feet apart, and eight feet asunder in the
rows. Not ten of them died, as they came fresh out of the ground in one
place, only to be immediately covered up some three inches deep in
another. Thus this whole five-dollar speculation was one of the luckiest
hits I ever made; because I began early, before the plant had passed
into everybody’s hands; and when it came into general demand, I was the
only grower near the city who had more than a dozen plants. Very soon
everybody wanted the fruit, and the whole neighborhood wanted the
plants. How I condescended to supply both classes of customers will
appear hereafter.

Yet, while setting out these roots, several of my neighbors, as usual
when I was doing any thing, came to oversee me. On former occasions they
had expressed considerable incredulity as to my operations; and it was
easy to see from their remarks and inquiries now, that they thought I
didn’t know much, and would have nothing for my labor but my pains. I
always listened good-humoredly to their remarks, because I discovered
that now and then they let fall something which was of real value to me.
When they discovered it was blackberries I was planting, some of them
laughed outright. But I replied that this Lawton berry was a new
variety, superior to any thing known, and an incredible bearer. They
answered me they could find better ones in any fence corner in the
township, and that if I once got them into my ground I could never get
them out. It struck me the last remark would also apply as justly to my

But I contented myself with saying that I should never want to get them
out, and that the time would come when they would all want the same
thing in their own ground. Thus it is that pioneers in any thing are
generally ridiculed and discouraged by the general multitude. Of all my
visitors, only two appeared to have any correct knowledge of the new
plant. They offered to buy part of my stock; but on refusing to sell,
they engaged to take some in the autumn.

I have been thus particular in writing of the Lawton, because of my
singular success with it from the start. I thus occupied my seventh
acre; but the rows being eight feet apart, abundant room was left to
raise a crop of some kind between them. Even in the rows, between the
roots, I planted corn, which grew well, and afforded a most beneficial
shade to the young blackberries as they grew up. I am satisfied they
flourished, better for being thus protected the first season from the
hot sun. When in full maturity, they need all the sun they can get. They
will grow and flourish in almost any soil in which they once become well
rooted, though they are rank feeders on manure. Like a young pig, feed
them well and they will grow to an astonishing size: starve them, and
your crops will be mere runts. It is from the same skinning practice
that so many corn-cribs are seen to abound in nubbins.

I had thus two acres left unoccupied; one acre, as previously stated,
was most fortunately in clover. On this I put four bushels of ground
plaster mixed with a sprinkling of guano, the two costing me only five
dollars. I afterwards devoted an acre to tomatoes, and the last to
parsnips, cabbages, turnips, and sweet corn. This latter was scattered
in rows or drills three feet apart, intending it for green fodder for
the horse and cow when the clover gave out. The turnips were sowed
between the corn-rows, and were intended for winter feeding for horse
and cow. On the acre of blackberries, between the rows, I planted
cabbage, putting into each hill a spoonful of mixed plaster and guano,
and wherever I could find vacant spots about the place, there also a
cabbage plant was set out. A few pumpkin hills were started in suitable
places. In fact, my effort was to occupy every inch of ground with
something. The cabbage and tomato plants cost me thirty dollars.

These several crops were put in as the season for each one came round.
The green-corn crop was not all put in at one time, but at intervals
about two weeks apart, so that I should have a succession of succulent
food during the summer. The horse and cow were to be kept in the
barnyard, as I had no faith in turning cattle out to pasture, thus
requiring three times as much land as was necessary, besides losing half
the manure. The latter was a sort of hobby with me. I was determined to
give my crops all they could profitably appropriate, and so soil my
little stock; that is, keep them in the barnyard in summer, and in the
stable in winter, while their food was to be brought to them, instead of
their being forced to go after it. I knew it would cost time and
trouble; but I have long since discovered that most things of value in
this world come to us only as the result of diligent, unremitted labor.
The man, even upon ten acres, who is content to see around him only
barren fields, scanty crops, and lean, starving animals, does not
deserve the name of farmer. Unless he can devise ways and means for
changing such a condition of things, and cease ridiculing all
propositions of amendment that may be pointed out to him, he had better
be up and off, and give place to a live man. Such skinning and
exhausting tillage is one cause of the annual relative decline of the
wheat-crop all over the Union, and of the frequent changes in the
ownership of lands. The fragrance of a fat and ample manure heap is as
grateful to the nostrils of a good farmer, as the fumes of the tavern
are notoriously attractive to those of a poor one.



I mentioned some time ago that the wife of the former owner of this
place had left it with a world of regrets. She had been passionately
fond of the garden which now fell to us. As daylight can be seen through
very small holes, so little things will illustrate a person’s character.
Indeed, character consists in little acts, and honorably performed;
daily life being the quarry from which we build it up and rough-hew the
habits that form it. The garden she had prepared, and cultivated for
several years, doing much of the work of planting, watching, watering,
and training with her own hands, bore honorable testimony to the
goodness of hers. She had filled it with the choicest fruit-trees, most
of which were now in full bearing. There was abundance of all the usual
garden fruits, currants, gooseberries, grapes, and an ample asparagus
bed. It was laid out with taste, convenience, and liberality. Flowers,
of course, had not been omitted by such a woman. Her vocation had
evidently been something beyond that of merely cooking her husband’s
dinners. But her garden bore marks of long abandonment. Great weeds were
rioting in the borders, grass had taken foothold in the alleys, and it
stood in need of a new mistress to work up into profitable use the
store of riches it contained. It struck me that if one woman could
establish a garden like this, I could find another on my own premises to
manage it.

After I had got through with the various plantings of my standard
fruits--indeed, while much of it was going on--I took resolute hold of
the garden. It was large enough to provide vegetables for three
families. I meant to make it sure for one. With all the lights and
improvements of modern times, and they are many, three-fourths of the
farm gardens in our country are still a disgrace to our husbandry. As a
rule, the most easily raised vegetables are not to be found in them; and
the small fruits, with the exception of currants and gooseberries, are
universally neglected. Many of our farmers have never tasted an early
York cabbage. If they get cabbages or potatoes by August, they think
they are doing pretty well. They do not understand the simple mysteries
of a hotbed, and so force nothing. Now, with this article, which need
not cost five dollars, and which a boy of ten years can manage, you can
have cabbages and potatoes in June, and beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and
squashes, and a host of other delicious vegetables, a little later.

By selecting your seed, you can have salad, green peas, onions, and
beets by the last of June, or before without any forcing. A good
asparagus bed, covering two square rods of ground, is a luxury that no
farmer should be without. It will give him a palatable dish, green and
succulent from the bosom of the earth every day, from May to July. A
good variety of vegetables is within the reach of every farmer the year
round. They are not only an important means of supporting the family,
paying at least one-half the table expenses, but they are greatly
conducive to health. They relieve the terrible monotony of salt junk,
and in the warm season prevent the fevers and bowel complaints so often
induced by too much animal food.

Neglect is thus too much the rule. A row of currants, for example, is
planted in a garden. It will indeed bear well with neglect; but an
annual manuring and thinning out of old wood, would at least triple the
size of the fruit, and improve its quality. The row of currants will
furnish a daily supply of refreshing fruit to the table for months
together. Why should its culture then be totally neglected, when a row
of corn by its side of equal length, which will supply only a single
feeding to a pen of hogs, is most carefully manured, watched, ploughed,
and hoed? I have sometimes seen farmers who, after expending large sums
in establishing a young orchard of trees, would destroy one-half by
choking them with a crop of oats or clover, because they could not
afford to lose the use of the small strip of land a few feet wide in the
row, which ought to have been kept clean and cultivated.

I began by deepening the garden soil wherever a spade could be put in. I
hired a man for this purpose, and paid him ten dollars for the job,
including the hauling and digging in of the great pile of manure I had
found in the barnyard, and the clearing up of things generally. I would
have laid out fifty dollars in manure, if the money could have been
spared; but what I did afforded an excellent return. My wife and eldest
daughter, Kate, then in her eighteenth year, did all the planting. I
spent five dollars in buying for them a complete outfit of hoes, rakes,
and trowels for garden use, lightly made on purpose for female handling,
with a neat little wheelbarrow to hold the weeds and litter which I felt
pretty sure would have to be hoed up and trundled away before the season
was over.

They took to the garden manfully. I kept their hoes constantly sharpened
with a file, and they declared it was only pastime to wage warfare on
the weeds with weapons so keen. Now and then one of the boys went in to
give them a lift; and when a new vegetable bed was to be planted, it was
dug up and made ready for them. But the great bulk of all other work was
done by themselves.

Never has either of them enjoyed health so robust, or appetites so
wholesome. As a whole year’s crop of weeds had gone to seed, they had
millions of the enemy to contend with, just as I had anticipated. I did
not volunteer discouragements by repeating to them the old English
formula, that

    “One year’s seeding
     Makes seven years’ weeding,”

but commended their industry, exhorted them to persevere, and was lavish
in my admiration of the handsome style in which they kept the grounds. I
infused into their minds a perfect hatred of the whole tribe of weeds,
enjoined it upon them not to let a single one escape and go to seed,
and promised them that if they thus exterminated all, the next year’s
weeding would be mere recreation.

I will say for them, that all our visitors from the city were surprised
at seeing the garden so free from weeds, while they did not fail to
notice that most of the vegetables were extremely thrifty. They did not
know that in gardens where the weeds thrive undisturbed, the vegetables
never do. As to the neighbors, they came in occasionally to see what the
women were doing, but shook their heads when they saw they were merely
hoeing up weeds--said that weeds did no harm, and they might as well
attempt to kill all the flies--they had been brought up among weeds,
knew all about them, and “it was no use trying to get rid of them.”

But the work of weeding kept on through the whole season, and as a
consequence, the ground about the vegetables was kept constantly
stirred. The result of this thorough culture was, that nearly every
thing seemed to feel it, and the growth was prodigious, far exceeding
what the family could consume. We had every thing we needed, and in far
greater abundance than we ever had in the city. I am satisfied this
profusion of vegetables lessened the consumption of meat in the family
one-half. Indeed, it was such, that my wife suggested that the garden
had so much more in it than we required, that perhaps it would be as
well to send the surplus to the store where we usually bought our
groceries, to be there sold for our benefit.

The town within half a mile of us contained some five thousand
inhabitants, among whom there was a daily demand for vegetables. I took
my wife’s advice, and from time to time gathered such as she directed,
for she and Kate were sole mistresses of the garden, and sent them to
the store. They kept a regular book-account of these consignments, and
when we came to settle up with the storekeeper at the year’s end, were
surprised to find that he had eighty dollars to our credit. But this was
not all from vegetables--a good deal of it came from the fruit-trees.

After using in the family great quantities of fine peaches from the ten
garden-trees, certainly three times as many as we could ever afford to
buy when in the city, the rest went to the store. The trees had been so
hackled by the worms that they did not bear full crops, yet the yield
was considerable. Then there were quantities of spare currants,
gooseberries, and several bushels of common blue plums, which the
curculio does not sting. When my wife discovered there was so ready a
market at our own door, she suffered nothing to go to waste. It was a
new feature in her experience--every thing seemed to sell. Whenever she
needed a new dress for herself or any of the children, all she had to do
was to go to the store, get it, and have it charged against her garden
fund. I confess that her success greatly exceeded my expectations.

Let me now put in a word as to the cause of this success with our
garden. It was not owing to our knowledge of gardening, for we made many
blunders not here recorded, and lost crops of two or three different
things in consequence. Neither was it owing to excessive richness of
the ground. But I lay it to the unsparing warfare kept up upon the
weeds, which thus prevented their running away with the nourishment
intended for the plants, and kept the ground constantly stirred up and
thoroughly pulverized. I have sometimes thought one good stirring up,
whether with the hoe, the rake, or the cultivator, was as beneficial as
a good shower.

When vegetables begin to look parched and the ground becomes dry, some
gardeners think they must commence the use of the watering-pot. This
practice, to a certain extent, and under some circumstances, may perhaps
be proper, but as a general rule it is incorrect. The same time spent in
hoeing, frequently stirring the earth about vegetables, is far
preferable. When watering has once commenced it must be continued, must
be followed up, else you have done mischief instead of good; as, after
watering a few times, and then omitting it, the ground will bake harder
than if nothing had been done to it. Not so with hoeing or raking. The
more you stir the ground about vegetables, the better they are off; and
whenever you stop hoeing, no damage is done, as in watering. Vegetables
will improve more rapidly, be more healthy, and in better condition at
maturity, by frequent hoeing than by frequent watering. This result is
very easily shown by experiment. Just notice, after a dewy night, the
difference between ground lately and often stirred, and that which has
lain unmoved for a long time. Or take two cabbage plants under similar
circumstances; water one and stir the other just as often, stirring the
earth about it carefully and thoroughly, and see which will distance the
other in growth.

There are secrets about this stirring of the earth which chemists and
horticulturists would do well to study with the utmost scrutiny and
care. Soil cultivated in the spring, and then neglected, soon settles
together. The surface becomes hard, the particles cohere, they attract
little or no moisture, and from such a surface even the rain slides off,
apparently doing little good. But let this surface be thoroughly
pulverized, though it be done merely with an iron rake, and only a few
inches in depth, and a new life is infused into it. The surface becomes
friable and soft, the moisture of the particles again becomes active,
attracting and being attracted, each seeming to be crying to his
neighbor, “Hand over, hand over--more drink, more drink.” Why this
elaboration should grow less and less, till in a comparatively short
time it should seem almost to cease, is a question of very difficult
solution; though the varying compositions of soils has doubtless
something to do with the matter.

But let the stirring be carefully repeated, and all is life again.
Particles attract moisture from the atmosphere, hand it to each other,
down it goes to the roots of vegetables, the little suction fibres drink
it in; and though we cannot see these busy operations, yet we perceive
their healthy effects in the pushing up of vegetables above the surface.
The hoe is better than the water-pot. My garden is a signal illustration
of the fact.



Both myself and wife had always coveted a cow. All of the family were
extravagantly fond of milk. Where so many children were about, it seemed
indispensable to have one; besides, were we not upon a farm? and what
would a farm be without having upon it at least one saint of the
barnyard? As soon as we came on the place, I made inquiries of two or
three persons for a cow. The news flew round the neighborhood with
amazing rapidity, and in the course of two weeks I was besieged with
offers. They haunted me in the street, as I went daily to the
post-office; even in the evening, as we sat in our parlor. It seemed as
if everybody in the township had a cow to sell. Indeed, the annoyance
continued long after we had been supplied.

Now, though I knew a great deal of milk, having learned to like it the
very day I was born, yet I was utterly ignorant of how to choose a cow,
and at that time had no friend to advise with. But I suspected that no
one who had a first-rate animal would voluntarily part with it, and so
expected to be cheated. I hinted as much to my wife, whereupon she
begged that the choice might be left to her; to which I partially
consented, thinking that if we should be imposed on, I should feel
better if the imposition could be made chargeable somewhere else than to
my own ignorance. Besides, I knew that she could hardly be worse cheated
than myself.

One morning a very respectable-looking old man drove a cow up to the
door, and called us out to look at her. My wife was pleased with her
looks the moment she set eyes on her, while the children were delighted
with the calf, some two weeks old. I did not like her movements--she
seemed restless and ill-tempered; but the old man said that was always
the way with cows at their first calving. Still, I should not have
bought her. But somehow my wife seemed bewitched in her favor, and was
determined to have her. This the old man could not fail to notice, and
was loud in extolling her good qualities, declaring that she would give
twenty quarts of milk a day. After some further parley, he inadvertently
admitted that she had never been milked. My wife did not notice this
striking discrepancy of a cow giving twenty quarts daily, when as yet no
one had ever milked her; but the lie was too bouncing a one to escape my
notice. As I saw my wife had set her heart upon the cow, I said nothing,
and finally bought cow and calf for thirty dollars, though quite certain
they could have been had for five dollars less, if my wife had not so
plainly shown to the old sinner that she was determined to have them. I
do not think she will ever be up to me in making a bargain. But as it
had been agreed that she should choose a cow, so she was permitted to
have her own way.

At the end of the week the calf was sold for three dollars--a low
price; but then my wife wanted the milk, and she and Kate were anxious
to begin the milking. I am sure I was quite willing they should have all
they could get. When they did begin, there was a great time. Now, most
women profess to understand precisely how a cow should be milked, and
yet comparatively few know any thing about it. They remind me of the
Irish girls who are hunting places. These are all first-rate cooks, if
you take their word for it, and yet not one in a hundred knows any thing
of even the first principles of cooking.

The first process in the operation of milking is to fondle with the cow,
make her acquaintance, and thus give her to understand that the man or
maid with the milking pail approaches her with friendly intentions, in
order to relieve her of the usual lacteal secretion. It will never do to
approach the animal with combative feelings and intentions. Should the
milker be too impetuous; should he swear, speak loud and sharp, scold or
kick, or otherwise abuse or frighten the cow, she will probably prove
refractory as a mule, and may give the uncouth and unfeeling milker the
benefit of her heels,--a very pertinent reward, to which he, the uncouth
milker, is justly entitled. Especially in the case of a new milker, who
may be a perfect stranger to the cow, the utmost kindness and
deliberation are necessary.

Before commencing to milk, a cow should be fed, or have some kind of
fodder offered her, in view of diverting her attention from the
operation of milking. By this means the milk is not held up, as the
saying is, but is yielded freely. All these precautions are more
indispensable when the cow has just been deprived of her calf. She is
then uneasy, fretful, and irritable, and generally so disconsolate as to
need the kindest treatment and the utmost soothing. The milker should be
in close contact with the cow’s body, for in this position, if she
attempt to kick him, he gets nothing more than a push, whereas if he
sits off at a distance, the cow has an opportunity to inflict a severe
blow whenever she feels disposed to do so.

All milkers of cows should understand that the udder and teats are
highly organized, and consequently very sensitive; and these facts
should be taken into consideration by amateur milkers, especially when
their first essay is made on a young animal after the advent of her
first calf, and that one just taken from her. At this period, the hard
tugging and squeezing to which many poor dumb brutes have to submit in
consequence of the application of hard-fisted, callous, or inexperienced
fingers, is a barbarity of the very worst kind; for it often converts a
docile creature into a vicious one, from which condition it is extremely
difficult, if not impossible, to wean her.

Of every one of these requisites both wife and daughter were utterly
ignorant. They went talking and laughing into the barn, one with a
bright tin pail in her hand, an object which the cow had never before
seen, and both made at her, forgetting that they were utter strangers to
her. Besides, she was thinking of her absent calf, and did not want to
see any thing else. Their appearance and clamor of course frightened
her, and as they approached her, so she avoided them. They followed, but
she continued to avoid, and once or twice put down her head shook it
menacingly, and even made an incipient lunge at them with her sharply
pointed horns. These decided demonstrations of anger frightened them in
turn, and they forthwith gave up the pursuit of milk in the face of
difficulties so unexpected. We got none that night. In the morning we
sent for an experienced milker, but she had the utmost difficulty in
getting the cow to stand quiet even for a moment. My wife was quite
subdued about the matter. It would never do to keep a cow that nobody
could milk. She said but little, however--it was _her_ cow. Longer trial
produced no more encouraging result, as she seemed untamable, and my
wife was glad to have me sell her for twenty dollars, at the same time
resolving never again to buy a cow with her first calf.

It was voted unanimously that another should be procured, and that this
time the choice should be left to me. Now, I never had any idea of
buying poor things of any kind merely because they were cheap. When
purchasing or making tools or machinery, I never bought or made any but
the very best, as I found that even a good workman could never do a good
job with poor tools. So with all my farm implements--I bought the best
of their kind that could be had. If my female gardeners had been
furnished with heavy and clumsy hoes and rakes, because such were cheap,
their mere weight would have disgusted them with the business of hoeing
and weeding. So with a cow. It is true, I had become the owner of a
magnificent thirty-dollar horse; but it was the only beast I could get
hold of at the moment when a horse must be had. Besides, he turned out
to be like a singed cat, a vast deal better than he looked.

I had repeatedly heard of a cow in the neighboring town, which was said
to yield so much milk as to be the principal support of a small family
whose head was a hopeless drunkard. She had cost seventy-five dollars,
and had been a present to the drunkard’s wife from one of her relatives.
By careful inquiry, I satisfied myself that this cow gave twenty quarts
daily, and that five months after calving, and on very indifferent
pasture. I went to see her, and then her owner told me she was going to
leave the place, and would sell the cow for fifty dollars. I did not
hesitate a moment, but paid the money and had the cow brought home the
same evening. My wife and daughter had not the least difficulty in
learning to milk her. Under their treatment and my improved feeding, we
kept her in full flow for a long time. She gave quite as much milk as
two ordinary cows, while we had the expense of keeping only one. This I
consider genuine good management: the best is always the cheapest.

The cow was never permitted to go out of the barnyard. A trough of water
enabled her to drink as often as she needed, but her green food was
brought to her regularly three times daily, with double allowance at
night. I began by mowing all the little grass-plots about the house and
lanes, for in these sheltered nooks the sod sends up a heavy growth far
in advance of field or meadow. But this supply was soon exhausted,
though it lasted more than a week: besides, these usually neglected
nooks afforded several mowings during the season, and the repeated
cuttings produced the additional advantage of maintaining the sod in
beautiful condition, as well as getting rid of numberless weeds. When
the grass had all been once mowed over, we resorted to the clover. This
also was mowed and taken to her; and by this treatment my little
clover-field held out astonishingly. Long before I had gone over it
once, the portion first mowed was up high enough to be mowed again.
Indeed, we did secure some hay in addition. In this way both horse and
cow were soiled. When the clover gave out, the green corn which I had
sowed in rows was eighteen inches to two feet high, and in capital
condition to cut and feed. It then took the place of clover. Both horse
and cow devoured it with high relish. It was the extra sweet corn now so
extensively cultivated in New Jersey for market, and contained an excess
of saccharine matter, which made it not only very palatable, but which
sensibly stimulated the flow of milk.

The yield of green food which this description of corn gives to the
acre, when thus sowed, is enormous. Not having weighed it, I cannot
speak as to the exact quantity, but should judge it to be at least seven
times that of the best grass or clover. Even without cutting up with a
straw-knife, the pigs ate it with equal avidity. In addition to this,
the cow was fed morning and night with a little bran. The unconsumed
corn, after being dried where it grew, was cut and gathered for winter
fodder, and when cut fine and mixed with turnips which had been passed
through a slicer, kept the cow in excellent condition. She of course
got many an armful of cabbage-leaves during the autumn and all through
the winter, with now and then a sprinkling of sliced pumpkins, from
which the seeds had first been taken, as they are sure to diminish the
flow of milk.

Thus I was obliged to lay out no money for either horse or cow, except
the few dollars expended for bran. By this treatment I secured all the
manure they made. By feeding the barnyard itself, as well as the
hog-pen, with green weeds and whatever litter and trash could be
gathered up, the end of the season found me with a huge manure pile, all
nicely collected under a rough shed, out of reach of drenching rain, hot
sun, and wasting winds. I certainly secured thrice as much in one season
as had ever been made on that place in three. In addition to this, the
family had had more milk than they could use, fresh, rich, and buttery.
Even the pigs fell heir to an occasional bucket of skim-milk.

When our city friends came to spend a day or two with us, we were able
to astonish them with a tumbler of thick cream, instead of the usual
staple beverages of the tea-table. My wife evidently felt a sort of
pride in making a display of this kind, and Kate invariably spread
herself by taking our visitors to the barnyard, to let them see how
expert she had become at milking. When they remarked, at table, on the
surpassing richness of the cream, as well as the milk, my wife was very
apt to reply--

“Yes, but when your turn comes to go in the country, be particular not
to buy a cheap cow.”

This remark generally led to inquiry, and then Kate was brought out
with the whole story of our first and second cow, which she accordingly
gave with illustrations infinitely more amusing than any I have been
able to introduce. Indeed, her power of amplification sometimes
astonished me. She told the story of our having been cheated by the old
sinner, with such graphic liveliness, my wife now and then interposing a
parenthesis, that the company invariably concluded it was by far the
better policy to give a wide berth to cheap cows. I am not certain
whether the fun occasioned by Kate’s narratives was not really very
cheaply purchased by the small loss we suffered on that occasion.

This abundance of milk wrought quite a change in our habits as to tea
and coffee. At supper, during the summer, we drank milk only; but
insensibly we ran on in the same way into cold weather. In the end, we
found that we liked coffee in the morning only. This was a clear saving,
besides being quite as wholesome. Our city milk bill had usually been a
dollar a week. I am quite sure it did not cost over sixty cents a week
to keep the cow. Then we had puddings and other dishes, which milk alone
makes palatable, whenever we wanted them; and at any time of a hot
summer’s day a full draught of cold milk was always within reach. Then
the quality was much superior, exceeding any thing to be found in city
milk. I must admit that keeping a cow, like most other good things,
involves some trouble; but my family would cheerfully undertake twice as
much as they have ever had with ours, rather than dispense with this yet
uncanonized saint of the barnyard.



June came without my being obliged to hire any thing but occasional help
on the farm. But when the month was fairly set in, I found every inch of
my ploughed land in a fair way of being smothered by the weeds. I was
amazed at the countless numbers which sprang up, as well as at the
rapidity with which they grew. There was almost every variety of these
pests. It seemed as if the whole township had concentrated its wealth of
weeds upon my premises. In the quick, warm soil of New Jersey, they
appear to have found a most congenial home, as they abound on every farm
that I have seen. Cultivators appear to have abandoned all hope of
eradicating them. Knowing that the last year’s crop had gone to seed, I
confess to looking for something of the kind, but I was wholly
unprepared for the thick haze which everywhere covered the ground.

I can bear any quantity of snakes, but for weeds I have a sort of
religious aversion. I tried one week to overcome them with the
cultivator, but I made discouraging headway. I then bought a regular
horse-weeder, which cut them down rapidly and effectually. But meantime
others were growing up in the rows, and corners, and by-places, where
nothing but the hoe could reach them, and robbing the crops of their
support. It would never do to cultivate weeds--they must be got rid of
at any cost, or my crops would be worthless. Several neighboring
farmers, who had doubtless counted on this state of things, came along
about the time they supposed my hands would be full, looked over the
fence at my courageous onslaught, laughed, and called out, “It’s no
use--you can’t kill the weeds!” Such was the sympathy they afforded. If
my house had been on fire, every one of them would have promptly hurried
to the rescue; but to assist a man in killing his weeds was what no one
dreamed of doing. He didn’t kill his own.

In this dilemma I was forced to hire a young man to help me, contracting
to give him twelve dollars a month and board him. He turned out sober
and industrious. We went to work courageously on the weeds. I will admit
that my man Dick was quite as certain as my neighbors that we could
never get permanently ahead of them, and that thus lacking faith he took
hold of the cultivator and weeder, while I attacked the enemy in the
rows and by-places. I kept him constantly at it, and worked steadily
myself. A week’s labor left a most encouraging mark upon the ground. The
hot sun wilted and dried up the weeds as we cut them off. Two weeks
enabled us to get over the whole lot, making it look clean and nice. I
congratulated myself on our success, and inquired of Dick if he didn’t
think we had got ahead of the enemy now. This was on a Saturday evening.
Dick looked up at the sky, which was then black and showery, with a warm
south wind blowing, and a broad laugh came over his features as he
replied, “This will do till next time.” The fellow was evidently
unwilling either to encourage or to disappoint me.

That night a powerful rain fell, with a warm sultry wind, being what
farmers call “growing weather.” I found it to be even so, good for weeds
at least. Monday morning came with a hot, clear sun, and, under the
combined stimulating power of sun, rain, and temperature, I found that
in two nights a new generation had started into life, quite as numerous
as that we had just overcome. As I walked over the ground in company
with Dick, I was confounded at the sight. But I noticed that he
expressed no astonishment whatever--it was just what he knew was to
come--and so he declared it would be if we made the ground as clean as a
parlor every week.

