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Title: Pleasant Talk About Fruits, Flowers and Farming
Author: Beecher, Henry Ward
Language: English
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  PLEASANT TALK
  ABOUT
  FRUITS, FLOWERS AND FARMING.

  BY
  HENRY WARD BEECHER.


  _NEW EDITION_,
  WITH ADDITIONAL MATTER FROM RECENT WRITINGS,
  PUBLISHED AND UNPUBLISHED.

  [Illustration: Printer’s Logo]

  NEW YORK:
  J. B. FORD AND COMPANY.
  1874.



  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873,
  BY J. B. FORD AND COMPANY,
  in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

  UNIVERSITY PRESS: WELCH, BIGELOW, & CO.,
  CAMBRIDGE.



PREFATORY.


The Preface to the first edition of this volume, which follows these
few words, will give some idea of the book’s origin. Much of the
material is of only passing importance, and is retained now rather
from retrospective interest. A considerable addition has been made,
however, consisting of articles contributed to Mr. Bonner’s _New York
Ledger_, bearing upon rural affairs, and also an unpublished address
upon _The Apple_. This was delivered at Iona Island, on a fair summer
day, when ladies and gentlemen, several score,—editors, pomologists,
singers, preachers, poets, and inventors,—gathered under Dr. C. W.
Grant’s hospitable trees,—for the house was too small to hold them,—to
eat apples and pears, to discuss grapes solid and liquid, and to
listen to the venerable poet, Mr. Bryant, to Horace Greeley, to
Charles Downing, and to notable songsters, whose warbles put the birds
to envious silence,—at any rate, so the compliments ran at the time.

The address had better luck at Iona than its great subject did in
Paradise; though it will never give rise to such a literature of
results.

                   H. W. BEECHER.

BROOKLYN, February, 1874.



PREFACE

TO THE FIRST EDITION.


No one of our readers will be half so curious to know what this book
contains as the author himself. For it is more than twelve years since
these pieces were begun, and it is more than ten years since we have
looked at them. The publishers have taken the trouble to dig them out
from what we supposed to be their lasting burial-place, in the columns
of the _Western Farmer and Gardener_, and they have gone through the
press without our own revision.

It is now twenty years since we settled at Indianapolis, the capital
of Indiana, a place then of _four_, and now of _twenty-five_ thousand
inhabitants. At that time, and for years afterward, there was not,
within our knowledge, any other than political newspapers in the
State—no educational journals, no agricultural or family papers. The
_Indiana Journal_ at length proposed to introduce an agricultural
department, the matter of which should every month be printed, in
magazine form, under the title, _Indiana Farmer and Gardener_, which
was afterward changed to the more comprehensive title, _Western Farmer
and Gardener_.

It may be of some service to the young, as showing how valuable the
fragments of time may become, if mention is made of the way in which
we became prepared to edit this journal.

The continued taxation of daily preaching, extending through months,
and once through eighteen consecutive months, without the exception of
a single day, began to wear upon the nerves, and made it necessary for
us to seek some relaxation. Accordingly we used, after each
weeknight’s preaching, to drive the sermon out of our heads by some
alterative reading.

In the State Library were Loudon’s works—his encyclopedias of
Horticulture, of Agriculture, and of Architecture. We fell upon them,
and, for years, almost monopolized them.

In our little one-story cottage, after the day’s work was done, we
pored over these monuments of an almost incredible industry, and read,
we suppose, not only every line, but much of it many times over;
until, at length, we had a topographical knowledge of many of the fine
English estates quite as intimate, we dare say, as was possessed by
many of their truant owners. There was something exceedingly pleasant,
and is yet, in the studying over mere catalogues of flowers, trees,
fruits, etc.

A seedsman’s list, a nurseryman’s catalogue, are more fascinating to
us than any story. In this way, through several years, we gradually
accumulated materials and became familiar with facts and principles,
which paved the way for our editorial labors. Lindley’s Horticulture
and Gray’s Structural Botany came in as constant companions. And when,
at length, through a friend’s liberality, we became the recipients of
the _London Gardener’s Chronicle_, edited by Prof. Lindley, our
treasures were inestimable. Many hundred times have we lain awake for
hours, unable to throw off the excitement of preaching, and beguiling
the time with imaginary visits to the Chiswick Garden, to the more
than oriental magnificence of the Duke of Devonshire’s grounds at
Chatsworth. We have had long discussions, in that little bedroom at
Indianapolis, with Van Mons about pears, with Vibert about roses, with
Thompson and Knight of fruits and theories of vegetable life, and with
Loudon about everything under the heavens in the horticultural world.

This employment of waste hours not only answered a purpose of soothing
excited nerves then, but brought us into such relations to the
material world, that, we speak with entire moderation, when we say
that all the estates of the richest duke in England could not have
given us half the pleasure which we have derived from pastures,
waysides, and unoccupied prairies.

If, when the readers of this book shall have finished it, they shall
say, that these papers, well enough for the circumstances in which
they originally appeared, have no such merit as to justify their
republication in a book form, we beg leave to tell them that their
judgment is not original. It is just what we thought ourselves! But
Publishers are willful and must be obeyed!

  BROOKLYN, June 1, 1859.



  CONTENTS.


                                                PAGE

  Political Economy of the Apple                   1
  A few Flowers easily raised                     16
  Flower-Farming                                  21
  A Letter from the Farm                          25
  The Cost of Flowers                             28
  Haying                                          31
  The Value of Robins                             34
  Sounds of Trees                                 39
  Unveiled Nonsense                               43
  Natural Order of Flowers                        46
  Roses                                           49
  Chestnuts                                       51
  Green Peas                                      55
  Hens                                            58
  Farming                                         60
  Gardening under Difficulties                    63
  Corn                                            66
  Dandelions                                      69
  How to beautify Homes                           72
  Birch and Aspen                                 75
  Autumn                                          78
  Plant Trees!                                    81
  Farewell to “Summer Rest”                       84
  Preliminary                                     87
  Our Creed                                       88
  Almanac for the Year                            89
  Educated Farmers                                98
  An Acre of Words about Aker                    101
  Farmer’s Library                               105
  Nine Mistakes                                  107
  Agricultural Societies                         108
  Shiftless Tricks                               111
  Electro Culture                                114
  Single-Crop Farming                            117
  Improved Breeds of Hogs and Cattle             119
  Absorbent Qualities of Flour                   122
  Portrait of an Anti-Book Farmer                124
  Good Breeds of Cows                            128
  Cutting and curing Grass                       131
  Country and City                               133
  Lime upon Wheat                                134
  Culture of Hops                                136
  White Clover                                   138
  Plowing Corn                                   139
  Clean out your Cellars                         142
  When is Haying over?                           144
  Laying down Land to Grass                      145
  Theory of Manure                               149
  Fodder for Cattle                              151
  The Science of Bad Butter                      153
  Cincinnati, the Queen City                     157
  Care of Animals in Winter                 161, 243
  Winter Nights for Reading                      163
  Feathers                                       163
  Nail up your Bugs                              165
  Ashes and their Use                            168
  Hard Times                                     170
  Gypsum                                         171
  Acclimating a Plow                             171
  Scour your Plows bright                        173
  Plow till it is Dry and plow till it is Wet    174
  Stirring the Soil                              175
  Subsoil Plowing                                176
  Fire-Blight and Winter Killing                 177
  Winter Talk                                    179
  “Shut your Mouth”                              181
  Spring Work on the Farm                        182
  Spring Work in the Garden                 185, 292
  Fall Work in the Garden                        190
  Guarding Cherry-trees from Cold                191
  Shade Trees                               192, 252
  A Plea for Health and Floriculture             195
  Keeping Young Pigs in Winter                   198
  Sweet Potatoes                                 199
  Management of Bottom Lands                     199
  Cultivation of Wheat                           202
  Pleasures of Horticulture                      214
  Practical Use of Leaves                        215
  Spring Work for Public-spirited Men            218
  Farmers and Farm Scenes in the West            220
  Ornamental Shrubs                              224
  Gooseberries                                   227
  Pulling off Potato Blossoms                    229
  Blading and topping Corn                       230
  Maple-Sugar                                    231
  Lettuce                                        237
  Geological Definitions                         238
  Draining Wet Lands                             240
  O dear! shall we ever be done Lying?           242
  Deep Planting                                  245
  Corn and Millet for Fodder                     245
  Seed Saving                                    246
  Rhubarb                                   248, 286
  Peas                                           250
  Hot-beds                                       253
  Original Recipes                               254
  Cooking Vegetables                             256
  Farmers, take a Hint                           260
  Mixing Paint and laying it on                  262
  Garden Weeds                                   267
  Lucerne                                        269
  Family Government                              270
  List of Flowers, Seeds, and Fruits             271
  Garden Seeds                                   274
  Farmers’ Gardens                               277
  Early Days of Spring                           279
  Parlor Flowers                                 280
  A Salt Recipe                                  281
  Culture of Celery                              282
  Sun-flower Seed                                290
  Rich and Poor Land                             294
  Getting ready for Winter                       295
  Esculent Vegetables                            297
  Field Root Crops                               303
  Cultivation of Fruit-trees                     304
  A List of Choice Fruits                        316
  The Nursery Business                           319
  The Breeding of Fruits                         322
  Pruning Orchards                               327
  Slitting the Bark of Trees                     330
  Downing’s Fruits of America                    332
  Letter from A. J. Downing                      339
  Attention to Orchards                          344
  Wine and Horticulture                          346
  Do Varieties of Fruit run out?                 349
  Strawberries                         353, 359, 364
  Raspberries, Gooseberries, Currants            364
  Spring Work in the Orchard                     367
  Grapes and Grape Vines                    372, 373
  Autumnal Management of Fruit-trees             374
  Pears grafted upon the Apple Stock             376
  Seedlings from Budded Peaches                  378
  Care of Peach-trees                            381
  Renovating Peach-trees                         382
  An Apologue or Apple-logue                     384
  Select List of Apples                          385
  Origin of some Varieties of Fruit              401
  The Quince                                     403
  Cutting and keeping Grafts                     404
  Frost Blight                                   405
  Seedling Fruits                                407
  Time for Pruning                               410
  Plums and their Enemies                        413
  Root Grafting                                  417
  Blight and Insects                             419
  Apples for Hogs                                424
  The Flower Garden                              425
  Preparation of Seed for Sowing                 429
  Sowing Flower Seeds—Transplanting              431
  Parlor Plants and Flowers in Winter            432
  Protecting Plants in Winter                    439
  To preserve Dahlia Roots                       440
  Hedges                                         441
  Watering Trees, etc.                           443
  Labels for Trees                               444
  Transplanting Evergreens                       445
  Flowers, Ladies, and Angels                    446
  Horticultural Curiosities                      447
  The Corn Crop                                  451
  Potato Crop                                    460
  Potting Garden Plants for Winter Use           468
  Mary Howitt’s Use of Flowers                   469
  What are Flowers good for?                     470
  The Blight in the Pear-tree                    471
  Progress of Horticulture in Indiana            489
  Browne’s Poultry Yard                          495
  Close of the Year                              497



LATE PAPERS.



I.

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE APPLE.


[In the Hudson River, nearly opposite Peekskill, and in the very jaws
of the “Race” (as the narrow passage through the Highlands is called),
there is a small, rocky island, by the name of IONA. The name was
borrowed from across the water, by Dr. C. W. Grant’s father-in-law,
who owned this gem,—for gem it was and is for those who love rocks,
glades, fine old trees, and absolute seclusion.

But who ever would have thought of such a place for vineyards? Yet,
Iona became the very Jerusalem of grape-vines. Dr. C. W. Grant,
formerly of Newburgh, purchased the island, and, adopting the then new
grape,—the Delaware,—commenced propagating it for commercial purposes.
It may be fairly said that no man in America ever gave to grape
culture a greater impulse than Dr. Grant. Abundant sales at length
brought in abundant revenues. But his ideas expanded with his means,
and outran them.

The island was to become another Paradise. Here the magnolia was to be
propagated in such numbers that every man in America could have it in
his yard, holding white cups filled with perfume to his windows. The
rhododendron was to be sent forth to every farm. New grapes were
originated. Every year developed its own marvel. But whether it was
pear, Downing’s mulberry, grape, or ornamental tree, the good
democratic heart of Dr. Grant intended no narrower field than the
continent. Men were to be raised to a higher level by familiarity with
better and better grapes. The taste was to be refined. Every creature
under the western heavens was to sit under his own grape-vine, and not
under one alone, but a whole vineyard of them.

Health failed. Business got tangled. The kind doctor sold out. He is
gone from his vineyards. The island remains. One of these days, in the
hands of some one who unites taste and thrift with abundant means, it
will become a marvel of beauty.

But it will hardly have a pleasanter day than when, in 1864, were
gathered there two score or more of ladies and gentlemen,—not a few of
them famous in art, in literature, in music, in pomology, and in
sanguine plans of fruit culture,—for a good time. Among the
contributions to the general amusement, I was appointed Orator to
discourse upon _The Apple_, and the address was to have been
published, together with minutes of the proceedings, other speeches,
and various interesting matter. But years passed on without progress
toward publication. What has become of other things I know not, but
this apple-talk has been fished up and saved. I fear it will never
again be as fresh or as powerful as in its first estate. For there now
hangs upon my cellar wall a huge pan, lacking but a few inches of
three feet in diameter, upon which the ladies who had heard the
address established and perfected an apple-pie,—sent to me for New
Year’s Day of 1865,—of so rare a spirit that every one of the hundreds
who tasted it declared it to be as good as it was large. Alas! the pan
remains, and the poetry which came singing its merits; but the
pie,—where is it? So, too, the island of the Hudson stands secure; but
where are the joyous people that thronged it on that autumn day?]


THE ADDRESS.

I am to discourse of the apple to an audience, many of whom know much
more about it than I do, and all of them full as much. It does not, on
that account, follow that I should not speak. What a terrible blow
would fall upon all professions if a teacher should be forbidden to
speak upon things of which he knew nothing, and to an audience who
knew more about them than he! One large part of the duty of a teacher
is to remind his hearers of how much they know, and tempt them to a
better use of their knowledge. Instruction is one thing, and important
in its place; but the inspiration of men to a good use of the things
that they already know is far more needed.

While the character of the ladies and gentlemen present makes it
proper for me to hide, with due modesty, my knowledge of the apple in
the department of culture, there is what may be called the _Political
Economy of the Apple_, by which I mean the apple in its relation to
domestic comfort and commerce; and on that subject I think I can
speak, if not to edification, at least without fear of being tracked
and cornered.

The apple is, beyond all question, _the_ American fruit. It stands
absolutely alone and unapproachable, grapes notwithstanding.
Originating in another hemisphere, neither in its own country, nor in
any other to which it has been introduced, has it flourished as in
America. It is conceded in Europe that, for size, soundness, flavor,
and brilliancy of coloring, the American apple stands first,—a long
way first.

But it is American in another sense. This is a land in which diffusion
is the great law. This arises from our institutions, and from the
character which they have imprinted upon our people. In Europe,
certain classes, having by their intelligence and wealth and influence
the power to attract all things to themselves, set the current from
the center toward the surface. In America, the simple doctrines that
the common people are the true source of political power, that the
government is directly responsible to them, and therefore that moral
culture, intelligence, and training in politics are indispensable to
the common people, on whom every state is to rest safely, have wrought
out such results that in all departments of justice and truth, as much
as in politics, there is a tendency toward the popularizing of
everything, and learning, or art, or any department of culture, is
made to feel the need of popularity; a word which is very much
despised by classicists, but which may be used in a sense so large as
to make it respectable again. Things that reach after the universal,
that include in them all men in their better and nobler nature, are in
a proper sense _popular_; and in this country, amusement and
refinement and wealth itself, first or last, are obliged to do homage
to the common people, and so to be _popular_. Nor is it otherwise in
respect to horticulture. Of fruits, I think this, above all others,
may be called the true democratic fruit. There is some democracy that
I think must have sprung from the first apple. Of all fruits, no other
can pretend to vie with the apple as the fruit of the common people.
This arises from the nature of the tree and from the nature of the
fruit.

First, as to the tree. It is so easy of propagation, that any man who
is capable of learning how to raise a crop of corn can learn how to
plant, graft or bud, transplant, and prune an apple-tree,—and then eat
the apples. It is a thoroughly healthy and hardy tree; and that under
more conditions and under greater varieties of stress than perhaps any
other tree. It is neither dainty nor dyspeptic. It can bear high
feeding and put up with low feeding. It is not subject to gout and
scrofula, as plums are; to eruptions and ruptures, as the cherry is;
or to apoplexy, as the pear is. The apple-tree may be pampered, and
may be rendered effeminate in a degree; but this is by artificial
perversion. It is naturally tough as an Indian, patient as an ox, and
fruitful as the Jewish Rachel. The apple-tree is among trees what the
cow is among domestic animals in northern zones, or what the camel of
the Bedouin is.

And, like all thoroughly good-natured, obliging, patient things, it is
homely. For beauty is generally unfavorable to good dispositions. (I
am talking to the ladies now.) There seems to be some dissent; but
this is the orthodox view. It seems as if the evil incident to human
nature had struck in, with handsome people, leaving the surface fair;
while the homely are so because the virtue within has purged and
expelled the evil, and driven it to the skin. Have you never seen a
maiden that lovers avoided because she was not comely, who became,
nevertheless, and perhaps on that account, the good angel of the
house, the natural intercessor for afflicted children, the one to stay
with the lonely when all the gay had gone a-gadding after pleasure,
the soft-handed nurse, the story-teller and the book-reader to the
whole brood of eager eyes and hungry ears in the nursery; in short,
the child’s ideal of endless good-nature, self-sacrifice, and
intercessorship, the Virgin Mary of the household,—mother of God to
their love, in that she brings down to them the brightest conceptions
of what God may peradventure be? And yet, such are stigmatized _old
maids_, though more fruitful of everything that is good (except
children) than all others. One fault only do we find with them,—that
they are in danger of perverting our taste, and leading us to call
homeliness beautiful. All this digression, ladies and gentlemen, is on
account of my dear Aunt Esther, who brought me up,—a woman so good and
modest that she will spend ages in heaven wondering how it happened
that she ever got there, and that the angels will always be wondering
why she was not there from all eternity.

I have said, with some digressions, that the apple-tree is homely; but
it is also hardy, and not only in respect to climate. It is almost
indifferent to soil and exposure. We should as soon think of coddling
an oak-tree or a chestnut; we should as soon think of shielding from
the winter white pine or hemlock, as an apple-tree. If there is a lot
too steep for the plow or two rocky for tools, the farmer dedicates it
to an apple orchard. Nor do the trees betray his trust. Yet, the apple
loves the meadows. It will thrive in sandy loams, and adapt itself to
the toughest clay. It will bear as much dryness as a mullein stalk,
and as much wet, almost, as a willow. In short, it is a genuine
democrat. It can be poor, while it loves to be rich; it can be plain,
although it prefers to be ornate; it can be neglected, notwithstanding
it welcomes attention. But, whether neglected, abused, or abandoned,
it is able to take care of itself, and to be fruitful of excellences.
That is what I call being democratic.

The apple-tree is the common people’s tree, moreover, because it is
the child of every latitude and every longitude on this continent. It
will grow in Canada and Maine. It will thrive in Florida and Mexico.
It does well on the Atlantic slope; and on the Pacific the apple is
portentous. Newton sat in an orchard, and an apple, plumping down on
his head, started a train of thought which opened the heavens to us.
Had it been in California, the size of the apples there would have
saved him the trouble of much thinking thereafter, perhaps, opening
the heavens to him, and not to us. Wherever Indian corn will grow, the
apple will thrive; and wherever timothy-grass will ripen its seed, the
apple will exist fruitfully.

Nor is the tree unworthy of special mention on account of health and
longevity. It is subject to fewer diseases than almost any tree of our
country. The worms that infest it are more easily destroyed than those
upon the currant or the rose. The leaf is subject to blight in so
small a degree, that not one farmer in a hundred ever thinks of it.
The trunk is seldom winter-killed. It never cracks. It has no trouble,
as the cherry does, in unbuckling the old bark and getting rid of it.
The borer is the only important enemy; and even this is a trifle, if
you compare the labor required to destroy it with the pains which men
willingly take to secure a crop of potatoes. Acre for acre, an apple
orchard will, on an average of years, produce more than half as many
bushels of fruit as a potato-field,—will it not? And yet, in plowing
and planting and after-plowing and hoeing and digging, the potato
requires at least five times the annual labor which is needed by the
apple. An acre of apple-trees can be kept clean of all enemies and
diseases with half the labor of once hoeing a crop of potatoes. And if
you have borers it is your own fault, and you ought to be bored!

The health of the apple-tree is so great that farmers never think of
examining their orchards for disease, any more than they do cedar
posts or chestnut rails. And the great longevity of the apple-tree
attests its good constitution. Two hundred years it sometimes reaches.
I have a tree on my own place in Peekskill that cannot be less than
that. Two ladies, one about eighty years of age, called upon us about
three years ago, saying that they were brought up on that farm, and
inquiring if the old apple-tree yet lived. They said that in their
childhood it was called _the old apple-tree_, and was then a
patriarch. It must now be a Methuselah. And, not to recur to it again,
I may say that it is probably the largest _recorded_ apple-tree of the
world. I read in no work of any tree whose circumference is greater
than twelve or thirteen feet. This morning I measured the Peekskill
apple-tree, and found that six inches above the ground it was fourteen
feet and six inches, and, at about four feet, or the spring of the
limbs, fourteen feet and ten inches. I am sorry to add that the
long-suffering old tree gives unmistakable signs of yielding to the
infirmities of age. The fruit is sweet, but not especially valuable,
except for stock. I do not expect to live to see any of my other trees
attain to the size and age of this solitary lingerer of other
centuries! I cannot help reverencing a tree whose leaves have trembled
to the cannonading of the guns of our Revolution, which yielded fruit
to Putnam’s soldiers when that hill was a military post, and under
whose shadow Washington himself—without any stretch of probability—may
have walked.

I ought not to omit the good properties of the apple-tree for fuel and
cabinet-work. I have for five autumns kept up the bright fire required
by the weather in an old-fashioned Franklin fireplace, using
apple-wood, procured from old trees pruned or cut up wholly; and, when
it is seasoned, I esteem it nearly as good as hickory, fully as good
as maple, and far better than seasoned beech. I have also for my best
bureau one of apple-wood. It might be mistaken for cherry. It is
fine-grained, very hard, solid as mahogany, and grows richer with
every year of age.

In Europe, the streets and roads are often shaded by fruit trees, the
mulberry and the cherry being preferred. In some parts, the public are
allowed to help themselves freely. When the fruit of any tree is to be
reserved, a wisp of straw is placed around it, which suffices.
Upright-growing apple-trees might be employed, with pears and
cherries, in our streets and roads, and by their very number, and
their abundance of fruit, might be taken away one motive of pilfering
from juvenile hands. He must be a preordained thief who will go miles
to steal that which he can get in broad daylight, without reproach, by
his door. One way to stop stealing is to give folks enough without it.

I have thus far spoken of the apple _tree_. I now pass to the
_fruit_,—to the apple itself. The question whether it sprang from the
wild crab I do not regard as yet settled. It is not known from any
historical evidence to have had that origin. You cannot prove that
this, that, or the other man, of any age or nation, planted the seed
and brought forward the fruit. Nor am I aware that any man has
conducted experiments on it like those of Van Mons on the pear, or
those which Dr. Grant has made on the grape that is cultivated in this
country, to show that it sprang from the wild grape of Europe. Until
that is done, it will be only a theory, a probable fact, but not a
fact proved. And, by the way, it might be worth some man’s while, at
his leisure, to take the seeds of the American wild grape, and see if,
by any horticultural Sunday school, he can work them up into good
Christian vines.

The apple comes nearer to universal uses than any other fruit of the
world. Is there another that has such a range of season? It begins in
July, and a good cellar brings the apple round into July again, yet
unshrunk, and in good flavor. It belts the year. What other fruit,
except in the tropics, where there is no winter, and where there are
successive growths, can do that?

It is a luxury, too. Kinds may be had so tender, so delicate, and, as
Dr. Grant—the General Grant of the vineyards—would say, _so
refreshing_, that not the pear, even, would dare to vie with it, or
hope to surpass it. The Vanderveer of the Hudson River, the American
Golden Russet, need not, in good seasons, well ripened, fear a
regiment of pears in pomological convention, even in the city of
Boston. It may not rival the melting qualities of the peach, eating
which one knows not whether he is eating or drinking. But the peach is
the fruit of a day,—ephemeral; and it is doubtful whether one would
carry through the year any such relish as is experienced for a few
weeks. It is the peculiarity of the apple that it never wearies the
taste. It is to fruit what wheaten bread is to grains. It is a
life-long relish. You may be satisfied with apples, but never cloyed.
Do you remember your boyhood feats? I was brought up in a great
old-fashioned house, with a cellar under every inch of it, through
which an ox-cart might have been wheeled after all the bins were full.
In this cellar, besides potatoes, beets, and turnips, were stored
every year some hundred bushels of apples,—the Rhode Island Greening,
the Roxbury Russet, the _Russet round the Stem_, as it was called, and
the Spitzenberg; not daintily picked, but shaken down; not in
aristocratic barrels set up in rows, but ox-carts full; not handled
softly, but poured from baskets into great bins, as we poured potatoes
into their resting-place. If they bruised and rotted, let them. We had
enough and to spare. Two seasons of picking over apples—a sort of
grand assizes—put the matter all right. In all my boyhood I never
dreamed of apples as things possible to be stolen. So abundant were
they, so absolutely open to all comers,—who went down into the cellar
by the inside stairs instead of the outside steps,—that we should as
soon have thought of being cautioned against taking turnips, or asking
leave to take a potato. Apples were as common as air. And that was
early in December and January; for I noticed that the sun was no more
fond than I was of staying out a great while on those Litchfield
hills, but ran in early to warm his fingers, as I did mine. When the
day was done, and the candles were lighted, and the supper was out of
the way, we all gathered about the great kitchen fire; and soon after
George or Henry had to go down for apples. Generally it was Henry. A
boy’s hat is a universal instrument. It is a bat to smack butterflies
with, a bag to fetch berries in, a basket for stones to pelt frogs
withal, a measure to bring up apples in. And a big-headed boy’s old
felt hat was not stingy in its quantities; and when its store ended,
the errand could always be repeated. To eat six, eight, and twelve
apples in an evening was no great feat for a growing young lad, whose
stomach was no more in danger of dyspepsia than the neighborhood mill,
through whose body passed thousands of bushels of corn, leaving it no
fatter at the end of the year than at the beginning. Cloyed with
apples? To eat an apple is to want to eat another. We tire of
cherries, of peaches, of strawberries, of figs, of grapes, (I say it
with reverence in this presence!) but never of apples. Nay, when
creature comforts fail, and the heart—hopeless voyager on the troubled
sea of life—is sick, apples are comforters; or, wherefore is it
written:—

“As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among
the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his
fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons,”—undoubtedly of
cider!—“comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love.”

If this is the cure of love, we may the better understand why the
popular instinct should have resorted to the apple-tree as a cure for
ambition, singing,

  “We’ll hang Jeff Davis on a sour-apple tree.”

There is, in this toothsomeness of the apple, together with its utter
harmlessness, a provision for nurses and mothers. There is a growing
period when children are voracious. They must be filled; and it is a
matter of great account to know what to fill them with. If you give
them but bread, that seems meager. Pies, cakes, and sweetmeats are
mischievous; and yet more so are candies and confections. Apples just
hit the mark. They are more than a necessary of life, and less than a
luxury. They stand just half-way between bread and cake, as wholesome
as one and as good as the other.

But now I enter upon the realm of uses, culinary and domestic, where,
were I an ancient poet, I should stop and invoke all the gods to my
aid. But the gods are all gone; and next to them is that blessing of
the world, the housewife. Her I invoke, and chiefly one who taught me,
by her kitchen magic, to believe that the germ of civilization is in
the art and science of the kitchen. Is there, among fruits, one other
that has so wide a range, or a range so important, so exquisite, so
wonderful, as the range of the apple in the kitchen?

First, consider it as a fruit-vegetable. It might with great advantage
take its place upon the table as regularly as the potato or the onion.
Far more odorous is the onion, but, I think, far more blessed is the
apple. It is an admirable accompaniment of meat, which always craves a
piquant acid for relish. And when meat is wanting, a scrap of pork in
the frying-pan, with sliced apples, will serve the economic table
almost as well as if it had been carved from a beef or cut from a
sheep.

We do not use the apple enough in our cooking. As a fruit upon the
table it may be used for breakfast, for supper, for dessert. Roasted
apples! Baked apples! What visions come before my mind! Not the baked
apples of the modern stove, which has humbled their glory. They are
still worth eating, but they have lost the stature, the comeliness,
and the romance of the old roasted apples, that were placed in due
order between the huge andirons, and turned duly by the careful
servant, drinking in heat on one side and oxygen on the other, and
coming to a degree of luxurious nicety that will never be attained
till we go back again to the old fireplace. It was a real pleasure to
be sick,—I mean on the hither border of sickness; so that we might not
go to school, and so that, while we took a little magnesia, we might
feast on delicious roasted apples. And as for baked apples and milk,
how can I adequately speak of that most excellent dish!

Then, again, the apple may be regarded as a confection, serving in the
form of tarts, pies,—blessed be the unknown person who invented the
apple-pie! Did I know where the grave of that person was, methinks I
would make a devout pilgrimage thither, and rear a monument over it
that should mark the spot to the latest generations. Of all pies, of
every name, the apple-pie is easily the first and chief. And what
shall I say of jellies, dumplings, puddings, and various preserves,
that are made from the apple?

It might seem hard, in this enumeration of the many forms in which the
apple is made to contribute to the benefit of mankind, not to notice
that form in which it defies age, I refer to the dried apple. No
festoons are more comely than were those half-circles that used to
decorate the rafters of the old-fashioned kitchen. I confess that no
dried fruit is worthy to be called fruit, whether it be huckleberry,
or peach, or pear, or apple. Once dried, these things have lost the
soul of their flavor; and no coddling, no soaking, no experimenting,
will ever bring them back to what they were in their original fresh
life. You cannot give youth to old age in apples any more than among
men. And yet, as a _souvenir_, as a sad remembrances of days gone by,
dried apples are very good.

Next, we naturally consider the use of apples as food for stock,—for
swine, for horses, and for cattle. This use of them is known; but it
seems to me that they are not thus employed near so much as their
benefits would justify.

Last of all, let me speak of cider; for, although the days of
temperance have banished cider from its former and almost universal
position upon the farmer’s table, it is creeping back again. Not
daring to come in its own name, it comes in the name of a neighbor,
and is called _champagne_. But whether it comes in one form or
another, it still is savory of the orchard; still it brings warmth to
chilly veins; still it is a contribution to many a homely domestic
festival. And though I cannot, as a temperance man, exhort you to make
it, I must say, that if you _will_ make it, you had better make it
good!

But woe to him who takes another step in that direction! Cider-brandy
is a national disgrace. How great is the calamity that impends over a
community that makes cider-brandy may be known by the recent history
of the Shenandoah valley; it being declared by several of the Richmond
papers that the defeat of Early was owing to the abundance of
apple-jack there.

It only remains that I should say a single word on the subject of the
apple as an article of commerce. Whether fresh or dried, it is still,
in that relation, a matter of no small importance. The home market is
enlarging every year; and as soon as the apple shall become so cheap
that all men may have it no matter how poor they may be, the market
must of necessity have become very much augmented. Many men suppose
that as orchards increase and fruit multiplies the profits diminish.
Such is not the fact. As the commoner kinds multiply, and the common
people learn to use them as daily food, the finer kinds will bear
proportionally higher prices; and cheapness is one of the steps to
profit in all things that are consumed in the community. And I should
be glad to see the day when, for a few pence, every drayman, every
common laborer in every city, should be able to bring as much fruit to
his house every day as his family could consume in that day. I should
be glad to see in our cities, what is to be seen to some extent in the
cities of Europe, the time when a penny or two will enable a man to
bring home enough flowers to decorate his table of food twice a day.

We have not merely in view the profits of raising fruit when we exhort
you to bestow your attention on the apple more and more as an article
of commerce; we have also in view the social influence which it may be
made to exert. I hold that when in any respect you lift the common
people up, whether by giving them a better dwelling, by placing within
their reach better furniture, or by enabling them to furnish their
table better, you are raising them toward self-respect; you are
raising them toward the higher positions in society. For, although all
men should start with the democracy, all men have a right to stop with
the aristocracy. Let all put their feet on the same level; and then
let them shoot as high as they please. Blessed is the man that knows
how to overtop his neighbors by a fair development of skill and
strength. And every single step of advance in general cultivation,
even though it is brought about by so humble an instrumentality as the
multiplication of fruit, or anything else that augments the range of
healthful enjoyment among the common people, not only stimulates their
moral growth, but, through that growth, gives the classes above them a
better chance to grow. One of the most efficient ways of elevating the
whole community is to multiply the means of livelihood among the
poorest and commonest.

I will not finish my remarks with those elaborate statistics or with
those admirable and eloquent periods with which I should be pleased to
entertain you, for two reasons: first, because I would not consume
your time at so late an hour; and, secondly, because I have none of
these things at hand!



II.

A FEW FLOWERS EASILY RAISED.


                                                _February 22d, 1868._

The love of flowers is steadily increasing among the common people of
America, and anything which shall increase the knowledge and skill of
the _plain people_ in the management of flowers will be a contribution
to the public welfare.

Those that are rich can command the services of expert gardeners, and
need no advice from me. But there are thousands who have ground enough
around their dwellings, and yet have little knowledge in the selection
of plants and flowers, and little skill in the cultivation of them, to
whom I may be of some service if I give such hints as have been
derived chiefly from my own experience.

Assuming, then, that my reader has given but little attention to the
cultivation of flowers, and that he needs to be told the simplest
things, I would begin by recommending him to send for a _catalogue_ of
flowers to Mr. Vick, Rochester, N. Y., or to Mr. B. K. Bliss, of Park
Place, New York, or Mr. Thorburn, John Street, also New York; not, as
might at first be supposed, for the sake of the list of seeds, but
because each catalogue contains brief directions how to prepare the
ground, how to sow various kinds of seeds, etc., etc. With such hints
as these catalogues afford, one can begin. The very first step is to
_succeed the first year in admirably raising one or two things_. If
one undertakes too much before having practical experience he will
fail, become disgusted, and give up the whole effort at flowers in
discouragement. But the exquisite delight of seeing a bed of flowers,
of your own raising, and thoroughly good, will be apt to inspire a
real ambition, and lay the foundation for future success with more
difficult flowers.

I will suppose a young lady, who never has cultivated flowers, but who
can afford to hire a man’s services for one or two days in the spring.
She is to perform all the rest of the work herself. What shall she
plant?

_Morning-glories._ If possible, select a place which the morning sun
will not reach before nine or ten o’clock in the forenoon, in order to
save the daily bloom from withering before you have had half enough
enjoyment. Let the ground be made mellow, and enriched with black dirt
from the woods, or with old and well-decayed barn-yard manure, or, if
neither are convenient, with a pint of _superphosphate of lime_ to
each square yard of ground, well mixed into the soil. This can now be
bought in almost every large town, or the merchant who sells seeds
will procure it for you.

The common sorts of morning-glories, if combined, will answer well.
But one who would do the best should have two beds, one of the
_Convolvulus_ and the other of _Ipomea_. The difference is of
importance only to a botanist. To the common eye the flowers are the
same. Of _Ipomeas_ there is a _puce_-colored one, which blossoms late
in the afternoon, named _Buona Nox_; a _mazarine-blue_, shading to red
(_Learii_); a _sky-blue with white edge,_ called in the
catalogue—don’t be afraid!—_Ipomea hederacea superba grandiflora_, i.
e. the superb great-flowering ivy-leaved _Ipomea_. And then there is a
very fine variety of this same one, whose Latin name you will get by
adding to the above the compound word _Atro-violacea_. One more name,
viz. _Ipomea limbata elegantissima_.

Plant the seeds as soon as the frost is finally out of the ground. Let
there be pales, or strings, or trellis, arranged for them to climb
upon, and you will have all summer long, and till the frost kills
them, a magnificent show of exquisite blossoms every morning; Sundays
as well as week-days, for flowers wear their Sunday clothes all
through the week. We have derived as much pleasure from these
morning-glories as from any one thing in our garden. They are healthy
and hearty growers, not infested with insects, profuse in bloom,
surpassing all blossoms in exquisite form and delicacy, and, what is
of prime importance, holding forth through the whole summer, whether
hot or cold, wet or dry.

The common morning-glory will sow itself, and come up every year in
the same place; but the seed of the _Ipomea_ must be saved and planted
every spring anew. Now, let some sweet girl begin her flower-life with
morning-glories—nothing else—the first year, and see if she will ever
let a summer go by afterward without flowers!

A bed of _China Aster_, although blossoming for only a few weeks, may
be had with so little trouble that one may well undertake it. Send for
the best kind, say _Truffant’s Giant Emperor_, or his new
_Peony-flowered_. Plant them in rows six inches apart, in a seed-bed.
Keep them clean from all weeds. When grown from an inch to two inches
high, transplant them to a prepared bed, placing them about fifteen
inches apart each way. The ground should be rich, light, and gently
hoed, at least once a week, to keep the surface open. If _very_ large
flowers are wanted, not more than three blooms should be allowed to
one root. We prefer, however, to give the plant a rich soil and let it
yield its flowers, large and small, to suit itself. The seed should be
saved from the largest blossoms only.

A particular favorite with us is the _Petunia_. If fine seed is
secured, a bed of seedlings may be easily grown which will be splendid
the whole summer long. The directions for the aster may be followed
for _Petunias_, except that the plants should stand _two feet_ apart.
Select a place where they will have air and sun all day. They are
generous, and will roll out billows of color through the whole summer,
and even after the light early frosts have cut down many other things.

There are two other beds on which we depend for color every summer,
and could no more afford to miss than we could the sunsets, viz.
_Dwarf Convolvulus_ and _Eschscholtzia_. A bed of _Dwarf_ or
_Convolvulus Minor_, say six by twelve feet, will be an object of
pleasure all summer long. They are to be planted where they are to
stand, as they will not bear transplanting good-naturedly. Sow in rows
eight inches apart, and when well up thin out, leaving the plants a
foot apart. There are five or six varieties, and the mixed seed, from
a reputable seedsman, should contain them all. No one will be willing
to go without a bed of Dwarf Convolvulus who has once seen how easily
they are raised, and how splendid and long-continued is their
blossoming.

Manage the _Eschscholtzia_ in almost exactly the same way. There are
three shades of color,—pale yellow, bright yellow, and orange. The
foliage is extremely delicate. The buds are very shapely, and the full
bloom gives brilliancy to the whole region where the bed is planted.
No one knows this flower who has not seen its effect in beds, or on
long borders. In a similar way the _Poppy_ should be raised. Get seed
of the _Carnation_ Poppy and the _Peony-flowered_ Poppy. It will not
bear transplanting well.

A bed of _Portulacca_ will be so brilliant that it will almost put
your eyes out when the sun shines; and it is so easy to raise, that
success is no credit. Prepare a bed, say four by six feet, or larger
if you choose, and rake it off smoothly. The seeds are extremely
minute. Take a pinch of them as if they were snuff, and then do by
them what everybody ought to do by snuff,—sift them evenly all over
the ground. Then just touch the ground with the tips of the
rake-teeth, stirring it very lightly. Take a spade and _spat_ the
surface gently, so as to bring the soil home to the seed. Keep weeds
away, and for the rest do nothing but enjoy the labor of your hands.
It will come up of itself every year, and become a weed if you wish it
to.

There, we have mentioned enough flowers for a beginning. They are all
hardy, profuse bloomers, and, with the exception of the aster, last
all summer, and form masses of color which will charm the eye every
time you look out of your window. A girl can do all that is to be
done, except working the ground, and even that ought not to be so hard
as it would be to go without flowers.



III.

FLOWER-FARMING.


                                               _February 29th, 1868._

I acknowledge the merits of flower-_gardening_, but a kind of
necessity has compelled me to practice flower-_farming_. I do not live
upon my little farm, on the Hudson, except for a few months in
midsummer. To keep a professional gardener befits more ample means
than mine. Yet I must have flowers; I am as set and determined to have
flowers as my farmer, Mr. Turner, is to have vegetables; and there is
a friendly quarrel on hand all the season, a kind of border warfare,
between flowers and vegetables, which shall have this spot, and which
shall secure that nook; whether in this southern slope it shall be
onions or gladioluses; whether a row of lettuce shall edge that patch,
or of asters. I think, on a calm review, that I have rather gained on
Mr. Turner. The fact is, I found that he had me at advantage, being
always on the place, and having the whole spring to himself. So I
shrewdly tampered with the man himself, and before he knew what he was
about, I had infected him with the flower mania (and this is a
disorder which I have never known cured); so that I had an ally in the
very enemy’s camp. Indeed, I begin to fear that my manager will get
ahead of me yet in skill and love of flowers!

I can see many and sufficient reasons for parterres of flowers, for
borders of mixed plants, for clumps and ribbons; but I can see no
reason for supposing that flowers grow to advantage _only_ in these
formal methods.

In a plantation of _tomatoes_, if every alternate plant in the outer
row is a _petunia_ you will find a charming effect in the red fruit of
the one and the profuse blossoming of the other; and on these outer
rows the tomatoes may be left to ripen for seed, as being more exposed
to the sun, thus adding the beauty of their rich color.

I do not know why a square plat of beets or onions may not be edged
with asters, or with balsams. Sometimes I plant a few alternate rows
of flowers with my root crops, and find that carrots and stocks,
alternated, are admirable friends. When the main crops are in, there
are always some outlying edges, some places about the walls, which
would be surely filled in with cabbages, if I did not jump at the
chance. I have great luck with tropealums, nasturtiums, and
particularly with labias, which are as easy of culture, on a farm, as
a bean. And I have a fancy that when one comes upon a heap of stones
in a corner, covered over with all varieties of tropealum, he takes
more pleasure in them than if found just where one would look for
them, in a flower-bed.

If I should lay down a rule, it would be that, in arable land, or in
shrubbery and forest, no man should have to walk more than twenty
paces to find a flower. If a lady should meet you on any acre on your
farm, you ought to be able then and there to make up for her an
acceptable bouquet.

In an unexpected way, I am like to have my rule kept for me. For, in
autumn, the stems and haulms of flowers go to the barn-yard and join
all other stuff fit for compost; and when, in the spring, it is hauled
out, I find, on every part of the farm, that stray seeds have shaken
out, and sown themselves, and produced volunteer flowers. Indeed, the
primrose family are getting too familiar; larkspurs are everywhere;
coreopsis glitters all over the fields; poppies have turned vagrants;
and the portulacca has fairly become a weed. Farms should be carried
on for profit and pleasure; and, as I fail in the former, I am
determined to make up in the latter element.

Now and then, on the outer row of Indian corn, a _convolvulus_,
climbing to the very top and full of blossoms, will cheat nothing and
enrich the eye a great deal. There is always a spot or two, amidst
field crops, where a _Ricinus sanguineus_ (castor bean) will do
bravely; and I will affirm that no fancier will be able to get past it
without stopping to look at its generous palms.

Where stone-walls prevail, what can be less expensive and what more
beautiful than to cover them with the Chinese honeysuckles, with, now
and then, the new and hardy golden-veined honeysuckle, with other
hardy sorts, easily propagated? There is also our own wild clematis,
and to this may be joined, at little expense, several of the new
varieties in this charming family, which may be obtained of
nurserymen.

If one has young evergreen trees,—say the Norway spruce,—a few of the
finer kinds of morning-glory (_Ipomeas_), planted near and suffered to
run up among the branches and peep out of the green openings, will
have a beautiful effect all summer long, and the tree will suffer no
harm, as it sometimes does when the bitter-sweet, the ampelopsis, and
other woody vines, take possession of them.

_Stumps_ are not deemed ornamental, and yet I have seen them turned to
an admirable account. If still standing on their own roots, but
decayed at the core, let them be hollowed out, deeply as may be,
filled with good soil, and flowers planted in them, nasturtiums or
petunias or the _linums_ or dwarf morning-glories. Stumps that have
been pulled up by the roots, and rolled into a corner, may be dressed
out with ferns, vines, and mosses, and a tasteful hand will array them
in such beauty that the farmer will be reluctant another season to
give them up to the axe and the stove.

Flowers peeping out of unlikely spots give a surprise of pleasure.
Therefore stick in a flower just where it would not be expected. No
matter if it “was never done before,” or if “farmers don’t do so in
these parts,” or if “flowers are a trouble, and don’t bring any
money.” They bring what money often fails to bring,—refinement and
pleasure. There is no use, my old friend under a rough coat, in making
believe that you don’t like flowers. I know that you do. Somewhere in
you is a spot, if the rubbish can be cleared away, which a flower
always touches. There is no reason why rich gentlemen should own all
the flowers. Hard-working farmers and mechanics have as much right to
them as if they lived without working.

What shall I say of the gladiolus? It is the flower for the million!
It is as easy to manage as a potato. It blossoms long, and better if
cut and carried into the house than if left out doors. Its varieties
of color are endless. It is healthy; multiplies its _corms_ rapidly,
can be kept in winter in a common cellar, if dried of a little first;
and is calculated to return as much pleasure for a small outlay as any
flower in vogue. A few dozen to start with will convince any man of
the truth of my words.

Let me dissuade you, my dear readers, from too great an addiction to
mere profit. Don’t wait for a regular garden of flowers, but stick
them in, in nooks and corners, all about the homestead.



IV.

A LETTER FROM THE FARM.


                                         PEEKSKILL, _May 28th, 1868_.

MY DEAR MR. BONNER: You must expect no article from me this week. I am
engaged. I was never more busy in my life. Let me relate my
occupations. At about half past three in the morning, I wake. The
light is just coming. I do not care for that, as I do not propose to
get up at such an hour. But the birds _do_ care. They evidently wind
up their singing apparatus over night. For, when the first bird breaks
the silence, in an instant the rest go off, as if a spring had been
touched which moved them all. Was ever such noise! There are robins
without count, wood-thrushes, orioles, sparrows, bobolinks,
meadow-larks, bluebirds, yellow-birds, wrens, warblers, catbirds (as
the Northern mocking-bird is called), martins, twittering swallows.
Think of the noise made by mixing all these bird-notes together! Add a
rooster, and a solemn old crow to carry the bass. Then consider that
of each kind there are scores, and of some kinds hundreds, within ear
reach, and you will have some faint conception of the opening chant of
the day.

You may not believe that I wake so early. But I do. You may be still
less inclined to believe that, after listening for ten minutes to this
mixture, I again go to sleep. But I solemnly do. Nor do I think of
getting up before six o’clock. Whether I should emerge even then, if
it were not for the savory odor that begins to steal through my
cottage, I cannot tell. After breakfast, there are so many things to
be done first that I neglect them all. The morning is so fine, the
young leaves are so beautiful, the bloom on the orchards is so
gorgeous, the sounds and sights are so many and so winning, that I am
apt to sit down on the veranda, for just a moment, and for just
another, and for a series of them, until an hour goes by. Do not blame
me! Do not laugh at such farming and such a farmer. The soil overhead
bears larger and better crops, for a sensible man, than does the soil
under feet. There are blossoms in the clouds. There is fruit upon
invisible trees, to those who know how to pluck it.

But then sky-gazing and this dallying with the landscape will not do.
What crowds of things require the eye and hand! Flowers must be
transplanted. Flower-seeds must be sown; shrubs and trees pruned;
vines looked after; a walk taken over the hill to see after some
evergreens, with many pauses to gaze upon the landscape, and many
birds watched as they are confidentially exhibiting their domestic
traits before you. The kittens, too, at the barn, must be visited, the
calf, the new cow. Then every gardener knows how much time is consumed
in noticing the new plants; for instance, I have some eight new
strawberries that need watching, each one purporting to be a world’s
wonder. I am quite anxious about eight or ten new kinds of clematis;
two new species of honeysuckle; eight or ten new and rare evergreens;
and ever so many other things,—shrubs and flowers. What shall I say of
the new peas, new beans, rare cucumbers, early melons, extraordinary
potatoes?

Speaking of potatoes, do you know anything of the _Early Rose_? Let me
tell you. One hundred bushels were sold this spring, to one man, for
_eighty dollars_ a bushel! Since then, they have been selling by the
_pound_, at the increasing prices of one, two, and three dollars a
pound. It takes about three potatoes to make a pound.

Now for a story—true, for I had it from Timothy Titcomb’s lips. A
friend sent him this potato, with injunctions to give it the utmost
care. He planted it in his garden, and when it ripened, last summer,
not informed of its exceeding preciousness, he proceeded to eat. In a
reasonable time he consumed three barrels, which at the lowest price
were worth about seven hundred dollars!

I have a very nice plat of these potatoes, and should like to sell
them to you in advance. As an inducement, I offer mine at _fifty_
dollars a bushel! But this is confidential. I do not wish to be
overrun with purchasers, scrambling for a chance!

Do you not see that it is impossible for me, amid such incessant and
weighty cares, to compose an article? The air is white with
apple-blossoms; the trees are all singing; the steaming ground
beseeches me to grant it a portion of flower-seeds; by night the
whippoorwills, and by day the wood-thrush and mocking-bird, fill my
imagination with all sorts of fancies, and how can I write?



V.

THE COST OF FLOWERS.


                                                   _June 18th, 1868._

The charms of flowers have been sung ever since letters have existed.
But in our day the passion for flowers has wonderfully increased, and
the cultivation of them, which is a thing very different from the
sentiment of admiration, has become so common that it is considered as
an evidence of bad taste for one having any ground _not_ to have
flowers about the dwelling-house.

But how few who only receive flowers as gifts, or purchase them, know
the pains and penalties of flower-raising! It may be imagined that one
has only to scratch open the ground, bury the seed, and then patiently
wait for nature to do the rest. Listen! First comes the seed-buying.
We do not think seedsmen any less honest than other men. Indeed, the
conduct of those with whom we have dealt for ten years past leads us
to think that they are honorable and honest in intent. But that does
not insure good _seeds_.

They buy of other seedsmen, in foreign lands, who may not be honest,
or are obliged to trust seed-raisers. And so it comes to pass that
seeds, like thousands of other articles in this wicked and adulterous
generation, are adulterated. Italian carnation seed come up miserable
single pinks, of very poor colors; balsams are not half so choice as
is the _price_ at which the seed is sold; not one in ten of this
year’s _ipomea seed_ (convolvulus) will stir out of the ground,—and so
of stock, sweet-william, etc.

But, that past, and our seed well planted, there often comes a deluge,
and washes the seed-beds to pieces, or a long wet spell rots the seed
in the ground.

At length we gather up what we can, and transplant the remnant, and
patiently wait for the flowers. But we are not the only ones waiting
for them. A legion of various insects seem to think that all our
flowers were planted for _them_. We have been often asked why were
insects created? If it is fair to say that the cause of their
existence may be learned from the effects which they produce, we
boldly aver that they were made to humble man’s arrogance, and to
teach him how much mightier is insect weakness than human power. A
grasshopper is contemptible. The farmer can crush him at a step. But
let the plague of grasshoppers be let loose, and all his fields be
deluged with them; and how easily do myriads of creatures that are
individually weak overwhelm him and destroy all his labor!

We have a realizing sense of the unequal war which is waged between
man and insects. It seems in late years as if horticulture might as
well be abandoned. Cherries and plums go down before the curculio;
apples before the canker-worm, the tent-worm, and the apple-worm;
currants before a worm peculiar to itself; melons before half a dozen
kinds of enemies (not including roguish boys).

Among flowers the destruction is equally great. As soon as the rose
fairly shakes out its leaves it is attacked: one bug cuts circles out
of the leaves, as if busy with a pair of scissors making diagrams;
then comes the _thrip_, that can neither be caught, nor wet with
soapsuds, nor dusted with lime, nor pinched with the fingers,—a nimble
fellow, minute as a speck of flour, but numerous as dust. Close upon
its heels comes the _slug_, whose remorseless appetite leaves nothing
behind it but the ribs and frame of the leaf. Next come the rose-bugs
proper, of a finer appetite, disdaining anything less delicate than
rose-petals. Of these the number is surpassing; their devastation
pitiable. There stand my bushes stripped of leaves and blighted in
flowers.

Of course there are remedies enough. One rose-bush may be treated with
hand-picking, or pinching, or washes, but one or two hundred
rose-bushes would require formidable engineering.

Year by year the number of insects increases. New flowers come into
the blighted circle. Aphides, grubs, worms, moles, flies—at the root,
or on the top—resist your labor at every step. They never tire. They
seem never to be full. They get up before you do, and eat on all
night, after you are asleep.

Well, we are born into a world which pays few premiums to lazy men.
Whatever is worth having is worth working for. At any rate, Providence
seems to design that no man shall gather who does not sow and tend. Of
every lazy man it may well be said, What does he in this world? This
is a place for workers. “He that will not work shall not eat,” is an
inspired command. It is as true of the garden as of the field, of
flowers as of fruit and grain. God sends millions of insects over all
our gardens and flower-beds, saying, “We are sent to make you work.”
Every insect is some malignant enchanter, and every fair-faced flower,
like a maiden lost in the wilderness, beseeches us to deliver it from
its enemies!



VI.

HAYING.


                                                     _July 2d, 1868._

Alas for the poetry of farming! All the songs of milkmaids must be now
listened for in the old English poets. The whetting of the mower’s
scythe is almost over—quite over on my farm! Instead of that, one
hears the sharp rattle of the mower, and sees the driving-man quite at
his ease riding round and round the meadow, for all the world as if he
were out airing. Whereas, heretofore, two acres would be counted a
large day’s work, ten and twelve are easily accomplished now!

Nor is the contrast less remarkable in all the after-work. When I was
a boy, I was placed in line with all the men that could be mustered,
to shake out the hay with forks; and after a few hours, all hands were
called to go over the ground and turn it. To do this rapidly, and yet
so that the bottom side should really come to the top, was no small
knack. Now, a _tedder_, with one man riding, will literally do the
work of ten men, and do it far better than the most expert can. Have
you ever seen a tedder? I have a perfect one. The grass rolls up
behind it and foams, I was going to say, like water behind the wheels
of a steamer. The grass leaps up and whirls as if it were amazingly
tickled with such dealings. The result is, that unless the grass is
very heavy, and the weather very bad, you may cut your hay in the
morning and get it into your barn before night, in far better
condition than it used to be when it required never less than two, and
generally a part of three days to cure it.

But I have forgotten the _horse-rake_. Instead of the old-fashioned,
long-handled rake, and the five or six men pulling and hauling to get
the grass into windrows, that same fellow, with that same horse, rides
his luxurious rake, and in a fifth part of the time formerly required
puts it into equally good shape. Indeed, haying, if it has lost its
poetry, has also lost its drudgery. A man can now manage a hundred
acres of grass easier than he formerly could twenty.

The only thing that remains to be made easy is pitching on and off the
load. It is true that horse-forks have been invented, but I have never
seen any that did their work well; and in my barn, at any rate, the
old work of pitching and mowing remains; and if you wish to know what
fun is, get on to the mow, under the slate roof of my barn, on a hot
day, and let Tim pitch off hay as he will if I give him the wink. You
will have to step lively, and even then you will often be seen
emerging from heaps of hay thrown over you, like a rat from a bunch of
oakum. And then it is so pleasant, when a man is all a-sweat, to have
his shirt filled with hay-seed, each particular particle of which
makes believe that it is a flea, and wiggles and tickles upon every
square inch of his skin, until he is half desperate.

It is the 2d of July, and my grass is all cut, and the last load is
rolling into the barn while I write. How sweet it smells! How jolly
the children are that have been mounted on the top of the load! And
their little scarlet jackets peep out from their nest while Tim stands
guard and nurse. A child that has not ridden up from the meadow to the
barn on a load of hay has yet to learn one of the luxuries of exultant
childhood. What care they for jolts, when the whole load is a vast and
multiplex spring? The more the wagon jounces the better they like it!
Then come the bars, leading into the lane with maple-trees on each
side. The limbs reach down, and the green leaves kiss the children
over and over again. So would I, if I were a green leaf, and not
consider myself so green after all! And so the load slowly rolls up
the bill. There is no such thing as momentum in an ox. He is always at
a dead pull and at the very hardest. But the children like it. The
slower they move the longer is the ride! Let them take all the comfort
they can. By and by they will be grown, and own fine carriages, and
roll in style through the streets. But there is many a fair face that
rides in a silk-lined coach, with a sad heart, and would go back if
she could, O, how gladly, to her joyous ride on a load of hay!



VII.

THE VALUE OF ROBINS.


                                                      _October 10th._

The game-law has relaxed its authority. The gun is set free. I hear it
in the woods, in the fields, on the hills, Sundays and week-days,
bang! bang! bang! as if it could not express its joy, and even
celebrating its own emancipation.

Well, let them fire, only so they keep off my hill. It is true that
the birds have finished their service, and are now of little use,
either as songsters or as worm-exterminators—more’s the pity! But are
their past services to be forgotten?

Let me speak of the robin.

He is an immense feeder, and omnivorous. Nothing seems to come
amiss—fruit, worm, or seed. Glutton he is not, for he does not eat
more than he really needs; but he needs more than most birds of his
size.

It is a disputed question, among farmers, whether the robin is a
profitable bird. Whether he does not damage the fruit crop out of all
proportion to his services in the crusade against insects, I grieve to
say, that my own household is divided, and that I am the only one that
is openly and wholly a friend to the robin. He is an early riser, and
no sooner has he sung his morning hymn than he begins breakfast. Now,
in the month of June cherries ripen. I have a cherry orchard. When
fully grown, there will be enough for robins and men. But at present
my trees are like precocious children; they blossom enormously, but
set little fruit. The question now is, Whose is that fruit? The people
in the house declare that it belongs to us. The robins out of doors
say little about it, but actions speak louder than words. Rising
earlier than we do, they get their breakfast before the smoke rises
from my chimneys. I will not permit them to be driven away, and still
less to be shot. I plead their services. I recount their deeds of
valor against insects; their service of song. But it is all in vain. I
am voted down. All manner of threats are thrown out by the boys, “if I
would only let them.” But I won’t let them!

There are two distinct grounds on which these birds are to be
preserved and encouraged. The first ground is the refining pleasure
which they give to every person of true susceptibility. Thousands
there are who live in the country who will regard this as sheer
sentimentality. They are robust people, who drive around all day with
vigorous industry, and have always done so, until at length their very
standard of manhood is made up of some kind of physical force. He is a
man that can lift the largest weight, run the longest and fastest, cut
the most grain, climb most lithely, wrestle the most dextrously. And
if he can make a shrewd bargain, has an eye for the points in an ox or
horse, has the knack of making money, and a good-natured way of
pushing about among men, he is considered, and considers himself, to
be a real up-and-down man!

But where are the finer traits? God made blossom bulbs in every
nature, and if men do not blossom they are deficient in the higher
elements.

To disregard qualities of beauty, in form, color, motion, and song, is
so far to indicate a deformity of one’s own nature. We never think one
to be more manly who cares nothing for the unmarketable graces of the
natural world, than he who makes them a part of his daily enjoyment.

The argument is conclusive to a fine nature, when one says, “Birds are
too beautiful to be killed.” It may be replied that noxious insects
and animals are beautiful, too, and yet are destroyed by the humane
and refined, because they are mischievous. We admit the statement, and
are willing to apply it to birds. When they are really destructive to
crops, or when they are, at proper seasons, needful for food, it is no
inhumanity to take their lives. They must take their part and lot with
the whole creation, which everywhere eats and is eaten.

But to return to our robin. There is no season of the year when the
robin does not prevent more mischief than he accomplishes. He is an
enormous eater, and, for the most part, he prefers a meat diet. No one
who has not taken pains to observe and estimate can form any
conception of the insects and worms devoured by the robin between
March and August—that is, during the whole nesting period. One robin
eats, in a single season, what, if built into a solid form, would be
more than a whole ox. Fruit is but a small part of his diet; cherries,
strawberries, and grapes, for a while, suffer from his depredations.
Yet, if there were no birds these very things would suffer far more.
Insects are more to be dreaded than birds. They elude our vigilance,
they work secretly, they swarm in such numbers as to defy man’s power.
But birds keep them down. They destroy myriads of eggs, of grubs, of
tender worms, and of fruit-loving insects. To destroy birds for the
sake of saving fruit is like throwing down the fence about one’s
garden to keep the pigs out! Even admit, as some do and we do not,
that blackbirds and crows deserve to be shot for destroying the
planter’s seed. We claim that the robin does not belong to their
company. He preserves a hundred-fold more than he destroys.

On every ground, then, of humanity, of good taste, and of thrift,
robins should be spared. They are our best friends. They are, beyond
all question, the finest song-bird of the temperate zone. They are a
watch and guard against insect depredations in orchard and garden,
and, with other birds, they make possible the raising of fruit, which,
without them, it is no exaggeration to say, would be utterly
impossible. They are, next to the wren and sparrows, the most
companionable of birds, hovering about the dwellings of man, and
following him, step by step, as he subdues the wilderness, and singing
the song of triumph for the axe and the plow.

One word as to the robin’s song. Whoever has read Audubon’s
description of the wood-thrush’s song, and the still more glowing
account by a writer in the _Atlantic Monthly_ of two or three years
ago, will surely be disappointed on first hearing it. In any proper
sense, it has no _song_, but only a few sweet sentences, which it
utters in a sad and almost melancholy way, sitting solitary in some
forest edge, or tree overhanging a brook. The bird is a recluse. So,
one imagines a tender-hearted woman, disappointed in love, yet not
embittered, might sing from the casement of a nunnery a hymn of
mingled resignation and regret. But, to compare this monosyllabic song
of the wood-thrush to the robin’s, is like comparing a ballad to an
oratorio, or the tinkling of a guitar to the sweet tone of a
piano-forte under the hands of some Perabo.

The robin is an out-door bird. He lives in the sunshine. He attracts
no sympathy by delicate ways. He is altogether robust, and full of
dashing life. When twenty or thirty robins between three and four
o’clock in a June morning are at full voice, it would be no
exaggeration to compare it to a rain of music. It is no dainty
thrumming,—no parceling out of a sweet note or two, with more rests
than notes. It is a musical rush, the exultation of a healthy, hearty
bird, that sings by the half-hour, without pause, and is ever ready to
sing again.

The evening song of the robin I most love to hear. Heard from the top
of some orchard tree, or of some meadow maple, while his note has the
fire and brilliancy of his morning song, there is in it a slight
undertone of sadness. Indeed, this evening song seems to be a
mate-call. For ten or fifteen minutes the bird will send out its
mellow call over all the region, if peradventure the truant mother may
come home. A slight impatience mixes with its closing notes. He flies
to a neighboring tree, utters two or three sharp single notes, and
then, beginning again, swells out his long call louder than before,
warbling five to ten minutes. He pauses. No bird returns. He sits
silent.

Perhaps he remembers that there had been a little domestic quarrel
during the day, and if his mate is dead, he may never be able to say
to her, “I am sorry.” A nest full of little birds needs the mother.
The twilight is deepening. Once more, its brilliance now toned down by
an unmistakable sadness, he sends out far and near through the
dew-damp air a song which is more a lamentation than a call. If there
be no response, he flies silently away, and the air rests.

But, sometimes, just as his song is ending, it breaks out into a sharp
note of surprise. A flutter is heard, and two birds fly hastily away.
The wanderer has come home again!

Can one, all summer long, follow birds with sympathy, and enter into
their gentle life, throwing around it, by the imagination, the charm
of the affections, and then consent to their destruction as if they
had been mere birds from a coop? Shoot and eat my birds? It is but a
step this side of cannibalism. The next step beyond, and one would
hanker after Jenny Lind or Miss Kellogg.



VIII.

SOUNDS OF TREES.


                                                         _July 24th._

The sounds and motions of trees constitute subtle but important
elements of pleasure. It is not enough that a tree have a comely form
as a whole; that it cast a dense shade in the sultry days of summer;
that, perhaps, it yield a nut or fruit; and that, finally, when it
gives up its life to the inevitable ax, its prostrate trunk shall
furnish good timber. Besides these uses of bodily comfort and of
economy, a tree, like a rich-hearted person, has a hundred nameless
ways which we hardly stop to analyze, but which, were they suddenly
taken away, we should miss.

The murmuring of trees is profoundly affecting to a sensitive spirit.
In some moods of imagination one cannot help feeling that trees have a
low song, or a conversation of leaves. They whisper, or speak, or cry
out, and even roar. No one knows this last quality so well as those
who have been in old oak forests in a storm, with violent wind. A
dense forest opposes such a resistance to the free passage of the air,
that the sound is much deadened. But in a park or oak-opening, where
spaces are left for the motion of the air, and among open-branched
trees, a storm moves with such power and majesty, that not even the
battles of thunder-clouds are more sublime, and, under certain
circumstances, it becomes terrific. At the beginning of the tempest,
the trees sway and toss as if seeking to escape; as the violence
increases, the branches bounce back, the leaves, turning their white
under sides to the light, fairly scream. The huge boughs creak and
strain like a ship in a storm. Now and then some branches which have
grown across each other are drawn back and forth, as if demons were
scraping infernal bass-viols. Occasionally a branch breaks with a wild
crash, or some infirm tree, caught unawares in a huge puff of the
storm, goes down with crashing as it falls, and with a thunder-stroke
when it reaches the ground. I would go farther to hear a storm-concert
in an old forest, than any music that man ever made. No one who is
familiar with forest sounds but is sure, when he hears Beethoven’s
music, that much of it was inspired by the sounds of winds among
trees.

There are milder joys, however, in tree converse. Only this morning I
awakened to hear it rain. That steady splash of drops which a
northeast wind brings on is not easily mistaken. I flatter myself that
my ear is too well trained to all the ordinary sounds of nature to be
easily deceived. I rise, and throw back the blinds, when lo! not a
drop is falling. It is the wind in my maple-trees. I had thought of
that, and listened with the most discriminating attention, and was
sure that it was rain!

Twice in our life we lived in houses built on the edge of the original
forests. These had been thinned out, and recesses opened up. It
happened in both cases that an ash and a hickory had been left, which
shot up, without side branches, to a great height. The trunks were
supple and tough. Whenever the winds moved gently, these long and
lithe trees moved with singular grace and beauty. As there was no
perceptible wind along the ground, their movements seemed voluntary.
And yet there was in it that kind of irresolution which one sees in
sleep-walking. But as soon as the breath became a breeze, the wide
circles through which these rooted gymnasts moved was wonderful. They
seemed going forth in every direction, and yet surely and quickly
springing back to position again. And in every motion, such was their
elasticity, they manifested the utmost grace. The sighing of winds in
a pine forest has no parallel sound except upon the sea-shore. Of all
sounds of leaves it is the sweetest and saddest, to certain moods of
summer leisure.

The pine sings, like the poet, with no every-day voice, but in a tone
apart from all common sounds. It has the power to change the
associations, and to quicken the poetic sensibility, as no other
singing tree can do. Every one should have this old harper, like a
seer or a priest among trees, about his dwelling. Under an old pine
would naturally be found the young maiden, whose new lover was far
across the seas. In the sounds that would descend she could not fail
to hear the voices of the sea,—the roar of winds, the plash of waves
running in upon the shore. A young mother, whose first-born had
returned to God who gave it, would go at twilight to the pines; for,
to her ear, the whole air must needs seem full of spirit voices. They
would sing to her thoughts in just such sad strains as soothe sorrow.
Nor would it be strange if, in the rise and fall of these sylvan
syllables, she should imagine that she heard her babe again, calling
to her from the air.

Every country place should have that very coquette among trees, the
aspen. It seems never to sleep. Its twinkling fingers are playing in
the air at some arch fantasy almost without pause. If you sit at a
window with a book, it will wink and blink, and beckon, and coax, till
you cannot help speaking to it! That must be a still day that does not
see the aspen quiver! A single leaf sometimes will begin to wag, and
not another on the whole tree will move. Sometimes a hidden breath
will catch at a lower branch, then, shifting, will leave that still,
while it shakes a topmost twig. Though the air may move so gently that
your cheek does not feel it, this sensitive tree will seem all a
shiver, and turn its leaves upward with shuddering chill. It is the
daintiest fairy of all the trees. One should have an aspen on every
side of his house, that no window should be without a chance to look
upon its nods and becks, and to rejoice in its innocent witcheries. I
have seen such fair sprites, too, in human form. But one does not get
off so easily, if he sports too much with them. The aspen leaf makes
no wounds. Its frolics spin no silken threads which one cannot follow,
and which will not break!

The musical qualities of trees have not been considered enough, in
planting around our dwellings. The great-leaved magnolias have no fine
sound. Willows have but little. Cedars, yew-trees, and Lombardy
poplars are almost silent. It is said that the Lombardy poplar is the
male tree, the female having never come over. It is very likely. It is
stiff enough to be an old bachelor. It spreads out no side branches.
Its top dies early. It casts a penurious shadow.

But my hand is tired. The winds move; all the leaves call me. Let me
go forth.

This ocean above me is sure to cure trouble. The winds sound, the
trees sing. My soul yearns. Its thoughts and moods below may roll like
a disturbed sea; but, drawn up into the heavenly air, like the waters
of the sea, they forget their wrath, and descend again in gentle dews
and nourishing rains.



IX.

UNVEILED NONSENSE.


                                                       _August 28th._

MY DEAR MR. BONNER: Are you not a censor of all your contributors? Do
you not read cautiously all matter sent to the _Ledger_, to prevent
the entrance thereinto of any injurious sentiments? And yet you have
allowed _blasphemy_ in your columns? You have! Or else the _Christian
Intelligencer_, the Dutch Reformed religious journal of New York, by
one of its contributors, is greatly mistaken. An article appears there
signed “Puritan,” and entitled “Veiled Profanity.” It begins with an
extract from an article of one of your contributors:—

     “Henry Ward Beecher says, ‘The only way to exterminate the
     Canada thistle is to plant it for a crop, and propose to
     make money out of it. Then worms will gnaw it, bugs will
     bite it, beetles will bore it, aphides will suck it, birds
     will peck it, heat will scorch it, rains will drown it, and
     mildew and blight will cover it.’”

And now guess, if you can, what harm lies couched in these words. Put
on your spectacles. Nothing wrong, do you say? O, but there is! _You_,
a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian, and can’t see heresy! Fie, for shame, to
be beaten by a Dutchman! Now, let our _Intelligencer’s_ man express
himself. The italics are his, not mine:—

     “These bugs, beetles, aphides, heat, rain, and mildew are
     the messengers of God. If they are sent, they _are on an
     errand for God_! Now, if the above extract has a point, it
     is that when mankind plant a crop of any kind of grain or
     seed, _God_ takes _a malicious pleasure in defeating such
     schemes_.”

This is exquisite! If mildew attacks my grape-vines, _it is on an
errand for God_, and if I sprinkle it with sulphur as a remedy, I put
brimstone into the very face of God’s messenger! When it _rains_—is
not rain, too, God’s messenger?—does “Puritan” dare to open a
blasphemous umbrella, and push it up in the very face of this divine
messenger? When a child is attacked by one of “God’s messengers”—measles,
canker-rash, dysentery, scarlet-fever—would it be a very great sin to
send for a doctor on purpose that he might resist these divine
messengers? There are insects which attack men, against one of which
we set up combs, and against another sulphur. “Nay,” says Puritan. “If
they are sent, _they are on an errand for God_.”

“Puritan” goes on:—

     “Such a sentiment is far deeper in its tone than a mere
     _murmur_. Especially as Mr. Beecher’s farm at Fishkill is
     well known to be cultivated with reference to making money.”

Yes, we confess it. A “murmur” very imperfectly expresses our feelings
as we dig at a Canada thistle, or squirt whale-oil soapsuds over a
myriad of “Puritan’s” divine messengers, called aphides. A _grumble_
would not be too strong a word to use on such occasions. Nay, the
reverend gentleman has been known to say, in a paroxysm of
horticultural impiety, “I wish every rose-bug on the place was dead!”
which must seem to “Puritan” a piece of horrible depravity.

I did not before know that I had a farm in _Fishkill_. My experience
with the farm at Peekskill, “which is well known to be cultivated with
reference to making money,” is such, that if it be true that I own
another farm at Fishkill, I shall consider myself on the straight road
to the poor-house!

But there is more coming:—

     “The charge of the reverend gentleman amounts to this,—that
     whenever he attempts to raise a crop of wheat, corn, flax,
     or grass, God sends beetles, bugs, aphides, heat, rain, and
     mildew, to blast his designs.

     “This has the _ring_ of Cain when his sacrifice was
     rejected. That primeval sinner vented his anger towards God
     on his holy brother. Mr. H. W. Beecher vents his anger
     towards the real cause of his mildewed crops, by charging
     the innocent instruments in their Maker’s hand. If this is
     not blasphemy in one as well informed as Mr. Beecher is, we
     have read his words amiss.
                                                      “PURITAN.”

I may have been mistaken, but it has seemed to me that every crop that
I have ever attempted to raise has had swarms of “messengers” sent
upon it. But, until now, I never suspected that God sent them, in any
other sense than that in which he sends diseases, famines, tyrants,
literary “Puritans,” and all other evils which afflict humanity.

But what is to be done about this matter? If it be “blasphemy” to
speak against bugs, it can be little short of sacrilege to smash them.
Here have I been, in the blindness of unrepented depravity,
slaughtering millions of “the messengers of God” called aphides! I
have ruthlessly slain those other angelic “messengers” called
mosquitoes, who came singing to me with misplaced confidence. I have
even railed at fleas, and spoken irreverently of gnats. I have gone
further: on a sultry summer’s day, after dinner, I have turned out of
my room every one of those “messengers of God” which wicked boys call
flies—every one but one, I mean; and, just as the sounds grew faint
and sight dim, and I was sinking into that entrancing experience, the
first virgin moments of slumber, an affectionate fly settled on my
nose, ran down to kiss my lips, and, like a traveler on a new
continent, set about exploring my whole face. Instead of greeting this
“messenger” divine as “Puritan” would, I confess to a lively vexation.
And if speaking of flies in a very disrespectful manner is
blasphemous, I must confess to the charge!

But soberly, Mr. Bonner, is it not pitiable to have among us men
pretending to intelligence, who bring religion into discredit by such
hopeless stupidity?

In the velocipede rinks, besides those for speed, premiums are offered
to the men who can ride the _slowest_. “Puritan” should enter himself.
If anybody can go slower, he must be a marvel of torpidity.



X.

NATURAL ORDER OF FLOWERS.


                                                          _May 21st._

He must have an artist’s eye for color and form who can arrange a
hundred flowers as tastefully, in any other way, as by strolling
through a garden, picking here one and there one, and adding them to
the bouquet in the accidental order in which they chance to come. Thus
we see every summer day the fair lady coming in from the breezy
side-hill with gorgeous colors, and most witching effects. If only she
could be changed to alabaster, was ever a finer show of flowers in so
fine a vase? But instead, allowed to remain as they were gathered, the
flowers are laid upon the table, divided and rearranged on some
principle of taste, I know not what, but never regain that charming
naturalness and grace which they first had.

As to the bouquets put up for market, the less said about them the
better. They are mere pillories in which, like innocent children put
into the stocks, flowers are punished! Squeezed, tied on sticks,
formal and pedantic, the flowers lose their rare charms, their
delicacy, their individuality, their exquisite variety of form, every
element of floral beauty except color. They are used as mere pigments.
They are poor studies in color. There are few who really know anything
about flowers by their finer qualities. The elder Park—who committed
the capital crime of leaving Brooklyn and going back to Scotland to
live—loved flowers after the true sort. We remember one day going to
his green-house in Amity Street, and after a world of talk about all
sorts of things, and looking over all his azaleas, camellias,
laurustinus, and what not, he drew us bashfully into a side apartment,
and with the diffidence of a girl, said, pointing to an exquisite
little fern hardly so large as our forefinger, growing in the border
under some orange-plants, “There, I should not dare to tell anybody
but you that I have taken more real pleasure in that one little thing
than in all the whole establishment.” We perfectly understood him. The
fern was of the most delicate sort. It seemed to hover between form
and spirit,—if there be such a thing as soul in plant-life. All around
it were large and vigorous plants growing lush and stalwart. This
dainty little fairy fern appealed to the child-loving side of human
nature, to the unworldly and uncommercial faculties. We always
respected Park the better for this weakness. No man can have such a
sentiment for flowers, who has not in him feelings as fresh and
delicate as the flowers which he admires.

But with what complacency can such a one look upon the merchandise of
flowers which is exhibited at every party, every wedding, every vulgar
jam of rich people, who torment themselves through untimely hours for
the sake of tormenting their host?

Look at the atrocious bridal bouquets! The bride, the bridesmaids,
come forth bearing each a huge _melange_ of orange-blossoms and
rosebuds, wedged together into a pyramidal wart of flowers! If,
instead, the bride were to issue forth bearing in her hand a sprig of
orange-blossoms just as it grew, just as it was plucked from the
branch, or two or three simple rosebuds on the one stem, loosely
clustered, and with their own fresh green leaves, or a simple white
lily, would not every one feel how superior flowers were for such an
occasion, in their own simplicity and individuality, than when, as
generally happens, they are smothered up in an artificial heap, in
which all naturalness is utterly lost?

A single blossom of carnation with a geranium leaf; an exquisite
saffrano rosebud just beginning to open, with a fresh leaf from its
own bush for company; a stem of mignonette, girt round with a dozen
fragrant blue violets; a long sprig of mauvandia-vine, with its
charming blue bells, hanging from a tall wineglass, or carelessly
trailing round it,—these, and such little things, confer a pleasure on
those who have a sensitive eye for grace and simplicity, which nothing
else can.

We would not be understood as objecting to all _masses_ of flowers,
nor to large combinations. For coarser and more distant effects, they
are permissible. But even then, the more they can be made to have a
loose, airy, open habit, the finer will be their effect.

But first, simplicity, naturalness, singleness, and individualism in
flowers; afterward and inferior, though permissible, artificial
structures and combinations.



XI.

ROSES.


                                                           _July 2d._

June is the paradise of roses. In this month they break forth into
unparalleled splendor. All Rosedom is out in holiday apparel; and
roses white and black, green and pink, scarlet, crimson, and yellow,
striped and mottled, double and single, in clusters and solitary,
moss-roses, damask-roses, Noisette, perpetual, Bourbon, China, tea,
musk, and all other tribes and names, hang in exuberant beauty. The
air is full of their fragrance. The eye can turn nowhere that it is
not attracted to a glowing bush of roses. At first one is exhilarated.
He wanders from bush to bush and cuts the finest specimens, until
there is no room or dish for more. So many roses, and so few to see
them! What would not people shut up in cities give to see such
luxuriance of beauty! How strange that those who have ground do not
gather about them these favorites of every sense! The air and soil
that nourish nettles and thistles, plantain and dock, would bring
forth roses with equal kindness. There is enough ground wasted around
country houses to furnish root-room for a hundred kinds of roses,
without detriment either to fruit trees or ornamental shade trees. Men
admire them when they see them in a friend’s house; they are always
pleased to receive a lapful as a present to their wife or mother or
daughter; but it does not enter their head that they, too, might have
roses to give away.

Roses are easy of culture, easy of propagation, requiring almost as
little care as dandelions or daisies. The wonder is that every other
man is not an enthusiast, and in the month of June a gentle fanatic.
Floral insanity is one of the most charming inflictions to which man
is heir! One never wishes to be cured, nor should any one wish to cure
him. The garden is infectious. Flowers are “catching,” or the love of
them is. Men begin with one or two. In a few years they are struck
through with floral zeal. Not bees are more sedulous in their
researches into flowers than many a man is, and one finds, after the
strife and heat and toil of his ambitious life, that there is more
pure satisfaction in his garden than in all the other pursuits that
promise so much of pleasure and yield so little.

It is pleasant to find in men whose hard and loveless side you see in
society, so much that is gentle and beauty-loving in private. Hard
capitalists, sharp politicians, grinding business men, will often be
found, at home, in full sympathy with the gentlest aspects of nature.
One is surprised to find how rich and sweet these monsters often turn
out to be! Here is the man whom you have for years heard described, in
all the newspapers, as a spectacle of wickedness or a monument of
folly. You are, by some convulsion of nature, thrown into his company,
and travel for days with him. To your surprise his manners are gentle,
his conversation pleasing, his attentions to all about him
considerate. This must be artifice. It is a veil to hide that hideous
heart of which you have heard so much. You watch and wait. But
watching and waiting only satisfy you that this supposed monster is a
kind man, with a world of sympathy for beautiful things. And when, in
after-months, you have been at his summer-house, and know him in his
vineyard and his garden, you smile at yourself that you were ever
subject to that illusion which is so often raised about public men.

A man is not always to be trusted because he loves fine horses, or
because he follows the stream or hunts in the fields. But if a man
that loves flowers, and loves them enough to labor for them, is not to
be trusted, where in this wicked world shall we go for trust? A man
that carries a garden in his heart has got back again a part of the
Eden from which our great forefather was expelled.



XII.

CHESTNUTS.


                                                         _July 30th._

I fancy that trees have dispositions. At any rate, they have those
qualities which suggest dispositions to all who are in sympathy with
nature, and who look upon facts as letters of an alphabet, by which
one may spell out the hidden meanings of things. Some trees, like the
apple, suggest goodness and humility. They put on no airs. They do not
exalt themselves. They are patient of climate, full of beauty in
blossom, and, in autumn, beautiful in fruit.

The oak, when well grown, has the beauty of rugged strength, and
sometimes it has grandeur. Certain live-oak trees on Helena Island,
near Beaufort, S. C., with long, pendant moss, like a Druid’s beard,
impressed us with a feeling of the sublime in vegetation which we
never experience in the presence of any other tree. Down on our backs
we lay, and gazed up into their vast tops with a pleasure never since
renewed. These were the types of patriarchal dignity.