He said he never knew the weeds to be got out of Jersey ground, and
protested that it couldn’t be done. He admitted that they were
nuisances, but so were mosquitoes. But as neither, in his opinion, did
any great harm, so he thought it not worth while to spend much time or
money in endeavoring to get rid of them. In either case he considered
the attempt a vain one, and this was the whole extent of his philosophy.
He had in fact been educated to believe in weeds. I was mortified at his
indifference, for I had labored to infuse into his mind the same hatred
of the tribe with which my wife and Kate had been so happily inoculated.
But Dick was proof against inoculation--his system repudiated it.

But it set me to thinking. As to defining what a weed was, I did not
undertake that, beyond pronouncing it to be a plant growing out of its
proper place. Neither did I undertake to settle the question as to the
endless variety there seemed to be of these pests, nor by what
unaccountable agency they had become so thoroughly diffused over the
earth. I could not fail to admit, however, that it seemed, in the
providence of God, that whenever man ceased to till the ground and cover
it with cultivated crops, at his almighty command there sprung up a
profuse vegetation with which to clothe its nakedness. While man might
be idle, it was impossible for nature to be so--the earth could not lie
barren of every thing. But it seemed to me impossible that these ten
acres of mine could contain an absolutely indefinite number of seeds of
these unwelcome plants. There must be some limitation of the number. At
what figure did it stop? Was it one million, or a hundred millions?
Neither Dick nor myself could answer this question.

Yet I came resolutely to the conclusion that there must be a limitation,
and that if we could induce all the seeds contained in the soil to
vegetate, and then destroy the plants before they matured a new crop, we
should ever afterwards be excused from such constant labor as we had
gone through, and as was likely to be our experience in the future. I
submitted this proposition to Dick--that if we killed all the weeds as
they grew, the time would come when there would be no weeds to kill. It
struck me as being so simple that even Dick, with all his doggedness,
could neither fail to comprehend nor acknowledge it. He did manage to
comprehend it, but as to acknowledging its force, one might have argued
with him for a month. He utterly denied the premises--he had no faith in
our Jersey weeds ever being killed, no matter how much luck we had thus
far had with them, and I would see that he was right.

But having originated the dogma, I fully believed in it, and felt bound
to maintain it; so Dick and I went resolutely to work a second time, as
soon as the new crop was well out of the ground. The labor was certainly
not as great as on the first crop, but it was hot work. I carried a file
in my pocket, and kept my hoe as sharp as I have always kept my carving
knife, and taught Dick to put his horse-weeder in prime order every
evening when we had quit work. The perspiration ran in a stream from me
in the hot sun, and a few blisters rose on my hands, but my appetite was
rampant, and never have my slumbers been so undisturbed and peaceful.

About the third week in June we got through the second cleaning, and
then rested. From that time to the end of the first week in July there
had been no rain, with a powerfully hot sun. During this interval the
weeds grew again, and entirely new generations, some few of the first
varieties, but the remainder being new sorts. Thus there were
wet-weather weeds and dry-weather weeds; and as I afterwards found,
there was a regular succession of varieties from spring to winter, and
even into December--cold-weather weeds as well as hot-weather weeds.
Against each new army as it showed itself an onslaught was to be made. I
was persuaded in my mind that the same army which we killed this year
could not show itself the next, and that therefore there ought to be
that number less. But Dick could not see this.

I observed, moreover, that each variety had its particular period when
it vegetated, so that it might have time to get ahead and keep out of
the way of its successor. It was evident that the seeds of any one kind
did not all vegetate the same season. Herein was a wonderful provision
of Providence to insure the perpetuity of all; for if all the rag-weed,
for instance, had vegetated the first season of my experience, they
would assuredly have been killed. But multitudes remained dormant in the
earth, as if thus stored up for the purpose of repairing, another year,
the casualties which their forerunners had encountered during the
present one. Thus no one weed can be extirpated in a single season;
neither do we have the whole catalogue to attack at the same time.

My warfare against the enemy continued unabated. As the time came for
each new variety to show itself, so we took it in hand with hoe and
weeder. Dick and his horse made such admirable progress, that I cannot
refrain from recommending this most efficient tool to the notice of
every cultivator. With one man and a horse it will do the work of six
men, cutting off the weeds just below the ground and leaving them to
wilt on the surface. It costs but six dollars, and can be had in all the
cities. It would have cost me a hundred dollars to do the same amount of
work with the hoe, which this implement did within four weeks.

Thus aided, our labors extended clear into November. In the intervals
between the different growths of weeds, we looked after the other crops.
But when the winter closed in upon us, the whole ground was so
thoroughly cleaned of them as to be the admiration of the jeerers and
croakers who, early in the season, had pitied my enthusiasm or ridiculed
my anticipations. Even Dick was somewhat subdued and doubtful. I do not
think a single weed escaped our notice, and went to seed that season.

I saw this year a beautiful illustration of the idea that there are
specific manures for certain plants. I can hardly doubt that each has
its specific favorite, and that if cultivators could discover what that
favorite is, our crops might be indefinitely increased. On a piece of
ground which had been sowed with turnips, on which guano had previously
been sprinkled during a gentle rain, there sprang up the most marvellous
growth of purslane that ever met one’s eyes. The whole ground was
covered with the rankest growth of this weed that could be imagined.
Every turnip was smothered out. It seemed as if the dormant
purslane-seed had been instantly called into life by the touch of the
guano. It was singular, too, that we had noticed no purslane growing on
that particular spot previous to the application of this rapidly-acting

I confess the sight of a dense carpet of purslane instead of a crop of
turnips, almost staggered me as to the correctness of my theory that the
number of seeds in the ground, yet to vegetate, must somewhere have a
limit. Here were evidently millions of a kind which, up to this time,
had not even showed themselves. After allowing the purslane to grow two
weeks, Dick cut it off with his horse-weeder, raked it up, and carried
it to the pigs, who consumed it with avidity. We then recultivated the
ground and sowed again with turnips; but the yield was very poor. Either
the purslane had appropriated the whole energy of the guano, or the
sowing was too late in the season.

But this little incident will illustrate the value of observation to a
farmer. Book-farming is a good thing in its place, but observation is
equally instructive. The former is not sufficient, of itself, to make
good tillers of the soil. It will not answer in place of attentive
observation. It forms, indeed, but the poorest kind of a substitute for
that habit which every farmer should cultivate, of going all over his
premises daily during the growing season, and noticing the peculiarities
of particular plants; the habits of destructive animals or insects; the
depredations as well as the services of birds; the when, the how, and
the apparent wherefore of the germination of seeds; the growth of the
stem, the vine, or the stalk that proceeds from them, and the formation,
growth, and ripening of the fruit which they bear. Let no farmer,
fruit-grower, or gardener, neglect observation for an exclusive reliance
on book-farming.

It would be a most erroneous conclusion for the reader to suppose that
all this long-continued labor in keeping the ground clear of weeds was
so much labor thrown away. On the contrary, even apart from ridding the
soil of so many nuisances, so many robbers of the nourishment provided
for useful plants, it kept the land in the most admirable condition. The
good conferred upon the garden by hoeing and raking, was re-enacted
here. Every thing I had planted grew with surprising luxuriance. I do
think it was an illustration of the value of thorough culture, made so
manifest that no one could fail to observe it. It abundantly repaid me
for all my watchfulness and care. Dick was forced to acknowledge that he
had seen no such clean work done in that part of New Jersey.

My nurseryman came along at the end of the season, to see how I had
fared, and walked deliberately over the ground with me, examining the
peach-trees. He said he had never seen young trees grow more vigorously.
Not one of them had died. The raspberries had not grown so much as he
expected, but the strawberry-rows were now filled with plants. As
runners were thrown out, I had carefully trained them in line with the
parent stools, not permitting them to sprawl right and left over a great
surface, forming a mass that could not be weeded, even by hand. This he
did not approve of. He said by letting them spread out right and left
the crop of fruit would be much greater, but admitted that the size of
the berries would be much smaller. But he contended that _quantity_ was
what the public wanted, and that they did not care so much for
_quality_. Yet he could not explain the damaging fact that the largest
sized fruit was always the most eagerly sought after, and invariably
commanded the highest price. Though he did not approve of my mode of
cultivation, yet he could not convince me that I had made a mistake.

From these we walked over to the blackberries. They, too, had grown
finely under my thorough culture of the ground. Besides sending up good
canes which promised a fair crop the next season, each root had sent up
several suckers, some of them several feet away, and out of the line of
the row. These I had intended to sell, and had preserved as many as
possible, knowing there would be a demand for all. The interest in the
new berry had rapidly extended all round among my neighbors, and I very
soon discovered that my nurseryman wanted to buy. In fact, I believe he
came more for that purpose than to see how I was doing. But I talked
offish--spoke of having engaged two or three lots, and could hardly
speak with certainty. Finally, he offered to give me a receipt for the
$120 he was to receive out of the strawberries he had sold me, and pay
me $100 down, for a thousand blackberry plants. Though I felt pretty
sure I could do better, yet I closed with him. As he had evidently come
prepared with money to clinch some sort of bargain, he produced it and
paid me on the spot. He afterwards retailed nearly all of the plants for
a much larger sum. But it was a good bargain for both of us. It paid me
well, and was all clear profit.

I may add that these blackberry roots came into more active demand from
that time until the next spring; and when spring opened, more suckers
came up, as if knowing they were wanted. These, with my previous stock,
amounted to a large number. A seed-man in the city advertised them for
sale, and took retail orders for me. His sales, with my own, absorbed
every root I could spare. When they had all been disposed of, and my
receipts were footed up, I found that they amounted to four hundred and
sixty dollars, leaving me three hundred and forty dollars clear, after
paying for my strawberry plants.

This was far better than I had anticipated. It may sound curiously now,
when the plants can be had so cheaply, but it is a true picture of the
market at the time of which I write. It is the great profit to be
realized from the sale of new plants that stimulates their cultivation.
Many men have made fortunes from the sale of a new fruit or flower, and
others are repeating the operation now. In fact, it is the hope of this
great gain that has given to the world so many new and valuable plants,
some originated from seed, some by hybridization, some from solitary
hiding-places in the woods and mountains, and some by importation from
distant countries. Success in one thing stimulates to exertion for
another, and thus the race of a vast and intelligent competition is
maintained. But the public is the greatest gainer after all.

My profits from this source, the first year, may by some be regarded as
an exceptional thing, to be realized only by the fortunate few, and not
to be regularly counted on. But this is not the case. There are
thousands of cultivators who are constantly in the market as purchasers.
If it were not so, the vast nursery establishments which exist all over
the country could not be maintained. Every fruit-grower, like myself,
has been compelled to buy in the beginning of his operations; but his
turn for selling has invariably come round. As a general rule, whatever
outlay a beginner makes in supplying himself with the smaller fruits, is
afterwards reimbursed from the sale of surplus plants he does not need.
This sale occurs annually, and in time will far exceed his original

If the plants be rare in the market, and if he should have gone into the
propagation at a very early day, before prices have found their lowest
level, his profits will be the larger. Hence the utmost watchfulness of
the market should be maintained. New plants, better breeds of animals,
and in fact every improvement connected with agriculture, if judiciously
adopted at the earliest moment, will generally be found to pay, even
after allowing for losses on the numerous cheats which are continually
turning up.



Very early after taking possession, I invested twelve dollars in the
purchase of seven pigs of the ordinary country breed. They were wanted
to eat the many odds and ends which are yielded by ten acres, a good
garden, and the kitchen. I did not look for much money profit from them,
but I knew they were great as architects in building up a manure heap.
Yet they were capital things with which to pack a meat-tub at Christmas,
saving money from the butcher, as well as much running abroad to market.
They shared with the cow in the abundant trimmings and surplus from the
garden, eating many things which she rejected, and appropriating all the
slop from the kitchen. In addition to this, we fed them twice a day with
boiled bran, sometimes with a handful of corn meal, but never upon whole
corn. This cooking of the food was no great trouble in the kitchen, but
its effect on the pigs was most beneficial. They grew finely, except one
which died after four months’ feeding, but from what cause could not be

The consequence was, that when October came round, the six remaining
ones were estimated by Dick to average at least one hundred and fifty
pounds each, and were in prime condition for fattening. In the early
part of that month their supply of cooked mush was increased. I am of
opinion that farmers leave the fattening of their hogs too late, and
that a month on corn, before December, is worth three months after it.
By the tenth of December they were ready for the butcher, and on being
killed, were found to average two hundred and twenty-four pounds, or
nine hundred and forty-four in all. This being three times as much as we
needed for home use, the remainder was sent to the store, where it
netted me forty-nine dollars.

I am quite certain there was a profit on these pigs. They consumed
quantities of refuse tomatoes, and devoured parsnips with the greatest
eagerness. One day I directed Dick to cut up some stalks of our green
sweet corn, by means of the fodder-cutter, which delivers them in pieces
half an inch long, and mix them with bran for the pigs. I found they
consumed it with great avidity. Ever after that they were served twice
daily with the same mess. It seemed to take the place of stronger food,
as well as of grass, and was an acceptable variety. In this way the
money cost of food was kept at a low figure, and the labor we spent on
the pigs showed itself in the fine yield of prime pork, which brought
the highest price in the market. The yield of rich manure was also very
satisfactory, all which, at intervals through the season, was removed
from the pen and put under cover, for manure thus housed from the sun
and rain is worth about double that which is exposed all the year round.
This was another item of profit: if the pigs had not manufactured it,
money would have been required to pay for its equivalent.

After these six had been killed, I purchased seven others, some two
months old, having abundance of roots, offal cabbages, and a stack of
the sweet-corn fodder on hand. These seven cost the same as the others,
twelve dollars. As Dick was found to be a good, trustworthy fellow, he
was to be kept all the year round; and as he would be hanging about the
barnyard during the winter, when the ground was wet and sloppy, looking
after the horse and cow, the pigs would help to fill up his time. The
cooking of food for both cow and pigs was a great novelty to him. At
first he could not be made to believe in it. When I ventured to
insinuate to him that it would be any thing but agreeable to him to eat
his dinners raw, the force of the idea did not strike him. So much is
there in the power of long-established habit. Yet he did condescend to
admit that he knew all pigs throve better on plenty of common
kitchen-swill than on almost any thing else. I told him there was but
one reason for this, and that was because all such swill had been
cooked. When the improvement made by the first lot of pigs became too
manifest for even him to dispute, he, together with the pigs,
acknowledged the corn and gave in.

When out-door operations for the season were over, Dick undertook the
whole business of cooking for the pigs and cow himself. In fact, on one
occasion I succeeded in getting him to curry down both cow and pigs.
They all looked and showed so much better for near a week thereafter,
that coming on him unexpectedly one day, I found him repeating the
operation of his own motion, and so he voluntarily continued the
practice during the whole winter. The pigs seemed delighted with the
process, and had very little scratching of their own to do. Their backs
and sides were kept continually smooth, while their whole appearance was
changed for the better. As to the cow, she took to being curried with
the best possible grace, and improved under it as much as the pigs; but
whether it increased the flow of milk I cannot say, as no means were
taken to solve that question. But as Dick’s devotion to the currycomb
excited my admiration, so there was abundant evidence that both pigs and
cow were equally captivated.

This business of raising and carefully attending to only half a dozen
hogs, is worthy of every small farmer’s serious study and attention. The
hog and his food, with what is cheapest and best for him, is really one
of the sciences, not an exact one, it is true, but still a science. One
must look at and study many things, and they can all be made to pay. The
propensity to acquire fat in many animals seems to have been implanted
by nature. The hog fattens most rapidly in such a condition of the
atmosphere as is most congenial to his comfort--not too hot, nor too
cold. Hence the months of September, October, and November are the best
for making pork. The more agreeable the weather, the less is the amount
of food required to supply the waste of life. It has been found by some
persons that a clover-field is the best and cheapest place to keep hogs
in during the spring and summer months, where they have a plenty of
water, the slop from the house, and the sour milk from the dairy. All
sour feed contains more nitrogen than when fed in a sweet state. The
first green herbage of the spring works off the impurities of the blood,
cleanses the system, renovates the constitution, and enables the animal
to accumulate a store of strength to carry it forward to its destined

Many object to beginning the fattening process so early in the season,
as the corn relied on for that purpose is not then fully matured. But,
taking all things into consideration, it is perhaps better to feed corn
before it is ripe, as in that state it possesses more sweetness. Most
varieties are in milk in September, when the hogs will chew it, swallow
the juice, and eject the dry, fibrous matter. During the growing season
of the year, swine can be fed on articles not readily marketable, as
imperfect fruit, vegetables, &c. When such articles are used, cooking
them is always economical. Most vegetables, when boiled or steamed, and
mixed with only an eighth of their bulk of mill-feed or meal, whey, and
milk left to sour, will fatten hogs fast. In this state they will eat it
with avidity, and derive more benefit from it than when fed in an
unfermented state. Articles of a perishable nature should be used first,
to prevent waste, as it is desirable to turn all the products of the
farm to the best account. Another quite important advantage of early
feeding is the less trouble in cooking the food. Convenience of feeding
is promoted, as there is no cost nor trouble to guard against freezing.

The more you can mix the food, the better, as they will thrive faster on
mixed food than when fed separately. In feeding, no more should be given
at a time than is eaten up clean, and the feeding should be regular as
to time. It is of the greatest importance to get the best varieties,
those that are well formed, and have an aptitude for taking on fat
readily, and consume the least food. As to which is the best kind, there
seems to be a great diversity of opinion, some preferring one kind and
some another. The Suffolks come to maturity earliest, and probably are
the most profitable to kill at from seven to ten months; but others
prefer the Berkshires. The pork of both is excellent: they will usually
weigh from 250 to 300 pounds at the age of eight or ten months. The
better way is to have the pigs dropped about the first of April, and
feed well until December, and then butcher.

From a variety of experiments, I am satisfied it is wrong to let a hog
remain poor twelve months of his life, when he could be made as large in
nine months as he generally is in fifteen; and I conceive it a great
error to feed corn to hogs without grinding. It has been proved by the
Shakers, after thirty years’ trial, that ground corn is one-third better
for hogs and cattle-feed than if unground. In the case of another
feeder, he ascertained the ratio of gain to be even greater than that of
the Shakers. Others assert that cooking corn-meal nearly doubles its
value. A distinguished agriculturist in Ohio proved that nineteen pounds
of cooked meal were equal in value to fifty pounds raw. If pigs are well
kept for three months after being dropped, they cannot be stunted after
that, even if the supply of food is less than it should be.

It is desirable that hogs should be provided with a dry floor for eating
and sleeping only, and the whole pen completely sheltered, to prevent
any washing or waste of the manure. The commonwealth of the piggery
should be furnished with plenty of straw, potato-vines, leaves, sawdust,
and the like, with an occasional load of muck, and almost any quantity
of weeds, all of which will be converted into the most efficient
supports of vegetable life. Hogs are the best composters known, as they
delight in upturning any such article as the farmer wishes to convert
into manure for the coming year.

There can be no question as to its paying to make pork, though men
differ on this as widely as their pork differs when brought to market.
The poorer the pork, the more the owner complains of his profits, or
rather of his losses; and the better the pork, the more is the owner
satisfied. There can be no profit in raising a poor breed of hogs, that
have no fattening qualities; nor even a good breed, without conveniences
or proper care. A good hog cannot be fatted to any profit in mud or
filth, nor where he suffers from cold. His comfort should be consulted
as much as that of any other animal. It is a great error to assume that
he is naturally fond of living among filth. On the contrary, hogs are
remarkably neat, and those which fatten the best always keep themselves
the cleanest. One farmer assured me that he had made his corn bring
$1.25 per bushel by passing it through the bowels of his hogs, besides
having the manure clear. Another did much better by cooking his meal.

As no farm is pronounced complete without poultry, and as both my wife
and daughters were especially fond of looking after chickens,--at least
they thought they would be,--so, to make their new home attractive, I
invested $7 in the purchase of a cock and ten hens. They were warranted
to be powerful layers, and would hatch fifteen eggs apiece. It struck me
that this sounded very large, but on my wife observing it would be only
a hundred and fifty chickens the first season, I gave in without a word.
The fact is that chickens were not my hobby. I did not think they would
pay, even after hearing my wife dilate on the luxury it would be to have
fresh eggs every morning for breakfast, for pies and puddings, and
various other things which she enumerated, and, as she expressed it,
“eggs of our own laying.”

I could not see how this circle of wonders was to be accomplished by
only ten hens, and insinuated that it would be a good thing if she could
make a bargain with each of her hens to lay two eggs a day. In reply to
this, she astonished me by saying that Americans did not know how to
make the most of things, but that the French did. She said that a
certain Frenchman, mentioning his name--he was either a marquis or
count, of course--had recently discovered the art of making hens lay
every day by feeding them on horse-flesh, and that he feeds out
twenty-five horses a day, which he obtains among the used-up hacks of
Paris. She said he had a hennery which furnishes forty thousand dozens
of eggs a week, and that it yields the proprietor a clear profit of
five thousand dollars every seven days. After hearing this I felt
certain she had been reading some modern poultry-book. But as she did
not speak of requiring me to furnish horse-flesh for her pets, nor
contemplate the establishment of a fresh-laid egg company, but only
suggested the consumption of a little raw meat now and then, I
volunteered no objections. Her enthusiasm was such as to make it unsafe
to do so. Why should not she and the children be gratified?

The hens came home, and were put into a cage in the barnyard, to
familiarize them with their new home. But they did not lay so freely as
she had expected, while some did not lay at all. Worse than that, as
soon as let out of their cage, they got over the fence into the garden,
where they scratched as violently as if each one had a brood of fifteen
to scratch for. They made terrible havoc among the young flowers and
vegetables, and tore up the beds which had been so nicely raked. One of
the girls was employed half her time in driving them out. I thought it
too great an expense to raise the barnyard fence high enough to keep
them in, and so they were marched back into the cage. It happened to be
too small for so many fowls, which my wife did not suspect, until one
day, putting her hand in to draw forth a sick hen, she discovered her
whole arm and sleeve to be swarming with lice. Here was something she
did not remember to have been treated of in her poultry-book. But the
nuisance was so great, as well as so active, soon extending itself all
over her person, as to compel her to strip and change her entire dress,
and to plunge the lousy one in a tub of water.

I confess the difficulty was a new one to me. My experience in poultry
had been limited. My knowledge of them was exclusively anatomical,
obtained by frequent dissections with the carving-knife. On calling
Dick, however, it appeared that he knew more about this trouble than the
whole family together. When my wife described her condition to him, and
how she had swarmed with the vermin, the fellow laughed outright, but
said they wouldn’t hurt--he knew all about them, for he had been full of
lice more than once! He said he expected this, as the fowls had been
kept up too close: they would neither lay, thrive, nor keep clear of
vermin, unless allowed to run about.

But he took the case in hand, clipped their wings, saturated their heads
with lamp oil, provided abundance of ashes for them to roll in, and then
turned them loose in the barnyard. He then obtained poles of sassafras
wood for them to roost on, as he said the peculiar odor of that tree
would drive the enemy away. I presume his prescriptions answered the
purpose; at all events, we discovered no more hen-lice, because the
whole family were careful never to touch a fowl again.

I think this little catastrophe took all the romance out of my wife
touching chickens. I rarely heard her mention eggs afterwards, except
when some of us were going to the store for other things, and she was
careful never to purchase chickens with the feathers on. She never
referred to the hundred and fifty she was to hatch out that season; nor
have I ever heard her even mention horse-flesh as a sure thing for
making hens lay all the year round. That winter Dick fattened and killed
the whole lot. My wife did not seem to have much stomach for them when
they came upon the table. I was not sorry for it, except that she had
been disappointed. Her knowledge of keeping poultry had been purely
theoretical, and her first disappointment had completely weaned her of
her fondness for the art.

But this brief and unlucky experience of ours should by no means operate
to discourage others. Money is undoubtedly made by skilful men at
raising poultry. It cannot be a losing business, or so many thousand
tons would not be annually produced. Volumes have been written on the
subject, which all who contemplate embarking in the business may consult
with profit. As an incident of farm life it will always be interesting,
and with those who understand the art it ought to be profitable.

Foreigners must be more experienced in the business of raising poultry
than Americans, judging by the vast quantities they annually produce for
market. The quantity imported into England is so enormous, that it is
impossible to determine its amount. Into only two of the principal
London markets there is annually brought from France and Belgium,
75,000,000 eggs, 2,000,000 fowls, 400,000 pigeons, 200,000 geese and
turkeys, and 300,000 ducks. In addition to these, the large amount sent
to poulterers and private houses must be considered. The Brighton
railroad alone carries yearly 2,600 tons of eggs which come from France
and Belgium. Yet, with all these immense supplies, the London markets
are frequently very meagrely supplied with butter and eggs. The trade is
shown by these figures to be one of great national value. Americans have
strangely neglected its cultivation with the method and precision of
foreigners. We can raise food more cheaply than they, while none of them
can boast of possessing our incomparable Indian corn.

There are several of my neighbors who are highly skilled in the art of
raising poultry. One of them is quite a poultry-fancier, and, by keeping
only choice breeds, he realizes fancy prices for them. Another confines
his fowls in a plum-orchard, and thus secures an annual crop of plums
without being stung by the curculio. In general, the female portion of
the family attend to this branch of domestic business, and realize a
snug sum from it annually. A brood of young chickens turned into a
garden, the hen confined in her coop, will soon clear it of destructive



The pensive reader must not take it for granted that in going into the
country we escaped all the annoyances of domestic life peculiar to the
city, or that we fell heir to no new ones, such as we had never before
experienced. He must remember that this is a world of compensations, and
that nowhere will he be likely to find either an unmixed good or an
unmixed evil. Such was exactly our experience. But on summing up the
two, the balance was decidedly in our favor. It is true that though the
town close by us had well-paved streets, yet the walk of half a mile to
reach them was a mere gravel path, which was sometimes muddy in summer,
and sloppy with unshovelled snow in winter. But I walked over it almost
daily to the post-office, not even imagining that it was worse than a
city pavement. The tramp of the children to school was not longer than
they had been used to, and my wife and daughters thought it no hardship
to go shopping among the well-supplied stores quite as frequently as
when living in the city. Indeed, I sometimes thought they went a little
oftener. They were certainly as well posted up as to the new fashions as
they had ever been, while the fresh country air, united with constant
exercise, kept them in good appetite, even to the rounding of their
cheeks, and the maintenance of a better color in them than ever.

As to society, they very soon made acquaintances quite as agreeable as
could be desired. Visiting became a very frequent thing; and after a few
months I let in a suspicion that the girls found twice as many beaux as
in the city, though there the average number is always larger than in
the country. On throwing out an insinuation of this kind to Kate, one
summer evening, after a large party of young folks had concluded their
visit, she made open confession that it was so, and volunteered her
conviction that they were decidedly more agreeable. I admit this
confession did not surprise me, as there was one young man among the
party who had become especially attentive to Kate--bringing her the new
magazines as soon as they were out, sundry books and pictorials, and
always having a deal to say to her, with a singular genius for getting
her away from the rest of the company, so that most of their mysterious
small-talk could be heard by none but themselves. Another remark which I
made to Kate on a subsequent occasion, touching this subject, covered
her bright face with so many blushes that I ventured to mention the
whole matter to my wife; but she made so light of the thing that I said
no more at the time, thinking, perhaps, that the women were most likely
the best judges in such cases. But I have since discovered that my
prognostications were much more to be depended on than hers.