The American elm is the tree of grace and beauty. It is stately
without stiffness. It carries itself up to such a height that its
drooping boughs do not suggest feebleness, as the weeping-willow does.
And yet, one never has the feeling of sympathy with it or of personal
intercourse. One may sit under its branches, but no one ever sat on or
among them. We admire, but do not sympathize. Still less did any one
ever love a hickory-tree. They are beautiful and stately, but
self-contained. When young, they are dandies; and when old,
aristocrats.

Not so the chestnut-tree. This darling old fellow is a very
grandfather among trees. What a great, open bosom it has! Its boughs
are arranged with express reference to ease in climbing. Nature was in
a good mood when the chestnut-tree came forth. It is, when well grown,
a stately tree, wide-spreading, and of great size. Even in the forest
the chestnut is a noble tree. But one never sees its full development
except when it has grown in the open fields. It then assumes immense
proportions. Having a tendency when cut down to send up many shoots
from the stump, old trees are often found with four or five trunks
springing from the same root. In such cases, no other American tree
covers so wide a space of ground. Not even the oak attains to greater
size or longevity. The Tortworth chestnut, in England, is supposed to
have been standing before the Conquest, 1066, and must be not far from
a thousand years old. The longest known tree in America is the “Rice”
chestnut, on the estate of Marshall I. Rice, at Newton Centre, Mass.
It measures twenty-four feet and three tenths in circumference at the
base, seventy-six feet in height, and spreads its limbs ninety-three
feet. It is vigorous, and still bears enormous crops. This, however,
is a mere stripling compared with the famous chestnut-tree of Mount
Ætna, whose trunk measured about one hundred and sixty feet in
circumference, or some fifty-three feet in diameter, and which could
shelter a hundred horsemen beneath its branches! But this tree, long
hollow, is about giving up the ghost, even if it has not already done
so, no doubt dying in the peaceful consciousness of having spent a
virtuous life, and fed thousands of people with two thousand years’
full of nuts!

There is living in vigor at Sancerre, in France, a tree which, at six
feet from the ground, measures thirty feet in circumference. Michaux
says that he measured several trees in the Carolina mountains of
fifteen or sixteen feet in circumference; which, if a boy is expected
to climb them, is full large enough.

A chestnut-tree in full bloom is a fine sight. It blossoms about the
first of July, in clusters of long, yellowish-white filaments, like a
tuft of coarse wool-rolls. The whole top of the tree is silvered over.
We have never seen them so finely in blossom as this year, and we
foresee a grand harvest for the boys. O, those golden days of October!
The thought of them brings back the days of boyhood, the brilliant
foliage of the forest just putting on its regal garments; the merry
sport of squirrels racing on the ground (if one lies dead-still to
watch), or scampering up the trunks, and leaping from tree to tree
with chirk and bark, if disturbed.

It was a great day when, with bag and basket, the whole family was
summoned to go “a-chestnuting!” There was frolic enough, and climbing
enough, and shaking enough, and rattling nuts enough, and a sly kiss
or two,—but never enough,—and lunch enough, and appetite enough. The
silver brook on the hillside carried down, on its murmuring current,
the golden leaves which the trees, with every puff of wind, sent
shimmering down through the air. Barefooted, as we were all summer
long, the prickly chestnut burs were too sharp for our little tough
feet, and we were glad to pick our way cautiously under the trees.

Long live the chestnut-tree, and the chestnut woods on the
mountain-side, and the boys and girls who frolic under their boughs!
And long live the winter nights, with the homely fare of apples and
nuts, and no stronger drink than cider; and a merry crowd of boys and
girls, with here and there the spectacled old folks; all before a
roaring hickory fire, in an old-fashioned fireplace, big as the
western horizon with the sun going down in it, and with a roguish
stick of chestnut wood in it, which opens such a fusillade of snaps
and cracks as sets the girls to screaming, and throws out such
mischievous coals upon the calico dresses, as obliges every humane boy
to run to the relief of his sweetheart all on fire!

No doubt many an old gentleman will read this article with a face
growing more and more full of smiles, and taking off his spectacles at
the end, and, looking kindly over at his aged dame, will say, “Do you
remember, Polly, when we were at Squire Judson’s—” “Well, well,
father, you are too old to be talking about such youthful follies.”
Nevertheless, she smiles and looks kindly over at the old rogue who
kissed her that night, proposed on the way home, and was married
before Christmas.



XIII.

GREEN PEAS.


                                                       _August 20th._

What a comfort is the consciousness of usefulness! One may dig on his
farm or delve in his library for weeks, with nothing to show for it,
and with no murmuring applause. But let him once spread the table, put
the pot to boiling, and set forth a meal; and the praise of
housekeepers begins to ascend, sweet as frankincense or new-made
apple-pies. But we are praise-proof in culinary matters. There are
others around here that are liable to the puffing-up of vanity, if
their domestic performances are loudly applauded. But we, of the
stronger sex, can hear our beefsteak commended without a wrinkle upon
our tranquil humility. We can have our coffee criticised without a
flush of indignation. Even our method of cooking vegetables may be
undervalued, without exciting us to controversy; so tranquil is our
soul, when once under the inspiration of the _cuisine_. But some there
are who mingle praise with suggestion—a cup of criticism with sugar in
it. Thus:—

     “We heartily thank him for his descriptions in ’summer
     Dinners,’ and would mildly suggest, if he would add a pint
     of nice, thick cream to a quart of peas, taken from milk
     that has stood just six hours in a cool, airy, and clean
     cellar—said milk must be milk, to start with; none of your
     blue, watery stuff, such as some cows are said to give, but
     rich, golden milk, caught in bright tin pails, so polished
     that they reflect the happy faces of all who wish to take a
     peep at them:—with such a dish, I think we could tempt—well,
     Henry Ward, to dine with us; couldn’t we? especially if we
     add an apple-pie made after a receipt you gave in the
     _Ledger_ several years ago.

              “Yours, very respectfully,
                   “Twenty-year-old              DOT.”

If one wishes a new and composite dish, let the peas be smothered in
cream. But, if one wishes _peas_, pure and simple, in their own
flavor,—a flavor chosen out of the whole vegetable realm, and not
repeated in any other growing thing,—let him not, let her not,
audaciously introduce any rival flavor. Peas are good; cream is good;
peas and cream are good,—each in its own severalty. But let each one
stand in its own name. Do not call peas and cream, peas. One’s
tenderest culinary susceptibility is touched, to be asked if he will
take some green peas, and then to find himself eating peas and cream!

The English receipts recommend a sprig or two of mint to be thrown in
while green peas are cooking. We do not challenge their right to do
it. They may put in anise and cummin too, if they choose. But we do
protest, in the name of kitchen literature, against calling such
experimental compounds by the ever-dear name of “green peas.”

All smooth peas are tasteless compared with the wrinkled peas. It is
proper that wrinkles should bring sweetness. The smooth-faced
varieties are fairer to look upon. But they are not inwardly rich.
That these should be flavored, enriched, and spiced with herbs, is not
altogether against nature or analogy.

Still, if on some bright summer day, soon after the twelve musical
strokes on the village bell, we shall find ourselves the guest of the
sprightly “Dot,” we shall lay aside all pre-conceived notions and all
prejudices; and if it prove to be that peas absorb cream into their
bosoms without losing their peahood—nay, if this wedding shall prove,
as all true weddings should, that individuality is developed and
established—we shall gladly repent, confess, and recant our foregoing
protest.

Another fair heart has suffered itself to fall into shocking doubts.

     “DEAR SIR: It is with great pleasure that I read your weekly
     articles in the _Ledger_, and I have especially relished
     your ’summer Dinner,’ which was got up in such good style.
     But—and this is what is very important—did you have to ask
     your wife the different names of the vegetables, and how to
     cook them? Or do you believe in _Men’s Rights_, and so know
     how to do your own cooking, seasoning, and eating?”

The family should be sacred! This attempt to pry into its secrets must
not succeed. This question answered, the next one would be, whether we
wrote our own articles for the _Ledger_, or whether some one dictated
them to us? And then would come questions as to who wrote the sermons?
Then, when once the stream had broken over the bounds of proper
privacy, it would rush through kitchen and pantry, closet and
cupboard, cellar and attic, until the slime of curiosity would lie
thick on all the sacred places of the household.

“Ask our wife,” forsooth! We asked her once for all, some years ago,
and the answer lasts, full and strong, until this day.



XIV.

HENS.


                                                         _April 22d._

The day is bright and windy. The sky has sunk back to the uttermost,
and the arch seems wonderfully deep above your head. Little
cloud-ships go sailing about in the heavens as busily as if they
carried freight to long-expectant owners. It is a day for the country.
The city palls on the jaded nerve. I long to hear the hens cackle.
There are lively times now in barn and barn-yard, I’ll warrant you. If
I were lying on the east veranda of a cottage that I wot of, I should
see flocks of pure white Leghorns, wind-blown, shining in the
sunlight, searching for a morsel in and out of the shrubbery, and hear
the cocks crowing, and the hens crooning. The Leghorn, of true blood,
leads the race of fowls for continuous eggs, in season and out of
season; eggs large enough, of fine quality, and sprung from hens that
never think of chickens. For a true Leghorn seldom wants to sit. They
believe in division of labor. They provide eggs; others must hatch
them. Other fowls may surpass them on the spit or gridiron, but, as
egg-layers, they easily take the lead. They are hardy, handsome, and
immensely productive. As it is just as easy to keep good fowls as poor
ones, thrifty housekeepers should secure a good laying breed. Not
every pure white fowl is a Leghorn. There are many White Spanish sold
as Leghorns. They may be known by their gray or pearl-colored legs.
The pure Leghorn has a yellow leg, a single comb, quite long and
usually lapping down. This breed is well known about New York, but no
description of it can be found in English poultry-books. Indeed, we
are informed that Tegetmayer, the standard authority, but recently
knew anything about them, and then from a coop sent from New York.

The Brahmas and Cochins have good qualities. They are large, even
huge. They are peaceable, and the Cochins do not _scratch_,—an
important fact to all who have a garden, and who yet desire to let
their poultry run at large. They are good layers, admirable mothers,
and yield a fine carcass for the table, but the meat is not fine,
though fairly good. But a more ungainly thing than buff Cochins the
eye never saw. A flock of Leghorns is a delight to the eye. One is
never tired of watching them. Their forms are symmetrical, and every
motion is graceful. But the huge poddy Cochins waddle before you like
over-fat buffoons. They are grotesque, good-natured, clumsy, useful
creatures; but they have a great love of sitting. Every Cochin hen
would love to bring out two broods in a season; while the white
Leghorns fill their nests with eggs, and then think their whole duty
done. We keep Cochin hens to sit on Leghorn eggs. Better mothers
cannot be.

I hear my hens cackle! These bright spring days are passing, and the
concert of the barn-yard is in full play, but I am tied up to the pen!
Currant-bushes are pushing out their blossom-buds; rhubarb is showing
its red knuckles above the ground; willows are pushing out their silky
catkins; birds have come—everything has come but me! I cannot sprout
yet. Patience! I shall be green enough in a few weeks. The city shall
not always prevail. In due season I shall go to grass. Already I smell
it. The odor of new grass can be perceived but for a few days only in
spring. It should be noticed then, for it is unlike any other perfume,
and will be perceived no more until another year. How happy are they
that dwell among open fields,—or how happy they might be if they but
knew their privileges!



XV.

FARMING.


                                                          _May 13th._

If one wishes to make money out of the soil, upon an Eastern farm, he
must live upon it, study it, watch it, calk and groove it so that no
leak shall be possible, economize rigidly, work fearfully, sell the
best, use the unsalable,—in short, he must be a drudge or a genius.
Not a genius in literature or art, but in money-making. Only think how
some old-fashioned New England ministers lived on a salary of four
hundred dollars; educated seven or eight children; worked their farm
during the week, and preached on Sunday; and died rich, that is, worth
anywhere from fifty to a hundred thousand dollars, which, fifty years
ago, was as much as two hundred and fifty thousand dollars are now;
for the purchasing power of gold and silver is steadily declining, and
of course more of it is required for the same purposes.

But only now and then did such a man and minister turn up; and the
general impression, even in his case, was, that the farm was better
tilled than the parish.

But the small farmers in the old States north of the Delaware have a
hard life. If they get on, it is by vigorous economy following
excessive industry. There is a good deal of sentiment wasted on the
delights of farming. But in New England, we suspect that for every
farmer who lives in abundance or comparative ease, there are five, and
perhaps ten, that fare coarsely, and are not half as well clothed and
housed as the average mechanic. First-rate farmers are few; third and
fourth rate farmers are many, and a hard time they have. But as one
goes westward, to better soil, larger farms, and more congenial
climate, things change. Farmers are prosperous without such exacting
toil. Their dwellings grow better, particularly in the northern parts
of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and the great Northwest. If one has money
and leisure, he may carry on a farm in the Eastern States with great
enjoyment. That is as pleasant a way to spend money as can well be
devised, not even excepting the management of fast horses and fast
yachts; for both of these deteriorate in the using, and some go under,
while the farm steadily rises in value and force. But with the
exception of the owners of uncommonly good land here and there, not
much money is to be made at farming in the East. The farm is an
institution designed to promote health and comfort in the expenditure
of money. Money is the one manure which the farm greedily covets.

We say these things, not to discourage farming, but to dissuade the
annual host from going out to make their fortunes on a farm, who, in
five years, will come back stripped bare of everything but disgust—not
of that. No man would think of going from the law, or from a store,
into a mechanical trade without having served an apprenticeship, or
having become in some way familiar with it. Lawyers do not set up at
cabinet-making, nor go into steel works, nor set up for builders or
painters. But when business is dull, and health delicate, many a
professional man, many a clerk or unsuccessful merchant, concludes to
buy a “snug farm,” and retire from the cares of the town or city, to
lead the joyous life of a farmer. He has no knowledge of farming; but
it requires none! Farming is simple. You rise with the dewy morn; you
go forth to your prodigal acres; you rest under the trees bending with
fruit; you eat from your bountiful table the food that sprung from
your own soil,—and ever so much more romance of the same sort.

Prosperous farming requires knowledge, tact at managing men, skill in
laying out work, incessant industry, very close calculations, good
judgment in buying, and a good capacity of selling. In short, the
qualities which go to make up a good merchant, a good manufacturer,
and a good scientist ought to be combined in a first-class farmer.
There are more passable orators born every year than there are
first-class farmers. If any one doubts the truth of these views, let
him try a farm for a few years!



XVI.

GARDENING UNDER DIFFICULTIES.


It is not every one who can toss off his provocations with so good a
grace as our correspondent, whose letter we insert:—

                                         NEW YORK, _April 19th_.

     DEAR MR. BEECHER: Suppose you were fond of flowers and
     shrubs, and that the plat of Mother Earth allotted you was
     at the back of your city house, say about seventeen feet
     square,—the most of it occupied by the space for drying
     clothes; the rest a hard clayey soil, baked by the sun so
     quickly that you wish the Israelites might have had it to
     make brick, and one that no amount of foreign admixture
     improves.

     Suppose the florist came every spring, hoed and raked, and
     distributed roses, verbenas, geraniums, and the like, at
     regular intervals, also sticks, bare evidence of the
     burial-place of various cherished bulbs that never come up,
     but seem, like your carnations, to disappear with the
     wheelbarrow.

     Suppose the occupants of the tenement-house close to your
     rear fence,—who always, _in all the stories_ of the day,
     nurse a geranium in a cracked pot,—instead of thanking you
     for the pleasant sight under their windows, garnished your
     bed with egg-shells, old paper collars, rags, bones, empty
     spools, and other _débris_ handy for the purpose.

     Suppose the nine thousand and ninety cats and their families
     roosted on the fence in the twilight, and tried their claws
     on your shrubs, and the softness of your soil generally, in
     the small hours of the night.

     Suppose, with the first green leaves, the worms came also,
     and the green lice, and the ants, and made your bushes a
     sorrow and a vexation.

     Suppose the hoop of the laundress was over it all, so to
     speak, and the hose always burst when the weather was dry,
     and your watering-pot held about a teacupful.

     What would _you_ do, Mr. Beecher? Would you give over the
     space to old shoes and ugliness, or would you fly in the
     face of _manifest destiny_ and cultivate?

                   Dejectedly yours,
                                                 BREEZE.

The very first thing to be done with a tenacious and obstinate clay
soil is to have it dug out and carted away bodily, and its place
supplied with good fresh loam. This would be a serious job if there
were several acres. But when there is but a plat of seventeen feet
square, and the larger part of that reserved for laundry purposes,
only borders being used for flowers, the amount to be removed would be
comparatively small, and the satisfaction would be ample repayment.
Any one with a cart can carry off the clay, but not every one can get
good soil. An honest florist or garden jobber could put you in the way
of that.

If you will have a garden, it is best to be your own gardener. Adam
and Eve set the example.

The cats may be managed in various ways. A black-and-tan terrier kept
in the back yard has a wonderful influence on cats, arousing in them a
strong local prejudice. If the boys in the neighborhood knew that a
premium were offered for cat scalps, it would be found greatly to
interest the cats. At any rate, their number would grow less.

As to worms and aphides, no one is fit to own flowers who, in so small
a space as seventeen feet square, cannot exterminate them,—worms by
hand picking, and aphides by whale-oil soapsuds. A vigorous fidelity
will in a short time put the last worm _hors de combat_. The whale-oil
soap may be had at any large seed-store,—directions for use
accompanying the little jar. A tin garden syringe may be had at the
same place, costing but little, lasting, with care, twenty years, and
carrying the soapsuds like spray over every leaf and twig.

We, too, in Brooklyn have _lawn dresses_ with equatorial hoops, and
yet manage to have many a charming patch of flowers. But, of all
things in this world, a garden needs the presence of its owner. If you
do not love it enough to care for it as you would for a baby, better
let it alone. Flowers know who love them. They will not be put off
with arm’s-length cordiality. But, if you love them, you will easily
overcome a hundred obstacles, and rejoice in your flowers all the more
because they are the trophies of your patience and industry.



XVII.

CORN.


                                                    _September 19th._

We have artists who give themselves to specialties. One delights to
know fruits. Another loves architecture, or landscape, or figures, or
animals, or grasses and flowers. Now it has always seemed strange that
the noblest of all grasses, maize, or Indian corn, has never found an
enthusiastic lover. It has been painted often, but never yet
interpreted. No one has done by it what has been done by the lily, the
rose, the convolvulus.

And yet, where shall we find any union of strength and grace more
perfect among herbaceous plants? The jointed stem, robust and stiff,
gives off at each articulation the most gracefully curved
sword-leaves, which diminish in length as the plant goes up to its
fimbriated top, forming a symmetrical whole not to be equalled among
field plants.

If one will wander along the edges of a cornfield, he will often see
an exquisite picture, such as Nature loves to make. The wild
convolvulus, which often fills the fence corners, has crept out of the
grass into the furrow and twined around the corn, climbing to its very
top, and, having power yet to grow, returns upon itself and fashions
festoons of exquisite leaves and white blossoms, which hang down in
every negligent form of beauty. Other vines too, besides the
convolvulus, try their arts, and none fail; but none succeed so
charmingly as this queen of twining vines.

A specialist might devote himself to corn without fear of exhausting
the subject. Of all the grains it is the true type of republicanism.
It knows how to live in the community without losing its
individuality. The smaller grains—wheat, barley, and such like—produce
their effects only in masses. Individual stalks are quite
insignificant. It is the community, and not the individual, that is
beautiful. But a field of corn does not swallow up in itself the stems
which form its mass. Every plant yet retains it nobility. If corn is
sown so thickly that it cannot find room for development, the whole
degenerates into mere grass, and loses its proper force and beauty.
But the husbandman has found out what rulers yet but slowly learn, and
reluctantly,—that the force and beauty of the whole is to be sought in
the development and strength of each single plant. Individuality and
community are not only compatible, but each is the indispensable
factor of the other.

Or, turn the subject in another light. Each stalk of corn is a father
and mother. It does not live for itself. When it hastens on in the hot
days of July, it is not its own beauty that it seeks. It takes that on
the way to a higher end. In the cool juices of that polished stem
glows the sacred fire of parentage. The arched and rustling leaves
borrow of the sun and air food for the coming brood. No sooner does
the tassel break forth at the top, than out peer the infant ears
nestling at the side of the noble stem. Nor does the parent blossom
into its final beauty until the exquisite silk hangs from the nascent
ears of corn to feed upon the parent’s life, and in that find its own.

No sooner do the new-born kernels swell, than the parent bequeaths
itself and all its inward stores to its offspring. The long leaves
swing idly in the air, as things that have nothing more to do. Every
day the winds evoke a shriller sound from their motions. When the cob
has covered itself with golden kernels, rich and ripe, the parent
dies,—dies mourning sadly, shall we think? What though it shall live a
hundred-fold in its children? All memory or consciousness will be
gone. It has spent its life and beauty for others. But how strong, how
fresh, how full, how beautiful its life, while doing its appointed
work! How little does it really care to live when the end of living is
accomplished! It did the work at hand, and drew all its beauty from
that doing, then took its place in the great economy of nature,
falling back to nothing.

With such thoughts men looked upon the fields thousands of years ago,
and sighed, “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the
field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is
gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.”

It was thousands of years afterward that one said, “As we have borne
the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the
heavenly…. Death is swallowed up in victory.”

The grass of the field may image forth the secular side of human life,
but it can go no further than the grave. Beyond that it cannot point.
Only one garden ever was that set forth the sure hope of immortality.
“In the place where He was crucified, there was a garden…. There laid
they Jesus.”



XVIII.

DANDELIONS.


                                                          _June 8th._

There are many charms connected with the ideal life of the tropics.
The chief drawback is, that _manhood_ deliquesces and runs out under
the equator. This is not paid for by luscious bananas, oranges,
orchids, or ever-blooming vines and trees. Enjoyment palls when it
flows unceasingly and without break. To live in summer forever,
without one ungarlanded hour in the year, might, for aught we know,
sate us with sweetness.

The tropics were not made to live in all the year. They are a refuge
for one or two months. After frost and snow have had their full meal,
and the northern winds have by familiarity bred contempt and
influenzas, it is a good thing to go to sleep on the good steamer Moro
Castle, and wake up in Cuba, or Jamaica, or to go on through the Gulf
of Mexico to the Magdalena valley in Northern South America, which the
painter Church once told me he regarded as the most perfect climate
that he had ever found in all travels.

But as soon as the contrast is satisfied, we are sure that one in the
tropics must long for the northern zones, northern fruits and northern
flowers; for calm days without pestilent insects; for _grass_, and for
DANDELIONS!

Now I have got upon my real subject. The foregoing sentences were in
the nature of a rhetorical introduction,—a sly and adroit way of
getting people to listen to the praises of one of the brightest charms
of our northern spring days.

I am moved to celebrate this brilliant, and yet, I fear, not
much-prized flower, from the glory of my morning view. Out of my back
windows I look down on four or five grassy yards, all well kept and
lying well open to the sun. Soon after the grass springs you may see
such a gorgeous array of dandelions as might make a florist fairly
envious! They jut out from the edges of the walks, they crowd the
narrow strips of grass at the lower end, they fairly jostle each other
like a crowd pouring out of a public hall, in their strife to get into
the light and open their golden crowns to the sun.

So brilliant are they and so hardy, that we are apt to miss the
sentiment that lives in them. They are not of the flowers that
impudently push themselves forward, demanding us to look at them
whether we will or no. With all their amazing brilliancy, they are
still coy love-flowers, that wait for the sun, as a bride for the
bridegroom. For dandelions do not wake up in the morning before we do.
They wait till the sun has long called them, and then they fling open
their golden disks, and shine with a real delight of existence, with a
cheer and abundance which ought to strike joy into the heart of a
misanthrope.

Soon after noon is at its highest, the dandelion, thinking that the
world is bright enough, and that the sun can manage the rest of the
day, folds itself up, laces the golden filaments with the green
lepals, and retires to meditation. Thus it plays courtier in the
morning, and nun in the afternoon.

But what a name! _Dens leonis!_ or _Dent-de-lion!_ Or, if you fly to
the systematic name,—the harsh _Taraxacum!_ Shall such a home-loving,
radiant creature be called _Lion’s Tooth_, because some impertinent,
prying botanist fancied that he had espied the shape of a lion’s tooth
in its minor forms?

Just as soon as we have got politics settled, business reformed, and
human nature elevated, I am determined to form a society for the
reformation of botanical names. Botany has been the Noah’s Ark of
pedants. Every absurd whim of every pragmatical professor has been
turned into Greek or Latin, and hung about the neck of unhappy flower.
One might as well hang a dictionary around a child’s neck by way of
ornament, as to impose on flowers such outrageous and outlandish names
as now defend the science of botany from all approach, as a fort is
defended by a line of _chevaux-de-frise_.

But blessings on those cheery children of the sun! They are born of
brightness; their whole life is like a smile of love. They are not a
flower for the hand; they are not to be worn in the bosom. They do not
love the house, or the pressure of a close bouquet. Their life is in
the free open air. They shine out on you along your daily walk. They
crowd your yard with golden coin, which, good for nothing in the
market, may yet have the power to confer more enjoyment than could
golden dollars or ducats.

This is my annual tribute. To-day I look out of my window, and thank
God for the gifts which he sends me by the hand of Dandelions! Do they
know my thoughts as I gaze on them? Is there not some sympathy between
things in nature which wake up the soul to delight, and aid the soul
thus aroused? Behind signs and signals, back of all articulate
utterance, may there not be a subtler relationship which will yet be
discovered, as connecting the inward and the outward with a living
relationship?



XIX.

HOW TO BEAUTIFY HOMES.


                                                       _August 25th._

No one needs to be told how much a house is adorned by _vines_; and
yet many are averse to their liberal use from the impression that they
make a house damp. It is true that they _may_, but it is not necessary
that they should. Vines do not _collect_ dampness. If any part of the
house wall needs the sun to warm it, and is covered by a vine from its
influence, it may favor dampness. But an ivy vine, on the other hand,
is reputed to make a wall dry, and has sometimes been employed to
correct the undue moisture to which certain portions of a dwelling are
subject. A grape vine, trained upon slats, which shall have a few
inches of air-space underneath it, will not injure the house. Upon
porches, over trellises, vines may be trained with charming effect,
and without offending those who are superstitiously prejudiced against
vines on the house.

The kinds of vines must be left, in the case of thousands, to
accident. Men that are obliged to count the very last penny in their
expenses cannot send many orders to florists for beautiful things, but
must take what they can get in their own neighborhood. We will mention
a few things now generally diffused.

The _Glycine_, or _Wistaria_, is one of the noblest. It will run a
hundred feet or more, and grow in time to have a trunk like a small
tree. Nothing can surpass it at its blossoming period. It is like a
vision of the garden of heaven. It may be raised by _layers_, but will
be found somewhat slow in taking hold after transplantation. Its arms
may be carried out in tier above tier to cover the whole side of the
house, when economy of space is no object; but where one desires to
spare for other things, the _Wistaria_ may be trained upon a corner,
or along the eaves.

There is nothing more beautiful in its summer greenness or gorgeous in
its autumn reds and purples, than the Virginia Creeper—_Ampelopsis
hederacea_. There is a variety called _Ampelopsis Veitchii_, or
Veitch’s, which is extremely beautiful. It clings to wood or brick
with as much tenacity as the ivy. Its foliage is fine, and its habit
fits it to fill small spaces. It is a plant that, having once owned,
no one would part with.

If one wishes a dense screen, there is no vine that grows more rapidly
or that is more hardy than the _Aristoloicha sipho_, or Dutchman’s
pipe. One might as well attempt to look through a brick wall as
through the opaque mass made by its enormous leaves. But its
coarseness fits it chiefly for hiding ungainly things or shading from
the light.

The _Trumpet Creeper_ is effective at a distance, but its coarseness
excludes it from familiar nearness.

Few people are aware of the vast improvements which have taken place
in the _Clematis_. Every one knows the wild white clematis, which is
beautiful in blossom, and almost as fine when its seeds are ripened.
It abounds in our fields, and bears transplantation easily. The new
kinds, or those comparatively new, deserve to be better known.
Fortune’s, Henderson’s, Jackman’s, the Prince of Wales, Standish’s,
together with Helena, Sophia, Lanuginosa, are obtainable at our
first-class nurseries, and may be easily propagated. Besides these,
there are every year new varieties introduced. There is no vine that
we should spare with more reluctance. The sheets of gorgeous bloom,
which, by judicious selection of kinds, will last from June to
September, the perfect hardiness of the plant, and the ease with which
it is trained, fit it eminently for small places and sunny spots. For
it loves the full blaze, and will not flourish well even when planted
with other vines that at all shade it. Indeed, to have the best effect
of clematis, it should be trained in a clear and open space to a
trellis of its own.

But, of all vines, none is more popular, and deservedly so, than the
honeysuckle. The kinds are numerous. But if but one can be had, let it
be the _Halleana_, or Hall’s Japan honeysuckle. It cannot be
distinguished from the _Brachypoda_, in leaf or blossom; but it excels
that immeasurably in the habit of blossoming all summer. The
_Flexuoso_, or Chinese, is fine, but we consider it second to Hall’s,
which ought to be better known and more widely diffused than it is. By
planting it on open soil, without support, it spreads over the ground,
and roots at every joint, so that hundreds of new plants may be gained
every year.

There is a beautiful golden honeysuckle—_aurea reticulata_. This ought
not to be planted by the side of green-leaved varieties. It produces
the effect of a diseased or weak branch, rather than of contrast and
variety. But the golden-leaved, if planted by itself, and well grown,
is gorgeous. It is perfectly hardy, and is of good growth and
constitution. If one has a yard of ground, he may have a vine which
will give unfeigned pleasure through the whole summer.



XX.

BIRCH AND ASPEN.


                                                    _September 28th._

Looking out from my window upon the dark sides of the mountains, upon
the massive clouds, upon the wind-blown trees, I see my pet, the
birch, all in a shiver with each blast. The American white birch has
all the grace and delicacy of its European namesake, and, besides, a
sensibility which it borrows from the aspen, or shares with it.

One should have, on every side of a country house, a group of aspens
and birches. Planted together, they will give you motion in charming
variety. On other trees the leaves are so rigid in the stem, that a
wind strong enough to set them in full activity is strong enough to
set all the branches in motion. We recognize the force, and, in large
trees, the grandeur of motion. When a strong wind moves the whole
tree, it swings its great boughs hither and thither, all its leaves
and twigs utter their voices, which in chorus often rise to a roar.
Yet, though the whole tree is agitated, and seems convulsed, one sees
that it is only upon the exterior; while the top and sides are in full
motion, the trunk stands firm, and seems motionless. Not till its very
roots give way will it move, and then it does not bend, but goes down
with stiff trunk.

The elastic birch, with long and slender limbs, avoiding horizontal
positions and aiming at the zenith, flexible to the last degree, moves
in the wind with a grace and elasticity which has no parallel.

The American aspen has a shivering leaf upon a rigid branch. It stands
quite stiff and motionless in bough, while its leaves are quivering
and shivering in the most industrious manner. Right over against the
east door of the Twin Mountain House, New Hampshire, at a little
distance, is a group of aspens, which are my perpetual delight. They
are my wind-meters, or, rather, zephyr measurers. On a hot noon, when
no air seems stirring, and the trees about them doze and slumber, like
good men at church, these twinklers, like roguish boys, are dancing in
an imaginary breeze, and playing with themselves, without a particle
of wind, so far as I can perceive. Now a shiver runs over them from
head to foot; then the topmost leaves shake and swirl, while the
bottom rests. Gradually the motion dies away all over, and the frolic
ends. No, a single leaf begins to wag; it goes on in single
blessedness, with accelerated pace, up and down, round and round,
until, for the life of me, I cannot help bursting into a fit of
laughter at this solitary dance.

At times, in certain moods, one cannot help thinking that the aspen is
striving to communicate something. It seems so sigh and pant. It
supplicates as one that suffers. Then, changing suddenly, it coaxes
and winks and blinks at you as if it was only in fun. It will stand
perfectly still a minute as if looking to see what you will do, and
then a laughing ripple runs all over it. It frolics with the same
tireless grace as a kitten. Indeed, it is a kind of compound
kitten-tree, each particular leaf a kitten, all frolicking together;
though there is not one of them, if the rest won’t play, that is not
ready, kitten-like, as it were, to chase its own tail.

Why have landscape gardeners done so little with birches and aspens?
Maples, oaks, ashes, and evergreens are well; but in what other
direction shall we look for such grace in form, such susceptibility to
aerial influences, and such exquisite motion both of branch and leaf,
as we find in the aspen and birch? The birches grow rapidly, are
extremely hardy, and will flourish upon poor soil, though loving a
generous soil better. In ten years, with birch and aspen, one may
rejoice in a thick grove. If the yellow locust be added to these, and
the silver maple, one who plants at sixty may hope to see high over
his head a respectable young forest, dense enough for shade and high
enough to begin to comfort the imagination.

Long live the aspen and the birch! Only the young have just grounds
for prejudice; but even boys soon outgrow the birch, and watch its
sinewy motion without a thought of moving too, in shivering accord.



XXI.

AUTUMN.


                                                       _November 2d._

The summer is gone. The autumn is here. Not this year, as last, in the
plenitude of color, but more soberly, frugally, and sedately. The
autumn of 1871 was eminently a color season. Only once in three or
four years does Nature make a full pallet. Then the colors are pure,
intense, tender, and fresh. Such was last year. The scarlets were
brilliant, the orange was pure, the crocuses and yellows were clear
and rich. But, as autumnal days steal upon us now, we see already that
we shall have picture-forests of only second or third rate brilliancy.
The hickories are of a rusty and spotted golden brown. The maples are
fine, yet not exquisite.

The sumach is always brilliant. So are some of the vines. The
pepperidge-tree (_Nyssa sylvatica_) is very fine. If any one doubts
it, let him go over to Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, not far from the
stone cottage, on the south side, and he will have an opportunity to
review his opinion, and to wonder why it is that one of the most
magnificent color trees of the American forests is so little known or
introduced into decorated grounds. It ranks among the very first in
merit, and stands among the very last in use.

By the way, the parks of New York and Brooklyn should be used for
something else and more than mere walking and driving. They are the
best schools that America possesses for the study of trees and shrubs.
There are few things which our climate will allow to grow that may not
be found here, under circumstances which tend to produce their most
favorable development. Gentlemen who have country places may, by some
little pains, here see just what things they need, how to combine them
for the best effects, and how to provide for them soil and site. Once
possessed, the love of trees becomes a passion, and inspires more
pleasure than one can imagine who has never become an enthusiast in
that direction.

One may learn, particularly in the Brooklyn Park, the value of the new
_golden_ evergreens of various sorts. They are destined to work a
revolution in yards and gardens. Some of the more choice ones are
marvels of brilliancy, and carry their glowing yellows right through
the winter. One may learn in these parks how to decorate _rocks_.
There is many a place in the country abounding in outcropping ledges,
huge bowlders, or jutting rocks, which the proprietor wishes he could
dig out and cart away. But he is rich who has large rocks upon his
grounds. If one will see what use can be made of them, what a frame
they furnish for mosses, ferns, vines, and various elegant shrubs, he
will cease foolishly spending money to get rid of that which many men
would gladly spend money to obtain.

It is a fortunate thing for our country that so much attention is now
paid to the planting of trees. We hope to see the day when no longer
ninety-nine in every hundred that are planted in streets or yards
shall be maples and elms. What a sight would be a road on which one
could ride for a mile through an avenue of scarlet oaks, and then for
a mile through stately avenue of tulip-trees, and then through lines
of scarlet maples, pepperidge-trees, cypress, or long rows of
gentlemanly walnut-trees! The time will come when, on the great roads,
one may travel a whole day in the shade of stately trees.

It is not enough to plant your own grounds. Every village should line
its streets with shade trees. It is not enough to plant shade trees in
the streets. They ought to outrun the town, and reach from village to
village, until the whole region is filled with shadowed roads. In
doing this, we ought to avoid the monotony of a few varieties
endlessly reproduced, and make a generous use of the noble sorts that
are so abundantly scattered over our forests and fields.



XXII.

PLANT TREES!


April is the time for planting trees. Too much cannot be said to
induce people to fill their villages, and the great roads between
village and village, with fine shade trees, and private grounds with
the choicer kinds. To write a good hymn or plant a good tree makes one
a benefactor to his generation.

It is hardly to be expected that the old men, hard-working, and with
enough to do at any rate, will trouble themselves to plant trees along
public roads. But we may hope for such service from enterprising young
men, and even more from the public spirit of young women. Several
instances have come to our knowledge in which women have formed
associations for beautifying towns and villages by tree-planting, and
in a few years have transformed the places. Nor is it unworthy of
mention that this has been done by the influence of articles in the
_New York Ledger_. A tree-planting week might be made a festival week;
or persons might agree to secure a given number during the season.

And here it may be well to say, that, although spring and fall are the
best seasons for transplanting, yet trees may be moved in any month in
the year,—in the middle of August, if need be. A long row of
maples, in Peekskill, were moved—in consequence of grading and
fence-building—during the month of July, and only two of them
experienced any permanent injury.

But it should be borne in mind that only _small_ trees should be
removed in hot months, and after the foliage is expanded, unless one
has a mind to go to great expense. But trees six or eight feet high,
if taken with ample roots, and especially if moved in damp or wet
weather, may be safely transplanted in midsummer. Of course, it will
require twice the care and labor which the same tree would need in
spring, to produce the same result.

The three or four trees usually planted in grounds are maples, elms,
horse-chestnuts, and locusts. These are very well. But there are many
kinds of maple seldom seen that deserve a place; such as the English
field maple (_Acer compestre_), and notably the American red maple,
called swamp maple (_Acer rubrum_), the former for its finely cut
leaves, and the latter for early blossoms and for the exquisite
scarlet autumn hues of its leaves.

The cut-leaf or fern-leaf white birch is now common in nurseries. It
grows rapidly, is extremely graceful, has leaves delicate as a fern,
and in winter throws against the sky a tracery of twigs which is
beautiful to look upon. It ought to be in every small collection. The
_liquidomen_ has a very beautiful leaf, star-like, and changes in
autumn to a purplish bronze, quite distinct from all other leaves. If
one can get the _tupelo_, which abounds in New England, and may be
found in some nurseries, he will secure a tree much neglected, but
which ought to be universally diffused.

Few people know how beautiful is the sassafras-tree, when well grown.
In the woods it is hardly more than a shrub, or scrawny tree; but when
planted young in an open space, and in good soil, it has a peculiar
beauty of its own which is not repeated in any other tree.

Why are magnolias so seldom planted? They are as hardy as maples—some
of them at least. The _M. conspicua_, the _M. soulangiana_, _M.
glanca_, and _M. tripetala_ are easily had, are fine all summer, and
are the glory of the spring when their flowers expand.

The American and the English beech, and also the purple beech, should
be more often planted. An old beech-tree, grown on good soil, in an
open field, and not mutilated, has nothing to fear when standing among
all the kings of trees. No trees that we saw in England impressed us
as did the beeches at Warwick Castle.

In street planting, and along roadsides, nothing could be finer than
the tulip-tree, which grows rapidly, is clean, and bears fine blossoms
in early summer. They should be transplanted when small, as they
easily die off if moved when large. The same is true of chestnuts,
walnuts, and pecan-nuts.

Of evergreens I shall not speak, as they deserve a separate mention.
But do not plant them in the city, nor in any close yard. They do not
thrive, and become disfigurements rather than ornaments.



XXIII.

FAREWELL TO “SUMMER REST.”


In this bright October day I know, not what Eve felt in leaving
Paradise, but what John Milton imagined that she felt. To be sure, I
have no such garden as hers must have been, and besides, I leave at a
different season of the year; for she inquires feelingly, “Who now
shall train these flowers?” whereas my flowers are so nearly spent
that there is no need of training them. Tuberoses are gone, verbenas
are gone, phloxes, common roses, and all the garden tribe, except
scarlet sage, faithful marigolds, that never flinch to the last, and
petunias, that are more graceful than they, and full as constant.
Besides, there is the slow-footed chrysanthemum, too late for summer,
often too late for autumn,—that never gets its Sunday jacket on until
it is time to take it off again. But the amplitude of the floral
harvest has been reaped. Now we only glean. Still one leaves a home of
two months—summer months—not without a fluttering somewhere about the
heart. The still days, the deep days, the mellow days, without
taxation or excitement, are over. Now for the plunge and rush! Now for
_men_. Farewell, Nature!

Good by, top of the hill! from which not a dwelling can be seen, only
an horizon of mountains; and where, so often, just after the sun sets,
we have lingered alone, in the mystery and inexplicable delight of an
evening solitary hour, lifted far above the surrounding earth, and
almost as one suspended in the very ether.

Good by, homely stone wall! along which have grown so many weeds which
we naughtily admired and cherished, contrary to good farming manners;
where so many shrubs, finding good soil, shot up into thickets laced
with wild grape vines. Old tumble-down stone wall! Every stone colored
and built over with weather-stains of hard moss; stones covered with
brilliant ampelopsis, with the three-leaved ivy, fair to see, foul to
touch, and with the rampant bitter-sweet! Let no one despise a stone
wall, nor judge of it only from the cow’s point of view. It is the
city of refuge to all the little fry. Squirrels run in and out, with
saucy alertness, every summer’s day. Hares and rabbits find it a
bulwark. The hoary old fat woodchuck rejoices in it as in a fenced
city. Birds, too, wrens and sparrows, creep in and out, like children
playing bo-peep. On these sturdy stones have we sat hours and hours,
asking no softer cushion, and desiring no finer spectacle than God
sent down from the heavens, or displayed upon the earth. The winter
will soon vault into my seat, and a white shroud cover down the
neglected old wall on the hill-top! Good by!

Neither can a sensitive nature forget his summer companions, or stint
them in their meed of praise and gratitude. Worms whose metamorphosis
we have watched; spiders whose webs glitter along the grass at morning
and at evening, or mark out geometric figures among the trees,—spiders
red, brown, black, green, gray, yellow, and speckled; soft-winged
moths, gorgeous butterflies, steel-colored and shining black crickets,
locusts, and grasshoppers, and all the rabble of creaking, singing,
fiddling fellows besides, which swarm in air and earth,—we bid you all
a hearty good-by. Sooth to say, we part from some of you without
regret. But for the million we feel a true yearning,—so much have we
watched your ways, so many hours has our soul been fed by you through
our eyes. Ye are a part of the Great Father’s family.

O, how goodly a book is that which God has opened in this world! Every
day is a separate leaf,—nay, not leaf, but volume, with text and note
and picture, with every dainty quip and quirk of graceful art, with
stores of knowledge illimitable, if one will only humble himself to
receive it!

One should not willingly be ungrateful, even to the smallest
creatures, or to inanimate objects, that have served his pleasure. And
so, to reed and grass, bush and tree, stone and hill, brook and lake,
all creeping things and all things that fly, to early birds and late
chirping locusts, we wave our hand in grateful thanks!

But to that Providence over all, source of their joy and mine, what
words can express what every manly heart must feel? Only the life
itself can give thanks for life!



PLEASANT TALK

ABOUT

FRUIT, FLOWERS AND FARMING.



PRELIMINARY.


We understand very well that every region must fashion its _system_ of
agriculture upon the nature of its soil, its climate, etc. The
_principles_ of agriculture may be alike in every zone, but the
_processes_ depend upon circumstances. It would be folly for a new
country, without commerce, to imitate an old country with an active
commerce; it would be folly, where land is cheap, abundant, and
naturally fertile, to adopt the habits of those who are stinted in
lands, who have a redundant population, and who find a market for even
the weeds which are indigenous to the soil. The husbandry of Holland
is suited to a wet soil, and of England to a humid atmosphere and a
very even annual temperature. But our soil is subject to extreme wet
in spring and dryness in summer, to severe cold and intense heat. A
farm whose bottom-lands are reinvigorated by yearly inundations, may
thrive under an exacting husbandry that would exhaust an upland farm
in a few years. Modes of agriculture must be suited to circumstances.
Nevertheless, the experiments and discoveries and practices of every
land are worth our careful attention. We do not import _clothes_—but
we do _cloth_, to be _made up_ to suit our own habits and wants.

The two extremes of husbandry are, the _adoption_ of every novelty and
every experiment indiscriminately, and the _rejection_ of every new
thing and every improvement, as indiscriminately. Wisdom consists in
“proving all things and holding fast that which is _good_.” We do not
advocate large outlays for expensive machines—for fancy cattle, for
every new thing that turns up. But when, after full trial, it is
ascertained what are the best farm horses, the best breed of cattle,
the best milch cows, the most profitable breed of hogs and sheep, and
the most skillful routine of cultivation, we think our farmers ought
to profit by the knowledge. It is never a good economy to have poor
things when you can just as well have the best. This, then, is


OUR CREED.


We believe in small farms and thorough cultivation.

We believe that soil loves to eat, as well as its owner, and ought,
therefore, to be manured.

We believe in large crops which leave the land better than they found
it—making both the farmer and the farm rich at once.

We believe in going to the bottom of things and, therefore, in deep
plowing, and enough of it. All the better if with a sub-soil plow.

We believe that every farm should own a good farmer.

We believe that the best fertilizer of any soil, is a spirit of
industry, enterprise, and intelligence—without this, lime and gypsum,
bones and green manure, marl and guano will be of little use.

We believe in good fences, good barns, good farmhouses, good stock,
good orchards, and children enough to gather the fruit.

We believe in a clean kitchen, a neat wife in it, a spinning-piano, a
clean cupboard, a clean dairy, and a clean conscience.

We firmly disbelieve in farmers that will not improve; in farms that
grow poorer every year; in starveling cattle; in farmers’ boys turning
into clerks and merchants; in farmers’ daughters unwilling to work,
and in all farmers ashamed of their vocation, or who drink whisky till
honest people are ashamed of them.



ALMANAC FOR THE YEAR.


1. WORK FOR JANUARY.—If you have done as you ought to have done, you
have a snug ice-house, with double walls, the space between which is
filled with non-conducting substances, as pulverized charcoal, or
dried saw-dust, or tanbark, which are mentioned in the order of their
value. Cut your blocks of ice of a size and shape with reference to
close packing. Cover over thickly with clean straw when the stock of
ice is all in. Look out not to lose all your chance in waiting for a
better one; sometimes careful folks mean to have such glorious ice,
that an open winter cheats them out of any at all.

WARMTH.—The best fire in winter is made up of _exercise_, and the
poorest, of _whisky_. He that keeps warm on liquor is like a man who
pulls his house to pieces to feed the fire place. The prudent and
temperate use of liquor is to let it alone. If you don’t touch it, it
certainly won’t hurt you; he that says there is no danger, boasts that
he is something more than other men.

The way to summer your cattle well is to winter them well; and half
the secret of good wintering is _to keep them warm_. Animal heat is
generated in proportion to the abundance and excellence of their food.
Exposure to the cold air withdraws heat rapidly, and of course makes
more food necessary to re-supply it, just as an open door makes it
necessary to have more wood in the stove. If your stock run down in
the winter and come out lean and feeble, all the summer will not fully
bring them up again.

2. WORK FOR FEBRUARY.—Get out rails, both for present use, and for the
fence which you expect to lay in March and April. Cut, haul and stack
up near your house a good supply of _fire-wood_; no matter if the
forest is within ten rods of your door, your wife ought to have her
wood chopped and dried ready for use. Look at every fence upon the
place; see if the corners of your rail fences are rotting down; if
some rails have not broken; if pig-holes have not been made; if boys
and cattle have not thrown down top-rails; and in short, put your
fences into proper repair.

Of course your tools will now be overhauled; those with steel blades
should be thoroughly cleansed when laid aside in the fall, and if you
rub a little oil over them and hang them up, all the better. Repair
all that are out of order. These things and all your ordinary work,
may be done; and still leave you leisure for _reading_. You should
have good books and good papers, and read them carefully for your own
sake and for your children’s. A man who brings up a family of ignorant
children, cheats his children of their rights, and cheats his country
of its rights; it is therefore a crime.

GARDEN WORK.—If there be no snow on the ground, the gardens may be
cleared of all rubbish, manure hauled and stacked carefully; and if
you have a clay soil, and can catch the ground without frost for a few
days, it will mellow and ameliorate it to spade it up, leaving it in
lumps and heaps, through which the frost may thoroughly penetrate.

It is time to prepare your hot-bed, if you design having early plants
in your garden.

3. WORK FOR MARCH.—Begin the year by thorough, deep plowing, where
your fields are in good order for it. Depend upon it, that deep
plowing is the only good plowing. Your first crop, generally, will
tell you so. But if the subsoil is such that the first crop is rather
poor, a year’s exposure of the land will ameliorate it so that your
second crop will remunerate all expenses of time and labor laid out in
deep plowing. No farmer should be without a subsoil plow who has got
his lands clear of stumps and roots.

Take especial care of cows now just coming in with calf. See that
those which are heavy are carefully handled, well fed, and warmly
sheltered. Mares with foal should be tenderly used, exercised a
little, but not put to hard or straining work. _The condition of the
mother will to a great extent determine the condition of the
offspring._ Cows, mares, sows, ewes, etc. etc., should be kept in a
hearty condition, without being _fat_.

ORCHARD.—Do not trouble your trees with premature pruning. Let the
axe, and knife, and saw alone. Loosen the dirt or sod around and
beneath your trees. The best manure for your trees is fresh mold, or
forest soil and lime in the proportion of about one part to ten. Take
soft soap, dilute it with urine, scrub your trees with it plentifully,
having first scraped off all rough bark. If you would work easily
always, never let your work drive you.

4. WORK FOR APRIL.—Gather from your barn the loose hay seed, and sow
it upon your wheat fields; it will give good pasturage, after harvest,
and make fine stuff for plowing under. Push forward your plowing, but
look well to the teams; as cattle and horses are like men, unable in
early spring to endure severe labor all at once. Your spring wheat
should be got in; barley is a better crop, usually, than rye. The
middle and last of the month will keep you in the corn-field. Plow
deep—plow thoroughly; and after planting, give the plow no rest, if
you wish good corn.

YOUNG ANIMALS.—You will now begin to have plenty of calves, colts,
pigs, and lambs. If you mean to have profitable pork, you ought to
_push_ your pigs from the birth. Look carefully after your lambs; see
that the mothers are well cared for; have dry and warm pens for any
that are feeble. A little tenderness to the lambs will be well repaid
by and by.

GARDEN.—Your lettuce may be transplanted from the hot-bed the middle
and last of this month. A foot apart is none too much, if you wish
head-lettuce. Sow your main supplies of radishes, cabbage, tomatoes,
etc. Get your pie-plant seed in early as possible; also carrots,
parsnips, and salsify or oyster-plant. Prune your gooseberries,
currants, and raspberry bushes. Grapes, which were not laid in last
fall should be pruned and laid in early in March; but if neglected
then, let them be till the leaves are large as the palm of your hand.
Look out or worms’ nests, and destroy them promptly.

5. WORK FOR MAY.—Your whole force will be required in this month. If
the season has been late or wet, you still have your corn to plant.
Pastures will be ready for your stock; remember to salt your stock
every week. Weeds will now do their best to take your crops. Your
potato crop should be put in, as there will be little danger of frost.
After the 15th, you may put out sweet potato slips. If you have not
grass-land for pasturage, try for one season the system of _soiling_,
_i. e._ keeping up your cattle in the yard or home-lot, and cutting
green-fodder for them every day. An acre or two of corn, sown
broad-cast, or oats and millet, should be tried. Above all other
things, if you have warm, deep sandy loam, put in an acre of lucerne.

During the last of this month, and at the beginning of the next,
pruning may be done. If the limbs be large, cover the stump with a
coat of paint, wax, grafting clay, or anything that will exclude air
and wet.

The garden will require extra labor in all this month. After the 15th,
tender bulbs and tubers may be planted, dahlias, amaryllises,
tuberoses, etc. Peas will require brush; all your plants from the
hot-bed should by this time be well a growing in open air. Roses will
be showing their buds. If large roses of a favorite sort are required,
more than half the buds should be taken off, and the whole strength of
the plant be given to the remainder. The soil for this best of all
flowers, cannot be too rich, nor too deep.

6. WORK FOR JUNE—May, June, and September are the _dairy months_. The
best butter and the best cheese are usually made in these months. If
you are not neat, you do not know how to make cheese or butter.
Uncleanliness affects not only the looks, but the quality of butter.
Broad, shallow glass pans are the best, but the most expensive. In
these milk seldom turns sour in summer thunder-storms. Tin pans are
good, but unless the dairy-woman is _scrupulously_ neat, the seams
will be filled with residuum of milk and become very foul, giving a
flavor to each successive panful. The principal requisites for prime
butter are, good cows, good pasture for them, clean pans, cool, airy
cellars, clean churns. Let the cream be churned before it is sour or
bitter; and when the butter comes, at least three thorough workings
will be necessary to drive out all the butter-milk.

GARDEN.—Transplant flowers; destroy all weeds; get out cabbages; more
lettuce; get ready celery trenches; layer favorite roses, vines, etc.;
examine and remove from the peach-tree root, the grub which is
destroying them. Sow salt under plum-trees—put on a coat two inches
thick.

Transplant flowers; bud roses with fine kinds; see that large plants
are tied neatly to frames or stakes. Every morning examine your beds
of cabbage, etc., for cut-worms, and destroy them if found; plant
succession crops of peas, corn, radishes, lettuce, etc.

7. WORK FOR JULY.—Great difference of practice and opinion exists as
to the methods and time of harvesting. Some cut their grass while the
dew is on it; others cut it when perfectly dry, and say that if so cut
it need not be spread, but will dry in the swath in one or two days.
As to the _time_ of cutting grass, we should avoid both extremes of
very early or very late. Just before the seed of _timothy_ is ripe,
is, upon the whole, the best time for this best of grasses for the
scythe. Clover should be cut when in full blossom; instead of
spreading, the best farmers make it into small cocks and leave it
there to cure, which it will do without shrivelling or losing its
color.

GARDEN WORK.—As soon as your roses are done blooming, if you wish to
increase them, take the young shoots, and about eight inches from the
ground, cut, below an eye, half through, and then slit upward an inch
or two through the pith; put a bit of chip in to keep the slit open;
bend down the branch and cover the portion thus operated on with an
inch or two of earth and put a brick upon it. It will soon send out
roots, and by October may be separated from the parent plant. Quinces,
gooseberries, and almost all shrubs which branch near the ground, may
be propagated in this way. Still keep down weeds. Sow successive crops
of corn, peas and salads, for fall use. Begin to gather such seeds as
ripen early. Take up tulips, hyacinths, etc., as soon as the tops
wither.

8. WORK FOR AUGUST.—If during this hot month you will clear out fence
corners, and cut off vexatious intruders, the sun will do all it can
to help you kill them. If your wheat is troubled with the weevil,
thrash it out and leave it in the chaff. It will raise a heat fatal to
its enemy without injuring itself. Every farmer should have a little
nursery row of apple, pear, peach and plums of his own raising. Plant
the seed; when a year old, transplant into rows eight inches apart in
the row and two feet between the rows. During July, August, and
September, you may bud them with choice sorts, remembering that a
_first-rate_ fruit will live just as easily as a worthless sort. This
is a good month to sow down fallow fields to grass. Plough
thoroughly—harrow till the earth is fine; be liberal of seed, and
cover in with a harrow and not with a bush, which drags the seeds into
heaps, or carries them in hollows. The early part of the month should
be improved by all who wish to put in a crop of buck-wheat or turnips.
If your pastures are getting short, let your milch cows have something
every night in the yard. Corn, sown broadcast, would now render
admirable service.

If you have neglected to raise your bulbs, lose no time now. Take
cuttings from roses and put in small pots, invert a glass over them;
in two or three weeks they will take root, and by the next spring make
good plants. Gather flower seeds as soon as they ripen.

9. WORK FOR SEPTEMBER.—You should finish seeding your wheat grounds in
this month. If sown too early, it is liable to suffer from the fly; if
too late, from rust. Those who sow acres by the hundred, must sow
early and late both. But moderate fields should be seeded by the
middle of this month. In preparing the land, if the surface does not
naturally drain itself, it should be so plowed as to turn the water
into furrows between each land. Standing water, and, yet more, ice
upon it, being fatal to it. See that your cattle are brought into good
condition for wintering. Fall transplanting may be performed from the
middle of this month; _take off every leaf_—re-set, and stake.

By the latter part of the month, or early in October, according to the
season, it will be necessary to raise and pot such plants as you
intend to keep in the house; to raise and place in a dry and
frost-proof room your dahlias, tuberoses, amaryllis, tigridia,
gladioli, and such other tender bulbs as you may have. Let your seed
be gathered, carefully put away where it will contract no moisture. Go
over your grounds and examine all your _labels_, lest the storms which
are approaching should destroy them. Sow in some warm and sheltered
part of your garden, early in this month, for spring use, spinage,
corn salad, lettuce, etc. As soon as the leaves fall, take cuttings
from currant bushes and grapes, and plant them out in rows. They will
start off and grow earlier by some six weeks, the next season. Fill in
your celery trenches every ten days.

10. WORK FOR OCTOBER.—Push forward your hogs as fast as possible. If
they have had a good clover range in the summer, they will be ready to
start off vigorously from the moment that you begin to put them upon
corn. See that good paths are made in every direction from your house;
and be sure to have walks through your barn-yards raised so high as
never to be muddy. Your cattle-yards should slope toward the centre in
such a way that horses and cattle need not wade knee deep in going in
and out.

Frosts will now begin to strip your trees and stop the growth of
garden shrubs, and all your preparations should be made for protecting
tender trees and shrubs. For cherry and pear-trees, especially, you
should provide good covering for their trunk, until they have grown
quite large. A good bundle of corn-stalks set round the body so as to
keep out the sun, but not the air, will answer every purpose. For beds
of China and tea, and dwarf roses, we advise a covering of three
inches of half-rotted manure. Cover this with leaves about six inches.
Moss is better, if you will take the trouble to collect it; and straw
will do if you have neither moss nor leaves. Half cover the part that
remains exposed, with fine brush, or pine branches. For single plants,
drive a stake by their side, and tie the plant to it; wind loosely
about it a wisp of straw or roll of bass matting, or cloth, so as to
exclude the sun and not the air. The _sun_, and not the _cold_,
usually destroys plants.

11. WORK FOR NOVEMBER.—During this month, if the ground is not locked
by frost, you may plow stiff, tenacious clay soils to great advantage.
By being broken up and subjected to the keen frosts, your soil will
become mellow and tender. See that every provision is made for
sheltering your cattle and horses; be sure that your sheep are not
obliged to lie out in drenching rains.

IN THE GARDEN see that your asparagus bed is dressed if neglected last
month. House all your brush, poles, stakes, frames, etc., which will
be fit for use another season. If your tulips, hyacinths, etc. have
not been planted, you had better reserve them for spring, as they will
be liable to rot in the ground if planted so late in the year. Cover
with brush, or leaves, or straw, your lettuce, spinage, and other
salad plants designed for spring use. If tender plants, roses, vines,
etc., have been left unprotected, cover as directed last month. If you
have no cold frame for half-hardy plants, they may be _laid in by the
heels_, i. e., taken up, and the roots laid into a trench, the tops
sloping at an angle of about twenty degrees, and then covered with
earth. The soil should cover about half the stem.

It is now a good season for cutting grafts. Take them from the outside
of the middle of the tree; let them be done up in small packages, and
set up endwise in the cellar, and covered with about half-dry sand.
Roots may be taken from pear and apple-trees, and packed in the same
way for root-grafting.

12. DECEMBER.—The year is about to close. Look back upon your toil. In
what respect will your year’s labor bear an approval when calmly
examined? Can you honestly acquit yourself of indolence and
carelessness? and as honestly take credit for enterprise, activity,
and a desire for improvement? Your barns are full—your granary is
heavy with grain—the year’s bounty has followed a year’s labor, and if
you have the heart of a man you will not forget the source whence your
blessings have come. You have perhaps done well by your stock, and in
so far as the body is concerned, for your children; but what have you
done for their education? What have you done to promote popular
education? Are you doing anything to make your neighborhood better?
What good newspapers do you provide for your family? Do you lay out as
much money for books as you do for tobacco? In looking forward to the
next year, you ought to mark out your personal course by good
resolutions, and your business course by a definite plan of
operations. It would be well if a farmer should know beforehand
everything he means to do; and afterwards, if he has kept such an
account that you can tell anything that you have done.

Sleighing for the young and gay, and warm fire-sides for the aged, are
what are now most thought of. Those who are best provided with the
comforts of life should remember their less favored brethren.



EDUCATED FARMERS.


It is time for those who do not believe ignorance to be a blessing, to
move in behalf of common schools. Many teachers are not practised even
in the rudiments of the spelling-book; and as for reading, they
stumble along the sentences, like a drunken man on a rough road. Their
“_hand-write_,” as they felicitously style the hieroglyphics, would be
a match for Champollion, even if he _did_ decipher the Egyptian
inscriptions. But a more detestable fact is, that sometimes their
morals are bad; they are intemperate, coarse, and ill-tempered; and
wholly unfit to inspire the minds of the pupils with one generous or
pure sentiment. We do not mean to characterize the _body_ of the
common schoolmasters by these remarks; but that any considerable
portion of them should be such, is a disgraceful evidence of the low
state of education.

Farmers and mechanics! this is a subject which comes home to you.
Crafty politicians are constantly calling you the _bone and sinew_ of
the land; and you may depend upon it that you will never be anything
else but bone and sinew without education. There is a law of God in
this matter. That class of men who make the most and best use of their
_heads_, will, in _fact_, be the most influential, will stand highest,
whatever the theories and speeches may say. This is a “nature of
things” which cannot be dodged, nor got over. Whatever class bestow
great pains upon the cultivation of their minds will stand high. If
farmers and mechanics feel themselves to be as good as other people,
it all may be true; for _goodness_ is one thing and _intelligence_ is
another. If they think that they have just as much mind as other
classes, that may be true; but can you _use it as well_?

Lawyers, and physicians, and clergymen, and literary men, make the
discipline of their intellect a constant study. They read more, think
more, write more than the laboring classes. The difference between the
educated and uneducated portions of society is a _real_ difference.
Now a proud and lazy fellow, may rail and swear at this, and have his
labor for his pains. There is only one way really to get over it, and
that is to rear up a generation of well educated, thinking, reading
farmers and mechanics. Your skill and industry are felt; and they put
you, in these respects, ahead of any other class. Just as soon as your
_heads_ are felt, as much as your _hands_ are, that will bring you to
the top.

Many of our best farmers are men of great natural shrewdness; but when
they were young they “had no chance for learning.” They feel the loss,
and they are giving their children the best education they can.
Farmers’ sons constitute three-fifths of the educated class. But the
thing is, that they are not educated _as farmers_. When they begin to
study they leave the farm. They do not expect to return to it. The
idea of sending a boy to the school, the academy, and the college, and
then let him go back to farming, is regarded as a mere waste of time
and money. You see how it is even among yourselves. If a boy has an
education, you expect him to be a lawyer, or a doctor, or a preacher.
You tacitly admit that a farmer does not need such an education; and
if you think so, you cannot blame others if they follow your example.

There is no reason why men of the very highest education should not go
to a farm for their living. If a son of mine were brought up on
purpose to be a farmer, if that was the calling which he preferred, I
still would educate him, if he had common sense to begin with. He
would be as much better for it as a farmer, as he would as a lawyer.
There is no reason why a thoroughly scientific education should not be
given to every farmer and to every mechanic. A beginning must be made
at the common school. Every neighborhood ought to have one. But they
do not grow of themselves, like toad-stools. And no decent man will
teach school on wages which a canal boy, or a hostler would turn up
his nose at. You may as well put your money into the fire as to send
it to a “make-believe” teacher—a great noodle-head, who teaches school
because he is fit for nothing else! Lay out to get a _good teacher_.
Be willing to pay enough to make it worth while for “smart” men to
become your teachers. And when your boys show an awakening taste for
books, see that they have good histories, travels, and scientific
tracts and treatises. Above all, do not let a boy get a notion that if
he is educated, he must, of course, quit the farm. Let him get an
education that he may _make a better farmer_. I do not despair of yet
seeing a generation of honest politicians. Educated farmers and
educated mechanics, who are in good circumstances, and _do not need
office for a support_, nor make politics a trade, will stand the best
chance for honesty. But the Lord deliver us from the political honesty
of tenth-rate lawyers, vagabond doctors, bawling preachers, and
bankrupt clerks, turned into patriotic politicians!



AN ACRE OF WORDS ABOUT AKER.


Our spelling _acre_ according to Webster’s former method[1]—_aker_,
has attracted no little attention, in a small way, both far and near.
It is very difficult to fix on any rule for anything in our language.
Etymology is chiefly useful in settling the primitive signification,
and is, or ought to be, scarcely at all authoritative in orthography.
Where two languages are very different, it is absurd to attempt the
forms of the one in the other. In respect to _idiom_, no one dreams of
transferring it from one to another. Oftentimes it is equally absurd
to transfer mere literation, as in the Greek-blooded word _Phthisic_
for Tisic, or as Walker would have spelled it, _Phthisick_! Who rebels
because _demesne_, as it is written in our best authors until within a
little time, is now spelled _domain_? We see no reason why Anglicized
words should, against all our notions of sound, retain a cumbrous
foreign spelling. Words adopted into a language by the _ear_, which
are spoken before they are written, generally conform, on being
written, to our modes of spelling. But words introduced first by the
eye, as they are written, for a long time wear the original spelling.
Thus some foreign words are spelled by one method, and some by
another.

Custom is usually regarded as determinate, in the matter of spelling,
pronunciation, idiom, purity, etc. But, in respect to spelling, custom
is not long the same. If one will examine our literature from the time
of Henry VIII., he will find a constant succession of changes in
spelling, both for good and for bad. _I_ has been generally
substituted for _Y_, as in _Lykwyse_, _accordynge_, _beyng_,
_certayne_. Sir Thomas More wrote _hym_, _thynges_, _desyer_,
_myndes_. Skelton, the Poet Laureat, has _centencyously_, _dyd_,
_advysynge_, _hyll_, etc., etc.

There has, too, and wisely, been a constant tendency to drop all
_unsounded_ letters. What earthly use is there of lugging along
letters which are entirely mute? In old but classic authors we have
God_de_ dyd_de_, now_e_, which_e_, pull_e_, best_e_, such_e_,
cou_e_rt_e_ (court) be_e_twen_e_, begun_ne_, etc.

Within our own memory the final _k_ is lopped of from words where it
had a perfect sinecure, as in music_k_, etc. “_Kan’t kum it_,” does
not look any more odd to our eyes than our spelling would have looked
to those who wrote one hundred years ago.

If it be asked why we do not spell every word by the same rule that we
do some; we reply, that violent, and sudden changes in languages are
_impracticable_; and as in everything else, are not desirable. We are
glad to see spelling simplified, and shall move along just as fast as
we can do it with a reasonable prospect of carrying the public.

It is not a matter of conscience; we have no necessity laid upon us to
reform the language; no call to be _literal_ martyrs; it is a matter
of _convenience_ and _taste_, to be done or omitted as one pleases. It
would be more inconvenient to stand alone with all writers against us,
for the sake of spelling consistently, than to spell foolishly and
superfluously in conformity to inveterate practice. Therefore, for the
sake of company, we still spell quite absurdly.

It is called _inconsistent_; and by men, too, who spell trough, cough,
enough, though; through, bought, six dissimilar sounds (_ou_, _ow_,
_oo_, _o_, _uf_, _off_), by the same combination of letters! If
consistency be the question, every English writer that ever lived, is
a mere bundle of inconsistencies. Every continental living language,
and the dead classic languages, have thrown in their contributions,
and our tongue comprises the scraps, odds and ends, of all lands, with
all the diverse peculiarities of each language more or less retained.
Under such circumstances, when no man writes a sentence without
spelling inconsistently, it is quite ridiculous to oppose a
simplification of spelling, because we cannot do, at once, what it is
only practicable to do gradually. As fast as the public is able to
bear it, we shall be glad to reduce all cumbrous spelling to a
consistent simplicity.

An acquaintance declares, that the derivation of AKER from the Latin
and Greek, is “without the least foundation in the words as used in
the Greek and Latin and in the English, and built entirely on the
resemblance of sounds,” etc. The facts are the other way. In the
Greek, and in the Latin, it meant simply a field, an open, cultivated
spot. Now, this was the meaning of the word in English, until it was
by statutes limited to a particular quantity (31 Ed. III.; 5 Ed. I.,
24; Henry VIII., as quoted by Webster) and this is the meaning yet, of
the word in German (_acker_) Swedish (_acker_) Dutch (_akker_). There
is, therefore, ample foundation in the _use_ of the word; and the
_sound_ our friend gives up.

In almost all the languages of the Teutonic family, of which ours is
one, the word is still spelled with _k_; and so it is in the Asiatic
languages, from which, probably, both the Teutonic and the Greek,
alike borrowed it.

The spelling a_cre_, as also cent_re_, theat_re_ we, probably, derived
from the French; to which language we owe the emasculation of many a
noble Saxon word.

In the _New England Farmer_ our orthographical sins are thus set in
order before us:

     “The _Western Farmer and Gardener_, is an excellent
     journal—very. It has only one feature that we dislike,
     viz.—it spells ACRE _a-k-e-r_! We are somewhat surprised at
     Bro. Beecher, who usually evinces such good taste, as well
     as such good sense, should adopt such an ugly-looking
     substitute for an old word of so much better appearance,
     although supported in it by the prince of lexicographers.

     “_A-k-e-r!_ Wheugh! Bro. editors, _hoot_ at it till it shall
     become obsolete. In Todd’s, Johnson’s, and Walker’s, and
     Worcester’s dictionaries, _fuel_ is spelled _fewel_, as the
     most correct way. This is odd enough and bad enough—but it
     is hardly so unsightly as _aker_.”

Nothing becomes obsolete until it has been in vogue. But pass that:
what a sight will the hooting confraternity present! I imagine Maine
Farmer Holmes—a plump, short, dapper gentleman, giving a long howl,
that sounds so ludicrous, that he draws back from the open window to
laugh. Our more sober Breck performs the euphonious duty with such
conscientious heartiness, that up starts the man of Buckwheat from his
(mis-spelled) Plo_ugh_man’s chair, as also does the Cultivator Cole—a
trio not practiced to sing together. The uproar reaches Albany, and
surprises him of the Cultivator, who hoots supplementary, with such
voice as he happens, in his surprise, to have on hand. Next, toward
the west, Dr. Lee shall give a scientific roar or hoot such as will
make his laboratory jar again. Down across the lake the hooting (not
_hunting_) chorus goes (what will the sailors think is to pay!) to
Elliot of the yard-long-named Magazine, who, hoarse with lake fogs and
winds, shall put in so bass a hoot, that Wight and Wright of the
_Prairie Farmer_ will howl of mere fright, if for nothing else.

Audacious men! we utterly defy you! We shall pass by the whole crowing
brood of Polands, Dorkings and what-not; and raise a breed of genuine
owls, to be our champions in this dire necessity. We say,
peremptorily, that we will not bet on any match between hooting birds
and hooting editors. But our serious opinion is, that, in grave
solemnity of looks, and in professional hooting, a half dozen
well-trained owls will beat the whole of you. However, we are open to
conviction.


     [1] Two-volume edition, imperial octavo.



FARMERS’ LIBRARY.


It is of the highest importance that farmers should possess _reading
habits_; and that they should bring up their children to a love of
books. Every farmer should have a library; it may, at first, be small;
but it should be select. As soon as a farmer is beforehand enough to
own an acre, he is prosperous enough to begin a library. It is said by
many, _books won’t make money_. Yes they will. To-be-sure, their best
effect is the production of intelligence in the reader; but a man well
informed in his own business is just the man to make money. Who ever
thought of making money by buying grindstones and whetstones? But they
sharpen the scythe, and sickle, and the axe, and _they_ produce money.
Books are grindstones and whetstones for a man’s mind.

Many are unwilling to buy a treatise upon the disease of the horse,
although there are several which will _prevent_ most of the evils
which affect this noble animal. In the West, the horse is used, in
town and country, by almost every man. But very few profess to know
how he should be treated! And, of those who think they are wise, how
many have any knowledge except of a few nostrums for sickness? The
horse, in man’s service, is living in an entirely artificial state. He
takes care of himself if left wild. But living in stables, laboring
every month of the year in harness, and under the saddle, not
selecting his own food, but fed at the will of his master, his own
instincts become of little use, and he is dependent entirely on the
mercy and knowledge of those whose slave he is. It ought not to be
thought unreasonable to say that every man who is willing to _own_ a
horse, ought to be willing to know how to _manage_ him, in the stable
and out of it. There is no work in the English language containing
more, or better instructions than[2] Stewart’s Stable Economy. It
should be read by the farmer; and just as much by every man, of
whatever calling, who uses a horse, or owns one. It is of standard
authority in England. Mr. Stewart has long been a professor in
veterinary institutes. Every man ought to know how to treat a sick
horse. Suppose a horse to be taken sick on a journey; most frequently
the driver is the only one at hand to prescribe. If you are at a
tavern, of what use, generally speaking, are the bragging pretensions
of those that crowd around you? Stopping for a night at a wretched
hole of a tavern, one of my horses, at night fell sick. I knew no more
than a child what to do; the landlord (ah me! I shall never forget
him!) was equally ignorant and much more indifferent. A big, bragging,
English booby was the only one pretending to know what to do; and to
him I yielded the animal. After sundry manipulations—punching him in
the loins; pulling at his ears, etc.—he rolled up a wad of _hair from
his tail_, and crammed it down the horse’s throat! presuming, I
suppose, that the hair would find its way back to the place it came
from, and so pilot the disease out! I inwardly resolved never to go
another journey until in possession of the best remedies for the
attacks common to horses on the road.

       *     *     *     *     *

PREPARING CUTTINGS IN THE FALL.—Cuttings of the currant, gooseberry,
and grape are better if cut immediately on the fall of the leaf,
plunged into moist sand two-thirds of their length, and placed in a
cellar. If nature is as propitious to others as she has been to us,
the cuttings will be found in the spring with the granulations
completed at the lower end, and the roots just ready to push; and on
being planted out, they grow off immediately, forming during the
season well established plants.


     [2] _A Treatise on the management of horses in relation to
     stabling, grooming, feeding, watering, and working_:
     published by A. O. Moore & Co., N. Y.



NINE MISTAKES.


In so far as instruction is concerned, I esteem my mistakes to be more
valuable than my successful efforts. They excite to attention and
investigation with great emphasis. I will record a few.

1. One mistake, which I record once for all, as it will probably occur
every year, has been the attempting of more than I could do _well_.
The ardor of spring, in spite of experience, lays out a larger garden,
than can be well tended all summer.

2. In selecting the _largest_ lima beans for seed, I obtained most
luxuriant vines, but fewer pods. If the season were longer these vines
would ultimately be most profitable; but their vigor gives a growth
too rampant for our latitude. If planted for a screen, however, the
rankest growers are the best.

3. Of three successive plantings of corn, for table use, the first was
the best, then the second, and the third very poor. I hoed and thinned
the first planting myself, and thoroughly; the second, I left to a
Dutchman, directing him how to do it; the third, I left to him without
directions.

4. I bought a stock of roses in the _fall of the year_. All the loss
of wintering came on me. If purchased in the spring, the nurserymen
loses, if there is loss.

5. I planted the silver-leaved abele (_Populus alba_) in a rich sandy
loam; in which it made more wood than it could ripen. The tree was
top-heavy, and required constant staking. A poorer soil should have
been selected.

6. I planted abundantly of flower-seeds—just before a drought. I
neither covered the earth with mats, nor watered it—supposing that the
seeds would come up after the first rain. But, in a cheerless and
barren garden, I have learned that _heat_ will kill planted seeds, and
that he who will be sure of flowers should not depend upon only one
planting.

7. In the fall of 1843, I took up the bulbs of tuberoses, and wintered
them safely upon the top of book-cases in a warm study. Having a
better and larger stock in 1844, I would fain be yet more careful, and
packed them in dry sand, and put them in a closet beyond the reach of
frost. On opening them in the spring all were rotted save about half a
dozen. Hereafter, I shall try the book-case.

8. We are told that glazed or painted flower-pots are not desirable,
because, refusing a passage to superfluous moisture, they leave the
roots to become sodden. In small stove-heated parlors, the evaporation
is so great that glazed or painted flower-pots are _best_, because the
danger is of dryness rather than dampness in _all plants growing in
sandy loams or composts_.

9. I have resolved every summer for three years, to cut pea-brush
during the winter and stack it in the shed; and every summer
following, not having kept the vow, I have lacked pea-brush, being too
busy to get it when it was needed, I have allowed the crop to suffer.



AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES.


Many county societies were formed in 1836 and for some years
flourished; few of them, we believe, exist now. We hope that the day
has come for them to revive; and, that the experience of the past may
not be lost, it is well to record the reasons why these county
societies declined.

1. Just after their birth, came on the fatal years of fictitious
prosperity; when every man expected a railroad on one side of his farm
and a canal on the other—and when everybody was about to be
exceedingly rich; not by legitimate business; not by producing wealth;
but by the _rise of property_. Now the wealth of a farming community
is always to arise from the products of the farm. Whatever withdraws
attention from assiduous cultivation, or plants the hope of gain in
other sources than in the herds, the dairy, the grain and the grass
field, will, eventually, insure disappointment and even poverty, as
many of our farmers can testify. It would be difficult for those who
had not seen it, to imagine the fervent, sanguine, exulting, state of
mind with which the whole community, at the time we speak of, looked
for the wealth. Farms were to quadruple in value; pork was to be
cashed at enormous prices; grain and grass, stock and fruit, were to
swell the golden tide; and, for once, the world was to see great
riches from little labor. Carelessness, waste, rashness, and
incredible presumption were the result. Societies for the promotion of
a careful and patient cultivation of the soil could not long be
thought worthy of attention in a community which expected to be rich
by a dexterous bargain, by one lucky speculation, by town lots, and
shares, and that mysterious hum-bug—the rise of property.

2. Succeeding such days came the opposite extreme. Everybody was poor
and expected to be poorer. There was no money and no market. Hogs were
hardly salable, grain a drug, and all produce unavailable. Nothing was
brisk but debt and debt collecting. Men were discouraged. Said they,
“if one can sell nothing, there is no use in raising anything; twenty
bushels an acre is as good as forty, when one can’t sell or use it.”
Schools languished, public spirit died, business was totally deranged,
and agricultural societies became extinct with the downfall of other
useful institutions.

3. There were some things in the management of the societies which
embarrassed them independently of these other causes. There was too
much talk and pretension—wind work; the offices were taken for the
honor—patient endurance of drudgery, which somebody must bear, was
_shirked_ off. Men took little pains _between_ the meetings;
everything was to be done at the time of meeting; and, of course, half
done. This led to dissatisfaction. The mistakes of carelessness were
attributed to partiality or prejudice. Some dropped off; others
relaxed; and, when the excitement was gone, few cared to take the dull
but real and necessary business.

4. Notwithstanding all these things, the county societies did a great
deal of good. A skillful farmer told me, that in the county, where he
resided, there was hardly a considerable farmer who did not try a few
acres, at least, to see what he _could do_; and even many renters
exhibited specimens of fine cultivation. More attention was paid to
every part of the farm; and, for a time, everything felt the impulse.

A few words to those who may embark again in this good cause.

1. It is best to begin as you can hold out. A great meeting, a vast
roll of by-laws, a regiment of officers, a parade of speeches, these
make a fine meeting, and that’s all. Let a few stanch friends to
improvement put their heads and hands together, without show or noise;
begin at the little end, and hold fast what is gained.

2. In choosing officers, societies almost invariably steer upon one
rock on which thousands have split. There is a desire to put great men
into offices, to get their influence. In a mere public meeting of a
day, this is well enough; but in a society which is to exist by
efficient labor, it is suicide. Such men like to be puffed and
published as presidents, chairmen, etc., etc., but that ends the
matter. They go away and are not seen again till the next annual
meeting, when, lo! a resurrection takes place; and they flame again, a
whole year’s zeal exhibited in one day. It is best to select officers,
who are well broken, of a good strain of blood, and who pull steadily,
on hard ground, in the mud, over bridging, or upon turnpikes. In this
way we may not have quite so large a show, but we shall have a
steadily growing and efficient society.

3. In the award of premiums, more or less of dissatisfaction will
always be felt. A man who has worked a whole year for a premium cannot
be expected to lose it without some pain. Premiums should be awarded
with great care, with scrupulous impartiality, and every effort made
by the leading, substantial farmers to soothe and keep down everything
like bitterness and faction, in consequence of disappointment.

4. It is _indispensable_ that agricultural papers should go hand in
hand with agricultural societies. We will venture to say, that no
society will long exist prosperously, which does not have a reading
membership; and that a society can hardly fail to prosper if its
members are regular readers of agricultural papers.



SHIFTLESS TRICKS.


To let the cattle fodder themselves at the stack; they pull out and
trample more than they eat. They eat till the edge of appetite is
gone, and then daintily pick the choice parts; the residue, being
coarse and refuse, they will not afterwards touch.

To sell half a stack of hay and leave the lower half open to rain and
snow. In feeding out, a hay knife should be used on the stack; in
selling, either dispose of the whole, or remove that which is left to
a shed or barn.

It is a shiftless trick to lie about stores and groceries, arguing
with men that you have _no time_, in a new country, for nice
farming—for making good fences; for smooth meadows without a stump;
for draining wet patches which disfigure fine fields.

To raise your own frogs in your own yard; to permit, year after year,
a dirty, stinking, mantled puddle to stand before your fence in the
street.

To plant orchards, and allow your cattle to eat the trees up. When
gnawed down, to save your money, by trying to nurse the stubs into
good trees, instead of getting fresh ones from the nursery.

To allow an orchard to have blank spaces, where trees have died, and
when the living trees begin to bear, to wake up and put young whips in
the vacant spots.

It is very shiftless to build your barnyard so that every rain shall
_drain_ it; to build your privy and dig your well close together; to
build a privy of more than seven feet square—some shiftless folks have
it of the size of the whole yard; to set it in the most exposed spot
on the premises; to set it at the very far end of the garden, for the
pleasure of traversing mud-puddles and labyrinths of wet weeds in
rainy days.

It is a dirty trick to make bread without washing one’s hands after
cleaning fish or chickens; to use an apron for a handkerchief; to use
a veteran handkerchief just from the wars for an apron; to use
milk-pans alternately for washbowls and milk. To wash dishes and baby
linen in the same tub, either alternately or altogether; to chew snuff
while you are cooking, for sometimes food will chance to be too highly
spiced. We have a distinct but unutterable remembrance of a cud of
tobacco in a dish of _hashed pork_—but it was before we were married!

A lady of our acquaintance, at a boarding-house, excited some fears
among her friends, by foaming at the mouth, of madness. In eating a
hash (made, doubtless, of every scrap from the table, not consumed the
day before), she found herself blessed with a mouthful of _hard soap_,
which only lathered the more, the more she washed at it. It is a
filthy thing to comb one’s hair in a small kitchen in the intervals of
cooking the breakfast; to use the bread trough for a cradle—a thing
which we have undoubtedly seen; to put trunks, boxes, baskets, with
sundry other utensils, under the bed where you keep the cake for
company; we have seen a dexterous housewife whip the bed-spread aside,
and bring forth, not what we feared, but a loaf-cake!

It is a dirty trick to wash children’s eyes in the pudding dish; not
that the sore eyes, but subsequent puddings, will not be benefited; to
wipe dishes and spoons on a hand-towel; to wrap warm bread in a dirty
table-cloth; to make and mold bread on a table innocent of washing for
weeks; to use dirty table-clothes for _sheets_, a practice of which we
have had experimental knowledge, once at least in our lives.

The standing plea of all slatterns and slovens is, that “everybody
must eat a peck of dirt before they die.” A peck? that would be a
mercy, a mere mouthful, in comparison of cooked cart-loads of dirt
which is to be eaten in steamboats, canal-boats, taverns, mansions,
huts and hovels.

TOBACCO TRICKS.—It is a filthy trick to use it at all; and it puts an
end to all our affected squeamishness at the Chinese taste, in eating
rats, cats, and bird’s nests. It is a filthy trick to let the
exquisite juice of tobacco trickle down the corners of one’s mouth; or
lie in splashes on one’s coat, or bosom; to squirt the juice all over
a clean floor, or upon a carpet, or baptismally to sprinkle a proud
pair of andirons the refulgent glory of the much-scouring housewife.
It is a vile economy to lay up for re-mastication a half-chewed cud;
to pocket a half-smoked cigar; and finally to be-drench one’s self
with tobacco juice, to so be-smoke one’s clothes that a man can be
scented as far off as a whale-ship can be smelt at sea.

It is a shiftless trick to snuff a candle with your fingers, or your
wife’s best scissors, to throw the snuff on the carpet, or on the
polished floor, and then to extinguish it by treading on it!

To borrow a choice book; to read it with unwashed hands, that have
been used in the charcoal bin, and finally to return it daubed on
every leaf with nose-blood spots, tobacco spatter, and dirty
finger-marks—this is a vile trick!

It is not altogether cleanly to use one’s knife to scrape boots, to
cut harness, to skin cats, to cut tobacco, and then to cut apples
which other people are to eat.

It is an unthrifty trick to bring in eggs from the barn in one’s coat
pocket, and then to sit down on them.

It is a filthy trick to borrow of or lend for others’ use, a
tooth-brush, or a tooth-pick; to pick one’s teeth at table with a
fork, or a jack-knife; to put your hat upon the dinner table among
the dishes; to spit generously into the fire, or at it, while the
hearth is covered with food set to warm; for sometimes a man hits what
he don’t aim at.

It is an unmannerly trick to neglect the scraper outside the door, but
to be scrupulous in cleaning your feet after you get inside, on the
carpet, rug, or andirons; to bring your drenched umbrella into the
entry, where a black puddle may leave to the housewife melancholy
evidence that you have been there.

It is soul-trying for a neat dairywoman to see her “man” watering the
horse out of her milk-bucket; or filtering horse-medicine through her
milk-strainer; or feeding his hogs with her water-pail; or, after
barn-work, to set the well-bucket outside the curb and wash his hands
out of it.



ELECTRO-CULTURE.


A few years ago, all the world was agog about electricity applied to
vegetation. Sanguine persons grew red in the face with excitement, and
enterprising schemers hoped to supersede all past processes of culture
by this magical fluid. Things were to be made to grow not only as fast
as lightning but _by_ lightning. Those mischievous bolts which had
played their dangerous pranks with chimneys, oaks, and towers, were to
be regularly harnessed and set to work in the field like horses or
oxen. Many of our readers will recollect how widely the agricultural
papers copied the glowing accounts brought from over the seas; and
nobody was afraid of anything except of not believing enough.

Well, the lightning has been too smart for them; and the whole pack
which opened loud on the scent, are now heard just as loud on the back
track. It usually takes two foolings to satisfy the public. They first
swing to an extreme folly of injudicious admiration, and them vibrate
to the opposite extreme of disgust. Everybody was fever-hot with morus
multicaulis; and then they went into chills about it. Durham stock
brought almost their weight in silver at one time, and then could
hardly be sold at butchers’ prices. Berkshire hogs were all the rage,
and now are in great and unmerited contempt. The guano fever sent
hundreds of ships a-dung-hunting all over the earth: and lucky were
they who espied a precious heap of excrement. How little did the
penguins and sea gulls of the Pacific imagine, that their unconscious
observance of the laws of nature was one day to figure so largely on
the British Exchange, and to raise such a bustle in chemical
laboratories!

We believed but few of these accounts of electricity, because we
perceived nothing which could be regarded as settled. And now, we are
far from sympathizing with the recantations and apostasies from the
electric faith. Like all other things driven to extremes, we shall by
and by see it settle upon a middle point.

Editors are not without blame for these actions and reactions. Many of
our best agricultural papers are connected with agricultural
warehouses which deal largely in all articles for which there is an
agricultural demand. Without the slightest intention of deception,
nay, with a desire to act cautiously, such pecuniary interest may
sensibly affect the judgment of sanguine editors. But the wish to
issue a spicy paper, full of life and surprise, inclines an editor to
publish whatever is new, without a scrutiny of its truth. With a few
honorable exceptions of standard periodicals, we scarcely take an
agricultural paper which does not contain most absurd stories gravely
indited without a word of comment. Now, it seems to us that
agricultural papers ought not to be the common sewers of news, full of
waste and refuse matter; but registers of rigid facts and scientific
expositors of the principles deducible from facts. Farmers are at
fault also in the matter. An editor who depends for his support upon
the proceeds of his paper, must be a man of rare independence if he
can shield himself from the selfish influence of those who are his
best supporters. Men that have a novelty, a new and precious jewel of
a flower, a heavy stock of nursery commodities, or large herds of
fancy stock, sheep or swine, can afford to circulate widely and praise
any paper that will circulate widely and praise their special
interest. A sanguine editor inditing a eulogistic article, with a
red-hot speculator whispering at each ear, will be very likely to lead
many simple farmers astray. Such articles, copied by newspapers,
spread the infection beyond the circle of subscribers. Farmers that
take, and farmers that do not take the paper will be deceived.

Now, let husbandmen give to their agricultural papers such a support
as shall leave the editors free from temptations to listen to
interested persons; let them contribute so freely of their
observations that editors will not have to draw upon their imagination
for facts, and the agricultural press will become sober, stable,
accurate, and so, profitable.



SINGLE-CROP FARMING.


It is extensively the practice of large farmers, to put their whole
force upon one staple article; a style of farming as full of risk, as
it would be to invest a whole fortune in one kind of property. At the
South, we have cotton plantations; nothing but cotton is raised. If
the market and the season happen to be propitious, enormous profits
are made. If markets, or the planting or picking season are adverse,
the year is lost; for it was staked on one article; all the risks of
the year, instead of being distributed, were concentrated. Another
plantation cultivates sugar exclusively; and the ambitious planter has
his pockets full or empty, according to chances which he cannot
foresee, calculate, or overrule.

At the North, some farmers put in nothing but wheat; others, nothing
but corn. One relies on the hay crop; another makes or loses a year’s
profits on cattle. In each case, if the staple raised happens to
_hit_, in every respect profits roll in like a flood. But such
operations leave no margin for those casualties, and annual changes,
which are inevitable.

Ireland, relying upon the potato as a support for a large mass of its
poverty-stricken people, is visited with famine if this crop is
shaken. The failure of the grain crop, in England, strikes panic into
the whole nation.

A perfect system of agriculture should have in itself, a balancing
power. There should be such a distribution of crops that a farmer may
have four or five chances instead of one. To be sure, a farmer cannot
drive so large a business—cut such a swath—where five small or
moderate operations take the place of a single great one. Five years
of moderate profits are better than one gaining year and four years to
eat it up. A farmer has 160 acres—sixty are in wood: of the one
hundred cleared acres, say _twenty_ are used for home lots, pasture,
corn, etc., and _eighty_ are in wheat. The fall may be bad for
planting, the spring may be bad, the fly may take the crop or the rust
may strike it; escaping all these, the weevil may damage it; and,
after all this, it may not bring a justifying price when got to
market. Is it wise for a man to put his yearly support or gains upon
one crop and that one crop depending upon six or seven contingencies?
If there is a large crop _and_ high prices, he makes largely. Eighty
acres at thirty bushels the acre yields 2,400 bushels, worth, say,
seventy cents, or $1,680 gross receipts. Elated beyond measure, the
lucky fellow buys some forty acres more of cleared land, reduces his
pasture, shaves of a portion from his meadow, plants a few acres only
of corn, and puts every inch he can command into wheat; a good
operation if he can find guaranty for as good seasons and as good
market as before. But there are at least ten chances against for one
in favor.

A farm which depends for its profit on butter, cheese, fruit, timber,
cattle, hogs, corn, wheat, potatoes, flax, etc., makes, perhaps, but a
little on each crop; but the rains that come in _drops_ are useful,
while those that come in _torrents_ and raise freshets, leave great
mischief behind.

       *     *     *     *     *

TICKS ON SHEEP.—A clergyman, who was early in life a regular-built
shepherd, after the old-fashioned style, living with his flock,
requests us to call the attention of all interested in sheep, to the
prevention of ticks adopted “in the place he came from.” A trough,
large enough to hold a sheep, was filled with a decoction of tobacco;
as soon as the sheep are sheared, they are plunged all over in, except
the nose and mouth (these organs being sacred to chewers and
snuffers). The lambs are treated in the same way, and a world of
trouble to the owner and yet more to the flock, is saved by this
nauseous bath.



IMPROVED BREEDS OF HOGS AND CATTLE.


No farmer ever owns a fine animal without being proud of it. Yet, the
same man will have an inveterate prejudice against what are called
improved breeds. The “fancy” prices which have been extravagantly
paid, the miserable failure which some have made in attempting to
stock their farm with foreign breeds, together with a suspicion of
whatever is new, and a lack of enterprise, have deterred many farmers
from seeking a better stock than the common run. It is in this way
that speculators, besides ruining themselves, which is of no great
consequence, seriously retard the progress of enlightened husbandry.

Let us take a plain and practical view of the matter.

1. Every man who has had anything to do with cattle, horses and swine,
knows very well what a difference there is between different animals,
in respect to size, form, and aptitude to fatten. Among twenty steers
there will be a few that without any reason that the owner can see,
out-grow and out-fatten all the rest. A lot of fifty hogs gathered up
from one neighborhood, will naturally divide itself into three sorts,
those which fatten with remarkable rapidity and on little food; those
that eat voraciously without taking on fat; and those that lie between
these two extremes and are not remarkable in one way or the other.
Every man that buys a horse knows that some horses require as much
again food as others to keep them fat.

2. It is equally true that these qualities can be transmitted, by
careful breeding, from parent to offspring; until the qualities become
_fixed_ in the breed. A particular _strain of blood_, is then said to
be established. By this process, English breeders of stock, with the
greatest perseverance and with admirable skill, have established
several truly improved breeds. It is not mere beauty of form that has
been gained, although this has been eminently attained; but also all
those qualities which make an ox valuable for the _yoke_ or for the
_knife_; all that makes a cow good at the pail and afterwards for the
butcher; all that makes a hog valuable in flesh and fat. It is a
mistake to suppose that the improved breeds have been formed to please
gentlemen farmers and amateur fanciers. They have been perfected with
an eye mainly to their _profitableness_ to the farmer—the real farmer.
Nor are they the stock for large farmers and rich proprietors alone.
They are more peculiarly suited to farmers of small or moderate means
than to any other; a rich farmer can afford to keep poor stock, if
anybody can; but a small farmer is badly off indeed if the little that
he has is poor.

3. No class of farmers are more interested in having good stock of all
kinds than western farmers. Pork and beef constitute, probably,
three-fifths of their exports. It is of the last importance that they
should possess animals from which can be made the utmost profit. It is
as much more profitable for an Indiana farmer to drive the very best
cattle, as it is for a Massachusetts farmer. If improved breeds are
found on the Mohawk to be vastly more profitable than common stock,
they will be found to be just the same on the Wabash.

It does not follow, either, because we have more corn than we can
feed, or more grass and hay than can be used, that we can make up for
inferior quality by the greater quantity of cattle kept. A western
farmer may winter a hundred head of cattle without positive loss, when
a New York farmer would sink money by it. But that is not the
question. Suppose two herds, of a hundred each, of four year olds,
preparing for the shambles. They eat the same amount of grain, and hay
or grass. But when weighing-time comes, one herd averages a fourth
heavier than the other, and this is clear profit. With no more food,
and no more labor, and no longer time in fattening, they yield the
owner a fourth more profit.

Three men start a hundred hogs apiece for market.

The first lot is of the true land-shark breed, and will average, say
one hundred and twenty-five pounds; the second lot are of a better
breed, and will average two hundred pounds; the third hundred are of a
choice breed and average three hundred pounds. If the market happen to
be heavy, the first lot can hardly be sold; the second lot sells
moderately well, the third lot goes promptly and at a shade higher
price. Now what is the difference of profit? If pork is selling for
two dollars the hundred, the first hundred hogs bring two hundred and
fifty dollars. The second, four hundred dollars; and the third, six
hundred dollars. That is, a difference of breeds makes a difference in
profit, feeding and labor being the same in both cases, between the
first and last lot, of three hundred and fifty dollars. But it will be
more than this, for hogs averaging three hundred pounds will command
twenty-five cents in the hundred more than those weighing a hundred
and twenty-five pounds. The price which a farmer will get, then, for
his hundred acres of corn, depends upon what his hogs can do for him.
One sort of hogs can make up a fourth more fat than others, and
another can make up still a fourth more than these. If you owned a
mill, which of two millers would you choose—the one who could make
forty pounds of flour to the bushel, or the one who could make
forty-five—the quality being equally good? Of two acres of land, which
would you choose—the one which would yield fifteen bushels of wheat,
or the one which, with the same cultivation, would yield thirty? Our
farmers are willing enough to hunt for good lands; but why, on the
same reasons, should they not hunt for the best breeds of cows, cattle
hogs, and horses?

4. As to the different varieties which are cried up, we have no
interest in urging one more than another upon the public. It is all
one to us whether Hereford, Devon, or Durham, prevail; Woburn, Byfield
or Berkshire. All that we ask is that farmers should aim to procure
_the best_. Their own experience must determine which that is. One
kind will suit one range of land better than another. Beginning with
moderation, a shrewd farmer will soon be able to tell whether any
particular breed will suit his farm.

We presume that all farmers work for the sake of profit: we urge an
improvement of stock simply on the ground of its _profitableness_.



ABSORBENT QUALITIES OF FLOUR.


It has long been known that flour gains in weight on being made up
into bread. The English act of Parliament allowed 280 lbs. (a sack) of
flour to make 320 lbs. of bread. But in fact it makes a much greater
weight than this. The average per cent. of water, in English flour,
naturally, according to Johnson, is 15 per cent. But good English and
French wheat bread, according to the same author, contains 44 per
cent. of water; i. e. twenty-eight pounds are absorbed in making. By
this estimate, 280 lbs. would gain nearly _seventy four pounds_, while
the act of Parliament allows only _forty pounds_.

It is understood that American wheat absorbs more water than English;
and that United States southern wheat, absorbs more than northern. It
is also true that good wheat gains more in baking than poor wheat, and
old flour, more than new. It is not good _because_ it takes up water;
but good flour has that property, and poor has not; and absorption is,
therefore, an evidence of quality.

This absorption of water is in part mechanical and in part chemical.
The difference between these may be illustrated; a bushel measure of
shelled corn will admit a great quantity of water into its open
spaces; it stands _between_ the kernels. When water is thrown upon
lime, it does not exist _between_ the particles, but _combines_ with
them. Flour absorbs water in both ways.

Absorption, mechanically, depends upon the coarseness of flour, either
from the character of its growth, or from the manner of its grinding.
The want of light and heat, in unfavorable climates, or in bad
seasons, induces sluggish and imperfect action. The juices are but
partially digested and assimilated. Many vegetable constituents exist,
in consequence, in smaller quantities, or in a crude state. In such
cases the texture is porous and spongy. Grinding breaks down the
organized form without altering the essential nature of the texture.

It would seem, if this be true, that grain ripened under unfavorable
influences would absorb _less_ rather than _more_ water, since the
watery particles, from the want of rapid digestion and excretion,
remain in the grain. But after grain is cut, and put to dry, a literal
evaporation takes place; the water is, in a measure, exhaled.

We are not to suppose that a mechanical absorption predominates. By
far the greatest proportion of water is supposed to _combine_ with the
ingredients of the flour—starch, gluten, etc.,—chemically. And as
flour is rich in starch and gluten, it will have the power of taking
water into combination. It has been supposed that the absorbing power
of flour depended mainly upon its gluten. But Johnson holds the
position in doubt. Whereas, Webster (of England) states that it is
with the starch, principally, that water combines. The per cent. of
starch, sugar, and gluten, etc., in wheat, depends on the soil and
climate;—on the soil, because it must derive from it, originally, the
elements of its existence; on climate, because these elements require
a certain temperature and quantity of light for their perfect
elaboration. It is on this account, that the wheat of southern Europe
is better than that of England; that that of Egypt is superior to the
Italian. In each case there is a superiority of climate which produces
the most perfect elaboration of all the elements of wheat.



PORTRAIT OF AN ANTI-BOOK-FARMER.


Whenever our anti-book-farmers can show us better crops at a less
expense, better flocks, and better farms, and better owners on them,
than book-farmers can, we shall become converts to their doctrines.
But, as yet, we cannot see how _intelligence_ in a farmer, should
injure his crops. Nor what difference it makes whether a farmer gets
his ideas from a sheet of paper, or from a neighbor’s mouth, or from
his own experience, so that he only gets good, practical, sound ideas.
A farmer never objects to receive _political_ information from
newspapers; he is quite willing to learn the state of markets from
newspapers, and as willing to gain religious notions from reading, and
historical knowledge, and all sorts of information except that which
relates to his business. He will go over and hear a neighbor tell how
he prepares his wheat-lands, how he selects and puts in his seed, how
he deals with his grounds in spring, in harvest and after
harvest-time; but if that neighbor should write it all down carefully
and put it into paper, it’s all poison! it’s _book-farming_!

   “Strange such a difference there should be
   ’Twixt tweedledum, and tweedledee.”

If I raise a head of lettuce surpassing all that has been seen
hereabouts, every good farmer that loves a salad would send for a
little seed, and ask, as he took it, “How do you contrive to raise
such monstrous heads? you must have some secret about it.” But if my
way were written down and printed, he would not touch it. “Poh, it’s
bookish!”

Now let us inquire in what States land is the best managed, yields the
most with the least cost, where are the best sheep, the best cattle,
the best hogs, the best wheat? It will be found to be in those
States having the most agricultural societies and the most
widely-disseminated agricultural papers.

What is there in agriculture that requires a man to be ignorant if he
will be skillful? Or why may every other class of men learn by reading
except the farmer? Mechanics have their journals; commercial men have
their papers; religious men, theirs; politicians, theirs; there are
magazines and journals for the arts, for science, for education, and
_why not for that grand pursuit on which all these stand_? We really
could never understand why farmers should not wish to have their
vocation on a level with others; why they should feel proud to have
_no_ paper, while every other pursuit is fond of _having_ one.

Those who are prejudiced against book-farming are either good farmers,
misinformed of the design of agricultural papers, or poor farmers who
only treat this subject as they do all others, with blundering
ignorance. First, the good farmers; there are in every county many
industrious, hard-working men, who know that they cannot afford to
risk anything upon wild experiments. They have a growing family to
support, taxes to pay, lands perhaps on which purchase money is due,
or they are straining every nerve to make their crops build a barn,
that the barn may hold their crops. They suppose an agricultural paper
to be stuffed full of wild fancies, expensive experiments, big stories
made up by men who know of no farming except parlor-farming. They
would, doubtless, be surprised to learn that ninety-nine parts in a
hundred of the contents of agricultural papers are written by
_hard-working practical farmers_! that the editor’s business is not to
foist absurd stories upon credulous readers, but to sift stories, to
scrutinize accounts, to obtain whatever has been abundantly proved to
be fact, and to reject all that is suspected to be mere fanciful
theory. Such papers are designed to prevent imposition; to kill off
pretenders by exposing them; to search out from practical men whatever
they have found out, and to publish it for the benefit of their
brethren all over the Union; to spread before the laboring classes
such sound, well-approved scientific knowledge as shall throw light
upon every operation of the farm, the orchard and the garden.

The other class who rail at book-farming ought to be excused, for they
do not treat book-farming any worse than they do their own farming;
indeed, not half so bad. They rate the paper with their tongue; but
cruelly abuse their ground, for twelve months in the year with both
hands. I will draw the portrait of a genuine anti-book-farmer of this
last sort.

He plows three inches deep lest he should turn up the poison that, in
his estimation, lies below; his wheat-land is plowed so as to keep as
much water on it as possible; he sows two bushels to the acre and
reaps ten, so that it takes a fifth of his crop to seed his ground;
his corn-land has never any help from him, but bears just what it
pleases, which is from thirty to thirty-five bushels by measurement,
though he brags that it is fifty or sixty. His hogs, if not remarkable
for fattening qualities, would beat old Eclipse at a quarter-race; and
were the man not prejudiced against deep plowing, his hogs would work
his grounds better with their prodigious snouts than he does with his
jack-knife-plow. His meadow-lands yield him from three-quarters of a
ton to a whole ton of hay, which is regularly spoiled in curing,
regularly left out for a month, very irregularly stacked up, and left
for the cattle to pull out at their pleasure, and half-eat and
half-trample underfoot. His horses would excite the avarice of an
anatomist in search of osteological specimens, and returning from
their range of pasture they are walking herbariums, bearing specimens
in their mane and tail of every weed that bears a bur or cockle. But
oh, the cows! If held up in a bright day to the sun, don’t you think
they would be semi-transparent? But he tells us that good milkers are
always poor! His cows get what Providence sends them, and very little
beside, except in winter, then they have a half-peck of corn on ears a
foot long thrown to them, and they afford lively spectacles of
animated corn and cob-crushers—never mind, they yield, on an average,
three quarts of milk a-day! and that milk yields varieties of butter
quite astonishing.

His farm never grows any better, in many respects it gets annually
worse. After ten years’ work on a good soil, while his neighbors have
grown rich, he is just where he started, only his house is dirtier,
his fences more tottering, his soil poorer, his pride and his
ignorance greater. And when, at last, he sells out to a Pennsylvanian
that reads the Farmers’ Cabinet, or to some New Yorker with his
Cultivator packed up carefully as if it were gold, or to a Yankee with
his New England Farmer, he goes off to Missouri, thanking Heaven that
_he’s_ not a book-farmer!

Unquestionably, there are two sides to this question, and both of them
_extremes_, and therefore both of them deficient in science and in
common sense. If men were made according to our notions, there should
not be a silly one alive; but it is otherwise ordered, and there is no
department of human life in which we do not find weak and foolish men.
This is true of farming as much as of any other calling. But no one
dreams of setting down the vocation of agriculture because, like every
other, it has its proportion of stupid men.

Why then should agricultural _writers_, as a class, be summarily
rejected because some of them are visionary? Are we not to be allowed
our share of fools as well as every other department of life? We
insist on our rights.

A book or a paper never proposes to take the place of a farmer’s
_judgment_. Not to read at all is bad enough; but to read, and swallow
everything without reflection, or discrimination, this is even worse.
Such a one is not a book-headed but a block-headed farmer. Papers are
designed to _assist_. Those who read them must select, modify, and act
according to their own native judgment. So used, papers answer a
double purpose; they convey a great amount of valuable practical
information, and then they stir up the reader to habits of thought;
they make him more inquisitive, more observing, more reasoning, and,
therefore, more reasonable.

Now, as to the contents of agricultural papers, whose fault is it if
they are not _practical_? Who are the practical men? who are daily
conversant with just the things a cultivator most needs to know? who
is stumbling upon difficulties, or discovering some escape from them?
who is it that knows so much about gardens, orchards, farms, cattle,
grains and grasses? Why, the very men _who won’t write a word for the
paper that they read_, and then complain that there is nothing
_practical in it_. Yes there is. There is practical evidence that men
are more willing to be helped than to help others; and also that men
sometimes blame others for things of which they themselves are chiefly
blameworthy.



GOOD BREEDS OF COWS.


There is hardly one thing which conduces more to the comfort of a
family than a good cow. A family well supplied with rich milk twice a
day cannot have poor fare; for, besides the use of pure milk by
itself, there is no article, except flour, which enters into so many
forms of cooking. Next in importance to the family, are the relations
of the cow to the dairy; we say _next_ to the family, for it is more
important that there should be good cows for private families than
that dairies should have them. All the dairy herds might be destroyed,
and if each family has its cow, the loss would be bearable. But take
from families their one cow, and all the dairies in the land could not
compensate.

The question of a good breed of milch cows is important, then, to the
whole community; to the dairymen of course; but yet more to the
families of laborers, mechanics, merchants, etc.

Everybody knows that it costs no more to keep a good cow than a poor
one. But what is the use in talking so when good ones are not to be
had? or to be had only at a price which not one in fifty can afford?
But so far as we are concerned, and so far as ninety-nine in a hundred
are concerned, of what use are these accounts except to make us
dissatisfied with our poor old cow without enabling us to get a
better? It was all right to publish them, but the sight of such facts
reminded us of the low estate of our milk cows, and of the woeful
carelessness of farmers about improving their stock.

It is high time that farmers should endeavor to procure a good milk
breed. It is well known that horses and oxen are almost bred to order;
if a fore shoulder is too slight, a breeder crosses so that in the
next generation it comes out right; if the animal is too small he is
enlarged; if too large he is condensed; if the back is too long, the
leg too heavy, the muscle too spare, the head heavily or clumsily put
on, the breeder has skill, in a great measure, to remedy the evils.
Why then should it not be thought both possible and worth while to
breed for good milking properties?

The least trouble, not the best stock, seems to be the question with
most. The discouragement of debt, the low prices of all farm products,
the habits of arrant carelessness which naturally belong to large
farms, of rich lands, removed from a ready market, and on which there
is more than enough for home use, and much waste of the surplus
because a poor sale for it; these things are the causes why but little
attention is paid to good stock. To be sure, in speculating times,
large prices have been paid for animals of repute. And now, if fancy
prices could be realized, there are thousands who would beg, borrow,
or steal enough to rush madly into the raising of improved breeds.
Even from such extravagance much collateral advantage results. Many,
doubtless, are disappointed, as they expected angelic cattle, and got
nothing but flesh and blood; those who are the most furious in one
extreme, revolt to the other, and are as careless and neglectful this
year, as they were cattle-mad the last year. But, some good,
notwithstanding, remains. Good breeds have been brought in. Good blood
will run longer in good stock, than perseverance, often, will in their
owners. Here and there a man holds on. His stock improves. His
neighbor’s herds are gradually leavened. By and by particular counties
grow famous for their fine stock. The farmers feel some pride in it;
and now the thing begins to work rightly. When once the best stock, of
any kind, is a matter of hearty personal pride with the farmer, over
and above the mere price of them in market, then there will be
constant and solid improvement.

These remarks, applying to stock generally, are peculiarly applicable
to the subject of milch cows with which we set out.

       *     *     *     *     *

DAHLIAS.—It is necessary to give your plants a strong support, for, in
good seasons, they grow so thriftily, that rains and winds break down
the branches even when the main stalk is strongly staked. Those who
are willing to be at the trouble, should put three stakes so as to
leave the stem in the middle. Take a pliant withe, or small hoop, and
encircle the stakes at the top, the middle, and also about a foot from
the ground. In this way the branches will lean on the hoops, and not
be liable to split off; a few weeks’ growth will cover and conceal the
stakes and hoops, leaving to the eye only a mass of foliage,
apparently, self-sustained.



CUTTING AND CURING GRASS.


The question when grass ought to be cut, it seems to us, is to be
answered by the purposes to which we mean to put it.

Do we wish it for the seed, or for the stem? Are we anxious to obtain
the greatest weight from an acre? or are we desirous of gaining the
largest amount with the least exhaustion of the soil?

1. If one, regardless of soil, wishes the greatest weight to an acre,
let the grass ripen. It will have become perfectly developed; its
juices will have perfected the solid matter, and less loss will ensue
in curing. But the stem will be comparatively hard, and without
nutriment.

2. Do we desire, without particular regard to economy, the most
nutricious food for animals? The grass should ripen and _only the
upper part of the stem_ and the head should be fed out; for, while the
buts will be hard and juiceless, the grain and husk and neighboring
parts will have received, in a concentrated form, the height of the
plant’s juices. Chemistry has recently shown that plants prepare in
themselves, the fatty matter which is afterward laid on the bones of
the cattle. This fatty substance lies not in the grain, but the husk.

Johnston, the agricultural chemist, says “This fact of the existence
of more fat in the husk than in the inner part of the grain, explains
what often seems inexplicable to the practical man, why bran, namely,
which _appears_ to contain little or no nourishing substance, should
yet fatten pigs and other full grown animals when fed to them in
sufficient quantity, along with their other food.” If for example, a
horse is to be trained, it has long been the _practice_ (though
hitherto the reason was not understood) to give the racers, the
hunter, etc., only the top joint and head of hay. Now the principle on
which a trained horse is fed, is to give the most solid nourishment in
the most compact form—throwing as little unnutricious food as possible
into the stomach consistently with a proper distension of it.

This fact also explains the value of old hay which has been well cured
and well kept. It is known that freshly gathered nuts are not so oily
as those which are old. All seeds perfect their oil after being
thoroughly ripened by keeping. The seed of old hay will be richer in
fatty matter, then, than new.

3. The most palatable hay for cattle is that which is cut before it
ripens its seed. If the farmer has enough grain to feed with, he can
afford to cut his grass early. Its want of nutriment will be made up
by feeding grain, and his stock will relish their food better than if
it had grown hard with age before cutting.

4. _But for general purposes_, grass should be cut when just out of
flower. This is a compromise between the two extremes. It combines the
two advantages of juiciness of stem and richness of grain more nearly
than any other. The stem will be cut while yet in juice, and the seed
will continue to fill and ripen _after it has been cut_. This is well
known in respect to wheat, and the best farmers cut it before it is
dead ripe.

The want of barns to store it, the want of markets in which to sell
it, the want of profit in raising it, and lastly, the want of thrift
in making it, has caused thousands of tons of hay to be most
wretchedly put up—_curing_ as it is sarcastically called; cured,
probably, on the principle of the following story: A physician in
England went out with the gamekeeper to hunt; covey after covey was
started, into which the doctor fired with a strange want of
professional skill, without killing anything. The gamekeeper at length
lost patience, and snatching the gun, said:

“Let me take it, I’ll doctor them.”

“What do you mean, sir, by _doctoring_ them?”

“Why, kill them, to be sure.”

Thus, we think, grass is too often doctored.



COUNTRY AND CITY.


A worthy friend recently said to me: “A gentlemen of observation from
one of our principal cities of the West, stated to me, that in point
of fact, almost all the leading men of the cities were from the
country, and had been raised farmers’ sons. The reasons seemed to me
quite obvious. The vigorous health, patient industry, thorough
economy, and hard thinking necessary to success, are the product of
the country and but seldom of the town or city. A large part of the
best merit and talent of the country doubtless remains upon and adorns
our farms. Another portion is drawn by a spirit for enterprise of a
different kind to our towns. When they enter they find an active
competition that brings out their best efforts. Success on their part
takes away the necessity of effort on the part of their children; and
the next result is, that their children become reduced in means and
merit, and every element of success, and are driven to some refuge in
vice or petty employment. It is therefore the duty of the man who has
been successful in town, to retire to the country again that his
children, who are to succeed him, may partake, as far as possible, of
his advantages.”

The _facts_ stated we believe are undoubted; the business
men—merchants, lawyers, physicians, and clergymen of large cities are,
to a large degree, drawn from the country. And there is a system of
_circulation_, if the facts could be well made out, worth attention.
In travelling, one day last year, the rain drove us into a country
tavern, where a fat man of some fifty years of age was waiting to
entertain us with a dish of philosophy (of which, considering our
accommodations, we had special need). But we were led to notice one
part of his remarks: “You see, sir, everything comes round in about
four generations. First comes the enterprising and hard-working fellow
who gets the money; then his children begin to live in style; but
their parents’ example and stamina keep them pretty well up; but
_their_ children begin to run down; in their hands the property is
wasted and they die poor; and the fourth race begin in poverty, and
work upward again.” Now, if our fat and somewhat dogmatical friend has
reasoned aright, there is a degenerating and rejuvenating process
going on in society, having a period of about four or five years. We
give the theory for what it may be worth.



LIME UPON WHEAT.


Lime is used either to prepare the seed for germination, or to prepare
the soil for the better growth of the seed. This latter operation it
does, either by adding itself as a new ingredient, or by acting
chemically upon the ingredients already in the soil.

When lime is applied _to the seed_ (the seed being moist) the oxygen
of the water, combining with carbon of the seed, forms carbonic acid;
which, having a powerful affinity for lime, unites with it, forming a
carbonate of lime. The escape of a portion of its carbon constitutes
the natural preparation of a seed for growth; but why, chemists have
not been able to explain.

Air-slaked lime, is lime which has combined with carbonic acid
existing in the atmosphere. Unburnt limestone is a carbonate of lime;
air-slaked lime is the same, and they do not materially differ.
Air-slaked lime, having no longer an affinity for carbonic acid,
withdraws none from the grain to which it may be applied; and in
nothing helps the germinating process. Our readers will therefore see
the reason why wheat does not sprout any quicker when it is limed,
than when it is not. Precisely the same thing is true of other
substances applied to grains. Magnesia, existing naturally as a
carbonate, like lime, has its carbonic acid expelled by strong heat,
and in that state applied to seeds, will assist the germination. If
exposed to the air it attracts carbonic acid and becomes again a
carbonate, and useless to seeds.

Where lime is employed _upon the soil_, it is either as a mere article
of vegetable food, or, as a chemical agent, to change the condition of
other ingredients of the soil. All good soils contain lime; of
ninety-four different cultivated soils in Rhode Island, analyzed by
Professor C. T. Jackson, _eighty-nine_ contained lime. Ruffin, in his
essay on calcareous manures, says, after a large induction of fact,
“that all soils naturally poor, are certainly destitute of calcareous
earth.” When there exists in the soil, already, enough lime for the
wants of vegetation, the addition of more will produce no effect upon
the crop. New lands, and old land not run down, and naturally rich in
lime, may require none. But lime is applied not alone as food directly
offered to vegetation, but to act upon and change the soil itself.

It _neutralises_ free acids which exist in the soil. This is done with
quick-lime or air-slaked; the first combining directly with the
acid—the second by liberating its carbonic acid and then combining
with the acid of the soil, leaving the carbonic acid to be food for
plants. It is very well known by those accustomed to use peaty
substances for manures, and meadow mud, that they will rather injure
than benefit soils, until their acid has been neutralized.

Lime _decomposes_ vegetable fibre, and reduces tough ligneous
substances, to a consideration in which they can be appropriated by
plants. For this purpose _quick-lime_ should be used and may be
applied at the rate of from twenty to thirty bushels to the acre.

Lime enters into combination with sand or silex, forming a substance
different from either of them. Even strong clays will be found to
contain much silex; and lime, by combining with it, makes the soil
friable or crumbling.



CULTURE OF HOPS.


We shall state such facts as are within our reach, and leave each one
to make his own calculations.

THE HOP PLANT.—The hop belongs to the natural order, Urticeæ, or the
nettle and hemp family. Its root is perennial; its stem annual,
twining to the height of from fifteen to twenty feet. They bear male
and female flowers on different plants, and the female is the only one
used for planting.

SOIL.—Rich, friable clay, and hearty loams, and vegetable molds are
the best soils. A wet subsoil is fatal to their health. Any rich,
light, dry (but not droughty) soil suits them. A large crop may be
obtained from our rich alluvions, or bottom lands; but although
uplands yield a less crop, the quality is regarded as decidedly
superior. A wet clay subsoil is not good.

PLANTING.—Plants are set out in rows six to eight feet apart and six
to eight feet from hill to hill in the row. Rooted plants, but more
frequently cuttings from old plants are employed; five or six being
planted to the hill. Poles from fifteen to twenty feet in length are
placed to each hill. In England from three to six and even eight are
placed to each hill. But three is about the average number.

HARVEST.—No crop is more variable than this; the yield per acre
ranging according to the season from 300 to 2,000 lbs. On rich bottom
lands 2,000 lbs. may be not unfrequently raised; but on an average,
from 700 to 1,000 lbs. may be reckoned.

The plants bloom in July and are ready for harvest by the first of
September. It is necessary to gather them promptly, as they soon
deteriorate if allowed to remain after they are ripe. As soon as
gathered they are kiln-dried, then placed from ten days to two weeks
to cool, and, finally, they are baled for market.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS.—A plantation will last in full vigor for ten
years, and then will decline, but gradually, for ten more, when it is
to be broken up. Fifteen years, perhaps, is the average duration of
the hop plantations. They exhaust the soil, withdrawing much and
returning little to it. Hops vary exceedingly in price in different
years, not only on account of the varying supply arising from the
uncertainty of yield, but from the quality of the article in different
years. The average price in the United States is not far from sixteen
cents per pound. Sometimes they rise to thirty, forty, and even fifty
cents per pound.

From the moment of sprouting, in the spring, until the hop is ready
for the kiln, they are liable to disaster from insects or disease.
Nowhere has more experience been had in their cultivation than in
England. Brown says, “they are exposed to more diseases than any other
plant with which we are acquainted, and the trade offers greater room
for speculation than any other exercised within the British
dominions.” Parkinson, with a quaint play upon the word hop, says,
“the _hop_ is said to be a plant very properly named, as there is
never any certainty in cultivating it.”

If the crop is to be planted largely, it would seem plain, from the
foregoing, that one should have capital enough to be able to bear some
losses, at least, at first. For ordinary cultivators, if the
experiment is to be made, it would be better to begin with a small
plantation at first, embarking more largely as knowledge and skill
increase, and as experience determines its profitableness.

       *     *     *     *     *

GRAPE VINES should be trimmed before the sap begins to rise, else they
will bleed, to their great injury. If it be neglected till the sap is
in motion, let the cultivator wait till the leaves are about the size
of a dollar; then cutting may be performed without injury.



WHITE CLOVER.


We are inclined to suppose that the excellences of white clover have
not been enough esteemed among our farmers; indeed, they have adopted
a few grasses as special favorites upon whom all favors are lavished,
and the rest are totally or very nearly rejected.

In regions where dairies abound, and where, therefore, the subject of
pasturage is of vital interest, those grasses are sown which spring
early in the year and continue late; which grow quickly, abundantly,
and shoot again rapidly after being cropped; which are nutritious;
which tend to produce milk, and impart to it high flavor. If any _one_
grass possessed all these properties, it would be perfect; and, for
pastures, all others might be rejected. As it is, several grasses must
conspire to form a _sward_ possessed of these diverse excellences. In
this joint result white clover bears no mean place. It is, on
congenial soils, of vigorous growth, eminently conducive to the
production of milk, and milk of fine flavor. These are its peculiar
virtues. Besides these, it possesses in common with other pasture
plants, hardiness, tenacity of life, nutritiousness for beef-cattle.
Thaër, the most eminent practical, and scientific cultivator of his
day, says: “_It is certainly the most generally approved of all plants
that are cultivated for this_ (pasture) _purpose_.” Sinclair, whose
authority in grasses will not be disputed, says: “nor does it form a
good pasture when sown _by itself_ … but, combined with other grasses,
it is a valuable plant.” Great quantities of seed are annually sown in
England by the best farmers. Fessenden, of New England, says, “it does
not contain as much nutritive matter as red clover; yet its value as a
_pasture-grass is universally admitted_.” This is the experience of
Germany, England, and New England. Has experience determined that
these good qualities are suppressed in western pastures? Or is there
such a prejudice against it on account of its prying, intrusive
disposition in arable lands, that our farmers are unwilling to give it
a chance?



PLOWING CORN.


Many farmers, because their fathers did so before them, plow their
corn lands very shallow before planting; but make up for it in deep
plowing while dressing the corn crop. Why is corn plowed at all?

1. TO DESTROY WEEDS.—In this climate if a plow is not kept lively in
the early part of the season, weeds will completely take the crop. The
soil is like a table full of food. Every man who sits down to it makes
it less. Every weed eats up a part of the soil, and takes away,
needlessly, so much from the corn. But it is not merely the nutritive
ingredients which are extracted—but what, on some soils, in some
seasons, is even worse—weeds drink up the moisture. There are many
soils which could afford to lose much mineral and vegetable substance
without lessening the supply for corn; but, in this climate, in
ordinary seasons, no soil can afford to squander its moisture.

But a corn crop is often put in to act as a cleanser of the soil when
it has become foul. This end can only be answered by a rigid
persecution and destruction of the weeds throughout the whole growing
season. Some farmers, strangely enough, will deal thoroughly with
their fields, but allow the edges and fence rows to swarm with weeds
that luxuriate and ripen seed which the winds scatter all over the
field. This is as if a man should busy himself all day long, in
driving hogs out of his field, but leave all the holes open where they
broke in. The soil should be thoroughly worked.

2. TO PREVENT DRYNESS.—Nothing is wider of the truth, than letting
corn alone in dry weather for fear of “firing” it. If the plow begins
early, and is kept going, no drought likely to occur in our climate
can do much injury; especially if the ground has been broken up deep
before planting.

Where the atmosphere is very dry, very hot and windy, the evaporation
of moisture from the plant, and from the surface of the soil, is
excessive. A hill of corn will exhale many pounds of moisture in a
day. There is no remedy for excessive exhalation from plants; but this
renders it yet more necessary that a supply should be kept up at the
roots. If the soil therefore, is permitted to evaporate from its
surface, the double draught upon its moisture—through the plant, and
from the surface—will soon exhaust its water.

Everybody knows that if a board or cloth be put upon the ground, in
dry weather, the earth under it will remain moist—its aqueous
particles being checked in their passage upward. If a shovelful of
fine manure be laid in a heap upon a spot of ground, the same effect
will be produced. Gardeners are accustomed to cover the earth about
shrubs with an inch or two of fine sand; experience teaching them that
it preserves the moisture of the soil. Now, if the soil, instead of
being covered with sand, or light manure, be itself pulverized, the
same effect will be produced—and for reasons which will appear. When
the soil is compact the moisture ascends from particle to particle
without obstruction. Every crevice which separates the particles of
earth, checks the passage of the moisture. This may be more readily
seen in an analogous case—the transmission of heat. Take two
nail-rods, lay the end of one in the fire; divide the other into inch
pieces and lay them in a row from the fire, each piece touching the
other. The transmission of heat in the rod made up of pieces will be
checked at each point of division, while the uncut rod will heat
rapidly. On this principle, an iron chain two feet long, with one end
thrust into fire, will not transmit heat through its length near so
soon as a solid bar of the same length.

If this reasoning be true, and experience bears it out, the plow
should be kept running in dry times to save a crop from drought. But
if the farmer has neglected his corn, waiting for rain, and begins to
plow after his ground is very dry, and plows deep, _breaking the
roots_ of his corn, the crop will be “fired;” for, in this case,
besides the evaporation from the leaves and the dryness of the soil,
he commences breaking the roots by which the crop drinks what little
water there may be left for it. Of course it despairs when it is
attacked on one side by the heat, and on the other by the foolish
farmer, and underneath by a treacherously dry soil. Begin, then,
early, and plow often, and you may defy dry summers and cram your crib
with hearty crops of corn.

BREAKING THE ROOTS.—Many farmers study to break the roots of their
corn. We have heard them boast of ripping them up with a big plow till
they clogged it up like bundles of yarn. It is done by some because
others do it; those who attempt to reason, say, that if a root be
broken it immediately puts out many more from the point of breakage;
and the practice of root-pruning fruit-trees is cited, to show that
the fruitfulness of a plant is increased by reducing the root and
checking the growth of the wood. It is not true that the fruitfulness
of a tree is increased by root-pruning, but, it is made to yield its
fruit _earlier_. It is a device to bring trees rapidly into bearing. A
pear-tree (grafted) requires from five to eight years before it is
matured enough to commence bearing. By mutilation of root, bending of
branches, or by a poor gravelly soil, the tree is partially forbidden
to grow, and obliged to ripen its wood and fit it for fruit-bearing.
But had it grown to its natural size, it would then have borne even
more fruit than when dwarfed.

No such practice is required upon annual plants, whose ripening is not
delayed through years, but which come up and ripen and die within the
limits of a single season. They need no artificial treatment to
accelerate the fruiting, because it ordinarily makes no difference
whether the corn crop comes in September or October. It is better to
select varieties of corn which ripen within the limits of the season
natural to the region where it is planted. Then there will be no
occasion to break roots, or to apply any other artificial and violent
process to accelerate maturation.



CLEAN OUT YOUR CELLARS.


I speak to those who have cellars. If not already done, thoroughly
purge this subterranean story of your house. Every decayed onion,
cabbage stump, potato vine or tuber, turnip, parsnip, carrot, and all
the dirt they have made, all straw and rubbish, rake them up and out
with them. The cellar is no place for them at any time of year. If you
still retain a few potatoes for table use, let them be picked over and
all decayed ones removed. One of the best housewives of our
acquaintance, greeted us not long since, with an invitation to come
and see her cellar: “I have swept down every cobweb, whitewashed the
walls, swept up the floor, and sowed it with salt.” Decayed vegetable
matter is a fertile cause of disease, and there is enough of it out of
doors, in this country, without heaping it up in the cellar for the
special purpose, it would almost seem, of breeding fevers. Whitewash
the walls, for lime purifies as well as beautifies. Rake down the
cobwebs, they are the infallible marks of a _slattern_. Every spider
that is allowed to peer out of his corner in a house, up-stairs or
down, undisturbed, points his long black leg in thanksgiving at the
housewife, “Hurra for folks that are not too particular.” Old legends
represent witches as addicted to riding brooms. I wish that many women
would get bewitched enough to do this, something more than they do.
Down cellar, then, with your broom. Look now; the window is perfectly
covered; there is a great sprawling gaunt spider in the corner and
half a dozen empty bugs hung up like scalps to commemorate his
triumphs; next to him is a great over-swollen potbellied fellow—for
all the world he looks like a huge glutton; then there is a sharp,
nimble, enterprising spider, below him, who has just opened an office
and is keen for business, preparing to inherit, like many other
fellows, his neighbor’s custom, who, having got rich fraudulently,
will soon burst; there, too, are several pale and shadowy spiders, who
look as if the cobwebs had kept them from the light until they had
become quite sallow and emaciated; then there are several little
round, shining-black, pestilent fellows, whose legs are so long in
proportion to their bodies, that they make one think of a little
potato with yard-long sprouts all over it. I say nothing of
crab-spiders on the window-sill, who, like metaphysicians, run
backward just as easy as forwards. Just look, too, my dear madam, at
the various patterns of their webs. Here is one from point to point
resembling a sheet-like shelf of dusty cotton, and running like a
tunnel, into a knot hole, where stands the venomous old fellow waiting
for flies, like a usurer waiting for customers. Another corner is
filled up with a web like a skein of tangled silk; then there is a
beautiful wheel, worked more beautifully than any lace-work, while
there are a multitude of base and lazy little spiders who, like many
of their betters, live on other folk’s webs. Well, we have talked long
enough; dash your brush into that spider-village, give it a dextrous
twirl, and with the whole population on the end of it, run to the door
and crush them! So much for spiders.

As to salt; the only advantage of salt in a cellar, that occurs to us,
is its effect in destroying snails, bugs, and that fungus vegetation
called mold. It will do this. But it attracts moisture from the
atmosphere and renders a cellar damp. If your cellar is very dry and
sandy, you may use salt without detriment. But if too damp it will
make the matter worse.



WHEN IS HAYING OVER?


In a trip through the country last summer we saw several fields of
timothy, out of blossom, which had become dry, seedy, and
snuff-colored. Haying was not over, it seems. Cattle that had been
hardened to eat iron-weed stems, jimpsum stalks, and packing straw,
would probably be willing to eat this hay.

We saw another sight. Hay which had been cut and partly cured, was
cocked up and had been left, probably for a week or two already; and,
doubtless, was to stand thus much longer, for there is a fashion with
some to let their hay lie about the field in little three-feet cocks,
_until it is convenient_ to haul it to the stack. This may be in
August, or September, and sometimes we have seen a farmer (so called)
with a little sled and rope hauling his hay in October. Now, hay thus
served is good for nothing but for litter. The bottom of each little
heap molds; the sides are, by sun and rain, spoiled, and the little
wad in the middle does not, after subtracting the sides and bottom,
amount to much.

I’ll venture my head that these are not “book farmers.” I have no
doubt that “book farmers” do some foolish things, but farmers without
books do a great many more. No book farmer, none but a farmer utterly
without books, would think of leaving his hay in cocks for six weeks
or two months. We see enough of such hay offered for sale every
winter, of a dingy, lack-lustre, straw-colored look, without
fragrance, or odor of any sort except a faint smell of old wood, or
more pungent odor of mold.

We say, in conclusion, grass should not be left so long that it will
be already dry and cured before it is cut; and, after grass is once
down, it is not to be treated like flax, and left to bleach and rot,
but should be got in _as soon as possible_. Farmers whose hay is on
the stack or in the mow may laugh at this article; those whose hay is
not stacked or in the barn had better do something besides laugh.



LAYING DOWN LAND TO GRASS.


We shall speak of the kinds and quality of seed, and of the time and
manner of putting them in.

We think our farmers err in not sowing enough kinds of seed together.

The objects to be secured are very early grass in the spring, a heavy
body of hay, a rapid after-growth, and the greatest amount which the
soil can yield. No one grass can be found capable of meeting all these
ends. Some are very early, but not heavy enough or sufficiently
nutritious for the main crop; others are admirable for hay, but do not
start readily again after cutting. By judiciously mixing different
sorts of grasses, any one of these objects may be secured and the
meadow be admirable both for the scythe and for pasturage. Nor can the
soil be made to yield all of which it is capable in any other way; for
a square foot of ground may be able to sustain but a certain number of
roots of any _one kind_ of grass, and yet many support, in addition,
as much more of another kind, since different species of grass draw
their nourishment from different portions of the soil—the
fibrous-rooted grasses from the surface, and tap-rooted plants from
the lower strata of the soil, while broad-leaved vegetation, as
clovers, lucerne, etc., draw very much of their support from the air.
Indeed, this is the lesson which Nature teaches us, for a dozen kinds
of grass may oftentimes be found growing wild on a single square foot.

The English farmer sows from four to seven or eight kinds of
grass-seed, and sometimes as high as twelve or fourteen, each one of
which is destined to answer some special end, and the whole taken
together constitute as it were, a perfect grass.

We subjoin the quantity and kind of seed per acre recommended by
English authorities, that our readers may have an idea of the English
method, and derive such benefit from it as their circumstances will
admit of:

  Smooth-stalked poa,                    8 quarts.
  Rough-stalked poa,                     8   “
  Meadow fescue,                        12   “
  Meadow fox-tail,                       8   “
  Crested dog’s-tail,                    6   “
  Rib-grass,                             4   “
  Timothy-grass,                         4   “
  Yellow oat-grass,                      4   “
  Perennial rye-grass,                  12   “
  Cock’s foot,                           4   “
  Yarrow,                                4   “
  Sweet-scented vernal,                  2   “
  White clover,                          6  lbs.
  Cow-grass,                             4   “
            and annual meadow-grass.

These seeds may, for the most part, be had of eastern dealers, though
not probably in the West.

With blue grass we should join orchard grass, say a bushel to the
acre—white clover five pounds, red clover ten pounds, and
sweet-scented vernal (_anthoxanthum odoratum_) say three pounds.

This last grass is remarkably early in the spring, and peculiarly
fragrant; indeed, it is supposed that the famous spring butter of
Philadelphia derives its peculiar flavor from this grass, and we
should include it in every mixture to be sown for pasturage. The
orchard grass is one of our most valuable; for hay it may be inferior
to timothy; but it is decidedly superior to it for pasturage. Colonel
Powell, of Pennsylvania, after growing it ten years, declares that it
produces more pasturage than any cultivated grass he has even seen in
America. It should be spread on a floor and sprinkled with water a day
or two before sowing, it being very light, not weighing more than
twelve or fourteen pounds to the bushel.

The following table exhibits the quantity of seed, by _weight_, and
also on the three kinds of soil:


  FOR PERMANENT PASTURE, PER IMPERIAL ACRE.

  +----------------------+---------------+----------------+---------------+
  |                      |  LIGHT SOIL.  |  MEDIUM SOIL.  |  HEAVY SOIL.  |
  |                      +------+--------+-------+--------+------+--------+
  |                      |With a|Without |With a |Without |With a|Without |
  |                      | Crop | a Crop | Crop  | a Crop | Crop | a Crop |
  |                      +------+--------+-------+--------+------+--------+
  |                      | lbs. |   lbs. |  lbs. |  lbs.  | lbs. |  lbs.  |
  |Perennial rye-grass   |  12  |   24   |  12   |   24   |  12  |   24   |
  |Meadow fox-tail       |   1¼ |    2½  |   2   |    4   |   3¼ |    6½  |
  |Timothy-grass         |  —   |    —   |   1½  |    3   |   3¼ |    5½  |
  |Meadow fescue         |   2½ |    4   |   2½  |    4   |   2½ |    4   |
  |Cock’s-foot           |   5  |    8   |   3¼  |    6½  |   2½ |    4   |
  |Rough-stalked poa     |  —   |    —   |   1¾  |    3¼  |   3¼ |    6½  |
  |Smooth-stalked poa    |   3¼ |    6½  |   1½  |    3¼  |  —   |   —    |
  |White clover          |   5  |    8   |   5   |    8   |   5  |    8   |
  |Red clover            |   1½ |    2½  |   1½  |    2½  |   1½ |    2½  |
  |Hop-clover, or trefoil|   1½ |    2½  |   1½  |    2½  |   1½ |    2½  |
  |Cow-grass             |   1½ |    2½  |   1½  |    2½  |   1½ |    2½  |
  |                      +------+--------+-------+--------+------+--------+
  |                      |  33½ |   60½  |  34   |   63½  |  36¼ |   66   |
  +----------------------+------+--------+-------+--------+------+--------+

There is a very great difference of opinion respecting the quantity of
seed to be sown to an acre. There can be no doubt that the question is
to be settled by the character of the soil and climate. In soils and
under circumstances where every seed will vegetate and grow off with
unobstructed vigor, less seed is needed than where a part will be
taken by frosts, a part by drenching rains which are not well drained
off, and a part by severe drought. Every farmer must employ his best
judgment in this matter; but, it is better to err on the side of too
much than of too little seed.

TIME OF SEEDING.—We cannot pretend to decide between the conflicting
opinions on this subject. The positiveness of those who prefer
spring-sowing is only to be equalled by that of those who prefer
fall-planting. Young says of the month of August, “this is the best
season of the whole year for laying down land to grass, and no other
is admissible for it on strong, wet, or heavy soils.” This, however,
is said of humid England. But if the character of the season toward
the close of summer favors, there can be no doubt that fall-sowing
will advance the crop very early the next year, in all soils where it
is not liable to be thrown out by the frosts. If the winter proves
severe, it will be prudent to add an additional quantity of seed in
the spring. It is objected to spring sowings, that the grass is grown
in the shade during the early part of the summer, and is, of course,
_tender_, so that when the grain is cut, it is enfeebled by the
powerful heat, to which, then, it becomes exposed. On the whole, we
are inclined to prefer the month of September, if the season favors,
to any other for sowing grass seed. Since writing these lines, one of
our best farmers informs us that he prefers August to any other month.

METHOD OF SOWING.—The ground should be very thoroughly prepared by
deep and fine plowing, and the want of labor in this respect is want
of economy.

If the soil is naturally well drained, no further provision against
wet will be required. But if it be flat, it may be well to lay it off
into lands, strike a furrow through the centre, and then turn the
furrows toward the outer on each side. This will give a slight
elevation at the middle and a drain between each land sufficient to
answer the purpose of moderate surface draining. The seed should be
sown with the greatest _evenness_ possible. The English farmer prefers
to sow some of the kinds separately on this account; for although he
has to sow the whole ground several times over, experience has taught
him, as it will us, that that is the cheapest which is done the best.
Let it be covered in well with a harrow, and not with a bush, which
last leaves the soil dead, and tends to drag the seed into patches and
hollows. As a general rule, grass seed may be planted as deeply as
grain. Farmers lose much more seed from shallow than from deep
planting. For although shallow-planted seed vegetates sooner, they are
more liable to be winter-killed, or to perish by drought than those
which are deeply covered.



THEORY OF MANURE.


It is very well known that a young orchard will not, usually, flourish
on the site of an old one; for the older trees are supposed to have
withdrawn from the soil certain elements necessary to their growth;
and as necessary to the growth of the young tree, should it be planted
there. There is no “like” or “dislike” of the soil to the tree; it is
a plain case of starvation. The tree needs, and the soil cannot supply
certain elements of its wood.

But if, after a plant has abstracted from the soil certain
ingredients, the whole plant is decomposed and returned to the earth,
the soil repossesses itself of the lost elements, and is ready to
yield them up again to a plant of the same kind. If the straw of wheat
be burned upon the field, annually, the soil would yield fine crops
for a thousand successive years, that is so far as the _straw is
concerned_. But if the grain is removed, and nothing resupplies the
drain of phosphates which it makes from the soil, the soil will in due
time, according to the original quantities in the soil, cease to yield
_grain_, although the straw may be admirable. But if both straw and
kernel were every year burned upon the field, as grass and its seed is
upon the prairies, wheat would grow for a thousand years in
succession. The same is true of corn, of potatoes, and of any annual
crop. When the annual growth is restored to the soil, it is
repossessed of all its treasure which had been loaned for a season. If
a part of the crop is removed, the soil is poorer by just so much as
the portion removed contained within it of the elements necessary to
that crop, and it must be restored artificially, _i. e. by manuring_;
or by allowing the earth to prepare (by disintegration or
decomposition of its minerals) a new supply; _i. e. by fallowing_. A
forest will grow for ages on the same spot, for it returns annually
its leaves, and, gradually, by force of accidents and the elements,
its twigs, branches, trunks, etc., to the soil again. But let the
whole product be gradually removed, and the soil would soon be unable
to supply the trees their nourishment, except in cases where the soil
was very rich in the materials of growth. The forests of Germany, like
our mines, are under the management of the government. It was
customary, for a time, to allow the peasants the use of the _twigs_
and _smaller branches_; but analysis has shown that in these,
especially, resides the large proportion of potash entering into the
composition of trees; the annual removal of it debilitated the trees
to an extent that obliged the Conservators to change their mode of
proceeding.

On the other hand, in one of Mr. Horsford’s letters from Germany, we
have the question of growing plants upon their own ashes, brought, by
the ablest chemist of the age, directly to the test of experiment.

     “In the spring preceding my arrival in Giessen, Professor
     Liebig planted some grape scions under the windows of the
     laboratory. He fed them, if I may use such an expression,
     upon the ashes of the grape vine—or upon the proper
     inorganic food of the grape, as shown by analyses of its
     ashes. The growth has been enormous, and several of the
     vines bore large clusters of grapes in the course of the
     season. Indeed, I know not but all, as my attention was
     drawn to them particularly only since the fruit has been
     gathered. The soil otherwise is little better than a
     pavement—a kind of fine gravel, in which scarcely anything
     takes root.

     “I was shown pots of wheat, in different stages of their
     growth, that had been fed variously—some upon the inorganic
     matters they needed, according to the analyses of their
     ashes—others had merely shared the tribute of the general
     soil. The results in numbers I don’t yet know. In
     appearance, no one could be at a loss to judge of what might
     be expected.”

The fact that depopulated forest-grounds change the character of their
growth, is quite familiar to all; and the reasons of it have been
variously debated.



FODDER FOR CATTLE.


Although the practice of soiling cattle, _i. e._ of cutting their food
daily and feeding it to them in a green state, would be profitable to
many small farmers, it is especially to be recommended to those living
in towns, where pasturage is distant and expensive. Where an immediate
supply is required, corn may be sown broadcast, and cut as wanted,
until it begins to tassel, when all should be cut and cured, and the
ground sown again, and a third time in the same summer.

But if half that is said of lucerne is true, and we see no reason to
doubt it, it is valuable far above all other kinds of green fodder. It
starts very early in spring; may be cut four times in a summer,
yielding from four to nine tons to the acre, acccording to the
condition of the land. It is much relished by cattle, imparts no bad
flavor to milk, is a very fattening food, and one sowing will last ten
years. One acre is sufficient for four or five cows. It may be sown in
drills, if the land is foul, and kept clean by hoeing, the first year;
but on clean ground it may be sown broadcast. It is hardy under the
infliction of severe frosts; and surpasses all grasses in endurance of
drought, its enormously land roots affording it moisture from a great
depth. An English writer says, its roots have been found from ten to
fourteen feet below the surface; and an American writer says, that it
made, on his land, roots three feet long the first summer.

Where it is sown broadcast, it is difficult to get it through the
first year. But if sown in drills ten inches apart, and hoed once or
twice, it may be cut twice or thrice the first season, and be entirely
established before winter.

A light, sandy soil is the best; it should not be put upon heavy and
non-friable soils, though it will flourish on even these, when fully
established. Ten pounds of seed to the acre is enough, if drilled;
fifteen pounds, if sown broadcast.

The only reason, that we can imagine, why this plant should not be
extensively cultivated, is, the disrelish which our farmers too often
have to any crop requiring much care. To slash along with a plow is
all well enough; but to hoe and weed is rather tedious. But these
operations are required only during the first part of the first year.

       *     *     *     *     *

CAMPHOR FOR FLOWERS.—Two or three drops of a saturated solution of
camphor in alcohol, put into half an ounce of soft water, forms a
mixture which will revive flowers that have begun to droop and wilt,
and give them freshness for a long time.



THE SCIENCE OF BAD BUTTER.


We once took occasion to give our opinion of the butter which was
largely brought to our market. The article was deemed severe; but if
they who think so had eaten of the butter they would have regarded
_that_ as the more pungent of the two. We have waited a year; and are
now prepared more fully to testify against that utter abomination,
slanderously called butter, so unrighteously exchanged in our market
for good money. Far the most part, the cream is totally depraved at
the start, and churning, working, and packing are only the successive
steps of an evil education by which bad inclinations are developed
into overt wickedness. We determined to keep an eye upon the matter;
and now give, from life, the natural history of the butter sold.

Before doing this, we will express an opinion of what is _good
butter_.

_Good butter_ is made of sweet cream, with perfect neatness; is of a
high color, perfectly sweet, free from buttermilk, and possesses a
fine grass flavor.

_Tolerable butter_ differs from this only in not having a _fine
flavor_. It is devoid of all unpleasant taste, but has not a high
relish.

Whatever is less than this is bad butter; the catalogue is long and
the descending scale is marked with more varieties than one may
imagine.

_Variety 1._ BUTTER-MILK BUTTER.—This has not been well worked, and
has the taste of fresh buttermilk. It is not very disagreeable to such
as love fresh buttermilk; but as it is a flavor not expected in good
butter, it is usually disagreeable.

_Variety 2._ STRONG BUTTER.—This is one step farther along, and the
buttermilk is changing and beginning to assert its right to
predominate over the butteraceous flavor; yet it may be eaten with
some pleasure if done rapidly, accompanied with very good bread.

_Variety 3._ FROWY OR FROWSY BUTTER.—This is a second degree of
strength attained by the buttermilk. It has become pungent, and too
disagreeable for any but absent-minded eaters.

_Variety 4._ RANCID BUTTER.—This is the putrescent stage. No
description will convey, to those who have not tasted it, an idea of
its unearthly flavor; while those who _have_, will hardly thank us for
stirring up such awful remembrances by any description.

_Variety 5._ BITTER BUTTER.—Bitterness is, for the most part, incident
to winter-butter. When one has but little cream and is long in
collecting enough for the churn, he will be very apt to have bitter
butter.

_Variety 6._ MUSTY BUTTER.—In summer, especially in damp, unventilated
cellars, cream will gather mold; Whenever this appears, the pigs
should be set to churn it. But instead, if but just touched, it is
quickly churned; or, if much molded, it is slightly skimmed, as if the
_flavor_ of mold, which has struck through the whole mass, could be
removed by taking off the colored portion! The peculiar taste arising
from this affection of the milk, blessed be the man who needs to be
told it!

_Variety 7._ SOUR-MILK BUTTER.—This is made from milk which has been
allowed to sour, the milk and cream being churned up together. The
flavor is that of greasy, sour milk.

_Variety 8._ VINEGAR BUTTER.—There are some who imagine that all milk
should be _soured_ before it is fit to churn. When, in cool weather,
it delays to change, they expedite the matter by some acid—usually
vinegar. The butter strongly retains the flavor thereof.

_Variety 9._ CHEESY BUTTER.—Cream comes quicker by being heated. If
sour cream be heated, it is very apt to separate and deposit a _whey_:
if this is strained into the churn with the cream, the butter will
have a strong cheesy flavor.

_Variety 10._ GRANULATED BUTTER.—When, in winter, sweet cream is
over-heated, preparatory to churning, it produces butter full of
_grains_, as if there were meal in it.

_Variety 11._—In this we will comprise the two opposite kinds—_too
salt_ and _unsalted butter_. We have seen butter exposed for sale with
such masses of salt in it that one is tempted to believe that it was
put in as a make-weight. When the salt is coarse, the operation of
eating this butter affords those who have good teeth, a pleasing
variety of grinding.

_Variety 12._ LARD BUTTER.—When lard is cheap and abundant, and butter
rather dear, it is thought profitable to combine the two.

_Variety 13._ MIXED BUTTER.—When the shrewd housewife has several
separate churnings of butter on hand, some of which would hardly be
able to go alone, she puts them together, and those who buy, find out
that “Union is _strength_!” Such butter is pleasingly marbled; dumps
of white, of yellow, and of dingy butter melting into each other,
until the whole is ring-streaked and speckled.

_Variety 14._ COMPOUND BUTTER.—By compound butter we mean that which
has received contributions from things animate and inanimate;
feathers, hairs, rags of cloth, threads, specks, chips, straws, seeds;
in short, everything is at one time or another to be found in it,
going to produce the three successive degrees of dirty, filthy, nasty.

_Variety 15._ TOUGH BUTTER.—When butter is worked too long after the
expulsion of buttermilk, it assumes a gluey, putty-like consistence,
and is tough when eaten. But, oh blessed fault! we would go ten miles
to pay our admiring respects to that much-to-be-praised dairy-maid
whose zeal leads her to work her butter too much! We doubt, however,
if a pound of such butter was ever seen in this place.

Besides all these, whose history we have correctly traced; besides
butter tasting of turpentine from being made in pine churns; butter
bent on travelling, in hot weather; butter dotted, like cloves on a
boiled ham, with flies, which Solomon assures us causeth the ointment
to stink; besides butter in rusty tin pans, and in dirty swaddling
clothes; besides butter made of milk drawn from a dirty cow, by a
dirtier hand, into a yet dirtier pail, and churned in a churn the
dirtiest of all; besides all these sub-varieties, there are several
others with which we have formed an acquaintance, but found ourselves
baffled at analysis. We could not even guess the cause of their
peculiarities. Oh Dr. Liebig! how we have longed for your skill in
analytic chemistry! What consternation would we speedily send among
the slatternly butter-makers, revealing the mysteries of their dirty
doings with more than mesmeric facility!

And now, what on earth is the reason that good butter is so great a
rarity? Is it a hereditary curse in some families? or is it a
punishment sent upon us for our ill-deserts? A few good butter-makers
in every neighborhood are a standing proof that it is nothing but bad
housewifery; mere sheer carelessness which turns the luxury of the
churn into an utterly nauseating abomination.

Select cows for quality and not for quantity of milk; give them sweet
and sufficient pasturage; keep clean yourself; milk into a clean pail;
strain into clean pans—(pans scalded, scoured, and sunned, and if tin,
with every particle of milk rubbed out of the seams.) While it is yet
sweet, churn it; if it delays to come, add a little saleratus; work it
thoroughly, three times, salting it at the second working; put it into
a cool place, and then, when, with a conscience as clean and sweet as
your butter, you have dispatched your tempting rolls to market, you
may sit down and thank God that you are an honest woman!



CINCINNATI, THE QUEEN CITY.


Whatever may have been the squealing celebrity of Porkopolis,
Cincinnati seems destined to merge the glory of that name in the more
agreeable title, City of Vineyards. That she is the Queen City none
denies. But on account of what single excellence, it might be
difficult, for some, to say. A queen of slaughter-pens might he a
hearty buxom lass, but, withal, not exactly the personage for which
knights (Sancho always excepted) love to break lances. A queen of
foundries and stithies, she might be, and not necessarily, on that
account, a ruddy brunette; inasmuch as Sir Vulcan was, once before,
the husband of Venus—queen of beauty. A blushing queen of strawberry
beds would be quite romantic; but yet more appropriate if her
jurisdiction were extended over vines and purple clusters and
vineyards and orchards. But whether it be pork, or iron, or gardens,
or vineyards, or observatories, Cincinnati is acknowledged on all
hands to be the Queen City.

Leaving her commercial glories out of view, we think Cincinnati has
done more for horticulture than any American city, taking into the
account her recent origin and her means. In all other cities
horticulture has been the child of wealth and leisure. It has
_followed_ commercial or manufacturing prosperity. But in this city,
it began with them and kept pace with them; so that one wonders which
most to admire, the thrift of industry and skill, or the elegant taste
which is so generally evinced in the cultivation of fruit, and shrub
and flower.

The first volume of the Transactions of the Cincinnati Horticultural
Society, is eminently worthy of that enterprising corporation.

The thoughts of several principal friends of horticulture seem much
directed to the subject of vine culture, and the manufacture of wine.
There are more than eighty-three vineyards in the vicinity of the city
containing not far from 400 acres of land! From 114 acres during the
season of 1845, more than 23,000 gallons of wine were manufactured,
and there was not more than half a crop obtained in that season. The
average yield of wine per acre, for five years in succession, is
stated to be from 450 to 500 gallons per annum.

Many think the culture of the grape will be the finishing stroke to
the temperance enterprise; affording a wholesome beverage from our
hills in place of “corn juice” from our bottoms, and beer from our hop
and barley fields.

The arguments urged by some with great sincerity, are the often-quoted
facts, that the inhabitants of wine-making countries are favorably
distinguished for temperance; and that a palatable and wholesome
beverage—pure wine—would supersede the use of violent liquors. If we
thought that our people would become temperate upon such conditions,
we should be glad to see a vineyard on every hillside, and a wine-vat
to every farmhouse. But there is no reason to expect any such result.
Vineyards in Europe exist among a quiet, comparatively unenterprising
peasantry. They have been _trained_ to moderation; necessity has made
them temperate in all things—in food, in dress, in expense, and in
drink. The popular habits are not so excitable as with us; business
runs in quiet streams, and politics are unknown. With us, business is
boisterous, pleasure obstreperous, and politics outrageous. Our people
are anything but quiet; they are hot, hot in tongue and blood. It is
wide enough of the mark to suppose that the same cause existing among
two entirely dissimilar people, would, of course, produce the same
results. We might as well say that vineyards would make our people eat
less meat, less corn and pork, because the residents of wine districts
were known to be addicted to a vegetable diet. The probable
consequences of abundant cheap wine must be judged, not by what would
happen in France, among abstemious peasants, nor on the Rhine, among
economical and sober Germans; but by the tastes, habits, and
tendencies of our own people. In this land everything tends to
excitement. Men live upon a higher key, and live faster and live much
more full of exhilaration than the same classes do in foreign lands.
Our people drink not for the _taste_ but for the _excitement_ of
liquor; and, so that wine, beer, or whisky will bring them up to the
right key, the question of wholesomeness is quite unimportant. Our
people are free and therefore have a right to live in the violation of
natural laws; and a right, constantly exercised, of having fevers on
account of surfeitings, and of dying early and by thousands by reasons
of gross excesses.

Pleasures and business are esteemed by the volume of blood which they
can drive, the pulse they can raise, the heat of excitement which they
can produce. So long as affairs are fresh and piquant they are
stimulants enough. But in the inequalities and intervals and fatigues
of life, something else is required to hold the spirits up to the high
level upon which everything proceeds. As soon as a man resorts to
alcoholic stimulants to do this, he has embarked upon a course where
all experience shows that he will drink deeper and deeper to final
downright intemperance.

Some people think that cheap and wholesome beverage for the “masses,”
for laboring people, is desirable. While it may be well enough for
every gentleman of leisure, it is to be the poor man’s special
blessing, saving him from the swill of the brewery and the fire of the
still. Facts will stand on the side of the reverse reasoning. If wine
is to be harmless at all, it will be with men who are not prone to
enterprising heats; but given to the relishful pleasure of sipping
just for the delicate flavors, for the aroma, for the fine _bouquet_
of wine—men who need to have their blood up, and kept up, and resort
to wine to supply the flagging stimulus of affairs; such men will not
drink for the flavor, but for the feeling.

It is for the sake of being roused; it is to be stimulated; it is, in
plain language, to have the first exhilarations of drunkenness that
laboring men drink, will drink, and have always drank cider, beer,
wine, and brandy. The result of affording wine in abundance to such
people as ours, will be to prepare them for a stronger drink just as
soon as wine, by frequent use, is no longer stimulating enough. Wine
will play jackal to brandy for the rich, and to whisky for the poor.
We have some facts on hand touching this popular wine-drinking, which,
if necessary, we shall employ at another time. Meanwhile, we are glad
to see grape-culture spreading for the production of table-grapes; for
the manufacture of wine, in so far as a supply of pure wine is needed
for medicinal purposes. Further than that, we are opposed to
wine-making. And as to cheating whisky out of its authority over “the
dear people” by the blandishments of hock and champagne, or redeeming
our barley and cornfields from the abominable persecutions of the
brew-tub and the still, by the conservative energy or evangelizations
of grape juice, we shall believe it when we see it; and we shall just
as soon expect to see fire putting out fire and frost melting ice, as
one degree of alcoholic stimulus curing a higher one.

       *     *     *     *     *

TO PRESERVE GARDEN STICKS.—It is desirable when one has prepared good
sticks for supporting carnations, roses, dahlias, etc., to preserve
them from year to year. The following preparation will make them last
a man’s lifetime: When they are freshly made, allow them to become
thoroughly dry; then soak them in linseed oil for some time, say two
or three days. When taken out let them stand to dry till the oil is
perfectly soaked in; then paint with two coats of verdigris paint. No
wet can then penetrate.



CARE OF ANIMALS IN WINTER.


The wisest man has said that “the righteous man regardeth the life of
his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” If any one
is at a loss to know the meaning of the latter part, he cannot have
made good use of his eyes. Lean cattle, leaner horses, anatomical
specimens of cows, half fed, dirty, drenched by every rain, and
pierced by every-winter wind, these are an excellent comment on the
passage.

It is time for every merciful man to make provision for every dumb
animal which is dependent upon him.

_Cows_ should be provided with a comfortable stable at night. No
feeding will be a substitute for good shelter. Both the quantity and
quality of the milk will depend upon bodily comfort in respect to
warmth and nutritious food. Such as are becoming heavy with calf
should be specially cared for. Many farmers let their cows shift for
themselves as soon as their milk dries away. But the health of the
coming calf and the ability of the cow to supply it, and her owner,
copiously with milk depend on the condition in which she is kept
during the period of gestation.

_Cattle_ should have a good shed provided for them, under which they
may be dry and sheltered from winds. It is the curse of western
farming that cattle and fodder are so plenty that it is hardly a loss
to waste both.

Where the amount of stock is too great for comfortable home-quarters,
and they are wintered in a stock field, there should be places of
resort for them, so high as to remain dry, well turfed with
blue-grass, and sheltered with cheap sheds, or by belts of forest.

_Sheep_ should receive special attention. They abhor wet. They should
be permitted to keep their fleece dry, and to eat their food in a dry
stable. The flock should be sorted. The bucks and wethers by
themselves, the ewes by themselves; lambs and weak sheep in another
division; and a fourth compartment should never be wanting for the
sick, where they may be nursed and medically treated.

_Horses_ are more apt to be taken care of than cattle. But even they
are often more indebted for existence to a stubborn tenacity of life,
than to the care of their keepers. The horse is a more dainty feeder
than ruminating animals. He should be supplied with a better article
of hay: his grain should never be dirty or musty.

Hardy farm-horses may even rough out the winter without blanketing or
any other care than is necessary to supply good food and enough of
it. But carriage horses, and those highly prized for the
saddle—aristocratic horses—should be more carefully groomed. It is not
wise to blanket a horse at all, unless it can be _always_ done. If he
is liable to change hands; to be off on journeys under circumstances
in which he cannot be blanketed at night, it will be better not to
begin it.

Winter is a good time to kill off spirited horses. They are easily run
down by a smashing sleigh-ride pace. Boys and girls, buzzing in a
double sleigh like a hive of bees, think that the horses enjoy
themselves, at the exhilarating pace of six or eight miles an hour, as
much as _they_ do. But this is not ordinarily the worst of it. The
horse stands out, after a trip of ten or fifteen miles, at a post for
an hour or two until thoroughly chilled; then home he races, and goes
into the stable, steaming with sweat, to stand without blankets all
night. Horses catch cold as much as men do. And a horse-cold is just
as bad as a human cold. As there has been some difficulty, in the
construction of fanning mills, to gain a strong enough current of
wind, we would advise the builders of them to study the construction
of a good stable.



WINTER NIGHTS FOR READING.


As the winter is a season of comparative leisure, it is the time for
farmers to study. It is a good time for them to make themselves
acquainted with the nature of soils, of manures, of vegetable
organization—or structural botany. Farmers are liable to rely wholly
upon their own experience, and to despise science. Book-men are apt to
rely on scientific theories, and nothing upon practice. If these two
tendencies would only court and marry each other, what a hopeful
family would they rear! How nice it would look to see in the papers:

MARRIED.—By Philosophical Wisdom, Esq., Mr. Practical Experience, to
Miss Sober Science. [We will stand godfather to all the children.]



FEATHERS.


The quality of feathers depends on their strength, elasticity and
cleanness; and these, again, depend upon the condition of the bird,
its health, food, and the time of plucking its feathers. _Down_ is the
term applied to under-feathers—most abundant in water fowl, and in
those especially which live in cold latitudes, being designed to
protect them from wet and cold. The eider-down, from the eider-duck,
is of the most repute. It is brought from extreme northern latitudes,
and is used for coverings to beds, rather than for beds themselves,
as, by being slept upon, it loses its elasticity.

_Poultry feathers_, as those of turkeys, ducks, and chickens, if
assorted and the coarse ones rejected, afford very good beds; but they
are not so elastic as geese-feathers.

Everybody knows that live geese-feathers are _the_ best. Every one
does not think of the reason; which, as it is the key to the art of
having good feathers, we shall propound.

So long as a bird is alive, the feathers are as much an object of
nutrition as the flesh, the bones, or any other part of the body.

When dead, put them into hot water to make the feathers come easy. In
pulling, take out large handfuls at a time, so as to have scraps of
meat and shreds of skin adhere to the quill; let them lie for several
days in wet heaps to ferment a little. Then dry them suddenly by
violent heat, cram them into the bed-tick, and jump on, and if you
have not an odorous bed, and, in a month or two, a bedful of visitors
seeking food, then there is no truth in the laws of nature.

_The care of beds_ is not understood, often, by even good housewives.
When a bed is freshly made it often smells strong. Constant airing,
will, if the feathers are good, and only new, remove the scent.

A bed in constant use should be invariably beaten and shaken up daily,
to enable the feathers to retain their elasticity.

It should lie after it is shaken up, for two or three hours a day, in
a well ventilated room. The human body is constantly giving off a
perspiration; and at night more than usual, from the relaxed condition
of the skin. The bed will become foul from this cause if not well
aired. If the bed is in a room which cannot be spared for such a
length of time, it should be put out to air two full days in the week.

In airing beds, _the sun should never shine directly upon them_. It is
_air_, not _heat_, that they need. We have seen beds lying on a roof
where the direct and reflected rays of the sun had full power, and the
feathers, without doubt, were _stewing_, and the oil in the quill
becoming rancid; so that the bed smells worse after its roasting than
before. _Always air beds in the shade, and, if possible, in cool and
windy days._ And now, if any of our attentive housewife-readers, and
we have not a few, are disposed to reward us for all this advice, let
them give us a bed to sleep on, when we next visit them, made of
growing feathers, from live and healthy geese, carefully picked, well
cured, daily shaken up and thoroughly aired; and if we do not dream
that the owner is an angel, it will be because we are too much
occupied in sound sleeping.



NAIL UP YOUR BUGS.

  “The words of the wise are as goads and as nails fastened by masters
   of assemblies.”—SOLOMON.