Then the walks for miles around us were excellent, and we all became
great walkers, for walking we found to be good. Not merely stepping
from shop to shop, or from neighbor to neighbor, but stretching away out
into the country, to the freshest fields, the shadiest woods, the
highest ridges, and the greenest lawns. We found that however sullen the
imagination may have been among its griefs at home, here it cheered up
and smiled. However listless the limbs may have been by steady toil,
here they were braced up, and the lagging gait became buoyant again.
However stubborn the memory may be in presenting that only which was
agonizing, and insisting on that which cannot be retrieved, on walking
among the glowing fields it ceases to regard the former, and forgets the
latter. Indeed, we all came to esteem the mere breathing of the fresh
wind upon the commonest highway to be rest and comfort, which must be
felt to be believed.

But then we had neither gas nor hydrant water, those two prime luxuries
of city life. Yet there was a pump in a deep well under a shed at the
kitchen door, from which we drew water so cold as not at any time to
need that other city luxury, ice. It was gratifying to see how expertly
even the small children operated with the pump-handle. In a month we
ceased to regret the hydrants. As to gas, we had the modern lamps, which
give so clear a light not so convenient, it must be confessed, but then
they did not cost us over half as much, neither did we sit up near so
long at night. There were two mails from the city daily, and the newsboy
threw the morning paper into the front door while we sat at breakfast.
The evening paper came up from the city before we had supped. We had
two daily mails from New York, besides a telegraph station. The baker
served us twice a day with bread, when we needed it; the oysterman
became a bore, he rang the bell so often; and the fish-wagon, with
sea-fish packed in ice, directly from the shore, was within call as
often as we desired, with fish as cheap and sound as any to be purchased
in the city. Groceries and provisions from the stores cost no more than
they did there, but they were no cheaper. But in the item of rent the
saving was enormous,--really half enough, in my case, to keep a moderate
family. Many’s the time, when sweating over the weeds, have I thought of
this last heavy drain on the purse of the city toiler, and thanked
Heaven that I had ceased to work for the landlord.

We had books as abundantly as aforetime, as we retained our share in the
city library, and became subscribers to that in the adjoining town. It
is true that the road in front of us was never thronged like
Chestnut-street, but we neither sighed after the crowd nor missed its
presence. We saw no flash of jewelry, nor heard the rustling of
expensive silks, except the few which on particular occasions were
sported within our own unostentatious domicil. Our entire wardrobes were
manifestly on a scale less costly than ever. Our old city friends were
apparently a great way off, but as they could reach us in an hour either
by steamboat or rail, they quickly found us out. The relish of their
society was heightened by distance and separation. In short, while far
from being hermits, we were happy in ourselves. I think my wife became
a perfectly happy woman--what it had been the great study of my wedded
life to make her--the very sparkle and sunshine of the house. She
possessed the magic secret of being contented under any circumstances.
The current of my life had never been so dark and unpropitious, that the
sunshine of her happy face, falling across its turbid course, failed to
awake an answering gleam.

Speaking of visitors from abroad, I noticed that our city friends came
to make their visits on the very hottest summer days, when, of all
others, we were ourselves sufficiently exhausted by the heat, and were
disposed to put up with as little cooking and in-door work as possible.
But as such visitations were not exactly comfortable to the visited, so
we could not see how they could be any more agreeable to the visitors.
Yet they generally remarked, even when the mercury was up to
ninety-five, “How much cooler it is in the country!” They did really
enjoy either themselves or the heat. But my wife told them it was only
the change of scene that made the weather tolerable, and that if they
lived in the country they would soon discover it to be quite as hot as
in the city. For my part, I bore the heat admirably, though tanned by
the sun to the color of an aborigine; but I enjoyed the inexpressible
luxury of going constantly in my shirt sleeves. I can hardly find words
to describe the feeling of comfort which I enjoyed for full seven months
out of the twelve from this little piece of latitudinarianism, the
privilege of country life, but an unknown luxury in the city.

I saw that this press of company in the very hottest weather imposed an
unpleasant burden on my wife, for she and my two oldest daughters were
the sole caterers; and I intended to say something to her concerning it,
as soon as a large party, then staying several days with us, should have
concluded their visit. But on going into our chamber that very evening,
she surprised me by asking if I could tell her why, when Eve was made
from one of Adam’s ribs, there was not a hired girl made at the same
time, for to her mind it took three to make a pair--he, she, and a hired
girl. I replied that I had not given much time to the study of
navigation, but that I quite understood her meaning, and that it was
exactly what I had myself been thinking of. If Adam’s rib, after
producing Eve, had not held out to produce a hired girl also, I told her
there was a much quicker way of getting what she wanted, and that the
first morning paper she might pick up would produce her twenty hired

In this way, before the summer was over, I procured her a servant, thus
making her little establishment complete. For this luxury we paid city
wages. But this was a small item, when I saw how much her presence
relieved my wife. After that, I do not think she complained quite as
much of the hot weather, nor was she inclined so frequently to repeat
her former observation, that the sultry days always brought the most
company. Indeed, I am certain that on one or two occasions, when the
dog-days were terribly oppressive, she prevailed on different parties to
prolong their stay for nearly a week.

Now, this taking on of Betty did not imply that my daughters were to be
brought up to do nothing--or to do every thing that is fashionable
imperfectly. My wife had already educated them in domestic duties--not
merely to marry, to go off _with_ husbands in a hurry, and afterwards
_from_ them. To the two eldest she had taught a trade, and they were
both able to earn their salt. They could not only dress themselves, but
knew how to make their dresses and bonnets, and all the clothing for the
younger children. She cultivated in them all that was necessary in the
position in which they were born, one thing at a time, but that thing in
perfection; so that if parents were impoverished, or if in after-life
reverses should overtake themselves, they might feel independent in the
ability to earn their own support. She frowned upon the senseless
rivalries of social life, as destructive of morals, mind, and health,
and imbued their spirits with a devout veneration for holy things. She
taught them no worship of the almighty dollar, but sound, practical
economy, the art of saving the pieces. Surely it must be education alone
which fills the world with two kinds of girls--one kind which appears
best abroad, good for parties, rides, and visits, and whose chief
delight is in such things--good, in fact, for little else. The other is
the kind that appears best at home, graceful in the parlor, captivating
in social intercourse, useful in the sick chamber as in the dining-room,
and cheerful in all the precincts of home. They differ widely in
character. One is often the family torment; the other the family
blessing: one a moth consuming every thing about her; the other a
sunbeam, inspiring life and gladness all along her pathway. As my wife
embodied in herself all that to me appeared desirable in woman, so she
possessed the faculty of transfusing her own virtues into the
constitution of her daughters.



I had one acre in tomatoes, a vegetable for whose production the soil of
New Jersey is perhaps without a rival. The plants are started in
hot-beds, where they flourish until all danger from frost disappears,
when they are set out in the open air, with a generous shovel-full of
well-rotted stable manure deposited under each plant. A moist day is
preferred for this operation; but even without it this plant generally
goes on growing. It has been observed that the oftener it is
transplanted, the more quickly it matures; and as the great effort among
growers is to be first in market, so some of them take pains to give it
two transplantings. Having no hot-bed on my premises, and my time being
fully occupied with other things, I was compelled to purchase plants
from those who had them to spare, the cost of which is elsewhere stated.
But the operation paid well.

The quantity produced by an acre of well-manured tomatoes is almost
incredible. When in full bearing, the field seems to be perfectly red
with them. Those which come first into market, even without being
perfectly ripe, sell for sixpence apiece. So popular has this vegetable
become, and so great is the profit realized by cultivating it, that for
nearly twenty years it has been grown in large quantities by Jerseymen
who emigrated to Virginia for the purpose of taking advantage of the
earlier climate of that genial region. There they bought farms, improved
them by using freely the unappropriated and unvalued stores of manure to
be found in the vicinity, and produced whole cargoes of the choicest
early vegetables required by the great consuming public of the northern
cities. They shipped them hither two weeks ahead of all the Jersey
truckers, and were rewarded by fabulous prices, from the receipt of
which large fortunes resulted. This mutually advantageous traffic had
become a very important one, when rebellion broke it up. Intercourse was
stopped, cultivation was abandoned, and the Virginia truckers were

Although this competition seriously interfered with the profits of New
Jersey farmers, yet it did not destroy them. The cultivation of early
truck and fruit continued to pay, though not so well as formerly. When
prices fell, the Southern growers could not afford the cost of delivery
here, and thus left us in undisputed possession of the market. But, as a
general rule, the Virginia competitors invariably obtained the highest
prices. A great portion of their several crops, however, perished on
their hands; because, as they had no market here when prices fell, so
the scanty population around them afforded none at home.

For the first few baskets of early tomatoes I sent to market, I obtained
two dollars per basket of three pecks each. Other growers coming in
competition with me, the price rapidly diminished as the supply
increased, until it fell to twenty-five cents a bushel. At less than
this the growers refused to pick them; and seasons have been repeatedly
known when tens of thousands of bushels were left to perish on the
vines. When this low price could be no longer obtained, they were
gathered and thrown to the pigs, who consumed them freely. But as the
season advanced the supply diminished, and the price again rose to a
dollar a basket, the demand continuing as long as any could be procured.
The tomatoes are at this season picked green from the vines, and placed
under glass, where they are imperfectly ripened; but such is the public
appreciation of this wholesome vegetable, that when thus only half
reddened, they are eagerly sought after by hotels and boarding-houses.

But of latter years measures have been taken to prevent, to some extent,
the enormous waste of tomatoes during the height of the season, by
preserving them in cans. Establishments have been started, at which any
quantity that may be offered is purchased at twenty-five cents a bushel;
and now they can be kept through the whole year, and be preserved for
winter consumption, the same as potatoes or turnips. By hermetically
sealing them in cans from which the air has been expelled by heat, they
are not only preserved, but made to retain their full flavor; and may be
enjoyed, at a very moderate cost, in the winter as well as the summer.
The demand for them is constant, large, and increasing, and putting up
canned tomatoes has become an extensive business. One person, who
commenced the business two years ago, is literally up to the eyes in
tomatoes once a year. He provides for a single year’s trade over fifty
thousand cans, all of which are manufactured by himself; and he employs
over thirty persons, most of them women. He engages tomatoes at
twenty-five cents a bushel, a price at which the cultivator clears about
a hundred dollars an acre, and they come in at the rate of a hundred and
fifty bushels a day, requiring the constant labor of all-hands into the
night to dispose of them.

The building in which the business is carried on was constructed
expressly for it. At one end of the room in which the canning is done is
a range of brick-work supporting three large boilers; and adjoining is
another large boiler, in which the scalding is done. The tomatoes are
first thrown into this scalder, and after remaining there a sufficient
time, are thrown upon a long table, on each side of which are ten or
twelve young women, who rapidly divest them of their leathery hides. The
peeled tomatoes are then thrown into the boilers, where they remain
until they are raised to a boiling heat, when they are rapidly poured
into the cans, and these are carried to the tinmen, who, with a
dexterity truly marvellous, place the caps upon them, and solder them
down, when they are piled up to cool, after which they are labelled, and
are ready for market. The rapidity and the system with which all this is
done is most remarkable, one of the tinmen soldering nearly a hundred
cans in an hour.

The tomatoes thus preserved are readily salable in all the great cities,
both for home consumption and for use at sea. Thus, few vegetables have
gained so rapid and wide-spread a popularity as this. Until lately, but
few persons would even taste them; and they were raised, when cultivated
at all, more from curiosity than any thing else. Now scarcely a person
can be found who is not fond of them, and they occupy a prominent place
on almost every table.

My single acre of tomatoes produced me a clear profit of $120. I am
aware that others have realized more than double this amount, but they
were experienced hands at the business. My gains were quite as much as I
had anticipated.

From all the remainder of the three acres but little money was produced.
It gave me parsnips, turnips, and pumpkins. Between the rows of sweet
corn a fine crop of cabbages was raised, of which my sales amounted to
$82. Thus, an abundant supply of succulent food was provided for horse,
cow, and pigs during the winter, all which saved the outlay of so much
cash. I admit that a few of my vegetables did not yield equal to the
grounds of some of my neighbors, thus disappointing some of my
calculations. But I was inexperienced, had much to learn, and was not
discouraged. On the other hand, I had gone far ahead of them in the
growth of my standard fruits; and the evident hit I had made with the
new blackberry had the effect of impressing them with considerable
respect for my courage and sagacity.

This business of raising vegetables for the great city markets,
“trucking,” as it is popularly called, is now the great staple of New
Jersey agriculture. All the region of country stretching from Camden
some forty miles towards New York, once enjoyed the reputation of being
either all sand or all pine. It is traversed by the old highway between
Philadelphia and New York, laid out by direction of royalty in colonial
days, and protected at various points by barracks, in which troops were
garrisoned. Some of the barracks remain to this day; though in chambers
where high military revel once was held, devout congregations now
worship. Along this royal highway passed all the early travel between
the colonies; and after they had been severed from their parent stem, up
to the advent of steamboats and railroads, it was the only thoroughfare
between the two cities of New York and Philadelphia. Stages occupied
five weary days between them, the horses exhausted by wading through a
deep, laborious sand in summer, or the still deeper mud through which
they floundered in winter. On miles of this road the sand was frightful.
No local authorities worked it, no merciful builder of turnpikes ever
thought of reclaiming it. It lay from generation to generation, as waste
and wild as when the native pines were first cleared away. Access was so
laborious, that few strangers visited the region through which it
passed; and the land was held in large tracts, whereon but few settlers
had made clearings. All judged the soil as worthless as the deep sand in
the highway. Where some settler did clear up a farm, his labors
presented no inviting spectacle to the passing traveller. If manure was
known in those days, the farmer did not appear to value it, for he
neither manufactured nor used it. Phosphates and fertilizers had not
been dreamed of. If he spread any fertilizer over his fields, it was but
a starveling ration; hence his corn crop was a harvest of nubbins. Wheat
he never thought of raising; rye was the sole winter grain, and rye
bread, rye mush, and rye pie-crust, held uncontested dominion, squalid
condiments as they all are, in each equally squalid farm-house. Ragweed
and pigweed took alternate possession of the fields; cultivation was at
its last point of attenuation; none grew rich, while all became poor;
and as autumn came on, even the ordinarily thoughtless grasshopper
climbed feebly up to the abounding mullein top, and with tears in his
eyes surveyed the melancholy desolation around him. Such is a true
picture of the king’s highway up to the building of the Camden and Amboy

No wonder that the great public who traversed it through this part of
New Jersey should think it, and speak of it everywhere, as being all
sand, seeing that in their passage through it they beheld but little
else. Hence, the reputation thus early established continues to the
present day, and the tradition has been incorporated into the public
vernacular. The sandy road alone was seen, while the green and fertile
tracts that lay beyond and around it were unknown, because unseen. Like
the traveller from Dan to Beersheba, the cry was that all was barren.
But time, improvement, education, railroads, and the marvellous growth
of Philadelphia, New York, and fifty intermediate towns, have changed
all this as by enchantment. Every mile of the old highway is now a
splendid gravel turnpike, intersected by a dozen similar roads, which
stretch away up into the country.

As good roads invite settlement, so population, the great promoter of
the value of land, has come in rapidly, and changed the aspect of every
farm-house. Good fences line the roadside, rank hedge-rows have
disappeared, new farm-houses have been everywhere built, low lands have
been drained, manures have been imported from the cities, wheat is now
the staple winter-grain, rye has ceased to be cultivated, and rye bread
is now a mere reminiscence of the old dispensation. But chief, perhaps,
of all, the whole agricultural world of New Jersey has been educated by
the agricultural press to a high standard of intelligence and
enterprise. Its labors have led to the establishment of numerous
extensive nurseries, by the pressure of a general demand for trees and
smaller fruits, whose wilderness of blossoms now annually blush and
brighten upon every farm. It has taught them to cultivate new vegetables
and fruits for city consumption alone, salable for cash in each
successive month; in doing which, they have changed from a
poverty-stricken to a money-making generation. It has taught them, what
none previously believed, that no good farming can be done without high
manuring, and banished the ignorance and meanness that prevented them
from spending money to secure it. It has introduced to their notice new
and portable manures, improved tools, better breeds of stock of all
kinds, and sharpened their perceptions, until they have now become men
of business as well as farmers, and so proved its value to them, that
he upon whose table no agricultural journal can be found, may be written
down as the laggard of a progressive age.

But in addition to all these stimulants to progress the Camden and Amboy
Railroad came in, giving it a vast momentum. Terminating at Philadelphia
and New York, it opened up a cash market among thousands asking for
daily bread. When this road was first opened, its annual way-freight
yielded less than one hundred dollars a year. But its managers wisely
built station-houses at every cross-road, as the farmers called for
them. To these nuclei the produce of entire townships quickly gathered
in astonishing quantities. Agents from the great cities traversed the
country, and bought every thing that was for sale. A cash market being
brought to their very doors, where none had previously existed, an
immense stimulus to production followed, and a new spirit was infused
into the whole region. Hundreds of farms were renovated, cleared of foul
weeds, drained, and liberally manured. New vegetables were cultivated.
Tomatoes, peas, rhubarb, and early potatoes rose into prime staples.
Green corn has been taken from a single county to the extent of two
thousand tons daily. Other products go to market by thousands of baskets
at a time. Way-trains are run for the sole accommodation of this truck
business, stopping every few miles to take in the waiting contributions
collected at the stations. To both railroad and farmer it has proved a
highly remunerating traffic. These way-freights, thus wisely cultivated
by the railroad, now amount to many thousands annually, and are
steadily growing larger. Meantime, steamboats on the Delaware stop
several times daily at new wharves on the river, sometimes taking at one
trip two thousand baskets of truck, from a point where, twelve years
ago, the same number could not be gathered during an entire season. The
grower thus has the choice of the two richest markets in the country. He
reaches Philadelphia in one hour, and New York in three.

It must be manifest that crops of such magnitude cannot be produced on
mere sand. Hence the traditional notion that New Jersey is a sand heap,
desolate and barren at that, has long been proved to be a fallacy. Men
do not grow rich upon a burning desert, such as this region has been
described. Yet the farmers who occupy it are notoriously becoming so.
They lend money annually on mortgage, after spending thousands in
manure, while farms have advanced from $30 to $100 and $200 per acre.
The last ten years have added thirty per cent. to the population.
Schools, churches, and towns have proportionately increased in number.

The soil of this truck region contains a large proportion of sand with
loam, on which manure acts with an energetic quickness that brings all
early truck into the great markets in advance of the neighboring
country. This secures high prices. Southern competition has only
stimulated the growers to increased exertion. Though from this cause
losing some of the high rewards of former years, yet the aggregate of
profit does not seem to diminish. Better cultivation, higher manuring,
changing one product for another, with more land brought into tillage,
enable them to foot up as large an amount of sales at the end of the
season as aforetime. They see that the world cannot be overfed, and that
any thing they can produce will command a ready market. Consumers
increase annually, and the public appetite loses none of its rampant
fierceness. Hence, competition stimulates instead of discouraging.

A vast area is planted with tomatoes. Though thousands of bushels perish
every season, yet two hundred, and even four hundred dollars an acre is
frequently the clear profit. Thirty years ago, three bunches of rhubarb
were brought to the London market for sale, but as no one could be found
to buy them, they were given away; yet London now consumes seven
thousand tons annually. So, in New Jersey--the planter of the first half
acre was pitied for his temerity. Now, there are hundreds of acres of
rhubarb. The production of peas, pickles, cucumbers, melons, and
cabbages is immense. Early corn is raised in vast quantities. All these
various products command cash on delivery.

The soil of this region has long been famous for its growth of melons.
Formerly they were raised by ship-loads, but Southern competition has
checked their production. Yet New Jersey citrons possess a flavor so
exquisite, that they cannot be driven from the market. Peaches have long
since become almost obsolete, the yellows and the worm having been great
discouragements. But within three years, hundreds of acres of them have
been planted in New Jersey, and the nurseries find ready sale, in
seasons of average prosperity, for all they can produce. Numerous
orchards will annually come into bearing; and the chances are that this
once famous staple will again be domesticated in its ancient stronghold.
Among the smaller fruits, strawberries occupy an important place in New
Jersey, whose soil seems peculiarly adapted to them. The yield per acre
is enormous. One grower has gathered 400 bushels from three acres of the
Albany seedling. He began his plantation with a single dozen plants, at
$2.50 per dozen. New York and Philadelphia took them all at an average
of eighteen cents a quart. This patch was a marvel to look at. The
ground appeared fairly red with berries of great size, and were so
abundant that pickers abandoned other fields at two cents a quart, and
volunteered to pick this at one and a half. Other neighboring growers
realized large returns. The two counties of Burlington and Monmouth are
believed to yield more berries of all kinds than any district of equal
area in the Union, and the cultivation is rapidly extending.

A year or two ago, somebody invented and patented a new box for taking
them to market, lighter, neater, cheaper than the old one, and securing
thorough ventilation to the fruit. A club of Connecticut men forthwith
organized a company with a capital of $10,000 for manufacturing them;
built a factory, started an engine, and now have forty hands at work. An
agent of the company went through the State last fall, from Middletown
to Camden, showing samples, and taking orders. He sold three hundred
thousand boxes, many to those who had the old ones, but more to others
just wanting them. As he travelled on foot, with samples in his hand,
he inquired his way over the country, from farm to farm, and probably
discovered every grower of an acre of berries. Of course he could not
fail to visit and supply me. He gave me many curious items of
information touching the extent of the berry business. There are parties
in this country who have fifty acres of strawberries on a single farm,
with a thousand dollars invested merely in the small boxes in which they
are taken to market. He reports that the two counties of Burlington and
Monmouth produce more berries than all the remainder of the State.
Strawberries and raspberries are now the staples, to which the
blackberry has recently been added. The great consuming stomach of the
large cities, having long been fed on these delicious fruits, must
continue to buy. Growers seem to know that after thirty years’
propagation of the strawberry, this devouring stomach has never been
surfeited,--that the more it is fed the more it consumes.



One morning in September, hearing shots fired repeatedly at the further
end of my grounds, and proceeding thither to ascertain the cause, I
discovered three great, overgrown boobies, with guns in their hands,
trampling down my strawberries, and shooting bluebirds and robins. On
inquiring where they belonged, they answered in the next township. I
suggested to them that I thought their own township was quite large
enough to keep its own loafers, without sending them to depredate on me,
warned them never to show themselves on my premises again, and then
drove them out. This happened to be the only occasion on which I was
invaded by any of the worthless, loafing tribe of gunners, who roam over
some neighborhoods, engaged in the manly occupation of killing tomtits
and catbirds.

For all such my aversion was as decided as my partiality for the birds
was strong. One of the little amusements I indulged in immediately on
taking possession of my farm, was to put up at least twenty little rough
contrivances about the premises, in which the birds might build. Knowing
their value as destroyers of insects, I was determined to protect them;
and thus, around the dwelling-house, in the garden-trees, and upon the
sides of the barn, as well as in other places which promised to be
popular, I placed boxes, calabashes, and squashes for them to occupy.
The wrens and bluebirds took to them with gratifying readiness, built,
and reared their families. But I observed that the wren quickly took
possession of every one in which the hole was just large enough to admit
himself, and too small to allow the bluebird to enter; while in those
large enough to admit a bluebird no wren would build. This was because
the bluebird has a standing spite against the wrens, which leads him to
enter the nests of the latter, whenever possible, and destroy their
eggs. Almost any number of wrens may thus be attracted round the house
and garden, where they act as vigilant destroyers of insects.

These interesting creatures soon hatched out large broods of young, to
provide food for which they were incessantly on the wing. They became
surprisingly tame and familiar, those especially which were nearest the
house, and in trees beneath which the family were constantly passing. We
watched their movements through the season with increasing interest. No
cat was permitted even to approach their nests, no tree on which a
family was domiciled was ever jarred or shaken; and the young children,
instead of regarding them as game to be frightened off, or hunted,
caught, and killed, were educated to admire and love them. Indeed, so
carefully did we observe their looks and motions, that many times I felt
almost sure that I could identify and recognize the tenants of
particular boxes. They ranged over the whole extent of my ten acres,
clearing the bushes and vegetables of insects and worms; while the
garden, in which they sang and chattered from daybreak until sunset, was
kept entirely clear of the destroyers. I encountered them at the
furthest extremity of my domain, peering under the peach-leaves,
flitting from one tomato-vine to another, almost as tame as those at
home. They must have known me, and felt safe from harm. I am persuaded
that I recognized them. Yet it was at this class of useful birds that
the boobies calling themselves sportsmen were aiming their weapons, when
I routed them from the premises, and forbid the murderous foray.

Insects are, occasionally, one of the farmer’s greatest pests. But high,
thorough farming is a potent destroyer. It is claimed by British writers
to be a sure one. When the average produce of wheat in England was only
twenty bushels per acre, the ravages of the insect tribe were far more
general and destructive than they have been since the average has risen
to forty bushels per acre. Why may not the cultivation of domestic birds
like these, that nestle round the house and garden, where insects mostly
congregate, be considered an important feature in any system of thorough

Besides the wrens and bluebirds, the robins built under the eaves of the
wood-shed, and became exceedingly tame. The more social swallow took
possession of every convenient nestling-place about the barn, while
troops of little sparrows came confidingly to the kitchen door to pick
up the crumbs of bread which the children scattered on the pavement as
soon as they discovered that these innocent little creatures were fond
of them. Thus my premises became a sort of open aviary, in which a
multitude of birds were cultivated with assiduous care, and where they
shall be even more assiduously domesticated, as long as I continue to be
lord of the manor. I pity the man who can look on these things, who can
listen to the song of wrens, the loud, inspiring carol of the robin on
the tree-top, as the setting sun gilds its utmost extremities, listening
to these vocal evidences of animal comfort and enjoyment, without
feeling any augmentation of his own pleasures, and that the lonesome
blank which sometimes hangs around a rural residence is thus gratefully

One morning, hearing a great clamor and turmoil in a thicket in the
garden, where a nest of orioles had been filled with young birds, I
cautiously approached to discover the cause. A dozen orioles were
hovering about in great excitement, and for some time it was impossible
to discover the meaning of the trouble. But remaining perfectly quiet,
so as not to increase the disturbance, I at length discovered an oriole,
whose wing had become so entangled in one end of a long string which
formed part of the nest that she could not escape. The other birds had
also discovered her condition, and hence their lamentation over a
misfortune they were unable to remedy. But they did all they could, and
were assiduously bringing food to a nest full of voracious young ones,
as well as feeding the imprisoned parent. I was so struck with the
interesting spectacle that my family were called out to witness it;
then, having gazed upon it a few moments, I cautiously approached the
prisoner, took her in my hands, carefully untied and then cut away the
treacherous string, and let the frightened warbler go free. She
instantly flew up into her nest, as if to see that all her callow brood
were safe, gave us a song of thanks, and immediately the crowd of
sympathizing birds, as if conscious that the difficulty no longer
existed, flew away to their respective nests.

It takes mankind a great while to learn the ways of Providence, and to
understand that things are better contrived for him than he can contrive
them for himself. Of late, the people are beginning to learn that they
have mistaken the character of most of the little birds, and have not
understood the object of the Almighty in creating them. They are the
friends of those who plant, and sow, and reap. It has been seen that
they live mostly on insects, which are among the worst enemies of the
agriculturist; and that if they take now and then a grain of wheat, a
grape, a cherry, or a strawberry, they levy but a small tax for the
immense services rendered. In this altered state of things, legislatures
are passing laws for the protection of little birds, and increasing the
penalties to be enforced upon the bird-killers.

A farmer in my neighborhood came one day to borrow a gun for the purpose
of killing some yellow-birds in his field of wheat, which he said were
eating up the grain. I declined to loan the gun. In order, however, to
gratify his curiosity, I shot one of them, opened its crop, and found in
it two hundred weevils, and but four grains of wheat, and in these four
grains the weevil had burrowed! This was a most instructive lesson, and
worth the life of the poor bird, valuable as it was. This bird resembles
the canary, and sings finely. One fact like this affords an eloquent
text for sermonizing, for the benefit of the farmers and others who may
look upon little birds as inimical to their interests. Every hunter and
farmer ought to know that there is hardly a bird that flies that is not
a friend of the farmer and gardener.