After a great pother about canker worms, peach-tree worms, and other
audacious robber-worms; after smoke, salt, tar, and tansy, bands of
wool, cups of oil, lime, ashes, and surgery have been set forth as
remedies, to the confusion of those who have tried them bootlessly, it
now appears that we are about to _nail_ the rascals. The Boston
_Cultivator_, contains an article “On Destroying Insects on Trees,”
from which we quote:

     “I did not intend to give it publicity until I had fully
     tested it, but as the ravages are very extensive in the
     West, I cannot delay giving you the experiment, hoping that
     some of your western readers may now give it a fair trial
     and report the result. I will give one case which may induce
     the experiment wherever the evil is felt. In conversation
     with a friend in Newburyport, Dr. Watson, last fall. I
     mentioned the experiment; he invited me to his garden, where
     last year a fruit-tree was infested with the nests of
     caterpillar or canker-worms, as were his neighbors’ trees;
     he showed me a board nailed for convenience of a
     clothes-line upon one of the large limbs of the tree; he
     said he noticed a little while afterward that the nests on
     that limb dried up, and the worms disappeared, though the
     cause did not then occur to him though apparent as it will
     be to any scientific mind.

     “Drive carefully well home, so that the bark will heal over
     a few headless cast iron nails, say some six or eight, size
     and number according to the size of the tree, in a ring
     around its body, a foot or two above the ground. The
     oxidation of the iron by the sap, will evolve ammonia, which
     will, of course, with the rising sap, impregnate every part
     of the foliage, and prove to the delicate palate of the
     patient, a nostrum, which will soon become, as in many cases
     of larger animals, the real panacea for the ills of life,
     _via Tomb_. I think if the ladies should drive some small
     iron brads into some limbs of any plant infested with any
     insect, they would find it a good and safe remedy, and I
     imagine in any case, instead of injury, the ammonia will be
     found particularly invigorating. Let it be tried upon a limb
     of any tree, where there is a vigorous nest of caterpillars,
     and watch it for a week or ten days, and I think the result
     will pay for the nails.”

Let our farmers take their hammers and nails and start for the
orchard; if they see a bug on the tree, drive a nail, and he is a bug
no more! If they see a worm, in with a nail, and the “ammonia evolved”
will finish his functions!

The _Southern Planter_ is out with a backer to the Boston
_Cultivator_:

     “A singular fact, and one worthy of being recorded, was
     mentioned to us a few days since by Mr. Alexander Duke, of
     Albemarle. He stated that whilst on a visit to a neighbor,
     his attention was called to a large peach orchard, every
     tree in which had been totally destroyed by the ravages of
     the worm, with the exception of three, and these three were
     probably the most thrifty and flourishing peach-trees he
     ever saw. The only cause of their superiority known to his
     host, was an experiment made in consequence of observing
     that those parts of worm-eaten timber into which nails had
     been driven, were generally sound; when his trees were about
     a year old he had selected three of them and driven a
     tenpenny nail through the body, as near the ground as
     possible; whilst the balance of his orchard has gradually
     failed, and finally yielded entirely to the ravages of the
     worms, these three trees, selected at random, treated
     precisely in the same manner, with the exception of the
     nailing, had always been vigorous and healthy, furnishing
     him at that very period with the greatest profusion of the
     most luscious fruit. It is supposed that the salts of iron
     afforded by the nail are offensive to the worm, whilst they
     are harmless, or perhaps even beneficial to the tree.”

We do not wish to interrupt any experiments which the enterprising may
choose to make. To be sure we regard the facts with some incredulity,
and the chemical explanations with something of the mirthful
superadded to unbelief. But if nails _are_ an antidote to worms—a real
vermifuge—let them be administered, whatever may be the explanations;
whether they are an electric battery, giving the insects a little
domestic, vegetable lightning, or whether they afford “salts of iron”
to physic them, or “evolve ammonia” in such potent, pungent strength
that vermicular nostrils are unable to endure it!

While one is fairly engaged in a campaign of experiments, we heartily
hope that war will be carried to the very territory of ignorance, and
we will propound several other important questions of fact and theory,
which, if settled, will crown somebody’s brow with laurels.

It is said that hanging a scythe in a plum-tree, or an iron hoop, or
horse shoes, will insure a crop of plums. This ought to be
investigated.

It is said that pear-trees that are unfruitful, may be made to bear,
by digging under them, cutting the tap root, and burying a black cat
there. We do not know as it makes any difference as to the sex of the
cat, though we should, if trying it, rather prefer the male cat.

Lastly, that we may contribute our mite to the advancement of science,
we will state that, in our youth, we were informed, that, if we would
go into the wood-house once a day and rub our hands with a chip,
_without thinking of red fox’s tail_, the warts would all go off. We
have no doubt that it would have been successful, but every time we
tried the experiment, whisk came the red fox’s tail into our head and
spoilt the whole affair. But might this not cure warts on trees?



ASHES AND THEIR USE.


Some soils contain already the chemical ingredients which wood ashes
supply. If lime be applied to a calcareous soil, it will do no good;
there was no want of lime there before; if potash be added to a soil
already abounding in it, no effect will be seen in the crops. Ashes
contain lime and potash (phosphate of lime and silicate of potash). If
a soil is naturally rich in these, the addition of ashes would be
useless. Such cases show the true benefits of a _really_ scientific
knowledge of soils and manures. Every plant that grows takes out of
the soil certain qualities. Wheat, among other things, extracts
largely of its potash; Indian corn abstracts but little; potatoes
extract phosphate of magnesia, etc. A chemist would say, at once,
apply that kind of manure which is rich in the peculiar property
extracted by your wheat, corn, or potatoes! What manure is that? Here
again science must help. It analyzes manures—gives the farmer the
choice among them. The soil being known, the properties required by
different crops being known—the farmer applies that manure which
contains what the soil lacks. Experiments have seemed to show, that,
for purposes of tillage, _leached_ ashes are just as good as the
_unleached_. So that housewives may have all the use of their ashes
for soap, and then employ them in the garden. Leached ashes become
better by being exposed for some time in the air absorbing from the
atmosphere fertilizing qualities (carbonic acid?)

So valuable are ashes regarded in Europe, that they are frequently
hauled by farmers from twenty miles’ distance—and on Long Island they
bring eight cents a bushel.

The ashes of different kinds of wood are of very unequal value—that of
the oak the least, and that of beech the most valuable. The latter
wood constitutes two-thirds of the fire-wood of this region, and the
ashes are therefore the very best.

A coat of ashes may be laid, in the spring, over the whole garden and
spaded in with the barnyard manure.

They may be dug in about gooseberry and currant bushes.

They are excellent about the trunks of fruit-trees, spreading the old
each year, and renewing the deposit.

They may be thinly spread over the grass-plat in the dooryard, as they
will give vigor and deeper color and strength to the grass.

We have usually added about one shovelful of ashes to every _twenty_
in making a compost for flowers, roses, shrubs, etc.

Ashes are peculiarly good for all kinds of melon, squash, and cucumber
vines. This is well known to those who raise watermelons on burnt
fields, on old charcoal pits, etc. We have seen statements of
cucumbers being planted upon a peck of pure, leached ashes, in a hole
in the ground, and thriving with great vigor. The ashes of vines show
a great amount of potash; and as wood ashes afford this substance
abundantly, its use would seem to be indicated by theory as well as
confirmed by experiment.

Lastly, whenever ground is liable to suffer severely from drought, we
would advise a liberal use of ashes and salt.



HARD TIMES.


What are called _hard times_ produce very different effects on
different individuals. Some are made more industrious, and some more
indolent; some grow frugal and careful, others careless and desperate;
some never appear so honest as when brought to the _pinch_, but many
men seem honest _until_ they are brought to the trial, and then give
way. Hard times are gradually passing away. As a community, are we
better or worse off than before? A few particulars may help us to form
some judgment.

Fewer goods are bought at the store, and more are manufactured at
home; spinning-wheels and looms have renewed their youth—and so have
our mothers, who, after a long disuse, may now be seen working as
merrily at them, as they used to do when they spun and wove their
_wedding_ furnishings—although they have not now any such rosy hope to
quicken their aged fingers. Men have been obliged to rely more upon
their own ingenuity—for want of money to pay the carpenter, the
blacksmith, the shoe-maker, etc. Old clothes, old tools have been made
to serve an additional campaign.

The leisure of dull times has been improved extensively in setting out
orchards, and we hope this practice will be continued in busy times.
No one has, during the _pressure_, suffered for food, raiment, or
shelter. Indeed, it is supposed that not a pound less of sugar, tea
and coffee, has been used by the farmers than hitherto. Probably the
quantity has increased.

Debts have been gradually contracted or discharged. Men have seen the
end of speculations to be sudden disaster—and (of all things on earth)
speculation-farming has received its reward. Men contented with small
gains—industrious, frugal, and prudent men have suffered almost
nothing.


GYPSUM.—“Time and practice” have ascertained the circumstances under
which gypsum should be applied. As a reason why, after repeated
applications, it no longer benefits, Prof. Liebig says, “when we
increase the crop of hay in a meadow by means of gypsum, we remove a
greater quantity of potash with the hay, than can, under ordinary
circumstances, be restored. Hence it happens that, after the lapse of
several years, the crops of grass on lands manured with gypsum,
diminish, owing to the deficiency of potash.” In such a case, if spent
ashes were employed either in connection or alternately with
gypsum—potash would be resupplied from the ashes.



ACCLIMATING A PLOW.


The other day we were riding past a large farm, and were much
gratified at a device of the owner for the preservation of his tools.
A good plow, apparently new in the spring, had been left in one corner
of the field, standing in the furrow, just where, four months before,
the boy had finished his _stint_. Probably the timber needed
_seasoning_—it was certainly getting it. Perhaps it was left out for
acclimation. May-be the farmer left it there to save time in the hurry
of the spring-work, in dragging it from the shed. Perhaps he covered
the share to keep it from the elements, and save it from rusting. Or,
again, perhaps he is troubled with neighbors that _borrow_, and had
left it where it would be convenient for them. He might, at least,
have built a little shed over it. Can any one tell what a farmer
leaves a plow out a whole season for? It is barely possible that he
was an _Irishman_, and had _planted_ for a spring crop of plows.

After we got to sleep that night, we dreamed a dream. We went into
that man’s barn; boards were kicked off, partitions were half broken
down, racks broken, floor a foot deep with manure, hay trampled under
foot and wasted, grain squandered. The wagon had not been hauled under
the shed, though it was raining. The harness was scattered about—hames
in one place, the breeching in another—the lines were used for
_halters_. We went to the house. A shed stood hard by, in which a
family wagon was kept for wife and daughters to go to town in. The
hens had appropriated it as a roost, and however plain it was _once_,
it was ornamented _now_, inside and out. (Here, by the way, let it be
remembered that hen-dung is the _best_ manure for melons, squashes,
cucumbers, etc.) We peeped into the smoke-house, but of all the
“fixings” that we ever saw! A Chinese Museum is nothing to it. Onions,
soap-grease, squashes, hogs’ bristles, soap, old iron, kettles, a
broken spinning-wheel, a churn, a grindstone, bacon, hams, washing
tubs, a barrel of salt, bones with the meat half cut off, scraps of
leather, dirty bags, a chest of Indian meal, old boots, smoked
sausages, the ashes and brands that remained since the last “smoke,”
stumps of brooms, half a barrel of rotten apples, together with rats,
bacon bugs, earwigs, sowbugs, and other vermin which collect in damp
dirt. We started for the house; the window near the door had twelve
lights, two of wood, two of hats, four of paper, one of a bunch of
rags, one of a pillow, and the _rest_ of glass. Under it stood several
cooking pots, and several that were _not_ for cooking. As we were
meditating whether to enter, such a squall arose from a quarrelling
man and woman, that we awoke—and lo! it was a dream. So that the man
who left his plow out all the season, may live in the neatest house in
the county, for all that we know; only, was it not strange that we
should have dreamed all this from just seeing a plow left out in the
furrow.



SCOUR YOUR PLOWS BRIGHT!


Farmers may be surprised to know that their crops will depend a good
deal on the color of the plows! yet so it is. Bright plows are found
to produce much better crops than any other. It may be electricity, or
magic for aught we know; we merely state the fact, leaving others to
account for it. But very much depends upon the manner of doing it, for
merely scrubbing it by hand with emery or sand is not the thing—_it
must be scoured by the soil_. It is found that the subsoil scours it
better for wheat, than the top soil—for a plow kept bright by very
deep plowing affords better wheat than a plow brightened by the
surface of the soil. It is the same with corn. In respect to this last
crop, if you will keep your plow bright as a mirror until the corn is
in the milk, you will find that it will have a wonderful effect. We
appeal to every good farmer if he ever knew a rusty plow to be
accompanied with good crops? Iron rust on a plow-share is poisonous to
corn.

A young farmer of about twenty years of age said to us the other day:
“If anybody wants me, he must come to my corn-field; I live there—I am
at it all the time—I have harrowed my corn once, plowed five times,
and gone over it with the hoe once.” “Yes,” said his old father, who
seemed, justly, quite proud of his son—“keep your plows agoing if you
want to fetch corn. I never let the ground settle on the top; if it is
beaten down by rain, or begins to look a kind of rusty on the surface,
I pitch into it, and keep it as mealy as flour. The fact is our
farmers raise more corn than they can tend, they can’t go over the
corn more than once or twice, and that’ll never do, and I guess I’ll
show old Billy R—— that it’s so.”

Some ambitious farmers are pleased to “lay by” the corn very early;
but it is not wise; for the grass is always more forward to grow about
this season than any other; and the ground will become very foul where
corn is too early laid by, and, what is more to the purpose, a great
deal of the nourishment of a crop is derived from the air and dew
_conveyed to the roots_. This can be done only when the surface is
kept thoroughly open.



PLOW TILL IT IS DRY, AND PLOW TILL IT IS WET.


Speaking of corn, a very intelligent gentleman remarked: “Well, by a
five minutes’ talk, I made Mr. —— produce the best crop he ever had on
a certain field.” He was looking over the fence where his corn was, at
a flat field, upon furrows full of water; as I came by he said: “Well,
I shall never get a crop off this piece of land; it’s going just as it
always does when I plant here.” I told him of an old man in Indiana,
who was a good farmer, to whom I once said when at his house one
morning:

“Deafenbaugh, how is it that you always have good corn when no one
else gets a half crop?”

“_Why_,” said he, “_when it is wet I plow it till it is dry, and when
it is dry I plow it till it is wet_.”

The man to whom I told this anecdote, says our informant, tried the
practice, and gained a fine crop.

Now the principle is _good_. Our Dutch friend would not, we suppose,
plow a stiff _clay_ in a wet condition, unless, possibly, to strike a
channel through the middle between rows. But the gist of the story
lies in this—_constant cultivation_. Stir, _stir_, STIR the ground.



STIRRING THE SOIL.


Next to deep plowing we should urge the advantage of continually
stirring the surface of the soil.

IT PRODUCES CLEANLINESS.—Weeds in a growing crop are witnesses which
no good farmer can afford to have testifying against him. When seed is
sown broad-cast, weeding cannot be performed. In Europe, where labor
is cheap and children plenty, acres of wheat and such-like crops are
weeded by hand. _Our_ only chance is to clear out every field, to be
sown broad-cast, by a thorough previous culture. In all crops which
are drilled, or planted in rows, the hoe, or plow, or cultivator,
should be kept in lively use through the season. This practice should
begin early, that weeds and grass may not get a start, for often, if
they do, it is nearly impossible to keep them down, especially if the
season is a wet one.

But there are yet some important reasons for constantly stirring the
soil among growing crops. No matter how thoroughly the earth was
pulverized when the seed was put in, one or two rains will, except in
very sandy loam, beat it down compactly. This crust is injurious in
preventing the ingress of moisture. But that which is the most
material of all is, that _it excludes the air_. It is well known that
the air affords much nourishment to vegetation; but, perhaps, it is
not as well known, that it supplies it _by the root_ as well as by the
leaf. If any one wishes to try the experiment, and we have done it
time and again, let two patches in a garden be treated in all respects
alike, except in this—let one be hoed or raked _every two or three
days_ and the other not at all, or but once in the season.

The result will satisfy any man better than a paper argument. Indeed,
we have found it impossible (in a garden) to perfect some vegetables
without constantly stirring the soil.

While these advantages are gained, it is not to be forgotten that, in
dry seasons, a thorough pulverization of the surface, will prevent the
evaporation of the moisture _in the earth_ and prevent deleterious
effects of the drought.



SUBSOIL PLOWING.


One of the great improvements of the age is the adoption in husbandry
of the subsoil plow; or, as it is called in England, _Deanstonizing
system_, from Mr. Smith, of _Deanstone_, who first brought the
implement into general notice. They are designed to follow in the
furrow of a common plow, and pulverize without bringing up the soil
for eight or ten inches deeper. In ordinary soils two yoke of oxen
will work it with ease, plowing from an acre to an acre and a quarter
a day.

The use of this plow will renovate old bottom-lands, the surface of
which has been exhausted by shallow plowing and continual cropping. It
brings up from below fresh material, which the atmosphere speedily
prepares for crops.

Old fields, a long time in grass, are very much benefited.

Constant plowing at about the same depth will often form a hard
under-floor by the action of the plow, through which neither roots nor
rain can well penetrate; subsoiling will relieve a field thus
conditioned.

Soils lying upon clay or hard compact gravel are opened and remarkably
improved by the process. The wet, level, beech-lands would be greatly
benefited by deep plowing in the _fall of the year_, subjecting the
earth, to a considerable depth, to the action of the frosts, rains,
etc., and giving a downward drain for superfluous moisture.

Although we have incidentally alluded to the benefits of subsoiling,
they deserve a separate and individual enumeration.

1. In very deep molds or loams it brings up a supply of soil which has
not been exhausted by the roots.

2. In soils whose fertility is dependent upon the constant
decomposition of mineral substances, subsoil plowing is advantageous
by bringing up the disintegrated particles of rock, and exposing them
to a more rapid change by contact with atmospheric agents.

3. Subsoiling guards both against too much and too little moisture in
the soil. If there is more water than the soil can absorb, it sinks
through the pulverized under-soil. If summer droughts exhaust the
moisture of the surface they cannot reach the subsoil, which affords
abundant pasture to the roots.



FIRE-BLIGHT AND WINTER KILLING.


These are two entirely different processes. The _Fire Blight_ (of the
middle and western States), is a disease of the circulatory system,
induced by a freezing of the sap while _the tree is in a growing and
excitable state_. It always _must_ occur before the leaves are shed in
the autumn. Winter-killing is of two kinds—resulting from severe cold,
and from untimely heat. The loss of tender shrubs, roses, etc., at
least, before they are fully established, and of half-hardy
fruit-trees, is occasioned by the winter sun shining warmly upon them
while frozen, and suddenly thawing them. The point of death is usually
near the surface of the ground, where the under-ground bark and upper
bark come together. Whole orchards are destroyed in this way; and, if
examined, the bark may be found _sprung off_ from the wood. This may
occur at any time during the winter.

We are in doubt whether the winter-stored sap exists in a state to be
affected by the expansion of the freezing fluids of the tree. If the
expansion of congelation _did_ produce the effect, it should have been
more _general_, for there are fluids in every part of the trunk—all
congeal or expand—and the bursting of the trunk in one place would not
relieve the contiguous portions. We should expect, if this were the
cause, that the tree would _explode_, rather than split. Capt. Bach,
when wintering near Great Slave Lake, about 63° north latitude,
experienced a cold of 70° below zero. Nor could any fire raise it _in
the house_ more than 12° above zero. Mathematical instrument cases,
and boxes of seasoned fir, split in pieces by the cold. Could it have
been the sap in _seasoned fir wood_ which split them by its expansion
in congealing?

We quote a paragraph from Loudon—“The history of frosts furnishes very
extraordinary facts. The trees are often scorched and burnt up, as
with the most excessive heat, in consequence of the separation of the
water from the air, which is therefore very drying. In the great frost
in 1683, the trunks of oak, ash, walnut, and other trees, were
miserably split and cleft, so that they might be seen through, and the
cracks often attended with dreadful noises like the explosion of
fire-arms.”

We don’t exactly know whether to take the first part as Loudon’s
explanation of the facts in the second.

There can be no doubt that the nature of the summer’s growth, very
much determines the power of a tree to resist the severity of winter.
When there is but an imperfect ripening in a cold and backward season,
the tissues formed will be feeble, and the juices stored in them thin.
Now the power to resist cold, among other things, is in proportion to
the viscidity of the fluids in a plant.

It is highly desirable that the chemical researches which have
revolutionized the art of cultivation, should be pushed into the
_morbid anatomy_ of vegetation. A close, exact analysis of all the
substances in an injured condition, will save a vast deal of bootless
ingenuity and fanciful speculation.



WINTER TALK.


Do not be tempted by fine weather to haul out manure—it will be half
wasted by lying in small heaps over the field; to spread it will be
worse yet; manure should lie in a stack, as little exposed to the
weather as possible.

Look to your fences; see that they are in complete order and leave
nothing of this to consume your time in the spring when you will need
all your force for other work. It is well to haul all the rails you
will need for the year. The timber will last longer cut now. Do not
leave rails or sticks of timber lying where you cleave them, on the
damp ground, they will decay more in six months there, than in
eighteen when properly cared for. Put two rails down and lay the rest
across them so as to have a circulation of air beneath. If you have
five or ten acres of _deadening_ which you mean to clear up and put to
corn, you may as well roll the logs now. Every good farmer should
study through the winter to make his spring work as light as possible.
Whatever can be done _now_ do not fail to do it; you will have enough
to do when spring opens; and perhaps the season may be one which will
crowd your work into a week or two. If you have young fruit-trees, or
a little home-nursery, look out for _rabbits_. They usually depredate
just after a light fall of snow.

Overhaul all your plows, carts, shovels, hoes, etc., and put
everything in complete readiness.

While you are moving about and repairing holes in the fence, putting
on a rail here, a stake yonder, a rider in another place, you may
inquire of yourself whether your _character_ is not in some need of
repairs? Perhaps you are very careless and extravagant—the fence needs
rails there; perhaps you are lazy—in that case the fence corners may
be said to be full of brambles and weeds, and must be cleared out;
perhaps you are a violent, passionate man—you need a stake and rider
on that spot. And lastly, perhaps you are not _temperate_, if so, your
fence is all going down and will soon have gaps enough to let in all
the hogs of indolence, vice, and crime: and they make a large drove
and fatten fast. Now is a good time to plan how to get out of debt.
Don’t be ashamed to _save_ in _little things_, nor to earn small
gains: “_Many a mickle makes a muckle._” But set it down, to begin
with, that no saving is made by cheating yourself out of a good
newspaper. No man reads a good paper a year, without _saving_ by it.
Suppose you put in your wheat a little better for something you see
written by a good farmer and get five bushels more to the acre. One
acre pays for a year’s paper. One recipe, a hint which betters any
crop, pays for the paper fourfold. Intelligent boys work better, plan
better, earn and save better; and reading a good paper makes them
intelligent. Besides, suppose you took a good paper a year, and found
nothing new during all that time (an incredible supposition!) yet
every two weeks it comes to _jog your memory_ about things which you
may forget, but ought not to forget. It steps in and asks whether that
little store bill is paid? Whether that loan drawing a fatal _six_,
_seven_ or _ten per cent_ (poison! poison! deadly poison!) is being
melted down? whether the children are going to school? whether the
tools are all right? the fences snug? whether economy, and industry,
and sound morals (the best crop one can put in), are flourishing? It
will look at your orchard—peep over into your garden, pry into the
dairy—nay, into the cupboard and bureau, and even into your pocket.
Now, if you are a man willing to learn, it will give you hints enough
in a year to pay ten times over for your paper.



“SHUT YOUR MOUTH.”


We heard a lad, in anger, use this expression to another. It was not
very bad advice, though given somewhat roughly.

When we hear some of our mincing misses singing, now away up, and now
away down, tossing their heads and rolling their eyes, we think, Well,
miss, if you knew what folks thought of you, you’d _shut your mouth_.

We have seen many men ruined because they did not know how to _shut
their mouth_ when tempted to say “Yes,” to a bad business.

When we see a man standing before the bar just ready to drink, we
think, Ah! you fine fellow, if you will not keep your mouth shut
before _that_ bar, you will, by and by, find yourself before a Bar
where it will be shut tight enough.

When we hear a fine lady scolding till every room rings; or tattling
from house to house—or scandal-mongering, we think, Ah, you lady, with
all your schooling, you never learned to _shut your mouth_.



SPRING WORK ON THE FARM.


Thoroughly overhaul your tools; let plows be sharpened; repair their
stocks if anywhere started or weakened; look after the chains, the
swingletrees, the yokes for your oxen, or the harness for your horses.
Don’t have any straps to replace, or harness to tie up with tow
strings after you get into the fields, and when time is precious. NOW
IS THE TIME TO SAVE TIME, BY GETTING READY. Old rusty buckles will
give way the moment the plow strikes a root; stitches which have been
longing for some time to fall out and part, will be likely to do it
when you have the least time to mend them. Then we shall hear talk;
you’ll be cursing the old horse or the old rickety harness, and
declaring that your “luck is always on the wrong side;” and you may
depend upon it, that it always will be, so long as you are not more
careful. Good luck is a wary old fish which nibbles at everybody’s
hook, but the shrewd and skillful angler only catches it.

The opening of spring is usually debilitating both to man and beast.
Your horses cannot stand hard usage at once; some of them will need
physic—all of them should be put to work carefully; increase their
task gradually; favor them, and you will get abundantly paid for it
before their summer’s work is done.

A good farmer may be known by the way he manages his spring work.
Consider how much there is of it. Cows are calving; mares foaling;
young heifers for the first time to be broken to milking; all the
tools to be got ready; the ground to be broken up and seeded; the
orchards to be set; or old ones to be attended to; a garden to be
made; and a hundred other things to do. Now here is a chance for good
management, and a yet better chance for bad management. There is as
much skill in “laying out” a season’s work for the farmer, as there is
in “laying out” a frame for a house or barn.

Bethink you of all the _mistakes_ you made last season; if you made
any good hits, improve upon them this year. Every farmer should
resolve to do _all things_ as well as he did the last year, and _some_
things a great deal better.

While everything is merry, birds singing, bees at work, cattle frisky,
and the whole animated world is joyous, do but search and see if,
among all beasts, birds, or bugs, you can find one that needs whisky
to do its spring or summer work on?

Look again; seeds are sprouting; trees budding; flowers peeping out
from warm nooks. Everything grows in spring-time. Youth is
spring-time, habits are sprouting, dispositions are putting out their
leaves, opinions are forming, prejudices are getting root. Now take at
least as good care of your children as you do of your farm. If you
don’t want to use the land you let it alone, and _weeds_ grow; but
when you wish to _improve_ a piece, you turn the natural weeds under,
and sow the right seed, and tend the crop. I have heard good kind of
folks object to much “_bringing up_” of their boys. They guessed the
lads would come out about right. You break a colt, and break a steer,
and break a heifer, and break a soil, and if you won’t break your
children, they will be very likely to break you—heart and pocket.

Fermenting manures should not be hauled or spread until you are ready
to plow them under. [If you spread manure on meadows it should be
fine, and well rotted, and let ashes be liberally mixed with it.] If
you let manure lie a week or ten days exposed in the fields to the
air, it will waste one half of “its sweetness on the desert air.” Let
the plow follow the cart as fast as possible, and the gases generated
by your manure will then be taken up by the soil, and held in store
for your grain.

DEEP PLOWING.—There may be some rare cases where, for special reasons,
shallow plowing is advisable. But the standing rule upon the farm
should be deep plowing. A good farmer remarked the other day to us,
“One of my neighbors who is always talking of deep plowing was at it
last summer, and I followed in the furrow, and his depth did not
average more than four inches; he did not measure on the _land side_
but on the mold-board side.” The reasons are very strong for deep
plowing.

1. When crop after crop is taken off the first four or five inches of
top earth, it tends speedily to rob it of all materials required by
grass or grain. Every blade taken from the soil, takes off some
portion of that soil with it.

2. Deep plowing brings up from beneath a greater amount of earth,
which, when subjected to the frosts, the atmosphere, and the action of
the plow, becomes fit for vegetation.

3. Summer droughts seldom injure deeply-plowed soils; certainly not to
that degree that they do shallow soils. The roots penetrate the mellow
mould to a greater depth, and draw thence moisture when the top is as
dry as ashes. Will not some one who is curious in such matters try two
acres side by side plowed shallow and deep, respectively, and give us
the history of their crop?

QUANTITY OF SEED.—It has been often said that American husbandry was
unfavorably peculiar in stinginess of seed-sowing. It is certain that
very much greater quantities are employed in Great Britain and on the
Continent than with us, and that much greater crops are obtained per
acre. In part the crop is owing to a superior cultivation; but those
who have carefully studied the subject affirm that, in part, it is
attributable to the use of much greater quantities of seed. We give a
table showing the average quantity of seed per acre for different
grains, in England, Germany, and the United States. The table was
formed in that manufactory of so many valuable articles, the _Albany
Cultivator_. It must be remembered that the average crop is not the
average of the best farming States, but of the whole United States.

  +-------------------------------------------+
  |                 GERMANY.                  |
  |          Seed per acre—Product.           |
  +----------+-----------------+-----------=--+
  |Wheat,    |  2½ bushels.    |25 bushels.   |
  |Rye,      |  2      “       |25    “       |
  |Barley,   |  2½     “       |35    “       |
  |Oats,     |  2 to 4 “       |40    “       |
  |Millet,   |  7 quarts.      |35    “       |
  |Peas,     |  2½ bushels.    |26    “       |
  |Corn,     | 20 quarts.      |36    “       |
  |Turnips,  |                 |30 to 35 tons.|
  |Buckwheat,|  1 bushel.      |27 bushels.   |
  |Clover,   | 14 pounds.      |              |
  |Flax,     |  2 to 3   bush. |10 bu. seed.  |
  |Hemp,     |  2½ to 3   “    |650 pounds.   |
  |Potatoes, |  5         “    |300 bushels.  |
  +----------+-----------------+--------------+
  +-------------------------------------------+
  |                 ENGLAND.                  |
  |          Seed per acre—Product.           |
  +----------+-----------------+--------------+
  |Wheat,    |  2½ to 3½ bu.   |28 bushels.   |
  |Rye,      |  2 to 2½   “    |25    “       |
  |Barley,   |  2½ to 4   “    |36    “       |
  |Oats,     |  4 to 7    “    |32    “       |
  |Millet,   |                 |              |
  |Peas,     |  3 to 3½   “    |30 to 40 bu.  |
  |Corn,     |                 |              |
  |Turnips,  |  1 to 2 pints.  |30 to 35 tons.|
  |Buckwheat,|  1 to 1½ bush.  |26 bushels.   |
  |Clover,   | 14 to 18 lbs.   |              |
  |Flax,     |  2 to 3 bush.   |10 bu. seed.  |
  |Hemp,     |  3        “     |550 pounds.   |
  |Potatoes, |  8 to 12  “     |250 bushels.  |
  +----------+-----------------+--------------+
  +-------------------------------------------+
  |              UNITED STATES.               |
  |          Seed per acre—Product.           |
  +----------+-----------------+--------------+
  |Wheat,    |  1 to 1½ bush.  |18 bushels.   |
  |Rye,      |  1 to 1½   “    |15    “       |
  |Barley,   |  1½ to 2   “    |25    “       |
  |Oats,     |  2 to 3    “    |35    “       |
  |Millet,   |                 |              |
  |Peas,     |  2 to 2½   “    |25    “       |
  |Corn,     | 20 to 30 qts.   |30    “       |
  |Turnips,  |  1 to 2 lbs.    |20 tons.      |
  |Buckwheat,| 16 to 20 qts.   |15 to 30 bu.  |
  |Clover,   |  5 to 10 lbs.   |              |
  |Flax,     |  1 to 1½ bush.  |8 to 12 bush. |
  |Hemp,     |  1½ to 2½  “    |500 pounds.   |
  |Potatoes, |  8 to 20   “    |175 bushels.  |
  +----------+-----------------+--------------+



SPRING WORK IN THE GARDEN.


When spring comes, everybody begins to think of the garden. A little
of the experience of one who has learned some by making many mistakes
will do you no harm.

TOO MUCH WORK LAID OUT.—When the winter lets us out, and we are
exhilarated with fresh air, singing birds, bland weather, and
newly-springing vegetation, our ambition is apt to lay out _too much
work_. _We_ began with an _acre_, in garden; we could not afford to
hire help except for a few days; and we were ambitious to do things as
they ought to be done. By reference to a Garden Journal (every man
should keep one), we find that we planted in 1840, _sixteen_ kinds of
peas; _seventeen_ kinds of beans; _seven_ kinds of corn; _six_ kinds
of squash; _eight_ kinds of cabbage; _seven_ kinds of lettuce; _eight_
sorts of cucumber, and _seven_ of turnips—_seventy-six varieties of
only eight vegetables_! Besides, we had fruit-trees to transplant in
spring—flowers to nurture, and all the etceteras of a large garden.
Although we worked faithfully, early and late, through the whole
season, the weeds beat us fairly; and every day or two some lazy loon,
who had not turned two spadefuls of earth during the season, would
lounge along and look over, and seeing the condition of things, would
very quietly say: “Why, I heard so much about your garden—whew! what
regiments of weeds you keep. I say, neighbor, do you boil that
_parsley_ for greens?” It nettled us, and we sweat at the hoe and
spade all the harder, but in vain; for we _had_ laid out more than
_could_ be well done. Nobody asked how much we _had_ done—they looked
only at what we had _not_ done. To be sure so many sorts were planted
only to test their qualities; but the laying out of so large a work in
spring is not wise. _A_ HALF _well done is better than a_ WHOLE _half
done_. Remember there is a _July_ as well as an April; and _lay_ out
in April as you can _hold_ out in July and August. We have profited by
our own mistakes and have no objections that others should do it.

VEGETABLE GARDEN.—Before you meddle with the garden, do two things:
first inspect your seeds, assort them, rejecting the shrunk, the
mildewed, the sprouted, and, generally, the discolored. Buy early,
such as you need to purchase. Do not wait till the minute of planting
before you get your seeds. Second, make up your mind beforehand just
what you mean to do in your garden for the season.

_Preparation._—Haul your manure and stack it in a corner; do not
spread it till the day that you are ready to turn it under; cut your
pea-brush and put it under shelter; inspect your bean-poles and
procure such as are necessary to replace the rotten or broken ones;
inspect every panel of the garden fence; one rail lost, may ruin, in a
night, two months’ labor, and more temper and grace than you can
afford to spare in a whole year. Clean up all the stubble, haulm,
straw, leaves, refuse brush, sticks and rubbish of every sort, and
cast it out, or burn it and distribute the ashes. If you intend to do
your work in the best manner, see that you have the _sorts_ of manure
that you may need through the season: ashes, fine old barn-yard
manure, green long manure, leaf-mold from the wood, top-soil from
pastures, etc., etc. Every florist understands the use of these.

Coarse manure may be put upon your pie-plant bed, as a strong and
succulent leaf-stalk is desirable. Let it be thoroughly forked, gently
near the stools and deeply between the rows.

With an iron-toothed rake go over your old strawberry beds that are
matted together, and rake them severely. Strawberries that have been
kept in hills and cleanly tended should be manured between the rows
and gently spaded or forked.

_Early Sowings._—Tomatoes, egg-plant, early cucumbers, cabbage,
cauliflowers, broccoli, lettuce, melons, celery for an early crop,
should have been, before this, well advanced in a hot-bed. If not, no
time is to be lost; and if a first sowing is well along, a second
sowing should be made.

You cannot get too early into the ground after the frost is out and
the wet a little dried, onions for seed or a crop, lettuce, radishes,
peas, spinage, parsnip, early cabbage, and small salads.

ASPARAGUS.—The beds should be attended to; remove all weeds and old
stalks; give a liberal quantity of salt to the bed—if you have old
brine, or can get fish brine at the stores, that is better than dry
salt. Asparagus is a _marine_ plant, growing upon sandy beaches along
the sea coast, and is therefore benefited by salt, to which, in its
_habitat_, it was accustomed. Put about three or four inches of old,
thoroughly rotted manure upon the bed; fork it in gently, so as not to
wound the crowns of the plant. Directions for forming beds belong to a
later period in the season.

ONIONS.—Should be sown or set early.

If you prefer seed, sow, across beds four feet wide, in drills eight
inches apart; young gardeners are apt to begrudge _room_—give it
freely to everything, and it will repay you; when they come up, thin
out to one for every inch; as you wish young and tender onions for
your table, draw these, leaving, at least, one every five inches in
the row. If your soil is deep and very rich, onions can be grown in
one season from the seed as well as from the set—we try it almost
every year and _never fail_, although told a hundred times: “You could
do that in the old States, but it won’t do out here.” It had to do,
and did do, and always will do, where there is no lazy men about; but
nothing ever does well in a slack and lazy man’s garden; plants have
an inveterate prejudice against such, and won’t grow; but he is a
darling favorite among weeds.

The white or silver skin, and the yellow Portugal have been favorite
kinds with us to raise from seed. They are tender, mild flavored, but
do not keep as well as the _Red_. _Strong onions always keep better
than mild ones._

If you prefer top-onion sets, or sets of any other kind, plant them
out at the same distances, viz. eight inches between the row and five
or six between the sets. Inexperienced gardeners are afraid that
_little_ sets no bigger than a pea, will not do well. It is a
mistake—they will make large onions; put them _all_ in, if they are
sound. Plant the sets so that the top shall just appear above the
surface.

If you plant out old onions for _seed_, let them be at least a foot
apart and stake them when they begin to blossom. If you plant the
_top-onion_ for sets you need not stake them, for they cannot shed out
their seed if they fall over. It is not generally known that the same
onions may be kept for seed for many years.

TRANSPLANTING.—All fruit-trees, most kinds of shade trees, shrubs,
_hardy_ roses, honeysuckles, pinks, lilacs, peonies, etc., may be
raised, divided, and transplanted in April unless your soil is _very
wet_. All _hardy_ plants may be safely transplanted just as soon as
the ground is dry enough to crumble freely—and not till then. In
planting out shrubs, remember that they will _grow_; if you put them
near together, for the sake of present effect, in a year or two they
will be crowded. We set at ample distances and fill up the spaces with
lilies, peonies, phlox, gladiolus, and herbaceous plants which are
easily removed.

FLOWER GARDEN.—Remove the covering from your bulb beds; as soon as the
earth is dry enough to crumble, with a small hoe carefully mellow the
earth _between_ the rows of bulbs, and work it loose with _your
hands_, in the row itself. Leave the surface convex, that superfluous
rain may flow off. Transplant roses that are to be moved. Divide the
roots of such lilies, peonies, irises, etc., as are propagated by
division, and replant.

As fast as the soil allows, spade up your borders, and flower
compartments, giving first a good coating of very fine, old,
pulverized manure.

If you have hot-beds you may bring forward most of your annuals, so as
to turn them out into the open beds as soon as frosts cease.

But defer sowing in the open air until the first of April; and then,
sparingly; sow again the middle of April, and on the first of May.
Only thus, will you be _sure_ of a supply. If you gain more than you
need by three sowings, should all succeed, you have friends and
neighbors enough, if you are a reasonably decent man, who will be glad
to receive the surplus.

MANURE.—Corn and potatoes will bear green and unfermented manure. But
all ordinary garden vegetables require _thoroughly_ rotted manure. If
the soil is sandy, leached ashes may be applied with great profit at
the rate of seventy or eighty bushels the acre. The soil is made more
retentive of moisture, and valuable ingredients are secured to it.
Salt may be used with great advantage on all garden soils, but
especially upon light and sandy ones. Thus treated, soils will resist
summer droughts and be moist when otherwise they would suffer. Salt
has also a good effect in destroying vermin, and it adds very valuable
chemical ingredients to the soil. Soapsuds should be carefully saved
and poured about currants, gooseberries and fruit-trees. Charcoal,
pulverized, is excellent, as it absorbs ammonia from the atmosphere,
or from any body containing it, and yields it to the plants. Let a
barrel be set near the house filled with powdered charcoal. Empty into
it all the _chamber-ley_. The ammonia will be taken up by the
charcoal, and the barrel will be without any offensive smell. But as
soon as the charcoal is saturated, it will begin to give out the
peculiar odor of urine. Let the charcoal then be mixed with about five
times its bulk of fresh earth and well worked together, and it will
afford a very powerful manure for vegetables and flowers. In Europe,
where manure is precious, it is estimated that the excrementitious
matter, slops, suds, scraps, etc., of a family, will supply one acre,
for each member, with manure.[3] There are few families whose offal
would not afford abundant material for enriching the garden, and with
substances peculiarly fitted for flowers, fruits, and esculent roots.


     [3] See note, p. 98, Colman’s Tour, 2d part, where is given
     an estimate by a distinguished agricultural chemist, Mr.
     Haywood.



FALL WORK IN THE GARDEN.


Planting seeds may be performed for very early spring use. Lettuce,
spinage, and radishes, may be sown in a sheltered spot, and they will
come forward ten days or a fortnight earlier than those which shall
have been sown, in spring.

_Clearing up_ the garden should be thoroughly performed. Let pea-brush
be removed, bean poles and flower stakes be collected and put under
shelter. Collect all refuse vines, haulm, stems and stalks and wheel
them to a corner to rot, or to be ready for use in covering
flower-beds. Let the alleys be hoed out for the last time, and it will
be as good as one hoeing in the spring, when they will probably be too
wet to hoe. Gravel may now be laid in the walks; if ashes are to be
spread, it may be done in autumn, and save time in the spring.

All tender plants are to be removed or secured by covering.

The best covering to secure the earth from frost, that we know of, is
a layer of leaves, say three inches thick when well packed down, and
_upon them_ two or three inches of chip dirt, with the coarsest part
on top. We have had the soil unfrozen in severe winters when so
covered. In this manner, tuberoses, gladiolus, dahlias, tiger flowers,
etc., may be kept out through the winter. The gladiolus thus treated
makes splendid tufts of blossoms. It may be prudent to try only a few
at first, and adventure more as experience gives confidence.

CELERY which is to be left in the trenches should first be well
covered with straw, and then boards should be placed upon the top in
such a manner as to shed the rain. Great quantities of wet rot it when
it is not growing; and freezing and thawing _in the light_ destroys
it.

If portions of the garden have been infested with cutworms, etc., let
it be spaded and thrown up loosely just before freezing weather. A
clay soil will be ameliorated by frosts, if treated in the same way. A
light, loose soil, should not be worked in the fall.



GUARDING CHERRY-TREES FROM COLD.


This tree is peculiarly liable while young, but more especially when
coming into bearing, to be roughly handled by our winters. The bark at
the surface of the ground splits, and often the trunk, enfeebling the
tree and sometimes destroying it. The evil does not result from the
cold, but from the action of bright suns upon the frozen trunk. Let
those having valuable young trees, prepare them for winter by giving a
cheap covering to the trunks, so that the sun shall not strike them.
This may be done by tying about them bass matting, long straw,
corn-stalks, or any similar protection.



SHADE-TREES.


We believe that no man ever walked under the magnificent elms upon the
Boston Common, or beneath the Lindens in Philadelphia, or through Elm
street in New Haven, without conviction of the beauty and utility of
shade-trees. Trees not only are objects of beauty—the architecture of
Nature—but they promote both health and comfort. Our ardent summers,
from June to October, make open, unshaded streets, almost impassable,
and reflect heat upon our dwellings from the side-walks and beaten
road.

In this country the growth of trees is so rapid, and the supply from
our own forests so abundant and convenient that every village and
city, and every well-conducted farm should be lined with shade-trees.
We will offer a few suggestions upon the kinds to be selected and the
manner of setting.

THE LOCUST (_Robinia pseudacacia_).—This tree is very popular, and is
almost the only one at the West set for shade-trees. It has a
beautiful form, grows very rapidly, bears a profusion of beautiful and
very fragrant blossoms (pendulous racemes of pea-shaped flowers), its
foliage is singularly pleasing—the young leaves being of a light
pea-green, and growing darker with age, so that in the same tree three
or four distinct shades of green may be seen; it grows freely in all
soils, and is not infested by any worms; its timber is almost as
durable as cedar, and in the West, is not subject to the attacks of
the _borer_, as it is in the East.

On the other hand, the tree becomes unsymmetrical with age, it is
brittle, breaking easily at slight wounds, even when they have healed
over. It is not a long-lived tree, and requires careful protection
from cattle.

We would advise a more sparing use of it. Let _every other_ tree be a
Locust, and the alternate maple or elm, oak, tulip, etc. By this
method the Locust will afford immediate shade, and when they become
unsightly the intervening trees will have grown to a goodly size. The
Locust should be transplanted just as the buds are ready to burst;
they should be protected by frames as soon as set. Good cases may be
made at a trifling expense, by taking strips of inch and a half stuff,
three inches wide, and nine or ten feet long, sharpen the lower end,
and drive it into the ground four or five inches, and in a box formed
about the tree let crosspieces be nailed at the top. Be careful that
the tree does not _rub_ upon the case, although the wound will heal
over, yet in the first high wind, it will be apt to break off at that
point. This tree is rather peculiar in that respect.

The Locust was introduced to Europe by a Frenchman named Robin. From
him the genus (_Robinia_) took its name. There are but four species
belonging to it, and they are all indigenous to North America, viz.:

_Robinia pseudacacia_ (common Locust). _R. viscosa_, confined to the
southwestern parts of the Alleghany Mountains, bearing rose-colored
blossoms and being even more ornamental than the former; it is equally
hardy, and if it could be introduced among us would form a valuable
addition. Locusts nowhere appear to a better advantage than when
planted in clumps of six or eight on a lawn, and if the _R.
pseudacacia_ and _R. viscosa_ were contiguous, blending the pure white
and the rose-colored blossoms, the world might be challenged for a
finer effect.

The _R. hispida_ (_rose-acacia_ of our gardens) is a highly ornamental
shrub, its branches are, like the moss-rose, covered with minute
spines, which give it a fine appearance. A fourth species is said to
exist in the basin of Red River. The favorable opinion here expressed
of the Locust, will remove any impression of prejudice when we say,
that _they are altogether too much cultivated_. Our forests are full
of magnificent shade-trees whose claims can never, all things
considered, be equalled by the Locust.

ELM (_Ulmus Americana_), commonly called White Elm. Of the four
species of elms indigenous to the United States, but two are
particularly worth notice, the White Elm, and Slippery Elm (_U.
pulva_). But the former of these is so incomparably the superior, that
it should be selected wherever it can be had. It attains a height of
one hundred feet, is very long-lived, grows more and more beautiful
with age, its long branches droop over, forming graceful pendulous
extremities; and no one who has seen the Boston Mall, or the New Haven
elms, or those scattered along the villages of Connecticut, will think
that Michaux exaggerated in pronouncing this tree to be _the most
magnificent vegetable production of the Temperate Zone_. It is
unquestionably the monarch among shade-trees, as superior to the oak
for avenues and streets, as the oak is to it for parks and forests.
The great main-street of every village should be lined with White
Elms, set at distances of fifty feet, and Locusts between to supply an
immediate shade, and to be removed so soon as the slower-growing elm
has spread enough to dispense with them.

THE MAPLE.—The following varieties are in our forests, and are
beautiful shade-trees for the borders of farms, door-yards, public
squares, avenues, streets, etc. The Sugar Maple (_Acer saccharinum_),
White Maple (_A. eriocarpum_), Red Maple (_A. rubrum_). This last
variety shows beautiful red flowers before its leaves put out in
spring, and, like the sugar-maple, brilliant scarlet leaves in autumn.
The maple is a beautiful tree of fine form, the leaves of the
different varieties are variously shaped and all beautiful, it is free
from disease and noxious insects.

Besides these, the ash, oak, tulip, beech and walnut, are all worthy
of being transferred to our streets. Shade-trees for door-yards, and
public squares, and pleasure-grounds, require a separate notice, as in
some material respects they should be differently treated.

We warmly recommend in lining streets, that each alternate tree only
be locust.

It is better for _effect_ that each street, or at least continuous
portions of each, have _one kind_ of forest tree, so that an avenue of
similar trees be formed. In planting grounds, it is well to group
trees of different kinds, but in streets an avenue should be of elms,
or of oaks, or of sycamores, or of maples, and not all of them mingled
together.



A PLEA FOR HEALTH AND FLORICULTURE.


Every one knows to what an extent women are afflicted with nervous
disorders, _neuralgic_ affections as they are more softly termed. Is
it equally well known that formerly when women partook from childhood,
of out-of-door labors, were confined less to heated rooms and exciting
studies, they had, comparatively, few disorders of this nature. With
the progress of society, _fevers_ increase first, because luxurious
eating vitiates the blood; _dyspepsia_ follows next, because the
stomach, instead of being a laboratory, is turned into a mere
warehouse, into which everything is packed, from the foundation to the
roof, by gustatory _stevedores_. Last of all come _neuralgic_
complaints, springing from the muscular enfeeblement and the nervous
excitability of the system.

Late hours at night, and later morning hours, early application to
books, a steady training for _accomplishments_, viz. embroidery,
lace-work, painting rice paper, casting wax-flowers so ingeniously
that no mortal can tell what is meant, lilies looking like huge
goblets, dahlias resembling a battered cabbage; these, together with
practisings on the piano, or if something extra is meant, a little
tum, tum, tuming, on the harp, and a little ting-tong on the guitar;
reading “ladies’ books,” crying over novels, writing in albums, and
original correspondence with my ever-adored Matilda Euphrosyne, are
the materials, too often, of a fashionable education. While all this
refinement is being put on, girls are taught from eight years old,
that the chief end of women is to get a beau, and convert him into a
husband. Therefore, every action must be _on purpose_, must have a
discreet object in view. Girls must not walk fast, that is not
lady-like; nor run, that would be shockingly vulgar; nor scamper over
fields, merry and free as the bees or the birds, laughing till the
cheeks are rosy, and romping till the blood marches merrily in every
vein; for, says prudent mamma, “my dear, do you think Mr. Lack-a-daisy
would marry a girl whom he saw acting so unfashionably?” Thus, in
every part of education those things are pursued, whose tendency is to
excite the brain and nervous system, and for the most part those
things are not “_refined_,” which would develop the muscular system,
give a natural fullness to the form, and health and vigor to every
organ of it.

The evil does not end upon the victim of fashionable education. Her
feebleness, and morbid tastes, and preternatural excitability are
transmitted to her children, and to their children. If it were not for
the rural habits and health of the vast proportion of our population,
trained to hearty labor on the soil, the degeneracy of the race in
cities would soon make civilization a curse to the health of mankind.

Now we have not one word to say against “accomplishments” when they
are _real_, and are not purchased at the expense of a girl’s
constitution. She may dance like Miriam, paint like Raphael, make wax
fruit till the birds come and peck at the cunning imitation; she may
play like Orpheus harping after Eurydice (or what will be more to the
purpose, like a Eurydice after an Orpheus), she may sing and write
poetry to the moon, and to every star in the heavens, and every flower
on earth, to zephyrs, to memory, to friendship, and to whatever is
imaginable in the spheres, or on the world—if she will, in the midst
of these ineffable things, remember the most important facts, that
_health_ is a blessing; that God made health to depend upon exercise,
and temperate living in all respects; and that the great objects of
our existence, in respect to ourselves, is a virtuous and pious
character, and in respect to others, the raising and training of a
family after such a sort that neither we, nor men, nor God, shall be
ashamed of them.

Now we are not quite so enthusiastic as to suppose that floriculture
has in it a balm for all these mentioned ills. We are very moderate in
our expectations, believing, only, that it may become a very important
auxiliary in maintaining health of body and purity of mind.

When once a mind has been touched with zeal in floriculture it seldom
forgets its love. If our children were early made little enthusiasts
for the garden, when they were old they would not depart from it. A
woman’s perception of the beauty of form, of colors, of arrangement,
is naturally quicker and truer than man’s. Why should they admire
these only in painting, in dress, and in furniture? Can human art
equal what God has made, in variety, hue, grace, symmetry, order and
delicacy? A beautiful engraving is often admired by those who never
look at a natural landscape; ladies become connoisseurs of
“artificials,” who live in proximity to real flowers without a spark
of enthusiasm for them. We are persuaded that, if parents, instead of
regarding a disposition to train flowers as a useless trouble, a waste
of time, a pernicious romancing, would inspire the love of it, nurture
and direct it, it would save their daughters from _false taste_, and
all love of meretricious ornament. The most enthusiastic lovers of
nature catch something of the simplicity and truthfulness of nature.

Now a constant temptation to female vanity—(if it may be supposed for
the sake of argument, to exist) is a display of person, of dress, of
equipage. In olden times, without entirely hating their beauty, our
mothers used to be proud of their spinning, their weaving, their
curiously-wrought apparel for bed and board. A pride in what we have
_done_ is not, if in due measure, wrong or unwise; and we really think
that rivalry among the young in rearing the choicest plants, the most
resplendent flowers, would be altogether a wise exchange for a rivalry
of lace, and ribbons, and silks. And, even if poor human nature must
be forced to allow the privilege of criticising each other something
severely, it would be much more amiable to pull roses to pieces, than
to pull caps; all the shafts which are now cast at the luckless
beauty, might more harmlessly be cast upon the glowing shield of her
dahlias or upon the cup of her tulips.

A love of flowers would beget early rising, industry, habits of close
observation, and of reading. It would incline the mind to notice
natural phenomena, and to reason upon them. It would occupy the mind
with pure thoughts, and inspire a sweet and gentle enthusiasm;
maintain simplicity of taste; and in connection with personal
instruction, unfold in the heart an enlarged, unstraitened, ardent
piety.



KEEPING YOUNG PIGS IN WINTER.


There is both negligence, and mistake, in the way of wintering pigs. I
am not talking to those whose manner of keeping stock is, to let stock
take care of themselves; but to farmers who _mean to be careful_. Hogs
should be _sorted_. The little ones will, otherwise, be cheated at the
trough, and overlaid and smothered in the sleeping-heap. There should
not be too many in one inclosure; especially young pigs should not
sleep in crowds; for, although they sleep warmer, they will suffer on
that very account. Lying in piles, they get sweaty; the skin is much
more sensitive to the cold, and coming out in the morning reaking and
smoking, the keen air pierces them. In this way, young pigs die off
through the winter by being too warm at night. If you have the
land-shark and alligator breed, however, you should crowd these
together, for the more they die off the better for the farmer.



SWEET POTATOES.


Although our practice has been more extensive, and is more skillful,
in eating sweet potatoes than in raising them, we yet adventure some
remarks: No root can live and grow without food from the leaf; if the
tops be permitted to root, so much nutriment is subtracted from the
tubers as is diverted to these new roots. Those who are best skilled
in their cultivation, raise their vines up so as to detach the roots,
but do not twist them round the hill; which, by crushing or covering
the leaves, would render the vines unhealthy. As to vines of the
_Cucurbitacæ_, their fruit not being under ground, it is not necessary
that such an amount of prepared sap should go to the root as if tubers
were formed. There is, in such vines, a great liability to disease and
injury near the hill. The vines shrink and dry near the base; and
however flourishing the running end may otherwise be, it is destroyed.
If roots are secured at several points along the vine, we remove the
chances of its prematurely dying, without withdrawing any sap
necessary for the maturation of its fruit.



MANAGEMENT OF BOTTOM-LANDS.


Almost every kind of soil requires a management of its own. That
proper for clays, and that proper for bottom-lands, cannot be
interchanged. Bottom lands are usually composed largely of vegetable
matter and sand; and are therefore light, and easy to work; yet, as
they are now managed, they admit a less variety of crops than the
tougher and more unmanageable clay lands.

BOTTOM-LANDS FOR CORN.—Our corn-lands, strictly so called, consist of
rich intervales and river bottoms. On these corn is raised year after
year, without manuring, fallowing, clover, or any change; but one
constant, successive corn, corn, corn. It is supposed that corn may be
had for an indefinite period, so far as mere exhaustion of the soil is
concerned, if the right course is pursued. Some of the best farmers in
this region _hog_ their corn lands. _Hogging_ is turning the hogs in
upon the ripe corn, and letting them harvest it in their own way. The
saving of labor of gathering the corn and feeding it out is very
great. Some single farmers fatten from one to five hundred head of
hogs; but if this number were fed by hand and the grain gathered for
them it would require a force which would eat up the profits. When the
fatting hogs have eaten off the field (temporary fences divide large
fields into inclosures of convenient size) they are turned into
another, and the stock-hogs for another year, are let in to glean and
root for the waste and trampled corn. In this way nothing is lost.

This method _takes very little off from the land_; for the droppings
of the hogs returns a great amount of food for the soil; and the corn
stalks being burned or turned under, the land continues in good heart.
Land being hogged will be _free from cut-worms_; for the continual
rooting of the stock-hogs, which continues until the ground freezes,
throws up the eggs or insect to be destroyed by the winter. This
method of cultivation is peculiarly suited to large farms, where
extensive tracts of ground are kept under the plow.

But in the course of eight or ten years, this process renders the soil
extremely light. The action of frost upon it, after the hogs have
snout-plowed it, leaves it in the spring as light and dry as an
ash-heap. The corn will still _grow_ as well, but every high wind
will throw it down; the soil has not tenacity enough to hold up its
crop. _Clovering_ has been resorted to by some good farmers as a
remedy; but without pretending to know certainly, we suspect that
clover will not fully answer the object. Clover on hard soils,
separates the particles and renders the ground lighter, and adds
vegetable matter to its composition. This is not what bottom land
needs. It is _too_ light, and rich enough in vegetable matter.

We believe a better course will be found in putting _bottom-lands to
small grain_. To be sure, there are difficulties in the way of this;
but good farming is nothing but a compromise of difficulties. If the
month of May be cold and backward, wheat will do well and yield
freely. But if the spring is forward, May warm and wet, the grain will
run rank, break down when the head begins to fill, and, of course, the
berry, however plump and well it might have looked in the milk, will,
after it falls, for want of nourishment, light, and air, shrink and
shrivel. But even in such springs, might not an over rankness be
prevented by pasturing the grain; or even mowing it, when, as it
sometimes happens, it gets ahead of what cattle are put upon it. But,
at the worst, the grain is not lost; for if it lodges, and is spoiled
for the sickle, hogs may be turned upon it and they will thrive well.

But now comes the advantage of small grain to the soil, which will be
the same whether the crop is reaped or hogged. The straw or stubble,
in either case, remains upon the ground. This should not be _plowed
in_, but _burned, and the ashes plowed under_. To do this a strip of
eight feet should be plowed about the whole field; and fire put to it,
_on every side at once_, so that it may burn towards the centre; for
fire, driven across a field, would leap many feet of open space at a
fence. The more stubble the better, and the more weeds the better. The
ashes will give to the soil just what it lacks, cohesion or firmness,
and moisture. For, to make a dry soil moist, requires some substance
to be added, which, having an affinity for moisture, shall attract and
retain it. This is the nature of wood or straw ashes. A gentleman who
will recognize in the above much of his own practical experience,
mentioned to us a singular fact in corroboration of this reasoning.
Having a very heavy wheat or oat stubble on a bottom-land field, which
made it very hard for the plow, he burned it over; but a smart
thunder-storm coming suddenly up, the fire was extinguished, leaving
about five acres in the middle of the piece, unburned. The whole field
was then plowed. It was found that the soil in the part burned over
was more firm, and moist, all the ensuing summer; and the corn more
even, and darker colored, than that upon the five acres which escaped
the fire, and whose stubble had been plowed in.

At all events, there can be no doubt that wood-ashes would be very
advantageous to bottom lands. And we are persuaded that such soils may
be kept in wheat and corn for any length of time, if thus managed. In
conclusion, corn your bottom-lands till they are too light, hogging
instead of harvesting them; then put in wheat or oats; leave the
stubble long, burn it over, and put it into wheat again, or to corn,
as the case may be.



CULTIVATION OF WHEAT.


There are two opinions which will prevent any attempt to improve the
cultivation of wheat, or, indeed, of anything else. The first is the
opinion that, what are called _wheat-lands_, yield enough at any rate:
the second is the opinion of those who own a soil not naturally good
for wheat, that there is no use in trying to raise much to the acre.
We suppose that wheat will not _average_ more than twelve bushels to
the acre, as it is now cultivated in some parts. At that rate, and
with too low prices, it is not worth cultivation for commercial
purposes. The cost of seed, of labor in preparing the soil, putting in
the crop, harvesting, threshing, and carrying it to market, is greater
than the value of the crop. At fifty cents a bushel, and twelve
bushels to the acre, the farmer gets six dollars, which certainly does
not cover the worth of his time and the interest on his land.

Is it possible, then, at an expense within the means of ordinary
farmers, to bring a double or treble crop of wheat? If nature has set
limits to the produce of this grain to the acre, and if our farmers
have come up to that limit, there is no use in their trying to do any
better. But if their crop is four fold behind what it ought to be,
they will feel courage to reach out for a better mode of cultivation.
Vegetables collect food from the atmosphere, and from the soil; and
different plants select different articles of food from the soil, just
as different birds, beasts, insects, etc., require different food. One
class of plants draws potash largely from the soil, as turnips,
potatoes, the stalk of corn, etc. Another class requires lime, in
great measure, as tobacco, pea straw, etc. Liebig partially classifies
plants according to the principal food which they require; as silica
plants, lime plants, potash plants, etc.

Every plant being composed of certain chemical elements, requires for
its perfection a soil containing those elements. Thus chemistry has
shown, by exact analysis, that good meadow hay contains the following
elements: Silica (sand), lime (as a phosphate, a sulphate, and a
carbonate, i. e. lime combined with phosphoric, sulphuric, and
carbonic acids), potash (as a chloride, and a sulphate), magnesia,
iron, and soda. Whatever soil is rich in these will be productive of
grass.

The grain of wheat (in distinction from the straw) contains, and of
course requires from the soil, sulphates of potash, soda, lime,
magnesia, iron, etc.

Any vegetable, in its proper latitude, will flourish in a soil which
will yield it an abundance of food; and decline in a soil which is
barren of the proper nutritive ingredients.

A practical, scientific knowledge of these fundamental facts, will
give an intelligent farmer, in grain-growing latitudes, almost
unlimited power over his crops. A good cook knows what things are
required for bread; he selects these materials, compounds them to
definite proportions—adding, if any one is deficient; subtracting, if
any one is in excess. Raising a crop is a species of slow cooking.
Here is a compound of such materials (called wheat) to be made. Nature
agrees to knead them together, and produce the grain, if the farmer
will supply the materials. To do this he _must_ understand what these
materials are. Suppose a cook perceiving that the bread was wretched,
did not know exactly what was the matter; and should add, salt, or
flour, or yeast, or water at hap-hazard? Yet that is exactly what
multitudes of farmers do. They find that their fields yield a small
crop of wheat. They do not know what the matter is. Is the soil
deficient in lime, or sand, or clay? Is magnesia or potash lacking?
Perhaps they do not even know that these things are requisite to this
crop. “The land must be manured.” Now, manure on an impracticable
soil, is _medicine_. Of course if the farmer prescribes, he must tell
_what_ medicine, i. e. what manure. Is it vegetable matter or
phosphates? alumina or silica? Suppose a doctor says: “You are sick
and must take medicine,” without knowing what the disease is, or what
the appropriate remedy; and so should pull out a handful of whatever
there was in his saddle-bags and dose the wretch? That’s the way
farming goes on. “The ten acre lot wants manure.” To the barn yard he
goes, takes the dung heap, plows it under, and gets an enormous crop
of—straw.  Nitrogenous manure was not what the soil wanted. He has
added materials which existed in abundance already; but those
elements, from the want of which his crop suffered, have not been
given it. The land is sicker than it was before. It languishes for
want of one element, it suffers from a surfeit of another. We are
prepared to sustain these observations by a reference to authentic
facts.

Massachusetts, a few years ago, was not a wheat-growing State.
Cautious farmers had given up the crop, because neither soil nor
climate was supposed to favor it. How then have both soil and climate
been persuaded to relent, and permit from twenty to forty bushels to
grow to the acre? It was no accident, and no series of blind but lucky
blunders, that effected the change. It was _thinking_ that did it. _It
was a change wrought by science._ Elliot (in Connecticut), Deane (both
clergymen), Dexter, Lowell, Fessenden, and many others, all men of
science, were pioneers. Agricultural surveys, geological surveys, and
skillful chemical analyses of the soil and its products have been made
for, now, a series of years. A Hitchcock, a Dana, a Jackson have
applied science to agriculture. Pamphlets, books, and widely
circulated newspapers have diffused this knowledge. Agricultural
societies, state and county; farmers’ meetings for discussion, such as
are held every winter in Boston, have awakened the _mind_ of farmers,
and by learning to treat their soils skillfully, good wheat is raised
in large quantities on soils naturally very averse to wheat.

The average crop of wheat in great Britain is _twenty-six_ bushels to
the acre, but forty and fifty are common to good farmers; sixty,
seventy, and even eighty have been raised by great care.

In the whole United States it will not average much more than fifteen.
A comparison of the two countries will show a corresponding
inferiority on our part in the application of _science_ to
agriculture. Scotland, formerly, hardly raised wheat. Since the
formation of the Highland Agricultural Society in Scotland, wheat has
_averaged_ fifty-one bushels to the acre!—_Ellsworth’s Report for
1844_, p. 16.

Lord Hardwicke stated, in a speech before the Royal Agricultural
Society of England, that fine Suffolk wheat had produced _seventy-six_
bushels per acre; and another and improved variety had yielded
_eighty-two_ bushels per acre! This was the result of “book farming”
in a country where anti-book farmers raise _twenty-six_ bushels to the
acre.

Those very operations which farmers call _practical_, and upon which
they rely in decrying “book farming” were first made known by science,
and through the writings of scientific men.

These views have an immediate and practical bearing on the cultivation
of wheat in the Western States.

Hitherto the want of enough cleared land has led farmers to put in
wheat among the corn, and _half_ put it in at that. Others have plowed
their fallows, or their grass lands, so early in the season, that
rains and settling have made it hard again by seed-time. Then, without
stirring it, the grain has been thrown (away) upon it, and half
harrowed in and left to its fate. Equally bad has been the system of
late single plowing. Others have given their grain no soil to bed
their roots in; a scratched surface receives the grain; its roots,
like the steward, cannot dig, and so get no hold; and are either
winter killed, or subsist upon the scanty food of the three or four
inches of top soil. With some single exceptions, wheat cannot be said
to have been _cultivated_ yet. The two great operations in rendering
soil productive of wheat, are either the _development of the materials
already in the soil; or, the addition to the soil of properties which
are wanting_.

Much land yielding only twelve or fifteen bushels, by a better
preparation would, just as easily, yield thirty. Let us suppose that a
common plowing of four or five inches, precedes sowing. Out of this
superficial soil the wheat is to draw its food. Constant cropping has,
perhaps, already diminished its abundance. Then wheat is rank in stem,
short in the head, and light in the kernel. But below there is a bed
of materials untouched. The subsoil, if brought up, exposed to the
ameliorating influence of the elements, will furnish in great
abundance the elements required. The simple operation of deep and
thorough plowing will, often, be enough to increase the crop one-half.
Deep plowing gives a place for the roots, which will not be apt to
heave out in winter; it saves the wheat from drought, it gives the
nourishment of twice the quantity of soil to the crop.

Five acres may become ten by enlarging the soil _downward_. These
remarks are desultory; and, while we intend to continue writing on the
subject, we say to such as may be getting ready for the wheat-sowing,
_plow deeply and thoroughly_; unlike corn, wheat can only be plowed
once, and that at the beginning. It should be thoroughly done, then,
once for all.

WHEAT LANDS ought to be so farmed as to grow better from year to year;
certainly, they ought to hold their own. Lands may be kept in heart by
the adoption of a rotation suited to each particular soil; or, if
frequent wheat crops are raised, by fallows or manuring. It is a fact
that in this neighborhood farms in the hands of careful men are
yielding better crops of wheat every year; while multitudes of farmers
think themselves fortunate in twelve or fifteen bushels to the acre,
there is another class who expect twenty-five or thirty bushels, and
in good seasons get it. This is encouraging. As our lands get older we
may look for yet better things. Some farmers put in from 100 to 800,
and even 1,000 acres of wheat. The native qualities of the soil are
relied upon for the crop. To manure or clover such a body of land is
impossible with any capital at the command of its owners. But with us,
each owner of a quarter section puts in from ten to twenty acres, and
it lies within his means to dress this quantity of land to a high
degree.

SOILS FIT FOR WHEAT.—A vegetable mold cannot yield wheat, because it
does not contain, and therefore cannot afford to the crop, silicate of
potash, or phosphate of magnesia; the first of which gives strength to
the stem, and the second of which is necessary to the grain. On such
soil wheat may grow as a grass, but not as a grain.

A mere sand will not yield wheat; because wheat requires, and such
soils do not contain, soda, magnesia, and especially silicate of
potash.

All clays contain potash, which is indispensable to wheat, but they
may be deficient in soda, in magnesia, and in other alkalies.

A calcareous clay-loam may be regarded as the best soil for wheat. And
when it does not exist in a natural state, all the additions in the
form of manure should be with reference to the formation of such a
soil. If the land be light and sandy, clay, and marl, and wood ashes
should be added, together with barnyard manure; if the soil is a
tenacious clay, it should be warmed and mellowed by sand and manure;
if it is deficient in lime, lime in substance, or in marl must be
given; vegetable molds, if heavily dressed with wood-ashes and lime,
may be brought to produce wheat.

TO PREPARE THE GROUND.—This operation depends upon the condition of
the soil. But, in all cases, the deepest plowing is the best. The
roots of wheat, if unchecked, will extend more than _five feet_.
Stiff, tough, soils, unbroken for years, and especially if much
trampled by cattle, will require strong teams. Oxen are better than
horses to break up with. It has been said, that a yoke of cattle draw
a plow deeper, naturally, than a span of horses. They are certainly
better fitted for dull, dead, heavy pulling. And if oxen have been
well trained they will do as much plowing in a season as horses, and
come out of the work in better condition.

Fallow lands should be broken up early in summer, as soon as corn
planting is over; about midsummer plow again; and the last time early
in September to prepare for seed.

A grass or clover lay[4] may be plowed under deeply at midsummer, and
not disturbed till sowing-time; and the fall plowing should not
disturb the inverted sod.

When wheat is to be sown on wheat again, as large a part of the straw
should be left in the harvest-field as possible. This is to be plowed
under; but, if it can be done without endangering the fences, it would
be better to _burn it over_; the ashes will contain all the valuable
salts. On this point we extract the following note appended by the
editor of _Liebig’s Agricultural Chemistry_.

     “In some parts of the grand-duchy of Hesse, where wood is
     scarce and dear, it is customary for the common people to
     club together and build baking-ovens, which are heated with
     straw instead of wood. The ashes of this straw are carefully
     collected and sold every year at very high prices. The
     farmers there have found by experience that the ashes of
     straw form the very best manure for wheat; although it
     exerts no influence on the growth of fallow-crops (potatoes
     or the leguminosæ, for example). The stem of wheat grown in
     this way possesses an uncommon strength. The cause of the
     favorable action of these ashes will be apparent, when it is
     considered that all corn-plants require silicate of potash;
     and that the ashes of straw consist almost entirely of this
     compound.”

But this procedure does not depend upon theoretical reasonings; it has
been abundantly substantiated by the practice of English cultivators.
We find on page 333 of the “British Husbandry,” an admirable work
published under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion
of Useful Knowledge, the following statement:

     “The _ashes of burnt straw_ have also been found beneficial
     by many intelligent practical farmers, from some of whose
     experiments we select the following instances. Advantage was
     taken of a fine day to fire the stubble of an oat-field soon
     after harvest, the precaution having been previously taken
     of sweeping round the boundary to prevent injury to the
     hedges. The operation was easily performed, by simply
     applying a light to windward, and it completely destroyed
     every weed that grew, leaving the surface completely covered
     with ashes; and the following crop, which was wheat,
     produced full five quarters per acre. This excited further
     experiment, the result of which was, that in the following
     season, the stubble having been partly plowed in according
     to the common practice, and partly burned, and the land sown
     with wheat, the crop produced eight bushels per acre more on
     that portion which had been burned, than on that which had
     been plowed in. The same experiment was repeated, on
     different occasions, with similar results; and a following
     crop of oats having been laid down with seeds, the clover
     was found perfectly healthy, while that portion on which the
     burning of the stubble had been omitted, was choked with
     weeds. It must, however, be recollected, that if intended to
     have a decided effect, the stubble must be left of a
     considerable length, which will occasion a material
     deficiency of farmyard manure; though the advantages will be
     gained of saving the cost of moving the stubs, the seeds of
     weeds and insects will be considerably destroyed, and the
     land will be left unimpeded for the operation of the plow.

     “On the wolds of Lincolnshire, the practice of not only
     burning the stubble, but even the straw of threshed grain,
     has been carried, in many cases, to the extent of four to
     six loads per acre; and, as it is described in the report of
     the county, has been attended, in all those instances, with
     very decidedly good effect. It is even said to have been
     found superior, in some comparative trials, to yard-dung, in
     the respective rate of five tons of straw to ten of manure!”

We frequently ride past immense piles of wheat straw, encumbering the
yard or field where it was threshed; and never without thinking upon
the unthriftiness of a farmer who ignorantly takes everything off his
wheat land, returns nothing to it, and is content with annually
diminishing crops.

SELECTION OF SEEDS.—The varieties of wheat, already very numerous, are
constantly increasing. No farmer should be satisfied with anything
short of the _best_ kind of wheat. Suppose an expense of many dollars
to have been incurred in procuring a new kind, if it yield only two
bushels more to the acre than an old sort, it will more than pay for
itself in the first harvest field. It should be observed that
different soils require different varieties; and every farmer should
select, after trial, the kind which agrees best with his land.

A standard wheat should be hardy, strong in the straw; not easy to
shell and waste, prolific, thin in the bran, white in flour, and the
flour rich in starch and gluten. The earliness or lateness of a
variety affects its liability to disease.

Much may be done by every farmer to secure a variety suited to his
soil from his own fields. Let a watchful eye observe every remarkable
head of wheat—a very early one, a very long head, any which have an
unusual sized grain, or is distinguished for any excellent property.
By gathering, planting separately, and then culling again, each farmer
may improve his own wheat ten fold. Indeed it has been in this way
that several improved varieties have been procured.

Of spring wheat, the most valuable kinds are, _Italian Spring Wheat_;
bearded, red berry, white chaff, head long, bran thick, flour of fair
quality. _Tea_ or _Siberian Bald_; bright straw, not long; berry
white, bald; flour good; extensively cultivated in New England and
northern part of New York. Valuable variety.

BLACK SEA WHEAT.—White chaff, bearded, berry red, long and heavy, bran
thick, flour inferior. Ripens very early, and seldom rusts or mildews.

The following are also the spring varieties. _Egyptian Wild Goose or
California._—Large and branching head, bearded, berry small, bran
thick, flour coarse and yellow, ripens late, and subject to rust.
Although branching, it is not productive. There is a winter variety
also. _Rock Wheat_, from Spain.—Chaff white, bearded, berry red and
long, bran thick, flour of fair quality, hardy, shows small, well
adapted for new lands and late sowing. _Black Bearded._—Long
cultivated in New York—stem large, heavy head, berry large and red,
beard very long and stiff, produces flour well. _Red Bearded_,
English.—Chaff red, bearded, beards standing out, berry white, weighs
from sixty to sixty-two pounds. _Scotch Wheat._—A large white wheat,
berry and straw large.

Spring wheat does well on soils which heave and throw out winter
wheat. It is deemed a good policy to sow some spring wheat every year,
that, if the winter wheat fails, a crop may still be on hand.

An account of the best varieties of winter wheat, we extract from the
_Western Farmer and Gardener_:

     “WHITE FLINT.—A winter wheat, very white chaff, withstood
     Hessian fly well, has yielded fifty-four bushels to the
     acre, weighing from sixty-three to sixty-seven pounds per
     bushel. _Improved White Flint._—This from early selection
     from the first. _White Provence, from France._—A white
     wheat—shows small heads, well filled and large. _Old Red
     Chaff._—White wheat, old—subject to fly. _Kentucky, White
     Bearded._— White wheat, sometimes called Canadian
     Flint—early, good for clay soils. _Indiana Wheat._—White
     wheat—berry white and large, ripens early, not so flinty as
     the White Flint, good flour, valuable for clayey soils.
     _Velvet Beard, or Crate Wheat._—White wheat—English variety,
     chaff reddish, berry large and red, straw large and long,
     heads long and well filled, beard very stiff, flour
     yellowish. _Soule’s Wheat._—A mixed variety, heads large,
     berry white, not very hardy. _Beaver Dam._—Old variety,
     berry red, flour yellowish, ripens late. _Eclipse._—English,
     not hardy. _Virginia White May_, from Virginia.—Winter, good
     flour, chaff white. _Wheatland Wheat_, from Virginia.—Chaff
     red, heads well filled, berry red, hardy. _Tuscan Bald_,
     from Italy in 1837.—Berry large and white, not hardy, flour
     good. _Tuscan Bearded._—Head large, still less hardy.
     _Yorkshire_, from England, ten years ago.—Mixed variety of
     white and red chaff, bald, berry white, good flour, liable
     to injury from insects, subject to ergot. _Bellevere
     Tallavera._—White variety from England, head large, tillers
     well, not hardy, insects like it much. _Pegglesham_,
     English.—Head large, berry white, and medium sized, tender
     for our winters—(all this is calculated for New York State.)
     _Golden Drop_, English.—Berry red, flour not first rate.
     _Skinner Wheat._—Produced from crosses, berry red, chaff
     white, hardy, yield good, sixty-four pounds to the bushel.
     _Mediterranean._—Chaff light, red bearded, berry red and
     long, very flinty, flour inferior. _Hume’s White Wheat_ from
     crosses.—A beautiful white wheat, berry large, bran thin,
     hardy and a valuable variety. _Blue Stem._—Cultivated for
     thirty-three years, berry white, sixty-four pounds to the
     bushel, flour superior, bran thin, and very productive.
     _Valparaiso Wheat_, from South America.—Chaff white, bald,
     berry white, bran thin, a good variety.”

PREPARING SEED FOR SOWING.—Seed wheat should be subjected to a process
which shall separate all chess, cockle, etc., from it, together with
the shrunken kernels of the wheat itself. This may be, in part, done
by screening; but the light grain will float and may thus be detected
in the process of brining. Two tubs, or half barrels, may be
conveniently used. A strong brine of salt and water is preferred, and
the wheat, in convenient parcels, is poured in, the light wheat
skimmed from the top, the brine poured off into the second tub, and
the heavy wheat at the bottom put into some suitable receptacle to
drain for an hour. When in successive parcels the whole quantity to be
used has been brined, let it be emptied upon a smooth floor, and limed
at the rate of about a bushel of lime to ten of wheat. By this process
the chaffy grain is rejected, the smut, to which wheat is so liable,
is entirely prevented; and the grain caused to germinate more rapidly
and strongly. The lime should be what is termed _quicklime_, or that
just slaked. The reason may be explained. No seed can germinate until
it has rid itself of a large part of that carbon, which, being
essential to its _preservation_, must be withdrawn in order that it
may grow. The addition of oxygen from air and water converts the
carbon to carbonic acid, which is emitted from the pores, and escapes.
Newly slaked lime has a powerful affinity for carbonic acid; and by
withdrawing it from the seed, puts it in a condition favorable to
immediate germination. Lime that has been air-slaked or lain exposed
to the air after being slaked by water, combines with the carbonic
acid in the atmosphere, and when applied to wheat, being already a
carbonate, it does not liberate the carbonic acid contained in the
seed.

       *     *     *     *     *

PLEASURES OF HORTICULTURE.—There is no writing so detestable as
so-called _fine writing_. It is painted emptiness. We especially
detest fine writing about rural affairs—all the senseless gabble about
dew, and zephyrs, and stars, and sunrises—about flowers, and green
trees, golden grain and lowing herds, etc. We always suspect a design
upon our admiration, and take care not to admire. In short,
_geoponical cant, and pastoral cant, and rural cant_ in their length
and breadth, are like the whole long catalogue of cants (not excepting
the German Kant), intolerable. Now and then, however, somebody writes
as though he knew something; and then a free and bold strain of
commendation upon rural affairs is relishful.


     [4] The word _lay_, or _ley_, is only a different way of
     spelling _lea_, the old English word for _field_, not used
     except in poetry or by farmers; and it is one, among many
     instances, of old Saxon English words being preserved among
     the agricultural population long after they have ceased to
     be generally used.



PRACTICAL USE OF LEAVES.


There are two facts in the functions of the leaf, which are worth
consideration on account of their practical bearings. The food of
plants is, for the most part, taken in solution, through its roots.
Various minerals—silex, lime, alumen, magnesia, potassa—are passed
into the tree in a dissolved state. The sap passes to the leaf, the
superfluous water is given off, _but not the substances which it held
in solution_. These, in part, are distributed through the plant, and,
in part, remain as a _deposit in the cells of the leaf_. Gradually the
leaf chokes up, its functions are impeded, and finally entirely
stopped. When the leaf drops, it contains a large _per cent._ of
mineral matter. An autumnal or old leaf yields, upon analysis, a very
much larger proportion of earthy matter than a vernal leaf, which,
being yet young, has not received within its cells any considerable
deposit. It will be found also, that the leaves contain a very much
higher _per cent._ of mineral matter, than _the wood of the trunk_.
The dried leaves of the elm contain more than eleven _per cent._ of
ashes (earthy matter), while the wood contains less than two _per
cent._; those of the willow, more than eight _per cent._, while the
wood has only 0.45; those of beech 6.69, the wood only 0.36; those of
the (European) oak 4.05, the wood only 0.21; those of the pitch-pine
3.15, the wood only 0.25 _per cent._[5]

It is very plain, from these facts, that, in forests, the mineral
ingredients of the soil perform a sort of _circulation_; entering the
root, they are deposited in the leaf; then, with it, fall to the
earth, and by its decay, they are restored to the soil, again to
travel their circuit. Forest soils, therefore, instead of being
impoverished by the growth of trees, receive back annually the
greatest proportion of those mineral elements necessary to the tree,
and besides, much organized matter received into the plant from the
atmosphere; soils therefore are gaining instead of losing. If owners
of parks or groves, for neatness’ sake, or to obtain leaves for other
purposes, gather the annual harvest of leaves, they will, in time,
take away great quantities of mineral matter, by which the soil,
ultimately, will be impoverished, unless it is restored by manures.