Some genial spirits have given the most elaborate attention to the
question of the value of birds. One gentleman took his position some
fifteen feet from the nest of an oriole, in the top of a peach-tree, to
observe his habits. The nest contained four young ones, well fledged,
which every now and then would stand upon the edge of the nest to try
their wings. They were, therefore, at an age which required the largest
supply of food. This the parents furnished at intervals of two to six
minutes, throughout the day. They lighted on the trees, the vines, the
grass, and other shrubbery, clinging at times to the most extreme and
delicate points of the leaves, in search of insects. Nothing seemed to
come amiss to these sharp-eyed foragers--grasshoppers, caterpillars,
worms, and the smaller flies. Sometimes one, and sometimes as many as
six, were plainly fed to the young ones at once. They would also carry
away the refuse litter from the nest, and drop it many yards off. A
little figuring gives the result of this incessant warfare against the
insects. For only eight working hours it will be 1000 worms destroyed by
a single pair of birds. But if a hundred pairs be domesticated on the
premises, the destruction will amount to 100,000 daily, or 3,000,000 a

This may seem to be a mere paper calculation, but the annals of
ornithology are crowded with confirmatory facts. The robin is accused of
appropriating the fruit which he has protected during the growing season
from a cloud of enemies. But his principal food is spiders, beetles,
caterpillars, worms, and larvæ. Nearly 200 larvæ have been taken from
the gizzard of a single bird. He feeds voraciously on those of the
destructive worm. In July he takes a few strawberries, cherries, and
pulpy fruits generally, more as a dessert than any thing else, because
it is invariably found to be largely intermixed with insects. Robins
killed in the country, at a distance from gardens and fruit-trees, are
found to contain less stone-fruit than those near villages; showing that
this bird is not an extensive forager. If our choicest fruits are near
at hand, he takes a small toll of them, but a small one only. In
reality, a very considerable part of every crop of grain and fruit is
planted, not for the mouths of our children, but for the fly, the
curculio, and the canker-worm, or some other of these pests of
husbandry. Science has done something, and will no doubt do more, to
alleviate the plague. It has already taught us not to wage equal war on
the wheat-fly and the parasite which preys upon it; and it will,
perhaps, eventually persuade those who need the lesson, that a few peas
and cherries are well bestowed by way of dessert on the cheerful little
warblers, who turn our gardens into concert-rooms, and do so much to aid
us in the warfare against the grubs and caterpillars, which form their
principal meal.

But if the subject of the value of insect-destroying birds has been so
much overlooked in this country, it is not so in Europe. It has been
brought formally before the French Senate, and is now before the French
government. Learned commissioners have reported upon it, and it is by no
means improbable that special legislation will presently follow. The
inquiry has been conducted with an elaborate accuracy characteristic of
French legislation. Insects and birds have been carefully classified
according to their several species; their habits of feeding have been
closely observed, and the results ascertained and computed. It has been
concluded that by no agency, save that of little birds, can the ravages
of insects be kept down. There are some birds which live exclusively
upon insects and grubs, and the quantity which they destroy is enormous.
There are others which live partly on grubs, and partly on grain, doing
some damage, but providing an abundant compensation. A third class--the
Birds of Prey--are excepted from the category of benefactors, and are
pronounced, too precipitately we think, to be noxious, inasmuch as they
live mostly upon the smaller birds. One class is a match for the other.
A certain insect was found to lay 2,000 eggs, but a single tom-tit was
found to eat 200,000 eggs a year. A swallow devours about 543 insects a
day, eggs and all. A sparrow’s nest, in the city of Paris, was found to
contain 700 pair of the upper wings of cockchafers, though, of course,
in such a place food of other kinds was procurable in abundance. It will
easily be seen, therefore, what an excess of insect life is produced
when a counterpoise like this is withdrawn; and the statistics before us
show clearly to what an extent the balance of nature has been disturbed.
A third, and wholly artificial class of destroyers has been introduced.
Every _chasseur_, during the season, kills, it is said, from 100 to 200
birds daily. A single child has been known to come home at night with
100 birds’ eggs, and it has been calculated and reported that the number
of birds’ eggs destroyed annually in France is between 80,000,000 and
100,000,000. The result is, that little birds in that country are
actually dying out; some species have already disappeared, and others
are rapidly diminishing. But there is another consequence. The French
crops have suffered terribly from the superabundance of insect vermin.
Not only the various kinds of grain, but the vines, the olives, and even
forest trees, tell the same tale of mischief, till at length the alarm
has become serious. Birds are now likely to be protected; indeed their
rise in public estimation has been signally rapid. Some philosopher has
declared, and the report quotes the saying as a profound one, that “the
birds can live without man, but man cannot live without the birds.”

The same results are being experienced in this country, and our whole
agricultural press, as well as the experience of every fruit-grower and
gardener, testifies to the fact that our fruit is disappearing as the
birds upon our premises are permitted to perish. Every humane and
prudent man will therefore do his utmost to preserve them.



It was now the dead of winter. Every thing was frozen up; but though
cheerless without, it was far from being so within. My little library,
well supplied with books and the literature of the day, afforded me an
intellectual banquet which never palled upon the appetite. Here my desk
was ever open; here pen, and ink, and diary were constantly at hand, for
entering down my expenditures and receipts, with facts and observations
for future use. Thus conveniently provided, and all my life accustomed
to accounts, I found no difficulty at the year’s end in ascertaining to
a dollar whether my first season’s experience had been one of loss or
gain. I give the particulars in full--

  Cost of stable manure and ashes                    $248.00
  Plaster and guano, not all used                      20.00
  Ploughing, harrowing, and digging up the garden      30.00
  Cabbage and tomato plants                            30.00
  Loss on my first cow                                  7.00
  Garden seeds                                          8.00
  Cost of six pigs                                     12.00
  Corn-meal and bran                                   28.00
  Dick’s wages for six months                          72.00

Here was an outlay of $455, all of which was likely to occur every
year, except the two items of loss on cow, and cost of buying cabbages
and tomato-plants, which have subsequently been raised in a hotbed at
home, without costing a dollar. The great item is in manure, amounting
to $268; and this must be kept at the same figure, if not increased,
unless an equal quantity can, by some process, be manufactured at home.

Then there was the following permanent outlay made in stocking the farm
with fruit:

  Strawberries for six acres            $120.00
  Raspberries for two acres               34.00
  804 Peach-trees, and planting them      72.36

This constituted a permanent investment of capital, and would not have
to be repeated, so that the actual cost the first year was, as stated,
$455. My own time and labor are not charged, because that item is
adjusted in the grand result of whether the farm supported me or not.
There was also the cost of horse and cow, ploughs, and other tools; but
these, too, were investments, not expenses. They could be resold for
money, no doubt, at some loss. A portion of that capital could therefore
be recovered. So, also, with the large item of $226.36 invested in
standard fruits; as, if the farm were sold its being stocked with them
would insure its bringing a higher price in consequence, probably enough
to refund the capital thus invested.

It is fair, therefore, to charge the current expenses only against the
current receipts. The latter were as follows:

  Sales of blackberry plants        $460.00
      “    cabbages                   82.00
      “    tomatoes                  120.00
      “    garden products            80.00
      “    pork                       49.00
  Current expenses, as stated        455.00
                    Profit           336.00

This was about $1.25 per day for the two hundred and seventy-five days
we had been in the country, from April 1st to January 1st, and, when
added to our copious supplies of vegetables, fruit, pork, and milk, it
kept the family in abundance. I proved this by a very simple formula. I
knew exactly how much cash I had on hand when I began in April, and from
that amount deducted the cost of all my permanent investments in
standard fruits, stock, and implements, and found that the remainder
came within a few cents of the balance on hand in January. I did not owe
a dollar, and had food enough to keep my stock till spring. The season
had been a good one for me, and we felt the greatest encouragement to
persevere, as the first difficulties had been overcome, and the second
season promised to be much more profitable. I considered the problem as
very nearly solved.

It will be noted that no cash was received for strawberries, and herein
is involved a fact important to be known and acted on by the growers of
this fruit. Most men, when planting them, say in March or April, are
impatient for a crop in June. But this should never be allowed. As soon
as the blossoms appear, they should be removed. The newly transplanted
vine has work enough thrown upon its roots in repairing the damage it
has suffered in being removed from one location to another, without
being compelled, in addition, to mature a crop of fruit. To require it
to do both is imposing on the roots a task they are many times unable to
perform. The draft upon them by the ripening fruit is more than they can
bear. I have known large fields of newly-planted vines perish in a dry
season from this cause alone. The writers on strawberry culture
sometimes recommend removing the blossoms the first year, but not with
sufficient urgency. I lay it down as absolutely indispensable to the
establishment of a robust growth. Thus believing, my blossoms were all
clipped off with scissors; and hence, though stronger plants were thus
produced, yet there was no fruit to sell.

It must also be remembered that my entire profit consisted of the single
item of sales of plants; hence, if there had been no demand for Lawtons,
or if I had happened to have none for sale, there would have been an
actual loss. My having them was a mere accident, and my luck in this
respect was quite exceptional. Unless others happen to be equally lucky,
they may set down their first year as very certain to yield no profit.
With persons as inexperienced as I was when beginning, no other result
should be expected.

Winter is proverbially the farmer’s holiday. But it was no idle time
with me. I had too long been trained to habits of industry, to lounge
about the house simply because no weeds could be found to kill. The
careful man will find a world of fixing up to do for winter. As it came
on slowly through a gorgeous Indian summer, I set myself to cleaning up
the litter round the premises, and put the garden into the best
condition for the coming season. The verbenas had gone from the borders;
the petunias had withered on the little mound whereon their red and
white had flashed so gayly in captivating contrast during the summer;
the delicate cypress-vine had blackened at the touch of a single frosty
night; the lady-slipper hung her flowery head; all the family of roses
had faded; the morning-glory had withered; even the hardy honeysuckle
had been frozen crisp. From the fruit-trees a cloud of leaves had fallen
upon every garden-walk. Plants that needed housing were carefully
potted, and taken under cover. The walks were cleared of leaves by
transferring them to the barnyard. Bushes, trees, and vines were
trimmed. Every remnant of decay was removed. The December sunshine fell
upon a garden so trim and neat, that even in the bleakest day it was not
unpleasant to wander through its alleys, and observe those wintry
visitants, the snow-birds, gathering from the bushes their scanty store
of favorite seeds. The asparagus was covered deeply with its favorite
manure, and heavily salted. Tender roses were banked up with barnyard
scrapings, and every delicate plant protected for its long season of

Dick had his share of exemption from excessive labor. But I kept him
tolerably busy for weeks in gathering up the cloud of leaves which fell
throughout the neighborhood from roadsides lined with trees. No manure
is so well worth saving in October and November as the falling leaves.
They contain nearly three times as much nitrogen as ordinary barnyard
manure; and every gardener who has strewn and covered them in his
trenches late in the fall or in December, must have noticed the next
season how black and moist the soil is that adheres to the thrifty young
beets he pulls. No vegetable substance yields its woody fibre and
becomes soluble quicker than leaves; and, from this very cause, they are
soon dried up, scattered to the winds, and wasted, if not now gathered
and trenched in, or composted, before the advent of severe winter.

My horse, and cow, and pigs, all slept in leaves. Their beds were warm
and easy, and the saving of straw for litter was an item. As they were
abundant, and very convenient, Dick carted to the barnyard an enormous
quantity. Placing enough of them under cover, he littered all the stock
with them until spring. The remainder was composted with the contents of
the barnyard, and thus made a very important addition to my stock of
manure. Thus the leaf-harvest is one of importance to the farmer, if he
will but avail himself of it. A calm day or two spent in this business
will enable him to get together a large pile of these fallen leaves;
and if stowed in a dry place, he will experience the good effects of
them in the improved condition of his stock, compared with those which
are suffered to lie down, and perhaps be frozen down, in their own
filth. The fertilizing material of leaves also adds essentially to the
enriching qualities of the manure-heap. Gardeners prize highly a compost
made in part of decomposed leaves. The leaf-harvest is the last harvest
of the year, and should be thoroughly attended to at the proper time.

The leisure of the season gave us greater opportunity for intercourse,
both at home and abroad. The city was comparatively at our door, as
accessible as ever--we were really mere suburbans. We ran down in an
hour to be spectators of any unusual sight, and frequently attended the
evening lectures of distinguished men. It was impossible for the world
to sweep on, leaving us to stagnate. How different this winter seemed to
me from any preceding one! Formerly, this long season had been one of
constant toiling; now, it was one of almost uninterrupted recreation.
How different the path I travelled from that in which ambition hurries
forward--too narrow for friendship, too crooked for love, too rugged for
honesty, and too dark for science! Thus, if we choose, we may sandwich
in the poetry with the prose of life. Thus, many a dainty happiness and
relishing enjoyment may come between the slices of every-day work, if we
only so determine.



Winter having passed away, the time for labor and the singing of birds
again returned. Long before the land in Pennsylvania was fit to plough,
the admirable soil of New Jersey had been turned over, and planted with
early peas. One of its most valuable peculiarities is that of being at
all times fit for ploughing, except when actually frozen hard. Even
after heavy rains, when denser soils require a fortnight’s drying before
getting into condition for the plough, this is ready in a day or two.
Its sandy character, instead of being a disadvantage, is one of its
highest recommendations. It is thus two to three weeks earlier in
yielding up its ripened products for market. Peas are the first things
planted in the open fields. The traveller coming from the north, when
passing by rail to Philadelphia through this genial region, has been
frequently surprised at seeing the young pea-vines peeping up above a
thin covering of snow, their long rows of delicate green stretching
across extensive fields, and presenting a singular contrast with the
fleecy covering around them. Naturally hardy, they survive the cold, and
as the snow rapidly disappears they immediately renew their growth.

Having been much surprised by the profit yielded last year from the
garden, I was determined to give it a better chance than ever, and to
try the effect of thorough farming on a limited scale. I accordingly set
Dick to covering it fully three inches deep with well-rotted
stable-manure, of which I had purchased in the city my usual quantity,
$200 worth, though hoping that I could so contrive it hereafter as not
to be obliged to make so heavy a cash outlay for this material. I then
procured him a spade fifteen inches long in the blade, and set him to
trenching every inch of it not occupied by standard fruits. These had
luckily been arranged in rows in borders by themselves, thus leaving
large, open beds, in which the operation of trenching could be
thoroughly practised. I estimated the open ground to be very nearly half
an acre. I began by digging a trench from one end of the open space to
the other, three feet wide and two deep, removing the earth to the
further side of the open space. Then the bottom of the trench was dug up
with the fifteen-inch spade, and then covered lightly with manure.

The adjoining ground was then thrown in, mixing the top soil as we went
along, and also abundance of manure, until the trench was filled. As the
earth thus used was all taken from the adjoining strip of three feet
wide, of course, when the trench was full, another of corresponding size
appeared beside it. With this the operation was repeated until all the
garden had been thoroughly gone over. The earth which had been removed
from the first trench, went into the last one. But I was careful not to
place the top soil in a body at the bottom, but scattered it well
through the whole of the filling. If rich, the roots of every plant
would find some portion of it, let them travel where they might. On the
whole job we bestowed a great amount of care, but it was such a job as
would not require repeating for years, and would be permanently
beneficial. I thus deposited $50 worth of manure, as a fund of
nourishment on which my vegetables could for a long time draw with
certainty of profit.

Now, a surface soil of a few inches only, will not answer for a good
garden. The roots of succulent vegetables must extend into a deeper bed
of fertility; and a greater depth of pulverization is required to absorb
surplus rains, and to give off the accumulated moisture in dry weather.
A shallow soil will become deluged by a single shower, because the hard
subsoil will not allow it to pass downward; and again, in the heat and
drought of midsummer, a thin stratum is made dry and parched in a week,
while one of greater depth becomes scarcely affected. I might cite
numerous instances, besides my own, where trenched gardens remained in
the finest state of luxuriance during the most severe droughts, when
others under ordinary management were nearly burnt up with the heat,
growth having quite ceased, and leaves curled and withering for want of

The mode of trenching must vary with circumstances. In small,
circumscribed pieces of ground, necessity requires it to be done by
hand, as has been just described. In large spaces the subsoil plough
may be used, but not to equal benefit. There are many reasons why the
soils of gardens should be made better than for ordinary farm-crops.
Most of the products of gardens are of a succulent nature, or will
otherwise bear high feeding, such as garden roots in general, plants
whose leaves furnish food, as salad, cabbages, &c., or those which
produce large and succulent fruits, as cucumbers, melons, squashes, &c.
As nearly all garden crops are the immediate food of man, while many
farm-crops are only the coarser food of animals, greater care and skill
may properly be applied in bringing the former forward to a high degree
of perfection. The great amount of family supplies which may be obtained
from a half-acre garden, provided the best soil is prepared for their
growth, renders it a matter of equal importance and economy to give the
soil the very best preparation.

It rarely happens that there is much selection to be made in soils as we
find them in nature, for gardening purposes, unless particular attention
is given to the subject in choosing a site for a new dwelling.
Generally, we have to take the land as we find it. Unless, therefore, we
happen to find it just right, we should endeavor to improve it in the
best manner. The principal means for making a perfect garden soil, are
draining, trenching, and manuring. Now, let none be startled at the
outset with the fear of cost, in thus preparing the soil. The entire
expense of preparing half an acre would not, in general, amount to more
than the amount saved in a single year in the purchase of food for
family supplies, by the fine and abundant vegetables afforded. If the
owner cannot possibly prepare his half or quarter acre of land properly,
then let him occupy the ground with something else than garden crops,
and take only a single square rod (if he cannot attend to more), and
give this the most perfect preparation. A square rod of rich, luxuriant
vegetables, will be found more valuable than eighty rods, or half an
acre of scant, dwarfed, and stringy growth, which no one will wish to
eat; while the extra cost and labor spent on the eighty rods in seeds,
digging, and hoeing, would have been more than sufficient to prepare the
smaller plot in the most complete manner. Let the determination be made,
therefore, at the commencement, to take no more land than can be
properly prepared, and in the most thorough manner.

The ten peach-trees in the garden were thoroughly manured by digging in
around them all the coal ashes made during the winter, first sifting
them well. No stable manure was added, as it promotes too rank and
watery a growth in the peach, while ashes of any kind are what this
fruit most delights in. Then the butts were examined for worms, but the
last year’s application of tar had kept off the fly, and the old ravages
of the enemy were found to be nearly healed over by the growth of new
bark. A fresh coating of tar was applied, and thus every thing was made

As the season advanced, my wife and daughter took charge of the garden,
as usual, and with high hopes of greater success than ever. They had
had one year’s experience, while now the ground was in far better
condition. Moreover, they seemed to have forgotten all about the weeds,
as in calculating their prospective profits they did not mention them
even once. I was careful not to do so, though I had my own suspicions on
the subject. When the planting had been done, and things went on growing
finely as the season advanced, they were suddenly reminded of their
ancient enemy. The trenching and manuring had done as much for the weeds
as for the vegetables. Why should they not? In her innocency, Kate
thought the weeds should all have been buried in the trenches, as if
their seeds had been deposited exclusively on the surface. But they grew
more rampantly than ever during the entire season, and to my mind they
seemed to be in greater quantity. But the fact worked no discouragement
to either wife or daughter. They waged against them the same resolute
warfare, early, late, and in the noonday sun, until Kate, in spite of a
capacious sun-bonnet, became a nut-brown maid. Not a weed was permitted
to flourish to maturity.

The careful culture of the garden this year gave them even a better
reward than it had done the year before. The failures of the last season
were all avoided. Several kinds of seeds were soaked before being
planted, which prevented failure and secured a quicker growth. In
addition to this, they raised a greater variety of vegetables expressly
for the store; and with some, such as radishes and beets, they were
particularly lucky, and realized high prices for all they had to dispose
of. Then the high manuring and extra care bestowed upon the asparagus
were apparent in the quick and vigorous shooting up of thick and tender
roots, far more than we could consume, and so superior to any others
that were taken to the store, that they sold rapidly at city prices.
Thus they began to make sales earlier in the season, while their crops
were far more abundant. The trenching and manuring was evidently a
paying investment. In addition to all this, the season proved to be a
good one for fruit. The garden trees bore abundantly. My ten peach-trees
had by this time been rejuvenated, and were loaded with fruit. When as
large as hickory nuts, I began the operation of removing all the
smallest, and of thinning out unsparingly wherever they were excessively
crowded. After going over five trees, I brought a bucketful of the
expurgated peaches to my wife for exhibition. She seemed panic-stricken
at the sight--protested that we should have no peaches that season, if I
went on at that rate--besought me to remember my peculiar weakness for
pies--and pleaded so eloquently that the other trees should not be
stripped, as to induce me, much against my judgment, to suspend my
ravages. Thus five had been thinned and five left untouched.

At the moment, I regretted her interference, but as compliance with her
wishes always brought to me its own gratification, if not in one way,
then in some other, so it did in this instance. In the first place, the
peaches on the five denuded trees grew prodigiously larger and finer
than those on the other five. I gathered them carefully and sent them
to the city, where they brought me $41 clear of expenses, while the
fruit from the other trees, sent to market with similar care, netted
only $17, and those used in the family from the same trees, estimated at
the same rates, were worth $9, making, on those five, a difference of
$15 in favor of thinning. Thus, the ten produced $58; but if all had
been thinned, the product would have been $82.

This unexpected result satisfied my wife ever afterwards that it was
quality, and not mere quantity, that the market wanted. Her own garden
sales would have convinced her of this, had she observed them closely;
but having overlooked results there, it required an illustration too
striking to be gainsayed, and this the peach-trees furnished. All these
figures appear in Kate’s account-book. I had provided her with one
expressly for the garden operations, a nice gold pen, and every other
possible convenience for making entries at the moment any transaction
occurred. I had also taught her the simplest form for keeping her
accounts, and caused her to keep a pass-book with the store, in which
every consignment should be entered, so that her book and the
storekeeper’s should be a check on errors that might be found in either.
She thus became extremely expert at her accounts, and as she took
especial interest in the matter, could tell from memory, at the week’s
end, how many dollars’ worth of produce she had sold. I found the amount
running up quite hopefully as the season advanced, and when it had
closed, she announced the total to be $63 without the peaches, or $121
by including them. But she had paid some money for seeds; as an offset
to which, no cash had been expended in digging, as Dick and myself had
done it all.

So much for the garden this year. On my nine acres of ploughed land
there was plenty of work to be done. Our old enemy, the weeds, did not
seem to have diminished in number, notwithstanding our slaughter the
previous year. They came up as thick and vigorous as ever, and required
quite as much labor to master them, as the hoe was oftener required
among the rows of raspberries and strawberries. My dogged fellow, Dick,
took this matter with perfect unconcern--said he knew it would be so,
and that I would find the weeds could not be killed--but he might as
well work among them as at any thing else. I ceased to argue with him on
the subject, and as I had full faith in coming out right in the end, was
content to silently bide my time.

This year I planted an acre with tomatoes, having raised abundance of
fine plants in a hotbed, as well as egg-plants for the garden. I set
them out in rows, three and one-half feet apart each way, and manured
them well, twice as heavily as many of my neighbors did. This gave me
3,760 plants to the acre. The product was almost incredible, and
amounted to 501 bushels, or about five quarts a hill, a far better yield
than I had had the first year. From some hills as many as ten quarts
each were gathered. I managed to get twenty baskets into New York market
among the very first of the season, where they netted me $60. The next
twenty netted $25, the next twenty only $15, as numerous competitors
came in, and the next thirty cleared no more. After that the usual glut
came on, and down went the price to twenty and even fifteen cents. But
at twenty and twenty-five I continued to forward to Philadelphia, where
they paid better than to let them rot on the ground. From 200 baskets at
these low prices I netted $35. Then, in the height of the season, all
picking was suspended, except for the pigs, who thus had any quantity
they could consume. But the glut gradually subsided as tomatoes perished
on the vines, and the price again rose in market to twenty-five cents,
then to fifty, then to a dollar, and upwards. But my single acre
afforded me but few at the close of the season. I did not manage to
realize $40 from the fag-end of the year, making a total net yield of

Others near me, older hands at the business, did much better, but I
thought this well enough. I would prefer raising tomatoes at 37 cents a
bushel to potatoes at 75. The amount realized from an acre far exceeds
that of potatoes. A smart man will gather from sixty to seventy bushels
a day. The expense of cultivating, using plenty of manure, is about $60
per acre, and the gross yield may be safely calculated $250, leaving
about $200 sure surplus. If it were not for the sudden and tremendous
fall in prices to which tomatoes are subject soon after they come into
market, growers might become rich in a few years.

The other acre was occupied with corn, roots, and cabbage, for winter
feeding, with potatoes for family use. Turnips were sowed wherever room
could be found for them, and no spot about the farm was permitted to
remain idle. A hill of corn, a cabbage, a pumpkin-vine, or whatever else
was suited to it, was planted. But of potatoes we did sell enough to
amount to $24. On the acre occupied with blackberries, early cabbages
were planted to the number of 4,000. Many of these, of course, were
small and not marketable, though well manured and carefully attended.
But all such were very acceptable in the barnyard and pig-pen. Of sound
cabbages I sold 3,120, at an average of two and one-quarter cents,
amounting to $70.20. I cannot tell how it was, but other persons close
to me raised larger and better heads, and of course realized better
prices. But I had no reason to complain.

The strawberries came first into market. I had labored to allow no
runners to grow and take root except such as were necessary to fill up
the line of each row. Most of the others had been clipped off as fast as
they showed themselves. Thus the whole strength of the plant was
concentrated into the fruit. In other words, I set out to raise fruit,
not plants; and my rows were, therefore, composed of single stools,
standing about four to six inches apart in the row. The ground between
the rows was consequently clear for the passage of the horse-weeder,
which kept it nice and clean throughout the season, while there was no
sort of difficulty in getting between the stools with either the hand,
or a small hoe, to keep out grass and weeds. The stools were
consequently strong and healthy, and stood up higher from the ground
than plants which grow in matted beds, thus measurably keeping clear of
the sand and grit which heavy rains throw up on berries that lie very
near the ground. The truth is, the ground for a foot all round each
stool ought to have had a covering of cut straw, leaves, or something
else for the fruit to rest upon, thus to keep them clean, as well as to
preserve them from drought. But I did not so well understand the
question at that time as I do now.

The fruit ripened beautifully, and grew to prodigious size, larger than
most we had ever seen. The several pickings of the first week yielded
600 quart boxes of the choicest fruit, which I dispatched by railroad to
an agent in New York, with whom I had previously made arrangements to
receive them. The greatest care was used in preparing them for market.
When taken from the vines they were put directly into the small boxes,
and these carried to the house, where, under a large shed adjoining the
kitchen, my wife and daughters had made preparations to receive them.
Here they were spread out on a large pine table, and all the larger
berries separated from the smaller ones, each kind being put into boxes
which were kept separate from the other. The show made by fruit thus
assorted was truly magnificent, and to the pleasure my wife experienced
in handling and arranging it, she was constantly testifying. Thus 600
quarts of the finest fruit we had ever beheld, were sent the first week
to New York. It was, of course, nearly ten days ahead of the season in
that region--there could be no New York grown berries in market. At the
week’s end the agent remitted me $300 clear of freight and commission!
They had netted me half a dollar a quart. I confess to having been
greatly astonished and delighted--it was certainly twice as much as we
had expected. When I showed the agent’s letter to my wife, she was quite
amazed. Kate, who had heard a good deal of complaint about high prices,
while we lived in the city, after reading the letter, laid it down,

“I think it will not do to complain of high prices now!”

“No,” replied my wife, “the tables are turned. Half a dollar a quart!
How much I pity those poor people.”

And as she said this, I handed her a quart bowl of the luscious fruit,
which I had been sugaring heavily while she was studying out the figures
in the agent’s letter, and I feel persuaded no lover of strawberries
ever consumed them with a more smacking relish.

The agent spoke in his letter of the admirable manner in which our
berries were forwarded--all alike, all uniformly prime large fruit--not
merely big ones on top of the box as decoys, and as the prelude to
finding none but little runts at bottom. This established for us a
reputation; our boxes could be guaranteed to contain prime fruit all
through. Hence the agent could sell any quantity we could send. Indeed,
it was impossible to send him too much. Thus we continued to pick over
our vines from three to four times weekly. As the ripening of the fruit
went on, the sight was truly marvellous to look at. When the season was
at its height, the ground seemed almost red with berries. Then the
famous doctrine of squatter sovereignty was effectually carried out on
my premises, for there were twenty girls and boys upon their knees or
hams, engaged in picking berries at two cents a quart. Industrious
little toilers they were, many of them earning from one to two dollars
daily. Some pickers were women grown, some widows, some even aged women.
It was a harvest to them also.

The small boxes were packed in chests each holding from twenty-four to
sixty, just nicely filling the chest, so that there should be no
rattling or shaking about, or spilling over of the fruit. The lid, when
shut down and fastened, held all snug. These chests were taken to the
railroad station close by, the same afternoon the berries were picked,
and reached New York the same night. The agents knowing they were
coming, had them all sold before they arrived, and immediately
delivering them to the purchasers, they in turn delivered to their
customers, and thus in less than twenty-four hours from the time of
leaving my ground, they were in the hands of the consumers. This whole
business of conveying fruit to distant markets by steamboat and rail, is
thoroughly systematized. It is an immense item in the general
freight-list of the great seaboard railroads, constantly growing, and as
surely enriching both grower and carrier. For the former it insures a
sale of all his products in the highest markets, and in fact brings them
to his very door.

Before the building of the Camden and Amboy Railroad no such facilities
existed, and consequently not a tenth of the fruit and truck now raised
in New Jersey was then produced. But an outlet being thus established,
production commenced. Farms were manured, their yield increased, and
stations for the receipt of freight were built at every few miles along
the railroad. They continue to increase in number up to this day. Lands
rose in value, better fences were supplied, new houses built, and the
whole system of county roads was revolutionized. As every thing that
could be raised now found a cash market, so every convenience for
getting it there was attended to. Hence, gravel turnpikes were built,
which, stretching back into the country, enabled growers at all seasons
to transport their products over smooth roads to the nearest station.
These numerous feeders to the great railroad caused the income from
way-traffic to increase enormously. All interests were signally
benefited, and a new career of improvement for New Jersey was
inaugurated. The farmers became rich on lands which for generations had
kept their former owners poor.

My agents were punctual in advising me by the first mail, and sometimes
by telegraph, of the sale and price of each consignment, thus keeping me
constantly posted up as to the condition of the market. They paid the
freight on each consignment, deducted it from the proceeds, and returned
the chests, though sometimes with a few small boxes missing, a loss to
which growers seem to be regularly subjected, so long as they use a box
which they cannot afford to give away with the fruit. I thus fed the
northern cities as long as the price was maintained. But, as is the case
with all market produce, prices gradually declined as other growers came
in, for all hands sought to sell in the best market. As the end of the
season is generally a period of very low prices, it must be counteracted
by every effort to secure high ones at the beginning, in this way
maintaining a remunerative average during the whole. Thus, the half
dollar per quart which I obtained for the first and best, by
equalization with lower prices through the remainder of the season, was
unable to raise the average of the whole crop above sixteen cents net.
But this abundantly satisfied me, as I sent to market 5,360 quarts, thus
producing $857.60.

Besides these, we had the satisfaction of making generous presents to
some particular friends in the city, while at home we rioted upon them
daily, and laid by an extraordinary quantity in the shape of preserves
for winter use, a luxury which we had never indulged in during our
residence in the city. I may add that during the whole strawberry season
it was observed that our city friends seemed to take an extraordinary
interest in our proceedings and success. They came up to see us even
more numerously than during the dog-days, and no great effort was
required, no second invitation necessary, to induce them to prolong
their visits. But we considered them entirely excusable, as the
strawberries and cream were not only unexceptionable, but abundant.
However, I must confess, that in the busiest part of the season our
female visitors rolled up their sleeves, and fell to with my wife and
daughters for hours at a time, aiding them in assorting and boxing the
huge quantities of noble fruit as it came in from the field.

In order to send this fruit to market, I was obliged to purchase 3,000
quart boxes, and 50 chests to contain them. These cost me $200. I could
not fill all the boxes at each picking, but as one set of boxes was away
off in market, it was necessary for me to have duplicates on hand, in
which to pick other berries as they ripened, without being compelled to
wait until the first lot of boxes came back. Sometimes it was a week or
ten days before they were returned to me, according as the agent was
prompt or dilatory. Thus, one supply of boxes filled with fruit was
constantly going forward, while another of empty ones was on the way
back. So extensive has this berry business become, that I could name
parties who have as much as $500 to $1,500 invested in chests and boxes
for the transportation of fruit to market. But their profits are in
proportion to the extent of their investment.

While on this subject of boxes for the transportation of fruit to
distant markets, a suggestion occurs to me which some ingenious man may
be able to work up into profitable use. It is sometimes quite a trouble
for the grower to get his chests returned at the proper time. Sometimes
the agent is careless and inattentive, keeps them twice as many days as
he ought to, when the owner really needs them. Sometimes an accident on
the railroad delays their return for a week or ten days. In either case,
the grower is subjected to great inconvenience; and if his chests fail
to return at all, his ripened fruit will perish on his hands for want of
boxes in which to send them off. It is to be always safe from these
contingencies that he finds it necessary to keep so large a quantity on
hand. Then, many of the boxes are never returned, the chests coming back
only half or quarter filled. All this is very unjustly made the grower’s

But a remedy for this evil can and ought to be provided. The trade needs
for its use a box so cheap that it can afford to give it away. Then,
being packed in rough, open crates, cheaply put together of common lath,
with latticed sides, neither crates nor boxes need be returned. The
grower will save the return-freight, and be in no danger of ever being
short of boxes by the negligence of others. This is really a very urgent
want of the trade. The agent sells by wholesale to the retailer, who
takes the chest to his stand or store, where he sells the contents, one
or more boxes to each customer. These sometimes have no baskets with
them in which to empty the berries, and so the retailer, to insure a
sale, permits the buyer to carry off the boxes, and the latter neglects
to return them. In the same way they are sent to hotels and
boarding-houses, where they are lost by hundreds. Again, the obligation
imposed on a buyer to return the boxes to a retailer, is constantly
preventing hundreds of chance purchasers of rare fruit from taking it;
but if the seller could say to him that the box goes with the fruit, and
need not be returned, the mere convenience of the thing would be
sufficient to determine the sale of large quantities,--the purchaser
would carry it home in his hand.

The maker of a cheap box like this would find the sale almost
indefinite. It would be constant, and annually increasing. The same
buyers would require fresh supplies every season. A mere chip box,
rounded out of a single shaving, and just stiff enough to prevent the
sides from collapsing, would answer every purpose. The pill-boxes which
are made from shavings may serve as the model. Here is a great and
growing want, which our countrymen are abundantly able to supply, and to
which some of them cannot too soon direct their attention. If the cost
of transmitting the boxes to the buyers be too great for so cheap a
contrivance, then let the shavings be manufactured of the exact size
required, and delivered in a flat state to the buyer, with the circular
bottom, by him to be put together during the leisure days of winter. A
single touch of glue will hold the shaving in position, and a couple of
tacks will keep the bottom in its place. The whole affair being for
temporary use, need be nothing more than temporary itself. A portion of
the labor of manufacturing being done by the grower, will reduce the
cost. If constructed as suggested, such boxes would be quite as neat as
the majority now in use, while they would possess the charm of always
being clean and sweet. Our country is at this moment full of machinery
exactly fitted to produce them, much of it located in regions where
timber and power are obtainable at the minimum cost. The suggestion
should be appropriated by its owners at the earliest possible moment.



To strawberries succeeded raspberries. My stock of boxes was thus useful
a second time. But raspberries are not always reliable for a full crop
the first season after planting, and so it turned out with mine. They
bore only moderately; but by exercising the same care in rejecting all
inferior specimens, the first commanded twenty-five cents a quart in
market; gradually declining to twelve, below which none were sold. I
marketed only 242 quarts from the whole, netting an average of 16 cents
a quart, or $38.72. In price they were thus equal to strawberries. In
addition to this, we consumed in the family as much as all desired, and
that was not small. I had heard of others doing considerably better than
this, but had no disposition to be dissatisfied.

The trade in raspberries is increasing rapidly in the neighborhood of
all our large cities, stimulated by the establishment of steamboats and
railroads, on which they go so quickly and cheaply to market. It is
probably greater in New York State than elsewhere. The citizens of
Marlborough, in Ulster county, have a steamboat regularly employed for
almost the sole business of transporting their raspberries to New York.
In a single season their sales of this fruit amount to nearly $90,000.
The demand is inexhaustible, and the cultivation consequently
increases. In the immediate vicinity of Milton, in the same county,
there are over 100 acres of them, and new plantations are being annually
established. The pickers are on the ground as soon as the dew is off, as
the berries do not keep so well when gathered wet. I have there seen
fifty pickers at work at the same time, men, women, and children, some
of them astonishingly expert, earning as much as $2 in a day. Several
persons were constantly employed in packing the neat little baskets into
crates, the baskets holding nearly a pint. By six o’clock the crates
were put on board the steamboat, and by sunrise next morning they were
in Washington market. As many as 80,000 baskets are carried at a single
trip. The retail price averages ten cents a basket, one boat thus
carrying $800 worth in a single day. All this cultivation being
conducted in a large way, the yield per acre is consequently less than
from small patches thoroughly attended to. There are repeated instances
of $400 and even $600 being made clear from a single acre of

The culture in Ulster county, though at first view appearing small, yet
gives employment to, and distributes its gains among thousands of
persons. The mere culture requires the services of a large number of
people. The pickers there, as well as in New Jersey, constitute a small
army, there being five or more required for each acre, and the moneys
thus earned by these industrious people go far towards making entire
families comfortable during some months of the year. The season for
raspberries continues about six weeks. Many of the baskets which are
used about New York are imported from France. Frequently the supply is
unequal to the demand. If the chip boxes were introduced, as suggested
in the last chapter, the whole of this outlay to foreign countries could
be stopped. It is strange, indeed, that any portion of our people should
be compelled to depend on France for baskets in which to convey their
berries to market.

As my raspberries disappeared, so in regular succession came the Lawton
blackberries. I had cut off the tip of every cane the preceding July.
This, by stopping the upward growth, drove the whole energy of the plant
into the formation of branches. These had in turn been shortened to a
foot in length at the close of last season. This process, by limiting
the quantity of fruit to be produced, increased the size of the berries.
I am certain of this fact, by long experience with this plant. It also
prevented the ends of the branches resting on the ground, when all fruit
there produced would otherwise be ruined by being covered with dust or
mud. Besides, this was their first bearing year, and as they had not had
time to acquire a full supply of roots, it would be unwise to let them
overbear themselves. Some few which had grown to a great height were
staked up with pickets four and a half feet long, and tied, the pickets
costing $11 per thousand at the lumber-yard. But the majority did not
need this staking up the first season; but many of the canes sent up
this year, for bearers the next, it was necessary to support with

The crop was excellent in quality, but not large. I began picking July
20, and thus had the third use of my stock of boxes. I practised the
same care in assorting these berries for market which had been observed
with the others, keeping the larger ones separate from the smaller ones.
Thus a chest of the selected berries, when exposed to view, presented a
truly magnificent sight. Up to this time they had never been seen by
fifty frequenters of the Philadelphia markets. But when this rare
display was first opened in two of the principal markets, it produced a
great sensation. None had been picked until perfectly ripe, hence the
rare and melting flavor peculiar to the Lawton pervaded every berry.
They sold rapidly and netted me thirty cents a quart, the smaller ones
twenty-five cents. There appeared to be no limit to the demand at these
prices. Buyers cheerfully gave them, though they could get the common
wild blackberry in the same market at ten cents. Now, it cost me no more
to raise the Lawtons than it would have done to raise the common
article. But this is merely another illustration of the folly of raising
the poorest fruit to sell at the lowest prices, instead of the best to
sell at the highest.

The crop of Lawtons amounted to five hundred and ninety-two quarts, and
netted me $159.84, an average of twenty-seven cents a quart. My family
did not fail to eat even more than a usual allowance. As soon as the
picking was done, while the plants were yet covered with leaves, Dick
cut off at the ground all the canes which had just fruited, using a
strong pair of snip-shears, which cut them through without any labor.
These canes having done their duty would die in the autumn, could now
be more easily cut than when grown hard after death, and if removed at
once, would be out of the way of the new canes of this year’s growth.

The latter could then be trimmed and staked up for the coming year, the
removal of all which superfluous foliage would let in the sun and air
more freely to the cabbages between the rows. The old wood being thus
cut out, was gathered in a heap, and when dry enough was burned, the
ashes being collected and scattered around the peach-trees. After this
the limbs were all shortened in to a foot. They were very strong and
vigorous, as in July the tops of the canes had all been taken off,
leaving no cane more than four feet high. The branches were consequently
very strong, giving promise of a fine crop another season. After this,
such as needed it were staked up and tied, as the autumn and winter
winds so blow and twist them about that otherwise they would be broken
off. But subsequent practice has induced me to cut down to only three
feet high; and this being done in July, when the plant is in full
growth, the cane becomes so stiff and stocky before losing its leaves as
to require no staking, and will support itself under any ordinary storm.
I have seen growers of this fruit who neglected for two or three years,
either from laziness or carelessness, to remove the old wood; but it
made terrible work for the pickers, as in order to get at one year’s
fruit they were compelled to contend with three years’ briers. Only a
sloven will thus fail to remove the old wood annually. I prefer removing
it in the autumn, as soon as picking is over, for reasons above given,
and also because at that time there is less to do than in the spring.

In the mean time the fame of the Lawton blackberry had greatly extended
and the demand increased, but the propagation had also been stimulated.
A class of growers had omitted tilling their grounds, so as to promote
the growth of suckers, caring more for the sale of plants than for that
of fruit. Hence the quantity to meet the demand was so large as to
reduce the price, but I sold of this year’s growth enough plants to
produce me $213.50. Of this I laid out $54 in marl, which I devoted
exclusively to the blackberries. I had been advised by a friend that
marl was the specific manure for this plant, as of his own knowledge he
knew it to be so. A half-peck was spread round each hill, and the
remainder scattered over the ground. A single row was left unmarled. It
showed the power of this fertilizer the next season, as the rows thus
manured were surprisingly better filled with fruit than that which
received none. Since that I have continued to use this fertilizer on my
blackberries, and can from experience recommend its use to all who may
cultivate them.

With the sale of pork, amounting to $58, the receipts of my second year
terminated. My cash-book showed the following as the total of receipts
and expenditures:

  Paid for stable manure                       $200.00
  Ashes, and Baugh’s rawbone superphosphate      92.00
  Marl                                           54.00
  Dick’s wages                                  144.00
  Occasional help                                94.00
  Feed for stock                                 79.30
  Pigs bought                                    12.00
  Garden and other seeds                         13.00
  Lumber, nails, and sundries                    14.50
  Stakes and twine                                7.00

The credit side of the account was much better than last year, and was
as follows:

  From strawberries, 6 acres               $857.60
    “  Lawton blackberries, 1 acre          159.84
    “  Lawton plants                        213.50
    “  raspberries, 2 acres                  38.72
    “  tomatoes, 1 acre                     190.00
    “  cabbages                              70.20
    “  garden                                63.00
    “  peaches, 10 trees in garden           58.00
    “  potatoes                              24.00
    “  pork                                  58.00
    “  calf                                   2.00

The reader will not fail to bear in mind that in addition to this cash
receipt towards the support of a family, we had not laid out a dollar
for fruits or vegetables during the entire year. Having all of them in
unstinted abundance, with a most noble cow, the cash outlay for the
family was necessarily very small; for no one knows, until he has all
these things without paying for them in money, how very far they go
towards making up the sum total of the cost of keeping a family of ten
persons. In addition to this, we had a full six months’ supply of pork
on hand.

The reader will also be struck with the enormous difference in favor of
the second year. But on dissecting the two accounts he will see good
reason for this difference. In the first place, some improvement was
natural, as the result of my increase of knowledge,--I was expected to
be all the time growing wiser in my new calling. In the second place,
some expenses incident to the initiatory year were lopped off; and
third, three of my standard fruits had come into bearing. The increase
of receipts was apparently sudden, but it was exactly what was to be
expected. I used manure more freely, and on my acre of clover was
particular to spread a good dressing of solid or liquid manure
immediately after each mowing, so as to thus restore to it a full
equivalent for the food taken away. This dressing was sometimes ashes,
sometimes plaster, or bone-phosphate, or liquid, and in the fall a good
topping from the barnyard. In return for this, the yield of clover was
probably four times what it would have been had the lot been pastured
and left unmanured. In fact, it became evident to me that the more
manure I was able to apply on any crop, the more satisfactory were my
returns. Hence, the soiling system was persevered in, and we had now
become so accustomed to it that we considered it as no extra trouble.

The result of this year’s operations was apparently conclusive. My
expenses for the farm had been $709.80, while my receipts had been
$1,734.86, leaving a surplus of $1,025.06 for the support of my family.
But more than half of their support had been drawn from the products of
the farm; and, at the year’s end, when every account had been settled
up, and every bill at the stores paid off, I found that of this
$1,025.06 I had $567 in cash on hand,--proving that it had required only
$458.06 in money, in addition to what we consumed from the farm, to keep
us all with far more comfort than we had ever known in the city. Thus,
after setting aside $356.06 for the purchase of manure, there was a
clear surplus of $200 for investment.

I had never done better than this in the city. There, the year’s end
never found me with accounts squared up, and a clear cash balance on
hand. Few occupations can be carried on in the city after so snug a
fashion. Credit is there the rule, and cash the exception,--at least it
was ten years ago. But in the apparently humbler trade of trucking and
fruit-growing every thing is cash. Manure, the great staple article to
be bought, can be had on credit; but all you grow from it is cash. Food
must be paid for on delivery, and he who produces it will have no bad
debts at the year’s end but such as may exist from his own carelessness
or neglect. Thus, what a farmer earns he gets. He loses none of his
gains, if he attends to his business. They may be smaller, on paper,
than those realized by dashing operators in the city, but they are
infinitely more tangible; and if, as in my case, they should prove to be
enough, what matters it as to the amount? The producers of food,
therefore, possess this preponderating advantage over all other classes
of business men: they go into a market where cash without limit is
always ready to be paid down for whatever they bring to it. A business
which is notoriously profitable, thus kept up at the cash level, and
consequently free from the hazard of bad debts, cannot fail to enrich
those who pursue it extensively, and with proper intelligence and
industry. I could name various men who, beginning on less than a hundred
dollars, and on rented land, have in a few years become its owners, and
in the end arrived at great wealth, solely from the business of raising
fruit and truck.



No sooner had the autumn of my second year fairly set in, and the leaves
fallen, than I turned my attention more closely than ever to the subject
of providing an abundant supply of manure, in hopes of being able to
devise some plan by which to lessen the large cash outlay necessary to
be annually made for it. I did not grudge the money for manure, any more
than the sugar on my strawberries. Both were absolutely necessary; but
economy in providing manure was as legitimate a method of increasing my
profits as that of purchasing it. I knew it must be had in abundance:
the point was, to increase the quantity while diminishing the outlay.
Thus resolved, I kept Dick more actively at work than ever in gathering
leaves all over the neighborhood, and when he had cleaned up the public
roads, I then sent him into every piece of woods to which the owner
would grant me access. In these he gathered the mould and half-rotted
leaves which thickly covered the ground. I knew that he would thus bring
home a quantity of pestiferous seeds, to plague us in the shape of
weeds, but by this time we had learned to have no fear of them. By
steadily pursuing this plan when no snow lay on the ground, he piled up
in the barnyard a most astonishing quantity of leaves. There happened to
be but little competition in the search for them, so that he had the
ground clear for himself. All this addition to the manure heap cost me
nothing. To this I added many hogsheads of bones, which the small boys
of the neighborhood gathered up from pig-pens, slaughter-houses, and
other places, and considered themselves well paid at ten cents a bushel
for their labor. These were laid aside until the best and cheapest
method could be devised for reducing them to powder, and so fitting them
for use.

In the mean time, I frequently walked for miles away into the country,
making acquaintance with the farmers, observing their different modes of
cultivation, what crops they produced, and especially their methods of
obtaining manures. As before observed, farmers have no secrets. Hence
many valuable hints were obtained and treasured up, from which I have
subsequently derived the greatest advantage. Some of these farmers were
living on land which they had skinned into the most squalid poverty, and
were on the high-road to being turned off by the sheriff. Others were
manured at a money cost which astonished me, exceeding any outlay that I
had made, but confirming to the letter all my preconceived opinions on
the subject, that one acre thoroughly manured is worth ten that are
starved. Of one farmer I learned particulars as to the history of his
neighbor, which I felt a delicacy in asking of the latter himself. Some
instances of success from the humblest beginnings were truly
remarkable; but in all these I found that faith in manure lay at the

One case is too striking to be omitted. A German, with his wife, and two
children just large enough to pull weeds and drive a cow, had settled,
seven years before, on eight acres, from which the owner had been driven
by running deeply in debt at the grog-shop. The drunkard’s acres had of
course become starved and desolate; the fences were half down, there was
no garden, and the hovel, in which his unhappy family was once snugly
housed, appeared ready to take its departure on the wings of the wind.
Every fruit-tree had died. In this squalid condition the newly arrived
German took possession, with the privilege of purchasing for $600. His
whole capital was three dollars. He began with four pigs, which he paid
for in work. The manure from these was daily emptied into an empty
butter-firkin, which also served as a family water-closet, and the whole
was converted into liquid manure, which was supplied to cabbages and
onions. A gentleman who lived near, and who noted the progress of this
industrious man, assured me that even in the exhausted soil where the
crops were planted, the growth was almost incredible. On turnips and
ruta-bagas the effect was equally great. Long before winter set in, this
hero had bought a cow, for while his own crops were growing he had
earned money by working around the neighborhood. He readily obtained
credit at the store, for he was soon discovered to be deserving. When
away at work, his wife plied the hoe, and acted as mistress of the
aforesaid butter-tub, while the children pulled weeds. His cabbages and
roots exceeded any in the township; they discharged his little
store-bills, and kept his cow during the winter, while the living cow
and the dead pigs kept the entire family, for they lived about as close
to the wind as possible.

This man’s passion was for liquid manure. If he had done so much with a
tub, he was of course comparatively rich with a cow. Then he sunk a
hogshead in the ground, conducted the wash of the kitchen into it, and
there also emptied the droppings from the cow. It was water-closet for
her as well as for the family. It is true that few of us would fancy
such a smelling-bottle at the kitchen door; but it never became a
nuisance, for he kept it innoxious by frequent applications of plaster,
which improved as well as purified the whole contents. It was laborious
to transport the fluid to his crops, but a wheelbarrow came the second
year to lessen the labor. There happened, by the merest accident, to be
a quarter of an acre of raspberries surviving on the place. He dug all
round these to the depth of eighteen inches, trimmed them up, kept out
the weeds, and gave them enormous quantities of liquid manure. The yield
was most extraordinary, for the second year of his location there he
sold $84 worth of fruit. This encouraged him to plant more, until at the
end of four years he had made enough, from his raspberries alone, not
only to pay for his eight acres, but to accumulate a multitude of
comforts around him. In all this application of liquid manure his wife
had aided him with unflagging industry.

It was natural for me to feel great interest in a case like this, so I
called repeatedly to see the grounds and converse with the German owner.
As it was seven years from his beginning when I first became acquainted
with him, his little farm bore no resemblance to its condition when he
took possession. There were signs of thrift all over it. His fences were
new, and clear of hedge-rows; his house had been completely renovated;
he had built a large barn and cattle-sheds, while his garden was
immeasurably better than mine. Every thing was in a condition exceeding
all that I had seen elsewhere. His two girls had grown up into handsome
young women, and had been for years at school. All this time he had
continued to enlarge his means of manufacturing and applying liquid
manure, as upon its use he placed his main dependence. He had sunk a
large brick cistern in the barnyard, into which all the liquor from six
cows and two horses was conducted, as well as the wash from the pig-pen
and the barnyard. A fine pump in the cistern enabled him to keep his
manure heap constantly saturated, the heap being always under cover, and
to fill a hogshead mounted on wheels, from which he discharged the
contents over his ground. The tub and underground hogshead with which he
commenced were of course obsolete. If it be possible to build a monument
out of liquid manure, here was one on this farm of eight acres. Its
owner developed another peculiarity--he had no desire to buy more land.

This man’s great success in a small way could not have been achieved
without the most assiduous husbanding of manure, and this husbanding
was accomplished by soiling his cow. As he increased his herd he
continued the soiling system; but as it required more help, so he
abandoned working for others and hired whatever help was necessary. The
increase of his manure heap was so great that his little farm was soon
brought into the highest possible condition. In favorable seasons he
could grow huge crops of whatever he planted. But his progress was no
greater than has repeatedly been made by others, who thoroughly
prosecute the soiling system.

A frequent study of this remarkable instance of successful industry, led
me to conclude that high farming must consist in the abundant use of
manure in a liquid state. A fresh reading of forgotten pages shed
abundance of new light upon the subject. The fluid excretia of every
animal is worth more than the solid portion; but some are not contented
with losing the fluid portions voided by the animals themselves, but
they suffer the solid portions of their manure to undergo destructive
fermentation in their barnyards, and thus to become soluble, and part,
by washing, with the more valuable portions. Now it is well known that
the inorganic matter in barnyard manure is always of a superior
character, therefore valuable as well as soluble; and this is regularly
parted with from the soil by those who permit the washings to be wasted
by running off to other fields or to the roadside. I have seen whole
townships where every barnyard on the roadside may be found discharging
a broad stream of this life-blood of the farm into the public highway.
The manure heap must be liquefied before the roots of plants can be
benefited by the food it contains. No portion of a straw decomposed in
the soil can feed a new plant until it is capable of being dissolved in
water; and this solution cannot occur without chemical changes, whose
conditions are supplied by the surroundings. Such changes can be made to
occur in the barnyard by saturating the compost heap with barnyard
liquor. All that nature’s laws would in ten years effect in manures in
an ordinary state, when ploughed into the ground, are ready, and occur
in a single season, when the manures are presented to the roots of
plants in a liquid form.

A suggestion appropriate to this matter may be made for the
consideration of ingenious minds. Every farmer knows that a manure heap,
when first composted, abounds in clods of matted ingredients so compact,
that time alone will thoroughly reduce them to that state of
pulverization in which manure becomes an available stimulant to the
roots of plants. Fermentation, the result of composting or turning over
a manure heap, does measurably destroy their cohesion, but not
sufficiently. Few can afford to let their compost heaps remain long
enough for the process of pulverization to become as perfect as it
should be. Hence it is taken to the field still composed of hard clods,
around which the roots may instinctively cluster, but into which they
vainly seek to penetrate. Some careful farmers endeavor to remedy this
defect by laboriously spading down the heap as it is carted away. The
operation is a slow one, and does not half prepare the manure for
distribution. A year or two is thus required for these clods to become
properly pulverized, for they remain in the soil inert and useless until
subsequent ploughings and harrowing reduce them to powder.