Leaf-manure has always been held in high esteem by gardeners. But many
regard it as a purely _vegetable substance_; whereas, it is the best
mineral manure that can be applied to the soil. What are called
vegetable loams (not peat soils, made up principally of decomposed
_roots_), contain large quantities of earthy matter, being
mineral-vegetable, rather than vegetable soils.

Every gardener should know, that the best manure for any plant is the
decomposed leaves and substance of its own species. This fact will
suggest the proper course with reference to the leaves, tops, vines,
haulm, and other vegetable refuse of the garden.

The other fact connected with the leaf, is its function of
_Exhalation_. The greatest proportion of crude sap which ascends the
trunk, upon reaching the leaf, is given forth again to the atmosphere,
by means of a particularly beautiful economy. The _quantity_ of
moisture produced by a plant is hardly dreamed of by those who have
not specially informed themselves. The experiments of Hales have been
often quoted. A sun-flower, three and a half feet high, presenting a
surface of 5.616 square inches exposed to the sun, was found to
perspire at the rate of twenty to thirty ounces avoirdupois every
twelve hours, or seventeen times more than a man. A vine with twelve
square feet exhaled at the rate of five or six ounces a day. A
seedling apple-tree, with twelve square feet of foliage, lost nine
ounces a day.[6]

These are experiments upon very small plants. The vast amount of
surface presented by a large tree must give off immense quantities of
moisture. The practical bearings of this fact of vegetable exhalation
are not a few. Wet forest-lands, by being cleared of timber, become
dry; and streams, fed from such sources, become almost extinct as
civilization encroaches on wild woods. The excessive dampness of
crowded gardens is not singular, and still less is it strange that
dwellings covered with vines, whose windows are choked with shrubs,
and whose roof is overhung with branches of trees, should be
intolerably damp; and when the good housewife is scrubbing, scouring
and brushing, and nevertheless, marvelling that her house is so
infested with mold, she hardly suspects that her troubles would be
more easily removed by the axe or saw, than by all her cloths and
brushes. A house should never be closely surrounded with shrubs. A
free circulation of air should be maintained all about it, and
shade-trees so disposed as to leave large openings for the light and
sun to enter. Unusual rains in any season produce so great a dampness
in our residences that no one can fail to notice its effect, both on
the health of the occupants, and upon the beauty and good condition of
their household substance.

       *     *     *     *     *

The following method to destroy weeds is pursued at the mint in Paris,
with good effect: 10 gallons water, 20 lbs. quicklime And 2 lbs.
flowers of sulphur are to be boiled in an iron vessel; after settling,
the clear part is thrown off and used when needed. Care must be taken,
for if it will destroy weeds it will just as certainly destroy edgings
and border flowers if sprinkled on them. Weeds, thus treated, will
disappear for several years.


     [5] See Dr. Grey’s Botanic Text Book, an admirable work,
     which every horticulturist should own and study.

     [6] Lindley’s Horticulture, p. 42-44. Grey’s Botany, p. 131.



SPRING WORK FOR PUBLIC-SPIRITED MEN.


SHADE-TREES.—One of the first things that will require your action is,
the planting of _shade-trees_. Get your neighbors to join with you.
Agree to do four times as much as your share, and you will, perhaps,
then obtain some help. Try to get some more to do the same in each
street of your village or town.

_Locusts_, of course you will set for immediate shade. They will in
three years afford you a delightful verdant umbrella as long as the
street. But _maples_ form a charming row, and the autumnal tints of
their leaves and the spring flowers add to their beauty. They grow
quite rapidly, and in six years, if the soil is good and the trees
properly set, they will begin to cast a decided shadow. Elms are, by
far, the noblest tree that can be set, but they will have their own
time to grow. It is best then to set them in a row of other trees, at
about fifty or a hundred feet apart, the intervening space to be
occupied with quicker-growing varieties.

The beech, buckeye, horse-chesnut, sycamore, chestnut, and many others
may be employed with advantage. Now, do not let your court-house
square look any longer so barren.

_Avenues_ may be lined with rows of trees, but squares and open spaces
should have them grouped or scattered in small knots and parcels in a
more natural manner.

MAY-WEED.—There was never a better time to exterminate this
villainous, stinking weed than summer-time will be. Just as soon as
the first blossoms show, “up and at it.” Club together in your streets
and agree to spend one day _a-mowing_. Keep it down thoroughly for one
season and it will no longer bedrabble your wife’s and daughter’s
dresses, nor fill the air with its pungent stench, or weary the eye
with its everlasting white and yellow.

SIDE-WALKS. What if your neighbors are lazy; what if they do not care?
Some one ought to see that there are good gravel walks in each
village. You can have them in this way: Take your horse and cart and
make them before your own grounds, and then go on no matter who owns,
and when your neighbors see that _you_ have public spirit, they will,
by and by, be ready to help you. But the grand way to do nothing, is,
not to lift a finger yourself, and then to rail at your
fellow-citizens as selfish and devoid of all public spirit.

PROTECT PUBLIC PROPERTY.—What if it does concern everybody else as
much as it does you? Some one ought to see that the fences about every
square are kept in repair. Some one ought to save the trees from
cattle; some one ought to have things in such trim as that the
inhabitants can be proud of their own town. Pride is not decent when
there is nothing to be proud of; but when things are worthy of it, no
man can be decent who is devoid of a proper pride. The church, the
schoolhouse, fences, trees, bridges, roads, public squares, sidewalks,
these are things which tell tales about people. A stranger, seeking a
location, can hardly think well of a place, in which the distinction
between the house and stye are not obvious; in which every one is lazy
when greediness does not excite him, and where general indolence
leaves no time to think of the public good.

When politicians are on the point of dissolving in the very fervent
heat of their love for the public, it would recall the fainting soul
quicker than hartshorn or vinegar to ask them—Did you ever set out a
shade-tree in the street? Did you ever take an hour’s pains about your
own village? Have you secured it a lyceum? Have you watched over its
schools? Have you aided in any arrangements for the relief of the
poor? Have you shown any _practical_ zeal for good roads, good
bridges, good sidewalks, good schoolhouses, good churches? Have the
young men in your place a public library?

If the question were put to many distinguished village patriots, What
have you done for the public good?—the answer would be: “Why, I’ve
talked till I’m hoarse, and an ungrateful public refuse me any office
by which I may show my love of public affairs in a more practical
manner.”



FARMERS AND FARMING SCENES IN THE WEST.


If any one goes to Holland they are all Dutch farmers there; if he
goes to England he finds British husbandry; in New England it’s all
Yankee farming. A man must go to the West to see a little of every
sort of farming that ever existed, and some sorts we will affirm,
never had an existence before anywhere else—the purely indigenous
farming of the great valley. Within an hour’s ride of each other is
the Swiss with his vineyard, the Dutchman with his spade, the
“Pennsylvany Dutch” and his barn, the Yankee and his notions, the
Kentuckian and his stock, the Irishman and his shillelah, the Welchman
and his cheese, besides the supple French and smooth Italian, with
here and there a Swede and a very good sprinkling of Indians.

Away yonder to the right is a little patch of thirty acres owned by a
Yankee. He keeps good cows, _one_ horse only (fat enough for half a
dozen); every hour of the year, save only nights and Sabbath-days he
is at work, and neat fences, clean door-yard, a nice barn, good crops,
and a profitable dairy, and money at interest, show the results. What
if he has but thirty acres, they are worth any two hundred around him,
if what a man makes is a criterion of the value of his farm. But a
little farther out is a jolly old Kentucky farmer, the owner of about
five hundred acres of the best land in the county, which he tills when
he has nothing else to do. He is a great hunter and must go out for
three or four days every season after deer. He loves office quite
well, and is always willing to “serve the public” for a
consid-er-a-tion, as Trapbois would say. As to farming, he hires more
than he works; but, now and then, as at planting or harvesting, he
will lay hold for a week or a month with perfect farming fury, and
that’s the last of it. As to working every day and every hour, it
would be intolerable! He is a great horse-raiser, is fond of stock,
and if a free and easy fellow ready to laugh, not careful of his
purse, nor particular about his time, will ride over his grounds,
admire his cattle, his bluegrass pasture, his Pattons and his Durhams;
and above all, that blooded filly, or that colt of Sir Archie’s—our
Kentucky farmer will declare him the finest fellow alive, and his
house will be open to him from year’s end to year’s end again.

Right along side of him is a “Pennsylvany Dutch,” good-natured,
laborious, frugal and prosperous. He minds his own business. Seldom
wrangles for office. Is not very public spirited, although he likes
very well to see things prosper. He farms carefully on the old
approved plan of his father, plants by the signs in the moon, seldom
changes his habits, and on the whole constitutes a very substantial,
clean, industrious, but unenterprising farmer.

Then there is a _New York_ Yankee; he has got a grand piece of land,
has paid for it, and got money to boot; he knows a little about
everything; he “lays off” the timber for a fine large house—bossed the
job himself. When it was up he stuck on a kitchen, then a pantry on to
that, then a pump-room on that, then a wood-house on that, and then a
smoke-house for the fag end; a fine garden, a snug little nursery well
tended, good orchards; by and by a second farm, pretty soon a boy on
it, all married and fixed off; by and by again another snug little
farm, and then another boy on it, with a little wife to help him; and
then a spruce young fellow is seen about the premises, and after a
while a daughter disappears and may be found some miles off on a good
farm, making butter and raising children, and has good luck at both.
The old man is getting fat, has money lent out, loves to see his
friends, house neat as a pin, glorious place to visit, etc., etc. But
who can tell how many sorts more there are in the great heterogeneous
West, and how amusing the mixture often is, and what strange customs
grow out of the mingling of so many diverse materials. It is like a
kaleidoscope, every turn gives a new sight. We will take our leisure,
and give some sketches of men, and manners and scenery, as we have
seen them in the West.

About eight years ago a raw Dutchman, whose only English was a
good-natured _yes_ to every possible question, got employment here as
a stable-man. His wages were six dollars and board; that was $36 in
six months, for not one cent did he spend. He washed his own shirt and
stockings, mended and patched his own breeches, paid for his tobacco
by some odd jobs, and laid by his wages. The next six months, being
now able to talk “goot Inglish,” he obtained eight dollars a month,
and at the end of six months more had $48, making in all for the year
$84. The second year, by varying his employment—sawing wood in winter,
working for the corporation in summer, making garden in spring, he
laid by $100, and the third year $125, making in three years $309.

With this he bought 80 acres of land. It was as wild as when the deer
fled over it, and the Indian pursued him. How should he get a living
while clearing it? Thus he did it. He hires a man to clear and fence
ten acres. He himself remains in town to earn the money to pay for the
clearing. Behold him! already risen a degree, he is an employer! In
two years’ time he has twenty acres well cleared, a log-house and
stable, and money enough to buy stock and tools. He now rises another
step in the world, for he gets married, and with his amply-built,
broad-faced, good-natured wife, he gives up the town and is a regular
farmer.

In Germany he owned nothing and never could; his wages were nominal,
his diet chiefly vegetable, and his prospect was, that he would be
obliged to labor as a menial for life, barely earning a subsistence
and not leaving enough to bury him. In five years, he has become the
owner in fee simple of a good farm, with comfortable fixtures, a
prospect of rural wealth, an independent life, and, by the blessing of
heaven and his wife, of an endless posterity. Two words tell the whole
story—Industry and Economy. These two words will make any man rich at
the West.

We know of another case. While Gesenius, the world-wide famous Hebrew
scholar, was as school, he had a bench-fellow named Eitlegeorge. I
know nothing of his former life. But ten years ago I knew him in
Cincinnati as a baker, and a first-rate one too; and while Gesenius
issued books and got fame, Eitlegeorge issued bread and got money. At
length he disappeared from the city. Travelling from Cincinnati to
Indianapolis, a year or two since, I came upon a farm of such fine
land that it attracted my attention, and induced me to ask for the
owner. It belonged to our friend of the oven! There was a whole
township belonging to him, and a good use he appeared to make of it.
Courage then, ye bakers! In a short time you may raise wheat instead
of molding dough.

       *     *     *     *     *

A HOLE IN THE POCKET.—If it were not for these holes in the pocket, we
should all be rich. A pocket is like a cistern, a small leak at the
bottom is worse than a large pump at the top. God sends _rain_ enough
every year, but it is not every man that will take pains to catch it;
and it is not every man that catches it who knows how to keep it.



ORNAMENTAL SHRUBS.


A description of a few of the desirable flowering and ornamental
shrubs for yards and lawns may enable our readers to select with
judgment.

PRIVET.—This is quite beautiful as a single plant; but is universally
employed for hedges, verdant screens, etc. There is an evergreen
variety, originally from Italy, by far the best. The roots of this
plant are fibrous, don’t spread much; the limbs endure the shears very
patiently; it grows very rapidly, two full seasons being sufficient to
form a hedge; and it will flourish under the shade and drip of trees.

ROSE ACACIA (_Robinia hispida_).—This is a species of the locust, of a
dwarf habit, seldom growing six feet in height, and covered with fine
spines which give its branches a mossy appearance. Its blossoms
resemble the locust, but are of a pink color. It is often grafted upon
the locust to give it a higher head and better growth. It should be in
every shrubbery.

VENETIAN SUMACH, or smoke tree (_Rhus cotinus_).—The peculiarity of
this shrub is in the large bunches of russet-colored seed-vessels,
looking, at a little distance, like a puff of smoke. The French and
Germans call it _periwig-tree_, from the resemblance of these russet
masses to a powdered wig. It grows freely, and is highly ornamental.

There are two other species of sumach worthy of cultivation; the _Rhus
typhina_, or Stag’s Horn sumach, of a fine flower, and whose leaves
turn in autumn to a beautiful purplish red; and the _R. glabra_, or
Scarlet sumach, having red flowers and fruit of a velvety scarlet
appearance, changing as it ripens to crimson.

SYRINGA, or Mock Orange (_Philadelphus coronarius_), is a beautiful
shrub, having, in the spring, flowers of a pure white, and of an odor
only less exquisite than that of the orange; whence one of its popular
names. The leaves have the smell of the cucumber, and are sometimes
used in spring to flavor salads. It grows freely, even under the shade
of trees, which, in all low shrubs, is a valuable quality. There is
also a large flowered inodorous variety. The popular name, Syringa, is
the botanical name of the lilac; but these plants are not in the
remotest degree related to each other.

LILAC.—This well-known and favorite little tree requires only to be
mentioned. There is a white variety, and delicately-leaved variety
called the Persian.

SNOWBALL (_Viburnum opulus_), everywhere known, and everywhere a
favorite; and scarcely less so is the

WAXBERRY, or Snowberry, (_Symphora racemosa_), introduced by Lewis and
Clark to the public attention, and first raised from seed by McMahan,
a gardener of some note. When its fruit is grown, it has a beautiful
appearance.

TAMARISK (_Tamarix gallica_), a sub-evergreen of very beautiful
feathery foliage, of rapid growth, and highly ornamental in a
shrubbery. It will grow in very poor soil.

SHEPARDIA, or Buffalo Berry, from the Rocky Mountains, a low tree,
with small silvery leaves, a currant-like fruit, which is edible. This
is worthy of cultivation. It is diœcious, and the male and female
trees must therefore be planted in proximity.

DWARF ALMOND (_Amygdalus nana_), but now called by botanists Cerasus
or Prunus japonica. This favorite shrub is found in all gardens and
yards. The profusion of its blossoms and the delicacy of their color
make it, during the short time of its inflorescence, deservedly a
favorite. As it flowers before its leaves put forth, it requires a
green background to produce its full effect. It should therefore be
planted against evergreens.

WOOD HONEYSUCKLE (_Azalea_).—This is a native of North America, and is
perfectly hardy. It flourishes best in a half shade, and flowers
freely. There have been a vast number of varieties originated from
crossing the species; and the nurseries will supply almost every shade
of color from white to brilliant flame color.

The _A. pontica_ is also hardy; but the Chinese species require a
greenhouse. This is one of the most magnificent shrubs that can be
cultivated, and deserves the special attention of those who wish to
form even a moderately good shrubbery.

The BERBERRY (_Berberis vulgaris_) is quite beautiful when in fruit.
It is easily propagated, grows in any soil, requires little pruning,
and is very good fur hedges.

GLOBE FLOWER (_Corchorus japonica_).—A very pretty shrub with double
yellow flowers, which are in abundance early in the summer, and also,
but sparingly, shown throughout the season.

     “By some mistake _Kerria japonica_ was at first supposed to
     belong to Corchorus, a genus of Tiliaceæ, and of course
     nearly allied to the lime-tree; to which it bears no
     resemblance, though it is still called _Corchorus japonica_
     in the nurseries. It is also singular, that though the
     double-flowered variety was introduced into England in 1700,
     the species was not introduced till 1835. It is a delicate
     little shrub, too slender to support itself in the open air;
     but when trained against a wall, flowering in great
     profusion. It should be grown in a light, rich soil, and it
     is propagated by cuttings.”—_Companion to the Flower Garden._

LABURNUM (_Cytisus laburnum_).—This beautiful plant forms a small
tree, which, in May, is covered with pendant yellow blossoms. Blooming
at the same time with the lilac, the two planted together have an
extremely beautiful effect. It is hardy, grows in any soil, and is
propagated easily by seed.

The Scotch Laburnum (_C. alpinus_), is much more beautiful than the
common kind, “the flowers and leaves being larger and the flower more
frequently fragrant. They are also produced much later in the season,
not coming into flower till the others are quite over.”

ALTHEA, or Rose of Sharon (_Hibiscus Syriacus_).—One of the most
desirable shrubs for yards and gardens. The form of the shrub is
compact and sightly; flowers double, and may be had of every color; it
is hardy, growing well in all soils, and blooms continually from the
last of July till frost. It is beautiful in avenues, and, being
patient of the shears, it will form a fine _floral_ hedge, a good
specimen of which may be seen on Mr. Hoffner’s beautiful grounds near
Cincinnati. The single altheas are not so desirable. We regard this
shrub as worthy of much more extensive cultivation than it has
received. Its flowers are coarse on a close inspection, but at a
little distance, and among other plants its effect is excellent. It is
very easily propagated by cuttings, or from the seed.

SWEET-SCENTED SHRUB (_Calycanthus Floridus_).—Chiefly desirable from
the pine-apple fragrance of its brownish-purple flowers. They are used
to scent drawers, to carry in the pocket, etc. It grows freely in any
dry, rich soil, and is propagated by layers and suckers.

RED-BUD (_Cercis Canadensis_).—This small tree is familiar to every
one, being the first spring flowering tree of our woods. It flourishes
in gardens and makes a finer appearance there than in its native
localities.

       *     *     *     *     *

GOOSEBERRIES.—Let those who are accustomed to lose their fruit by
mildew, drench their bushes with an alkaline wash. Lime-water, or
diluted lye are the most convenient. With a watering-pot, copiously
water the whole bush, on the upper and under side of the branches;
which can be easily done, if one will lift the branches while another
bestows the shower-bath. After they have done bearing, prune out the
head, and the lower branches, so as to give a _free circulation of
air_ under and through the bush. Spade in about them a liberal
dressing of leached ashes, and fine charcoal if procurable.



GARDEN WORK FOR AUGUST.


_Dahlias_ will require special attention to secure them from splitting
down, and breaking; let every part be well supported by ties. The cool
nights and warm days of approaching fall will give them their most
vigorous growth.

SAVING SEED.—Beet, spinage, peas, celery, salsify, lettuce seeds will
now be ripe and should be gathered. Even if not quite ripe, they may
be plucked, as experiments seem to show that seeds are more injured by
over-ripeness than under-ripening. Seal up your peas in bottles and
put wax about the cork, according to Dr. Plummer’s directions, and the
larvæ of the pea-bug will die for want of air. Seeds are ripened best
in their own pods or receptacles; and where they ripen nearly at the
same time, and do not easily shake out, we hang the whole plant in an
airy shed, barn, etc., until winter; and then, for convenience, thresh
out and pack up.

As fast as your perennial plants have shed their flowers, let the seed
plants be destroyed, unless you wish to save seed, as the ripening of
seed exhausts the root.

Young peach-trees should have the side shoots cleared away and one
strong centre stem secured for budding in the fall.

Onions may now be gathered. Let them lie a day or two on the bed or in
the alley, and then be transferred to a cool and airy place. The sets
for top onions may be tied in bundles and hung up till spring.

Where peas and bush beans have been cleared away, turnips may be sowed
for a fall and winter crop.

Spinage seed should be got ready to be sown in September, if you wish
a good supply of this choicest of all spring greens.

Celery plants will begin to grow strongly in the trenches; water with
liquid manure; if troubled with insects, dust with quick lime and
water with salt water. Above all things be careful in drawing in the
earth to keep it out from the heart of the plant, and let it be done
in dry weather.



PULLING OFF POTATO BLOSSOMS.


The _Boston Cultivator_, speaking of this process, says: “As the
qualities of the potato-ball or apple differ considerably from the
root or tuber, it may be that the juices destined to nourish the balls
will not, on removing the blossoms, go to increase the roots. This
view is not unreasonable.”

We do not suppose the theory to be, that the sap tending to the bloom
and ball _returns_ to the root. But, simply, that there will be so
much less food to be prepared, and therefore so much less exhaustion
to the vegetable economy. It is well known that the filling out and
ripening of seeds is eminently exhausting to the plant. It has long
been the custom of florists who wish show-flowers, to refuse their
bulbous plants leave to bloom for one season, plucking off the bud,
that they might be so much the stronger for the next year’s blooming.

But we suppose the truth to be this. The sap is prepared in the leaf
and enters the distributing vessels of the plant. It is conveyed to
every organ; each part, receiving its portion, _modifies it by a
farther chemical action peculiar to itself_. Thus in the case of an
apple-tree. The elaborated sap which goes to the leaf, the alburnum,
the liber, the blossom, the fruit is the same in all; but the fruit
gives it a still further elaboration, by which it imparts the peculiar
properties belonging to it, in distinction from the tissues; so of the
bark, the blossom, etc. If, then, the seed-vessels are removed, so
much less elaborated sap is consumed as they would have required; and
this, or at least, portions of it, are given to the other parts of the
vegetable economy.



BLADING AND TOPPING CORN.


No one performs these operations for the benefit of the ear, but to
obtain fodder, and it is then justified on the ground that the corn is
not harmed by it. The sap drawn from the root does not flow straight
up into the ear and kernel, but into the _leaves_ or blades. The
carbonic acid of the crude sap is decomposed, oxygen is given off and
carbon remains in the form of starch, sugar, gum, etc., etc.,
according to the nature of the plant. When sap has by exposure to
light undergone this change it is said to be _elaborated_.

It is only now that the sap, passing from the upper side of the leaf
to a set of vessels in the under side, is reconveyed to the stem,
begins to descend, and is distributed to various parts of the plant,
affording nourishment to all. But when the fruit of every plant is
maturing, it draws to itself a large part of the prepared sap, which,
when it has entered the kernel, is still farther elaborated, and made
to produce the peculiar qualities of the fruit, whether corn or wheat,
apple or pear. It is plain from this explanation that a plant stripped
of its leaves is like a chemist robbed of his laboratory, or like a
man without lungs.

If corn is needed for fodder, let it be cut close to the ground when
the corn has glazed. The grain will go on ripening and be as heavy and
as good as if left to stand, and the stalk will afford excellent food
for cattle. Sheep are fond of corn thus cured, and will winter very
well upon it. In husking out the corn, the husk should be left on the
stalk for fodder.



MAPLE-SUGAR.


As most persons who have not informed themselves on the subject,
imagine that we are indebted to cane-sugar for our main supply, and
that maple-sugar is a petty neighborhood matter, not worth the figures
employed to represent it, we propose to spend some space in stating
the truth on this matter. We will exhibit, 1, the amount produced; 2,
the proper way of manufacturing it; 3, the proper treatment of
sugar-tree groves.

We shall confine our statistics to the most important Northern and
Western States.

  1. New York produces annually                  10,048,109 lbs.
  2. Ohio                                         6,363,386  “
  3. Vermont                                      4,647,934  “
  4. Indiana                                      3,727,795  “
  5. Pennsylvania                                 2,265,755  “
  6. New Hampshire                                1,162,368  “
  7. Virginia                                     1,541,833  “
  8. Kentucky                                     1,377,835  “
  9. Michigan                                     1,329,784  “
                                              ---------------
  Total Of nine States                           22,464,799  “

  Residue thus—add for Maine, Massachusetts,
    Connecticut, Maryland, Tennessee, Illinois,
    Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin                  2,030,853  “
                                            ---------------
                                                 24,495,652  “

Something should be subtracted for beet-root and cornstalk-sugar. But
on the other hand, the statistics are so much below the truth on
maple-sugar, that the deficiency may be set off against beet-root and
cornstalk-sugar. That the figures do not more than represent the
amount of _maple-sugar_ produced in these States may be presumed from
one case. Indiana is set down at 3,727,795; but in the four counties
of Washington, Warrick, Posey and Harrison, no account seems to have
been taken of this article. In Marion county, four of the first
sugar-making townships, Warren, Lawrence, Centre and Franklin, are not
reckoned. If we suppose these four townships to average as much as the
others in Marion county, they produced 77,648 lbs., and instead of
putting Marion county down at 97,064 it should be 174,712 lbs. It is
apparent from this case, that in Indiana the estimate is far below the
truth; and if it is half as much so in the other eight States
enumerated,[7] then 22,464,799 is not more than a fair expression of
the _maple-sugar_ alone.

Lousiana is the first sugar-growing State in the Union. Her produce,
by the statistics of 1840, was 119,947,720, or nearly one hundred and
twenty million pounds. The States of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia,
South Carolina and Florida, together, add only 645,281 pounds more.

  Cane-sugar in the United States 120,593,001 lbs.
  Maple  “     “          “        24,495,652  “

Thus about one-sixth of the sugar made annually in the United States
is made from the maple-tree.[8] It is to be remembered too that in
Louisiana it is _the_ staple, while at the North maple-sugar has never
been manufactured with any considerable skill, or regarded as a
regular crop, but only a temporary device of economy. Now it only
needs to be understood that maple-sugar may be made so as to have the
flavor of the best cane-sugar, and that it may, at a trifling expense,
be refined to white sugar, and the manufacture of it will become more
general, more skillful, and may, in a little time, entirely supersede
the necessity of importing cane-sugar. Indiana stands fourth in the
rank of maple-sugar making States. Her annual product is at least
_four million pounds_, which, at six cents the pound amounts to
$160,000 per annum. A little exertion would quickly run up the annual
value of her home-made sugar to half a million dollars.

Maple-sugar now only brings about two-thirds the price of New Orleans.
The fault is in the manufacturing of it. The saccharine principle of
the _cane and tree are exactly the same_. If the same care were
employed in their manufacture they would be indistinguishable; and
maple-sugar would be as salable as New Orleans, and if afforded at a
less price, might supplant it in the market. The average quantity of
sugar consumed in England by each individual is about thirty pounds
per annum.

MAPLE-SUGAR MAKING.—Greater care must be taken in collecting the sap.
Old, and half-decayed wooden-troughs, with a liberal infusion of
leaves, dirt, etc., impart great impurity to the water. Rain-water,
decayed vegetable matter, etc., add _chemical_ ingredients to the sap,
troublesome to extract, and injuring the quality if not removed. The
expense of clean vessels may be a little more, but with care, it could
be more than made up in the quality of the sugar. Many are now using
earthen-crocks. These are cheap, easily cleaned, and every way
desirable, with the single exception of breakage. But if wood-troughs
are used, let them be kept scrupulously clean.

The kettles should be scoured thoroughly before use, and kept
constantly clean. If rusty, or foul, or coated with burnt sugar,
neither the color nor flavor can be perfect. Vinegar and sand have
been used by experienced sugar-makers to scour the kettles with. It is
best to have, at least, three to a range.

All vegetable juices contain _acids_, and acids resist the process of
crystallization.

Dr. J. C. Jackson[9] directs the one-_measured ounce_ (one-fourth of a
gill) of pure lime-water to be added to every gallon of sap. This
neutralizes the acid, and not only facilitates the granulation, but
gives sugar in a free state, now too generally acid and deliquescent,
besides being charged with salts of the oxide of iron, insomuch that
it ordinarily strikes a black color with tea.

The process of making a pure white sugar is simple and unexpensive.
The lime added to the sap, combining with the peculiar acid of the
maple, forms a neutral salt; this salt is found to be easily soluble
in alcohol. Dr. Jackson recommends the following process. Procure
sheet-iron _cones_, with an aperture at the small end or apex—let them
be coated with white-lead and boiled linseed-oil, and thoroughly
dried, so that no part can come off. [We do not know why earthen
cones, unglazed and painted, would not answer equally well, besides
being much cheaper.] Let the sugar be put into these cones, stopping
the hole in the lower end until it is entirely cool. Then remove the
stopper, and pour upon the base a quantity of strong whisky or
fourth-proof rum[10]—allow this to filtrate through until the sugar is
white. When the loaf is dried it will be pure white sugar, with the
exception of the alcohol. To get rid of this, dissolve the sugar in
pure boiling hot-water, and let it evaporate until it is dense enough
to crystallize. Then put it again into the cone-moulds and let it
harden. The dribblets which come away from the cone while the whisky
is draining, may be used for making vinegar. It is sometimes the case
that whisky would, if freely used in a sugar camp, go off in a wrong
direction, benefiting neither the sugar nor the sugar-maker. If, on
this account, any prefer another mode, let them make a _saturated_
solution of loaf-sugar, and pour it in place of the whisky upon the
base of the cones. Although the sugar will not be quite as white, the
drainings will form an excellent molasses, whereas the _drainings_ by
the former method are good only for vinegar.

CARE OF SUGAR ORCHARDS.—It is grievous to witness the waste committed
upon valuable groves of sugar-trees. If the special object was to
destroy them, it could hardly be better reached than by the methods
now employed. The holes are carelessly made, and often the abominable
practice is seen of cutting channels in the tree with an axe. The man
who will murder his trees in this tomahawk and scalping-knife manner,
is just the man that Æsop meant when he made the fable of a fellow who
killed his goose to get at once all the golden eggs. With good care,
and allowing them occasionally a year of rest, a sugar-grove may last
for centuries.

As soon as possible get your sugar-tree grove laid down to grass,
clear out underbrush, thin out timber and useless trees. Trees in open
land make about _six pounds_ of sugar, and forest trees only about
_four_ pounds to the season. As the maple is peculiarly rich in potash
(four-fifths of potash exported is made from sugar-maple), it is
evident that it requires that substance in the soil. Upon this account
we should advise a liberal use of wood-ashes upon the soil of
sugar-groves.

TAPPING TREES.—Two taps are usually enough—never more than three. For
though as many as twenty-four have been inserted at once without
killing the tree, regard ought to be had to the use of the tree
through a long series of years. At first bore about two inches; after
ten or twelve days remove the tap and go one or two inches deeper. By
this method more sap will be obtained than by going down to the
colored wood at first. We state upon the authority of William Tripure,
a Shaker of Canterbury, N. H., that about seven pounds of sugar may be
made from a barrel of twenty gallons, or four pounds the tree for
forest trees; and two men and one boy will tend a thousand trees,
making 4,000 pounds of sugar.

We would recommend the setting of pasture-lands, and road-sides of the
farm with sugar-maple trees. Their growth is rapid, and no tree
combines more valuable properties. It is a beautiful shade-tree, it is
excellent for fuel, it is much used for manufacturing purposes, its
ashes are valuable for potash, and its sap is rich in sugar. There are
twenty-seven species of the maple known, twelve of them are indigenous
to this continent. All of these have a sacharine sap, but only two, to
a degree sufficient for practical purposes, viz., _Acer saccharinum_
or the common sugar-maple, and _Acer nigrum_ or the _black_
sugar-maple. The sap of these contains about half as much sugar as the
juice of the sugar-cane. One gallon of pasture maple sap contains, on
an average, 3,451 grains of sugar; and one gallon of cane juice (in
Jamaica), averages 7,000 grains of sugar.

But the cane is subject to the necessity of annual and careful
cultivation, and its manufacture is comparatively expensive and
difficult. Whereas the maple is a permanent tree, requires no
cultivation, may be raised on the borders of farms without taking up
ground, and its sap is easily convertible into sugar, and if carefully
made, into sugar as good as cane-sugar can be. Add to the above
considerations that the sugar-making period is a time of comparative
leisure with the farmer, and the motives for attention to this subject
of domestic sugar-making seem to be complete.

       *     *     *     *     *

LETTUCE.—Those who wish fine _head_ lettuce should prepare a rich,
mellow bed of light soil; tough and compact soil will not give them
any growth. In transplanting, let there be at least one foot between
each plant. Stir the ground often. If it is very dry weather, water at
evening _copiously_, if you water at all; but the _hoe_ is the only
watering-pot for a garden, if thereby the soil is kept loose and fine.
We have raised heads nearly as large as a drum-head cabbage by this
method, very brittle, sweet and tender withal.


     [7] Dr. J. C. Jackson puts Vermont at 6,000,000 lbs. per
     annum, while the census only gives about 4,000,000.

     [8] The data of these calculations, it must be confessed,
     are _very_ uncertain, and conclusions drawn from them as to
     the relative amounts of sugar produced in different States,
     are to be regarded, at the very best, as problematical. We
     extract the following remarks from an article in the
     _Western Literary Journal_, from the pen of Charles Cist, an
     able statistical writer:

     “It is not my purpose to go into an extended notice of the
     errors in the statistics connected with the census of 1840.
     A few examples will serve to show their character and
     extent. In the article of hemp, Ohio is stated to produce
     9,080 tons, and Indiana 8,605—either equal nearly to the
     product of Kentucky, which is reported at 9,992 tons, and
     almost equal, when united, to Missouri, to which 18,010 tons
     are given as the aggregate. Virginia is stated to raise
     25,594 tons, almost equal to both Kentucky and Missouri,
     which are given as above at 28,002 tons. Now the
     indisputable fact is, that Kentucky and Missouri produce
     more hemp than all the rest of the United States, and ten
     times as much as either Ohio, Indiana, or Virginia, which
     three States are made to raise 50 per centum more than those
     two great hemp-producing States.

     “The sugar of Louisiana is given at 119,947,720 lbs., equal
     to 120,000 hhds., 160 per cent. more than has been published
     in New Orleans, as the highest product of the five
     consecutive years, including and preceding 1840.

     “But what is this to the wholesale figure-dealing which
     returns 3,160,949 tons of hay, as the product of New York
     for that article! a quantity sufficient to winter all the
     horses and mules in the United States.

     “Other errors of great magnitude might be pointed out; such
     as making the tobacco product of Virginia 11,000 hhds., when
     her inspection records show 55,000 hhds., thrown into market
     as the crop of that year. Who believes that 12,233 lbs.
     pitch, rosin and turpentine, or the tenth part of that
     quantity, were manufactured in Louisiana in 1840, or that
     New York produced 10,093,991 lbs. maple-sugar in a single
     year, or twenty such statements equally absurd, which I
     might take from the returns?”

     Mr. Cist will find in the appendix to Dr. Jackson’s Final
     Report on the Geology of New Hampshire, a statement, that
     Vermont makes 6,000,000 pounds of sugar annually. If this be
     so, we may, without extravagance, suppose that New York
     reaches 10,000,000 lbs. So far as we have collateral means
     of judging, the amount of maple-sugar is _under_-stated in
     the census of 1840.

     [9] Appendix to final Report on the Geology and Mineralogy
     of New Hampshire, page 361. This admirable Report is an able
     exposition of the benefit of public State surveys.

     [10] If those who drink whisky would pour it on to the sugar
     in the refining cones, instead of upon sugar in tumblers, it
     would refine _them_ as much as it does the sugar; performing
     two valuable processes at once.



GEOLOGICAL DEFINITIONS.


Many terms, in general use among scientific men, and usually employed
in agricultural works, are obscure to young readers. For their sakes
we will explain some of them; and shall not be angry if _old_ men
profit by the explanation.

SOIL.—The surface-earth, of whatever ingredients it may be composed.
It may be a clay-soil, a sand-soil, a calcareous soil, as the surface
is composed of clay, or sand, or clay strongly mixed with lime, etc.

SUBSOIL.—The earth lying below the ordinary depth to which the plow or
spade penetrate. Sometimes it has hardened by the running of the plow
over it for a series of years; then it is called _pan_, as hard-pan,
clay-pan, etc. It is sometimes of the same nature as the top-soil, as
in clay-lands; in others it is a different earth; as when a coarse
gravel underlies vegetable mold, or when clay lies beneath sandy soil.

SUBSOIL PLOWING.—In ordinary plowing, the share runs from five to
seven inches deep. A plow has been constructed (called subsoil plow),
to follow in the furrow, and break up from six to eight inches
deeper—so that the whole plowing penetrates from ten to sixteen
inches.

SUBSOIL PLOW.—A plow having a narrow “_double share_, or a small share
on each side of the coulter, and no mold-board.” It is designed to
break up and soften the subsoil, but not to bring it up to the top.

MOLD.—A soil in which decayed vegetable matter largely predominates
over _earths_. Thus, leaf-mold is soil _principally_ composed of
rotten leaves; dung-mold, of dung reduced to a fine powdery matter;
heath-mold, a black vegetable soil found in heath-lands; peat-mold,
forest-mold, garden-mold, etc.

LOAM.—Clay, or any of the primitive earths, reduced to a mellow,
friable state by intermixture of _sand_, or vegetable matter, is
called loam. Clay lands well manured with sand, dung, or muck, are
turned, gradually, to a loam.

ARGILLACEOUS.—From the Latin (_argillaceus_,) soil principally
composed of clay.

ALUMINA OR ALUMINE.—Generally employed to signify _pure_ clay. It is,
chemically speaking, a metallic oxide; _aluminium_ is the metallic
_base_, and is an elementary substance.

It is generally known that the _diamond_ is pure carbon (charcoal is
carbon in an impure state), but it is not as generally known that the
_ruby_ and the _sapphire_, “two of the most beautiful gems with which
we are acquainted, are composed almost solely of alumina,” or pure
clay in a crystallized state.

SILICIOUS.—An earth composed largely of silex. _Silex_ or _silica_ is
considered to be a primitive earth constituting flint, and containing
most kinds of sands, and sandstones, etc. China or porcelain, ware is
formed from silica and alumina united, _i. e._ from silicious sand and
clay.

CALCAREOUS.—A soil into the composition of which lime enters largely.
Limestone lands are calcareous. Pure clay manured freely with marl
becomes calcareous, for marl is, mostly, clay and carbonate of lime.

ALLUVIAL.—Strictly speaking, alluvium or our alluvial soil, is a soil
formed by causes yet in existence. Thus a bottom-land is formed by the
wash of a river. It is usually a mixture of decayed vegetable matter
and sand.

DILUVIAL.—A diluvial soil or deposit is one formed by causes no longer
in existence. Thus a deposit by a deluge is termed _diluvial_. The
word is derived from the Latin (_diluvium_), signifying a deluge.

The terms argillaceous, calcareous, silicious, alluvial and diluvial
are constantly employed in all works which treat of husbandry.

FRIABLE.—A friable soil is one which crumbles easily. Clay is
_adhesive_, or in common language _clammy_: leaf-mold is friable, or
crumbling. Clay becomes friable when, by exposure to air or frost, or
by addition of sand, vegetable matter, etc., it is thoroughly
mellowed.



DRAINING WET LANDS.


Before many years there will be thousands of acres pierced with
drains. But the inducements to it which make it wise in England and
New England do not yet, generally, exist in the West. The expense of
draining one acre would buy two. Many farmers have already more arable
land than they can till to advantage. Land redeemed from slough would
not pay for itself in many years.

But although a general introduction of draining would not be wise,
there are many cases in which, to a limited extent, it should be
practised. Lands lying near to cities are sufficiently valuable, and
the market for farming products sure enough, to justify the reclaiming
of wet pieces of land. On small farms of forty and eighty acres,
surrounded by high-priced lands, not easily procured for enlarging his
farm if the owner should wish it, draining might be employed with
advantage. A man with a _small_ farm can _afford_ expenses for high
cultivation which would break a _large_ farmer.

Some times a large meadow or arable field is marred by a wet slash
through the middle of it; a farmer would not begrudge the labor of
draining for the sake of having his favorite field without a blemish.
Sometimes farms are intersected by wet lands, which make the passage
from one part of the farm to another difficult at all times, and
almost impassable at some seasons of the year. Draining might be
resorted to in such a case, not so much for the sake of the land
reclaimed, as for the convenience of the whole farm.

We know pieces of wet, peaty meadow land lying close by the
farm-house, the only drawback to the beauty of the place. A good
farmer would wish to recover such a spot for the same reason that he
would prefer a handsome house to a homely one—a fine horse over a
coarse-looking animal—a sightly fence, rather than a clumsy one. There
is much strong land—but high, flat, and cold—which is wet through all
the spring, resisting seed till long after other portions of the farm
are at work, and which would, but for this backwardness, be regarded
as the best land. If without great expense, such land could be cured,
few farmers would mind the trouble or labor.

There are three kinds of draining which may be employed according to
circumstances—subsoil-plowing, furrow-draining and ditch-draining.
When a soil is underbound by a compact, impervious _subsoil_, all the
rain or melting snow is retained in the soil until it can _exhale_ and
evaporate. For the subsoil acts like a water-tight floor, or the
bottom of a tub. Subsoil-plowing, by thoroughly working through this
under crust, gives a downward passage to the moisture; water sinks as
it does in sandy loams. Nor will such treatment be less useful to
prevent the injury of summer drought; for the depth of soil affords a
harbor for roots from whence they can draw moisture when the top-soil
is dry as ashes.

But there is a limit put to this treatment by the amount of clay
contained in the subsoil. It has been experimentally ascertained in
England, that when the soil contains as high as forty-three per cent
of alumina (clay) sub-soil-plowing is useless, because the clay soon
_coalesces_ and is as impervious as ever. In such cases, if the land
has a slight inclination in any direction, furrow-draining may, in
some measure, relieve it. The ground is marked out in lands as for
sowing grain and plowed with back-furrows, throwing the earth toward
the centre. The rain and snow will run to either side, and flow off by
the channels left between each strip. This treatment does not relieve
the land, to any great extent, of water contained in it, but acts as a
preventive, by carrying off the rain and snow before they are absorbed.



O DEAR! SHALL WE EVER BE DONE LYING?


An honest old gentleman, in telling us his troubles, gave great
prominence to the necessity he was frequently under of disappointing
his customers, whose work could not be finished as soon as he had
promised. After explaining the difficulty, he looked up with great
earnestness, and exclaimed, “_O dear! shall we ever be done with this
lying?_”

We have often wondered ourselves whether such a consummation would
ever take place. “Your boots shall be done on Saturday night without
fail.” Nevertheless, you have to go to church with gaping shoes for
want of them. “Your coat shall be sent home by nine o’clock on
Saturday night;” and you get it, in fact, the Wednesday after. “Will
you lend me your wheel-barrow? I will return it to-night.” You wait
for it till next week, and then _send_ for it. My carpenter solemnly
agreed to finish my house by November; but it was July before I could
get the key. My wood was to be split on Saturday afternoon—enough for
the Sabbath; so it was—but I had to do it. My money was to be paid me
the next week; and then, _next_ week; and then, NEXT week—and _then_,
as soon as he could get it; he did get it and spent it; and then it
should be paid when he got it again—he got it again, and paid another
debt because the man treated him more savagely than I would. The
strength laid out in running for this money, if it had been
economically applied to labor, would, nearly, have _earned_ the whole
debt. The fellow never paid me at last; but Death came along, and he
paid him promptly. “O dear! shall we ever get done with this lying?”
It is one of the few domestic manufactures which need no protection,
and flourishes without benefit either to the producer or consumer.



CARE OF STOCK IN WINTER.


Perhaps no better sign of careful husbandry can be found than in the
attention paid to brute animals. We always expect a thriftless fellow
to neglect and abuse his stock. When we see them well cared for, we
always judge the owner to be a good farmer. Cattle ranging out often
have had good picking, and if partly fed at the rack, will come out in
the spring well-conditioned. Where hay and grain are a drug, we
suppose that all cautions about wasting them will be laughed at.
_Care_ and _economy_ are not the peculiar features of western farming;
profusion and easiness are the more characteristic. But there are some
points of attention to which every farmer should give heed.

CLEANING THE STABLE.—When cattle lie out, this trouble is saved in
their case. But it is almost universally the practice to let the
manure accumulate in stables for horses from autumn to spring, and
sometimes from year to year, until its quantity compels its removal.
This is all well enough for the sake of the manure—it is sheltered,
and its strength preserved. But it is at the expense of the horse. The
concentrated effluvia is bad; and lying down upon manure, night after
night, causes the skin to break out in blotches; and sometimes the
whole ham is affected so much that the hair comes off, and the skin is
inflamed and covered with running sores. The ammonia of urine (which
abounds in horse manure), is caustic, and acts upon the skin like a
blister upon the human flesh. If Providence had ordained that a sore
should break out on the owner, for every one on his stock occasioned
by his negligence, animals would have a much better time than they now
do.

COWS WITH CALF.—Especial attention should be paid to these. As they
grow heavy, toward spring, they should not be chased by horses or
dogs, or beaten by unmannerly boys and men. Their food should be
abundant and nutritious. A cow brought to calving in spring in a very
thin and lean condition will not recover through the whole summer, no
matter how carefully tended. The cow, the calf, and your own profit in
both, require that you should bring your cows to the spring in
first-rate condition. If you have _roots_, feed them; but if not, give
a slop of shorts, meal, and flax-seed cake. This last ingredient is
eminently serviceable in laying on flesh.

MILKING COWS.—Let them be milked regularly without regard to weather.
A careless girl will, if not watched, milk irregularly, and what is
worse, leave the cow _unstript_. The morning work presses, or the cold
pinches, or she is in haste, at night, to go a visiting, or some one
of a hundred other reasons tempt her to milk out the full flow, and
leave the strippings. A cow so abused will be injured, in a short
time, so much, that all the care in the world will not bring her back
again.

See that stock are treated with gentleness and patience. It is a shame
to abuse a kind and docile animal, and it is useless to thrash those
that are not so. In either case, kindness is the best policy. A man
who is brutal to cattle is more of a beast than they are. We have seen
many a man who, if he had two more legs, would not fetch the price of
a stock-hog.



DEEP PLANTING.


We saw recently a potato which grew at the depth of _twenty-five feet_
below the surface of the earth. This is an extraordinary depth. Few
things planted at that depth would vegetate. The fact in this case is
unquestionable. The top was terminated by a cluster of _blossoms_, and
the potatoes were of the size of small hickory-nuts.

P. S. Another fact, which like to have been omitted in this account,
is, that it grew at the bottom of an _open well_.



CORN AND MILLET FOR FODDER.


The practice of sowing grains for fodder has been practised with great
success. MILLET is sown in May, June, or July, at the rate of three
pecks of seed to the acre. It is, usually, ready for the scythe in
about ninety days. Thick sowing is best. Cut when the grain is fairly
out of the milk, and cure it like hay. Four tons is a fair yield—two
tons is a small crop.

INDIAN CORN should be sown broadcast at the rate of four to five
bushels to the acre. Corn belongs to the tribe of _grasses_.
Cultivating it for the grain, in rows, with every stimulant of air,
light, and manure, develops the stalk almost to a tree form. When sown
for fodder, the object should be to produce it, as nearly as possible,
like a _grass_. Thick sowing will tend to do it, and each stalk being
small and tender, the crop will be easily masticated by cattle. By
good management six or eight tons may be cut to the acre—cutting twice
in the season. The first mowing should be about the period of
_silking_. The next, whenever the shoots have grown again to a proper
size. If but one mowing is intended, it should be permitted to stand a
week or two later than when two crops are to be taken. For, all plants
prepare the most of nutritious juices at the period of their
_fruiting_. Indian corn is the richest in saccharine matter at about
the time its grain is turning from a milky to a mealy state. Cattle
will eat either of the above grains, treated like a grass crop, with
great avidity; and every one knows that it is desirable to give them a
_change_ of food through the winter.



SEED SAVING.


The seeds of cucumber, melon, etc., are better, at any rate, when four
of five years old than when fresh; and we have well authenticated
instances of seeds retaining their vitality much longer than this.
There is _no_ fixed period during which seeds will keep. There is no
reason to suppose that they would lose their vitality in any
assignable number of years _if the proper conditions were observed_.
De Candolle says that M. Gerardin raised kidney beans, obtained from
Tournefort’s herbarium, which were at least a hundred years old; but
beans left to the chances of the atmosphere are not good the second
year, and hardly worth planting in the third. Professor Lindley raised
raspberry plants from seed not less than sixteen or seventeen hundred
years old. Multitudes of other instances might be given. In reply to
the first question, it may, then, be said, that the length of time
through which seeds will keep depends upon the method of preserving
them.

We do not suppose it to be essential to inclose apple, pear, and
quince seeds in earth for the purpose of preserving their vitality
during a single winter. But if exposed to the air, the rind becomes so
hard and rigid as to make germination very difficult from mere
mechanical reasons. The moisture of the soil keeps the covering in a
tender state, and it is easily ruptured by the expansion of the seed.

The shell of peach, plum, and other stone-fruit seeds would form, if
left to dry and harden, a yet more hopeless prison. If kept for two
years, the most stone-fruit pips, it is to be presumed, would not
germinate. Some, however, would have vigor enough to grow even then.
We have forgotten who it was, but believe it to have been a reliable
person, recently mentioned the fact, that a peach or apricot stone was
for several years kept as a child’s play-thing; but upon being
planted, grew, and is now a healthy tree. Such cases are, however,
rare.

The intercourse between Great Britain and her distant colonies, and
the various expeditions fitted out from her shores for purposes of
botanical research and for the acquisition of new plants from distant
regions, have made the subject of seed-saving at sea a matter of much
experiment.

In general, the conditions of preservation are three; a low
temperature, dryness, and exclusion of air. But it often happens, that
all these cannot be had, and then a choice must be made between them.
Heat and moisture will either germinate the seeds or corrupt them. In
long voyages, and in warm regions, _moisture contained in the seed_,
if in a close bottle, is sufficient to destroy the seed. Glass bottles
have therefore been rejected. Seeds for long voyages, or for long
preservation, are thoroughly ripened and thoroughly dried; but dried
without raising the _temperature_ of the air, as this would impair
their vitality. They are then wrapped in coarse paper, and put,
loosely, in a coarse canvas bag, and hung up in a cool and airy place.
In this way seeds will be as nearly secure from heat and
moisture—their two worst enemies—as may be. It is probable that some
seeds have but a short period of vitality under any circumstances of
preservation. Seeds containing much oil, are peculiarly liable to
spoil. Lindley suggests that the oil becomes rancid.

The preservation of seeds from one season to another, for home use, is
not difficult, and may be described in three sentences: ripen them
well, dry them thoroughly, and keep them aired and cool.



RHUBARB.


Rhubarb or _pie-plant_ is becoming as indispensable to the garden as
corn, or potatoes, or tomatoes. No family should be without it. It
comes in after winter apples are gone and before green apples come in
again for tarts. By a little attention it may be had from the last of
March through the whole summer. Indeed, it may be had through the
whole year. The root contains within itself all the nourishment
required to develop the leaves and stalks at first, without any other
aid than warmth and moisture. If then it be lifted late in the fall or
during open weather in winter, and put in large pots, nail kegs,
boxes, etc., put in a warm room, or cellar, it will soon send up a
supply of leaves. It is not even necessary that there should be much
light, for the want of it only makes the stem whiter and of a milder
acid. The roots thus used may either be thrown away, or set out again
and not used until they have recovered, which will be in about one
summer.

For early spring use, select a warm spot in the garden, and late in
the fall dig in around your roots a good supply of rotten manure.
Cover them with coarse manure, straw, or litter. As soon as the frost
comes out of the ground, knock out the ends of a barrel and put one
over each plant from which you propose to gain an early supply. Put a
quantity of coarse manure around the outside of the barrel to maintain
the warmth, and, in cold nights and during cold rains, lay a board
over the open top. Thus treated, you may have tarts in March. But the
main supply of this wholesome plant is to arise from open cultivation.
The roots may be gained from seed or from division of old roots.
Eastern writers recommend sowing the seed in autumn; but in the West
spring sowings have vegetated much better than an autumnal planting.
In April sow the seed in deep mellow and rich beds. Keep the plants
free from weeds and in a growing state during the summer. They may
require a little shading during the hottest days of summer. The next
spring we transplant them to a trial-bed; for, it is to be remembered,
that the seed does not necessarily give a plant like its parent. Let
them be set two feet apart every way, and during the season it can be
seen which are the largest and best; these are to be raised in the
fall, divided and transplanted, and the rest thrown away. Out of a
hundred plants, not more than two or three may be worth keeping. In
the spring of 1842 we planted seed obtained in New York, for the
Victoria Rhubarb (a new kind), which had been imported but a few
months. Of fifty plants only three proved worth keeping—one of these
for its earliness and the others for size.

When you have secured roots from which you wish to form a bed for your
main supply, divide them either in the fall or spring into as many
pieces as there are buds on the crown, each piece having, of course, a
bud. The smallest slice of root will live, although a large portion is
preferable. Do not be too timid in dividing; the plant is exceedingly
tenacious of life—it can hardly be killed. We have had roots lying in
the open air for weeks, and when replanted growing with undiminished
vigor. Every one who has, for a single season, tended a garden, knows
what _dock_ is, and how tenacious of life, so much so, as to make it
quite a trouble. The rhubarb is a full-blooded vegetable brother,
belonging to the same family of plants.

This plant thrives most luxuriantly in a rich, sandy loam; the earth
should be spaded and mellowed to at least twenty inches depth. We
prepare ground for it as follows: Mark out the row with a line, throw
out the top earth on one side; throw out a full spade depth of subsoil
upon the other side. Throw back the top dirt, mixing it freely with
well rotted manure. Now put in the soil which was taken from the
bottom of the trench; as this is comparatively poor—mix it largely
with manure. We make rows four feet apart, and set the plants three
feet apart in the row. Very little care is needed in after
cultivation. The large leaves will shade the ground and check weeds. A
good supply of fresh manure, well dug in once a year, will keep the
plants in heart and health for a long time.



PEAS.


Peas should be planted among the earliest of seeds. They are a hardy
vegetable, and will bear severe frosts in the spring without injury. A
light, sandy soil is the best. If manured, let only the most
thoroughly rotted be used. Two sorts of peas are sufficient for all
ordinary purposes—one early kind, and one for the later and main
supply. The number of kinds advertised by seedsmen is very great, and
every year adds to the new varieties. Many of them are of little
value, and many, hitherto esteemed, are supplanted by better ones. The
Early Warwick and Cedo Nulli are fine early peas, unsurpassed till the
Prince Albert appeared. This is now esteemed the earliest of peas,
ripening at Boston in fifty-three days from the time of sowing, and in
England in forty-two days. We hope to be able, soon, to have this
variety for distribution. Early peas are seldom of high flavor; none
that we ever raised are comparable to the larger and later peas, and
it is, therefore, except for market purposes, not desirable to plant
very largely of early sorts.

Of late peas we have, after trying many sorts, fallen back upon the
old-fashioned _Marrowfat_, and now raise it exclusively. It will be
fit for the table in from seventy to eighty days after planting.
_Knight’s tall marrowfat_ is recommended in Hovey’s Magazine (a
standard authority), as of “delicious quality and producing throughout
the whole season.” We have never had an opportunity of proving it.

We prefer _buying_ our seed to _raising_ it. In this region the
pea-bug pierces every seed-pea, and, although the germ is not usually
destroyed by this depredator, the seed is weakened, and the certainty
of growth very much diminished. If one _must_ plant buggy peas, let
them have _scalding_ water poured upon them and turned off again
immediately. The bug will be destroyed and the pea not injured.

When peas are up they require but one or two hoeings, as they soon
shade the ground so as to prevent weeds from growing. They should be
well supplied with brush, strongly set in the ground. When peas are
allowed to fall over, they become mildewed and rot. This also happens
when the rows are planted so near together as to prevent free
circulation of air.

When large quantities of peas are desired they should be sown
broad-cast, at the rate of about three bushels to the acre—more rather
than less. It leaves the land in fine tilth, smothering all weeds.
Thirty bushels to the acre is a fair crop; but eighty-four, and
eighty-eight, have been taken.

       *     *     *     *     *

AUTUMN-PLANTED ONIONS.—Onions for seed should be planted in October;
and, like their more brilliant, but less perfumed, friends of the
tulip and hyacinth connections, they will thoroughly root themselves
during the autumn and mild winter weather, and be ready for early
work, the moment the frost rises from the ground.



PLANT SHADE-TREES.


We would suggest to the editors of newspapers the propriety of
establishing in their columns a permanent agricultural department. We
are much pleased to see that many excellent papers are doing it, and
that others insert occasional articles. Great advantage cannot fail to
accrue to our town and rural population by putting into their hands
every week, able articles from practical farmers and gardeners upon
the various topics of agriculture and horticulture. Let every paper
urge the setting out of shade-trees in our villages. It is greatly to
be desired, that all our towns should be filled with elms, maples,
ashes, locusts, etc. The cultivation of fruit may be much encouraged
and promoted by a frequent republication of articles on that subject.
The gardens and conservatories of a few very wealthy gentlemen do not
constitute a horticultural community. They are of great use in the
procuration and cultivation of new varieties of plants, and in testing
important matters by expensive experiments. But affluent men and their
pleasure grounds are to horticulture, what universities are to common
schools; that State is best educated whose _whole_ population are the
most thoroughly trained; and that is _the_ horticultural State, _all_
of whose villages, towns, farms, and gardens, are in the highest state
of cultivation.

Our desire is to diffuse a love for rural affairs, husbandry, and
horticulture among the whole mass of the community.

       *     *     *     *     *

WEEDS IN ALLEYS.—It is said that weeds may be entirely destroyed for
years by copious watering with a solution of lime and sulphur in
boiling-hot water. This, if effectual, will be highly important to
such as have garden gravel walks, pavements, etc., through which grass
and weeds grow up.



HOT-BEDS.


After a little practice any one can make and manage a simple hot-bed.
For a common family one twelve by four feet will be large enough, and
nine by four will answer for a small family. _Frame._—The frame should
be made of two-inch stuff (pine or poplar). The back must be as high
again as the front, in order to give the right inclination to the
sash. The ends should be nailed fast to corner posts, say four inches
square. The back and front are to be attached to those parts by iron
bolts, which may be screwed or unscrewed at pleasure. The frame may be
taken to pieces, if so made, and put away during the season it is not
in use. A frame twelve by four, will take four sash of three feet
wide, the other sized frame will take three sash. Where the sash meet,
a piece of wood three inches broad and two thick, should be let in
from back to front, for the sash to run upon, and it may be allowed to
extend back for two feet beyond the body of the frame. Three coats of
paint should be put on the outside and inside of the frame, and then,
with good care, it will last twenty years. Mark out the ground six
inches larger every way than your frame. Dig it out a foot deep. Take
fresh, strong horse-dung. Shake it up and mix it thoroughly. Lay it
into the bed evenly, beating it down with the back of the fork, _but
never treading it_. Raise the bed three feet above the surface, making
the thickness in all four feet. In a week’s time this will have
settled six or eight inches. We have for the sake of a gentler and
longer continued heat, laid alternate layers of manure and _tan-bark_,
and thus far it has done well with us. Put on the frame and sash and
let it stand till the heat begins to raise, which will be two or three
days. Then raise the sash to let the steam pass off. In about four
days take off the frame, put on about six inches of light, good soil,
evenly, all over the bed; replace the frame, and in a day thereafter
it will be ready for seed.

Cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, egg plants, peppers, celery,
cucumbers, lettuce, together with savory herbs, as sweet marjoram,
sweet basil, thyme, sage, lavender, etc., etc. may be sown in drills
in the soil prepared as above.

It is difficult to give, on paper, the directions for the care of the
bed. The greatest dangers of all, are that of _burning_ the plants by
excessive heat, or of damping them off, by too little air. These evils
must be guarded against by the admission of as much air as possible.
In mild days let the sash be partly open all day, and in very cold
days, endeavor to procure a half hour even, at mid-day, for raising
the sash and airing the plants. As they grow up, if crowded, they
should be thinned out, so as not to run up spindling.



ORIGINAL RECIPES.


When we say _original_, we don’t mean that no one ever employed the
same recipes, but only this, that we have obtained them, not from
books, but from good and skillful housewives.

EPICURE’S CORN BREAD.—Upon two quarts of sifted corn-meal, pour just
enough boiling water to scald it thoroughly; if too much water is used
it will be heavy. Stir it thoroughly, let it get cold; then rub in a
piece of butter as large as a hen’s egg, together with two
teaspoonfuls of fine salt; beat four eggs thoroughly, and they will be
all the better if the whites and yolks are beaten separately, add them
to the meal and mix thoroughly. Next, add a pint of sour cream, or
butter-milk, or sour milk (which stand in the order of their value).
Dissolve two teapoonfuls of saleratus in hot water, and stir it in.
Put it in buttered pans and bake it.

In winter, it may be mixed over night and in that case, the eggs and
saleratus should not be put in until morning. When ready for the oven,
the mixture ought to be about as thin as good _mush_, and if not, more
cream should be added.

If you are not an epicure already, you will be in danger of becoming
one, if you eat much of this corn cake—_provided it is well made_.

SUGAR GINGER-BREAD.—To three-quarters of a pound of butter and not
quite a pint of finely rolled brown sugar, add a great spoonful of
ginger, and a little cinnamon and nutmeg; beat these up to a foam;
beat four eggs thoroughly and add and mix well, with the butter and
sugar. Add a teacup of rich cream, a great spoonful of saleratus
dissolved in hot water. Stir in sifted flour as long as it can be
worked. Pound and knead the dough very thoroughly. Roll out quite
thin, cut into small cakes, bake in a quick oven. They will be hard,
but tender and crisp.

HOOSIER BISCUIT.—Add a teaspoonful of salt to a pint of new milk, warm
from the cow. Stir in flour until it becomes a stiff batter; add two
great spoonfuls of lively brewer’s yeast; put it in a warm place and
let it rise just as much as it will. When well raised, stir in a
teaspoonful of saleratus dissolved in hot water. Beat up three eggs
(two will answer), stir with the batter, and add flour until it
becomes tolerable stiff dough; knead it thoroughly, set it by the fire
until it begins to rise, then roll out, cut to biscuit form, put in
pans, cover it over with a thick cloth, set by the fire until it rises
again, then bake in a quick oven. If well made, no directions will be
needed for eating.

As all families are not provided with scales and weights, referring to
the ingredients generally used in cakes and pastry, we subjoin a list
of weights and measures.


  WEIGHT AND MEASURE.

  Wheat flour              one pound              is one quart.
  Indian meal              one pound two ounces,  is one quart.
  Butter, when soft        one pound one ounce,   is one quart.
  Loaf-sugar, broken,      one pound              is one quart.
  White sugar, powdered,   one pound one ounce,   is one quart.
  Best brown sugar         one pound two ounces,  is one quart.
  Eggs                     ten eggs              are one pound.


  LIQUID MEASURE.

  Sixteen large tablespoonfuls   are                half a pint
  Eight large tablespoonfuls     are                one gill.
  Four large tablespoonfuls      are                half a gill.
  A common sized tumber holds                       half a pint.
  A common sized wine glass holds                   half a gill.

Allowing for accidental differences in the quality, freshness,
dryness, and moisture of the articles, we believe this comparison
between weight and measure to be as nearly correct as possible.



COOKING VEGETABLES.


While we believe meat to be necessary to laboring men, we are equally
sure that it is used to excess; for persons of a sedentary habit,
vegetable diet is supposed to be much more wholesome, because much
less stimulating than meat. Whatever shall make vegetables more
relishful will extend their popular use, and therefore any _simple_
recipe for cooking them is a public good. The following are taken
fresh from the kitchen, and we will vouch for their being good,
although there may be other ways still better.

1. GREENS.—The articles employed for greens are numerous; we merely
mention the following:—sprouts of turnip and cabbage, dandelions,
lamb’s quarters, red-rooted plantain, cowslip, wild pepper-grass,
purslain, young beet-tops, lettuce, and spinage—the best of all
greens.

In gathering plantain, care must be taken to select _only_ the
red-rooted, the white being thought poisonous. With the exception of
spinage, all these should be boiled in salted water, or in water with
a piece of salt pork, for half an hour, then taken out, drained, and
served up with butter gravy.

Spinage is boiled, as above, for half an hour, then taken out,
thoroughly drained, put into a skillet with cream, butter and pepper,
and if need be, a little more salt. Place it over the fire and stir it
up with a knife all the time it simmers, until it becomes a paste.
About five minutes are enough for this last process—then dish and
serve it.

2. ASPARAGUS.—Asparagus should never be cut _below the surface of the
ground_, although books and papers, almost universally, direct to the
contrary. The white part of the stem is always tough and inedible. Let
it spring up about six or eight inches and then cut it _at_ the
surface of the ground. Lay it in the pan or kettle in which it is to
be cooked, and sprinkle salt over it. Pour boiling water over it,
until it is just covered; boil from fifteen to twenty-five minutes,
according to the age of the asparagus. Have two or three nicely
toasted slices of bread in the dish which is to go to the table; lay
the asparagus upon the toast, putting first sweet butter and pepper
upon it according to your taste; lastly pour over it the liquor in
which it was boiled. Many throw away the water in which it was cooked
and substitute cream and butter, but thereby the finest flavor of the
vegetable is thrown away and lost.

3. BEETS.—While young, beets may be boiled tops and all; as the tops
get tough the root alone is boiled in salted water until tender, viz.
from three-quarters of an hour to an hour and a half; according to the
size of the beet. Quarter or slice them if large, and add fresh sweet
butter and pepper.

4. PEAS.—No vegetable depends more for its excellence upon good
cooking than peas. Have them freshly gathered and shelled, _but never
wash them_. If they are not perfectly clean, roll them in a dry cloth;
but even this is seldom required, and then only through carelessness.
Pour them dry into the cooking dish, and put as much salt over them as
is required, then pour on boiling water enough to cover them; boil
them fifteen minutes if they are young; no pea is fit to cook which
requires more than half an hour’s boiling. When done, put to a quart
of peas three great tablespoonfuls of butter, and pepper to your
taste. Put all the water to them in which they were boiled. The great
mistakes in cooking peas are in cooking too long, and in deluging them
with water.

STRING or SNAP beans are cooked like peas, only they require longer
boiling.

5. CORN should be boiled in salted water from twenty to thirty
minutes, according to its age; if boiled longer it becomes hard and
loses its flavor. We have given in the _Western Farmer and Gardener_,
p. 231, a recipe for corn and beans, but as all may not see that
periodical, we extract the substance of it.

We give directions for a mess sufficient for a family of six or seven.

To about half a pound of salt pork put three quarts of cold water; let
it boil. Now cut off three quarts of green corn from the cobs, set the
corn aside and put _the cobs_ to boil with the pork, as they will add
much to the richness of the mixture. When the pork has boiled, say
half an hour, remove the cobs and put in one quart of freshly-gathered,
green, shelled beans; boil again for fifteen minutes; then add the
three quarts of corn and let it boil another fifteen minutes. Now turn
the whole out into a dish, add five or six large spoonfuls of butter,
season it with pepper to your taste, and with salt also, if the salt
of the pork has not proved sufficient. If the liquor has boiled away,
it will be necessary to add a little more to it before taking it away
from the fire, as this is an essential part of the affair.

6. SALSIFY OR OYSTER-PLANT.—This vegetable is raised exactly as are
carrots and parsnips. Like the latter—they require a little frosting
before their flavor is fully developed.

They should be scraped and washed (but _not_ soaked in vinegar, as
English cooks direct, to extract a bitter taste, which they do _not_
contain), and sliced; sprinkle enough salt upon them to season them,
pour on just enough boiling water to cover them; boil till perfectly
tender, which will be, say fifteen minutes. Put butter and pepper to
them; stir up a little flour in cream to make a thin paste and pour in
enough to thicken a little the water in which they were boiled. Dish
with or without toasted bread, as may suit the taste.

7. TOMATOES.—The recipe which we gave in the _Farmer and Gardener_ has
been universally copied, and, we believe, has beguiled thousands to
the love of tomatoes. It has been introduced to cook-books under the
name of “Indiana Recipe for Cooking Tomatoes.”

8. ONIONS should be boiled for half an hour in salted water, then
drained, put into sweet milk, boiled again for five or ten minutes,
seasoned with butter, pepper and salt, and served up.

9. PIE-PLANT.—This important vegetable—among the earliest, the most
wholesome, and of the easiest culture—should be found in every garden,
and served up on every table during the spring and early summer. To
prepare it for use, strip off the skin, slice it thin, put into a dish
with a few spoonfuls of boiling water, just enough to keep from
sticking, for its own juice will afford liquid enough after it is
cooked. Boil until it is perfectly tender, stirring it constantly. If
the plant is good and the fire quick, it ought to be boiled in five
minutes. Stir in all the sugar needed while it is in a scalding state.
A little nutmeg or lemon peel, put in while it is hot, improves the
flavor. When cool, it may be used for tarts, or pies, with or without
upper crust; it also makes a better _apple_-sauce than apples do
themselves.

10. EGG-PLANT.—Boil in salted water a few minutes; cut slices, put a
little salt between each slice, and let them lie for half an hour.
Then fry them in butter or lard until they are brown.

11. CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI.—The only difference between these, so
far as the cook is concerned, is in color. Take off the outside leaves
and soak them for an hour in salted water. Pour boiling water to them
and boil for about twenty minutes. Serve them up with butter and
pepper. The Savoy cabbages are next in delicacy of flavor to the
cauliflower, and may be cooked in the same way.



FARMERS, TAKE A HINT.


It is very surprising to see how slow men are to take a hint. The
frost destroys about half the bloom on the fruit-trees; everybody
prognosticates the loss of fruit; instead of that, the _half_ that
remains is larger, fairer, and higher flavored than usual; and the
trees instead of being exhausted, are ready for another crop the next
year. Why don’t the owner _take the hint_ and thin out his fruit every
bearing year? But no; the next season sees his orchard overloaded,
fruit small, and not well formed; yet he always _boasts_ of that
first-mentioned crop without profiting by the lesson it teaches.

We heard a man saying, “the best crop of celery I ever saw, was raised
by old John ——, on a spot of ground where the wash from the barn-yard
ran into it after every hard shower.” Did he take the hint, and convey
such liquid manure in trenches to his garden? Not at all; he bragged
about that wonderful crop of celery, but would not take the hint.

We knew a case where a farmer subsoiled a field and raised crops in
consequence which were the admiration of the neighborhood; and for
years the field showed the advantage of deep handling. But we could
not learn that a single farmer in the neighborhood took the hint. The
man who acted thus wisely, sold his farm and his successor pursued the
old way of surface-scratching.

A stanch farmer complained to us of his soil as too loose and light;
we mentioned ashes as worth trying; “well, now you mention it, I
believe it will do good. I bought a part of my farm from a man who was
a wonderful fellow to save up ashes, and around his cabin it lay in
heaps. I took away the house and ordered the ashes to be scattered,
and to this day I notice that when the plow runs along through that
spot, the ground turns up moist and close-grained.” It is strange that
he never took the hint! There are thousands of bushels of ashes lying
not far from his farm about an old soap and candle factory with which
he might have dressed his whole farm.

A farmer gets a splendid crop of corn or grain from off a grass or
clover lay. Does he take the hint? Does he adopt the system which
shall allow him every year just such a sward to put his grain on? No,
he hates book-farming, and scientific farming, and “this notion of
rotation;” and jogs on the old way.

A few years ago our farmers got roundly into debt; and they have
worried and sweat under it, till some of them have grown greyer, and
added not a few wrinkles to their face. Do they take the hint? Are
they not pitching into debt again?

A few years ago _mules_ commanded a high price; everybody raised mules
forthwith; the market of course was glutted; the price fell; everybody
quit the business; markets became empty and the price rose; a few men
who had stuck to the business pushed in their droves and made money;
and now everybody is raising mules again. The same game is played
every four or five years with pork; men make when pork is scarce, but
few farmers have stock on hand. They instantly rush into the business,
flood the country with hogs and get almost nothing for them. Why don’t
men take the hint? _A moderate stock all the time_, makes more money
than that system which has none when the price is high and too many
when the price is low.

Because one year, the wheat crop has been very large and fine, and the
price low, not half so much will be put in another year. Those who are
wise, foreseeing this fact and sowing largely, will, if the season
favors wheat, reap a handsome profit.

Auctioneers tell us that a “wink is as good as a word.” We give both,
and hope our readers will _take the hint_.



MIXING PAINT, AND LAYING IT ON.


It is convenient, and oftentimes, on the score of economy, necessary
for persons (who have not been apprenticed to the trade), to do their
own painting. To enable such to practise with success, we propose
giving a few hints.


RESPECTING THE ARTICLES USED.


WHITE LEAD.—This is extensively manufactured in all of our principal
cities. Low priced leads are always adulterated by _chalk_, or, as it
is called in its prepared state, _whiting_. It is sometimes so largely
mixed with this, as to be worthless, and every one has observed
houses, painted for a year or so, from which the paint rubs off like
whitewash, in consequence of the use of adulterated lead. The poorest
lead is sold _without any brand_. The common article is branded as No.
1, with the maker’s name. The best article is branded with the maker’s
name, as PURE, or SUPERIOR. It is the best economy always to use the
pure lead.

OIL.—Linseed oil is that usually employed in painting. It contains a
large amount of fatty substance and of other impurity, which should be
separated from it before it is used. _This is to be done by boiling._
For outside work, the oil should _always be boiled_, no matter what
the painter says about it. Great care should be taken in doing this.
Let the kettle be set out of doors, the heat be increased gradually,
but never enough to produce violent boiling, as the oil will expand,
run over, and take fire, when nothing can save it, or the house
either, oftentimes, if you have been foolish enough to do it within
doors. As fast as impurities rise to the surface, skim them off—when
the oil has a clear look, slack off the fire and let the oil cool;
carefully turn off the clear portion, leaving the _sediment_
undisturbed.

DRYERS.—Substances used to make paint dry quickly are called _Dryers_.
For light work sugar of lead is the best; for colored paint, litharge
and red lead are employed. Spirits of turpentine is used for the same
purpose. Litharge and red lead are usually boiled in with the oil at
the rate of about a quarter of a pound of litharge to a gallon of oil.

MIXING AND LAYING ON.—Paint is purchased in kegs, containing
twenty-five pounds of lead ground in oil, and ready for mixing. The
kegs themselves make excellent paint-pots. The lead is to be mixed
according to the work to be done. If paint is laid on in heavy coats
it will crack and peel off. If several thin coats are successively
laid on, it forms a solid body. The first coat is called _priming_.
The lead is made quite thin with oil for priming. Before laying it on,
let the work be cleaned, all dust and dirt be removed. The surface is
then covered evenly with paint, and allowed to dry thoroughly.

SECOND COAT.—Let nail-holes, cracks, etc., be filled with putty; for
colored painting, red-lead putty is the best. The paint should be
mixed to the thickness of thin cream, and laid on _evenly_, but not in
too great quantities. In nice work, after this coat has thoroughly
dried, it should be rubbed down with pumice-stone or fine sand-paper.
The third coat is to be laid on as was the second. Three coats, at
least, are required for good painting. Four or five will be still
better.

Paint mixed with boiled oil usually has a glossy appearance. If it is
desired to increase this, small portions of varnish are added. This is
usually confined to outside work.

In cities the glossy surface of paint, is dis-esteemed for inside
work; and instead, a _flatted_ white is laid on. This is produced by
mixing the lead for the last coat with turpentine instead of oil, by
which a dull white is made. Flatted colors are not susceptible of
being cleaned by washing more that once or twice, whereas common paint
will endure washing, if carefully performed, for years. If painting is
_well done_, and the paint is of the best materials, it ought to last
twenty years. But the trash too often daubed upon buildings, does not
last five years.

White will keep its color best for outside work. Some tint is thought
to be more agreeable for inside work. Much judgment is required in
preparing colored or tinted paints; and verbal directions cannot well
be given for it in any moderate space. The usual pigments employed in
making up the tints most in fashion, are for _grey_—white lead,
Prussian blue, ivory black, and lake, or Venetian red; for _pea_ and
_sea greens_—white, Prussian blue, and yellow; for _olive
green_—white, Prussian blue, umber, and yellow ochre; for _fawn
color_—burned terra sienna, umber, and white.

We add two recipes taken from an English work, for a cheap paint for
inside walls.

    “MILK PAINT.—A paint has been used on the Continent with
    success, made from _milk_ and _lime_, that dries quicker than
    oil paint, and has no smell. It is made in the following
    manner: Take fresh curds and bruise the lumps on a
    grinding-stone, or in an earthen pan, or mortar, with a
    spatula or strong spoon. Then put them into a pot with an
    equal quantity of lime, well slacked with water, to make it
    just thick enough to be kneaded. Stir this mixture without
    adding more water, and a white-colored fluid will soon be
    obtained, which will serve as a paint. It may be laid on with
    a brush with as much ease us varnish, and it dries very
    speedily. It must, however, be used the same day it is made,
    for if kept till next day it will be too thick: consequently
    no more must be mixed up at one time than can be laid on in a
    day. If any color be required, any of the ochres, as yellow
    ochre, or red ochre, or umber, may be mixed with it in any
    proportion. Prussian blue would be changed by the lime. Two
    coats of this paint will be sufficient, and when quite dry it
    may be polished with a piece of woollen cloth, or similar
    substance, and it will become as bright as varnish. It will
    only do for inside work; but it will last longer if varnished
    over with white of egg after it has been polished.”

    “_The following recipe for milk paint_ is given in ‘Smith’s
    Art of House Painting:’ Take of skimmed milk nearly two
    quarts; of fresh-slaked lime about six ounces and a half; of
    linseed oil four ounces, and of whiting three pounds; put the
    lime into a stone vessel, and pour upon it a sufficient
    quantity of milk to form a mixture resembling thin cream;
    then add the oil, a little at a time, stirring it with a
    small spatula; the remaining milk is then to be added, and
    lastly the whiting. The milk must on no account be sour.
    Slake the lime by dipping the pieces in water, out of which
    it is to be immediately taken, and left to slake in the air.
    For fine white paint the oil of caraway is best, because
    colorless; but with ochres the commonest oils may be used.
    The oil when mixed with the milk and lime entirely
    disappears, and is totally dissolved by the lime, forming a
    calcareous soap. The whiting or ochre is to be gently
    crumbled on the surface of the fluid, which it gradually
    imbibes, and at last sinks: at this period it must be well
    stirred in. This paint may be colored like distemper or
    size-color, with levigated charcoal, yellow ochre, etc., and
    used in the same manner. The quantity here prescribed is
    sufficient to cover twenty-seven square yards with the first
    coat, and it will cost about three halfpence a yard. The same
    paint will do for outdoor work by the addition of two ounces
    of slaked lime, two ounces of linseed oil, and two ounces of
    white Burgundy pitch: the pitch to be melted in a gentle heat
    with the oil, and then added to the smooth mixture of the
    milk and lime. In cold weather it must be mixed warm, to
    facilitate its incorporation with the milk.”

       *     *     *     *     *

We add several recipes of various convenient kinds of paint to be
employed in particular situations, and for special purposes.

     “_A coating to preserve wood in damp situations_ may be made
     by beating twelve pounds of resin in a mortar, and adding to
     it three pounds of sulphur and twelve pints of whale oil.
     This mixture must then be melted over a fire, and stirred
     well while it is melting. Ochre of any required color,
     ground in oil, may be put to it. This composition must be
     laid on hot, and when the first coat is dry, which will be
     in two or three days, a second coat may be given; and a
     third, if necessary.”

     “_Gas tar_, with yellow ochre, makes a very cheap and
     durable green paint for iron rails and coarse woodwork.”

     “_Composition to lay on a boarded building, to resist the
     weather and likewise fire._—Take one measure of fine sand,
     two measures of wood-ashes well sifted, three of slaked lime
     ground up with oil, and mix them together; lay this on with
     a brush, the first coat thin, the second thick. This adheres
     so strongly to the boards covered with it, that it resists
     an iron tool, and the action of fire, and is impenetrable by
     water.”

     “_A flexible paint for canvas_ is made by stirring into
     fifty-six pounds of common oil paint a solution of soap lye,
     made of half a pound of soap and three pounds of water: it
     must be used while warm.”

     “_A black coloring for garden walls_ may be made by mixing
     quicklime, lampblack, a little copperas, and hot water.”



GARDEN WEEDS.


After hot weather sets in many are naturally inclined to relax their
garden labors; they have eaten their salads, their radishes and peas;
their beans and corn require but little attention, and as for the
rest, it is left to the company of weeds.

WEEDS.—If the garden be thoroughly hoed twice or three times, the
labor of keeping down weeds the rest of the summer will be small. It
is best to go over a compartment first with the hoe, to cut off weeds
and loosen the soil, then with a rake go over it again, levelling and
smoothing the surface, and collecting the weeds into heaps, which
should be wheeled to the manure-corner and left to decay. In raking,
tread backward so that your tracks will be covered by the rake, and
the bed left even.

Among the most vexatious weeds may be mentioned the purslain
(_Portulacca oleracea_), commonly called pussly. It comes in May and
lasts through the summer. One plant bears seed enough for a whole
acre. It is very tenacious of life. The least bit of root sprouts
again, and when rooted up, if a single fibre touches the soil, it
starts off in full vigor. When boiled it furnishes a very palatable
article of “greens.” We go over the ground with a hoe, then rake it
into heaps and wheel it to the barn-yard. Hogs are fond of it, and it
is said to fatten them well. It is somewhat amusing to those who are
vexed at its insuperable intrusiveness and its inevitable vigor, to
hear English garden-books speaking of it as “somewhat tender,” of
raising it on hot-beds, of drilling it in the open garden, of watering
it in dry weather thrice a week, and cutting it carefully so that it
may sprout again! Cut it as you please, gentlemen! rake it into
alleys, let an August sun scorch it, and if there is so much as a
handful of dirt thrown _at it_, no fear but that it will sprout again.
It is a vegetable type of immortality. The Jamestown weed (called
jimpsum), the Spanish needle, lamb’s-quarters, etc., are easily
eradicated for the season by one or two hoeings. The grasses which
infest gardens, spreading into a cultivated ground from the
grass-plat, or brought in with manure, are easily weeded out if
plucked while small; but if left, the long spreading-roots tear up
tender plants along with them.

It is said that if no seeds were brought into the land by wind or
manure, or growth, the stock of weeds might be eradicated in eight
years. But so long as corners and fence edges are reserved as
weed-nurseries, to furnish an annual supply of seed, no one need fear
that gardening will become too easy from want of work.

We know of but two reasons for letting weeds grow to any size. In a
large garden, when all the ground is not to be planted at once, the
reserved portions may be suffered to sprout all the weeds, and when
six or eight inches high, if turned under, they will furnish good
manure. Again, when cut-worms are very numerous, when tomatoes and
cabbages have been set out on a clean compartment, we have lost from a
half to two-thirds of the plants. If the weeds are kept down just
about the hill, and permitted to grow for a few weeks, between the
rows, although it has a very slovenly look, it will save the cabbages,
etc., by giving ample foot to the cut-worm. When the plants grow tough
in the stem the weeds may be lightly spaded in, and the surface
levelled with a rake.



LUCERNE.


This admirable plant is not so well known as it should be. It
resembles a clover, and is used for green food for cattle, for which
it is peculiarly adapted both by its nutriciousness and its endurance
of repeated cuttings. Care must be taken to put it upon the right soil
and it will bear mowing four or five times a year, and will last for
ten years—with care five years more! The soil for it is a _deep_, a
very deep vegetable loam, which drains itself perfectly and yet
without becoming dry. It has a fusiform root, which, as the plant
grows older, extends downward from four to six feet. The subsoil is
regarded by Flemish farmers as of more importance than the surface
soil. A stiff, cold, clay, a wet and springy soil; a hard, cold, wet
subsoil of any sort, is unfavorable to it. It should therefore be
tried on warm, dry, and rich soils, than which none are better than
our sandy alluvions or bottom lands. During its first year it requires
some care, to keep down weeds, as it is easily smothered; but when
once established it rules the soil in defiance of anything. If the
ground is _very_ clean, it may be sown broadcast; but it is always
safer and often _necessary_ to drill it. Authors vary as to the
quantity of seed required per acre, Von Thaër says six to eight
pounds, while his French editor says from sixteen to eighteen. We
suppose that from ten to twelve pounds will be a fair amount.

When the plants are well established they will be improved by severe
harrowing every spring, a sharp harrow being used until the field
looks as if it were plowed.

Lucerne has been tried by a few cultivators in the West, but by more
in the East, with great success, and it has this peculiar excellence,
that, thanks to its very long roots, it withstands our severest
droughts; indeed our hottest and dryest summers are those which it
seems to delight in.



FAMILY GOVERNMENT.


“William! stop that noise, I say—_won’t_ you stop! Stop, I Tell you,
or I’ll slap your mouth.”

William bawls a little louder.

“William, I tell you! ain’t you going to stop? _Stop_ I say! If you
don’t stop I’ll whip you, sure.”

William goes up a fifth, and beats time with his heels.

“I never saw such a child!—he’s got temper enough for a whole town;
I’m sure he didn’t get it from me. Why don’t you be still! Whist.
Wh-i-st. Come, come, be still, won’t you? Stop, _stop_, STOP, I say!
Don’t you see this—don’t you see this stick? See here now,” (cuts the
air with the stick).

William, more furious, kicks very manfully at his mother—grows redder
in the face, lets out the last note, and begins to reel, and shake,
and twist, in a most spiteful manner.

“Come, William! come dear—that’s a darling—naughty William! come,
that’s a good boy; donty cry, p-o-o-r, little fellow; sant ab-o-o-s-e
you, sall eh! Ma’s ittle man, want a piece of sooger? Ma’s little boy
got cramp, p-o-o-r little sick boy,” etc., etc.

William wipes up, and minds, and eats his sugar, and stops.

AFTER SCENE.—The minister is present, and very nice talk is going on
upon the necessity of governing children. “Too true,” says mamma,
“some people _will_ give up to their children, and it ruins them—every
child should be governed. But then it won’t do to carry it _too_ far;
if one whips all the time it will break a child’s spirit. One ought to
mix kindness and firmness together in managing children.”

“I think so,” said the preacher; “firmness first and then kindness.”

“Yes, sir, that’s my practice exactly.”



CATALOGUE OF FLOWERS, SEEDS, AND FRUITS.


We have received from different directions catalogues of seeds,
flowers, and fruits. Instead of a mere mention of them, we shall
employ them as _texts_ for some remarks on the departments to which
they belong.

The kinds, and varieties of the same kind of vegetables advertised are
satisfactory. Then there is evidence that the easily besetting sin of
seed establishments has been resisted and very much overcome, viz.: _a
prodigal multiplication of varieties_. Now we do not wish to tie down
a seedsman to only one variety of cucumber—one pea—one bean; for there
is great advantage in having many varieties of the same vegetable.
Some love mild radishes, and some love the full peppery taste; as both
qualities cannot exist in the same variety it is desirable to have
two. But some radishes which do admirably in the spring and early
summer, lose their good qualities if planted in summer. We therefore
seek and find a summer variety. This again fails for late autumnal
use, and we procure a (so called) winter sort. We need one pea for its
_earliness_: but early fruit seldom has size or a high flavor; we
desire other varieties, therefore, for flavor, even though, in giving
them a longer period to perfect their juices, we have a late pea. But
some men raise peas for _market_, and cannot afford to raise a pea
merely because fine-flavored, unless also it is _prolific_. Then, once
more, market peas must be raised, usually as a _field-pea_, and sown
broadcast. Some peas stand up stronger than others, and these are of
course preferred. Now, as we cannot find any vegetable that combines
all the qualities of _earliness_, _size_, _flavor_, and adaptation to
variety of soil and diversity of cultivation, we come as near to it as
possible, by gaining _varieties_, in which some one or more of these
qualities are better developed than in any others. The reasons for
multiplying varieties afford a rule by which they may be limited.

The fact that a seed is a variety different from all others is no good
reason for retaining or cultivating it; it must, in SOME _respects,
surpass others_ now in use, or it only encumbers the garden. What is
the use of ten varieties of peas ripening at the same time of one
size, and differing from each other in not one assignable particular?
When a catalogue enumerates _fifty varieties_ of cabbage, or pea, or
bean, are we to believe that each of the _fifty_ has a virtue peculiar
to itself? If not, if two-thirds of them have no merit which is not
found, and found in a higher degree, in the one-third they have no
business to be retained. Let the one-third, stand and the rest be
erased. We regard a _very_ fat catalogue as we do a very fat man—all
the worse for its obesity. In comparing catalogues, we are not left as
much without an authoritative standard of judgment, in respect _to a
proper extension of the number of varieties_, as might at first
appear. English gardening has been carried to such a degree of
excellence, both as an art and as a science, that we may regard the
deliberate judgment of the best gardeners as law on this subject. When
Loudon published his invaluable “Encyclopedia of Gardening,” he was
permitted by the London Horticultural Society to avail himself of the
services of the distinguished Monro in the department of culinary
vegetables.

Let us compare the catalogues of three first rate seedsmen as it
respects a multiplication of varieties, with Mr. Monro’s selections:

  +--------+--------+-----+------+----+------+-------+----+-----+-------+
  |        |Cucumber|Melon|Celery|Beet|Turnip|Cabbage|Peas|Beans|Lettuce|
  +--------+--------+-----+------+----+------+-------+----+-----+-------+
  |Landreth|    2   | 15  |  2   | 5  |   9  |  10   |  7 | 15  |   8   |
  |        +--------+-----+------+----+------+-------+----+-----+-------+
  |Breck   |    9   | 10  |  6   | 8  |  22  |  18   | 20 | 24  |  12   |
  |        +--------+-----+------+----+------+-------+----+-----+-------+
  |Prince  |   17   | 25  |  8   | 9  |  30  |  49   | 47 | 61  |  56   |
  +--------+--------+-----+------+----+------+-------+----+-----+-------+

Mr. Monro names _nineteen_ kinds of peas only, instead of
_forty-seven_: _twenty-two_ kinds of beans instead of _sixty-one_;
seven varieties of turnip instead of _twenty-two_, or, worse yet,
_thirty_; _fourteen_ sorts of lettuce, instead of _fifty-two_.

To the uninitiated a catalogue may look meagre with only _eight_ kinds
of lettuce instead of _fifty_; _fifteen_ beans instead of _sixty-one_,
etc., but these corpulent catalogues make meagre pockets, except in
the case of the _seedsman_. A much greater latitude of varieties is
allowable in a nursery catalogue than in a seedsman’s list. But in
even these there is a disposition to extravagance which needs to be
corrected. Where the disproportion of knowledge between the buyers and
seller is so great as it is, and for some time, must be, in
horticultural matters, it becomes nurserymen and seedsmen who _are_
honest (and we have many such, and they are increasing)—those who
regard their business as an honorable branch of _science_, as well as
a proper means of livelihood, and who hope to gain a high
_reputation_, even more than they do wealth, it becomes such to render
the lists SELECT; and while the monstrously bloated catalogues of
boasting and avaricious men continue to perplex and deceive the
unwary, let all intelligent cultivators _sustain_ those who rely on
the _quality_ rather than _quantity_ of their articles.



GARDEN SEEDS.


Good seeds are the very first requisite for a good garden; soil and
culture cannot make good crops out of bad seed.

1. As a general rule, _buy your seeds_. The reasons for it are so many
and so good, that you will certainly do it, unless _economy_ prevent;
but it is better to economize elsewhere.

In the first place, seed-raising is a delicate business; and, for many
reasons, will be better done by those who make it their business, than
by those who do not. A reputable seedsman never dreams of raising,
himself, all the seeds which he sells. For example, one sort of seed
is let out to a farmer who contracts to raise it in a given soil and
manner, and at a distance from all other seeds. One man raises the
beet seed—another man, very often hundreds of miles distant, another
sort. Peas are sent to Vermont and to Canada, where the pea-bug does
not infest them. Some seeds, for which this climate is not favorable,
are imported from Italy, from Guernsey—just as flowering bulbs are
from Holland. We suppose this to be true of Landreth, Thornburn,
Prince, Bliss, Risley, etc. In cases where seeds are raised upon the
premises of the seedsman, they are put on different parts of the farm,
as far apart as possible.

Those precautions are indispensable to the procuration of the _best_
seeds of esculent vegetables. Species of the same genus, with open
flowers, are so easily _crossed_, that, if grown contiguously, they
cannot be kept pure. All _cucurbitaceous_ plants, such as squashes,
pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, gourds, etc., will mix and degenerate if
planted even in the same garden. Let any one who wishes to see how it
is done, watch the bee covering itself with golden pollen as it
searches for honey in the cells of the flower, and darting off to
another, mingling the fertilizing powder of the two. In a single
morning, cucumbers will be mixed with each other, and with
canteloupes; squashes will be crossed, and in the next generation will
show it. Where the organs of flowers are protected, as in the pea,
bean, etc., by a floral envelope, insects do not mix their pollen. I
have never known pure beet seed raised in a private garden which had
more than the single kind in it—or when another garden was near which
had other sorts.

We prefer, _generally_, northern seeds to those raised elsewhere. A
mere change of soil and climate is often advantageous to seeds. But
besides this, greater care and skill are usually employed at the north
in producing sound and safe seeds.

We can recommend, from repeated trials, the seeds of Risley, Chatauque
county, N. Y., and of Mr. Breck of Boston. Landreth of Philadelphia
has a high reputation; so have the veteran Thorburn of John Street,
and the enterprising house of B. K. Bliss & Sons of Park Place, New
York.

2. Some seeds retain their power of germination to an astonishing
length of time, as will appear from facts stated by Prof. Lindley:

“Not to speak of the doubtful instances of seeds taken from the
Pyramids having germinated, melons have been known to grow at the age
of 40 years, kidney beans at 100, sensitive-plant at 60, rye at 40;
and there are now growing, in the garden of the Horticultural Society,
raspberry plants raised from seeds 1600 or 1700 years old.” (See
“Introduction to Botany,” ed. 3, p. 358.)

But in selecting seeds, _fresh_ ones should be had if possible. Where,
however, the vegetable is cultivated for the sake of its flower, or
its fruit, it is sometimes better to select old seed. Thus balsamines
(the touch-me-not) and the cucumber, squash and melon tribe do better
on seeds three or four years old; for fresh seeds produce plants whose
growth will be too luxuriant for producing fruit; whereas from old
seed, the plants have less vigor of growth but a greater tendency to
fruit well.

We insert a table, exhibiting the years which different seeds will
retain their vitality.

  TIME THAT SEEDS WILL KEEP.

                      YEARS.
  Asparagus           4 or 13
  Balm                2
  Basil               1 or 3
  Beans               1 or 2
  Beets               8 or 10
  Borage              2
  Cabbage             6 or 8
  Carrot              1 or 7
  Celery              6 or 8
  Corn                2 or 3
  Cress               2
  Cucumber            8 or 10
  Caraway             4
  Fennel              6
  Garlic              3
  Leek                3 or 4
  Lettuce             3 or 4
  Mangel Wurtzel      8 or 10
  Marjoram            4
  Melon               8 or 10
  Mustard             3 or 4
  Nasturtium          2 or 3
  Onion               3
  Parsley             5 or 6
  Parsnip             1
  Pea                 2 or 3
  Pumpkin             8 or 10
  Pepper              5 or 6
  Radish              6 or 8
  Rue                 3
  Ruta Baga           4
  Salsify             2
  Savory              3 or 4
  Spinage             3 or 4
  Squash              8 or 10
  Turnip              3 or 4



FARMERS’ GARDENS.


Farmers are apt to have very inferior gardens. The idea is, that in
the spring they have no time; the farm crops are of more importance.
In consequence of such a decision, no garden will be had unless the
housewife is willing to be gardenwife too. At her importunity at
length one horse is put to the plow and the garden is broken up—say
four inches deep. Possibly the boy is allowed to throw up the beds,
but very often even this is left to woman’s hand. She has to hunt up
seed; peppers are pulled off from the ceiling and eviscerated; drawers
are ransacked for the bag of radish seed or the paper of lettuce seed;
the old broken pitcher is taken from its long seclusion on the top of
the cupboard and emptied of its beans and peas; withal a few flower
seeds are added to grace the stock—four o’clocks; poppies, marigolds,
and touch-me-nots. Our gardenwife is not so admirable for lily hands
or fair face, or fairy form. She cannot walk over dewy flowers without
crushing them, as can a true heroine; for her specific gravity gives
evidence of a good constitution, health and habits.

Her praise is, that in a new country where woman unquestionably
suffers the most of hardships, she is cheerful, contented,
industrious, enterprising, and, like women the world over, seeks to
draw around herself objects of taste and beauty to decorate and cheer
her husband’s and her children’s home; and, if necessary, to do it by
the field-labor of her own hands. We could not forbear saying so much
of the meritorious gardener of more than half the rural gardens in the
West.

The seeds all mustered, she may be seen, after the breakfast things
are all done up, busy with spade and hoe, hiding her treasures. And
thus she does it. First a liberal suit of onion beds—savory vegetables
to the tongue and most unsavory to the nose—making it almost
impossible for these respectable neighbors to live together in peace,
one or other of them being in bad odor with the other. Next, a
seed-bed full of cabbages—significant to the imagination of cold-slaw,
sourcrout, etc. A good row of peas, and a few hills of running beans
are added. The alleys are ruffled with bush beans; a few early
potatoes, some corn for roasting-ears, with a slender bed for beets,
complete the stock of esculents. But sage, and summer savory, and
thyme, and rue, and sweet marjoram, tansy, boneset and wormwood are
attended to; a part for stuffing ducks and chickens—and the others for
curing those who have been too much stuffed _with_ them. The garden
yields in due time its first fruits; the potatoes come and go, the
corn is early plucked, lettuce shoots up its seed-stalk, peas render
their tribute and grow sere, beans rattle in the pod, and before
August her work is done and her garden forsaken except a small retinue
of flowers, which are nursed to the last. Weeds now make up for lost
time, and in a few weeks a weedy forest hides every trace of
cultivation. This is not a fancy sketch; we have been far from drawing
a picture from the worst specimens; it is a fair average case.

Our business is, not to quarrel with the farmer, but to suggest a
better plan for his garden. We saw the plan stated some years ago;
where, we have forgotten, but think well of it. It is simply this: let
the garden be an oblong—say three times as long as it is broad—and
cultivate it with the _plow_. Instead of having beds, let all seeds be
planted in rows running the whole length of the garden. For example,
begin with one row of beets—or more if wanted; next a row or rows of
carrots, parsnips, cabbages, potatoes, corn, and all about three feet
apart. The same system should be followed for small fruits—currants,
gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.—and it will have this
advantage over common gardens, that the bushes will have sun and air
on all sides, and be more fruitful and more healthy for it. The whole
garden, thus arranged, can be kept in order with very little labor. A
single-horse plow will dress between the rows of the whole garden in a
very little time and save all hand-hoeing. The hand-weeding in the row
may be performed by women or children.

In large towns ground is scarce and labor abundant. Gardens,
therefore, are properly laid out for economy of space. In the country
the reverse is true; land is abundant but labor scarce and dear; of
course gardens should be laid out not to save room, but to economize
labor. The plan suggested will save labor, improve the garden, and
take from the wife the drudgery of the spade and hoe.



EARLY DAYS OF SPRING.


If the soil be thrown up during the open weather into ridges, an
immense number of insects will be unburrowed and destroyed; stiff
clayey soils will be rendered more crumbling and mellow by exposure to
frost. If advantage is taken of the weather to haul manure, let it be
stacked up, and a little earth thrown over it, else the volatile and
most valuable portions will escape. Ashes may be spread over the
garden; a small portion of refuse salt will benefit the ground, and
may be sown now. Clear the ground of all vines, stalks, haulm. If you
have flowering bulbs, cover slightly with coarse manure—they will not
be so much tried by the changes of temperature and moisture, and will
flower stronger for it. Bright, dry days afford a fine time for going
to the woods and cutting poles for your beans, stakes for your trees
and dahlias, brush for peas, etc. While you are about it, collect moss
from old logs, and put away in the barn or shed to cover the ground in
summer where roses and shrubs have been newly set out, and require to
be kept moist. If not done before, put two or three forks full of
coarse green manure about tender shrubs—Noisette and China roses.
Freezing and thawing at the crown of the roots, destroys them oftener
than anything else.

On mild days when the earth is open, sow lettuce seed in a warm
corner, beat it gently with the back of the shovel, and cover it
slightly with fine earth or old crumbling manure. You will have
lettuce ten days earlier for your trouble. Pepper-grass and radishes
may be sowed in like manner.

☞ Let alone the knife and saw. Your vines and trees will not be
benefited by any pruning at this season.



PARLOR FLOWERS.


Water freely such as are in pots, while in blossom. The flower stalks
will be apt to shoot up taller and weaker than in the garden, and will
require rods to support them. Let the rod be thrust down about _two
inches_ from the centre of the flower, and attach the flower stem to
it by one or two ligaments. Flowers in small stove rooms can be kept
in health with extreme difficulty. The heat forces their growth, or
injures the leaves. They should be washed off once a week (either on a
mild day out of doors, or in a warm room within, if the weather be
severe), as the dust settles upon the leaf, and stops up the stomata
(mouths) by which the leaf perspires and breathes. If green _aphides_
infest them, put a pan of coals beneath the stand, and throw on a
half-handful of coarse tobacco. In half an hour every insect will
tumble off. Let such as lie on the surface of the earth be removed or
crushed, as they will else revive. Plants should have _fresh air_
every day.



A SALT RECIPE.


There is a great fashion, now-a-days, in all papers, to set forth
useful recipes for every imaginable purpose. Every newspaper has its
weekly budget of recipes. Our magazines have a page of original
recipes; and, before long, why should not the _North American Review_,
or the _Edinburgh Review_ come out with their quarterly bill of fare
reciped in full? So practical is our nineteenth century, that our
literary men and women feel it to be a solemn duty to indite novel
recipes for cooking, seasoning, removing stains, curing diseases,
etc.; and why not? If one can invent a sonnet, an elegy, or worse yet,
a poem, and thus draw people’s brains a wool-gathering in the regions
of imagination, ought they not to atone for their license by an
invention equally substantial for the body? Miss Leslie writes a
beautiful story, and a recipe for manipulating lobsters. Miss
Martineau writes travels, political economies and suggestions on plum
pudding. Mrs. Sigourney tunes her lyre with a hand most redolent of
pies, cakes and gingerbread. Such is the aspect of culinary affairs,
and the rights of women, that the day seems at hand when no learning
will sustain a man, and no accomplishments a woman, who does not
understand the art and mystery of cooking. It will be the duty of some
future Heyne to give accurate recipes for all the feasts of Homer’s
heroes, the ingredients of all the Horacian drinking-bouts—the dishes
of Virgil’s fine fellows, as well as the minor matters of armor,
language, manners, and customs; and a good lexicon, Hebrew, Greek, or
Latin, must contain clearly written recipes for all the dishes used by
the people whose language it sets forth. We have been led into this
grand prairie of reflections by a recipe found in a country paper
which unquestionably is _salty_.

“INDIAN BAKED PUDDING.—Indian pudding is good and wholesome, baked.
Scald a quart of milk, and stir in seven table spoonfuls of salt, a
tea-cupful of molasses, and a great spoonful of ginger, or sifted
cinnamon. Bake three or four hours. If you want whey you must be sure
and pour in a little cold milk, after it is all mixed. Try it.”

If Misses Leslie, Childs, etc., refuse to mother such a recipe, with
_no_ Indian meal in it, but _seven_ mortal spoonfuls of salt, then we
will consider it as emanating from Lot’s wife. We are sure if one
should eat many such puddings, he would speedily come to her estate.



CULTURE OF CELERY.


We know of no vegetable which requires more care and skill in its
cultivation, from beginning to end, than celery. An inexperiened hand
will be apt to fail in planting his seed, fail in preparing the
trenches, and fail in earthing up the plants and bleaching them. And
yet, celery is so generally a favorite that every family desires it,
and every gardener is willing to cultivate it.

SEED SOWING.—The seed is exceedingly slow in germination, and, if not
assisted artificially, will lie three and sometimes four weeks without
sprouting. We soak the seed in water, (a solution of oxalic acid would
be much better), for twenty-four hours: turn off the water, and then
add and stir up a few handfuls of sand, well moistened, and let the
seed stand in a stove room or other warm place, for two or three days.
The sand will now be nearly dry; if it be not, add dry sand to it
until it is perfectly powdery, and can be sown without falling in
lumps. Besides hastening its germination, mixing the seed with sand
enables the operator to sow it with greater facility and evenness.
Select a _shaded_ spot, let the earth be rich, rather inclined to
moisture, and perfectly mellow. Sow the seed broadcast, and cover
_very thinly_ by sifting over it finely pulverized mold. Beat the bed
gently with the back of the spade to settle the earth firmly about the
seed. Don’t fear that the seed will be troubled by beating; every seed
should have the earth pressed to it by a smart stroke of the hoe,
hand, spade, or by the pressure of a roller. If the weather is
exceedingly warm and dry, cover your seed-bed with matting or old
carpet, to retain the moisture. When up let them be well weeded, until
they are six inches high, when they are to be removed to the trench
for blanching.

FIRST TRANSPLANTING.—The process here detailed may be wholly omitted
by those who are _obliged_ to economize time and labor. But those who
wish to do the very best that can be done—who wish to avoid spindling,
weak plants, and secure strong and vigorous ones—transplant their
celery to a level bed of very rich soil, placing the plants four
inches apart every way. They are cultivated here for about five weeks,
when they will have attained a robust habit, or, technically, they
will have became _stocky_—for which purpose they were thus
transplanted.

CELERY TRENCHES.—Dig your trenches about eighteen inches wide, and one
foot deep, laying a shovelful of dirt alternately on each side of the
trench, that it may be conveniently drawn in on both sides when you
_earth up_. If you are favored with a very deep and rich loamy soil,
such as often abounds in Western gardens, you will need little or no
manure. But usually about four inches of _vegetable mold_ and very
_thoroughly rotted_ manure, should be placed in the bottom of the
trench and gently spaded in. No part of the culture is more critical
than manuring. If the soil is slow, poor, and stingy, the celery will
be dwarfish, tough and strong. On the other hand, if you employ new,
rank, fiery manure, although you will have a vigorous growth, the
stalks will be hollow, watery, coarse and flavorless. Let the manure
be very thoroughly decayed and mixed half and half with leaf or
vegetable mold.

Set the plants five inches apart, water them freely with a fine rosed
watering pot, and, if the sun is fierce, cover the trenches daily from
ten A.M. till evening with boards. In about a week they will begin to
grow and will need no more shading.

Let them alone, except to weed, until the plants are from twelve to
fifteen inches high—at which time they are to be earthed up.

EARTHING UP.—In dry weather, with a short, hand-hoe, draw in the earth
gently from each side and bring it up carefully to the stalk. The soil
must be kept _out of the_ plant, and it is best for the first and
perhaps the second time of earthing, to gather up the leaves in the
left hand, and holding them together, to draw the earth about them.
Fill in about once in two weeks, and _always when the plants are dry_.
When the trench is full, the process is still to go on, and at the
close of the season your plants will be exactly reversed—instead of
standing in a trench they will top out from a high ridge.

SAVING CELERY IN WINTER.—Three ways may be mentioned. Letting it stand
in the trench—in which case it should be covered with long straw and
boards so laid over it that it will be protected from the _wet_, which
is supposed to be more prejudicial to it than mere cold.

The Boston market gardeners dig it late in autumn, trim off the
fibrous roots, cut off the top, lay it for two days in an airy shed,
turning it, say twice a day, and then pack it in layers of perfectly
_dry_ sand, in a barrel. After laying two days to air it goes into the
barrel much wilted, but regains its plumpness, and comes out as fresh
as from the trench.

Lastly, it may be put in rows on the cellar bottom, without trimming,
and earth heaped up about it. Set a plank at an angle of forty-five
degrees and bank up the earth against it, set a row of roots and cover
them with dirt, then another row and so on.

_Solid_ celery is not a particular variety—any celery is solid when
properly grown—and if grown too rankly the most _solid_ celery in the
world will be hollow.

We have seen it recommended to water the trenches once or twice during
the season with a weak brine of salt and water. Besides the
fertilizing effect of salt, it will have the effect of retaining
moisture in the soil, and what is of yet more moment, it destroys the
parasitical fungus (_Puccinca Heraclei_) which attacks and rusts the
plant, and probably would, also, guard it against a maggot which is
apt to infest and very much injure it. There is an insect, which, in
very dry weather, is apt to sting the leaf and cause it to wilt. While
the dew is on in the morning, sift lime over the plants once or twice,
and it will check the fly.

If any think these directions too minute and the process vexatious,
they are at liberty to try a cheaper method—and may, once in a while,
succeed. But a certain crop, year by year, cannot be expected without
exact and very careful cultivation. We have learned this by sorrowful
experience.

The main crop of celery need not be placed in the trenches until the
middle of July or the first of August. It’s greatest growth will be in
the fall months.

       *     *     *     *     *

SEEDLING TREES.—Many trees which are entirely hardy when grown, are
very tender during the first and second winters. Cover them with
straw, refuse garden gatherings, leaves, etc. Sometimes it is best to
raise them and _lay them in by the heels_, by which those gardeners
designate the operation of laying trees in trenches or excavations,
and covering the roots and a considerable portion of the stems. This
will not be extra labor in all cases when the young trees are to be
reset, at any rate, the second year in nursery rows.



CULTURE OF PIE-PLANT.


Beginners should in all cases, if possible, obtain a supply of plants,
from a proved sort, by dividing the root. Raising from seed is an
after, and an amateur practice. The first object with every man is to
supply his family with this esculent, and not to experiment with new
sorts. Let him buy or beg from garden or nursery, enough buds to
establish a bed, of some kind already known to be good.

The _best_ season of the year for dividing the root is in the spring;
the next best is in late autumn; and the worst in midsummer—as we have
abundantly ascertained by experiment. The reason is plain. Like bulbs,
and tubers, the root of the pie-plant stores up in itself during one
season, a supply of organizable matter enough to enable it to start
off the next season, without any dependence upon the soil. Dahlias,
potatoes, onions, turnips, cabbages, etc., it is well known, are able
to grow for a considerable time, in the spring, without any connection
with the soil; being sustained by that supply which they had treasured
up within themselves the previous autumn. When this is exhausted, they
will die, if they have not been put in connection with food from
without. When pie-plant is divided in the spring, it is full of the
material of life, and a bud cut off from the main root with a portion
of the root attached, has a supply of food until new roots are
emitted, which in good soil and weather will be in about a week. There
is the same vitality in autumn, and the only reason why it is not so
good for transplanting as spring, is the risk that the buds and roots
will rot off during the winter. A uniform winter will scarcely injure
one in a hundred, but constant changes, freezing and thawing, will
weaken, if not destroy many of them. When, however, it is necessary to
divide and transplant in the fall, cover the bed full four inches deep
with coarse, strong manure. Although great care will enable one to
transplant a section of the root in midsummer, yet we have found that
when no more attention is paid than in spring, nine plants are lost
out of ten. The reason is obvious. There is no reserved treasure of
sap in the root in summer, such as gives it vitality in spring or
autumn. If for any reason we _must_ take up a root in summer, let
every possible fibre be saved, the plant well watered and sheltered
until it begins to grow again.

RAISING FROM SEED.—The origination of new varieties of fruits, flowers
and esculent vegetables is one of the greatest rewards of gardening.
Almost every seed of the pie-plant will produce a variety. We have
thought ourselves repaid for trouble if one in fifty seedling plants
were worth saving. It requires a full two years’ trial to improve a
sort. Of fifty plants, say twenty-five may be rejected peremptorily
the first season, the petioles being mere wires. Of the other
twenty-five, one or two will give great promise, and the others will
be doubtful. Let them be transplanted in the spring of the second
season, into very mellow, rich, deep loam, full three feet apart every
way, and here they may stand until the owner is fully satisfied, by
the trial of one or more seasons, which are good and which inferior.
In marking seedling plants, the cultivator should bear in mind that
there are _two_ kinds required, viz. a very early sort, and one for
the later and main supply. If a plant has small stalks, and is _late_
too, reject it of course. If it be very _early_, it may be valuable
even if quite small. Some sorts are fit for plucking five or six weeks
before others; we have a variety which comes forward almost the moment
the frost leaves the ground in the spring, or in warm spells in
winter.

In selecting a late sort from your seedlings, several qualities must
be consulted. The plant should manifest an indisposition to go to
seed; should be apt to throw out an _abundance_ of leaves, to supply
those taken off; the petioles should be large; the meat rich and
substantial. There is great difference between one sort and another in
the amount of sugar required, in the delicacy of flavor, and in the
property of stewing to a pulp, without wasting away.

A good variety of pie-plant, then, should be a vigorous grower,
prolific, large in the stalk, not apt to flower, of a sprightly acid
without any earthy or woody taste, not stewing away more than
one-third when cooked, and not requiring too much sugar.

We have observed in our trials that seedlings having smooth leaves,
with the upper surface varnished and glossy, are seldom good; while
every plant which we have thought worth keeping, had the upper surface
of its leaves of a deep, dull, lack-lustre green.

FORMATION OF A BED.—Select a strong and rich loam. Let it be spaded
full two feet deep. If the subsoil has never been worked, and is clay,
or gravel, a large supply of old manure should be mixed with it. Our
working-method is this: Mark off the square, begin on one side, lay
out a full spadeful of the top-soil clear across the bed; lay four or
five inches of manure in the trench, and then spade it down a full
twelve inches deep; beginning again by the side of the first trench,
put the top-soil of the second into the first; add manure and spade as
before; and so across the bed. The surface-soil thrown out of the
first trench may be wheeled down and put into the _last_ one. This
process will leave the bed much higher than it was; let it stand one
or two weeks to settle. If the bed is prepared in autumn it will be
better, and in the spring it may be half-spaded again before planting.

Mark out, by line, rows three feet apart, and set your plants in the
rows three feet from plant to plant, if of the large kind, and two
feet, if of the small. Very large varieties require four feet every
way. Tho buds should be left just below the surface of the soil.

AFTER CULTURE.—Through the summer keep the surface mellow and free
from weeds. In the fall of the year, when the leaves show signs of
falling, form a compost heap of fine charcoal, if you can get it from
blacksmith’s or elsewhere, vegetable mold, ashes, and very old manure.
Spread and spade in a good coat of this, spading lightly near to the
plants and deeply between them. When frost destroys the tops wholly,
cover the bed with coarse, strong manure about four inches deep,
smooth it down, and let it remain thus. The next spring stir the
surface smartly with a rake, and no further care will be required
except to pluck out any weeds that grow through the summer.

GATHERING.—Leaves are constantly springing from the centre. Of course
the full-grown ones will be on the outside. These should be harvested,
leaving the inside ones to mature. By going regularly over your bed,
and taking in turn the outside leaves, a bed may be used till July
without the slightest injury. Other fruit, after that time, usually
displaces pie-plant and leaves it to rest the remainder of the year.
The leaf-stalks should not be _cut_ off. Slide the hand down as near
as possible to the root, and give the stalk a backward and sidewise
wrench and it will be detached at a joint or articulation, and no
stump will be left to rot and injure the root—we usually cut off the
leaves on the spot, leaving them about the root, both for shade to the
ground and for manure.

       *     *     *     *     *

PRESERVE YOUR POT-PLANTS.—We warn ladies having pot-plants designed
for winter-wear, to be prudent _beforehand_, or some frosty night will
cut every tender plant left out, and _then_ prudence will be good for
nothing. Every one who pretends to keep parlor plants should own a
_thermometer_. If at sundown or at nine o’clock it stands anywhere
near forty degrees, your plants are in danger. Sometimes it will fall,
in one night, from fifty degrees to below thirty-two degrees, which
last is the freezing point.



SUN-FLOWER SEED.


To some extent this is likely to become a profitable crop. Medium
lands will yield, on an average, fifty bushels; while first-rate lands
will yield from seventy to a hundred bushels.

MODE OF CULTIVATION.—The ground is prepared in all respects as for a
corn crop, and the seed sown in drills four feet apart—one plant to
every eighteen inches in the drill. It is to be plowed and tended in
all respects like a crop of corn.

HARVESTING.—As the heads ripen, they are gathered, laid on a barn
floor and threshed with a flail. The seed shells very easily.

USE.—The seed may be employed in fattening hogs, feeding poultry,
etc., and for this last purpose it is better than grain. But the seed
is more valuable at the _oil-mill_ than elsewhere. It will yield a
gallon to the bushel without trouble; and by careful working, more
than this. Hemp yields one and a fourth gallons to the bushel, and
flax-seed one and a half by ordinary pressure; but two gallons under
the hydraulic press.

The oil has, as yet, no established market price. It will range from
seventy cents to a dollar, according as its value shall be established
as an article for lamps and for painters’ use. But at seventy cents a
gallon for oil, the seed would command fifty-five cents a bushel,
which is a much higher price than can be had for corn.

It is stated, but upon how sufficient proof we know not, that
sun-flower oil is excellent for burning in lamps. It has also been
tried by our painters to some extent; and for _inside_ work, it is
said to be as good as linseed oil. Mr. Hannaman, who has kindly put us
in possession of these facts, says, that the oil resembles an
_animal_, rather than a vegetable oil; that it has not the _varnish_
properties of the linseed oil. We suppose by varnish is meant, the
albumen and mucilage which are found in vegetable oils. The following
analysis of _hemp-seed_, and _flax-seed_, or as it is called in
England lint or linseed, will show the proportions of various
ingredients in one hundred parts.

                             Hemp-seed.         Linseed.
                             (Bucholz.)       (Leo Meier.)
  Oil,                          19.1              11.3
  Husk, etc.                    38.3              44.4
  Woody fibre and starch,        5.0               1.5
  Sugar, etc.                    1.6              10.8
  Gum,                           9.0               7.1
  Soluble albumen (Casein?)     24.7              15.1
  Insoluble do                    —                3.7
  Wax and resin,                 1.6               3.1
  Loss,                          0.7               3.0
                                ----              ----
                                 100               100

The existence of impurities in oil, such as mucilage, albumen, gum,
etc., which increase its value to the painter, diminishes its value
for the _lamp_, since these substances crust or cloy the wick, and
prevent a clear flame. All oils may, therefore, the less excellent
they are for painting, be regarded as the more valuable for burning.
_Rape-seed_ is extensively raised in Europe, chiefly in Flanders, for
its oil, and is much used for burning. Ten quarts may be extracted
from a bushel of seed. We append a table representing the richness of
various seeds, etc., in oil.

                           Oil per cent.
  Linseed (flax)              11 to 22
  Hemp-seed,                  14 to 25
  Rape-seed,                  40 to 70
  Poppy-seed,                 36 to 33
  White mustard-seed,         36 to 48
  Black mustard-seed,         15
  Swedish turnip-seed,        34
  Sun-flower seed,            15
  Walnut kernels              40 to 70
  Hazel-nut kernels,          60
  Beech-nut kernels,          15 to 17
  Plum-stone  do.             33
  Sweet almond kernels,       40 to 54
  Bitter  do.    do.          28 to 46



APRIL GARDEN-WORK.


Every one will now be at work in the garden. A few suggestions may
make your garden better.

PLOWING GARDENS.—We do not like the practice except when the garden is
large, and the owner unable to meet the expense of _spading_. But if
you must plow, let that be well done. Those contemptible little
one-horse plows, with which most gardens are plowed, should be
discarded. The best plowing will be too shallow, but these spindling
little plows, drawn by a little meagre horse, will skim over your
ground, averaging from three to four inches deep, and preparing your
soil to receive the utmost possible detriment from summer droughts.
What chance have young roots, or the finer fibres of plants, to
penetrate more than a few inches of surface-soil? Persons come to our
garden and wonder why some vegetables flourish so well, while they
never have luck with them, “It must be a difference of soil.” No, it
is the difference of working it. Give your vegetables a chance to
descend eighteen or twenty inches if they incline to it, and you will
have no more trouble. A large plow should be used, and you should
stand by and _see_ that it is _put in to the beam_. A garden soil is
usually mellow, and a plow can go to its full depth without hurting
the horses.

SPADING.—This mode of working the ground will always be employed by
those ambitious of having a _first-rate_ garden. Indeed, where there
is much shrubbery and permanent beds, as of asparagus, pie-plant,
strawberry, and plantations of currants, raspberries, etc., spading is
the only method which _can_ be employed.

SPADING SHRUBBERY.—Let very fine manure be spread about roses,
honeysuckles, and ornamental shrubs (where they are not standing in a
grass-lawn). Beginning at the plant, with great care turn over the
soil one or two inches deep, yet so as not to injure the fibres;
gradually deepen the stroke of your spade as you go out from the
plant; at two feet from the shrub you may put in the spade half its
depth, and at three feet to its full depth. You will of course cut
many roots, but they will very soon re-form and send out fibres, and
by the manure spaded in, be supplied with abundant nourishment for the
season.

SPADING FLOWER BEDS.—This requires a practised hand. There is danger
of wounding and displacing clumps of flower-roots, or of filling the
crowns with dirt, or of leaving the surface uneven, and the edges
ragged. If there is a skillful gardener to be had, hire it done, and
watch while he performs, for any man who has seen a thing done in a
garden once, ought to be ashamed if he cannot himself do it
afterwards.

SPADING VEGETABLE BEDS.—Asparagus, pie-plant, strawberries, etc.,
require enriching every year, and to have the manure forked or spaded
in. It is easy to perform this upon strawberries, and a spade is
preferable. A three or four-pronged fork is better for asparagus and
pie-plant. Be careful not to tear or cut the crowns of the plants. No
material injury ensues from clipping the side fibres, _in the spring_;
in summer, when a plant requires all its mouths to supply sap for its
extended surface of leaf, it is not wise to cut the roots or fibres at
all, but only to keep the surface mellow and friable.

DEEP SPADING.—Ames’ garden-spades measure twelve inches in length of
blade. In a good soil the foot may gain one or two additional inches
by a good thrust. Thus the soil is mellowed to the depth of fourteen
inches. This will do very well; but if you aspire to do the very best,
another course must be first pursued. The first spadeful must be
thrown out, and a second depth gained, and then the top soil returned.
This is comparatively slow and laborious, but it need not be done more
than once in five years, and by dividing the garden into sections, and
performing this _thorough-spading_ on one of the sections each year,
the process will be found, practically, less burdensome than it seems
to be.



GETTING POOR ON RICH LAND AND RICH ON POOR LAND.


A close observer of men and things told us the following little
history, which we hope will plow very deeply into the attention of all
who plow very shallow in their soils.

Two brothers settled together in —— county. One of them on a cold,
ugly, clay soil, covered with black-jack oak, not one of which was
large enough to make a half dozen rails. This man would never drive
any but large, powerful, Conastoga horses, some seventeen hands high.
He always put _three_ horses to a large plow, and plunged it in some
ten inches deep. This deep plowing he invariably practised and
cultivated thoroughly afterward. He raised his seventy bushels of corn
to the acre.

This man had a brother about six miles off, settled on a rich White
River bottom-land farm—and while a black-jack clay soil yielded
seventy bushels to the acre, this fine bottom-land would not average
fifty. One brother was steadily growing rich on poor land, and the
other steadily growing poor on rich land.

One day the bottom-land brother came down to see the black-jack oak
farmer, and they began to talk about their crops and farms, as farmers
are very apt to do.

“How is it,” said the first, “that you manage on this poor soil to
beat me in crops?”

They reply was “_I_ WORK _my land_.”

That was it, exactly. Some men have such rich land that they won’t
_work_, it; and they never get a step beyond where they began. They
rely on the _soil_, not on labor, or skill, or care. _Some men expect
their_ LANDS _to work, and some men expect to_ WORK THEIR LAND;—and that
is just the difference between a good and a bad farmer.

When we had written thus far, and read it to our informant, he said,
“three years ago I travelled again through that section, and the only
good farm I saw was this very one of which you have just written. All
the others were desolate—fences down—cabins abandoned, the settlers
discouraged and moved off. I thought I saw the same old stable door,
hanging by one hinge, that used to disgust me ten years before; and I
saw no change except for the worse in the whole county, with the
single exception of this one farm.”



GETTING READY FOR WINTER.


Haul tanbark and bank up around the house to insure a warm cellar.
Cellar windows should be kept open through the day, and closed after
the nights begin to freeze, as late in the season as possible. See
that dry walks are prepared from the house to all the out-houses. Do
not be stingy of your materials; make the paths high and rounding, so
as to insure dryness, especially about the barn. See that stones,
gravel, or timber are laid so as to be out of the way of cattle’s
feet, and just in the way of your own. We have seen swamp-barn-yards,
before going into which a prudent man would choose to make his will.
Mud on the shoes from roads and fields is all well enough; but mud
from one’s own yards, shows that the owner has not fixed up as he
ought to have done.

If your stables are old, examine the floor; or some night may let a
horse through, to come out lame for life. If you have a dirt floor,
see that it is carefully laid, and remember that if it be inclined
either way, it should be _from_ the rack and not _toward_ it. Let your
wagons, carts, plows, etc., be repaired during the fall and winter,
and not be left till spring. See that your shingles are all sound on
the house, barn, and shed. The leak which you have allowed to drop,
drop, drop all summer has at last taken off a yard or two of plaster,
and it is time now to put on a shingle or two. There is another leak
or two that _must_ be stopped. That pocket of yours which has let out
dime after dime for liquor, the hole getting bigger and bigger every
year, now is the time to sow _it_ up, or it will rip _you_ up. A
pocket is a small place, to be sure, but we have seen barns, cattle,
and acre after acre slip through a hole in it which, at first, was
only large enough to let sixpence through.

See that all your tools have a safe and dry standing-place; hoes,
rakes, scythes, sickles, yokes, spades, shovels, chains, pins,
harrows, plows, carts, and sleds, axes, mattocks, hammers, and
everything, but your geese and ducks, should be kept from wet and
snow.

If you have no stables for your cattle, you should have good sheds
provided, opening to the south. Even when cattle are allowed to run
through the stock-fields, there ought to be in some warm place an
ample shed to which they can resort during wet and cold weather; and
one sufficiently snug can be made without calling in the carpenter or
buying lumber.



ESCULENT VEGETABLES.


We mention some of the more common kinds of garden esculent
vegetables, to point out the best kinds, and give some hints for their
cultivation. If more vegetables were raised and eaten in the place of
meat, there would be fewer diseases, and less expense for medicine
than is now the case among those who eat so heartily and liberally of
the _fat_ of the land.

BEET.—The turnip-rooted blood beet should be sown for the earliest
crop; the long blood beet for the late crop, and for winter use. The
_blood beet_ is the proper garden beet. The _scarcity_, the sugar
beets (so called), white, yellow, and red, are inferior for table use.
Every year we see accounts of new varieties, which are seldom
mentioned a second time, while these old standard sorts hold their own
from year to year. We see people running around among their neighbors
for _beet_-seed, careless whether it is early or late, coarse fleshed
or fine grained, sweet or insipid. It is just as easy and cheap to
have the best seed of the best kinds, as to have refuse seed of
worthless kinds. Lately, a variety introduced from France, called
_Bassano_, has attracted attention and commendation.[11] It is early,
tender, and sweet. If you attempt to raise your own seed, let only
_one_ sort stand in the garden; otherwise bees and other insects will
mix them, and the purity of the variety will be lost. We very seldom
see an unmixed variety in common gardens, unless seed have been bought
from good seedsmen.

The best seed is a small black seed about the size of a pin head,
enveloped in a ragged, rough, two or three lobed husk. Every _seeming_
seed planted, then, is a mere envelope of two or more seeds, and two
or three plants come up, very much to the surprise of the
inexperienced, for each husk. When a little advanced, they are to be
thinned out to one in a place.

We prefer planting very early, and in rows eight inches apart and at
about _one inch_ distant in the row. As the plants begin to gain size
they make very delicate greens; and for this purpose are to be boiled,
leaf, root, and all. Continue to thin out until one is left for every
six inches for full growth.

Every year a great ado is made about monstrous beets—twenty and thirty
pounders. There is no objection to these giants, unless they beget an
idea that _size_ is the test of merit. For table-use, _medium sized_
fruits and vegetables are every way preferable; a beet should never be
larger than a goose-egg.

It is equally foolish to suppose that large, coarse-grained
vegetables, whether potatoes, beets, parsnips, ruta bagas, or anything
else, are as good for stock, though not so palatable to men. To be
sure they fill up. But that which is nutriment to man is nutriment to
beast; a vegetable which is rank and watery is no better for my cow
than for us. It is not the _bulk_ but the _quality_ that measures the
fitness of articles for food.

PARSNIP.—This vegetable is, to those who are fond of it, very
desirable, as coming in at a time when other things are failing. For,
although the parsnip attains its size by autumn, yet its flavor seems
to depend upon its receiving a pretty good frosting. It may be dug at
open spells through the winter and early in the spring. It gives one
of the first indications of returning warmth, and its green leaves are
among the first which cheer the garden. On this account it must be dug
early in the spring and housed, or it will spoil by growth.

We know of no difference in varieties. The _Guernsey_, is not a
different sort from the common, but only the common sort, very highly
cultivated in that island, where it sometimes grows to a length of
four feet. The _hollow-crowned_ and _Siam_ are mentioned in English
catalogues, as fine fleshed and flavored, but we have never been able
to obtain seed of them.

The parsnip (_Pastinacea sativa_) is a native of Great Britain and is
found wild by the road-sides, delighting particularly in calcareous
soils. It has hitherto been supposed that the seed would not retain
its germinating power more than one year, but Mr. Mendenhall states
that he has raised freely from four year old seed. The parsnip is much
sown as a field crop at the east, yielding 1,000 bushels, on good
land, to the acre. They are invaluable both to cows and horses. The
quantity and quality of milk in cows is improved; and no farmer with
whom butter-making is a considerable object of interest, should be
without a root crop—beet, carrot, or ruta baga.

CARROT. (_Daucus carota_).—This is a native of Great Britain. The
early horn and Altringham are the best varieties sold by our seedsmen.
Beside their use upon the table, they are largely and deservedly
cultivated in the field for stock. A horse becomes more fond of them
than of oats, and they do not, like the potato, require boiling before
feeding out. A thousand bushels may be raised to the acre. The premium
of the New York Agricultural Society for the year 1844, was to a crop
of 1,059 bushels the acre. The seed should be new each year, as it
will not come well even the second year, and not at all if kept yet
longer.

RADISH.—Every garden has its bed of radishes, and they are among the
first spring gifts. They will grow in any soil, but not in all equally
well. A mellow sandy loam is best; or rather that soil is best which
will grow them the quickest. If they are a long time in growing, they
are tough and stringy. It is said that a compost of the following
materials will produce them very early and finely. Take equal parts of
buckwheat bran and fresh horse-dung, dig them in plentifully into the
soil where you intend to sow. Within two days a plentiful crop of
toadstools will start up. Spade them under, and sow your seed, and the
radishes will come forward rapidly, and be tender and free from worms.

The _short-top scarlet_, is the best for spring planting. It is so
named, because, from its rapid growth the top is yet small when the
root is fit for the table. There is a white and red turnip-rooted
variety, also good for spring use. The turnip-rooted kinds have not
only the shape, but something of the sweetness and flavor of the
turnip, and are by some preferred to all others. For summer planting,
there is a yellow turnip-rooted sort and the summer white. For fall
and early winter, the white and black Spanish are planted. When
radishes are sown broadcast, it must be very thinly, for if at all
crowded they run to top, and refuse to form edible roots. For our own
use, we sow on the edges of beds, devoted to onions, beets, etc., and
thrust each seed down with the finger.

The radish (_Raphanus sativus_) is a native of China, and was
introduced to England before 1584.

SALSIFY, OR VEGETABLE OYSTER.—We esteem this to be a much better root
for table use than either the parsnip or carrot. It is cultivated in
all respects as these crops are. Some have been skeptical as to their
possessing an oyster flavor. They seldom attain the true taste until,
like the parsnip, they have been well frosted. But if dug up during
spells in winter and early in the spring, and cooked by an orthodox
formula, they are strikingly like the oyster. We have just consulted
the oracle of our kitchen, and give forth the following method of
cooking it: First, oblige your husband to raise a good supply of them.
When you have obtained them, scrape off the outside skin—cut the root
lengthwise into thin slices—put them into a spider and just cover with
hot water. Let them boil until a fork will pass through them easily.
Without turning off the water, season them with butter, pepper, and
salt, and sprinkle in a little flour—enough to thicken the liquor
slightly. Then eat them.

The success of this gustatory deception depends, more than anything
else, upon the skill in seasoning. If well done they are not merely an
apology, but they are a very excellent substitute for the shell-fish
himself; a thousand times better than pickled can-oysters—those arrant
libels upon all that is dear in the remembrance of a live oyster.

Every one may save seed for himself, as it will not, if well
cultivated, degenerate. It is a biennial, and roots may either be set
out, or left standing where they were planted. When the seed begins to
feather out it must be immediately gathered, or like the dandelion or
thistle, it will be blown away by the wind. This vegetable should be
much more extensively cultivated than it is.

BEANS.—There are three kinds—English dwarf; kidney dwarf or string,
and the pole beans. The first kind, so far as our experience has gone,
are coarser than the others, and, in our hot and dry summers, are very
difficult to raise.

Of kidney or bush beans, there is a long catalogue of sorts. The
_Mohawk_ is good for its hardiness, enduring spring frosts with
comparative impunity. The _red-speckled valentine_ is highly
commended. But after a trial of some twenty kinds, we are entirely
contented with one—the _China red-eye_. It is early, hardy, very
prolific, and well flavored.

Of the pole beans, one sort, the _Lima_, might supersede all others
were it a little earlier. It is immensely prolific, its flavor
unrivalled, and nearly the same in the dry bean as when cooked in its
green state, a quality which has never, we believe, been found in any
other variety. To supply the deficiency of this variety in earliness,
we know of none equal to the _Horticultural_. With these two kinds one
has no need of any other. Pole beans will not bear frost, and are
among the last seeds to be planted, seldom before the last of April.
The bush-bean may precede them a fortnight.

The English dwarf (_Vicia faba_) is a native of Egypt; but has been
cultivated in England from time immemorial, and, it is supposed, was
introduced by the Romans.

The kidney dwarf (_Phaseolus vulgaris_) is a native of India, and was
introduced into England about the year 1597.

The pole bean (_Phaseolus multifloris_) is a native of South America,
and was introduced to England in 1633.

Pole beans are not strictly annuals. In a climate where the winter
does not destroy them they bear again the second year, and we believe
yet longer. Gov. Pinney, of Liberia, on the African coast, stated in a
lecture, speaking of the vegetable productions of that region, that
the bean was a permanent vine like the grape, bearing its crops from
year to year without replanting. The bush bean is strictly an annual.
If the pole bean were protected in the ground, or raised and put away
like sweet potatoes, dahlias, etc., in the cellar and replanted in the
spring it would bear again the second season. Perhaps an earlier crop
of beans might thus be secured.

The bean crop, by field culture, is not to be overlooked. Great
quantities of dried beans are consumed by families, by the army and in
the navy, and they always bear a good price, when they are well grown
and well cured. They are excellent for sheep, not from their fattening
properties, but for improving their fleece. Analysis has shown them to
be rich in those properties which are “wool-gathering.”


     [11] A new variety called the _Bassano_ has been recently
     introduced into France, and extensively cultivated; and it
     is said to be found in all the markets from Venice to Genoa,
     in the month of June. It is remarkable for the form of the
     root, which is flattened like a turnip. The skin is red, the
     flesh white, veined with rose. It is very tender, very
     delicate, preserving its rose colored rings after cooking,
     and from two to two and a half inches in diameter. This
     description is from the _Bon Jardinier_ for 1841. The
     edition for 1842 states that this variety is highly esteemed
     in the north of Italy, and that it is, in fact, one of the
     best kinds for the table.—_Hovey’s Magazine._



FIELD ROOT CROPS.


From mid-winter, and especially _just before_ spring opens, beets,
carrots, parsnips, potatoes, ruta baga, and mangel wurtzel are of the
highest utility. After months of dry fodder, and of slops thickened
with corn-meal, cattle need—their stomach, their blood need—a change
of diet; and none can be better than roots. At the East it is no
longer a debatable question—root crops are as regularly laid in as
grain or grass crops. The chief difficulty at the East, in introducing
“new-fangled notions,” arises from the regular routine habits of
farmers and their settled aversion to change from old ways. Very
little of this spirit exists at the West. There the very essence of
life is _change_. The population have broken up from old homesteads,
moved off from old States, abandoned the comforts and settled life of
long tilled agricultural districts—to come into a new country, where
they _have_ to practise new ways, live differently, and labor by new
methods; and, by consequence, the farming community of the West are
remarkably free to meet and adopt agricultural improvements. But the
difficulty lies in a different direction. The farmers have large
farms—are ambitious of large crops, large herds of cattle, large
droves of hogs, and of a style of husbandry which brings in a large
pile, and all at once; so that the idea of _good_ farming is _large_
farming. Many a sturdy Kentuckian will very patiently plow, two or
three times, his fifty or hundred acres of corn, and think nothing of
it; but to put in half an acre of carrots, or beets, to weed and work,
to harvest and store the vexatious little crop, this seems a piddling
business. Our big prairie farmers, our heavy bottom-land farmers, our
stock farmers who “hog” one or two hundred acres of corn, of their own
planting or of their neighbor’s, they do not love _little_ work. We
know a man who lives on thirty acres of land of about a middling
quality. He winters seven cows, two horses, and two pigs. He raises
corn and grass enough for his own use, and sells none. Every year he
puts in about a quarter of an acre of parsnips, or ruta baga, for
winter and spring fodder. His garden in summer, and his dairy all the
year round, are represented in market. He probably does not receive
five dollars at _once_, on any one sale, through the year. We never
looked into that old chest under his bed; but we will venture much,
that if the shrewd housewife would keep her eagle eyes off long enough
to give us a chance, it would be found that this man has made, and
laid up, more money in the last five years from his thirty acres, than
any farmer about here from six times the amount. Our farmers _have not
grown rich on large and careless farming; but many are growing rich on
small farms and careful husbandry_.

When the dairy shall be more thought of—when wintering stock, and
fattening it, shall be more carefully studied—we predict that our
farmers will annually raise thousands of bushels of roots, and have
capacious cellars under their barns to store them in.



CULTIVATION OF FRUIT-TREES.


We must give up thinking of _remedies_ for blights and diseases of
fruit-trees and seek after _preventives_. Amputation may limit its
ravages; but surgery is not a remedy, but a resource after remedies
fail. We must, it seems to us, look for a preventive in a wiser system
of fruit cultivation. To this subject we shall now speak.

The effect of cultivation in changing the habits of plants is familiar
to all. Incident to this artificial condition of the plant, there will
be new diseases, vegetable vices, which, as they result from
cultivation, must be regarded in every perfect system of cultivation.

Where trees are grown for timber, or shade, or ornament, everything
can be sacrificed to the production of wood and foliage. But in
fruit-trees wood is nothing and fruit is everything. We push for
_quantity_ and _quality_ of fruit; and would not regard the wood or
foliage at all, if it were not indispensable as a means of procuring
fruit. That is the most skillful treatment of fruit-trees which
involves a just compromise between the wants of the _tree_, and the
abundance and excellence of _fruit_. There is a way of gaining fruit
by a rapid consumption of the tree; and there is a method of gaining
fruit by invigorating and prolonging the tree. Two systems of
cultivation grow out of these different methods—a natural system and
an artificial system. All _cultivation_ is artificial, even the
rudest. By natural system, then, is only meant a treatment which
interferes but _little_ with nature; and by artificial, a system in
which skill is applied to every part of the vegetable economy. For
conservatories, gardens, and experimental grounds, there is no reason
why an artificial system should not exist. Moral considerations
restrain us from stimulating a man or a beast to procure a quick or a
large return at the expense of life and limb; but in vegetable matters
our _preference_ or interest is the only restraint. If any reason
exists for forcing a tree to bear young, and enormously, and after ten
years’ service for throwing it away, it is proper to do it. For larger
show-fruit we _ring_ a limb expecting to sacrifice the branch; we
diminish the life of the pear by putting it to a dwarf habit by
violent means. If we have any sufficiently desirable object to
accomplish, there is no reason why we should not do it. There may be
as good reasons for limiting a tree to ten years as a strawberry bed
to three.

There is another form of the artificial system in which there _is_
much to censure. When fruit-trees are set in gardens, yards, etc., to
be permanent, and _long-lived_, it is folly to apply to them that
high-toned treatment which belongs to an artificial system as I have
spoken of it above. Impatient of delay, the cultivator presses his
trees forward by stimulating applications, or retards them by violent
interference—by prunings at the root or branch, by bending or binding;
everything is sacrificed for early and abundant bearing. Fine fruit
yards, designed to last a hundred years, are served with a treatment
proper only to a conservatory or experimental garden. This high-toned
system is still more vicious when applied to orchards and especially
to pear orchards; and it seems to us that much is to be learned and
much unlearned before we shall have attained a true science of pear
culture. Let us consider some facts. It is well known that seedling
apple-trees are generally longer lived than grafted varieties, and
obnoxious to fewer diseases. The same is true of the pear-tree. It has
frequently been said that _seedling_ and _wilding_ pears were not
subject to the blight. This is not true if such trees are undergoing
the same cultivation as grafted sorts; it is not always true when they
exist in an untutored state; but when they are left to themselves,
they certainly are _less_ obnoxious to the blight and to disease of
any kind, than are grafted and cultivated varieties. A comparison
between wild and tame, between cultivated and natural, between
seedling and grafted fruit, is certainly to the advantage of seedling
uncultivated fruit, _in respect to the HEALTH of the tree_—of course
it is not in respect to quality of fruit. In connection with these
facts, consider another, that seedling and wilding fruit is nearly
twice as long in coming into bearing as are cultivated varieties. The
seedling apple bears at from ten to fourteen years. The pear bears at
from fifteen to eighteen years. But upon cultivation the grafted pear
and apple bear in from five to eight years. It is noticeable that,
although the pear as a wilding is four or five years longer in coming
to a bearing state than the apple, yet, upon cultivation, they both
bear at about the same age from the bud or graft. In a private letter
from Robert Manning (we prize it as among the last he ever wrote;
another, received not long after, was _dictated_; but signed by his
tremulous hand in letters which speak of death), he says, “_Pears bear
as soon as apples of the same age_; on the quince much sooner,” etc.

It appears, then, that while cultivation accelerates the period of
fruit-bearing and perfects the fruit, it is also accompanied with
premature age and liability to diseases. We do not wish to be
understood as opposing the habit of _cultivating_ fruit, or as
prejudiced against grafted varieties—we are neither opposed to the one
nor to the other. But we would deduce from facts, some conclusions
which will enable us to perfect our fruits by a more discriminating
treatment.

The question will arise, Is it only by accident that liability to
disease increases, with increase of cultivation? Is there an
_inherent_ objection in _all_ artificial treatment? or is there
objection only to particular methods of artificial cultivation?

Although there may be too many exceptions, to allow of our saying,
that quickly-growing timber is not durable, it may be said in respect
to trees of the same species, that the durability of the timber
depends (among other things) on the slowness of its growth. Mountain
timber is usually tougher and more lasting than champaign wood; timber
growing in the great alluvial valleys of the West, is notoriously more
perishable than that grown in the parsimonious soils of the North and
East.

The reason does not seem obscure. In a rich soil, and under an ardent
sun, not only is the growth of trees greater in any given season, than
in a poor soil, but the growth is coarser and the grain coarser. But
what is a _coarse_ growth, and what is fine-grained, or coarse-grained
timber?—timber in which the vascular system has been greatly
distended, in which sap-vessels and air-cells are large and coarse.
Where wood is formed with great rapidity and with a super abundance of
sap, not only will there be large ducts and vessels, but the sap
itself will be but imperfectly elaborated by the leaves. We may
suppose that overfeeding in vegetables is, in its effects, analogous
to overfeeding in animals. The sap is but imperfectly decomposed in
the leaf—it passes into the channels for elaborated sap in a partially
undigested state—it deposits imperfect secretions, and the whole
tissue resulting from it will partake of the defects of the _proper
juice_.[12]

Thus a too rapid growth not only enlarges the sap passages, but forms
their sides and the whole vegetable tissue of imperfect matter. This
accounts, not only for the perishableness of quickly-grown timber,
but, doubtless, for the short-lived tendency of cultivated fruit in
comparison with _wildings_. For where the tissue is imperfectly
formed, general weakness must ensue.

These reasonings do not include plants which, in their original
nature, have a system of large sap-vessels, etc., and which naturally
are rapid growers, but respects only plants which have been forced to
this condition by circumstances.

Has this condition of the vegetable substance nothing to do with the
health of a tree? Does it not very much determine its liability to
disease?—its excitability? Where are trees liable to diseases of the
circulation? In England, in New England, where, by climate and soil,
growth is slow?—or in the Western and Middle States, where, by
climate, by soil, and by vicious treatment, the growth is excessive?
This leads me to review the methods employed in rearing fruit-trees.

The nursery business is a commercial business, and aims at _profit_.
It is the interest of nurserymen to sell largely, and to bring their
trees into market in the shortest possible time from the planting of
the seed and the setting of the bud, to the sale of the tree. But
independently of this, few nurserymen know, accurately, the nature of
the plants which they cultivate, and still less the habits of each
variety. Why should they, when learned pomologists are content to know
as little as they? The trees are highly cultivated and closely
side-pruned. The _vigor_ of a tree, _i. e._ the rapidity with which it
will grow, determines its favor. Sorts which take time, and require a
longer treatment, are regarded with disfavor. Everything is sacrificed
to rapid growth and early maturity.

Next, and proceeding in the same evil direction, comes the orchard
cultivation. From what quarter have we, mostly, derived our opinions
and practices in fruit cultivation? From French, English, and New
England writers. But is the system which they pursue fit for us? There
is an opposite extreme to high cultivation; there are evils besetting
low-cultivation. In cold, wet, stiff, barren soils, and in a cool, or
humid, or cloudy atmosphere, trees require stimulants. The soil needs
drying, warming, manuring; and the tree requires pruning. But such a
system is ruinous, where the soil is full of fiery activity, bursting
out with an irrepressible fertility and a superabundant vegetation;
where the long summer days are intensely brilliant, and the _air_ warm
enough to ripen fruit even in the densest shade of an unpruned tree.

A traveller in Lapland would require the most bracing and stimulating
food; but in New Orleans it would produce fever and death. A region,
subject to all the diseases and evils of vegetable plethora, has
adopted the practice of regions subject to the opposite evils. While
receiving with gratitude, at the hands of eminent foreign
physiologists and cultivators, the _principles_, we must establish the
ART of horticulture, by a practice conformable to our own
circumstances. A treatment which in England would only produce
healthful growth, in this country would pamper a tree to a luxurious
fullness. Let us not be deluded by the fallacious appearance of our
orchards. The evils which we have to fear are not shown forth in the
early history of a tree or an orchard. On the contrary, the appearance
will be flattering. The apple is a more hardy tree than the pear, and
will endure greater mismanagement; but in the long run we shall have
to pay for our greedy cultivation, even in the apple family. Our
pear-trees are already evincing the evils of a too luxuriant habit;
and if the West is ever to become the pear-region of America, the
culture of this tree must be adapted to the peculiarities of western
soil and climate.

It will be borne in mind that our remarks upon the cultivation of
fruit-trees are not applicable to the processes of art employed in
experimental gardens, or in climates requiring a highly artificial
culture, but to gardens and open orchards of the pear and apple in the
middle and Western States.

_Our climate and soil predispose fruit-trees to excessive growth._
There is, in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and in the thickly
settled portions of Missouri and Kentucky, very little poor soil.
Limestone lands, clay lands, sandy barns and alluvions, afford not
only variety of soil, but the strongest and most fertile. The forest
trees of the West compared with the same species east of the Alleghany
ridge, exhibit the difference of soils. Artificial processes may
produce better soils, it may be, but there is not probably on earth so
large a body of land which is, as uniformly, deep, strong, quick, and
rich in all mineral and vegetable substances. It is cultivated under a
climate most congenial to vegetation, both in respect to length and
temperature. Our spring is early. In 1835 we gathered flowers from the
woods, near Cincinnati, on the 22d of February. In 1839 we gathered
them at Lawrenceburgh, in the last week of February. We find in our
garden journal at Indianapolis, latitude 39°55′ north, March 11, 1840,
“rose-bushes, honey-suckles, and willow trees had been in leaf for
some days,” and seed-sowing had begun. In 1841, seed was sown in open
ground, April 8th. In 1842, pie-plant broke ground March 8th, and all
early seed were in the ground by the 21st. In 1843, seeds were in by
April 20. In 1844 ground was in a working state Feb. 23d, and seeds
put in by March 1. Trees, varying according to the nature of the
season, complete the _first_ growth, on an average, about the 1st of
September. Their second growth continues, usually, into November. In
1844 we had noisette roses pushing out terminal leaves after
_Christmas_; but this is not a frequent occurrence. Upon an average,
the middle of March and the 1st of November, may be taken as the
limits of the vegetable year—a period of more than seven months.
During this season rains are copious, and frequent. Our midsummer
droughts are seldom so severe upon vegetation as they seem to be in
New England. During the months of June, July and August, the
temperature of mid-day seldom falls below 70° Fahren. and ranges
between 70° and 100°.

One other cause of rapid growth is to be mentioned—the nature of our
winters. Except when the roots are frozen, they are supposed never to
be inactive. During the winter they slowly absorb materials from the
soil, and fill the whole system with sap. When the winters are severe,
they are usually very long; and the slowness of its winter action is
compensated by the length of time afforded to the plant. In the
western States, though the winters are short, yet there is scarcely a
week in which trees may not accumulate their stores. The spring growth
will be vigorous in proportion to the amount of true sap collected in
the vegetable system. As the whole winter is mild enough for this
process to go on, the growth of trees is rampant in spring. Thus, the
quality of the soils, and the nature of the seasons—the mildness of
winter—the earliness of spring and length of summer—its heat and great
atmospheric brilliancy, all conspire to produce very rapid and strong
growth in herb, shrub, and tree; and I repeat, as a fundamental
consideration, that our SOIL AND SEASON PREDISPOSE FRUIT-TREES TO
EXCESSIVE GROWTH. From this fact we should take our start in every
process of orchard, nursery, and garden cultivation of fruit-trees;
and if philosophically employed it will, we will not say
revolutionize, but materially modify the processes of cultivation
peculiar to colder climates and poorer soils. In respect to esculent
vegetables—cabbages, radishes, celery, rhubarb, lettuce, etc., this
rank and rapid growth is beneficial, since it is not the _fruit_ but
the _plant_ which we eat. The reverse is true in fruit-trees.
Observant cultivators have conformed to this indication of nature, in
some things; for instance, in the treatment of the grape. The German
emigrants who settled in these parts, having been conversant with
vine-dressing in Europe, were usually employed to cut and lay in the
vines of such as were desirous of the best gardens. But, gradually,
their practice has been rejected, and now, instead of reducing our
vines to niggardly stumps, the wood is spared and laid in long. If
pruning be close, the vine may be said to overflow with excess of new
wood, which does not ripen well. Our remarks more especially apply to
regions below 40° of north latitude.

Below this line, our efforts need not be directed to the forcing of
growth, for that, naturally, will be all-sufficient. Our object must
be _compact and thoroughly ripened wood_. These reasonings may be
applied to many practices now generally in vogue.

1. It is the practice of nurserymen to force their trees by
cultivation, and by pruning. It is very well known, to those
conversant with the nursery business, that great growers and early
growers are the favorites (and, so far as an expeditious preparation
of stock for sale is concerned, justly), that slow and tedious growers
are put upon rampant growing stocks to quicken them. In some cases
manures are freely applied to the soil, as directed by all writers who
teach how to prepare ground for a nursery. But such writers had their
eye upon the soil of England or New England. The still more vicious
practice of side trimming and free pruning is followed, which forces
the tree to produce a great deal of wood, rather than to ripen well a
little. A well-informed nurseryman ought not to look so much at the
_length_ of his trees, as to the _quality of their wood_. The very
beau ideal of a fruit-tree for our climate is one that, while it is
hardy enough to grow steadily in cool seasons, is not excitable enough
to grow rampantly in warm ones, and which completes its work early in
the season, ripens its wood thoroughly, and goes to rest before there
is danger of severe frost. Such trees may be had, by skillful
breeding, as easily, as, by breeding, any desirable quality may be
developed in cattle or horses. But of this hereafter.

The subject of pruning will be separately treated; but it is
appropriate here to say, that every consideration should incline the
nurseryman to grow his trees _with side brush from top to bottom_, and
by shortening these, to multiply leaves to the greatest possible
extent all over the tree. In every climate we should idolize the
_leaf_—in which are the sources of health and abiding vigor.

2. The mistakes of the nursery are carried out and developed by the
purchaser, in the following respects—by bad selection, pernicious
cultivation, and by improper pruning.

First, trees are selected upon a bad principle. Men are very naturally
in a hurry to see their orchards in bearing; precocious trees,
therefore, and all means of prematurity are sought. In respect to the
pear, it is the popular, but incorrect, opinion that it takes a man’s
lifetime to bring them into fruit. Hope deferred, very naturally in
such cases, makes the heart sick. But certain talismanic words found
in catalogues and fruit manuals restore the courage, and you shall
find the pencil mark made upon all pears, described as “of a vigorous
growth,” “a rampant grower,” “comes early into bearing,” “bears
young,” “a great and early bearer.” But such as these—“not of a very
vigorous growth,” “does not bear young,” “the growth is slow but
healthy,” “grows to a large size before producing fruit,”—are passed
by. Many farmers judge of a tree as they would timothy grass. A
short-jointed, compact branch, is “_stunted_;” but a long, plump limb,
like a water shoot, or a Lombardy poplar branch, is admired as a
first-rate growth. Some pears have but this single virtue: they make
wood in capital quantities, but very poor pears. Now our selection
must proceed on different principles if our orchards are to be
_durable_ and _healthy_. We should mark for selection pears described
as—“of a compact habit,” “growth slow and healthy,” “ripens its wood
early and thoroughly.” A tree which runs far into the fall, and makes
quantities of wood more than it can thoroughly ripen, must be regarded
as unsafe and undesirable.

There is another marked fault in selecting trees—a disposition to get
long and handsome trees with smooth stems. This principle of selection
would be excellent when one goes after a bean-pole, or a cane. A
fruit-tree is not usually cultivated for such uses. In the first
place, it is not wise to expose the trunk of a fruit-tree to the full
sun of our summers. We have seen peach trees killed by opening the
head so much as to expose the main branches to the sun. A low head, a
short trunk should be sought. When land is scarce, and orchards
cultivated, high trimming is employed for the sake of convenience, not
of the tree, but of its _owner_. And in cool and humid climates, such
evils do not attend the practice, as with us. Beside picking long
shanked trees, one would suppose that a leaf below the crotch would
poison the tree from the assiduity with which they are trimmed off. It
ought to be laid down as a fundamental rule with us, that a tree is
benefited _not by the amount of its wood, but by the extent of its
leaf surface_. Every effort should be used to make the length of the
wood moderate, and the amount of its leaves abundant. The leaf does
not depend for its quality on the wood, _but the wood takes its nature
from the leaf_. Young trees ought to be grown with side brush from the
roots to the fork. Water shoots from the root are to be removed, but
leaves upon the trunk are to be nursed. By cutting in the brush when
it tends to a long growth, it will emit side shoots, and still
increase the number of leaves.

Secondly. There is great evil in pruning too much. France and England
have given us our notions upon pruning. There, their own system is
wise, because it conforms to the climate and soil. But their system of
pruning is totally uncongenial with our seasons and the habits of our
trees. In England, for instance, the peach will not ripen in open
grounds, except, perhaps, in the extreme southern counties. In
consequence, it is trained upon walls, and its wood thinned, to let
light and heat upon every part of it. It is very right to husband
light and heat when it is scarce, and by opening the head of a tree to
carry them to all parts of the sluggish wood. But we often have more
than we want. A peach will ripen, on the lowest limb and inside of the
tree, by the mere heat of the atmosphere. Even in New England, the
English system of pruning proves too free. Manning says, “From the
strong growth of fruit-trees in our country and the dryness of its
atmosphere, severe pruning is less necessary here than in England.” We
are not giving rules _for_ pruning; but cautions _against_ pruning too
freely. There is not a single point in fruit cultivation where more
mistakes are committed than in _pruning_.

Thirdly. Great mistakes are committed in stimulating the growth of
trees by enriching the soil. Books direct (and men naturally and
innocently obey), the putting of manure to young trees. We have no
doubt that the time will come, when manures will be so thoroughly
analyzed and classified, that we can employ them just as a carpenter
does his tools, or the farmer his implements; if we wish _wood_, we
shall apply certain ingredients to the soil and have it; if we wish
fruit, we shall have at hand manures which promote the fruiting
properties of the tree; if we want seed, we shall have manures for it.
But manures as now employed, are, usually, not beneficial to orchards
of _young_ trees. A clay soil, very stiff and adhesive, may require
sand and vegetable mold to render it permeable to the root; some very
barren soils may require some manure; but the average of our farms are
rich enough already, and too rich for the good of the young tree. It
would be better for the orchard if it made less wood and made it
better.

If these directions make the prospect of fruit so distant as to
discourage the planting of orchards, we will add, plant your orchard;
and if you cannot wait for its healthful growth, plant also trees for
immediate use, and serve them just as you please; manure them, cut
them, get fruit at all hazards; only make up your minds that they will
be short-lived and liable to blight and disease.


     [12] For the young reader it may be necessary to say, that
     when sap is first taken up by the roots it is called _true
     sap_; but after it has undergone a change in the leaves it
     is called _proper juice_.



A LIST OF CHOICE FRUITS.


Our readers may desire a list of fruits, which are universally
admitted to be of first-rate excellence. We cannot include, of
course, _all_ that are first rate; but we put none in that are
not so.


I. APPLES.

  I. SUMMER.

  Red or Carolina June.
  Summer Queen.
  Yellow Hoss.
  Sweet Bough.
  Prince’s Harvest.
  Kirkbridge White.
  Sweet June.
  Daniel.

  II. AUTUMN.

  Maiden’s Blush.
  Wine.
  Holland Pippin.
  Rambo.
  Fall Harvey.
  Gravenstein.
  Ashmore.
  Porter.

  III. WINTER.

  Black.
  Golden Russet.
  Newtown Spitzenberg.
  Rhode Island Greening.
  Hubbardston Nonsuch.
  Vandeveer Pippin.
  Yellow Belle Fleur.
  White Belle Fleur.
  Michael Henry Pippin.
  Pryor’s Red.
  Green Newtown Pippin.
  Jenetan or Rawle’s Janet.
  Putnam Russet.


II. PEARS.

  I. SUMMER PEARS, _or such as ripen from the first of July to
  the last of August_.

   1. Madeleine, or Citron des Carmes.
   2. Bloodgood.
   3. Summer Francreal.
   4. Dearborn’s Seedling.
   5. Julienne.
   6. William’s Bon Chretien.

  II. AUTUMN PEARS, _or such as ripen from September to the last
  of November_.

   7. Stevens’ Genesse.
   8. Belle Lucrative.
   9. Henry the Fourth.
  10. Washington.
  11. Dunmore.
  12. St. Ghislain.
  13. Seckel.
  14. Beurre Bosc.
  15. Andrews.
  16. Marie Louise.
  17. Doyenne or fall butter.
  18. Dix.
  19. Petre.
  20. Duchesse D’Angouleme.

  III. WINTER PEARS, _or those which ripen during the winter and
  spring months_.

  21. Beurre Diel.
  22. Hacon’s Incomparable.
  23. Passe Colmar.
  24. Beurre Ranz.
  25. Columbia.
  26. Beurre D’Aremberg.
  27. Van Mons Leon le Clerc.
  28. Beurre Easter.
  29. Chaumontelle.
  30. Glout Morceau.
  31. Prince’s St. Germain.
  32. Winter Nelis.

Those who wish only _four_ trees, may select Nos. 2, 6, 20, 26.
Those who have room for _eight_, to the above may add 13, 23, 25,
32. Those who wish sixteen trees, to the above may add, 1, 3, 11,
14, 18, 21, 24, 28.


III. PEACHES.

  I. EARLY.

   1. Red Magdalen.
   2. Early Royal George.
   3. Early York.
   4. Morris’ Red Rareripe.
   5. Crawford’s Early Mclocoton.

  II. MEDIUM.

   6. Apricot Peach.
   7. Baltimore Rose.
   8. Swalsh.
   9. Noblesse.
  10. Coolidge’s Favorite.
  11. Malta.
  12. Brevoort.
  13. Douglass.
  14. Grosse Mignoune.

  III. LATE.

  15. Heath.
  16. Crawford’s late Melocoton.
  17. Lemon Cling.
  18. La Grange.


IV. APRICOTS.

   1. Large Early.
   2. Breda.
   3. Peach Apricot.
   4. Moorpark.


V. CHERRIES.

   1. Bauman’s May or Bigarreau de Mai.
   2. Black Eagle.
   3. Knight’s Early Black.
   4. May Duke.
   5. Elton.
   6. Bigarreau, or Spanish Yellow
   7. Belle de Choisy.
   8. Black Tartarian.
   9. Downer’s Late.
  10. Napoleon.

For a collection of two trees, 4, 9; for four trees, add 6 and 10.


VI. PLUMS.

   1. Green Gage.
   2. Jefferson.
   3. Huling’s Superb.
   4. Coe’s Golden Drop.
   5. Purple Gage.
   6. Cruger’s Scarlet.
   7. Washington.
   8. Red Gage.
   9. Smith’s Orleans.
  10. Royal de Tours.

For two trees, 1 and 4; for four add 2 and 7. The following are said
to be suitable for light sandy soils, on which plums usually drop
their fruit: Cruger’s Scarlet, Imperial Gage, Red Gage, Coe’s Golden
Drop, Bleeker’s Gage, Blue Gage.


VII. STRAWBERRIES.

  Early Virginia.
  Hovey’s Seedling.
  Hudson.
  Ross Phœnix.

No one man can make out a list that will suit all; and those who are
acquainted with fruits will reject some from the above list and insert
others. But it may be safely said, that he who has in his collection
the above varieties, will have a collection comprising the best that
are known, and without one inferior sort, although there may be many
others _as_ good; which may be added by such as have room for them.



THE NURSERY BUSINESS.


The great interest in the cultivation of fruit which has been excited
within a few years, has given rise to many nurseries to supply the
demand, and every year we see the number increasing. Or rather, we see
new adventurers in this line, for the failure of many and the
abandonment of the business, prevents the number from becoming so
great as one would suppose.

We are very glad to see the art of fruit culture increasing, and we
are very glad to see competent men embarking in the nursery business.
But we are sorry to see the impression gaining ground that it is a
business which anybody can conduct, and that every man can make money
by it who knows how to graft or to bud. Let no man embark in it under
such misapprehension.

In the first place, the time, and labor, and patience required for a
successful nursery business is much greater than any one suspects
beforehand. If a man has a large capital he may begin sales at once
upon a purchased stock. But if one is to prepare his own stock for
market, and this must be the case with by far the greater number of
western nurserymen, it will require several years of expensive labor
before he can realize anything. Nor even then will he be apt to
receive profits which will at all meet his expectations. During these
years of preparation on what is he to live? If he has means, very
well; but let no man suppose that he can get along, especially with a
family on his hands, during the early years of his nursery, if he has
nothing else to depend upon. The mere physical labor of keeping a
nursery in proper order is such as to make it no sinecure.