As farmers cannot wait for time to perform this office in the manure
heap, they should have machinery to do the work. A wooden cylinder,
armed with long iron teeth, and revolving rapidly in a horizontal
position, with the manure fed in at the top through a capacious hopper,
would tear up the clods into tatters, and deliver the whole in the exact
condition of fine powder, which the roots of all plants require. To do
this would require less time and labor than the present custom of
cutting down with either spade or drag. Better still, if the manure
could be so broken up as it is taken from the barnyard to the compost
heap; the process of disintegration thus begun would go on through the
entire mass, until, when carted away, it would be found almost as
friable as an ash heap. It is by contact of the countless mouths of the
roots with minute particles of manure that they suck up nutriment, not
by contact with a dense clod. Hence the astonishing and immediate
efficacy of liquid manure. In that the nutriment has been reduced to its
utmost condition of divisibility, and when the liquid is applied to the
soil, saturation reaches the entire root, embracing its marvellous
network of minute fibres, and affording to each the food which it may be

We cannot use liquid manures on a large scale, but thorough
pulverization of that which is solid is a very near approach to the
former. Immerse a compact clod in water, and the latter will require
time to become discolored. But plunge an equal bulk of finely pulverized
manure into water, and discoloration almost instantly occurs. Diffusion
is inevitable from contact with the water. Now as rain is water, so a
heavy shower falling on ground beneath which great clods of manure have
been buried, produces in them no more liquefaction than it does on that
which has been dropped in a bucket. On the other hand, if the ground be
charged with finely pulverized manure, a soaking rain will immediately
penetrate all its comminuted particles, extract the nutriment, and
deliver it, properly diluted, into the open mouths of the millions of
little rootlets which are waiting for it. Practically, this is liquid
manure on the grandest scale. But no one can quickly realize its
superior benefits from a newly buried compost heap, unless the latter
has been effectually pulverized before being deposited either in or upon
the ground.

I was so impressed by the example of the thriving German referred to,
that I resolved to imitate him. He had given me a rich lesson in the art
of manufacturing manures cheaply, though I thought it did not go far
enough. Yet I made an immediate beginning by building a tank in the
barnyard, into which the wash from stable, pig-pen, and yard was
conducted. This was pumped up and distributed over the top of the manure
heap under the shed, once or twice weekly. A huge compost heap was made
of leaves, each layer being saturated with the liquor as the heap
accumulated, so that the whole mass was moist with fluid manure. It was
never suffered to become dry. Now, as in the centre of a manure heap
there is no winter, decomposition went on at a rapid rate, especially
among the leaves, stimulated by the peculiar solvents contained in the
liquor. Thus, when taken out for use in the spring, both heaps had
become reduced to a half fluid mass of highly concentrated manure, in a
condition to be converted, under the first heavy rain, into immediate
food for plants. Though my money-cost for manure for next season would
be greater than before, yet my home manufacture was immense. As I was
sure that high manuring was the key to heavy crops and high profits, so
my studies, this winter, were as diligently pursued in the barnyard as
in the library, and I flattered myself that I had gathered hints enough
among my neighbors to enable me, after next year, to dispense entirely
with the purchasing of manure.

But I had other reasons for avoiding the purchase of manure--none can be
purchased clear of seeds, such as grass and weeds. I have already
suffered severely from the foul trash that has been sold to me. One
strong warning of the magnitude of the nuisance was given by the
condition of my strawberries. A small portion of them was covered, at
the approach of winter, with litter from the barnyard, and another
portion with cornstalks. The object was protection from the cold; and it
may be added that the result, so far as protection goes, was very
gratifying. But when the covering was removed in April, the ground
protected by the barnyard litter was found to be seeded with grass and
other seeds, while that protected by the cornstalks was entirely clean.
During a whole year I had the utmost difficulty to get the first piece
of ground clear of these newly planted pests, and am sure that the labor
thus exerted cost more than the strawberries were worth. From this sore
experience I have learned never to cover this fruit with barnyard
litter. When they are covered, cornstalks alone are used. They are drawn
back into the balks in April, where they serve as a mulch to keep down
the weeds, and ultimately decay into manure. Though not so neat to look
at, nor so convenient to handle as straw, yet they answer quite as well,
and at the same time cost a great deal less.



As usual with me at the opening of spring, the garden received our first
attention. Dick covered it heavily with manure, cleared it up and made
all ready for wife and daughter. This year we had no seeds to purchase,
having carefully laid them aside from the last. In order to try for
myself the value of liquid manuring, I mounted a barrel on a
wheelbarrow, so that it could be turned in any direction, and the liquor
be discharged through a sprinkler with the greatest convenience. Dick
attended faithfully to this department. As early as January he had begun
to sprinkle the asparagus; indeed he deluged it, putting on not less
than twenty barrels of liquor before it was forked up. It had received
its full share of rich manure in the autumn: the result of both
applications being a more luxuriant growth of this delightful vegetable
than perhaps even the Philadelphia market had ever exhibited. The shoots
came up more numerously than before, were whiter, thicker, and tenderer,
and commanded five cents a bunch more than any other. As the bed was a
large one, and the yield great, we sold to the amount of $21. I
certainly never tasted so luscious and tender an article. Its
superiority was justly traceable, to some extent, to the liquid manure.

The same stimulant was freely administered all over the garden, and with
marked results. It was never used in dry weather, nor when a hot sun was
shining. We contrived to get it on at the beginning of a rain, or during
drizzly weather, so that it should be immediately diluted and then
carried down to the roots. I have no doubt it promoted the growth of
weeds, as there was certainly more of them to kill this season than ever
before. But we had all become reconciled to the sight of weeds--expected
them as a matter of course--and my wife and Kate became thorough
converts to Dick’s heresy as to the impossibility of ever getting rid of
them. I was pained to hear of this declension from what I regarded as
the only true faith; but when I saw the terrible armies which came up in
the garden just as regularly as Dick distributed his liquor, I confess
they had abundant reason for the faith that was in them.

But the barnyard fluid was a good thing, notwithstanding. It brought the
early beets into market ten days ahead of all competitors, thus securing
the best prices. It was the same with radishes and salad. The latter is
scarcely ever to be had in small country towns, and then only at high
rates. But whether it was owing to the liquor or not, I will not say,
but it came early into market in the best possible condition; and as
there happened to be plenty of it, we sold to the amount of $19 of the
very early, and then, as prices lowered, continued to send it to the
store as long as it commanded two cents a head, after which the cow and
pigs became exclusive customers. The fall vegetables, such as white
onions, carrots and parsnips, having had more of the liquor, did even
better, for they grew to very large size. It was the same thing with
currants and gooseberries. The whole together produced $83; to which
must be added the ten peach-trees, all which I had thinned out when the
fruit was the size of hickory nuts, and with the same success as the
previous year. This was in 1857, that time of panic, suspension, and
insolvency. That year had been noted, even from its opening, as one of
great scarcity of money in the cities, when all unlucky enough to need
it were compelled to pay the highest rates for its use. But we in the
country, being out of the ring, gave way to no panic, felt no scarcity,
experienced no insolvency. Peaches brought as high a price as ever; as,
let times in the city be black as they may, there is always money enough
in somebody’s hands to exchange for all the choice fruit that goes to
market. The fruit from the ten trees produced me $69, making the whole
product of the garden $152. I thought this was not doing well enough,
and resolved to do better another year.

At the usual season for the weeds to show themselves on the nine acres,
it very soon became evident that two years’ warfare had resulted in a
comparative conquest. It may be safely said that there was not half the
usual number, and so it continued throughout the season. But no exertion
was spared to keep them under, none being allowed to go to seed. This
watchfulness being continued from that day to this, the mastery has been
complete. We still have weeds, but are no longer troubled with them as
at the beginning. The secret lies in a nutshell--let none go to seed.
Nor let any cultivator be discouraged, no matter how formidable the host
he may have to attack at the beginning. But if he will procure the
proper labor-saving tools, and drive them with a determined
perseverance, success is sure.

As usual, the strawberries came first into market, and were prepared and
sent off with even more care than formerly. The money pressure in the
cities caused no reduction in price, and my net receipts were $903. An
experienced grower near me, with only four acres, cleared $1,200 the
same season. His crop was much heavier than mine. If he had practised
the same care in assorting his fruit for market, he would have realized
several hundred dollars more. But his effort was for quantity, not

A portion of the raspberries had been thoroughly watered with the liquid
manure, all through the colder spring months. It was too great a labor,
with a single wheelbarrow, to supply the whole two acres, or it would
have been similarly treated. But the portion thus supplied was certainly
three times as productive as the portion not supplied. My whole net
receipts from raspberries amounted to $267. The plants were now well
rooted, and were in prime bearing condition. Since this, I have
quadrupled my facilities for applying the liquid manure. A large
hogshead has been mounted on low wheels, the rims of which are four
inches wide, so as to prevent them sinking into the ground, the whole
being constructed to weigh as little as possible. The sprinkling
apparatus will drench one or two rows at a time, as may be desired. The
driver rides on the cart, and by raising or lowering a valve, lets on or
shuts off the flow of liquor at his pleasure. Having been used on the
raspberries for several years, I can testify to the extraordinary value
of this mode of applying manure. It stimulates an astonishing growth of
canes, increases the quantity of fruit, while it secures the grand
desideratum, a prodigious enlargement in the size of the berries. I find
by inquiry among my neighbors that none of them get so high prices as
myself. Every crop has been growing more profitable than the preceding
one; and it may be set down that an acre of raspberries, treated and
attended to as they ought to be, will realize a net profit of $200

The Lawtons were this year to come into stronger bearing. Parties in New
York and Philadelphia had agreed to take all my crop, and guarantee me
twenty-five cents a quart. One speculator came to my house and offered
$200 for the crop, before the berries were ripe. I should have accepted
the offer, thinking that was money enough to make from one acre, had not
my obligation to send the fruit to other parties interfered with a sale.
But I made out a trifle better, as the quantity marketed amounted to 896
quarts, which netted me $206.08. In addition to this, the sales of
plants amounted to $101. As the market price for plants was falling, I
was not anxious to multiply them to the injury of the fruit; hence many
suckers were cut down outside of the rows, so as to throw the whole
energy of the roots into the berries; and I think the result justified
this course. The demand for the fruit was so great, that I could have
readily sold four times as much at the same price. As the season for the
blackberries closed, all the stray fruit was gathered and converted into
an admirable wine. Some seventy bottles were made for home use; and when
a year old, I discovered that it was of ready sale at half a dollar per
bottle. Since then we have made a barrel of wine annually; and when old
enough, all not needed for domestic purposes is sold at $2 per gallon.
It is a small item of our general income, but quite sufficient to show
that vast profit may be made by any person going largely into the
business of manufacturing blackberry-wine.

We raised nothing of value among the blackberries this year. The growth
of new wood had been so luxuriant, that the ground between the rows was
too much shaded to permit other plants to mature. In some places, the
huge canes, throwing out branches six to seven feet long, had
interlocked with each other from row to row, and were cut away, to
enable the cultivator and weeder to pass along between them, and
thenceforward this acre was given up entirely to the blackberries. As
the roots wandered away for twenty or thirty feet in search of
nourishment, they acquired new power to force up stronger and more
numerous canes. Many of these came up profusely in a direct line with
the original plants. When not standing too close together, they were
carefully preserved, when of vigorous growth; but the feeble ones were
taken up and sold. Thus, in a few years, a row which had been
originally set with plants eight feet apart became a compact hedge, and
an acre supporting full six times as many bearing canes as when first
planted. Hence the crop of fruit should increase annually. It will
continue to do so, if not more than three vigorous canes are allowed to
grow in one cluster; if the canes are cut down in July to three or four
feet high; if the branches are cut back to a foot in length; if the
growth of all suckers between the rows is thoroughly stopped by treating
them the same as weeds; if the old-bearing wood is nicely taken out at
the close of every season; and, finally, if the plants are bountifully
supplied with manure. From long experience with this admirable fruit, I
lay it down as a rule that every single condition above stated must be
complied with, if the grower expects abundant crops of the very finest
fruit. Observe them, and the result is certain; neglect them, and the
reward will be inferior fruit, to sell at inferior prices.

To the Lawtons succeeded the peaches, now their first bearing year. We
had protected them for three seasons from the fly by keeping the butts
well tarred, and they were now about to give some return for this
careful but unexpensive oversight. Some few of them produced no fruit
whatever, but the majority made a respectable show. I went over the
orchard myself, examining each tree with the utmost care, and removed
every peach of inferior size, as well as thinning out even good ones
which happened to be too much crowded together. Being of the earlier
sorts, they came into market in advance of a glut; and though the
money-pressure in the cities was now about culminating in the memorable
explosion of September, yet there was still money enough left in the
pockets of the multitude to pay good prices for peaches. It is with
fruit as it is with rum--men are never too poor to buy both. My 804
trees produced me $208 clear of expenses, with a pretty sure prospect of
doing much better hereafter. I had learned from experience that a shrewd
grower need not be apprehensive of a glut; and that if panics palsied,
or a general insolvency desolated the cities they still contrived to
hold as much money as before. Credit might disappear, but the money
remained; and the industrious tiller of the soil was sure to get his
full share of the general fund which survives even the worst convulsion.

My acre of tomatoes netted me this year $192, my pork $61, my potatoes
$40, and the calf $3. Thus, as my grounds became charged with
manure,--as I restored to it the waste occasioned by the crops that were
removed from it, and even more than that waste,--so my crops increased
in value. It was thus demonstrable that manuring would pay. On the
clover-field the most signal evidence of this was apparent. After each
cutting of clover had been taken to the barnyard, the liquor-cart
distributed over the newly mown sod a copious supply of liquid manure,
thus regularly restoring to the earth an equivalent for the crop
removed. It was most instructive to see how immediately after each
application the well-rooted clover shot up into luxuriant growth. I have
thus mowed it three times in a season, and can readily believe that in
the moister climate of England and Flanders as many as six crops are
annually taken from grass lands thus treated with liquid manure. Indeed,
I am inclined to believe that there is no reasonable limit to the yield
of an acre of ground which is constantly and heavily manured, and
cultivated by one who thoroughly understands his art.

Three years’ experience of profit and loss is quite sufficient for the
purposes of this volume. It has satisfied me, as it should satisfy
others, that Ten Acres are Enough. I give the following recapitulation
for convenience of reference:

    _Expenses for three years._         1855.     1856.     1857.

  Manures of various kinds             $268.00   $346.00   $358.06
  Wages and labor                       102.00    238.00    244.00
  Feed for stock                         28.00     79.30    103.00
  Stakes and twine for Lawtons                      7.00      8.00
  Garden and other seeds                  8.00     13.00
  Cabbage and tomato plants              30.00
  Lumber, nails, and sundries                      14.50     81.00
  Loss on cow                             7.00
  Cost of pigs                           12.00     12.00     12.00
                                        ------    ------    ------
                                       $455.00   $709.80   $806.06
                                        ------    ------    ------

    _Receipts for three years._

  Strawberries, 6 acres                          $857.60   $903.00
  Lawton plants sold                   $460.00    213.50    101.00
  Tomatoes, 1 acre                      120.00    190.00    192.00
  Garden, including ten peach-trees      80.00    121.00    152.00
  Cabbages                               82.00     70.20
  Raspberries, 2 acres                             38.72    267.00
  Lawtons, 1 acre                                 159.84    206.08
  Pork                                  49.00     58.00     61.00
  Potatoes                                        24.00     40.00
  Calf                                             2.00      3.00
  Peaches, 804 trees, first bearing year.                  208.00
                                       ------  --------  --------
                                      $791.00  1,734.86  2,133.08
  Expenses as above stated             455.00    709.80    806.06
                                      -------  --------  --------
  Annual profit                       $336.00  1,025.06  1,327.02
                                      -------  --------  --------

This result may surprise many not conversant with the profits which are
constantly being realized from small farms. But rejecting the income
from the sale of plants, the pigs, and the calf, as exceptional things,
and the profit of the nine acres for the first year will be found to be
nothing per acre, for the second year, $83.50, and for the third,
$129.10. But there are obvious reasons why this should be so. The ground
was crowded to its utmost capacity with those plants only which yielded
the very highest rate of profit, and for which there was an unfailing
demand. In addition to this, it was cultivated with the most unflagging
industry and care. Besides using the contents of more than one barnyard
upon it, I literally manured it with brains. My whole mind and energies
were devoted to improving and attending to it. No city business was ever
more industriously or intelligently supervised than this. But if the
reward was ample, it was no greater than others all around me were
annually realizing, the only difference being that they cultivated more
ground. While they diffused their labor over twenty acres, I
concentrated mine on ten. Yet, having only half as much ground to work
over, I realized as large a profit as the average of them all.
Concentrated labor and manuring thus brought the return which is always
realized from them when intelligently combined.

For six years since 1857 I have continued to cultivate this little farm.
Sometimes an unpropitious season has cut down my profits to a low
figure, but I have never lost money on the year’s business. Now and then
a crop or two has utterly failed, as some seasons are too dry, and
others are too wet. But among the variety cultivated some are sure to
succeed. Only once or twice have I failed to invest a few hundred
dollars at the year’s end. All other business has been studiously
avoided. I have spent considerable money in adding to the convenience of
my dwelling, and the extent of my outbuildings; among the latter is a
little shop furnished with more tools than are generally to be found
upon a farm, which save me many dollars in a year, and many errands to
the carpenter and wheelwright. The marriage of my daughter Kate called
for a genteel outfit, which she received without occasioning me any
inconvenience. I buy nothing on credit, and for more than ten years have
had no occasion to give a note. If at the year’s end we are found to owe
any thing at the stores, it is promptly paid. As means increased, my
family has lived more expensively, though I think not any more
comfortably. I lie down peacefully at night, thinking that I do not
deserve more than others, but thankful that God has given me more. I
rise in the morning with an appetite for labor as keen as that for
breakfast. But others can succeed as well as myself. Capital or no
capital, the proper industry and determination will certainly be
rewarded by success.



As previously stated, there is no successful farming without a liberal
expenditure for manure. I had proved that high manuring would pay, and
while anxious to increase the quantity, was desirous of reducing the
money-cost. I continued every season to scour the neighborhood for
leaves, and to gather up every available material for the barnyard. But
in addition to all this, in October and November of my fourth year I
purchased twenty heifers which would calve in the spring, intending to
feed them through the winter, and then sell as soon as they had calved.
My idea was, that they could be sold for a profit large enough to cover
the cost of keeping them, thus having the manure all clear. I consulted
many persons versed in this business, farmers, butchers, and others,
before venturing on it, as it was a good deal out of my usual line of
operations. I also consulted all my files of agricultural papers, where
I found set forth a multitude of experiences on the subject, the most of
which led me to conclude that it would be safe to try the experiment.
There seemed to be but little danger of loss, even if nothing were made,
while it was quite certain a good deal of knowledge would be gained.

I accordingly had a rough shed built, large enough to contain twenty
cows, with an entry in front of them and a large feed-room at one end.
Then mangers were provided, and a plank gutter laid just back of where
the cows would stand, into which all the droppings would fall, and down
which the water would run into a wide earthen pipe which emptied into
the cistern in the barnyard. Here the cows stood in a row, never being
allowed to go out, except an hour or two at noon when the weather was
fine. I agreed with Dick to take entire charge of the feeding and
watering them, for the consideration of $30 extra. I bought the
cornstalks from some twenty acres near me, at $3 an acre, and these were
delivered from time to time as they were needed, there not being room on
the premises for so large a quantity at once. I had provided a superior
cutter, with which Dick cut up the stalks and blades, reducing them to
pieces a half-inch long, and he then put them into a hogshead of water,
where they remained a day and night to soak. Thence they were
transferred to a steaming apparatus, constructed expressly for this
purpose, where they were made perfectly soft. Corn meal, bran, and
various kinds of ground feed were mixed in and steamed with the cut
stalks, a sprinkling of salt being added. A day’s feed for the whole
twenty was cooked at one operation. This preparation came out soft and
palatable, and the cows took to it greedily. The ground feed was varied
during the season, and occasionally a few turnips, parsnips, and
cabbages were cooked up to increase the variety. I had no hay to give
them, and they got none.

But on the other hand, Dick gave them four good strong messes every day,
that at night being a very heavy one. He said they throve as well as any
cattle he had ever seen. The gutter behind them was cleaned out twice a
day and sprinkled with plaster, thus keeping the place always clean and
sweet. In fact, I made cleanliness the order of the day throughout the
entire barnyard. The manure was thrown directly from the gutter into a
wheelbarrow having a thick layer of leaves spread over its bottom, and
then emptied in a heap under the manure shed. As the cows were also
littered with leaves, these, when too foul for longer use, were taken to
the same heap. Others were added, with cornstalks in occasional layers;
and as each layer was deposited, the whole heap was saturated with
liquor from the cistern. I do not think a better lot of common barnyard
manure has ever been manufactured. Dick entered into the spirit of the
experiment, and carried it through without once faltering.

As soon as the cows began dropping their calves in the spring, I
advertised them, and plenty of purchasers appeared, as a choice out of
twenty was of some value. They had cost me $22 each. I had kept them an
average of one hundred and forty days for each cow, at a cost of six
cents per day for each, or $8.40, making with the first cost $30.40 per
cow, or $608 for the whole. To this was added $60 for cornstalks and $40
for Dick, making a grand total of $708. I sold them at an average of
$35.50, and thus realized $710, or a cash profit of $2. Instead of
paying Dick $30 for his trouble, I told the fellow that as he had
performed his duty so satisfactorily, he should have $40. This little
voluntary contribution so gratified him, that I feel assured its value
has been refunded to me fourfold, by his subsequent attention as a
professor of the art and mystery of manufacturing manure.

Thus I made $2 in cash by the operation, besides having a great quantity
of cornstalks left over, and a pile of manure certainly as ample as any
for which I had paid $250. Moreover, it was on my own premises; it had
been most carefully attended to during the whole process of manufacture;
I knew what it was composed of, and that the seeds of noxious weeds
could not have been added to it. All these facts gave it value over the
chance lots which farmers are often compelled to purchase, and from
which their fields are many times sowed with thousands of weeds. Here
was a clear saving of $250 added to my profits.

The result was so encouraging, that I have continued the practice of
thus feeding cattle during the winter from that day to this, increasing
the number, however, to twenty-five. I find no difficulty in making
sales in the spring. Sometimes I have lost a few dollars on a winter’s
operations, sometimes made a little profit, and sometimes come out just
even. On the run of four years there has been no profit beyond the
manure; but that much is all clear. Thus the winter, instead of being a
season of suspended profits as formerly, is now one of positive gain.
The operation of thus feeding cattle is certainly attended with trouble.
But once provided with all the conveniences for carrying it on, it is
not only simple and easy, but becomes even interesting. No one who has
not tried it in a careful, methodical way, can have any idea of the
rapidity with which the manure heaps grow, nor the size to which they
ultimately attain. My neighbors having long since ceased to be amused at
what they facetiously called the novelty of my operations, did not
venture to ridicule even this. On the contrary, they rather approved of
it, though not one of them could tell how much it cost to keep a cow per
week. But I impute no part of my success to their approval. The practice
is intrinsically a good one, and only needs being carried on properly to
make it pay.

Let me add, that there is a very cheap and convenient mode of covering
manure from the weather, which I have constantly practised, thus
avoiding the cost of building sheds. I took inch boards which were
sixteen feet long, and sawed them in half, making two lengths, each
eight feet. The boards were as wide as could be had, say twenty inches.
Battens were then nailed across each end and the centre, to prevent
warping. Then to each end a board of equal width, and five feet long,
was secured by strap hinges. The manure heap was then built up, say five
feet high, and eight wide at the top. When thus finished, one of the
boards was placed across the top; the ends being hinged, fell down, over
the sides of the heap, and touched the ground. Beginning at one end of
the heap, the hinged boards were laid on until they reached to the other
end. Thus the entire heap, except the ends, was completely protected
from the weather. The ends were covered with loose boards. Whenever rain
was coming on, and it was thought the heap needed water to prevent
fire-fanging, this portable shed was lifted off in five minutes. After
receiving a good soaking, the shed was in five more minutes replaced on
the heap; and when no composting was going on, the boards were simply
stowed away in some by-place until again wanted. To those who believe in
the value of housing manure, but who cannot afford to erect buildings
for the purpose, these portable sheds will be found, for $10, to be as
effectual as a building costing $60, while at the same time they do not
occupy any useful ground.

I will not say that ten acres in New Jersey can be made to produce more
money than ten acres located elsewhere, within reach of the great city
markets. Without doubt, the productiveness of either tract will be in
exact proportion to the care and skill of cultivation, and the
thoroughness of manuring. In either case, it is utter folly for a man to
attempt the cultivation of more land than he can manage thoroughly. The
chances are then invariably against him. I consider the real office of
the ground to be merely that of holding a plant in an erect position,
while you feed the roots. But it is nevertheless remarkable that the
census tables show that the product of New Jersey per acre, when the
whole area of the State is taken into account, is considerably greater
than in any of the adjoining States. The product per acre, in some of
the fruit-growing counties nearest the two great cities, is even more
remarkable. The average cash value of the products of all our market
gardens is $20 annually, while that of the gardens in New York and
Pennsylvania is only $5 each. Of our orchards it is $25, while in New
York it is only $10, and in Pennsylvania only $5. The value of
agricultural implements and machinery is relatively far greater than in
either of these empire States. Nothing short of a superior
productiveness for truck and fruit, in the soil of New Jersey, can
account for such results.

A farmer in my neighborhood sold from forty early apple-trees, occupying
about one acre of land, 400 baskets of fruit, which yielded, after
deducting expenses, and ten per cent. commission for selling, $241.50. I
have known pears to be sold at from $3 to $5 per basket, and in smaller
quantities at $2 a half-peck; and three cherry-trees, of the early
Richmond variety, yielded $30 worth of fruit. Peach-trees, when
protected from the worm, will bear luxuriantly for twenty years.

I know a small farmer, with six acres of rhubarb, who has realized $600
dollars annually from it. Another has twenty acres of asparagus, from
which he realizes $600 per week during the season for cutting. Besides,
it grows an acre of common gooseberries, from which his annual profit is
$200. I have known another to sell $500 worth of tomatoes from a single
acre, besides having many bushels for the hog-pen. I could name owners
of very small tracts who are doing well in the same business. Asparagus,
strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, grapes, and
gooseberries, grow to perfection, and yield enormous returns when
properly attended to, far surpassing any thing ever obtained from the
heavier staple crops, such as grain, grass and stock.

But it is to be noticed that the greatest profit per acre is almost
invariably realized by those who have very small farms. The less they
have, the more thoroughly is it cultivated; while the few who have
sufficient faith in manure, and who thus convert their entire holding
into a garden, realize twice or thrice as much per annum as they had
paid for the land. I knew a striking illustration of the value of this
faith in manure. It is in the person of a Jerseyman who began,
twenty-five years ago, upon a single acre of rented land, with a capital
of only $50, borrowed from a sister who had saved it from her earnings
as a dairymaid. This man regarded the earth as of no practical use
except to receive and hold manure; and his idea was, that if he crowded
it full enough, every rain would extract from it, and convey directly to
the roots of the plants, the liquid nutriment which gives to all
vegetation such amazing vigor. Thus, the solids, if in sufficient
supply, would be sure to furnish the liquids, on which he knew he could
rely. Though full of original and practical ideas, this was his
absorbing one; and he pursued it with an energy of purpose and a
liberality of expenditure that surprised the population of an entire

In spite of the disadvantages attendant on a neglected education, the
force of this man’s strong natural sense carried him forward with
astonishing rapidity. True to his faith in manure, he bought and
manufactured to an extent far exceeding all his neighbors. He soon
obtained possession of a small farm, with ample time allowed for
payment; for his industry and skill established a character, and
character served for capital. In a few years he monopolized the contents
of all the pig-pens in the city near which he resided, all that was
produced by the slaughter-houses, all the lime from the gas-works, all
the spent bark from the tanneries, and every tub of night-soil which
came from the water-closets of a large population. He created a demand
for manure so general, that the streets were traversed by men and boys
with carts and handbarrows, who daily picked up the droppings from the
numerous livestock which passed over the roads, and piled them snugly in
fence-corners, composting them with leaves and rubbish, knowing that the
great manure king would take them all. The quantity thus collected by
these industrious scavengers was very large. In addition to all this, he
purchased cargoes of marl, charcoal cinders from the pines, guano, and
sloop-loads of manures from the city. The world within his reach seemed
unable to supply his vast demand.

His cash outlay for these fertilizers was of course enormous, and has
amounted to thousands of dollars per annum. It has been constantly
increasing, and grows even as I write. But his faith in manure was
accompanied by works. What he thus collected at so great a cost, was
applied with singular shrewdness to the production of fruits and
vegetables for the great city markets. His fields rewarded him in
proportion as he enriched them. His neighbors, who, for miles around,
had been astonished and incredulous at his unprecedented outlay for
manure, were in turn astonished at the extraordinary quantities of fruit
and truck which he dispatched to market. As he went early and largely
into the growing of rhubarb, when all others were too timid even to
touch it, so for years he was the only man who sent tons of it to market
during a long period in which it paid extravagant profits. By skilfully
regulating his crops, he secured an uninterrupted succession during the
entire season; so that from the earliest to the latest period of the
year he was constantly receiving large cash returns. His wagons have
sometimes loaded an entire steamboat, sometimes an entire train upon the
railroad. By growing asparagus, he has realized great profits. For years
he commanded the Baltimore markets with his strawberries, while various
other large towns depended on him for their supplies. I have been upon
his thirty acres of this fruit during the height of the season, when
fifty pickers were at work on ground which wore a tinge of luscious
scarlet under the astonishing profusion of the crop; while thousands of
quarts, under adjacent sheds, were in process of being boxed for market.
Of this fruit he has sent ninety bushels to market in a single day,
distributed $300 in a week among his pickers, while in the boxes to
contain them his investment is $1,500. On strawberries alone this man
could have grown rich.

But they are scarcely a tithe of what he has produced. Raspberries,
blackberries, and all the smaller fruits have been cultivated quite as
extensively. The same courageous intelligence which led him to out-strip
all competitors in the application of manure, kept him awake to every
improvement in fruit or vegetable as it came before the public. He not
only procured the best of every kind, but bought them early, no matter
how extravagant the price. Thus keeping in advance of all others, so his
profits have exceeded theirs. More than once he has been cheated by the
purchase of novelties of this kind, besides losing time and money in
cultivating them long enough to prove the cheat; but these losses have
been but as dust in the great balance of his profit.

As may be supposed, such a man could not fail to become rich. From his
humble beginning of a single acre he has gone on adding farm to farm,
house to house, and lot to lot, and is ever on hand to purchase more.
His passion is to own land. But even so thorough a farmer as he may in
the end acquire too much to be profitable.

The example thus set has had a marked influence on the population of
entire townships. Men who at first, and who even for years, were
incredulous of the propriety of using such vast quantities of manure, at
length became converts to the example. High farming thus came
extensively into vogue. Meantime the facilities for getting to market
were being constantly multiplied. New fertilizers were introduced and
kept for sale in all the country towns, the facility for obtaining them
thus inducing a general consumption. As crops increased, so the great
cities grew in size, the number of mouths to be fed enlarging with the
supply of food. Under the pressure of all these several inducements,
fruit and truck have been produced in quantities that cannot be

The first great impulse to its enlarged production in the neighborhood
where the enterprising consumer of manure resided, to whom reference has
been made, was the result of his example. His great success removed all
doubt and disarmed all opposition. But even his was not achieved without
unremitting industry and intelligent application of the mind. Neither
his hands nor the manure did every thing. But manure lay at the
foundation of the edifice: without it he would have toiled in vain to
build up an ample fortune from the humblest of beginnings. As he
succeeded, so let others take counsel, and have faith in manure.



It cannot be supposed that agriculture is always a successful pursuit.
On the contrary, we know it many times to be the reverse. But when one
looks carefully into that branch of it which embraces fruits, especially
the smaller kinds, the evidences in its favor as a money-making business
multiply as we proceed. The reader must have some knowledge of the
prodigious profits realized a few years since by the peach-growers in
Delaware, where 800 acres were cultivated in that fruit by a single
individual. At one time he was compelled to charter several steamboats
during the entire season, to convey his thousands of baskets to market.
From only 70 acres the owner has realized a net profit of $12,000, in
one season. The instance of my relative in Ohio, mentioned in an earlier
chapter, affords another illustration of what a very small orchard can
be made to yield. I have known single peach-trees in gardens, in seasons
when the general crop was short, producing as much as $20 each. Those
who buy single peaches at the street corners in our cities, one or two
for a dime, can readily understand these figures. I could point out a
garden belonging to a widow, containing twelve plum-trees, from which
she regularly receives $60 every year, and sometimes even more. Grapes
are never so abundant in market as to reduce the price below the point
of profit.

The prices paid for pears are such as to seem absurdly high. But even
when rebellion had most depressed the market, I knew a single tree to
net $23 to the owner. Another grower, from three trees, annually
receives $60. A citizen of New York is the owner of three pear-trees
which have yielded eleven barrels, and produced $137. There is another
tree in that State, seventy years old, from which, in that period,
$3,750 worth of pears have been sold--enough to pay for a farm. A young
orchard of four hundred trees, some eight years after planting, at two
years’ crops yielded the owner $1,450. An acre of the best pear-trees,
well managed, will produce more profit than a five-hundred-acre farm,
without a twentieth of the care or capital.

But examples almost without number may be given, where apple-trees also
have yielded from five to ten dollars a year in fruit, and many
instances in which twenty or thirty dollars have been obtained. If one
tree of the Rhode Island Greening will afford forty bushels of fruit, at
a quarter of a dollar per bushel, which has often occurred, forty such
trees on an acre would yield a crop worth four hundred dollars. But
taking one quarter of this amount as a low average for all seasons, and
with imperfect cultivation, one hundred dollars will still be equal to
the interest on fifteen hundred per acre. Now, this estimate is based
upon the price of good winter apples for the past thirty years, in one
of our most productive districts; let a similar estimate be made with
fruits rarer and of a more delicate character. Apricots and the finer
varieties of the plum are often sold for three to six dollars per
bushel, and the best early peaches from one to three dollars. An
acquaintance received eight dollars for a crop grown on two fine young
cherry-trees, and twenty-four dollars from four young peach-trees of
only four years’ growth from the bud. In Western New York, single trees
of the Doyenne or Virgalieu pear have often afforded a return of twenty
dollars or more, after being sent hundreds of miles to market.

These standard fruits, requiring several years to come into bearing, are
too slow for the majority of cultivators, who, like myself, need
something which will pay in a year or two. The whole berry family is
pre-eminently adapted to meet this demand for immediate profit. Happily
for the multitude engaged in its propagation, the business cannot be
overdone. Could an exact calculation be made of the money expended in
the city of New York merely for the small fruits, the amount would be so
enormous as to be scarcely credible, and would go far to prove the
immense wealth which actually exists, in spite of the fact that
thousands are suffering all the stings of poverty. Take the strawberry
as a faint index of the large sums of money that are annually laid out
in the different varieties of fruit. One of the most ephemeral of all
fruits, only lasting its brief month, the strawberry nevertheless plays
no insignificant part in the _rôle_ of our early summer business. In
fact, this little berry may be said to be the prime favorite of the
season. Of a delicious flavor, with just sufficient of tartness to
render it agreeable, it commends itself to the taste of young and old;
while its cooling properties render it highly beneficial, in a hygienic
point of view, during the early heats of the dog-days. Then its
cheapness places it within the reach of the poorest. It is alike welcome
to the schoolboy who has a few cents of pocket money to invest in such
delicacies as schoolboys are wont to indulge in; to the laboring man,
after the burden and heat of the day are over; and to the wealthy, who
has at his command the means of enjoyment of the most expensive kind.

The first strawberries during the season generally appear at the
Broadway saloons about the middle of May, and are sold at the very
modest price of fifty cents per pint basket. A placard in the window
announces that a plateful, with cream, may be had for a similar small
consideration. These early strawberries are from Virginia; but as they
are small, with immaturity stamped upon them, it is to be presumed that
there is not a very great rush for fifty cents’ worth, even by such as
feel like boasting that they had eaten strawberries and cream ere the
frosts of winter had well disappeared. Soon, however, New Jersey begins
to give up her stores of the delicious fruit, and prices fall from fifty
to fifteen, from fifteen to six, from six to five, and finally from five
to three cents per pint.

Almost the entire early crop of the New York market is grown in New
Jersey, and by far the largest quantity brought into the city by any one
route reaches New York by the New York and Erie Railroad Company. The
berries are conveyed in carts and wagons from the gardens where they
are grown to the several railroad stations, whence they find their way
to the respective ferries. Great quantities, however, are conveyed in
wagons direct to the ferries. Hence it is next to impossible to obtain
exact information of the actual quantities brought into the city, and
consumed by the inhabitants. All that can be done is to convey an
approximate idea of the immense extent of the trade, leaving the reader
to imagine what must be the actual quantity, since that of which
authentic information can be obtained is so enormous.

The berries are largely shipped from Burlington, Monmouth, and Middlesex
counties in New Jersey. Large quantities are also grown in Bergen. The
Bergen County Journal says, that from data furnished, it considers
10,000,000 baskets a low estimate of the quantity sent to market in one
season from that county alone. This evidently is a mistake, for, after a
very close inquiry into the matter, it does not appear that any thing
like that quantity has reached New York from all places where the berry
is grown. Even supposing that other markets besides that of New York are
indicated, the quantity named seems too large for credibility, as having
been grown in a single county, however favorable the soil may be to the
production of the fruit, and notwithstanding the utmost indefatigability
of the growers; and the more so when the Journal adds, “that thousands,
perhaps millions of baskets, have rotted on the vines.”

The opening of the Northern Railroad of New Jersey to Piermont, is
another circumstance which has given an impetus to the trade. The
opening took place just at the commencement of the season of 1859,--not
early enough for the growers to make their arrangements for a very large
crop, but just in time to enable them to take full advantage of the
means of transit over the line, of the then ripening crop. Accordingly,
as far as can be ascertained, 400,000 baskets were brought over the new
road. This looks well for a commencement, and holds out a good promise
of an enormous trade in future seasons. The section of country through
which the line runs, quietly undulating, is well watered, and admirably
adapted to the growth of the strawberry; and as the settlements are
within easy distances of the stations, the fruit can be sent into market
fresh picked and sound, retaining its full, rich flavor.

The cultivation of the strawberry is very little attended to on Long
Island. On inquiry at the railroad station there, it was found that so
small is the quantity brought over by it, that it was not deemed worth
while to charge freight for the few parcels carried by travellers. The
quantity may be safely set down at 25,000 baskets. No business is done
in this fruit over the Hudson or the Harlem and New Haven Railroads.

Besides the railroads, the steamboats bring to market large quantities
of the fruit. It is impossible to obtain correct statistical information
of the trade from this source. The quantity brought from Keyport, N. J.,
alone, by two vessels, has been estimated at 1,750,000 baskets.

The following is an epitome of the business done, as far as can be

  Over the New York and Erie Railroad       3,253,407
    “   “ Railroad of Northern New Jersey     400,000
    “   “ Long Island Railroad                 25,000
    “   “ Camden and Amboy Railroad         1,100,000
  From Keyport, in vessels                  1,750,000
    “  Hoboken and other places, in wagons    500,000

Say seven millions of baskets, in round numbers. Of the three and a
quarter millions brought over the New York and Erie Railroad, somewhat
more than one-half are from Ramsey’s and Allendale station, and the
remainder from the stations on the Union Railroad and the Piermont
branch. Of those brought by the Camden and Amboy Railroad, the great
bulk is from Burlington county.

It is difficult to form a correct estimate of the average price at which
strawberries sell; but by carefully collating the statements of the
principal wholesale dealers, and taking the mean of the several prices,
throughout the season, $3 per hundred baskets, by wholesale, seems to be
pretty near the mark. From the wholesale dealers the article sometimes
changes hands twice, before reaching the consumer, who, taking the
average, may be said to have paid 3½ cents per basket, or $3.50 per
hundred. Consequently, it will be seen that the retailer makes but a
small profit, especially in cases where the strawberries reach him
through the hands of the middle-man, who of course manages to make his
share of gain in the transfer. The wholesale dealers generally sell on
commission, accounting to the growers for their sales, and reserving ten
per cent. for their trouble. The largest quantity sold by any one dealer
is about 300,000 baskets. The freight charge over the railroads is 12½
cents per hundred baskets.

The following figures will show what a conspicuous part this apparently
insignificant berry plays in our social economics:

  700,000 baskets, at $3.75 per hundred               $26,250
  Profit to the retailers, at 75 cents per hundred      5,250
  Commission to wholesale dealers, at 10 per cent.      2,625
  Freight, at 12½ cents per hundred, all round            875

This is only as far as can be ascertained, but there is reason to
believe that thousands of baskets of strawberries find their way into
the New York markets, of which no account can be obtained, thus tending
to swell the enormous expenditure on this almost the smallest of summer

It is equally difficult to ascertain the quantity of this fruit which
pours into Philadelphia also, during the season, but it is probably
two-thirds as great as that which goes to New York. There are numerous
growers near the former city, who dispatch to it from twenty to sixty
bushels each, daily.

An experienced writer on this subject estimates the consumption of
strawberries in the four great cities as follows--

  New York              54,000 bushels.
  Philadelphia          14,000    “
  Boston                11,000    “
  Cincinnati            14,000    “

This estimate of the consumption of Philadelphia is a very erroneous
one, as the consumption must fully equal that of New York. In 1860, no
less than 173,500 quarts of strawberries passed through the gate of only
one of the numerous gravel turnpikes in New Jersey, on their way to
Philadelphia. This is equal to 5,442½ bushels, more than one-third of
the quantity estimated as above.

He says that 8,000,000 baskets (five to the quart) have been received in
New York in a season. He adds, that the crop around these four cities
does not exceed 25 to 50 bushels per acre, although instances are
reported where 100, and even 130 to 140 bushels have been produced on an
acre, or in that proportion. The returns, therefore, vary from $100 to
$800 per acre, and the prices range from $1.50 down to 12½ cents a
quart. The former price is readily obtained in Washington at the opening
of the season.

He thence argues that in order to supply New York and vicinity with
strawberries, about 1,500 acres, of the choicest land is required, and
500 for the other cities named. This he alleges to be at least four
times as much land as is either appropriate or necessary for the object,
if the nature and cultivation of the strawberry were only as well
understood as the raising of corn. He contends that a crop of thirty
bushels of strawberries to the acre, is only about proportionate to a
corn crop of ten bushels on the same ground. He says that a strawberry
plantation is seldom seen without having, after the first year, many
more plants upon the ground than can obtain air or light sufficient to
fruit well. The consequence is, that all our city markets are mainly
supplied with inferior fruit, simply because some of the commonest kinds
continue to produce a little stunted, sour fruit, even under the worst
treatment. Superior, well-grown fruit will easily produce twice and four
times as much to the acre, and will command prices from two to four
times larger in the city markets: making the avails and the difference
from the same land to be 25 bushels at 12½ cents a quart, or at least
125 bushels at 25 cents a quart, or $1,000 or $100 an acre. He lays it
down that an acre ought to be made to yield 125 bushels, and that no
grower should be satisfied with less.

That this yield and these profits can be realized, there are numerous
evidences. Small plots of ground, thoroughly cultivated, have yielded
even a double ratio. One grower in Connecticut realized $215 from
strawberries raised on twenty-five rods of ground, or at the rate of
$1,300 per acre. A citizen of Maine has raised them, on a small lot, at
the rate of 300 bushels an acre. Another in New Jersey cleared $1,100
from three acres, and one of the agricultural societies in that State
awarded the strawberry premium to a gentleman whose ground produced them
at the rate of $1,222 an acre, clear profit. I have seen a crop ripening
on three acres for which the owner was offered $800 as it stood, the
buyer to pick and take it away at his own expense. The offer was
declined, and the owner realized $1,300 clear. Mr. Fuller, of Brooklyn,
has grown at the rate of 600 bushels per acre, on a small plot of the
Bartlett; and by the same mode of treatment, 400 of the Triomphe de

All these returns are unquestionably the effects of high culture. Those
who fail to practise it, also fail to realize such returns. The slovenly
cultivator complains that his strawberries run out. But this is because
he permits the weeds and grass to run in and occupy the ground. The
plant has no inherent tendency to degenerate. For the last few years,
immense demand has existed for Wilson’s Albany Seedling. Those at all
conversant with the subject, know that plenty of room is requisite to
get the greatest quantity of runners from a given number of plants--the
sale being perfectly sure, all dealers give this room; the consequence
is, while the plants are worth say $10 per 1000, all are fine large
plants, and give a fair crop, even the first year after planting. Such
plants tell their own story, and the demand continues. In a short time,
prices come down; and the supply increasing beyond demand, the dealer no
longer thinks it worth while to give this room expressly for the growth
of plants: the beds take care of themselves, hence bear but little, and
the plants furnished are always weak and spindling. These require the
second year to fruit; perhaps, in the interim, new kinds are pressed
into notice, and from the old beds it becomes more and more difficult to
obtain strong plants, until the cry is raised that the once celebrated
strawberry has run its race. Now, the question is, whether the same
kinds under the same circumstances, that is, strong runners from strong
old plants, in good soil and plenty of room, will not continue to be

As this is not designed to be a treatise on the art of raising
strawberries, so I shall not enlarge upon the subject. Every grower
seems to have a method of his own, which he prefers over all others.
There are works upon the subject, containing numerous facts with which
every careful beginner should make himself familiar. But even in these
are to be discovered the most extraordinary collisions of opinion,--one,
for instance, recommending generous manuring, another insisting that
poor ground only should be used, while a third declares that frequent
stirring of the soil will of itself insure abundant crops. Amid all
these antagonisms one great fact stands prominently forth, that the
strawberry plant will continue to live and produce fruit under every
possible variety of treatment; while another is equally conspicuous,
that the better the treatment the better the return. It would be
presumptuous in a novice like me to undertake to reconcile these
unaccountable discrepancies of the great strawberry doctors of the
country. But I have learned enough to be satisfied that _soil_ has much
to do in the successful cultivation of this fruit. A variety which
flourishes in one soil will be almost barren in another. Hence, in the
hands of one grower it proves a great prize, but in those of another it
is comparatively worthless. Without doubt it is to this cause that much
of the diversity of opinion as to certain varieties, as well as to the
mode of culture, is to be attributed.

Neither will I undertake to decide what sorts, among the cloud of new
aspirants for public patronage which are annually coming into notice,
are to be adopted as the best. One is in danger of being confused by
going largely into the cultivation of a multitude of varieties. Having
secured a supply of a few which he has proved to be congenial with his
particular soil, he should adhere to them. Small trials of the new
varieties may be safely made, but wholesale substitutions are many times
disastrous undertakings. Having found out such as suit my soil, I am
content to keep them. The Albany seedling grows upon it with unsurpassed
luxuriance, and I shall probably never abandon it. Meantime I have tried
the Bartlett, and found it a rampant and hardy grower, bearing the most
abundant crops of luscious fruit. So I find McAvoy’s Superior to be a
beautiful berry, and a vigorous runner. In my soil the Triomphe de Gand
does not realize the extravagant promise of fruitfulness which heralded
its introduction to public notice. My neighbors also complain of it in
the same way. But for my own family consumption, I prefer it to any
strawberry I have ever eaten. The flavor is rich and luscious beyond
description, while the crisp seeds crackle between your impatient
grinders with reverberations loud enough to penetrate the utmost depths
of a hungry stomach. So long as my vines continue to produce only
one-fourth as much as others, I shall continue to grow this
unsurpassable variety. It sends off runners in amazing abundance. When
grown in stools, with the runners clipped off weekly, it bears profusely
of enormous fruit; and this method, I am inclined to believe, is the
true corrective of all unfriendly elements in the soil. In addition to
these, I have, in common with “all the world and the rest of mankind,”
the Tribune strawberries, now growing finely in pots, and carefully
housed for crop next summer. Having seen them in fruit, and having also
entire confidence that the association by whom they are distributed
would no more spread abroad a worthless article than they would
circulate a vicious sheet, so I regard the propagation of these three
plants as the beginning of a new era in the history of strawberry

I have very little doubt that there are specific manures for the
strawberry, and one of them will probably be found in Baugh’s Rawbone
Superphosphate of Lime. This article is manufactured in Philadelphia,
and is made of raw, unburnt bones, which in their raw state contain
one-third of animal matter, and combines ammonia and phosphoric acid in
the proper proportions for stimulating and nourishing vegetable growth.
I have used it as freely as I could afford to, on turnips, celery, and
strawberries. On the two former its effect was very decidedly favorable.
My celery uniformly exceeds that of my neighbors, both in size,
crispness, and flavor, and consequently commands a higher price. But its
effect on strawberries has been perfectly marvellous. On some of them
the superphosphate was scattered on both sides of the row, whence, by
repeated hoeing and raking, with the aid of sundry rains, its finer
particles found their way to the roots. The result has been a robust
growth of the plants, such as cannot be seen on any other part of my
ground. They hold up their heads, their leaves and fruit-stalks some
inches higher than any others, while their whole appearance indicates
that they have been fed with a more congenial fertilizer than usual.
Many of them have put forth double crowns, showing that they are
prepared to furnish twice the ordinary quantity of fruit. So impressed
am I with the superior value of this fertilizer, that I have, this
autumn of 1863, manured as many rows as I could, and shall hereafter
substitute it wholly for all barnyard manure. It is applied with the
utmost facility, it contains the seeds of no pestiferous weeds, and its
virtues are so highly concentrated that a small amount manures a large
surface. It is quite possible that it may not do so well on some soils
as others, but no farmer can be sure of this until he has made the
trial. Hence, as that can be made with a single bag, the sooner it is
undertaken the better it will be for those to whose soil it may be found

Thousands of dollars’ worth of the common wild blackberry are annually
taken to the cities and sold. For these berries the price has, within a
few years, actually risen one-half. The traffic in them on some
railroads is immense, especially on those leading into Philadelphia from
Delaware. Millions of quarts are annually sold in New York and
Cincinnati. A single township in New Jersey sells to the amount of
$2,000 and one county in Indiana to that of $10,000. The huckleberry
trade of New Jersey is also very large. A single buyer in Monmouth
county purchases sixty bushels daily during the picking season. All
these wild berries are gathered by women and children who, without
these crops, would find no other employment. But they grow in every wood
and swamp, in every neglected headland, while upon the old fields they
enter into full possession. As they cost nothing but the labor of
gathering them, so they are the bountiful means of drawing thousands of
dollars into the pockets of the industrious poor. The cranberry swamps
of New Jersey are as celebrated for the abundance of their products as
their owners have been for permitting them to become the prey of all who
choose to strip them of their fruit.

Thus the demand for even the wild berries continues to enlarge. Hence
there must be sure sale for those of a superior quality. In fact, the
cultivation of fruit is yet in a state of infancy; it is just beginning
to assume the character its merits deserve. Probably more trees have
been raised, more orchards planted, within the past ten or twelve years
than in all previous time. Within a few years past it has received an
unusual degree of attention. Plantations of all sorts, orchards,
gardens, and nurseries, have increased in number and extent to a degree
quite unprecedented; not in one section or locality, but from the
extreme north to the southern limits of the fruit-growing region.
Horticultural societies have been organized in all parts; while
exhibitions, and National, State, and local Conventions of fruit-growers
have been held to discuss the merits of fruits, and other kindred
topics, until it has become the desire of almost every man, whether he
live in town or country, to enjoy fine fruits, to provide them for his
family, and, if possible, to cultivate the trees in his own garden with
his own hands.

There are now single nurseries in this country where a million
fruit-trees are advertised for sale. If every hundred-acre farm were to
receive fifty trees, all the nurseries would be swept bare in a single
year. The States east of, and contiguous to, the Mississippi river,
would require ten thousand acres of land for three hundred years, to
plant ten acres of fruit-trees on every hundred-acre farm in this
portion of the Union: and this estimate is based on the supposition that
all the trees planted do well, and flourish. If only a fifth of them
perish, then two thousand years would be required, at the present rate
of supply, to furnish the above-named quantity of orchard for every
farm. Some nurseries already cover 300 to 500 acres, but even these go
but a short way in supplying the immense demand for fruit-trees. How
absurd, then, in the face of such an array of facts as this, the idea
that our markets are to be surfeited with fruit! Thousands of acres of
peach-trees, bending under their heavy crops, are still needed for the
consumption of but one city; and broad fifty-acre fields reddened with
enormous products, may yet send with profit hundreds of bushels of
strawberries daily into the other. If, instead of keeping three days,
sorts were now added that would keep three months, many times the amount
would be needed. But the market would not be confined to large cities.
Railroads and steamboats would open new channels of distribution
throughout the country for increased supplies. Nor would the business
stop here. Large portions of the Eastern Continent would gladly become
purchasers as soon as sufficient quantities should create facilities for
a reasonable supply. Our best apples are eagerly bought in London and
Liverpool, where $9 per barrel is not an unusual price for the best
Newtown pippins. And, by being packed in ice, pears gathered early in
autumn have been safely sent to Jamaica, and strawberries to Barbadoes.
The Baldwin apple has been furnished in good condition in the East
Indies two months after it is entirely gone in Boston. The world has
never yet been surfeited with fruit.



From all these industrial antecedents, few would set me down as
belonging to the class of gentlemen farmers. Generally they are men of
leisure, and are always presumed to be independent; for most of us have
inherited the strange idea that one must be wealthy in order to be
gentlemanly. They go into the country because they are rich. I went
because I was poor. Notwithstanding this antagonism between their
condition and mine, it was practically, and for all purposes of human
comfort, so insignificant as to disappear entirely when brought to the

There were neighbors within a mile of me, wealthy citizens who had
purchased lands, erected splendid houses, established lawns that were
gorgeous with fruits, and evergreens and flowers, while costly graperies
were made to yield a winter harvest of extraordinary fruit. They sported
elegant carriages, and had professional experts to look after the
hot-beds in winter, and the garden in summer. My riding was done a-foot,
and I was the professional genius of my own garden. Every avenue of
theirs was nicely gravelled and rolled; every hedge of evergreen was
trimmed into the most artistic shape. Not a day in winter but the
vegetables of early spring were spread in abundance on their tables;
yet many times they have overflowed with generous attention on my own.