But all this is a less consideration than the special skill and
vigilant care required to conduct a nursery in an honorable manner.
Nowhere do mistakes occur more easily, and nowhere are they more
provoking, both to the buyer and seller. It is rare that assistants
can be had upon whom reliance can be placed. There are men enough to
plow, and grub, and clean; but to select buds and grafts, to work the
various kinds, and plant them safely by themselves, this, usually,
must be done by the proprietor. Where a nursery is carried on by
assistants, it makes almost no difference how much care is used,
mistakes will abound.

The extent to which an error goes is not unworthy of a moment’s
attention. We purchased of a very highly respectable nurseryman, the
_Royal George_ peach. The first season many buds were distributed from
it. An expert nurseryman in the vicinity, among others, got of it. The
credit of the original proprietor of the tree was such that it was
thought safe to propagate at once, and thousands of trees were worked
with these buds; from him, nurserymen from neighboring counties
procured scions, and now the Royal George, which has proved to be no
Royal George at all, is scattered all over the country. When a nursery
contains from fifty to a hundred kinds of apples, thirty or forty
kinds of pears, ten to twenty sorts of cherries, thirty or forty kinds
of peaches, besides plums, nectarines, apricots, etc., there will be
some two or three hundred _separate varieties_ of fruit to be
propagated each year, and of each sort from a hundred to a thousand or
more trees, according to the business of the nursery. Two things are
apparent from this view; first, that such unremitting and sagacious
vigilance is required that not every one is fit to be a nurseryman;
and, secondly, that not every nurseryman is a scamp who puts upon you
trees untrue to their names. No doubt there are roguish nurserymen; no
doubt, too, there are culpably careless men in this, as in all other
forms of business. But no one will be so charitable to nurserymen as
those who understand the difficulties of their business; and a
mistake, and many of them, may occur in well-appointed grounds, which
no care could well have prevented.

We think this to be a business to which no man should turn, except
under two conditions; first, that he will, if he has not already,
serve a faithful apprenticeship to it—we do not mean by regular
indenture, but by practising for several years in a good nursery until
the prominent essential parts of the business have become practically
familiar.

The other condition is, that he make up his mind to _see to it
himself_.

       *     *     *     *     *

REMEDY FOR YELLOW BUGS.—A gentleman informs us that he has always
saved his vines by planting _poppies_ among them. Those on one side of
an alley, without poppies, would be entirely eaten, while those on the
other side, with poppies, would not be touched.



THE BREEDING OF FRUITS.


Because, as yet, no certain rules can be laid down for the production
of a given result by crossing flower on flower, it does not follow
that there are not certain invariable principles which govern the
process. It is but a little while since breeding animals had any
pretension to scientific rules. But, by careful practice and
observation, the most important improvement has been attained in all
the animals belonging to the farm. And if careful research and
experiment do not result in absolute certainty, they will yet render
the production of fine varieties of fruit, by the crossing of the old
ones, a matter of much less chance than it now is.

The art of cross-fertilization is being much more practised by
florists than by pomologists, and for obvious reasons. What the
breeder of annuals can do in a few months requires more than as many
years from him that essays to raise new fruits. Many florists’
flowers, however, require as long and even a longer time than apples
or pears; and it is a marvel that the phlegmatic patience of the
tulip-loving Dutch Jobs should not have found imitators in the
orchard. If a man can wait ten years to ascertain that all his
seedling bulbs are good for nothing, or at the best, that out of ten
thousand, but one or two are worth keeping, surely the patience of an
enthusiast in fruit ought not to snap by being drawn through such a
space.

Two methods for originating new varieties of fruit have been
practised; the _natural_ method of Van Mons, and the _artificial_
method of Knight. Van Mons, born at Brussels in 1765, was a man of
fine genius and thorough education. Although he is chiefly known as a
pomologist, his labors in the nursery were only incidental to the
regular occupation of a public scientific life. M. Poiteau quaintly
says of him that he writes “on the gravest subjects, in the midst of
noise, in a company of persons who talk loudly on frivolous subjects,
and takes part in the conversation without stopping his pen.”

Van Mons’ theory is founded upon two physical facts:

1. _That all seeds in a state of nature can be made by cultivation to
vary from their condition, which variations may be fixed, and become
permanent._

2. _That all cultivated seeds have a tendency to return toward that
natural state from which they originally varied._ We say _toward_, for
he supposed that an improved fruit would never return absolutely to
the original and natural type.

It was upon this last principle that Van Mons accounted for the fact,
that as a general thing, the seeds of fine old varieties of fruit
produced only inferior kinds. Recourse could not be had therefore to
seeds of improved fruit.

On the other hand, the seed of fruits absolutely wild would produce
fruits exactly like their original. If the seed of the wild pear be
gotten from the wood and planted in a garden, every seed will yield
only the wild pear again. But if a wild pear be transplanted, and put
under new influences of soil, climate and cultivation, its fruit will
begin to augment and improve. The change is not merely upon the size
and appearance of the fruit, it affects also the qualities of the
_seed_. For if the seed be now planted, the difference between a wild
pear, _in a state of nature_ and the same wild pear-tree _in a state
of cultivation_ will at once appear in this, that whereas the seed of
the first is _constant_, the seed of the second shows an inclination
to _vary_. Here then is a starting. When once the habit of _variation_
is gained, the foundation of improvement is laid. In a short time the
enthusiasm of Van Mons had collected into his garden 80,000 trees upon
which he was experimenting, nor can the result of his labors be better
stated than in the words of M. Poiteau:

     “That so long as plants remain in their natural situation,
     they do not sensibly vary, and their seeds always produce
     the same; but on changing their climate and territory
     several among them vary, some more and others less, and when
     they have once departed from their natural state, they never
     again return to it, but are removed more and more therefrom,
     by successive generations, and produce, sufficiently often,
     distinct races, more or less durable, and that finally if
     these variations are even carried back to the territory of
     their ancestors, they will neither represent the character
     of their parents, or ever return to the species from whence
     they sprung.”

Accordingly, Van Mons began to sow the seeds of natural and wild fruit
which were in a _variable_ state. By all means within his power he
hastened his seedlings to show fruit. The first generation showed only
poor fruit but decidedly better than the wild. Selecting the seed of
the best of these, he sowed again. From the fruit of these he sowed
the third generation. From the third, a fourth; and from the fourth, a
fifth; as far as the eighth generation.

His experience showed that there was great difference among different
species of fruit in the number of generations through which they must
pass before they were perfect. The apple yielded good fruit in the
fourth generation. Stone fruits produced perfect kinds in the third
generation. Some varieties afforded perfect fruit in the fifth
generation, while others go on improving to the eighth.

The time required for this renovation diminished at each remove from
the normal or wild state. Thus, the trees from the second sowing of
the pear-seed fruited in from ten to twelve years; those from their
seed, or of the third genetion in from eight to ten years; those of
the fourth generation in from six to eight years; those of the fifth
generation, in six years, and those in the eight, in four years. These
are the _mean_ terms of all his experiments.

To obtain perfect stone fruits, through four successive generations,
from parent to son, required from twelve to fifteen years; the apple
required twenty years, and the pear, when carried only to the fifth
generation, required from thirty to thirty-six years.

HYBRIDIZATION, OR KNIGHT’S METHOD.—Andrew Knight, one of the most
original and philosophic horticulturists that ever lived, pursued an
entirely different method—that of _cross-fertilization_. He carefully
removed the anthers from the blossoms upon which he wished to operate,
so that the stigma should not receive a particle of the pollen
belonging to its own flower. He then procured from the variety which
he wished to cross, a portion of the pollen, and artificially
impregnated the prepared blossom with it. When the fruit thus produced
had ripened its seeds, they were sown, and by regular process brought
into bearing. The progeny were found to combine, in various degrees of
excellence, the qualities of both parents.


REMARKS ON THE TWO METHODS.

1. Both Van Mons and Knight believed in a degeneracy of plants; but
the degeneracy of the one system is not to be confounded with that of
the other.

Knight believed that varieties had a regular period of existence;
although, as in animal life, care and skill might make essential
difference in the longevity, yet they could in nowise avert the final
catastrophe; a time would come, sooner or later, at which the
vegetable vitality would be expended, and the variety must perish by
exhaustion—by _running out_.

Van Mons believed that an improved variety tended to return to its
normal state—to its wild type; and although he did not believe that it
could ever be entirely restored to its wild state, it might go so far
as to make it worthless for useful purposes.

Knight believed in absolute decay; Van Mons, in retrocession.
According to Knight’s theory, varieties of fruit cease by the natural
statute of limitation; according to Van Mons, they only fall from
grace.

There can be no reasonable doubt that Van Mons held the truth, and as
little, that Knight’s speculations were fallacious. Bad cultivation
will cause anything to run out; no plant will perfect its tissues or
fruit without the soil affords it elementary materials. The so-called
exhausted varieties renew their youth when transplanted into soils
suitable for them.

2. Against Van Mons’ method it is urged, that it enfeebles the
constitution of plants; that, _enfeebling_ is the very key of the
process. This Mr. Downing urges with emphasis, saying that, “the
Belgian method (Van Mons’) gives us varieties often impaired in their
_health_ in their very origin.” It is one thing to restrain the energy
of a plant, and another to enfeeble it. It may be enfeebled until it
becomes unhealthy, but rampant vigor is as really an unhealthy state
as the other extreme. A tree refuses fruit and is liable to death from
a coarse, open, rank growth, as much as from a languor which
suppresses all growth.

No; that which we imagine Van Mons to have effected was a smaller, but
more _compact_ and _fine_ growth. Nor are we aware that, _as a matter
of experience_, the Belgian pears prove to be any more tender than the
English. Doubtless, there are trees of a delicate and tender habit in
the number, but as few, in proportion to the great number originated,
as by any other method.

The two main objections to the plan are the _time required_, and the
utter _uncertainty of the results_. To imitate the process would
require a Van Mons’ patience, in which, probably, he was never
surpassed, and his enthusiasm, which was extraordinary even for a
horticulturist, a race of beings supposed to be anything but
phlegmatic.

The _uncertainty_ is such as to prevent any determinate improvement.
We get, not what we may wish, but whatever may happen to come. Nothing
that art can do would affect the size, color, hardness, or in any
respect, the general character of the fruit.

It is in these aspects that Knight’s method must always be preferred
as a practical system. We can obtain a return for our labor in
_one-fifth_ the time; and, what is even more important, we can
regulate, before-hand, the results within certain limits. The new
fruit is to be made up of the qualities of its parents in various
proportions. We cannot determine what the proportions shall be, but we
can determine what parents shall be selected. Nor is it at all
improbable that, when knowledge has become more exact by a longer and
larger experience, the breeder of fruit may cross the varieties with
nearly the same certainty of result as does the breeder of stock. It
is upon this feature, the power which science has over the results to
be obtained, that we look with the greatest interest; and we urge upon
scientific cultivators the duty of perfecting our fruits by judicious
breeding.



PRUNING ORCHARDS.


The habit of early spring pruning has been handed down to us from
English customs, and farmers do it because it always has been done.
Besides, about this time, men have leisure, and would like to begin
the season’s work; and pruning seems quite a natural employment with
which to introduce the labors of the year.

It is not possible for America, but more emphatically for western
cultivators to do worse than to pattern upon the example of British
and Continental authorities in the matter of orchards and vineyards.
The summers of England are moist, cool, and deficient in light. Our
summers are exactly the reverse—dry, fervid, and brilliant. The
stimuli of the elements with them are much below, and with us much
above par. In consequence, their trees have but a moderate growth;
ours are inclined to excessive growth.

Their whole system of open-culture, and wall-training is founded upon
the necessity of _husbanding all their resources_. To avail themselves
of every particle of light, they keep open the heads of their trees,
so that the parsimonious sunshine shall penetrate every part of the
tree. Let this be done with us, and there are many of our trees that
would be killed by the force of the sun’s rays upon the naked branches
in a single season, or very much enfeebled. For the same general
reasons, the English reduce the quantity of bearing-wood, shortening a
part or wholly cutting it out, that the residue, having the whole
energy of the tree concentrated upon it, may perfect its fruit. Our
difficulty being an excess of vitality, this system of shortening and
cutting out, would cause the tree to send out suckers from the root
and trunk, and would fill the head of the tree with rank water-shoots
or _gourmands_. What would be thought of the people of the torrid zone
should they borrow their customs of clothing from the practice of
Greenland? It would be as rational as it is for orchardists, in a land
whose summers are long and of high temperature, to copy the customs of
a land whose summers are prodigal of fog and rain, but penurious of
heat and light.

Except to remove dead, diseased or interfering branches, do not cut at
all.

But if pruning is to be done, wait till after corn-planting. _The best
time to prune is the time when healing will the quickest follow
cutting._ This is not in early spring, but in early summer. The
elements from which new wood is produced are not drawn from the rising
sap, but from that which descends between the bark and wood. This sap,
called _true sap_, is the upward sap after it has gone through that
chemical laboratory, the leaf. Each leaf is a chemical contractor,
doing up its part of the work of preparing sap for use, as fast as it
is sent up to it from the root through the interior sap-passages. In
the leaf, the sap gives off and receives, certain properties; and when
thus elaborated, it is charged with all those elements required for
the formation and sustentation of every part of vegetable fabric.
Descending, it gives out its various qualities, till it reaches the
root; and whatever is left then passes out into the soil.

Every man will perceive that if a tree is pruned in spring before it
has a leaf out, there is no sap provided to repair the wound. A slight
granulation _may_ take place, in certain circumstances, and in some
kinds of plants, from the elements with which the tree was stored
during the former season; but, in point of fact, a cut usually remains
without change until, the progress of spring puts the whole vegetable
economy into action.

In young and vigorous trees, this process may not seem to occasion any
injury. But trees growing feeble by age will soon manifest the result
of this injudicious practice, by blackened stumps, by cankered sores,
and by decay.

If one must begin to do something that looks like spring-work, let him
go at a more efficient train of operations. With a good spade invert
the sod for several feet from the body of the tree. With a good
scraper remove all dead bark. Dilute (old) soft soap with urine; take
a stiff shoe-brush, and go to scouring the trunk and main branches.
This will be labor to some purpose; and before you have gone through a
large orchard faithfully, your zeal for spring-work will have become
so far tempered with knowledge, that you will be willing to _let
pruning alone till after corn-planting_.

Two exceptions or precautions should be mentioned.

1. In the use of the wash; new soap is more _caustic_ than old; and
the sediments of a soap barrel much more so than the mass of soap.
Sometimes trees have been injured by applying a caustic alkali in too
great strength. There is little danger of this when a tree is rough
and covered with dead bark or dirt; but when it is smooth and has no
scurf it is more liable to suffer. _Trees should not be washed in dry
and warm weather._ The best time is just before spring rains, or
before any rain.

2. Where fruit-trees are found to have suffered from the winter,
pruning cannot be too early, and hardly too severe. If left to grow,
the heat of spring days ferments the sap and spreads blight throughout
the tree; whereas, by severe cutting, there is a chance, at least, of
removing much of the injured wood. We have gone over the pear-trees in
our own garden, and wherever the least affection has been discovered,
we have cut out every particle of the last summer’s wood; and cut back
until we reached sound and healthy wood, pith and bark.



SLITTING THE BARK OF TREES.


This is a practice very much followed by fruit-raisers. Downing gives
his sanction to it. Mr. Pell (N. Y.), famous for his orchards,
includes it as a part of his system of orchard cultivation. Men talk
of trees being _bark-bound_, etc., and let out the bark on the same
principle, we suppose, as mothers do the pantaloons of growing boys.
We confess a prejudice against this letting out of the tucks in a
tree’s clothes. We do not say that there may not be cases of diseased
trees in which, as a remedial process, this may be wise; but we should
as soon think of slitting the skin on a boy’s legs, or on a calf’s or
colt’s, as a regular part of a plan of rearing them, as to slash the
bark of sound and healthy trees. _Bark-bound!_ what is that? Does the
inside of a tree grow faster than the outside? When bark is slit, is
it looser around the whole trunk than before? When granulations have
filled up this artificial channel, is not the bark just as tight as it
was before? Mark, we do not say that it is _not_ a good practice; but
only that we do not yet understand _what_ the benefit is.

“Why, the bark bursts sometimes.”

Yes, disease may thus affect it; and when it does, _cut if necessary_.

“Does it do any harm?” Perhaps not; neither would it to put a
weathercock on the top of every tree; or to bury a black cat under the
roots, or to mark each tree with talismanic signs. Is it worth while
to do a thing just because it does no harm?

“But when a tree is growing too fast, does it not need it?” Yes, if it
can be shown that the bark, alburnum, etc., do not increase alike.
That excitement which increases the growth of one part of a tree will,
as a general fact, increase the growth of every other. In respect to
the _fruit and seed_, doubtless, particular manures will develop
special properties. But is there evidence that such a thing takes
place in respect to the various tissues of the wood, bark, etc?

“But if a tree be sluggish, and bound, will it not help it?” Whatever
excites a more vigorous circulation will be of advantage. Whether any
supposed advantage from the knife arises in this way, we do not know.
But a good _scraping_, or a scouring off of the whole body with sand,
and then a pungent alkaline wash—(soft soap diluted with urine) would,
we think, be better for bark-bound trees than the whole tribe of
slits, vertical, horizontal, zig-zag, or waved.

       *     *     *     *     *

HOVEY’S MAGAZINE OF HORTICULTURE.—We recommend all who can afford
three dollars a year for a sterling monthly, beautifully got up, in
the best style of Boston typography, to send to Boston for Hovey’s
Magazine. We give it an unqualified recommendation, and those who take
it one year will be loth to part with it.



DOWNING’s FRUIT AND FRUIT-TREES OF AMERICA.


When a book is hopelessly weak or incorrect, it should be the object
of criticism to exterminate it. But when a work is admitted to be,
upon the whole, well done, criticism ought to be an assistance to it,
and not a hindrance. Praise by the wholesale is better for the
publisher than for the reputation of the author; since, in a work like
Downing’s, every pomologist knows that perfection is not attainable,
and indiscriminate eulogy inclines the better-read critic to rebut the
praise by a full development of the faults. Thus on one side there as
general praise and faint blame; and on the other, faint praise and
general blame.

We shall, at present, confine our attention to the catalogue of apples
and pears, for all other fruits of our zone together are not of
importance equal to these; and if an author excels in respect to
these, his success will cover a multitude of sins in the treatment of
small fruits, and fruits of short duration. Mr. Downing has shown good
judgment in making out his list of varieties; his descriptions, for
the most part, seem to be from his own senses; he has added many
interesting particulars in respect to fruits not recorded before, or
else scattered in isolated sentences in magazines and journals.

But are his descriptions thorough and uniform? While he has added
_materials_ to pomology, has he advanced the _science_ by reducing
such materials to a consistent form? If we compare Mr. Downing’s
descriptions with those of Kenrick, or even of Manning, he excels them
in fullness. If he be compared with classic European pomologists, he
is decidedly inferior, both in the conception of what was to be done,
and in a neat, systematic method of execution. Indeed, Mr. Downing
does not seem to have settled, beforehand, in his mind, a _formula_ of
a description; sometimes only three or four characteristics are given.
Downing sins in excellent company. There is not an American
pomological writer who appears to have _conceived_, even, of a
systematic, scientific description of fruits. European authors,
decidedly more explicit and minute than we are, have never reduced the
descriptive part of the science to anything like regularity. We do not
suppose that there can be such exact and constant dissimilarities
detected between variety and variety of a species, as exists between
species and species of a genus. We do not think a description of
fruits to be imperfect, therefore, merely because it is less
distinctive than a description of plants. But the more variable and
obscure the points of difference between two varieties, the more
scrupulously careful must we be to seize them. Where differences are
broad and uniform, science can afford to be careless, but not where
they are vague and illusory. We can approximate a systematic accuracy.
But it must be by making up in the _number_ of determining
circumstances, that which is wanting in the invariable distinctiveness
of a few that are _specific_.

1. Downing’s descriptions are quite _irregular_ and _unequal_. Both
his pears and apples are imperfect, but not alike imperfect. The
descriptions of pears are decidedly in advance of those of the apple.
It would seem as if the improvement which he gained by practice was
very easily traced in its course on his pages.

Hardly two apples are described in reference to the same particulars.
With respect to color of skin, size and form, eye and stem, he
approaches the nearest to uniformity. But with respect to every other
feature there is an utter want of regularity, which indicates not so
much _carelessness_ as the want of any settled plan or conception of a
perfect scientific description.

We will, out of a multitude of similar cases, select a few as
specimens of what we mean. Of the _Pumpkin Russet_, he says, “flesh
exceedingly rich and sweet;” but he does not speak of its _texture_,
whether coarse or fine; whether brittle or leathery. _Pomme de
Neige_—“flesh remarkably white, very tender, juicy and good, with a
slight perfume;” but is it sweet or sour, or subacid, or astringent?
No one can tell by reading the joint descriptions of the _Red_ and the
_Yellow Ingestries_ what their flavor is, since it is only said that
they are “juicy and high flavored”—but whether the high flavored juice
is sweet or sour, does not appear. These are not picked instances.
They occur on almost every page of his list of apples. The _Summer
Sweet Paradise_ is, of course, sweet, since we are three times told of
it, once in the title and twice in the text. The SWEET _Pearmain_
also, is a “sweet apple” “of a very _saccharine_ flavor.” Of course it
is _sweet_. Nos. 67, 68, 69, 74, 75, and very many more, are described
without information as to their flavor except that, whatever it is, it
is “brisk,” or “high,” or “rich”—forlorn adjectives unaffianced to any
substantive which they may qualify. Sometimes the health of the tree
and its hardiness are given, and as often omitted. Some times its
habit of bearing is mentioned, but oftener neglected. The color of the
flesh is given in No. 82, but not in 83; in 84, but not in 85; from
86-92 inclusive, but not to the _second_ 92, for the Bedfordshire
Foundling and the Dutch Mignonne are both numbered 92. The color of
the flesh is not given in 93, 97, 100, 101, 103, 110, although the
intermediate numbers have it given. Why should one be minutely
described, and another not all? We should regard it an ungrateful
requital for all the pleasure and profit which this volume has
afforded us to hunt up and display what, to some, may seem to be mere
“jots and tittles,” were it not that these, in themselves, unimportant
things mark decisively the absence in the author’s _plan_, of a style
of description which pomology always needed, but now begins
imperiously to demand. And we are confident that a pomological manual
_on the right design_, is yet to be written. Our hearty wish is, that
Mr. Downing’s revised edition may be that manual.

2. We are led, from these remarks, to consider, by itself, the
_imperfect scale_ of descriptions adopted by all our American
pomological writers, upon which Mr. D. has not materially improved.

The description of the _tree_ is very meagre or totally neglected.
_Nothing at all_ is said of it in cases out of the 174 apples numbered
and described. The general shape of the tree is given in but
_thirty-eight_ instances in the same number.

The _color of the wood_ is, usually, noticed in the account of pears;
but in the account of apples in not one case, we should think, in ten.

The peculiar _growth of the young wood_, in a great majority of cases,
is not noticed; but more frequently in the pear than in the apple
list. The least practised observer knows how striking is this feature
of the face of a tree. We do not remember an instance where the _buds_
have been employed as a characteristic. Are distinctive marks so
numerous that such a one as this can be spared? The shape, color,
size, prominence, and shoulder of buds, together with their
interstitial spaces, form too remarkable a portion of trees to be
absolutely overlooked in a book describing the “fruits and
_fruit-trees_ of America.”

Equally noticeable is the almost entire neglect of the _core and
seed_, as identifying marks. Once in a while, as in the case of the
Belle Fleur, the Roman Stem, the Spitzenberg, and the Pomme Royale, we
are told, that the cores are hollow. But neither among pears nor
apples, is the core or seed made to be of any importance. This is the
more remarkable as being a decided _retrocession_ in the art of
description. Prince, wisely following continental authors, is careful
in his description of pears, to give, and with some minuteness, the
peculiarities of the seed. But Downing injudiciously misled by, in
this respect, the decidedly bad example of British authors, has,
almost without exception, neglected this noble criterion. There is not
another single feature, either of fruit or fruit-trees, which we could
not spare better than the _core and seed_. Not only may varieties be
marked by their seeds, but they form, in connection with the core,
important elements of diagnosis of _qualities_. A long-keeper, usually
has a very small, compact core, with few seeds. A highly improved and
luscious pear, not unfrequently is wholly seedless; while fruits not
far removed from the wild state abound in seeds. Whenever a _system of
description_ shall have been formed, we venture to predict that the
_core and seed_ will be ranked at a higher value in it than any one
other element of discrimination and description.

The same neglect or casual notice is bestowed upon the _leaf_. If
anything about it is remarkable it is mentioned, not otherwise: but is
there a page of any book that was ever printed, that has more reading
on it than is on a leaf, if one is only taught to read it? _It_, too,
is not only a sign of difference but very often of _quality_. Mr. D.
has availed himself of this criterion in describing peaches. Is it a
legible sign only in the peach orchard? He that is ignorant of these
marks, and only can tell one _fruit_ from another, is yet in the a b c
of pomology. Who but a tyro, on importing _Coe’s Golden Drop_, would
not at once perceive the imposition, if there was one, the moment his
eye saw a bud, or its shoulder? Van Mons learned to select stocks for
his experiments, as well by the wood and bud in winter, as by the leaf
and growth of summer. In a large bed of seedlings every experimenter
ought to know by wood and leaf what to select as prognosticating good
fruit, and what to reject, without waiting to see the fruit.
Nurserymen of our acquaintance, without book, label, or stake, can
tell every well-known variety on their grounds. One of our
acquaintance never had a mark, label, stake, or register, of any kind
upon his ground; a culpable reliance on his ability to read
tree-faces; for, on his throwing up the business suddenly, his
successor fell into innumerable mistakes. It is just as easy for a
pomologist to know the face of every variety, as for a shepherd to
know the face of every sheep in his flock, or a grazier every animal
of his herd.

3. Although the “Fruit and Fruit-trees of America” professes to give
the process of management only for the _garden and the orchard_, it
ought to include, and we presume was designed to embrace the essential
features of nursery culture. Every cultivator of fruit must be a
private nurseryman; he needs the same information, the same directions
as if were a commercial gardener. He that designs planting an orchard
ought to know the _disposition_ of each variety of fruit-tree, that he
may suit the circumstances of his soil, or provide for the
peculiarities of a tree, as a farmer needs to know the peculiarities
of the different breeds of hogs and cattle. With a large number of
persons it would be enough to say of fruits, “superb,” “extra-superb,”
“superlatively grand,” “extra magnificent;” for such, a _princely_
catalogue would answer every purpose. But such as have some knowledge,
and every year, we are happy to believe, the number of such increases,
ask, not the author’s bare eulogy, but a definite statement of all
those special qualities on which such eulogy is founded. The exact
_taste_ of each variety of fruit should be studied in respect to soil;
some, and but few, love strong clays; yet fewer thrive upon wet soils;
but some will, as the Sweet or Carolina June, which does well on quite
wet soils; some refuse their gifts except upon a warm and rich sand;
some, and by far the greatest number, love a deep loam, with a subsoil
moist without being wet. The buds of some varieties escape the vernal
frosts by their hardiness; some by putting forth later than their
orchard brethren. Some varieties thrive admirably by ground or root
grafting, while very many, so worked, are killed off during the first
winter; some varieties, if budded, grow off with alacrity, others are
dull and unwilling; some form their tops with facility and beauty;
others, like many men, are rambling, awkward, and averse to any head
at all. Some sorts, put upon what stock you will, have singularly
massive roots; others have fine and slender ones. Every variety of
tree has traits of disposition peculiar to itself; and in respect to
traits possessed in common, even these may be classified. In every
description there should be, at least, an attempt at giving these
various nursery peculiarities. It cannot be done, as yet, with any
considerable accuracy. _Fruit-trees have not yet been minutely
studied._ A florist can give you a thousand times more minute and
special information in respect to the peculiar habits and wants of his
flowers, than an orchardist can of his trees. Doubtless, it is easier
to do it in plants which have a short period; whose whole life passes
along before the eye every season, than in plants whose very youth
outlasts ten generations of Dahlias, Pansies, Balsams, etc. But that
only makes it the more important that we should be up and doing. Let
no work be regarded as classic which does not take into its _design_
the most thorough enunciation of all the peculiarities of fruits, and
pomology will receive more advantage in ten years, than it could by a
hundred years of rambling, unregulated, discursive descriptions.

The ability which Mr. D. has shown as a horticultural writer, his
industry in collecting materials for this, his last work; the skill
which he has shown himself to possess in describing fruits, give the
public a right to expect that he will “go on unto perfection;” and if
Mr. D. will adopt a higher standard and set out with a design of a
more systematic description of fruits, every liberal cultivator in the
land will be glad to put at his disposal whatever of minute
observation he may possess.

       *     *     *     *     *

Buckwheat is a corruption rather than a translation of the Saxon word
_Buckwaizen_, the first syllable signifying beech, the tree of that
name, whose nut the kernel of the grain so much resembles in shape.
The grain, therefore, might be properly called beech-wheat.



LETTER FROM A. J. DOWNING.


We give below a letter from Mr. Downing, long known as an eminent
pomologist and more recently yet more distinguished for his writings
upon Horticultural matters. Although a private letter, it is of
general interest, and he will, we hope, indulge the liberty taken.[13]

                          “HIGHLAND GARDENS, NEWBURGH, NEW YORK,
                                              _Feb. 29th, 1845_.

     “MY DEAR SIR: I thank you for the interesting article on
     horticulture in the West, which appears in the last No. of
     _Hovey’s Magazine_.

     “My particular object in writing you at this moment is to
     call your attention to the remarks you make on the ‘Golden
     Russet,’ which you call ‘the prince of small apples.’ From
     your description of this fruit it is the ’sheep-nose,’ or
     ‘Bullock’s Pippin’ of Coxe, well known here, and one of the
     most melting and delicious of apples. I understand from
     Professor Kirtland of Cleveland, that this is the apple
     known by the name of Golden Russet in his region.

     “Will you do me the favor, for the sake of settling the
     synonyms, to send me two or three cuttings of the young
     wood, by mail? I can then determine in a moment. The
     Sheep-nose has long shoots of a peculiar _drab_ color. If
     your apple proves the same, I think I shall cancel the title
     ’sheep-nose’—(a vile name), known only in New Jersey, and
     substitute ‘American Golden Russet’[14]—this being its
     common title in New England and the West. I speak now in
     relation to my work on fruits, now in press.

     “What do you mean by the ‘White Bell-flower of Coxe?’ The
     Detroit I have carefully examined, and it is quite different
     from the Yellow Bellflower. The Monstrous Bellflower—the
     only other one Coxe describes—is a large autumn fruit, while
     the Detroit keeps till April?

     “My work on Fruits has cost me a great deal of labor, but
     will still contain many imperfections. When it is out of
     press—in about six weeks—I promise myself the pleasure of
     sending it with the copy of each of my previous works for
     the acceptance of your Horticultural Society. And I then
     hope to be favored with your criticism. Hoping an early
     answer to my queries herein,

                                    “I am sincerely yours,
                                                 “A. J. DOWNING.

     “H. W. BEECHER.”

We should have said “Monstrous Bellflower” instead of White.

The Bellflower here mentioned is the White or Green Bellflower of
Indiana, the _Ohio Favorite_ of western Ohio about Dayton, etc., the
_Hollow-cored Pippin of some_; and it has been inquired for, at Mr.
Alldredge’s nursery, as the _Cumberland Spice_. Mr. A—— considered,
from the description given, that the white Bellflower only could have
been meant. But from the following description of Cumberland Spice in
Kenrick, from Coxe, I am inclined to think that the true Cumberland
Spice may have been inquired for.

“The tree is very productive; a fine dessert fruit, large, rather
oblong, contracted toward the summit; the stalk thick and short; of a
pale yellow color, clouded near the base; the flesh white, tender, and
fine. It ripens in autumn, and keeps till winter, and shrivels in its
last stages.”

The fruit was brought to Wayne County, Indiana, by Mr. Brunson. He
came from New York to Huron county, Ohio, and thence to Wayne County,
Indiana. It is universally diffused through the eastern and central
parts of Indiana, and is esteemed a first-rate apple. The _tree_
strikingly resembles the Green Newtown Pippin, but its brush is not so
small, and there is less of it, the top being rather more open. The
wood is brittle, and, as the tree is a free and constant bearer, it
tends to break, and is troublesome to keep in good order. Mr. Ernst
and other gentlemen of Cincinnati suppose the variety to be the
_Detroit_. We cannot say one thing or another, except that it is of
the Bellflower family. The Detroit of New York is a widely different
fruit, of a bright scarlet color, and we never heard of any other
_Detroit_, until the name was applied to this apple.

There is not the least doubt that the _Golden Russet_ of the West is
the _Bullock Pippin_ and _Sheep-nose_ of New Jersey, and we hope that
the proposed name “_American Golden Russet_” will deliver us, for ever
after, from eating any more _sheep-noses_. Names are of importance in
classifying fruits, and there is a pleasure also in having a decorous
name to a good fruit. It is amusing to look through a catalogue of
singular names.

The _Hoss_ apple is popularly the _Horse_ apple, and when, on a
certain contingency a gentleman promised to eat a _hoss_ it was not so
hazardous a threat as some have imagined. The French, in naming their
fruits, exercise a freedom with things human and divine, to which we
occidentals are not accustomed (as, _Ah Mon Dieu! Grosse Cuisse
Madame_, etc.), and an innocent person, recapitulating his pears,
might, if overheard by neighbors understanding French, be thought very
profane, or worse. There are other names which have a tendency to make
the mouth water, as _Onion Pear_. One must have pleasing associations
while eating the _Toad Pear_. (See Prince’s Pom. Man. p. 24 and 34.)
The French _Bon Chrétien_ (or Good Christian) is called in these parts
the _Bon Cheat-em_. Then, there is the Demoiselle, the Lady’s Flesh,
and Love’s Pear (Prince, 58, 34, and 117)—very proper for young
lovers. Then, there is the _Burnt Cat_ (_Chat Bruslé_ of the French,
Prince 89), which undoubtedly has a musk flavor. We have less
objection to the _Priest’s Pear_ (_Poire de Prêtre_, Prince, 108).
Piscatory gentlemen would always angle in our nurseries for the
_Trout_ pear (Prince 130), and if they did not get a bite, the pear
_would_, as it is a fine variety. How did those who named pears,
_Louise Bonne de Jersey_, or _Van Mons leon le clerc_, expect common
folks to hold fast to the true name? But he must have a short memory
indeed, who forgets the emphatic name of _Yat_ or _Yut_.

But to return from our digression. We give the description of the
Golden Russet from three sources, and indorse their general accuracy:


GOLDEN RUSSET.—(DR. PLUMMER.)

“SIZE.—2 2-10 inches long; 2 7-10 inches wide.

“FORM.—Rather smaller at the summit; moderately flattened at the ends.

“PULP.—Very tender, juicy, yellowish white.

“COLOR.—Deep yellow, with brown and russet clouds; or wholly brown and
russet.

“SURFACE.—Nearly dull; ruffled by the confluent lineoles; dots hardly
discoverable.

“FLAVOR.—Sweet and delicious.

“STEM.—Slender; half to one inch long, reaching to a considerable
distance beyond the verge.

“EYE.—In rather contracted cavity; closed.

“Ripens in the tenth month.

“It is one of our best apples, and keeps well through the winter.”

“Whether the Leathercoat and the Glass apple are the same as are now
known under those names, it is impossible to determine. Near
Poughkeepsie, in the State of New York, the Leathercoat used to be a
favorite fruit; and whether it is the same as the Golden Russet,
described above, I am not now able to say; but my recollection of that
apple after a lapse of twenty-three years, induces me to think it is
no other than the Golden Russet; and, indeed, Trevelyan calls it also
the ‘_russet_ appell.’ The Glass apple was described in a former
number of ‘The Orchard.’ If the ‘lethercott’ has descended to us under
the name of Golden Russet, the fine flavor of this apple would lead us
to believe that it had not deteriorated, after a period of more than
two centuries and a half.”—_West. Farm. and Gard._, 1843.


BULLOCK’s PIPPIN, OR SHEEP-NOSE.—(COXE.)

_Golden Russet of Cincinnati. Golden Russet of the Eastern
nurseries._—(_Dr. Kirtland._)

“Neither the size nor appearance of this fruit would attract
attention; yet it sells more readily in markets where it is known than
any other apple. Its flavor is rich and pleasant, and many people
consider it the best fruit of the season. In northern Ohio it matures
at New-Year’s, while in Cincinnati it is in perfection in
November.”—_West. Farm. and Gard._, 1841.


GOLDEN RUSSET—BULLOCK PIPPIN, OR SHEEP-NOSE.—(A. HAMPTON.)

“This apple is below medium size; the skin is yellow, inclined to a
russet; the flesh yellow, rich, juicy, tender and sprightly. I know of
no apple more generally admired for its richness and excellent flavor
than this; commanding a high price, and ready sale, in market; it
makes very rich cider; a great and constant bearer; and keeps well
till spring.”—_West. Farm. and Gard._, 1841.

We do not know another apple whose _flavor_ and _flesh_ are so
admirable. A gentleman in Ohio, on being asked for a list of a hundred
trees for an orchard, replied, “set out ninety-nine Golden Russets,
the other one you can choose for yourself.”


     [13] Mr. Downing’s untimely end by drowning is well known.

     [14] There is an English Golden Russet, distinct and quite
     acid.



ATTENTION TO ORCHARDS.


Clean out your orchards. Let no branches lie scattered around. If in
crops, let the tillage be thorough and clean. In plowing near the tree
be careful not to strike deep enough to lacerate the small roots and
fibres. An orchard should be tended with a _cultivator_ rather than a
plow, and the space immediately about the tree should be worked with a
hoe. Look to the fence corners, and grub out all bushes, briers and
weeds. A fine orchard with such a ruffle around it, is like a handsome
woman with dirty ears and neck.

_Pruning_ may still be performed. Those who are raising young orchards
ought not to prune at _any_ particular time between May and August,
but _all along_ the season, as the tree needs it. If a bad branch is
forming, take it out while it is small; if too many are starting, rub
them out while so tender as to be managed without a knife and by the
fingers. If an orchard is rightly educated from the first, there will
seldom be a limb to be cut of larger than a little finger, and a
pen-knife will be large enough for pruning. In the West there is more
danger of pruning too much, than too little. The sun should never be
allowed to strike the inside branches of a fruit-tree. Many trees are
thus very much weakened and even killed if the sun is violently warm.
Over-pruning induces the growth of shoots at the root, along the
trunk, and all along the branches.

_Grub up suckers_, and clear off from large and well established trees
all side-shoots. After a tree is three inches in diameter through the
stem, it may be kept entirely free of side shoots. But young trees are
much assisted in every respect, except appearance, by letting brush
grow the whole length of their stem, only pinching off the ends of the
whips, if they grow too rampantly. In this way the leaves afford great
strength to the trunk, and prevent its being spindling or weak-fibred.

_Scour off the dead bark_, which, besides being unsightly, is a harbor
for a great variety of insects, and affords numerous crevices for
water to stand in. We have previously recommended soft soap, thinned
with urine to the consistence of paint, as a wash for trees; we have
seen nothing better.

_Examine grafts_ if any have been put in. See if the wax excludes the
air entirely; rub out all shoots which threaten to overgrow and
exhaust the graft; if it is growing too strongly, it must be
supported, or it will blow out in some high wind.

LOOK OUT FOR BLIGHT.—All trees that have shown no indications of
blight, will be safe for the season. But those which have shown the
affection may be expected to continue to break out through the season.
It is all important to use the knife freely; for although there is no
contagion from tree to tree, yet the diseased sap will, in the same
tree, be conveyed from part to part over the whole fabric. But prompt
pruning will remove the seat and source of the evil. Where a branch is
affected, cut chips out of the bark along down for yards; indeed,
examine the limb entirely home to the trunk, and you may easily detect
any spots which are depositories of this diseased sap, which, by its
color, and whole appearance, will be identified by the most
unpractised eye. Cut everything, below and aloft, that has this
feculent sap in it, even if you take off the whole head by the trunk,
and leave only a stump; for, the stump may send new shoots; but if the
tree is spared from false tenderness you will lose it, bough, trunk,
and root.



WINE AND HORTICULTURE.

  “_Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color
    in the cup, when it moveth itself aright._”


Now, the Cincinnati Horticultural Society appointed a committee to do
just what Solomon says must not be done. Their report is a very artful
document, so drawn up that the unwary would suppose that this was a
mere business affair—passing off quite respectably. But we were not to
be deceived; we instantly saw through it; and pencil in hand, we noted
all places in the report proper to shock a true Washingtonian heart.

Although the array of forty kinds of wine save one, did not intimidate
these hitherto respectable gentlemen, it inspired them with prudence;
and a German Committee called in, to ferret out any foreign wines
which might have been smuggled in to the confusion of the judges.

The committee only darkly intimate their _modus operandi_; if they had
given us a journal of their doings, made out on the spot, by some
trusty clerk, what a bacchanal mystery would have been disclosed! but
they had discretion enough left to defer this until they were sober
again.

But Washingtonianism is abroad, and can detect all the mysteries of
ebriety, however graced with authority from a Horticultural Society.
We can imagine the impatience with which the bottles were
preliminarily eyed—the entire moderation with which each sipped a few
first specimens; we can see them gradually warming with their
subject—through tasting with alacrity—nodding at each other, squinting
the ruddy glass, smacking their too often dewy lips, or wagging their
heads with more than ordinary satisfaction as a beaker of great merit
made the _facilis descensus averni_. Laughter interrupts sober
attention to business; in vain the chairman thumps the table for
order; he gets more jokes than attention. Many a sly story is told;
some of them have visited wine countries and now begin long yarns
thereof; the clamor of laughing, and anecdote, and criticism—the
necessity, in consequence, of re-tasting, and tasting again to arrive
at a conclusion, brought them, we doubt not, to a most lamentable
conclusion, although the report only obscurely hints of it, as we
shall see. Had any of them married into the Caudle connection we might
have had a graphic account of their several arrivals at their homes—at
what time, by whose help, in what condition, etc.

The tabular report given in has evidently been studiously framed. We
suspect that if the opinions had been set down just in the order of
their occurrence, they would have afforded an index of the condition
of the committee as well as of the wine. But though they have mixed
them up, they cannot elude our vigilance—we can pick out the
chronological order. At first such opinions as these were given:
“Tolerably good,” “Inferior,” “Poor, fermented on skins.” They were
critical yet; but warming a little they express more generous
sentiments; “Good,” “Very good Cape,” “Very good, resembling old
Madeira.” The next step shows the genial advance—some were getting
disputatious. “Good, considered by some better than No. 8, by others
not so good,”—they evidently had a row about it. They next advanced
into the patriotic mood as is seen in the judgment of our foreign
wines, “Good dry wine, but supposed to be foreign,” “Inferior, a
foreign wine,” “Not American wine.” Here the gradations of contempt
are very plain. We have next, melancholy evidence of their progress in
the necessity of a stronger body to their wines,—“Not liked, supposed
to have been injured in the bottle.” Why not say it right out, that it
was a weak, thin wine? Here we have it, “_Good strong_ wine.” The last
record made is “Good new, not in a state for judgment.” Does this
refer to the wine or to the committee? To the latter we suppose; and
at this point, probably perceiving their condition, they laid aside
their official character and made it a private, personal, and somewhat
miscellaneous affair. We see now the meaning of a sentence which
follows the tabular exhibit: “The judgments pronounced and recorded in
the foregoing table, were as nearly unanimous as can ever be expected
among so many judges.”

The committee state in respect to western wines: “That the pure juice
of the grape when judiciously managed will furnish the finest kind of
wine, without any addition or mixture whatever; that no saccharine
addition is necessary to give it sufficient body to keep for any
length of time in this climate.”

We submit that the _keeping_ properties of wine are not altogether
intrinsic; but depend much upon the persons having access to them, or,
as we were taught in school, “on time, place, and person.” In _our_
cellar American wines would doubtless have great longevity. We wish to
call the attention of Mr. Gough to the closing sentence of the report:
“A taste for the wines of this region appears to be well established,
since all that can be produced finds a ready market at good prices;
and the committee are of opinion, that the period is not distant when
the wines of the Ohio will enjoy a celebrity equal to those of the
Rhine.”

Here’s work on hand for him. In conclusion, we respectfully suggest
that the same committee be continued from year to year, as there is no
use in spoiling a fresh set every year. If the specimens multiply,
perhaps more help will be required—at any rate a by-law should be
passed, so that there shall be one committee-man to at least every ten
bottles.



DO VARIETIES OF FRUIT RUN OUT?


Is there such similarity between animals and vegetables, in their
organic structure, development and functions, as to make it safe to
reason upon the properties of the one from the known properties of the
other?

It is admitted that the lowest forms of vegetable existence are
extremely difficult to be distinguished from a corresponding form of
animal existence. As we approach the lower confines of the vegetable
kingdom, flowers, and of course, seeds, disappear. The distinction
between leaves and stem ceases; and, at last, the stem and root are no
longer to be separated, and we find a mere vegetable sheet or lamina
whose upper surface is leaf and whose lower surface is root. In a
corresponding sphere, animal existence is reduced to its simplest
elements. Whatever resemblances there are in the lowest and
rudimentary forms of vegetable and animal life, it cannot be doubted
that when we rise to a more perfect organization, the two kingdom
become distinct and the structure and functions of each are in such a
sense peculiar to itself, that he will grossly misconceive the truth
who supposes a structure or a function to exist in a vegetable,
because such structure or function exists in an animal, and _vice
versâ_. To be sure, they resemble in _generals_ but they differ in
_specials_. Both begin in a seminal point but the seed is not
analogous; both develop—but not by an analogous growth; both require
food, but the selection, the digestion and the assimilation are
different. The mineral kingdom is the lowest. Out of it, by help of
the sun and air, the vegetable procures its materials of growth; in
turn the vegetable kingdom is the magazine from which the animal
kingdom is sustained; to each, thus the soil contains the original
elements; the vegetable is the chemical manipulator, and the animal,
the final recipient of its products. The habit of reasoning from one
to the other, of giving an idea of the one by illustrations drawn from
the other, especially in popular writings, will always be fruitful of
misconceptions and mistakes.

The next idea set forth in the paragraph which we review, is, the
_essential dissimilarity of buds and seeds_. The writer thinks that a
plant from a seed is a _new_ organization, but a plant from a bud or
graft (which is but a developed bud) is but a continuation of a
previous plant. With the exception of their integuments, a bud and a
seed are the _same thing_. A seed is a bud prepared for one set of
circumstances, and a bud is a seed prepared for another set of
circumstances—it is the same embryo in different garments. The seed
has been called, therefore, a “primary bud,” the difference beng one
of _condition_ and not of _nature_.

It is manifest, then, that the plant which springs from a bud is as
really a new plant as that which springs from a seed; and it is
equally true, that a seed may convey the weakness and diseases of its
parent with as much facility as a bud or a graft does. If the
feebleness of a tree is general, its functions languid, its secretions
thin, then a bud or graft will be feeble,—and so would be its seed; or
if a tree be thoroughly tainted with disease, the buds would not
escape, nor the tree springing from them—neither would its seed, or a
tree springing from it. A tree from a _bud_ of the Doyenne pear is
just as much a new tree as one from its _seed_.

The idea which we controvert has received encouragement from the fact,
that a bud produces a fruit like the parent tree, while, oftentimes, a
seed yields only a _variety_ of such fruit. But, it is probable that
this is never the case with seeds except when they have been brought
into a state of what Van Mons calls variation. In their natural and
uncultivated state, seeds will reproduce their parent with as much
fidelity as a bud or a graft.

The liability of a variety to run out, when propagated by bud or
graft, is not a whit greater than when propagated by seed, _in so far
as the nature of the vegetable is concerned_.

But it is true that the conditions in which a bud grows render it
liable to extrinsic ills not incidental to a plant springing from
seed. A seed, emitting its roots directly into the earth, is liable
only to its own ills; a bud or graft emitting roots, through the
alburnum of the stock on which it is established, into the earth, is
subject to the infirmities of the stock as well as to its own. Thus a
healthy seed produces a healthy plant. A healthy bud may produce a
feeble plant, because inoculated upon a diseased branch or stem.

Instead of a limitation in their nature, there is reason to suppose
that trees might flourish to an indefinite age were it not for
extrinsic difficulties. A tree, unlike an animal, is not a single,
simple organization, it is rather a _community_ of plants. Every bud
separately is an elementary plant, capable, if disjoined from the
branch, of becoming a tree by itself. In fact, each bud emits roots,
which, uniting together, go down upon a common support (the trunk) and
enter the earth, and are there put in connection with appropriate
food. Every fibre of root may be traced upward to its bud from which
it issued.

In process of time, the elongation of the trunk exposes it to
accidents; the branches are subject to the force of storms; in
proportion as the distance from the roots increases, and the longer
the passages through which the upper sap, or downward elaborated sap
travels, the more liabilities are there to stoppage and injury. The
reason of decline in a tree is not to be looked for in any exhaustion
of vital force in the organization itself, but it is to be found in
the immense surface and substance exposed to the wear and tear of the
elements.

It would seem, if this view be true, that no bounds can be placed to
the duration of perennial plants, if, by any means, we could diminish
their exposure, by reducing their expansion, by keeping them within a
certain sphere of growth. _Now this is exactly what is accomplished by
budding._ A bud, far removed on the parent stock from the root and
connected with it through a long trunk, is inoculated upon a new
stock. It now grows with a comparatively limited exposure to
interruption or accident. The connection with the soil is short and
direct.

In this manner a variety of fruit may be perpetuated to all
generations, _if the laws of vegetable health be regarded in the
process_. Healthy buds, worked upon healthy stocks and planted in
wholesome soil, will make healthy trees; and from these another
generation may proceed, and from these another. By a due regard to
vegetable physiology, the Newtown Pippin, and the Seckle Pear, may be
eaten two thousand years hence, _provided_, _always_, that expounders
of prophesy will allow us the use of the earth so long for orchard
purposes. A disregard of the laws of vegetable physiology in the
propagation of varieties, will, on the other hand, rapidly deteriorate
the most healthy sort. There is no clock-work in the branches of the
tree, which finally runs down past all winding up; there is no fixed
quantity of vitality, which a variety at length uses up, as a garrison
does its bread. Plants renew themselves and every year have a fresh
life, and, in this respect, they differ essentially from all forms of
animal existence. Any _one tree_ may wear out; but a _variety_, never.

We need not say, therefore, that we dissent from Knight’s theory of
natural exhaustion and from every supplement to it put forth since his
day. Van Mons’ theory of _variation_ and the tendency of plants to
return toward their original type, is to be regarded as nearer the
truth.



THE STRAWBERRY CONTROVERSY.


No man will deny that in their cultivated state, strawberries are
found, in respect to their blossoms, in three conditions: first,
blossoms with stamens alone, the pistillate organs being mere
rudiments; second, blossoms with pistillate organs developed fully,
but the stamens very imperfect, and inefficient; third, blossoms in
which staminate and pistillate organs are both about equally
developed.

There are two questions arising on this state of facts; one, a
question of mere vegetable physiology, viz., Is such a state of
organization peculiar to this plant originally, or is it induced by
cultivation? The other question is one of eminent practical
importance, viz., What effect has this state of organization upon the
success of cultivation?

Passing by the first question, for the present, we would say of the
second that, a _substantial_ agreement has at length, been obtained.
It is on all hands conceded that staminate plants, or those possessing
only stamens, and not pistillate organs, are unfruitful. Any other
opinion would now be regarded as an absurdity. It is equally well
understood that pistillate plants, or those in which the female organs
are fully, and the male organs scarcely at all developed, are
unfruitful. No one would attempt to breed a herd of cattle from males
_exclusively_, or from _females_; and, for precisely the same reason,
strawberries cannot be had from plants substantially male, or
substantially female, where each are kept to themselves.

But a difference yet exists among cultivators as to the facts
respecting those blossoms which contain _both_ male and female organs,
or, as they are called, _perfect_ flowering plants.

Mr. Longworth states, if we understand him, substantially, that
perfect-flowering varieties will bear but moderate crops, and,
usually, of small fruit.

On the other hand, Dr. Brinkle, whose seedling strawberries we noticed
in a former article, Mr. Downing, and several other eminent
cultivators adopt the contrary opinion, that, _with care_, large crops
of large fruit may be obtained from perfect-flowering plants. This
question is yet, then, to be settled.

It is ardently to be hoped that, hereafter, we shall have less
premature and positive assertion, upon unripe observations, than has
characterized the early stages of this controversy. We will take the
liberty of following Mr. Hovey in his magazine, between the years 1842
and 1846, not for any pleasure that we have in the singular
vicissitudes of opinion chronicled there, but because an eminent
cultivator, writer, and editor of, hitherto, the only horticultural
magazine in our country, has such influence and authority in forming
the morals and customs of the kingdom of Horticulture, that every free
subject of this beautiful realm is interested to have its chiefs men
of such accuracy that it will not be dangerous to take their
statements.

In 1842, Mr. Longworth communicated an article on the fertile and
sterile characters of several varieties of strawberries for Mr.
Hovey’s magazine, which Mr. H. for subject-matter, indorsed. In the
November number, Mr. Colt substantially advocated the sentiments of
Mr. L.; and the editor, remarking upon Mr. Coit’s article, recognized
distinctly the existence of male and female plants.

He (Mr. H.) says that, of four kinds mentioned by Mr. C. as
unfruitful, two were so “_from the want of staminate_ or _male
plants_;” and “the cause of the barrenness _is thus easily
explained_.” And he goes on to explain divers cases upon this
hypothesis; and still more resolutely he says, that all wild
strawberries have not perfect flowers; “in a dozen or two plants which
we examined last spring _some were perfect_ (the italics are ours)
having both stamens and pistils; _others, only pistils_, and _others,
only stamens_; thus showing that the _defect, mentioned by Mr.
Longworth, exists in the original species_.” He closes by urging
cultivators to set rows of early Virginia among the beds for the sake
of impregnating the rest.

Mr. Hovey’s next formal notice was exactly one year from the
foregoing, November, 1843, and it appears thus: “We believe it is now
the generally received opinion _of all intelligent cultivators_
(italics are ours again) that there is _no necessity of making any
distinction in regard to the sexual character of the plants When
forming new beds. The idea of male and female flowers_, first
originated, we believe, by Mr. Longworth, of Ohio, is now considered
_as exploded_.” Such a sudden change as this was brought about, he
says, by additional information received during that year by means of
his correspondents, and by more experience on his own part. He says
nothing of male blossoms and female blossoms, _which he had himself
seen in wild strawberries_. Mr. Hovey then assumed the theory that
_cultivation_, good or bad, is the cause of fertile or unfertile beds
of strawberries, and he says: “in conclusion, we think we may safely
aver, that there is not the least necessity of cultivating _any one
strawberry near another_ (our italics) to insure the fertility of the
plants, _provided_ they are under a proper state of cultivation.”

Mr. Hovey now instituted experiments, which he promised to publish, by
which to bring the matter to the only true test; and he, from time to
time, re-promised to give the result to the public, which, thus far,
we believe, he has forgotten to do.

His magazine for 1844 opens, as that of 1843 closed; and in the first
number he says, “the oftener our attention is called to this subject,
the more we feel confirmed in the opinon that the theory of Mr.
Longworth is entirely unfounded; that there is _no such thing as male
and female plants_, though certain causes may produce, as we know they
have, fertile and sterile ones.”

Nevertheless, in the next issue but one this peremptory language is
again softened down, and a doubt even appears, when he says, “IF _Mr.
Longworth’s theory should prove true_,” _etc._ We, among others,
waited anxiously for the promised experiments; but if published we
never saw them. The subject rather died out of his magazine until
August, 1845, when, in speaking of the Boston Pine, a second fine
seedling of his own raising, he is seen bearing away on the other
tack, if not with _all_ sails set, yet with enough to give the ship
headway in the right direction: “Let the causes be what they may, it
is sufficient for all practical purposes, to know, that _the most
abundant crops_ (italics ours) can be produced by planting some sort
abounding in _staminate_ flowers, in the near vicinity of those which
do not possess them.” P. 293. And on p. 444 he reiterates the advice
to plant near the staminate varieties. In the August number for 1846,
p. 309, Mr. Hovey shows himself a thorough convert to Mr. Longworth’s
views, by indorsing, in the main, the report of the committee of the
Cincinnati Horticultural Society. We hope after so various a voyage,
touching at so many points, that he will now abide steadfast in the
truth.

We look upon this as a very grave matter, not because the strawberry
question is of such paramount, although it is of no inconsiderable
importance; but it is of importance whether accredited scientific
magazines should be trustworthy; whether writers or popular editors
should be responsible for mistakes entirely unnecessary. We blame no
man for vacillation, while yet in the process of investigation, nor
for coming at the truth gradually, since this is the necessity of our
condition to learn only by degrees, and by painful siftings. The very
first requisite for a writer is, that he be worthy of trust in his
statements. No man can be trusted who ventures opinions upon
uninvestigated matters; who states facts with assurance which he has
not really ascertained; who evinces rashness, haste, carelessness,
credulity, or fickleness in his judgments. The question of perfect or
imperfect blossoms depends upon the simplest exercise of eyesight. It
requires no measurements, no process of the laboratory, no minute
dissections or nice calculations; it requires only that a man should
_see_ what he _looks_ at.

When a boy, playing “how many fingers do I hold up,” by dint of
peeping from under the bandage, we managed to make very clever guesses
of how many lily-fingers some roguish lassie was holding in tempting
show before our bandaged eyes; but some folks are not half so lucky
with both eyes wide open, and the stamens and pistils standing before
them.

If such a latitude is permitted to those who conduct the
investigations peculiar to horticulture, who can confide in the
publication of facts, observations or experiments? Of what use will be
journals and magazines? They become like chronometers that will not
keep time; like a compass that has lost its magnetic sensibility; like
a guide who has lost his own way, and leads his followers through
brake, and morass, and thicket, into interminable wanderings.
Sometimes, the consciousness of faults in ourselves, which should make
us lenient toward others, only serves to produce irritable
fault-finding. After a comparison of opinions and facts, through a
space of five years, with the most distinguished cultivators, East and
West, Mr. Longworth is now universally admitted to have sustained
himself in all the essential points which he first promulgated—not
_discovered_, for he made no claims of that sort. The gardeners and
the magazines of the East have, at length, adopted his practical
views, after having stoutly, many of them, contested them.

It was, therefore, with unfeigned surprise, that we read Mr. Hovey’s
latest remarks in the September number of his magazine, in which, with
some asperity, he roundly charges Mr. Longworth with manifold errors,
and treats him with a contempt which would lead one, ignorant of the
controversy, to suppose that Mr. Hovey had never made a mistake, and
that Mr. Longworth had been particularly fertile of them. Thus: “Mr.
Longworth’s remarks abound in so many errors and inconsistencies, that
we shall expect scarcely to notice all.” “Another _gross assertion_,”
etc. Referring to another topic, he says, “This question we,
therefore, consider as satisfactorily settled, without discussing Mr.
Longworth’s conflicting views about male and female, Keen’s,” etc.

This somewhat tragical comedy is now nearly played out, and we have
spoken a word just before the fall of the curtain, because, as
chroniclers of events, and critics of horticultural literature and
learning, it seemed no less than our duty. We have highly appreciated
Mr. Hovey’s various exertions for the promotion of the art and science
of horticulture, nor will his manifest errors and short-comings in
this particular instance, disincline us to receive from his pen
whatsoever is good.

We hope that our remarks will not be construed as a defence of western
men or western theories, but as the defence of the truth, and of one
who has truly expounded it, though, in this case, theory and its
defender happen to be of western origin. Whatever errors have crept
into Mr. Longworth’s remarks should be faithfully expurgated; and
perhaps it may be Mr. Hovey’s duty to perform the lustration. If so,
courtesy would seem to require that it should be done with some
consciousness, that through this whole controversy Mr. Longworth is
now admitted to have been right in all essential matters; and if in
error at all, only in minor particulars, while Mr. Hovey, in all the
controversy, in respect to the plainest facts, has been changing from
wrong to right, from right to wrong, and from wrong back to right
again. We do not think that the admirable benefits which Mr. Longworth
has conferred upon the whole community by urging the improved method
of cultivating the strawberry, has been adequately appreciated. We
still less like to see gratitude expressed in the shape of snarling
gibes and petty cavils.

We will close these remarks by the correction of a matter which Mr.
Downing states. While he assents to all the _practical_ aspects of Mr.
Longworth’s views, he dissents as to some matters of fact and
philosophy, and among others, to the fact that Hovey’s seedling is
_always_ and _only_ a pistillate plant. He thinks that originally it
had _perfect_ flowers, but that after bearing twice or thrice on the
same roots the plants degenerate and become either pistillate or
staminate. He says, “Hovey’s seedling strawberry, at first, was a
perfect sort in its flower, but at this moment more than half the
plants in this country have become pistillate.”

Mr. Hovey himself states the contrary on p. 112 of his magazine for
1844. He denies that there are two kinds of blossoms to his seedling,
and says, “the flowers are all of one kind, with both pistils and
stamens, _but the latter quite short and hidden under the
receptacle_.” This is the common form of all _pistillate_ blossoms,
and shows, in so far as Mr. Hovey’s observations are to be trusted,
that, at its starting-point and home, Hovey’s seedling was, as with us
it now invariably is, so far as we have ever seen it, a pistillate plant.



STRAWBERRIES.


Directions for the culture of the strawberry will vary with
circumstances; as, whether it is raised for private use, or for
market. But, for whatever purpose cultivated, respect must be
invariably had to the fact of staminate and pistillate flowers, or
male and female. Each flower contains the rudiments of both the male
and female organs. But the male organs are more or less defective in
one set of plants and the female in another “and, in the Hudson and
some others, it amounts to a complete separation of the sexes. In some
of the male (staminate) varieties more or less of the blossoms are
also partially perfect in the female organs and will produce some
fruit.

     “Every flower contains both the male and female organs; and,
     in the white and monthly, both organs are always perfect in
     the same blossom, as far as my experience goes. In other
     kinds, the male organs are more or less defective in one set
     of plants, and the female in the other; and, in the Hudson
     and some other varieties, it amounts to a complete
     separation of the sexes. The male organs are so defective in
     one set of plants, and the female in the other, that an acre
     of either would not produce a single fruit. In some of the
     male (staminate) varieties, more or less of the blossoms are
     also more or less perfect in the female organs, and will
     produce more or less fruit; but I have never seen a female
     plant with the male organs sufficiently developed to produce
     a single perfect fruit. Hovey’s seedling, and some others,
     may produce deformed berries.”—_Longworth._

Mr. Longworth, in consequence of this fact, always has a compartment
allotted to male and one to female plants, and out of these he forms
his beds, being able thus to insure a proper proportion of males to
females. Mr. S. S. Jackson, a very skillful nurseryman of Cincinnati,
usually, in selling plants, puts up ninety females to ten males in the
hundred.

We shall now give the time and manner of planting of some of the best
cultivators in the West, at the East, and in England.

     Mr. Jackson says: “I plant any time from the first of April,
     till they are in bloom. I, one year, planted twenty-five
     square roods of ground; the plants were all in bloom when
     set out; and the next year I picked thirty-eight bushels,
     and there were fully ten bushels left on the vines.

     “I plant them in this way: first plow or spade the ground;
     harrow it smooth; then strain a line on one side nine inches
     from the edge, and a row from twelve to fifteen inches
     apart; then move the line eighteen inches, and plant another
     row; then move it three feet, and again eighteen inches—and
     so on till the ground is planted. I then go over and put one
     male plant every six feet, between the two rows. Keep them
     clear of weeds through the summer, and let them spread as
     much as they will.

     “In the fall dress the out-walks eighteen inches wide, which
     will leave the beds three feet wide; and when it sets in
     cold, give them a light covering of straw; rake it off in
     the spring. You may then expect a full crop. It is best to
     make a new bed once in two or three years.”

But plantations may be made through the summer, and as late as
September; of course, the earlier in the season the better established
the plants will become before winter, and the larger the next summer’s
crop. Thus, a bed formed in September would bear very scantily; while
Mr. Jackson’s beds, formed in the spring, produced a large crop the
next season.

Mr. Kenrick gives the following methods as practised by market
gardeners near Boston; the first one strikes us as being the most
economical way of working strawberries, on a large scale, that we have
seen:

     “In the vicinity of Boston, the following mode is often
     adopted. The vines are usually transplanted in August. The
     rows are formed from eighteen inches to two feet asunder.
     The runners, during the first year, are destroyed. In the
     second year, they are suffered to grow and fill the
     interval, and in the autumn of that year, the whole old rows
     are turned under with the spade, and the rows are thus
     shifted to the middle of the space. The same process is
     repeated every second year.

     “Another mode, which may be recommended generally, is to
     plant the strawberries in rows thirty inches asunder, and
     nine inches distant in the row, and suffer the vines to
     extend to the width of eighteen inches, leaving twelve
     inches’ space for an alley; or allow eighteen inches’ width
     to the alleys, and three feet asunder to the rows; and to
     form new beds every three years, or never to suffer the bed
     to exist over four years; and to plant out in August in
     preference to spring.”

Dr. Bayne of Alexandria, D. C., gives his method of producing very
large fruit. The peculiarity of his treatment is the use of
undecomposed or green manure. Almost every other cultivator recommends
_well rotted_ manure; and, we are inclined to think, with the better
reason. We have found some English cultivators who agree with him; but
the most dissuade from the practice, as making plants productive of
leaves rather than fruit.

     “To produce strawberries of extraordinary size for
     exhibition, I would recommend the following preparation:
     select the best soil and trench it at least two feet deep;
     incorporate well with the first twelve inches an abundance
     of strong undecomposed manure; pulverize and rake the ground
     well, then mark off the rows twelve or fifteen inches
     asunder, and set the plants in the rows from twelve to
     fifteen inches, according to the luxuriance and vigor of the
     variety. During the first year, the runners must be
     carefully and frequently destroyed before they become
     rooted. By this means the stools become very vigorous and
     bear the most abundant crops. In the spring after the fruit
     is set, place around each plant a small quantity of straw,
     or what is much better, cover the whole surface of the
     ground one inch thick with wheat chaff. This prevents
     evaporation, protects the fruit from the earth, improves the
     flavor, and will greatly increase the size.”

Loudon gives Garnier’s method of treating the strawberry as an
_annual_. It is peculiarly applicable to small gardens. The
observations on the depth of soil required, are worthy of especial
attention:

     “Early in August, or as soon as the gathering is over, I
     destroy all my beds, and proceed immediately to trench,
     form, and manure them in the manner before directed, to
     receive the plants for the crop of the ensuing year, taking
     care to select for that purpose the strongest and
     best-rooted runners from the old rejected plants. If at this
     season the weather should be particularly hot, and the
     surface of the ground much parched, I defer the operation of
     preparing my beds and planting them till the ground is
     moistened by rain. Such is the simple mode of treatment
     which I have adopted for three successive years, and I have
     invariably obtained upon the same spot, a great produce of
     beautiful fruit, superior to that of every other garden in
     the neighborhood. Depth of soil I have found absolutely
     necessary for the growth and production of fine
     strawberries, and when this is not to be obtained, it is
     useless, in my opinion, to plant many of the best varieties.
     It is not generally known, but I have ascertained the fact,
     that most strawberries generate roots, and strike them into
     the ground, nearly two feet deep in the course of one
     season. The practice of renewing strawberry plantations
     every year, and even of using runners of the current year
     for forcing, is now become very general among gardeners. Mr.
     Knight generally adopts this mode, and, notwithstanding the
     increased labor attending it, it is even adopted by some
     market-gardeners about London for their earliest crops. It
     is invariably found that by this mode the fruit not only
     comes larger, but somewhat earlier. It must always be
     recollected, however, by those who intend practising it,
     that almost the whole of the success depends on bringing
     forward the earliest runners, by encouraging them to root.
     This is done by stirring the soil beneath them, hooking them
     down, or retaining them in their proper places by small
     stones; or, when the object is to procure plants for
     forcing, rooting them into small pots.”



RASPBERRIES, STRAWBERRIES, GOOSEBERRIES AND CURRANTS.


Currants, Gooseberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, etc., are termed
“Small Fruit.” We will give some directions for spring-work which
these require.

RASPBERRIES.—The sorts usually found in our gardens are rejected from
all good collections as worthless. The Antwerp, red and white, have,
until lately, been regarded as the best. Two new kinds are very highly
thought of—the _Franconia_ and the _Fastolf_. This last is an English
variety; was found growing on a gentleman’s ground among some lime and
brick rubbish—evidently a seedling—and removed to his garden. It was a
number of years before it attracted attention; but, lately, it has
been much in demand and bids fair to claim a rank among the first, if
it is not _the_ first.

A deep, rich, loamy soil which is moist, proves best for this fruit.
It prefers a half shady position.

When first planted, put them four feet apart in the row, and the rows
three feet from each other.

In old beds cut out the _last year’s bearing wood_, now worthless, and
also all the new shoots but four or five to a root; grub up all that
have come up between the rows. Cut those which are reserved for
bearing to about five feet in length, and tie them gently to a stake.
Thus treated from year to year, and well manured, raspberries will
return a rich reward.

STRAWBERRIES.—The number of kinds is immense. Knight, late president
of the London Horticultural Society, had _four hundred_ kinds in his
garden, and most of them seedlings of his own raising. The early
_Virginia_ is regarded as the best early kind. Hovey’s, Warren’s and
Keen’s seedlings are admirable sorts. Wiley’s and Motter’s seedlings
originated in Cincinnati and are esteemed. There are many other fine
sorts which an amateur cultivator would wish, not necessary to common
gardens, where two or three choice sorts will suffice.

Almost every cultivator has a way of his own in raising strawberries.

In private gardens, in a soil well enriched and deeply spaded, let
beds be formed about four feet wide; upon these set three rows of
hills and the plants about fifteen inches apart in the row. _Pinch of
all runners through the season_, unless they are wanted for new
plants.

Old beds, grown over and matted, had better be destroyed; but if, for
any reason, it is desirable to save them, mark out lines every
eighteen inches and dig alleys through the bed, by turning the plants
under. In this way the patch will be thrown into beds of eighteen
inches width. Before this is done take an iron-toothed rake and rake
the bed severely. Do not be afraid of tearing the plants; go over the
whole bed thoroughly. It will seem as if scarcely a dozen plants were
left, but in a few weeks your bed will be entirely covered with a
strong growth.

GOOSEBERRIES.—This fruit is very much neglected because its merits are
only little known. There are two sorts found in our gardens, the
common gooseberry and _English_, by which name is meant a large,
coarse, thick-skinned green variety. It is not generally known that
there are any other cultivated sorts; and as these are inferior they
are little cared for. The Lancashire (England) Nurserymen publish 300
varieties! The select list of Mr. Thompson of the London Horticultural
Society’s garden comprises _fifty-six_ varieties; the still more
condensed select list of _Robert Manning_ (Mass.) includes
_twenty-eight_ sorts. Some of these bear fruit as large as a
medium-sized plum. There are four colors, red, yellow, green and
white; to each color are two sizes, large and small fruits. Those who
have not seen and tasted the Scotch and Lancashire varieties of the
gooseberry do not know what the fruit is. In sending for them, select
a _trustworthy_ nurseryman, and request him to send, of each color,
such kinds as have proved, with him, the best; and in such numbers as
you may wish. The gooseberry delights in three things, a very rich
soil, a shady position, and a free circulation of air. If accommodated
in these respects, it will be free from mildew and give a sure and
ample crop of delicious fruit.

Hill-tops are the best sites. In gardens the open and airy parts
should be selected; in low and confined situations they mildew. Hog
manure is esteemed the best for this fruit. When the fruit begins to
set, if threatened with blight, take a moderately strong lime-water
(sulphur added will be all the better) or, if lime is not convenient,
lye from wood ashes, and drench the bushes freely with it. A large
watering-pot should be employed. Gooseberries may be increased from
cuttings like the currant, and with the same ease.

CURRANTS.—There are very few varieties of this fruit. Our common red
and white, if well cultivated, are very good. The Large Dutch Red, and
White, are much larger varieties and generally preferred in the best
Eastern gardens. Every farmer, if he has nothing else, has a long row
of currant bushes, and gets, usually, five times as many currants as
he can consume. Very few fruits have so few diseases incident to them
as the currant. It is not infested with worms, its fruit is subject to
no blight, it bears every year, is rarely affected either by severe
winters or late frosts, and we do not remember a season in our lives
when there was not, at least, a partial currant crop.

We advise those who are careful in such matters to train their
currants to a _tree form_; let a cutting be set, rub out all the buds
but two or three at the top; at about twelve or fifteen inches from
the earth let the branches put out, and never permit suckers to grow,
or branches to stand lower than this. The difficulty which some have
found in tree currants, that they are top-heavy and require staking to
prevent their being bent by winds and their own weight, arises from
having the stem too long. We have seen two feet and even more allowed.
If twelve or fifteen inches be allowed, the stem, in a few years, will
become strong enough to withstand winds and sustain its own top. Thus
formed they are beautiful to the eye, convenient for borders, allow a
free circulation of air under and through them, are easy to work in
spring or for manuring, and easy to prune, when, as should be done
every year, you take out the old wood.

Gooseberries will do better to be trained in this way, than in the
bush form. The top once formed, there is no difficulty in keeping it
so. If you are faithful to grub up every sucker for one season you
will have few to plague you after that.

Gooseberries, Raspberries, Strawberries and Currants ought to be found
in every farmer’s garden. The trouble of cultivation is slight and the
return of wholesome fruit very great. One woman can, for the most
part, bestow all the attention which they need.



SPRING WORK IN THE ORCHARD.


1. There is a great deal more pruning done than is needful or
healthful. Our hot summers and strong growth of wood make every leaf
on the tree precious. Dead limbs should be taken out. Where the tree
is really _tangled_ with wood, thin out. Where branches are rubbing
across each other _severely_, take off one of them. Grub up _every_
water-sprout from the roots. If you can avoid it, do not use them for
trees, for the tree thus obtained will inherit the same propensity of
sending up water-shoots. Sometimes, in scarcity of stock, they are
used rather than to have none, but it is then only a lesser of two
evils.

2. TIME OF PRUNING.—There is a bad practice abroad of pruning before
the leaves are out. English books direct to prune in February, and we
suspect that the custom sprang up at the East from the old country
example. It is not safe for us to follow the _specific_ processes of
Great Britain or the Continent. OUR OWN _well settled experience is to
be our rule of practice_.

There is no better month in the year to prune, _than that month in
which the tree is making the most wood_. It is plain that the sooner a
wound heals the better; and equally plain, that a tree which is
_growing_ will heal a wound quicker than an inactive tree. All the
matter which goes to form wood, or to form the granulations by which a
cut heals, comes from the _downward_ current of sap, or sap which has
been elaborated in the leaf. Of course when the tree has the most
leaves, and the leaves are preparing the greatest quantity of _proper
juice_ or elaborated sap, that is the time for pruning, because the
time for healing. In this climate we have preferred the last of May
for spring pruning, and the last of August for summer pruning—the
exact week varying as the season is forward or backward.

3. INSTEAD OF PRUNING AT THIS EARLY PERIOD, LET TREES BE THOROUGHLY
SCRAPED AND SCOURED.—A three-sided scraper, such as butchers use to
clean their blocks with, or any convenient implement, may be applied
to the trunk and large branches with force sufficient to take off the
_dry, dead_ bark. Only this is to be removed. Take soft soap and
reduce it by _urine_ to the consistence of paint. With a stiff
shoe-brush rub the whole trunk and the limbs as far up as is
practicable. The bark will grow smooth and glossy; insect eggs will be
entirely destroyed; all moss and fungous vegetation removed, and the
bark stimulated and made healthier. THIS IS BETTER THAN ANY WHITEWASH,
and just as convenient.

4. Lime is better used as follows: remove the earth from the trunk,
and put about half a peck to each tree. Every spring, spread and dig
in the old lime, and put new in its place. Unleached ashes are good to
be dug in around a tree. If your soil is calcareous, full of lime,
these applications are not needful. Thoroughly rotted manure, or
better yet, black vegetable mold may be dug in liberally, and will
supply the soil with nutriment, and the roots will find their way in
with great facility.

5. When a tree is manured, remember that the _ends_ only of the roots
take up nourishment, and that the ends of the roots are not found
close by the _trunk_. We often see heaps of manure piled about the
_trunk_, and the ends of the roots are three yards or more distant
from it. You might as well put your fodder down at your cattle’s hind
legs, and wonder that they did not get fat on it. Treat your trees as
you do your stock—put their food where their mouths are. YOUNG
ORCHARDS are better without stimulating manure. Let the soil be
mellowed, and then give the trees their own time, and if they do not
bear quite as soon, they will live longer and be less subject to
disease.



MIRACLES IN FRUITS.


When a traveller was relating, in Cowper’s presence, some prodigious
marvels, the poet smiled somewhat incredulously. “Well, sir, don’t you
believe me? I saw it with my own eyes.” “Oh, certainly, I believe it
if _you_ saw it, but I would not if I had seen it _myself_.” Even so
we feel about the thousand and one physiological fooleries which run
the monthly rounds of the papers.

How on earth do men suppose a fruit to receive its characteristic
quality? Is it from the root, trunk, pith, bark, branch, or leaf? One
would think that it made no difference which. We have long supposed
that the leaf digested the sap, returned it to the passages of
distribution to be employed in the formation of fruit, wood, tissue,
etc. Is this the function of the leaf? or have recent investigations
exploded this doctrine? If not, it will be apparent that all grafting
of scions together, cannot change the quality of fruit, unless the
leaves are also amalgamated. Is a red, green, yellow, and white fruit,
sweet, sour, or bitter, be put upon the same tree, each will maintain
its characteristics; because, each bud or scion has its own peculiar
leaves, from whose laboratory the fruit is sweetened or acidulated and
colored with all its hues. To be sure, fruits are affected by the
stock on which they are put; but their characteristic elements are not
altered, but only pushed along in the same line and made more perfect.

There is no doubt that trees indulge, occasionally, in rare antics. A
sober apple-tree will sometimes let down its dignity, in what
gardeners call a “sport,” _e. g._ a sweet apple may grow on a sour
tree, and _vice versâ_. An apple may on one side be sweet and on the
other sour. But, in such cases, the same general law is seen governing
yet. We all know that great changes of temperament occur in men. A
nervous temperament often becomes abdominal, and a little, wiry,
fussy, peevish, minikin, becomes a round, plump, rosy, corpulent spot
of good nature. Similar changes may occur, through disease, or the
peculiarity of the season, or from unknown causes, in the structure of
the leaves of a branch, and then the fruit will follow the change of
the leaf.

But the fruit itself digests still further the elaborated sap sent to
it from the leaf. If, then, from any hidden causes, the fruit should
in part change its structure, the juices elaborated would be altered.
If stamens and pistils may change to petals, if petals may change to
leaves, if leaves may extend to branches, we know of no reason why the
whole or the half of a fruit may not, also, alter its structure; and
with its peculiarity of function, also, of course, the character of
the fruit. While then we are not skeptical of “monsters,” “marvels,”
“sports,” “singularities,” we think we can trace the original law
through all the transmutations.



PROTECTING THE ROOTS OF FRUIT-TREES.


Cultivators are frequently urged in Horticultural papers to _cover the
roots_ of the peach-trees with heaps of snow, etc., that they may be
retarded in the spring, and escape injury from late frosts upon their
blossoms. This direction takes it for granted that the warmth of the
ground starts the root, and the root starts the sap, and the sap wakes
up the dormant branch. By covering the soil and keeping it back, the
whole tree is supposed to be secured. But, unfortunately for this
process, the motion of the sap is _first_ in the BRANCHES, and last in
the roots. Light and heat, exerted upon the branches for any
considerable length of time, produce a high state of excitability; the
sap begins to move toward the bud, its place is supplied by a portion
lower down, and so on until the whole column of sap through the trunk
is in motion, and last of all in the ROOT. But suppose warm, spring
days, with a temperature of from sixty degrees to sixty-five degrees,
have produced a vigorous motion of the sap in the branches and trunk,
while the root, (thanks to snow and ice piled over it to keep it
frozen), is dormant, what will result? The sap already within the tree
will be exhausted, the root will supply none, the light and heat still
push on the development of bud and leaf and the tree will exhaust
itself and die. We not long since observed a remarkable confirmation
of these reasonings. A gentleman of our acquaintance, in reading these
unskilfull directions to cover the peach-tree root, opened trenches
about his trees, and filled them with snow, heaping bountifully also
all about the trees. The next spring, long after his trees should have
been at work, the snow held the root fast; the buds swelled and burst,
lingered, shrivelled and died—and the _trees too_. This might have
been prognosticated. There are partial methods of protecting the peach
from too early development, but they all have respect to the
protection of the _limbs_. If the branches can be covered during the
random and prematurely hot days of spring, the tree will not suffer.
High, and cool-aired aspects, north hill-sides, northern sides of
houses, barns, etc., will answer this purpose. When it can be
afforded, long boards may be set up upon the east and south sides of
choice trees, upon a frame slightly made and easily removed.

The reason why more damage has not been done by covering peach-tree
roots, than has occurred, is, that the ground has been superficially
frozen, and many of the roots extending deeper and laterally beyond
the congealed portions, have afforded a supply of sap after a motion
had been imparted to it in the branches.



PRUNING GRAPE VINES.


All know that after the sap begins to flow in the spring, a vine, if
cut, will bleed. It seems that at this early period of its development
the sap vessels have no power of contraction. Many suppose that the
same state of things continues throughout the growing season, and are
afraid to cut their vines. But after the vine has begun to grow freely
(when the leaves, for example, are as large as the palm of one’s
hand), a wound very soon contracts, bleeds little or none, and heals
over as in a tree. Any pruning which is necessary upon the old wound
may, therefore, be fearlessly performed.