I could boast of but few of these ever-present luxuries; yet with these
men, some of whom were the life and charm of the neighborhood, I mingled
with the most cordial association. Though there was no community of
wealth, yet there was one of feeling, such as springs from education,
character, and kindred aspirations after whatever is captivating in the
intellectual, or good in the moral world. Our families became cemented
by cordial friendships, and intercourse was enjoyed and regulated, not
on the assumption that it was money that made the country gentleman, but
that mind, and heart, and education were the true ingredients. Thus,
with no pretensions to a position so widely coveted, I enjoyed all its

There is no such leveller as politics, short of the great leveller
himself. Some of my neighbors were prodigious politicians. As most of
them were sensible men, all such agreed with me; and having myself a
good deal of zeal in the cause, we had at times a world of caucussing;
on which occasions the most luminous discussions occurred. I have
sometimes been astonished at the depth of political and financial wisdom
developed on these occasions. There was little doubt, in my mind, that a
cabinet of the strongest character could have been made up from among
us. When I hinted this idea to one of us, he expressed his decided
opinion that there was material enough for two or three. As to
finance--for most of these had been successful and become rich--they
talked of hundreds of millions as if they were every-day trifles. These
caucusses occupied many long evenings just before election-day, when
funds were to raise, candidates to be selected, tickets to print, and
other equally weighty matters were to be engineered to a crisis.
Sometimes, even after election, they were held, especially when it was
discovered that the funds had been used up without expenses having been
paid. On such occasions it was evident we had much less talk and fire,
and that the cash deficit was a considerable damper on the spirits of
all present. But I feel convinced that at these caucuses the nation has
been repeatedly saved. As we generally carried the day at the polls, it
was then unanimously agreed on “our side” that the country was safe--at
least until it needed saving over again.

Somehow--I can hardly say exactly how--these gentlemen discovered that I
was pretty good at writing resolutions, getting up posters that made the
town ring with sensation, and that in a general way I was what one of
the party--a retired grocer--called a “good egg.” The result was that I
was speedily promoted to a high position in their political and social
confidence. On one occasion they even did me the honor of making me
secretary of a meeting which had been called to consider what had better
be done with the town pump; and I have good reason to believe that had I
intimated a wish to that effect, they would have honored me with the
extremely responsible position of chairman. If the country had been in
any actual danger, I think they would have turned to me by a sort of
instinct, so great was their admiration of my ability to get up a
handbill at the shortest possible notice. But having no political
ambition, the security in which I have been content to vegetate will not
surprise the sympathetic reader. Thus village politics are a very
agreeable pastime, especially when you happen to be generally of the
same mind.

Some of these country gentlemen had purchased naked fields, inclosed by
decrepit fences, over which the rank poison-vine and poke-bush struggled
with the wild blackberry for ascendancy, while the weather-beaten trunks
of blasted apple-trees, grown ghastly by age and decay, threw up their
leafless branches in the centre of the grounds. There were stones and
gulleys and barren knolls denuded of the soil. There were ponds which
stagnated in summer, overgrown with spatter-docks and cat-tail, and so
densely populated by frogs, that even when times were most flourishing
and money most abundant, the neighborhood was never without its
congregation of croakers. The buildings were in some cases the
architectural residuum of the men who first squatted on the soil, with
low and unplastered ceilings, blackened by the smoke from huge open
fireplaces. As every thing within was primitive and inconvenient, so all
without was rude and squalid.

It has everywhere been the mission of the gentleman farmer to
reconstruct and regenerate all this. I have seen him engaged in
numberless undertakings of the kind. No one begins improvement with
such courageous zeal; no one goes through with what he undertakes with
such unflagging liberality of expenditure. Wherever he locates he leaves
an almost imperishable mark. Whatever he lays his hand to he improves
and beautifies.

All this is proverbial in the country, though the zeal, the efforts, and
the expenditures of such men are far from being properly appreciated. I
was one day standing near an old homestead, which was thus crumbling
into a heap of firewood, by order of a wealthy citizen who had recently
become the purchaser. A group of idle neighbors were leaning, like
myself, against the old rickety fence, watching the progress of
demolition, when an ancient farmer, who knew nothing beyond six per
cent., broke the silence by observing--

“So it is. When a city man buys a farm and pays for it, then he begins
to spend money.”

“Always so,” responded another, who belonged to the same antediluvian
class; “I’ve seed it many a time.”

There was quite a general assent to this proposition among the group.
The idea of the first speaker was, that because he possessed money, his
sole duty was to keep it, and that gentlemen farmers were great
simpletons for doing otherwise; never for a moment imagining that if for
himself it were a luxury to hoard, it might be with the others a still
greater luxury to spend.

In many neighborhoods, the advent of a gentleman farmer is not hailed
with genuine hospitality. He is too often regarded as a foolish man,
because he spends his money freely, even though it be scattered among
the sneering crowd. However thoroughly he pulls down, however
judiciously he builds up and improves, the masses neither appreciate nor
comprehend. They see him exterminate the most impenetrable hedgerows
with no other remark than as to what the job will cost. He drains the
immemorial marsh, abolishes the spatter-docks, squelches the frogs, digs
up the dead apple-trees, and brings in a huge stand of clover. The
latter they can comprehend, because they know what clover is. They have
been educated to believe in it; but of most of the former operations
they know nothing, and having a vague idea that they cost great sums of
money, condemn them as useless and unprofitable fancies.

But among the gentlemen farmers of this country are to be found its
loftiest minds, its purest patriots, its greatest public benefactors.
They have imported our celebrated breeds of domestic animals, sometimes
at enormous cost, and in many cases have propagated them with no view to
their own profit. The farm-stock of entire neighborhoods has been
regenerated by this infusion of new and better blood. They build neater
and more convenient barns and outhouses; they patronize new plants and
tools; they ditch and under-drain the swamps and meadows; they plant
vast orchards of the choicest fruits; they try costly experiments
exclusively for the public good; their labors enhance the value of the
lands around them; they are the animating spirits of half our
agricultural societies, and, in a hundred ways, by precept and example,
with a generous outlay of means, have made themselves the models of
improved processes which have acted powerfully in inducing others to
imitate their management.

Yet these men are sometimes pitied because their labors afford them no
profit, as if the whole duty of man lay in the acquisition of six per
cent. It is not important that their labor should result in profit; and
if of no consequence to themselves, why should their failure to realize
it be so distressing to others? It would cost them quite as much to live
if they had remained in the city. The only real money difference is,
that what they spend is disbursed in one place instead of another. There
is the vast collateral gratification of living where the most comfort is
to be obtained. They have tramped and sweltered over the hot pavements
of a city long enough. Now they have broad acres and health-inspiring
breezes, glorious lawns, trees loaded with abundant crops of luscious
fruit, gardens whose contents would be coveted by the tenants of every
city market, society enough, books, and whatever they may order the
daily mail to bring them. It is perhaps the most valuable incident in
the whole aim and practice of gentleman farming that profit is not the

But if these establish pleasant homes by restoring the waste places of
the earth, it is not accomplished by merely scattering at random the
contents of a well-filled purse. Taste and inclination must combine to
make the whole effort effective. Take these two last ingredients,
substitute industry and economy for the purse, and then unite all in the
person of a persevering man, penniless though he be, and a home may be
established, less pretentious, it is true, but within which Love will
gladly seek to fold his wings, evermore to nestle round the heart, while
Time, sure in his approaches, but lavish of his compensations, will lift
up the modest occupants into the sunshine of a grateful independence.



Looking back upon the incidents of my city life, I confess that
increasing years bring with them an increasing respect for those who do
not succeed in life, as these words are commonly used. Heaven has been
said to be a place for those who have not succeeded upon earth; and it
is surely true that celestial graces do not best thrive and bloom in the
hot blaze of worldly prosperity. Ill success sometimes arises from
superabundance of qualities in themselves good, from a conscience too
sensitive, a taste too fastidious, a self-forgetfulness too romantic, a
modesty too retiring. I will not go so far as to say, with a living
poet, that

    “The world knows nothing of its greatest men;”

but there are forms of greatness, or at least excellence, that die and
make no sign; there are martyrs who miss the palm, but not the stake;
there are heroes without the laurel, and conquerors without the triumph.

It cannot be denied that there is a class of men who never succeed in
business. With a fair amount of earnest industry, they are still unable
to get on. Bad luck seems to be their fate, and they are perpetually
railing at fortune. In this they are not without sympathy. There are
hundreds of simple, good-hearted people, who regard them as ill-starred
mortals, against whom an inscrutable destiny had set itself, and who are
always ready to pity their mischances and help them in their last
extremity. But is not that a very foolish philosophy which refers the
misfortunes or the prosperity of individuals to preternatural causes, or
even natural causes entirely foreign to the persons? Some people, it is
true, owe a great deal to accident. Much of their success is due to
circumstances not of their own making. So it is with others who suffer
disappointment or disaster. But in those cases in which failure or
success is certainly dependent on no extraneous agencies, but on one’s
own means and energies, I am confident that no little of the complaint
of our hard lot is misdirected, and that the charity which helps us out
of our successive difficulties is misplaced. In plain words, our
failures in this or that thing are often attributable to the fact that
we engage in enterprises beyond our power. The world is filled with
examples of this truth. We see hundreds of men in all professions and
callings who never achieve even a decent living. The bar of every city
is crowded with them. They swell the ranks of our physicians and
theologians, and swarm in the walks of science and literature; in short,
they run against and elbow you everywhere. They are the unfortunate
people who have mistaken their mission. They are always attempting tasks
which they have not the first qualification to perform. Their ambition
is forever outrunning their capabilities. They fancy that to call
themselves lawyers, doctors, divines, or the like, is to be what they
are styled. Their signs are stuck thickly on doors and shutters all over
the city, but they are without honor or employment. Of course they never
prosper. They have no fitness for their vocation, no practical skill, no
natural talent, and hence they fail.

But both they and society are losers by this. There is so much real
ability for something useful that is thus sunk and wasted. The community
is encumbered with a host of very incompetent barristers, preachers,
physicians, writers, merchants, and so forth, and is deprived of as many
good mechanics, and farmers, and laborers. What a pity it is that men
will not be content to choose their pursuits according to their
abilities. To encourage them to persist in any business for which they
are not suited, and in which they never can obtain fortune or credit, is
really unkind. It would be much less cruel to let them early feel the
inconveniences of following a calling for which they are unfit, and go
into one for which nature may have given them the requisite aptitude and

But, in the ordering of a good Providence, failure in one pursuit does
not imply failure in the next. I know and have proved this. The motto
should be to keep moving, to try it again. Try it a hundred times, if
you do not earlier succeed, and all the while be studying to see if you
have not failed through some negligence and oversight of your own. Do
not throw down your oars and drift stern foremost, because the tide
happens to be against you. The tide does not always run the same way.
Never anchor because the wind does not happen to be fair. Beat to
windward, and gain all you can until it changes. If you get to the
bottom of the wheel, hold on--never think of letting go. Let it move
which way it will, you are sure to go up.

If in debt, do not let time wear off the edge of the obligation.
Economize, work harder, spend less, and hurry out. If misfortune should
overtake you, do not sit down and mope, and let her walk over you. Put
on more steam, drive ahead, and get out of the way. If you meet
obstacles in your path, climb over, dig under, or go around them--never
turn back. If the day be stormy, you cannot mend matters by whining and
complaining. Be good-natured, take it easy, for assuredly the sun will
shine to-morrow.

If you lose money on a promising speculation, never think of collecting
a coroner’s inquest about your dead body. Do not put on a long face
because money is not so plentiful as usual--it will not add a single
dollar to the circulating medium. Preserve your good-humor, for there is
more health in a single hearty laugh than in a dozen glasses of rum. Be
happy, and impart happiness to others. Look aloft, and trust in God. Be
prudent as you please, but do not bleach out your hair, and pucker your
face into wrinkles ten years ahead of time, by a self-inflicted fit of
the dismals.

I went into the country with a determination to succeed. As others had
there succeeded, I could not be induced to believe that failure in so
simple an enterprise could overtake me, as I felt myself quite as
competent as they. A resolute will overcomes all difficulties. It was
one of the leading characteristics of Napoleon to regard nothing as
impossible. His astonishing successes are to be attributed to his
indomitable will, scarcely less than to his vast military genius.
Wellington was distinguished for a similar peculiarity. The entire
Peninsular campaign was, indeed, but one long display of an iron will,
resolute to conquer difficulties by wearing them out. Alexander the
Great was quite as striking an example of what a powerful will can
effect. His stubborn determination to subdue the Persians; his
perseverance in the crisis of battle, and the emulation to which he thus
stimulated his officers and men, did more for his wonderful career of
victory than even his great strategic abilities. In the life and death
struggle between England and France, during the first fifteen years of
this century, it was the stubborn will of the former which carried the
day; for though Napoleon defeated the British coalitions again and
again, yet new ones were as constantly formed, until at last the French
people, if not their emperor, were completely worn out. The battle of
Waterloo, which was the climax of this tremendous struggle, was also an
illustration of the sustained energy, the superior will of the British.
In that awful struggle, French impetuosity proved too weak for English
resolution. “We will see who can pound the longest,” said Wellington;
and as the British did, they won the battle.

It is not only in military chieftains that a strong will is a jewel of
great price. Nations and individuals experience the advantages of a
resolute will; and this alike in large and small undertakings. It was
the determined will of our forefathers to which, with divine help, we
are principally indebted for our freedom. For the first few years after
the declaration of independence, we lost most of the battles that were
fought. New York and Philadelphia were successively captured by the foe;
South Carolina fell; New Jersey was practically reannexed to England;
almost every thing went against us. Had the American people been feeble
and hesitating, all would have been lost. But they resolved to conquer
or die. Though their cities were taken, their fields ravaged, and their
captured soldiers incarcerated in hideous prison-ships, they still
maintained the struggle, making the pilgrimage of freedom with naked
feet, that bled at every step. Had our fathers been incapable of Valley
Forge, had they shrunk from the storm-beaten march on Trenton, we should
never have been an independent nation. There are people in the Old
World, full of genius and enthusiasm for liberty, who yet cannot achieve
freedom, principally, perhaps, because they lack the indomitable will to
walk the bloody pilgrimage. The outbreak of the slaveholders’ rebellion
covered the Union armies with defeat at numerous points, because
rebellions are always successful at the beginning. But the determined
will to crush out treason will eventually overwhelm and master it.

A strong will is as necessary to the individual as to the nation. Even
intellect is secondary in importance to will. A vacillating man, no
matter what his abilities, is invariably pushed aside, in the race of
life, by the man of determination. It is he who resolves to succeed, who
begins resolutely again at every fresh rebuff, that reaches the goal.
The shores of fortune are covered with the stranded wrecks of business
men who have wasted energy, and therefore courage and faith, and have
perished in sight of more resolute but less capable adventurers, who
succeeded in making port. In fact, talent without will is like steam
dissipating itself in the atmosphere; while abilities controlled by
energy are the same steam brought under subjection as a motive power. Or
will is the rudder that steers the ship, which, whether a fast-sailing
clipper or a slow river-barge, is worthless without it. Talent, again,
is but the sail; will is what drives it. The man without a will is the
puppet and bubble of others by turns. The man with a will is the one
that pulls the strings and catches the dupes. Young man, starting out in
life, have a will of your own. If you do not, you will drag along, the
victim of perpetual embarrassment, only to end in utter ruin. If you do,
you will succeed, even though your abilities be moderate.

All this may be viewed as a digression. But it is not so. I do not write
for the rich and prosperous, but for those who have been unsuccessful.
They need encouragement and bracing up. If their experience has been
disastrous, that of others, who have succeeded, should be set before
them. Some fifty years ago there lived in this city an old man, who by
dint of tact, with the aid of keen perceptive faculties, had acquired
much celebrity with a large class of his neighbors as something between
a prophet and a fortune-teller. He did not, however, assume the
character either of a religious fanatic or of a crafty disciple of
Faustus. But he was well read in the Scriptures; he had a good share of
common sense, and a voluble tongue, and by degrees he attained a fame
for wise sayings and for capability to advise, which he owed more to his
natural talents and a loquacious disposition than to any less worthy
means. Being advanced in years, and his lot humble, he turned the good
opinion formed of him to the account of his livelihood, by discussing
questions put to him by his visitors in a frank and manly spirit; and
without ever demanding recompense, he was ready to receive any gratuity
that was offered by them on their departure. Moreover, his advice was
always, if not valuable, at least good in kind; and few quitted his
humble dwelling without leaving their good wishes in a substantial
shape, or without having also formed a favorable opinion of their

At length, so extensive did this good man’s fame become, that many from
curiosity alone were induced to visit him, and hear his wise sayings.
His counsel was usually couched in short and terse sentences, frequently
in proverbs, and often in the language of the Bible, to which he would
sometimes refer his inquirers for passages which he said would be found
applicable to their case. As these passages were usually selected from
the Proverbs, and other books of somewhat similar description, which
contained some rule of morals, or which advocated the Christian duties,
he seldom failed to be right. Among others who were led by curiosity to
this wise man, was a young farmer, then not long entered upon the
threshold of life, whom, after some of the Scripture references adverted
to, he dismissed with the parting advice, “To keep a smiling
countenance, and a good exertion.” The young farmer lived to become an
old man, and is now gathered to his fathers. But for many years I heard
him from time to time revert with pleasure to his visit, and say that
this simple aphorism had frequently cheered him in the hour of
difficulty; and that the thought of the old man’s contented countenance
and encouraging voice when he uttered it, had gone far to make him place
confidence in his counsel.

We are all too prone to brood over the clouds upon our atmosphere, and
too feebly do we keep the eye of hope fixed on the first sunbeam which
breaks through as the symbol of their dispersion. In reality, most of
them are merely passing clouds. Some glances at a blacker picture still,
will go far to clothe with brighter hues the less gloomy picture which
may happen to be our own. Thus, with “a smiling countenance and a good
exertion,” let every one of us whether his lot be cast with the plough,
the loom, or the anvil, put forth manfully his powers, and, thankful to
a gracious God for the blessings yet spared, be it our effort in our
worldly duties to follow the example set us in higher things,
“forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those
which are before, let us press towards the mark for the prize;” and if
we thus demean ourselves, we shall not fail, in earthly any more than in
spiritual things, to obtain our reward.

All know that one effect of the rebellion was to paralyze nearly every
kind of business, suddenly enriching the few, but as suddenly
impoverishing the many. On my quiet little plantation I was entirely
beyond the reach of its disastrous influence. It lost me no money,
because my savings had been loaned on mortgage. It is true that interest
was not paid up as punctually as aforetime, but the omission to pay
occasioned me no distress; hence I occasioned none by compulsory
collection. The summer of 1861, however, did reduce prices of most of my
productions. The masses had less money to spend, and therefore consumed
less. Yet my early consignments of blackberries sold for twenty-five
cents a quart, and the whole crop averaged fourteen. My strawberries
yielded abundantly, escaping the frost which nipped the first bloom of
all other growers, no doubt protected by the well-grown peach-trees, and
netted me sixteen cents. Raspberries bore generously, and netted quite
as much; while peaches, though few in number, brought the highest
prices. The total income that year was certainly less than usual, by
several hundred dollars--but what of that? It was double what I needed
to support my family. Thus no national disaster, no matter how
tremendous, seems able to impoverish the farmer who is free from debt.
Nothing short of the tramp of hostile armies over his green fields can
impoverish such a man.



Every great national calamity has the effect of driving men from the
cities to engage in agriculture. Such has been the result of the late
war for the Union. I have been in a position to observe its operation on
the minds of hundreds whom it covered with disaster. There has been the
usual desire to break away from the cities, and settle in the country.
The life-long convictions of my own mind have taken possession of the
minds of others. Property in the cities ceased, for a time, to be
salable, while farms have been in more general demand than for years
past. Foreign immigration was measurably stopped, because men fly from
convulsions, not to countries where they are to be encountered. When war
desolates the nations of Europe, the people migrate hither to avoid its
horrors; when it desolates ours, they remain at home.

During the late disastrous experiences of city life, many of my friends
upon whom they fell with great severity were free in their
congratulations on my happy change of life. They had been as free in
doubting the propriety of my experiment. Now, however, they looked up to
me as possessing superior sagacity; were desirous themselves of
imitating my example, and sought instruction and advice as to how they
should proceed. Three of them are already located near me; so that,
instead of cutting entirely loose from old associates by coming into the
country, I have attracted them into a closer intimacy than ever. Dear as
my home was without them, it is rendered doubly dearer by close
association with long-tried friends.

Location is perhaps the most important consideration. A cash market all
the year round for every variety of produce that a man can raise, is of
the utmost importance to secure. Such is invariably to be found in close
proximity to the great cities; and there, singularly enough, the
wealthiest farmers in the Union will generally be found. When we go to
the extreme North, where their market is limited, and where they produce
only the heavy grains, and grasses, farming is so little an object that
improved places can always be bought for less than their cost. It is
very frequently the same throughout the West, where so much that is
raised upon a farm is valueless; and where, for even the grains, they
have a market which barely pays the expense of living. The expense
incurred in farming can be regulated by the profit of the crops; and
where even no manure is required, the labor has to be expended, and
crops in distant localities often fail to pay the expense of this labor.
Where land will pay for a liberal cultivation, as well as fertilizing,
it is much better, as a farmer must work his stock, and a certain amount
of care is indispensable. The difference in value existing between those
farms near a market and those remote from it, is enormous. If the mind
will consider the immense amount of produce in the way of fruits and
vegetables which, near a city, will command the highest prices, and
which at a distance are an entire loss, a conception can be readily
formed of what they amount to in dollars and cents.

Land in Illinois and Iowa can be purchased for a dollar an acre, but
corn is at times of so little value as to be consumed for fuel. The
wheat crop is annually decreasing in its acreable product, because no
one values or applies manure. The West may be the paradise of the
European immigrant, who, having abandoned friends and home, may with
propriety settle in one spot as well as in another; because, go where he
will, he will be sure to find none but strangers. But for residents of
our cities who go thither, very few acquire property by legitimate
farming, even after sacrificing all the tender associations of relatives
and friends whom they leave behind, and enduring hardships and trials of
double severity with those they need encounter if they would consent to
suffer them on lands within thirty miles of their birthplace. If they
become rich, it is by hazardous speculation, or by the rise in value of
their lands. So far as real, practical farming is concerned, it will be
found that the East is incomparably superior to the West; but, so far as
small farmers like myself are concerned, it would be folly to deny this

I say nothing as to the superior ease with which corn and wheat are
produced in the two sections, but refer only to the amount of money that
can be realized from an acre there and an acre here. Beyond question,
there are certain crops that are produced with greater ease in the West
than in the East; but of what value is this superior facility if it does
not pay? I have cleared from a single acre of tomatoes more than enough
to buy a hundred and sixty acres in Iowa. If I had located there, who
would have been ready to buy my abundant crop of berries? The truth is,
that it is population that gives value to land,--population either on it
or around it,--to convert it into lots covered with buildings, or to
consume whatever it may produce. The West is a glorious region for the
foreign immigrant, or for him who was born upon the rugged hill-sides of
the Eastern States, but it is not the proper location for the class for
whose instruction these pages have been written.

Few persons who have been nurtured and educated all their days in
Eastern cities, and who have probably never been more than fifty miles
from home, have any correct idea of what this gigantic West really is
until they reach the spot itself. Why leave the privileges of a
long-established civilization,--the schools, the churches of home,--the
daily intercourse of acquaintances and friends,--merely because land
producing twenty bushels of wheat per acre can be purchased for a
dollar, when that producing twenty times as much in fruit or vegetables
can be had for fifty, and often even for less? I doubt not there must be
many in that region who now wish themselves back in their old homes.

If my example be worth imitating, land should be obtained within cheap
and daily access to any one of the great cities. If within reach of
two, as mine is, all the better, as the location thus secures the choice
of two markets. In Pennsylvania, all the land around Philadelphia is
held at high prices. Much of it is divided into small holdings, many of
which are rented to market gardeners at prices so high that none but
market gardeners can afford to pay them. Others are worked by their
owners, who live well by feeding the great city. Gradually, as the city
extends in every direction, these small holdings are given up to streets
and buildings, thus enriching their owners by the rise in value. The
truckers move further back, where land is cheaper. But the modern
facilities for reaching the city by railroad have so greatly multiplied,
that they are practically as near to it as they were before. The yield
from some of these small holdings is very large. But the cost of land
thus situated was too great for my slender capital when I began.

Hence I sought a location in New Jersey. There unimproved land, within
an hour of Philadelphia, can be purchased for the same money per acre
which is paid in Pennsylvania as annual rent. For ten to twenty dollars
more, in clearing up and improving, it can be made immediately
productive, as the soil of even this cheap land is far more fertile than
is generally supposed. Thousands of acres of this description are always
for sale, and thousands are annually being bought and improved, as
railroads and turnpikes leading to the city are being established. Many
Germans have abandoned the West, and opened farms on this cheap and
admirably located land, from which they raise prodigious quantities of
fruit and truck for Philadelphia and New York.

Colonies of New Englanders, allured by the early season, as compared
with that of their own homes, the productive soil and the ready access
to market, have settled upon and around the new railroad just opened,
which leads south from Camden through the town of Malaga, where a large
tract has recently been divided into farms of various sizes. They bring
with them all the surroundings of an advanced civilization.

To those with no capital but their own labor and a determination to
conquer success, these lands offer the highest inducements. Most of them
can be had on credit, by men who will settle and improve, at twenty to
thirty dollars per acre, within a little over an hour’s ride to
Philadelphia. This tract is distant but a few miles from the Delaware
river, and probably no better could be found. Any number of locations
can be had. Many are already improved by buildings, fencing, and all the
preliminary comforts which cluster round an established home. The
settler may choose between the improved and the unimproved.

But there is a better country north of Camden, lining the shore of the
Delaware, where any number of locations may be found, improved by
buildings, and at moderate prices, as well as on favorable terms as to
payment. Vast progress in improvement has been made through all this
region within ten years. New towns have been built, new turnpikes
constructed, while the great railroad puts the cultivator in constant
connection with the two overgrown cities at its termini. Land is
increasing in value as population flows in. The margin of the Delaware,
from Philadelphia upward, is being lined with villages, between which
new farm-houses and cottages are annually erected; and the young of this
generation will live to see it a continuous settlement of substantial
villas, peopled by the swarms of educated families which a great human
hive like Philadelphia is annually throwing off. A location within such
an atmosphere of improvement must continually increase in value. The
owner will find himself growing richer from this cause, just as the
trucker on the Pennsylvania side has done--not so rapidly, but quite as
surely. An investment in such land, properly managed, and not permitted
to deteriorate, will assuredly pay. My own little farm is an
illustration; for more than once have I been solicited to sell at double
the price it cost me.

I am now looking at the future, as well as at the present. Yet the
apparent anomaly of there being always an abundance of land for sale in
so desirable a district, must not be overlooked. But it is so throughout
our country; there are always and everywhere more sellers than buyers.
It is the same thing in the cities; everywhere there is somebody anxious
to sell. It would seem that we either have too much land in this
country, or too small a population. Time alone can produce the proper
equilibrium. The land cannot be increased in quantity, but it is evident
that the population will be. As this is not a treatise either upon land
or farming, but the experience of a single individual, so each claimant
for a similar experience must choose for himself.

But choose as he may, locate as he will, he must not, as he hopes to
succeed in growing the smaller fruits to profit, locate himself out of
reach of a daily cash market. New York and Philadelphia may be likened
to two huge bags of gold, always filled, and ever standing open for him
to thrust in his hand, provided in the other he brings something to eat.
From this exhaustless fountain of wealth, whole adjacent populations
have become rich. The appetite of the cities for horticultural luxuries
has revolutionized the neighboring agriculture, enhanced the value of
thousands of acres, infused a higher spirit into cultivators, elevated
fruit-growing into a science, and started competition in a long rivalry
after the best of every thing that the earth can be made to yield. All
this is no spasmodic movement. It will go on for all future time; but in
this grand and humanizing march after perfection in producing food for
man, the careful tiller of the soil, with moderate views and thankful
heart, will be sure to find TEN ACRES ENOUGH.

                               THE END.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

importation from distant countries=> importation form distant countries
{pg 96}

fifty cents’ worths=> fifty cents’ worth {pg 215}

worst treatmeut=> worst treatment {pg 221}

Do not put on long a face=> Do not put on a long face {pg 241}

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