Some inexpert cultivators, in order to let the sun fall upon the
grapes, pluck off the leaves; hoping thus to procure sweeter grapes.
This is the very way to have acid fruit. Where is the sugar prepared
for the cluster but in these very leaves which are taken off? Without
leaves, the sap which flows into the cluster has undergone but
imperfectly those chemical changes on which the fruit depends. Every
leaf in the neighborhood of the fruit is precious.



MILDEW ON GRAPES.


Many permit the fruit of the vines to perish before their eyes from
the ravages of mildew, ignorant that an effectual remedy is within
their reach. It is simply to dust the branches with flowers of
sulphur. It is best done while the dew is on.

When vines are trained upon the sides of a house or fence, it is well
to whitewash the surfaces on which they are fastened with a wash in
which flowers of sulphur has been largely mixed.

It is recommended by some cultivators to employ such a whitewash for
the _wood_ of the vine, covering all the main stems with it; but all
these methods result in the one thing—the application of sulphur as a
remedy for mildew.



HOW TO OBTAIN GRAPE VINES.


Grafting is only practised on the vine for special reasons, and we
have never had occasion to try it. We shall speak of a better mode of
obtaining vines.

The best method of “getting a start” of grape vines is, by the
employment of cuttings. These may be planted immediately after the
spring pruning of established vines. But cuttings of native grapes are
as well planted _in the fall_. The granulation, from which the roots
spring, will form during the winter, and the cuttings, starting early
in the spring, will make good growth the first year. Cuttings are the
best, because they can be procured easily, abundantly, and cheaply;
they will bear carriage to any distance, are exceedingly tenacious of
life, and they make thriftier plants. Cuttings may be set, either
where they are to remain, in which case several should be set, to
allow for failures, and only the strongest finally retained; or, they
may be set in nursery rows, eight inches apart. Cuttings should be
inserted about eight inches deep, and have two eyes or buds above the
surface. The _two_ buds are merely precautionary; that if one fails
the other may sprout; one only, and that the strongest, should finally
be permitted to grow.

An old and skillful cultivator of the vine says that _cuttings are the
best of all modes of_ securing a supply of vines. “For my part I am
for scions without roots, after many experiments. All the advantage
the one with roots has over the other, is that they are more sure to
live; but they will not in general, _make as thrifty plants_.”—_J. J.
Dufour._

This only objection to cuttings—that a part of them fail to root—is of
little practical importance, as they are easily obtained in any
quantity.



AUTUMNAL MANAGEMENT OF FRUIT-TREES.


Orchardists and cultivators of garden-fruit will have need of all
their skill to prepare tender fruit-trees for winter. It is the
misfortune, alike of the English summers, and of ours in the West,
that trees do not properly ripen their wood. But in Great Britain it
is from the want of enough, and in America, from too much summer. Our
long and hot summers give two or three _separate growths_ to
fruit-trees, and the last one is usually in progress at a period so
late that severe frosts and freezings overtake the tree while yet in
an excitable state, pushing new wood, and with a top quite unripened
for severe frosty handling.

The year 1845 furnished a fine type of western summers. The spring
came in very properly, and at so late a period that the usual frosts,
after the expansion of leaves, were avoided. The summer opened warmly
and continued with almost unvarying heat throughout. At the same time
there were frequent and copious rains.

By this statement the average temperature of June was 71°, and the
rain 6-1/ , inches; of July, average noon heat 80°, rain 3¼ inches; of
August, average noon heat 80°, rain 5½ inches. Nights were exceedingly
warm. The day repeatedly opened and closed at 80°. Our thermometer on
the north of our house, in a shady yard, stood for eight and ten days
together between 94° and 100°, twice attaining the latter height.

Under such stimulus our pear, apple and plum-trees, made their first
growth by the first of July. They soon started into a second growth,
which wound up during the last of August and the first of September,
plum-trees entirely shedding their leaves and standing as bare as in
January.

Let orchards be examined when frosts begin to occur, and every
_side-shoot_, _sucker_ or _water-sprout_, cut cleanly out. These
succulent, raw sprouts are the breeding-spots of disease. Cold-blight
invariably manifests itself in them in the most positive form..

Garden trees, choice pears, and stone-fruits, should, in addition to
this operation, if still in growth at the last of September, receive a
fall pruning. From the first to the middle of October, according to
the season, cut off two-thirds of the new growth, or back to strong,
ripe wood. It is well known that the newest buds, near the extremity
of young wood, are the most sensitive and apt to break and grow,
whereas the buds near the base of a branch are dormant. It is the
repose of the older buds which makes fall pruning, if performed with
judgment, so valuable. Because it forces the tree to expend its
energies in ripening its wood instead of making more, and it also
tends to induce fruitfulness by changing leaf-buds to fruit-buds. The
great art of fall pruning is to relieve the tree of its crude wood
_without causing its dormant buds to break_. If performed too early,
or if but the tips of the fine wood are removed, the new buds may
break and side-shoots issue, leaving the tree worse off than before.

Young trees _just coming into bearing_ should have their trunks
protected. That there is a change in the economy of a tree when it
begins to bear is plain; and experience seems to teach that trees are
peculiarly tender at the time of this change, since they are far more
apt to die when coming to fruit, than either before or afterward.
Cherry-trees and pear-trees should have brush, or corn-stalks, or
straw, or matting, as is most convenient, so placed from the ground to
the branches, as to exclude the sun without excluding air. An hour’s
attention may save much regret.



PEARS GRAFTED UPON THE APPLE STOCK.


We do not think the pear does so well in any other way as on its own
root. But it has been found extremely difficult to obtain the
requisite stock. Pear-seeds are scarce. When obtained, the seedlings
have proved intractable, and left the nurseryman oftentimes in the
lurch. The first and best substitute for pear-stock, is the _root of
the pear_—great quantities may be obtained when removing pear-trees in
the autumn from the nursery, and also without any injury to the trees,
roots may be taken from old bearing-trees. These are to be grafted in
the manner already described in our pages. Next to this, the quince
stock is to be chosen. The pear is dwarfed upon it. In other words,
the two are but imperfectly suited to each other, and the scion does
not develop according to its original nature. But this very dwarfing
adds something to the good qualities of the fruit, affords trees so
small that, at eight feet apart, they make beautiful linings to a walk
or border, and, morever, brings the pear to its fruit several years
earlier than if it were on its own bottom. But on the other hand, the
pear on quince is comparatively short-lived. The white-thorn has been
tried as a stock and not without success, but it is hardly to be used
except in extremities.

Last, and worst of all, comes the apple. The scion grows as vigorously
upon the apple as upon a stock of its own species, and we do not know
that the fruit deteriorates. But the trees seem to _have no
constitution_. After a few bearings they seem struck with irremediable
weakness, and soon run down and die. Nurserymen ought not, therefore,
to graft the pear upon the apple. To do so, if advised of the
foregoing facts, cannot be honest. Our attention has been called to
the subject by some painful experience of our own.

       *     *     *     *     *

NESHANOC POTATO.—This potato (pronounced _Me_shanoc), was raised from
the seed about the year 1800, by John Gilkey, Mercer county,
Pennsylvania. He called it _Neshanoc_, from a creek near to which he
lived. It was called by some, _Mercer_, from the county in which it
was raised. It is extensively cultivated, and deserves to be. Mr.
Gilkey was an Irishman—of course a judge of good potatoes.



SEEDLINGS FROM BUDDED PEACHES.


Mr. Nicholas Longworth inquires: “Will the pit of the budded peach
produce the same fruit as the bud, or as the stock, or a mixture of
the two?” And he also says, “I have never fairly tested the question,
but my experience led me to believe that the budded pit produced the
same fruit as the original stock.”

So far as this question can be determined (independently of
experiment) upon the known laws of the vegetable kingdom, we say that
it will _not_ produce fruit like that of the original stock; nor will
it, on the other hand, with any certainty, reproduce the budded kind.

If the pit of a budded variety takes after the _stock_, we must very
much change our theory of the office of leaves, and perhaps of the
bark. At present, the received and orthodox teaching is, that the sap
from the root is crude and undigested until it has received in the
leaf a chemical change. Until then, the sap does not materially
influence the vegetable tissue, nor form new substance, or affect the
fruit. But _after_ its elaboration in the leaf, a returning current of
prepared sap (similar in its functions to arterial blood), sets
downward, distributing to every part of the vegetable economy the
properties required by each. The sap arising from the root, does not
touch the channel of fruit until it has been chemically changed; and
the difference exhibited in the fruit of one tree compared with
another, arises, primarily from the nature of the sap which it
receives; the sap receives its qualities by a digestion in the
leaf.[15] In all cases, then, we suppose the _leaf_ to determine the
nature of the fruit (and the root in no case, and the trunk in no
case), since the stem is, so far as sap is concerned, but a bundle of
canals for its passage—a mere highway for transmission—and not like
the leaf, a laboratory for its preparation![16]

We may be reminded that a _stock_, in point of fact, _does_ influence
the fruit. It is indisputable that pears are changed on quince roots.
The _Wilkinson_, grafted upon the quince, is smaller, more prolific,
higher flavored, and of a brighter red cheek than if grafted on the
pear. The Duchesse d’Angoulême is larger and better on the quince than
on its own roots. But what is _the_ influence in this case? When a
free-grower is put upon a slow-grower, the point of junction becomes a
point of comparative _obstruction_ to the return-sap. It is only a
wholesome process of _ringing, or decortication_. Lindley says:

“When pears are worked upon the wild species, apples upon crabs, and
peaches upon peaches, the scion is, in regard to fertility, exactly in
the same state as if it had not been grafted at all: while, on the
other hand, a great increase of fertility, is the result of grafting
pears upon quinces, peaches upon plums, apples upon the thorn, and the
like. In these cases, the food absorbed from the earth by the root of
the stock is communicated slowly.” And Manning adds: “No other
influence have we ever noticed exercised by the scion upon the stock.”

But if, after all, it can be shown by actual trial, that the pits of
budded peaches DO _go back to the fruit of the stock_, why we must
receive it, in spite of all theory; for, (and some would do well to
heed the maxim), facts must rule our theories, and not theories our
fact. But we may properly put any facts seeming to contravene the
received theory of the functions of plants in producing fruit, _upon
their oath_, and refuse them, unless they are unquestionable and
relevant.

Suppose a budded peach not to yield a fruit at all like the bud,
suppose it to resemble the fruit of the stock, it does not follow that
the _stock_ influenced the fruit to such a change. Mr. Longworth knows
how freely some peaches “sport,” and that all peaches may be made to
do it. If a Melacatune be budded upon a Red Rareripe, and the
Melacatune pit shows a fruit resembling the Red Rareripe, it must be
shown that the blossom had not been crossed by the busy offices of
flies, bees, etc., with the pollen of contiguous Red Rareripe-trees.

When a tree is even _solitary_, it does not follow that a change in
fruit which shall make it resemble the stock more than the graft,
results from the force _of the stock_ on the grafted fruit, for
seedlings of grafted fruit are, notoriously often, base and
degenerate; and the resemblance might be accidental, for seedlings of
different origin are often strikingly alike.

While we are aware of no facts which justify Mr. Longworth’s
suspicion, that the pits of budded varieties produce kinds like the
stock on which the bud was put, we have facts enough showing that
“budded pits” produce their own kind.

It may be added that _thoroughly_ ripe peaches are less inclined to
“sport” than those which are partially green.


     [15] The fruit itself still further elaborates the sap, else
     a peach would be as acrid as the juice of the peach leaf.

     [16] Loudon (Encyclopædia of Gardening, p. 448), has the
     following remarks:

     “The bark is the medium in which the proper juices of the
     plant, in their descent from the leaves, are finally
     elaborated and brought to the state which is peculiar to the
     species. From the bark these juices are communicated to the
     medullary rays, to be by them deposited in the tissue of the
     wood. The character of timber, therefore, depends chiefly
     upon the influence of the bark: and hence, it is that the
     wood formed above a graft never partakes, in the slightest
     degree, of the nature of the wood below it. The bark, when
     young and green, like the leaves, is supposed, like them, to
     elaborate the sap, and hence may be considered as the
     universal leaf of a plant.”

     These views corroborate the reasoning above, although Loudon
     extends the functions of the leaf to the _bark_. We have not
     been able, in our limited range of books, to find any other
     authority for this statement, respecting the “young and
     green bark.”



CARE OF PEACH-TREES.


Take a light hoe and remove the earth from the trunk of your trees. If
there are worms there you may detect them from the gum which has
exuded, or by the channels which they have made in the bark, or if by
neither of these, by the discoloration of the bark in spots. Scrape
the bark gently with the back of a knife, and you can easily detect
the traces of worms if any are there. Cut freely and boldly both ways
along their track so as to lay bare the channel in its whole
length—remove the worm, and the bark will very soon heal. Sometimes
four, six, and even more will be found in one tree. The ashes of stone
coal, blacksmiths’ cinders, wood ashes, lime, the refuse stems of
tobacco, planting tansy around the trunk, these, and dozens of other
remedies are proposed. For our own part we rely solely on our
jack-knife. In March or April, and then again in August or September,
according to the season, we search the trunk thoroughly. We can attend
to twenty trees in an hour or two; and when eating freely of delicious
peaches we never had a qualm of regret for having so spent the time.

We have practised sowing salt under fruit-trees with decided
advantage. If one pound of saltpetre be added to every six pounds of
salt, it will be yet better. We sow enough to make the ground look
moderately white, and prefer to do it in wet weather.

       *     *     *     *     *

The most salable butter, quality being equal, is that which is neatest
done up. There is a great deal in the _looks_ of a thing. You’ll
always find it so.



RENOVATING PEACH-TREES.


The peach-tree inclines to thicken at the top, the small inside
branches die, and are removed by every neat cultivator. As the
branches shoot up, this tree is disposed to abandon its lower
branches, and, like the vine, to bear on the wood the farthest from
the root, _i. e._ the young and new wood. In a few years the tree has
a long-necked trunk, sometimes several of them; while the weight of
foliage and fruit is situated so as to act like a power applied to a
lever; and as the fruit grows heavy, or a storm occurs, the tree is
broken down. We have practised the following method with success. In
the month of July we saw off the top of one half of the tree, leaving
about ten or twelve feet of stem, measuring from the ground. New
shoots will now put out along the whole trunk; a part of these should
be rubbed off, according to the judgment of the cultivator, leaving
such as will give symmetry to the tree, _and form a head low down_.
The second year, these branches will bear fruit, and the other side
may then be treated in the same way.

This new head will require little meddling with for about four years.
At this time, or whenever the tree is outrunning itself, the same
process is to be renewed. But this time the tree will be composed of a
multitude of smaller branches, instead of two or three main ones as at
first. Some of these should be wholly cut out, and the wound smeared
with a residuum of paint, or a thick white paint, or grafting wax, or
anything that will exclude the air while the cut is granulating. The
others are to be cut within, say, five inches of the old, original
wood—leaving, thus, a stem of mere stumps. If the branches are taken
entirely off, leaving only the oldest wood, the buds which would break
from it would not be as healthy or vigorous as those which will spring
from the stumps of the later branches.

Probably twenty or thirty whips will come to each stump; these should
from day to day be reduced in number, until, at last, all are removed
but one, and that one should, if possible, spring from the nearest
point where the stump joins the old stem. When this new branch is
obtained and fairly established, remove the stump with a fine saw, so
as to leave the new branch, as nearly as possible, in the place of the
old one. We remove the whips from a stump gradually in order to give
the tree the advantage of their leaves as long as it can be done
without interfering with the branch or branches which we are training
out.

This method is to the peach what pruning is to the grape. The tree is
kept in hand instead of sprawling abroad, a prey to its own weight and
to storms; there is always a plenty of young wood for the fruit, which
can be easily reached when one thins out, or gathers for use.

One of our trees taught us this method of its own accord in the summer
of 1843. The weight of fruit was so great that we applied a prop to
the middle of the branch; in a few days the branch broke short off at
the point of the prop. It so happened that the three main limbs on one
side of the tree acted in this manner. That same fall a strong growth
of new wood shot out, and the next season I had on _that side_ as fine
a top as ever I had on any peach-tree.

       *     *     *     *     *

Every farmer who expects his wife to make good butter, after
furnishing her with some good, well-fed milk cows, should provide her
with good milk-pans—large and shallow, so as to present a large
surface for the cream to rise on, and enough of them to hold all her
milk, and allow it to remain undisturbed long enough for all the cream
to rise. These pans should be nicely washed every time the milk is
emptied out of them, and always be clear and bright when filled.



AN APOLOGUE OR APPLE-LOGUE.


Two men planted out each one hundred apple-trees. In six or seven
years they began to bear. One had spared no pains to bring his orchard
into the highest condition. He had constantly cultivated the soil
about them, scraped off the rough bark, washed them with urinated
soap, picked off every worm and nursed them as if they had been
children. The other, pursuing a cheaper plan, simply let his trees
alone; but the moss, and canker-worms took his place and attended to
them every year. When the orchards began to bear, the careful man had
the best fruit, and the careless man covered his folly by cursing the
nursery-man for selling him poor trees. In a year or two the careful
man had two bushels to the other’s one from each tree. Not to be
outdone, the latter determined to have as many apples as the former,
and set out another hundred trees. By and by, when they bore, the
other orchard had so improved that it produced twice as many yet;
another hundred trees were therefore planted. In process of time the
first orchard of one hundred trees still sent more fruit to market
than the three hundred trees of the careless man, who now gave up and
declared that he never did have luck, and it was of no use to try _on
his soil_ to raise good fruit.

1. When a man is too shiftless to take good care of two horses, he
buys two more, and gets from the four what he might get from two.

2. A farmer who picks up a cow simply because it is not an ox, and
_is_, nominally, lactiferous, and then lets the creature work for a
living, very soon buys a second, and a third, and a fourth, and gets
from them all, what he should have had from one good one.

3. A farmer had one hundred acres. Instead of getting seventy-five
bushels of corn to the acre, he gets forty and makes it up by
cultivating twice as many acres; instead of thirty bushes of wheat he
gets twelve, and puts in acres enough to make up; instead of making
one hundred acres do the work of three hundred, he buys more land, and
allows three hundred to do only the work of one hundred.

4. A young woman, with a little pains, can have three times as many
clothes as she needs, and then not look so well as a humble neighbor
who has not half her wardrobe; wherefore, we close with some proverbs
made for the occasion:

Active little is better than lazy much.

Carefulness is richer than abundance.

Large farming is not always good farming, and small farming is often
the largest.



SELECT LIST OF APPLES.


It is impossible to frame a list of apples which will suit every
cultivator. Men’s taste in fruits is widely different. The delicacy
and mildness of flavor which some admire, is to others mere
insipidity. The sharp acid, and coarse grain and strong flavor which
disgust many palates, are with others the very marks of a first-rate
apple. The object of the cultivator in planting an orchard, whether
for his own use, for a home market, for exportation, for cider-making,
or for stock-feeding, will very materially vary his selection.

The soil on which an orchard is to be planted should also determine
the use of many varieties, which are admirable only when well suited
in their locality.

Regard is to be had to climate, since some of the finest fruits in one
latitude entirely betray our expectations in another. The hardiness
and health of different varieties ought to be more an object of
attention than hitherto. As in building, so in planting an orchard, a
mistake lasts for a century, and a bad tree in a good orchard is like
bad timber in good mansion.

However select, then, a list may be, every cultivator must exercise
his own judgment in adapting it to his own circumstances.


SUMMER APPLES.


1. CAROLINA JUNE.—This is identical with the Red June of the principal
nurseries; but many inferior varieties scattered through the country,
called Red June, are to be discriminated from it.

The tree is upright with slender wood, which, when loaded with fruit,
droops like a willow. It is a healthy tree, ripens its wood early in
the fall, and is not subject to frost-blight. It comes early into
bearing, is productive and bears every year. The fruit is of medium
size though specimens grow large; the flavor is sprightly, subacid,
the flesh tender. It has flourished well on sand-loams, common clays,
and on strong limestone clay. Ripens from the first to the twentieth
of July. A valuable market fruit. Four trees, in one county, sent
_eighty dollars_’ worth to market in one season. Not mentioned by
eastern writers, nor found in eastern catalogues, but described at the
West by Hampton and Plummer, and found in Ohio and Indiana nurseries.

2. SWEET JUNE.—Tree upright, wood moderately strong; ripens its wood
early in fall; not subject to frost-blight; flourishes on all soils,
even if quite wet; bears very young, often while in nursery rows;
bears every year and abundantly. The fruit is of medium size; color a
pale yellow; form globular; flavor sweet and pleasant. Ripens at same
time as the Carolina June.

3. KIRKBRIDGE WHITE.—Not found in any catalogues but those of Western
nurseries. Tree upright, wood strong and stubbed; grows slow while
young, but vigorously when fully established; ripens its wood early in
autumn; not subject to frost-blight; bears moderately young, and is
very productive. _Its fruit ripens in succession for six weeks from
first of July to middle of August_, and is peculiarly valuable on that
account; color nearly white; it is largest at base and tapers
regularly to the eye, and is ribbed; flavor, mild, pleasant acid;
flesh melting, and, if fully ripe breaks to pieces in falling to the
ground.

4. PRINCE’S HARVEST.—Manning pronounces this “the earliest apple
worthy of cultivation.” It may be in Massachusetts, but it is preceded
by many at the West. Manning’s description is good.

     “The form is flat, of medium size; the skin, when perfectly
     ripe, is of a beautifully bright straw color; the flesh
     tender and sprightly; if gathered before they are fully
     ripe, it has too much acidity. The finest fruits are those
     which drop ripe from the tree; the branches make very acute
     angles, by which it is readily distinguished from most other
     trees in the orchard; it bears young. Ripe early in July.”

Our nurserymen regard it as a shy bearer.

5. SUMMER QUEEN.—Extensively cultivated in the West under the name of
_Orange Apple_. The tree is spreading; a rapid grower; not subject to
frost-blight; wood moderately strong; comes late into bearing;
productive when the tree is fully grown, according to the books, but
in this region with some exceptions has proved to be a poor bearer.
Fruit large, yellow, striped with red; flesh, breaking; flavor strong,
and not delicate.

6. SWEET BOUGH.—Two varieties of this name are cultivated in the
West—Coxe’s and Mount’s. Coxe’s sweet bough, is that of the books and
catalogues. Ripens at the same time; not quite so high in flavor.
Coxe’s trees are large limbed and spreading; bearing on the point of
the limbs, and are shy bearers; Mount’s variety is of upright growth;
bears on spurs along the branches; is a good bearer and ripens from
middle of July to August.

     “A variety under the name of Philadelphia Jennetting is
     known in Trumbull County, Ohio. It ripens two weeks later
     than the common kind, otherwise it is not essentially
     different.”—_Dr. J. P. Kirtland._

7. SUMMER PEARMAIN.—There seem to be two varieties of this name
cultivated in Ohio and Indiana.

(1.) That of Coxe, which is the one generally cultivated, and
deservedly popular.

“The fruit-buds seem to be unusually hardy, and often resist the
impression of late spring frosts, while others are killed. In 1834,
when our fruits were universally cut off by that destructive agent, a
tree of the summer pearmain and another of the Vandeveer, matured a
dozen or two apples, while not another tree in an orchard containing
over five hundred, bore a solitary fruit. It is worthy of more
extensive cultivation.”—_Dr. Kirtland._

(2.) A variety evidently allied to Coxe’s, but all things considered a
more desirable variety. The fruit resembles Coxe’s, but is larger; the
flavor is the same, but not quite as high; Coxe’s is oblong; this
variety is Vandeveer pippin shape; color the same, and the period of
ripening, viz., July and August. The trees are very distinct; Coxe’s
is upright, this is spreading; Coxe’s of a slender growth, and stinted
habit, and is hard to bring forward in the nursery; this has a
vigorous growth, and strong wood, and strikingly resembles the
Vandeveer pippin-tree. It bears early and abundantly in all soils.

This second variety was brought, by a man named Harlan, Fayette
County, Indiana, from South Carolina, where it is extensively
cultivated.

8. DANIEL.—The tree is upright, nearly pear-tree shape; wood strong
and healthy; leaves, above all varieties, dark green and glossy; bears
young and abundantly. Fruit medium size; it has a yellow ground
covered with blotches of dull red; flavor rich, sweetish, and high.
Ripens in succession from first to middle of August. A desirable
variety.

9. HOSS, improperly pronounced _Horse_, and so written in Prince’s
catalogue. Originated in North Carolina; largely cultivated in both
Carolinas and southern Virginia; named from the originator. It has
been propagated by suckers, grafts, and _even by seeds_; in this
latter case, the product very nearly resembles the parent. Three
varieties, however, may be discriminated. Tree upright, wood strong
and healthy; bears yearly and abundantly; flesh melting: flavor rather
too acid until thoroughly ripe, and then fine. Ripens in August and
September. Desirable in the most select orchards.

The _time of ripening_ I have set down for the latitude of
Indianapolis. Upon the Ohio River, near Cincinnati, it will be ten
days earlier.


AUTUMN APPLES.


10. MAIDEN’S BLUSH.—Tree moderately spreading, open top, limbs
slender; grows late in fall, and somewhat liable to winter-killing;
grows well on all good soils; bears young and very abundantly every
year. The fruit large when the tree is not allowed to ripen too large
a crop; white, and blush toward the sun; tender, melting, very juicy,
decidedly acid. The fruit is, even in unfavorable seasons, very free
from cracks, knots, and is always fair; one of the best for drying and
excellent for marketing; should be plucked before it is dead ripe;
ripens from August to October. It is the same as the English
Horthornden. It does not do well grafted on the root; being apt to
burst the first or second winter; buds well, and should be thus
propagated in the nursery. It is a native of New Jersey.

11. WINE APPLE.—Tree spreading but not sprawling; medium grower,
healthy; limbs rather slender; does well on all soils; bears very
young, largely, and every year. Fruit large on young, and medium-sized
on old trees; deep yellow ground covered with red, and russet about
the stem; tender, melting, very juicy, high-flavored, sweet, with a
spicy dash of subacid. One of the richest cooking apples; one of the
most desirable for drying, resembling dried pears. Where known, it is
worth, dried, a dollar and a half a bushel, when other apples command
but seventy-five cents. Ripens first of September and has passed its
prime by November. Eastern writers call it a winter apple, and Kenrick
gives October to March as its season; but, in the West, it seldom sees
the first winter month. Takes by graft and bud pretty well; does well
grafted upon the root; favorable for nursery purposes.

12. HOLLAND PIPPIN.—Tree large and spreading; strong growth; wood
short and stubbed, healthy; bears moderately young; they are averse to
heavy clay and wet soils; on light, dry, rich, sandy soils bears
largely, and of high color and flavor; bears every other year. Fruit
large, very bright yellow, tender, juicy, subacid. The pulp in the
mouth becomes rather viscid, as if the fruit were mucilaginous, which
is agreeable or otherwise according to the taste of the eater. It is
sometimes, but rarely, water-cored. Ripens in October and November;
will keep later, but apt to lose in flavor. Good for drying, but
usually sold green, being a very marketable fruit. Not a good tree for
nurserymen; not willing to come if grafted on the root; does well by
crown-grafting; moderately well by budding, the eye being apt to put
out simply a spur, which can seldom be forced into a branch if
permitted to harden.

13. RAMBO.—This apple is known in New Jersey by the names of Romanite,
Seek-no-further, and Bread and Cheese. The first two names belong to
entirely different apples. The rambo is not to be confounded with the
_Rambours_, of which there are several varieties. Tree upright, and
the most vigorous growth of all trees cultivated in the West; the
easiest of all to bud with, a bud seldom misses, and makes
extraordinary growth the first season; it may well be called the
nurseryman’s favorite; bears very young, abundantly every year, good
on all soils. Fruit medium size, yellow ground with red stripes and
the whole overlaid with a bloom, like a plum; tender, juicy, melting,
subacid, rich; it has a peculiarity of ripening; it begins at the skin
and ripens toward the core; often soft and seemingly ripe on the
outside while the inside is yet hard. Ripens from October to December.
One of the best of all fruits.

14. GOLDEN RUSSET.—This admirable apple is put in the list of fall
fruits, because, though it will keep through the winter, it ripens in
November, and sometimes even in October. Tree, strong grower, upright,
compact top-healthy, grows late in fall and therefore subject to
winter-killing; will grow on all soils, but delights in rich sandy
loams, on which it bears larger and finer fruit. Fruit small, rather
oblong; color yellow, slight red next to the sun; although called
_russet_, there is but a _trace_ of it on the fruit of healthy trees;
tender, melting, spicy, very juicy; in flavor it resembles the St.
Michael’s _pear_ (Doyenné) more nearly than any other apple.

This fruit is the most popular of all late, fall, or early winter
apples, and deservedly, and should be put at the head of the list. A
gentleman near Belfre, Ohio, being applied to for a list of apples to
furnish an orchard of a thousand trees for marketing purposes,
replied, “Take nine hundred and ninety-nine golden russets, and the
_rest_ you can choose to suit yourself.” For nursery purposes it is
rather a backward apple; the buds apt to fail, which occasions much
resetting. It will not do well grafted on the root, being tender and
always largely winter-killed when so wrought. They graft kindly on
well established stocks.

If a larger list of fall apples is desired, we recommend the Fall
Harvey, Gravenstein, Lyscom, Porter, Red Ingestrie, Yellow do. The
Ashmore is a desirable fruit—difficult to raise in the nursery, and
therefore avoided, but the fruit is fine. The Ross Nonpareil is a very
admirable fall fruit of Irish origin.

The list of autumn apples is very large and continually augmenting.
But fall apples are, ordinarily, less desirable than any others; not
from inferior quality, but because they ripen at the season of the
year when peaches and pears are in their glory.


WINTER APPLES.


15. GLORIA MUNDI or _Monstrous Pippin_. Tree, one of the most upright,
top close, and resembling the pear. Wood medium sized, healthy,
vigorous growth, wood ripens early, not subject to frost-blight; bears
on moderately young trees. It works well from the bud, and also
extremely well grafted on roots, and grows straight and finely for
nursery purposes. Fruit very large, green, changes when dead-ripe to a
yellowish white. Flavor mild, subacid; flesh melting and spicy. Ripens
in November, at the same time with the Golden Russet, but will not
keep as long. A native.

16. BLACK APPLE.—Tree low, spreading, and round topped; wood of medium
vigor, healthy, ripens early, and not subject to frost-blight. Grafts
on the root kindly; not so favorable for budding as the No. 15; bears
remarkably young, and abundantly to a fault. Fruit medium sized; color
very dark red, almost black, with grey rusty spots about the stem;
flesh tender, breaking; moderately juicy, flavor rather sweet, though
not a real sweet apple. No apple would stand fairer as an early winter
fruit, were it not for a peculiar, dry, raw taste, somewhat resembling
the taste of uncooked corn meal. Ripens from November to January. It
is a native.

17. NEWTON SPITZENBURG.—Tree, not large, upright but not compact, top
open; wood of medium size and vigor of growth; healthy, ripens early,
and yet, now and then, it takes the frost-blight; bears moderately
young, every other year, very abundantly; grafts well on the root,
buds only moderately well, good for nursery handling. Fruit, varying
much in size, but often large, flesh melting, juicy; flavor rich,
spicy, subacid; ripens from November to January.

18. RHODE ISLAND GREENING.—Tree large, very spreading and drooping,
grows vigorously, healthy, ripens early, not subject to frost-blight;
bud takes well; but, whether grafted on the root, or budded, it will
plague the nurseryman by its disposition to spread and twist about
like a quince bush. It should be budded on strong stocks at the height
at which the top is to be formed; but it always overgrows the stock.
Fruit very large, color green, with cloudy spots dotted with pin-point
black specks; flesh breaking, tender and juicy: flavor mild, rich,
subacid; a very popular fruit. Ripens from November to January.

19. HUBBARDSTON NONESUCH.—Admirable in nursery; works well on root or
by bud. We give Downing’s description, as it has not fruited in this
region.

     “A fine, large, early winter fruit, which originated in the
     town of Hubbardston, Mass., and is of first rate quality.
     The tree is a vigorous grower, forming a handsome branching
     head, and bears very large crops. It is worthy of extensive
     orchard culture.

     “Fruit large, roundish-oblong, much narrower near the eye.
     Skin smooth, striped with splashes, and irregular broken
     stripes of pale and bright red, which nearly cover a
     yellowish ground. The calyx open, and the stalk short, in a
     russeted hollow. Flesh yellow, juicy, and tender, with an
     agreeable mingling of sweetness and acidity in its flavor.
     October to January.”

20. MINISTER.—We give Manning’s description:

     “This fine apple originated in Rowley, Mass. The size is
     large, the form oblong like the Bellflower, tapering to the
     eye, with broad ridges the whole length of the fruit; the
     skin a light greenish yellow, striped with bright red, but
     the red seldom extends to the eye; flesh yellow, light, high
     flavored and excellent. This is one of the very finest
     apples which New England has produced. It ripens from
     November to February, and deserves a place in every
     collection of fruits, however small. This apple received its
     present name from the circumstance of the late Rev. Dr.
     Spring, of Newburyport, having purchased the first fruit
     brought to market.”

21. VANDERVEER PIPPIN.—Tree large, one of the most vigorous,
spreading, but not drooping; ripens its wood late, occasionally
touched with frost-blight and liable to burst at the surface of the
ground during the winter. Bears young, every year, and very
abundantly. Buds well, grafts well on the root, grows off strongly,
forms a top readily, and will please nurserymen. Fruit large, more
uniformly of one size all over the tree than any in the orchard; shape
of fruit flat; color, red stripes on a yellow, russety ground. Flesh
coarse, gritty; flavor strong, penetrating, without aroma; December to
March. This fruit is remarkable for having almost every good quality
of tree and fruit and being notwithstanding a third-rate apple. The
tree is hardy, its bloom, from peculiar hardiness, escapes injury from
frost, and even a second set of blossoms put out, though feeble ones,
if the first are destroyed. The fruit is comely, cooks admirably,
keeps well; but a certain sharpness and coarseness will always make it
but a second or third-rate fruit. No tree is sought by farmers in this
region, with more avidity. Its origin is doubtful. Brunson, of Wayne
County, brought it to Indiana, and all our nurseries trace their stock
to his. It was carried for the first time to New Jersey, by Quakers
visiting that region, from his orchard. It should have been mentioned,
that it holds its age remarkably well, very old trees producing as
largely, and as fair, sound fruit as when young.

22. YELLOW BELLE FLEUR, OR BELLFLOWER.—Tree spreads and droops more
than any tree of the orchard, the Newark pippin, perhaps, excepted;
wood very slender and whip-like, healthy, ripens early, not subject to
frost-blight, grafts well on the root, but is rather tender during the
first winter when so worked; buds well, but from its drooping,
sprawling habits, is hard to form into a top. Bears moderately young
(not so young as the white); abundantly. Flesh melting and tender and
juicy; flavor fine and delicate rather than high; color deep yellow
when ripe; ripens from December to March. One of the most deservedly
popular of winter apples and always salable in all markets.

23. WHITE BELLE FLEUR.—This apple is cultivated in Ohio under the
names of _Hollow-cored Pippin_, _Ohio favorite_, and, by the
Cincinnati pomologists, of _Detroit_. It is also the _Cumberland
Spice_ and _Monstrous Bellflower_ of Coxe. It was taken to the West by
Brunson of Wayne County, Indiana, and thence disseminated in every
direction; and it may be called _the_ Bellflower of Indiana, since it
and not the yellow, predominates in all orchards. The yellow, however,
within five years, has been largely distributed. Tree, medium sized,
spreading; wood stronger than the yellow belle fleur, healthy, ripens
its wood early, but liable to after-growth in warm falls, and
therefore subject to frost-blight. The tree, from its habit of growth,
more liable to split and break under a full crop than any tree of the
orchard. One of the youngest bearers in the nursery; fruitful to a
fault. Grafted on the root it kills off in winter; buds well and forms
a top without difficulty. Fruit above medium and sometimes very large;
color, greenish white, and, in some seasons with a blush on the sunny
side; flesh breaking at first, but when fully ripe, melting and juicy;
flavor mild and delicate. It is not apt to cloy, and more can be eaten
than of almost any variety. Ripe from December to March.

24. BALDWIN.—Works well in nursery by root or bud, and is fine for
nurserymen. Top forms easily. Not upright, as Downing says, but a
round, spreading top. We give Downing’s description:

     “The Baldwin stands at the head of New England apples, and
     is unquestionably a first-rate fruit in all respects. It is
     a native of Massachusetts, and is more largely cultivated
     for the Boston market than any other sort. It bears most
     abundantly, and we have had the satisfaction of raising
     larger, more beautiful, and highly favored specimens here,
     than we ever saw in its native region. The Baldwin, in
     flavor and general characteristics, evidently belongs to the
     same family as Esopus Spitzenburg, and deserves its
     extensive popularity.

     “Fruit large, roundish, and narrowing a little to the eye.
     Skin yellow in the shade, but nearly covered and striped
     with crimson, red, and orange, in the sun; dotted with a few
     large russet dots, and with radiating streaks of russet
     about the stalk. Calyx closed, set in a rather narrow
     plaited basin. Stalk half to three fourths of an inch long,
     rather slender for so large a fruit, planted in an even,
     moderately deep cavity. Flesh yellowish white, crisp, with
     that agreeable mingling of the saccharine and acid which
     constitutes a rich, high flavor. The tree is a vigorous,
     upright grower, and bears most abundantly. Ripe from
     November to March, but attains its greatest perfection in
     January.”

25. MICHAEL HENRY PIPPIN.—Tree upright, with a round-shaped top; wood
strong, rather slow grower, ripens its main growth of wood early, but
liable to fresh growth in warm, wet falls; bears very young, every
other year abundantly and not a single apple in the next year. Should
not be grafted on the root; and it is rather troublesome when budded,
from a disposition to make dwarf spur-like branches, rather than
upright limbs. Fruit medium-sized, long, large about the base,
sharpening toward the eye; color green, clouded and black speckled;
flesh tender, melting; flavor rich, inclined to sweet, and very fine.
Ripens from December to March.

26. RED SWEET PIPPIN.—Tree handsome, round-topped, but rather
spreading; wood strong, and vigorous growth, ripens early; tree very
healthy, apt to grow with very smooth bark affording little shelter
for insects; bears young, every year and abundantly. Works well in the
nursery either by grafting on the root, or by budding. Fruit medium
size inclining to large; color red with grey stripes on the shaded
side; flesh breaking and firm; flavor sweet and rich. It bakes well,
is good for pies, eats well, and its kitchen and table qualities
combined make it a desirable fruit. Ripe from December to April.

27. PRYOR’S RED.—Tree upright; wood slow growing, slender, and the
branches full of small wood, healthy, not subject to frost-blight;
comes very late into bearing, requiring ten or twelve years for full
bearing; bears only moderate crops; every year. Difficult to work in
the nursery, but does better by grafting on the root than by budding.
Fruit above medium size; color, red dotted with white specks; the
whole surface covered with slight bloom; flesh melting; flavor very
rich and high, and by some thought to be even richer than the golden
russet. If this apple only grew on the Vanderveer pippin tree, it
would require nothing more to render it perfect. Ripens from December
to March. Its keeping properties are more in danger from the _teeth_
than from ordinary decay. A very salable and popular apple, which,
when once had, none would consent to lose. It is unknown in New
England and New York except by description; and is not even described
by Downing, and but little more than mentioned by Kenrick.

28. GREEN NEWTOWN PIPPIN.—Tree spreading, wood slender and slow
growing; ripens early, making it often troublesome for nurserymen to
procure buds fit for late work; not subject to frost-blight. The tree
requires vigorous cultivation to redeem it from a feeble growth; the
bark is inclined to crack on the branches and scale up, and when once
roughened it is difficult ever again to make them smooth. Late coming
into bearing, bears abundantly every other year. They should never be
grafted on the root; they should be budded on strong healthy stocks
and high up in order to do well. Fruit large, green, changing to
yellow when dead-ripe; flesh firm, breaking; flavor very rich. Ripe
from February to May. This apple is cultivated in extraordinary
abundance at the East both for home and foreign markets. They sell in
London, at sixpence a piece. The farm of R. L. Pell contains 2,000
bearing trees of this variety; a note descriptive of which we give
from Downing:

     “One of the finest orchards in America is that of Pellham
     farm, at Esopus, on the Hudson. It is no less remarkable for
     the beauty and high flavor of its fruit, than the constant
     productiveness of trees. The proprietor, R. L. Pell, Esq.,
     has kindly furnished us with some notes of his experiments
     on fruit-trees, and we subjoin the following highly
     interesting one on the apple.

     “For several years past, I have been experimenting on the
     apple, having an orchard of 2,000 bearing Newtown
     Pippin-trees. I found it very unprofitable to wait for what
     is termed the ‘bearing year,’ and it has been my aim to
     assist nature, so as to enable the trees to bear every year.
     I have noticed that from the excessive productiveness of
     this tree, it requires the intermediate year to recover
     itself—to extract from the earth and the atmosphere the
     materials to enable it to produce again. This it is not able
     to do, unassisted by art, while it is loaded with fruit, and
     the intervening year is lost; if, however, the tree is
     supplied with proper food it will bear every year; at least
     such has been the result of my experiments. Three years ago,
     in April, I scraped all the rough bark from the stems of
     several thousand trees in my orchards, and washed all the
     trunks and limbs within reach with soft soap; trimmed out
     all the branches that crossed each other early in June, and
     painted the wounded part with white lead, to exclude
     moisture and prevent decay. I then, in the latter part of
     the same month, slit the bark by running a sharp-pointed
     knife from the ground to the first set of limbs, which
     prevents the tree from becoming bark-bound, and gives the
     young wood an opportunity of expanding. In July I placed one
     peck of oyster-shell lime under each tree, and left it piled
     about the trunk until November, during which time the
     drought was excessive. In November the lime was dug in
     thoroughly. The following year I collected from these trees
     1,700 barrels of fruit, part of which was sold in New York
     for four, and others in London for nine dollars per barrel.
     The cider made from the refuse, delivered at the mill two
     days after its manufacture, I sold for three dollars and
     three-quarters per barrel of thirty-two gallons, exclusive
     of the barrel. In October I manured these trees with stable
     manure in which the ammonia had been fixed, and covered this
     immediately with earth. The succeeding autumn they were
     literally bending to the ground with the finest fruit I ever
     saw, while the other trees in my orchard not so treated were
     quite barren, the last season having been their bearing
     year. I am now placing round each tree one peck of charcoal
     dust, and propose in the spring to cover it from the compost
     heap.

     “‘My soil is a strong, deep, sandy loam on a gravelly
     subsoil. I cultivate my orchard grounds as if there were no
     trees on them, and raise grain of every kind except rye,
     which grain is so very injurious that I believe three
     successive crops of it would destroy any orchard younger
     than twenty years. I raised last year in an orchard
     containing twenty acres, trees eighteen years old, a crop of
     Indian corn which averaged 140 bushels of ears to the acre.’”

29. RAWLE’S JANET, OR JENNETTING.—Tree round topped, a little
spreading and handsome. Wood strong, slow growth, short jointed, and
the healthiest, perhaps, of all orchard trees. Does not bear young;
but when established, a great bearer every year, unless overloaded,
when it rests a year. It is the finest of all apples to graft on the
root, and should be always so propagated in the nursery; if budded, it
being a late starter in spring, the stock will put out its branches
before the bud, and make great trouble. Fruit medium sized; color
green striped with red; roundish but inclined to sharpen toward the
eye; flesh white, melting, very juicy; flavor mild and delicate.
Ripens from February to May. This is, and deserves to be, an
exceedingly popular apple in all the West. The tree is remarkably
healthy; it blooms ten days later than other varieties, and therefore
seldom loses a crop by spring frost; but the bloom is very sensitive
to frost if overtaken; the fruit is very relishful; keeps as well as
the Newtown Pippin, and by many, and by this writer among the number,
is much preferred to that noted variety. It has the peculiar
excellence of enduring frost without material injury; a property which
has enabled cultivators to save thousands of bushels of fruit which by
sudden and early cold had been severely frosted.

       *     *     *     *     *

The reason that the Cockle-bur, that great pest on farms, cannot be
destroyed by being cut off once a year, is that nature has provided
for its propagation by bestowing on it seed vessels which ripen at two
different times of the year. This will be found to be the case on
careful examination.—_Western Farmer and Gardener._



ORIGIN OF SOME VARIETIES OF FRUIT.


The history of our fine fruits has many curious points of interest to
the zealous pomologist. It is made up of skill, felicitous blunders,
discoveries, and profitable accidents.

The Flemish pears, with which so large a portion of the calendar of
new pears is filled, were the products of scientific efforts. In like
manner, many of the finest fruits originated by Knight, were by a
scientific, although a different, process. On the other hand it would
be difficult to find fruits superior to those in the making of which
only Nature had a hand.

The _Duchesse d’Angoulême_, a pear without a rival, in its season, was
found in 1815, growing wild in a hedge, near Angers, in the department
of Maine et Loire, France.

The _Washington_, one of our finest native pears, was likewise
discovered in a thorn hedge, at Naaman’s creek, Delaware, by Gen.
Robertson. He was removing a fence on his farm about forty-five years
ago; he found the young tree nearly grown.

The _Lewis_ is a native of Massachusetts. Mr. Downer, of Dorchester, a
critical judge of fruits, was acquainted with the original tree ten
years before he thought it worth a place in his garden. He visited it
three times, and was each time disinclined to cultivate it; it was not
until he had seen a tree taken from it, growing in cultivated ground,
that he adopted it. It now ranks among the finest native pears.

_Dearborn’s Seedling_ was discovered by General Dearborn in a cluster
of syringas and rose bushes, forming a part of a border to an avenue.
Pears seem to have great fondness for hedges, borders, etc. The
discoverer attempted to remove the tree, then, apparently, about five
years old, to his nursery for a stock; but digging two feet deep, and
finding no root but the tap root, he feared that deplanting might kill
it. It was left to grow, and has proved to be one of the first-class
pears.

_Downer’s late cherry_, was a stock in the nursery row, and several
times budded with other kinds; the buds always failing, the tree was
allowed to fruit, and proved one of the best, if not _the_ best, of
late cherries.

_Knight’s Black Eagle_ was raised from the seed of the Bigarreau
fertilized by the May Duke. When it bore, the fruit was so inferior
that the London Horticultural Society peremptorily rejected it. Mr.
Knight determined to head the tree down and graft into it other sorts.
But he had given the tree to a daughter, with whom it was a favorite,
and she refused to have it sacrificed. Each year, subsequently, showed
an improvement in the fruit; and now it stands in the first class of
cherries. This is one among many instances, which show that young
seedlings do not exhibit the true qualities of the fruit for several
years after they come to bearing.

The _Red-cheek Melocoton_ peach was accidentally obtained by the late
Wm. Prince, Flushing, Long Island. He had budded the Kennedy’s
Caroline upon a stock, and below the point of inoculation a branch of
the original stock had shot up into bearing. Sending a servant to
gather the budded fruit, he was surprised by his bringing, and, as he
declared, from this tree, a free-stone peach. On examining, he found
the cause as stated above, and was so much pleased with the new kind
that he cultivated it.

       *     *     *     *     *

The best stock a man can invest in, is the stock of a farm; the best
shares are plow-shares; and the best banks are the fertile banks of
the rural stream: the more these are broken the better dividends they
pay.



THE QUINCE.


We have nothing to say that has not been well said by Downing, in his
most interesting chapter on the Quince. His _Fruit and Fruit Trees of
America_, by the way, is beyond all question the best pomological
manual, all things considered, which has appeared at home or abroad.

To return to the quince; we marvel that so few trees have found a
place in our collections of fruit. Quinces bear transportation, and
will, upon an average, bring two dollars a bushel. They sell
extravagantly high every year, and yet no one seems to take the hint.

Our favorite mode of increasing the quince, is by layers. The tree
being low and inclined to be bushy, there is always an abundance of
suitable wood to lay down. Twenty or thirty or even more rooted plants
may be obtained in a single season; and the layers throw out such a
profusion of roots that the only difficulty will be to separate each
plant with its roots from the tough and matted abundance which will be
found to have filled the soil. If laid down in the spring, they may be
removed by midsummer, a cool and moist day being chosen, and the
plants shaded until they start again to growing. If this is done, a
second set of layers may be put down to remain over fall and winter
and be removed the next spring.

Trees intended for the fruit-compartment of the garden should be
trained to a _single_ stem, when they will make a low and not
altogether unsymmetrical tree; at any rate, a tree much more
convenient than the quince _bush_ which we usually find in our garden
corners.

Where the seed is to be planted, they should be _prepared_; they are
covered with a thick mucilaginous matter which restrains their quick
germination. Let them be put into water for twelve hours, and the
water will become nearly as thick as paste. Pour it off and repeat the
operation until they are nearly clean; mix them with sand and sow them
immediately.



CUTTING AND KEEPING GRAFTS.


Many experienced orchardists suppose the best time for cutting grafts
to be immediately on the fall of the leaf in autumn.

Grafts should be cut in mild weather, when the wood is entirely free
from frost. Select the _outside_ limbs and the last year’s growth of
wood.

Too much care cannot be observed in _keeping the varieties separate_.
Tie up in bundles and mark the names of each kind as soon as cut. A
moment’s carefulness may save years of vexation.

When the grafts are to be used at home, it is well to lay them in the
cellar where frost will not reach them, and slightly cover them, _so
that they shall not evaporate the moisture which they contain_. Too
much wet injures them. Half-dry sand is as good as anything, and if
packed in an old nail-keg and put in a cool place, they will require
no further attention until it is time to use them.

When grafts are to be sent to a considerable distance, they should be
carefully wrapped in moist cloth, with folds enough to exclude the air
entirely. For convenience of carrying they may be packed, in this
condition, in a box, and the space filled in with cotton-wool, chaff,
bran, or any similar substance.

It is stated by some, that grafts taken from the lower limbs of trees
will produce fruit the soonest; while those from the middle and top
and from the upright shoots will make trees of the finest form. We
confess a slight prejudice against the lower limbs of trees, as it was
thence that “switches” were cut in the mischievous days of our youth,
wherewith to apply Solomon’s doctrine of discipline. Whether they will
make upright trees, we cannot say; but they are supposed to have a
tendency to make upright men.



FROST-BLIGHT.


It is a matter of great importance that all cultivators of fruit unite
in making observations on this subject, and that it may be done with
some unity of purpose.

1. Let the examiner select trees upon which are seen small
_water-shoots_, that have evidently grown late in the fall. Usually, a
tuft of withered leaves will indicate them. Examine also all the new
wood which retains terminal leaves or is winter-killed at the tips.

2. The pith will be, in apples, an iron-rust color, and in pears
greenish black or pepper color; the inner skin will be discolored, and
the wood of a greenish, waxy appearance. On cutting down to the point
where these shoots unite with the branch or trunk, the diseased sap
will be found to have discolored the whole neighborhood. In many cases
which we have examined, half the trunk is affected. We examined a
bearing pear-tree, which to the eye has not one sign of unhealthiness,
but which, on cutting, is found to be affected throughout, and will,
undoubtedly, die in spring.

3. Let a comparison be instituted between trees in different
circumstances.

Is there any difference between slow-growing varieties and those which
grow rapidly?

Is there any difference between trees in cold, northern aspects, whose
sap, in autumn, would not be likely to be excited, and those with
southern aspects?

Is there a difference between trees upon a fat clay or rank loam of
any kind, and those upon a warm, dry, sandy loam. It is supposed that
any causes which produce a coarse, watery, flabby tissue in a tree,
predispose it to injury by frost, and thus to the blight; and that the
fineness and firmness of texture of trees growing in a sand-loam on a
gravelly subsoil give them great power of endurance.

4. Let trees which are found to be in an injured condition be marked
and examined again as follows:

(1.) At the breaking up of winter, to see if any change of condition
has taken place.

(2.) At the breaking of the bud into leaf.

(3.) At the full development of leaf and when the downward current of
sap is begun.

5. It is a matter of great importance to ascertain whether the
character of the season which follows such frost-injuries as have
befallen fruit-trees in this region, modifies the disease. Some think
that blight will follow without regard to the ensuing season; others
suppose that a _dry_, and warm season will very much prevent the
mischief; but that a _moist_ and warm spring and summer, will give it
a fatal development.

It is ardently to be hoped that accurate observations will be made,
and upon a large scale. We presume that it need not be added that the
_exact truth of facts_ is the first step toward any sound explanation;
and that our object should be to _find out facts_, and then,
afterward, to deduce principles.

       *     *     *     *     *

BOILING POTATOES.—Not one housekeeper out of ten knows how to boil
potatoes properly. Here is an Irish method, one of the best we know.
Clean wash the potatoes and leave the skin on; then bring the water to
a boil and throw them in. As soon as boiled soft enough for a fork to
be easily thrust through them, dash some cold water into the pot, let
the potatoes remain two minutes, and then pour off the water. This
done, half remove the pot-lid, and let the potatoes remain over a slow
fire till the steam is evaporated; then peel and set them on the table
in an _open_ dish. Potatoes of a good kind thus cooked, will always be
sweet, dry and mealy. A covered dish is bad for potatoes, as it keeps
the steam in, and makes them soft and watery.



SEEDLING FRUITS.


Already the varieties of hardy fruits have become so numerous, that
not only can they not all be cultivated, but the mere list of names is
too bulky to be printed. Downing’s book gives a list of 181 apples.
The London Horticultural Society’s Catalogue, expurgated at that,
gives 900 kinds of apples, and 1,500 have been tested in the Society’s
gardens. Manning’s experimental grounds and nursery at the time of his
death, contained 1,000 named varieties of the pear! Swollen as is the
list, there are scores annually added; many under the advice of
scientific bodies; many have popular approbation; many from the
partialities of some parental nurseryman; and many come in, as evil
came into this world, no one can tell how.

It has become necessary, therefore, to exclude many from the
catalogue, and especially necessary that none should enter without the
very best passport. In the main, one set of tests will serve, both for
receiving and expurgating; for no matter how long a fruit has been on
the list, it should be ejected if, being out, its qualities would not
gain it a fresh admission. There are no hereditary rights, or rights
of occupancy, in pomological lists.

Titles, rank, antiquity, pedigree and other merciful means of
compensating a want of personal merit, may do for _men_ but not for
_apples_. A very glorious pomological reformation broke out in the
London Horticultural Society’s gardens at Chiswick, and that Luther of
the orchard, Mr. Thompson, has abolished an astonishing number of
sinecures, and reformed, if not worthless rotten boroughs, very
worthless apples and pears. The Society’s first catalogue issued in
1826. Its third catalogue was published in December of 1842. The
experience of the intervening sixteen years led to the total rejection
from their list, on the ground of inferiority, or as synonyms, of 600
varieties of apples; 139 of cherries; 200 of gooseberries; 82 of
grapes, 80 of strawberries; 150 of peaches; 200 of pears; and 150 of
plums. Only _twenty-eight_ peaches are allowed to stand; and only
_twenty-six_ strawberries out of the hundreds that were proved. We
have no similar society in the United States whose authority would be
generally acknowledged. Our only resource is the diffusion of the very
best fruits that every neighborhood may have a standard of comparison
by the reduction of experience to the form of rules. Although it is
difficult to lay down general rules on this subject, there are three
which may be mentioned.

1. _No fruit should be admitted to the list and none retained upon it,
which is decidedly poor._—One would suppose this truism to be
superfluous as a rule. But it is only necessary to go out into
seedling orchards in any neighborhood to find small, tough, and
flavorless apples, which hold their place alongside of orchards filled
with choice grafted fruit.

2. _No seedling fruit should be added to the list, which is in no
respect better than those of the same period of ripening already
cultivated._—It is not enough that an apple is nearly or quite as good
as another favorite apple. It must be as good in flavor, and better in
some of its habits.

3. _In testing the merits of fruit, an estimate should be the result
of a consideration of all the habits, jointly, of the tree and of the
fruit._—It is in the application of this rule that great experience
and judgment are required. This will be plain, if one considers how
many essential particulars enter into a first-rate fruit beside mere
flavor.

Of two fruits equal in flavor, one may surpass the other in tenderness
of flesh, in juiciness, in delicacy of skin, and in size. It is rare
that any single fruit combines all these excellences, and therefore it
is that we retain several varieties, among which such properties are
distributed.

There are many fruits which, having good substance and flavor, derive
their value from some single peculiarity. Thus a fruit may be no
better than many others, but the tree, blooming very late in spring,
is seldom overtaken by prowling and irregular frosts. Some of our best
fruits have stingy bearing-trees, or trees of very tender and delicate
habit; and we are obliged to tolerate more hardy and prolific trees
with fruit somewhat inferior.

A few fruits are retained on the list because they have the singular
property of being uninjured by frosts, and others because, though not
remarkable for flavor, they are endless keepers, of both which
properties the Rawle’s Jennetting is an example.

In fruits designed for market, beauty and abundance must be allowed to
supersede mere excellence of flavor. Some very rich fruits are borne
in such a parsimonious way that none but amateurs can afford
tree-room.

Nor are we to overlook nursery qualifications; for, of two fruits
equally good, preference should be given to that which will work the
kindliest in the nursery. Some will bear grafting on the root, some
will not; some take well by budding, and grow off promptly and with
force; others are dull and slugglish, and often reluctant to form the
new partnership. While then it will always be to the nurseryman’s
interest to work such kinds as he can sell the most of—he has a right,
in so far as he directs the public judgment of his neighborhood, to
give a preference, among equal fruits, to such as work the surest and
strongest. It is as much the interest of the purchaser and the public
to have the freest growing sorts, as it is the nurseryman’s interest.
Thus, if another Seckle pear could be found growing on the tree of
Williams’ _Bon Chrétien_, it ought to supplant the old Seckle tree,
which, in spite of its incomparable fruit, is a vexatious thing to
manage; and, as often in the case of other and fairer fruit, makes one
wonder how such amiable and beautiful daughters ever had such a surly
and crusty old father.

A pomological censor must also have regard to varieties of taste among
men, and to commercial qualities of fruit, and to its adaptation to
soil and climate.

No one man has a right to make his tongue the monarch over other
people’s tongues. Therefore, for instance, it is none of our business,
if a rugged mouth chooses to roll a slice of the austere Vanderveer
pippin, like sin, as a sweet morsel under his tongue. The mild
delicacy of an apple, which fills our mouths with admiration, would be
mere insipidity to all who are favored with leather mouths. So that
there must be toleration even among apple-mongers.

Nor are the humbler tests of cooking to be overlooked. Some fruits are
good eaters and poor cookers; some cook well but are villainous to the
taste when raw; some will stew to a fine flavor and sweetness _without
sugar_, and some have remarkable jelly properties. But after the
largest allowance is made for taste, hardiness, keeping, prolific
bearing, color, size, texture, season, adaptation to soils, etc.,
etc., there will be found, we think, a large number of tenants in our
nurserymen’s catalogues, upon whom should be instantly served a writ
of ejectment.



TIME FOR PRUNING.


We do not believe in severe pruning at _any_ time. If a man has the
education of his orchard from the start, it is an utter abomination to
leave his trees in such a condition as to require it. If, however, one
comes into possession of a much abused orchard, or of a seedling
orchard; or, if a single tree is to be changed, or an old tree is to
be headed back for health’s sake, then it may be necessary to prune
with a free hand. But in such cases, the change should not be
attempted in one season, but divided between two.

There is, we suppose, a critical time in which pruning will injure the
tree. It is after the sap is in full motion, the vegetable system
impleted, _but before the pores and sap passages have acquired a
contractile power_. Thus, if a grape is pruned when the buds begin to
swell, the wood does not contract, and the vine bleeds to excess. But
if primed after the leaves are as large as the palm of the hand, no
injury ensues from cutting, for now the sap passages contract and
close speedily.

Thus if a tree be handled before or after this period, it does not
suffer; but if pruned _at this critical state of the wood_, it will
bleed, the stump part will become diseased, probably from the relaxed
state of the woody tissue, and canker will ensue—a word indicating, we
presume, simply a state of decay, covered by or accompanied with, some
sort of fungus growth.

Pruning before this critical time, is sometimes the most convenient.
But if it be a question, at which of the two periods is the tree in a
state to suffer the least, and to recover the soonest, we say, _after
it is in full leaf and well a-growing_, viz. the last of May and the
first of June. The wood has then a contractile force, does not bleed;
the tree is making new wood with great energy, and has therefore a
full supply of organizable matter with which promptly to heal the
wound.

Mr. O. V. Hill thus speaks in the _Boston Cultivator_:

     “Fruit growers at the present day, are generally of the
     opinion, that the proper time for pruning is the last of May
     or early in June, when the tree is in full leaf and in a
     vigorous, growing state. This, on many accounts, appears to
     be the most suitable season, as the wounds heal much more
     rapidly, the tree throws out less suckers, canker is avoided
     and the sap circulates freely to every part of the tree; but
     there are some objections to pruning in the early part of
     summer, which I do not recollect to have seen noticed. Any
     one who is familiar with vegetable physiology is aware that
     there is a new layer of wood and a new layer of bark
     deposited every year, and that in June this process is in
     active operation; the newly-forming wood and bark are then
     consequently in a tender and imperfect state, and very
     susceptible to injury. Standing in the forks of the branches
     as it is sometimes necessary to do in pruning, will
     frequently separate the bark and wood, especially in young
     trees at this season. In grafting late in the season, this
     is frequently the case; sometimes where the ladder is placed
     against a branch it will remove the bark; and in sawing,
     unless the saw runs very clear, and the teeth are fine, the
     same results will follow; if pruning is done in June, it
     should be performed with the greatest caution.”

The New York _Farmer and Mechanic_, commenting on the above, says:

     “The best time for pruning apple-trees is, as yet, we
     believe, undetermined by the most experienced orchardists,
     but we are of opinion that the early part of June is, for
     reasons above given by Mr. Hill, to be preferred. The
     objection arising from the fear of injuring the bark of the
     tree can easily be obviated by having the operator use
     _moccasins_ instead of shoes, and surrounding the upper
     round of the latter with straw or flannel.”

Downing says:

     “We should especially avoid pruning at that period in spring
     when the buds are swelling, and the sap is in full flow, as
     the loss of sap by bleeding is very injurious to most trees,
     and, in some, brings on a serious and incurable canker in
     the limbs.

     “There are advantages and disadvantages attending all
     seasons of pruning, but our own experience has led us to
     believe that, practically, _a fortnight before midsummer is
     by far the best season, on the whole, for pruning in the
     northern and middle States_. Wounds made at this season heal
     over freely and rapidly; it is the most favorable time to
     judge of the shape and balance of the head, and to see at a
     glance which branches require removal; and all the stock of
     organizable matter in the tree is directed to the branches
     that remain.”

Some of the western States are so much earlier than that of New York,
that early June will be equivalent to the time specified by Downing.
We have now fortified the opinion which we heretofore expressed, by
good authority, and by what seems to us good reasons. As it is,
however, with some, yet a debated question, we shall carefully insert
the experience of any man for or against our position.



PLUMS AND THEIR ENEMIES.


Multitudes of men have had plum-trees, and every year, for ten years,
have seen the fruit promise fair at first and then prematurely drop,
without knowing the reason. Even well-informed men have said to us
that it arose from some defect in the _tree_, from too much _gum_,
from a worm at the _root_, etc.

The plum-tree is very hardy; is less subject to disease than most
fruit-trees; its fruit is highly prized; and the varieties of it are
numerous and many of them delicious. By a proper selection of trees a
succession of fruit may be had from July to November. The trees are
usually sure and enormous bearers, every year. With so many good
qualities the cultivation of the plum is well-nigh prohibited, as a
garden or orchard fruit, by the valor of one little bug!

The _Curculio_ (a very hardy fellow, with a constitution yet
unimpaired by such a name as _Rhynchœnus Nenuphar_!) is a small
beetle, about a quarter of an inch long, which attacks the plums
almost as soon as the fruit has set. They seek this, and almost all
smooth-skinned fruits, as a place of deposit for their eggs. Many of
the facts which we shall narrate, were mentioned to us by Mr. Payne of
Madison, who has closely and curiously observed this depredator.

An incision is first made, of semicircular form, by a little rostra or
lancet which he carries in his head for this very purpose. After the
opening is made, the curculio deposits an egg therein; then changing
positions again, it carefully, with its fore legs, secures the egg in
its _nidus_, and pats the skin under the edge of which its treasure is
hidden, with repeated and careful efforts of its feet. Where fruit
abounds it deposits, usually, but one to a plum. But we have had
trees, just beginning to bear, whose few plums were scarified all
over.

The egg hatches to a worm, and this feeds on the plum, causing it
prematurely to fall; the insect issuing from it, enters the ground, to
undergo its transformations, and soon to reappear, a beetle, ready for
fresh mischief-making propagation.

The climate of the West is entirely glorious for all manner of
insects. They can put the East to shame in the matter of aphides,
cockroaches, cutworms, army and wire-worms, curculios, peach-worms,
grubs, etc., etc. There are many questions relating to the history of
insects, about which eastern writers are in doubt, not at all doubtful
with us.

1. Do the larvæ remain in the ground all the residue of the summer,
and come forth only in the ensuing spring? In cold latitudes it may be
so. Harris says, that they undergo their transformation in twenty
days. Downing admits this of a few stragglers. But the main supply of
bugs, he thinks, remains all summer and until spring, in the ground.
But with us the curculio is not exclusively an early summer insect. It
is found, in its appropriate haunts, through the whole warm season.
Mr. Payne put plums containing the worms into a glass, and in eleven
days obtained full-grown curculios. In cool regions they probably have
but an annual generation; but in warm and long summers, in the West,
they reproduce often in each season.

2. The mode of ascent has been a matter of doubt. J. J. Thomas, in the
_Fruit Culturist_ says: “It has the power of using its wings in
flying; but whether it crawls up the tree or ascends by flight,
appears not to be certainly ascertained.”

Downing admits that it flies, but says, “How far this insect flies is
yet a disputed point, some cultivators affirming that it scarcely goes
further than a single tree, and others-believing that it flies over a
whole neighborhood.”

Kenrick says: “They crawl up trees,” and he quotes an author as
saying: “That of two trees standing so near each other as to touch,
the fruit of one has been destroyed and the other has escaped; so
little and so reluctantly do these insects incline to use their
wings.” Dr. James Tilton says, in the “Domestic Encyclopedia,” that
“they appear very reluctant to use their wings, and perhaps never
employ them but when necessity compels them to migrate.”

It is true that the curculio, in cold and chilly weather, is
disinclined to fly; but give it a right murderously hot day, and
“McGregor’s on his native heath again.” Just before a thunder storm,
in summer, in a still, sultry, sweltering day, they may be seen flying
among the trees as blithely as any house-fly; alighting on your arm,
or hand, and springing off again as nimbly as a flea.

All remedies founded on the idea of their crawling preferences will be
signal failures. Troughs about trees, bats of wool, bandages of all
kinds about the trunk to impede the ascent will be found as useful as
would high fences to keep crows from a cornfield, or birds from the
garden.

All remedies for this pest succeed to a charm where the curculio does
not abound; and almost every one of them fails in places really
infested them.

In cities, and in country places which are far removed from all
orchards or gardens, the crops may be saved. It is not difficult to
defend a tree against all the curculios that are _bred upon it_.
Pavements; hard-rolled gravel; gathering up, daily, the fallen plums
and destroying them; the application of salt, and many other remedies
may succeed where the curculio from other gardens or orchards cannot
easily migrate to supply the trees with a fresh brood. Trees in
cities, and in retired places, on this account, often bear
plenteously.

But of what use is it to destroy five hundred larvæ, if twice that
number of emigrants, from some other quarter, are anxious, the next
spring, to _squat_ upon your trees, or to _enter_ them, in land-office
style, most nefariously? All remedies founded on the destruction of
the larvæ will be totally useless if your trees can be reached from
some infected point abroad, as we have found to our sorrow. In our own
experience, and in that of other amateur-cultivators of fruit, the
pavement, salt, and all have been “love’s labor lost.” But in the
experience of others, in climates where the curculio does not abound,
or in secluded situations, they have proved effectual.

The remedies to be employed, in ordinary cases, must be such as will
constantly molest the insect at his work. Inclosures, in which swine
root, and rub against the trees; lanes, where cattle resort, to rub
off their hair in spring, to shade themselves in summer—these are the
best situations. In yards and gardens plum-trees should be placed upon
the most frequented paths; close to the well, by the kitchen door,
near the wood-house, so that, as often as possible, they may be jarred
in passing and repassing.

Where a few trees stand apart in the garden, it is said that, daily,
morning and evening, by spreading a sheet under them, and giving the
tree a sudden and violent blow with a mallet, the insects will drop
and may then be gathered and destroyed. This should be performed while
it is cool, as then, only, the curculio is somewhat torpid. If this
course is pursued, a block should be put upon the tree, to receive the
stroke, with a bit of carpet or some soft pad to it, that the bark may
not be injured. A white sheet should be spread under the tree to catch
the falling robber.

A few trees will suffice for a private family, and the fruit must be
earned by careful watchfulness. Those who are too indolent, or
careless, or indifferent to the luxury to bestow the requisite
attention through the months of May and June, may spare themselves the
trouble of planting plum-trees. Plum _orchards_ are not to be thought
of.

Although the curculio chiefly delights in the plum, it scruples at no
fruit. It may be found upon peaches, cherries, nectarines, apricots,
gooseberries and currants.



ROOT GRAFTING.


While nothing can be done out of doors in the nursery, the process of
root grafting may be carried on, and the stock be ready for setting as
soon as the grounds are open in spring.

When this method of grafting is employed with discretion, it greatly
aids the nurseryman. It is a resource in case he cannot procure stocks
to bud or graft upon; it makes finer and handsomer trees; and it can
be carried on at a season of leisure; and the scions, being early in
the ground, have a longer season of growth by two months than buds, or
ordinary grafts.

Although any healthy root with some fibres will answer to graft upon,
yet experienced nurserymen prefer the _tap_ roots of young seedling
stocks. Those who have apple and pear stocks which are to be removed,
should employ the open weather of winter to raise them. The tap roots
may be taken for grafting purposes and the stocks put away in cellars,
or buried in the ground.

We do not know that there is any difference in favor of the root of
one variety over another; but it will not do to propagate every
variety of fruit by this method. Experience has shown that some sorts
do better by root grafting than in any other way; but other kinds are
very apt to be winter-killed; and some varieties have such a
straggling habit of growth, that it would be extremely difficult to
train them to a good head; and such sorts, therefore, require to be
budded or grafted high up on good stocks.

The roots being washed, are cut into four or five inch pieces; and the
scions prepared as for ordinary grafting. Splice, or tongue grafting
is the most convenient method. Woollen yarn, cut to ten or twelve
inches’ length, is wound around it closely at the point of junction.
Let the grafting wax be kept in a melted state, by being put in a pan,
over a few coals. Holding the work over the pan, with a spoon pour a
portion of the liquid all over the yarn; it hardens immediately, and
the whole may be set in rows in a box and covered above the point of
union with moist sand, and kept in a cellar till it is time to turn
them out in the spring.

       *     *     *     *     *

The cherry, plum, pear and apple trees, in a diseased condition, will
often throw up numerous and thrifty sprouts that will offer to an
inexperienced cultivator inviting temptations to multiply his stock at
a rapid rate with little labor. If he be deceived by these
appearances, and propagate his valuable kinds upon these diseased
growths, his efforts will ultimately result in his disappointment.



BLIGHT AND INSECTS.


In an article on employing suckers of fruit-trees for stocks, which we
shall copy, Dr. Kirtland says:

     “The practice of grafting and budding pears upon this
     quality of stocks has extended a diseased action, a kind of
     canker among our pear orchards, that has, in some instances,
     been mistaken for _blight_, a disease that has its origin in
     the depredations of a minute coleopterous insect, which has
     been satisfactorily described in all its stages of
     transformation by Dr. Harris, and other Massachusetts
     entomologists.”

That the fire-blight is, to any considerable extent anywhere, but
especially at the West, occasioned by an insect, is an idea, we
believe, totally unsupported by facts. That some injury has been done
by the _scolytus pyri_, the investigations of Mr. Lowell and Professor
Peck leave no room to doubt. But we are not satisfied that, even in
these cases, they were the cause of the _blight_, but only an
accidental concomitant. Did Mr. Lowell or Professor Peck _always_ find
this beetle upon blighted trees? Was it found in _every_ blighted
limb? Did not blight occur without these insects? Has any one of New
England _since_ found the blight to proceed from the gnawings of this
beetle?

Has any one found this beetle _before_ the blight occurred at its
mischievous work, or is it only _after_ the blight is seen that the
beetle is found? If the _scolytus pyri_ has been _found_ only after
the tree is thoroughly affected, there is reason to suppose that it
did not _come_ until after the disease had prepared the way for it.

We are seriously skeptical of this alleged cause. Whatever may be true
of the blight at the East, the blight in the West is unquestionably
not an effect of the _scolytus pyri_. We have examined with the utmost
pains, multitudes of trees in all soils—several of our shrewdest
nurserymen have searched year by year, and we have, unfortunately, had
too much opportunity and too many subjects, and yet no insect or
insect-track has been detected, except those which have attacked the
tree in _consequence_ of the blight.

To be sure, we can find bugs, black, brown, green and grey, but the
mere presence of an insect is nothing, though with many, it seems
enough, when a tree is blighted, if a bug is found on it, to determine
the parentage of the mischief. Nor do the published accounts of
insects, found on blighted trees, increase our respect for this
theory. The observations seem to have been not thorough enough, and
not carefully made, and the reasonings even less philosophical. Men
have searched for a theory rather than for the mere facts in the case.
But by far the greatest number of those who write, give no evidence of
relying upon any observations which they have themselves made, but go
back perpetually to the old precedents, Mr. Lowell and Professor Peck,
without being at any pains to verify them, Has Dr. Kirtland ever found
the _scolytus pyri_? Has he ever, in time of extensive blight, found
it under such circumstances as to satisfy his mind that it was the
real cause of fire-blight? or does he rest satisfied that blight is
occasioned by an insect simply because so it is set down in good
books? The canker may be mistaken for blight by those who have not
been acquainted with either; but surely, no one who has ever
attentively examined one real case of fire-blight, would ever mistake
it for anything else, or anything else for it.

The insect theory we regard as wholly untenable except for special,
local, peculiar ravages which are not properly _blights_. The blight
is a disease of the _circulation_. It affects every tissue of the
plant. It is not a disease from exhaustion of sap by the suction of
aphides, as Dr. Mosher, of Cincinnati, supposed, for the trees have a
plethora rather than scarcity of sap; it lacerates the sap-vessels,
bursts the bark, flows down the branches, and dries in globules upon
the trunk. On cutting the tree, if the blight is yet new, the texture
of the alburnum will be found to resemble what is called a
_water-core_ in the apple, its color is of a dirty greenish hue, soon
changing by exposure to brown and black. But if the blight is old, the
wood is of a dingy white, the alburnum colored like iron rust, and the
bark of a brownish black. These appearances are incompatible with any
idea of exhaustion by the gnawing of the _scolytus pyri_, or the
suction of aphides, which would result in mere shrinking of parts,
dryness and death. If insects have a hand in the mischief, it is by
the secretion of poison, of which fact, we have never seen the trace
of proof, although it has often been suggested, and is by some
empyrically asserted. To our minds the insect-poison-theory is
imaginary. It is entirely convenient to refer every excrescence, or
shrinking of parts, every watery suffusion, wart, discoloration,
crumpling leaf, wilting, etc., to poison, and still more convenient to
find the insect so atomic that it cannot _be_ found, and thus to heap
the multiform sins of the orchard on the scape-goat of a hypothetical
insect.

As to electricity, as no one knows anything about this elemental
sprite, his out-goings or in-comings, we are like to have acted over
again all the caprices of witch-times, when elves and gnomes cut up
every prank imaginable, and when any prank, which was cut up, of
course was performed by them. Everybody is agog about electricity. But
we respectfully suggest that it is one thing to ascertain facts by
cautious, guarded experiments or careful observation, and quite
another to set down everything, which one does not know what else to
do with, to electricity, simply because _it may be so for aught that
we know to the contrary_. People reason somewhat in this wise;
electricity performs a vast number of very mysterious operations,
therefore, every operation which is mysterious is performed by
electricity. We believe electricity to have something to do with it,
only because it seems to have concern with every living, growing
thing.

We believe that the blight is, in all cases, the effect of frost upon
the sap. We have, until recently, supposed it to arise from autumnal
freezing, while the tree is in full growth. We are now inclined to
suppose that severe freezing and sudden thawing at any time, autumn,
winter or spring, _when the sap is in motion_, will result in blight.
The blight of 1844 was from the freezing of growing trees in the
autumn of 1843, and the premonitory stages were clearly discernible in
the tree during the whole winter months before it broke out in its
last malignant form.

When a warm winter allows continuous motion of sap, and sudden, severe
freezing with rapid thawing occurs, we _suppose_ it to cause a variety
of blight. We are making investigations on this head, but are not yet
prepared to speak with certainty.

When a sudden violent freezing overtakes growing trees in spring, with
rapid thaws, it, we suppose, results in a blight resembling the
autumn-caused blight.

We are diligently searching into this whole matter, and hope to throw
some light upon it.

But now comes _the_ question. What is it that makes some trees so
obnoxious to this evil while others escape? Why are some orchards
generally affected, and contiguous orchards entirely saved?

It is very plain that the blight occurs, as a general disease, in some
seasons more than in others, because it depends upon the peculiar
condition of the season, the time and degree of frosts. But it does
not seem so clear why, when these conditions are favorable to blight,
one tree should suffer, and the next in the row should not; why one
orchard should be depopulated, and another in the same town not
touched.

We think that light will be afforded on this point by a consideration
of the _texture_ of trees.

When trees are rapidly grown by stimulating manures, or upon strong
clay loams, or from any other cause, the wood is coarse, the passages
enlarged, the tissue loose and spongy. The tree passes a great volume
of sap—it is but imperfectly elaborated (as is seen by the late period
to which such trees defer the bearing of fruit), and the tissues
formed by it are correspondingly imperfect in wholesomeness,
compactness, and solidity of parts. The tree is bloated—is dropsical.

On gravelly soils, or loams with a gravelly subsoil, or on any kind of
soil, which gives a slow and thorough growth, the wood is fine, close
and perfect; the vessels are not expanded, their sides are firmer,
less sensitive to sudden changes of temperature, and when exposed to
them better able to resist them.

Whatever soil produces rank or coarse wood, a flabby tissue will be
subject to blights. Whatever soil induces a fine-grained, compact
fibre, and vigorous tissue, will be free from blight. The same is true
of the various methods of cultivation; those who drive their trees,
who aim chiefly at a rapid and strong growth, will give their trees a
condition requisite for blight. Those who pursue a more cautious, a
slower method, and look to the _quality_ rather than the _quantity_ of
their wood, will be comparatively free from blight.

To be sure, there may be seasons so extreme that blight will occur in
the most healthy tree; so disease will occur in the most temperate
men; yet temperance, conformity to the laws of nature, is the rule of
health, and nonconformity the preparation for disease.

Meanwhile, will those who are unfortunate enough to have a good
opportunity for observing, examine—

1. The soil and subsoil of blighted trees?

2. The habit of the tree, as to rankness of growth?

3. The character of the cultivation which has been employed?

4. In short, the relative condition of orchards and trees which have
escaped or been blighted, as to fineness and closeness, and health of
texture. It is high time that this matter should be minutely
investigated. It is the _opprobrium cultorum_.



APPLES FOR HOGS.


Farmers are afraid of sour apples; if stock have _only_ sour fruit
they are injured; but let both sweet and sour grow in the orchard, and
experience has determined that they will, of themselves, eat the due
proportion of each. Cattle and hogs are as fond of variety in fruit as
men are. In raising potatoes, pumpkins, apples, etc., for animals, it
is frequently supposed that the larger and ranker the growth the
better; that, at any rate, cattle fare as well on coarse-grained
vegetables as on others. But a rank, coarse, watery vegetable is no
better for an ox than for a man. The nutritious principle is the same
to man or beast. A fine-fleshed, highly nutritious apple or potato is
as much better for stock as it is for man. If a variety is not fit for
men, it is not worth while to cultivate it at all. Cattle show
themselves to be of this opinion when left to range; they avoid
coarse, rough herbage, and pick the sweetest and highest flavored. Let
the _best_ sorts of apples be planted for stock. If one has a seedling
orchard which it would be worth while to graft over for human use, let
not its poor, miserable fruit be fed to hogs; let it be grafted over
even if one means to use it for stock.

       *     *     *     *     *

PULLING OFF POTATO FLOWERS.—The man who makes his potato-ground feed
flowers, prevents it feeding his children. Every ounce of matter
consumed by the flowers is so much taken from the consumption of the
family.

       *     *     *     *     *

To restore an exhausted, or rather tired field, it should be sown in
grass, and stock fed upon it during the winter months. Hogs fattened
upon tired land enrich it very much.



THE FLOWER GARDEN.


SPRING FLOWERING BULBS.—When crocus, hyacinths, narcissus, tulips,
have done flowering, let the seed stalks be cut down, as the ripening
of the seed severely taxes and exhausts the powers of a plant. Some
persons are accustomed, after the bulbs have flowered, to cut off the
tops, as if to do the most mischief possible. The success of the next
year’s flowering will depend very much on the care given to your beds
now. Many bulbs, as the tulip, form entirely new bulbs; and others, as
the hyacinth, form the flower bud for the next season. The _leaf_ is
the indispensable means of doing this; in it are perfected the juices
which are returned and deposited in the root. If the bed is left to be
choked with weeds, and your bulbs robbed of nutriment, or if the soil
is left compact, or if there is too much moisture, or on the other
hand, too little, the bud or bulb for the next year will be weakened.
A very deep bed, or a sandy soil, will sufficiently prevent the
effects of too much water.

The surface should be mellowed by the hand, and thoroughly weeded. The
_most_ careful cultivators raise their bulbs every year. The _careful_
at least every third year. The _careless_ let them alone and wonder,
from year to year, why their bulbs do so poorly—“The moles must eat
them, or, worms probably injure them;” but the worst worm in a
flower-garden is careless indolence. When bulbs are raised, it should
not be done until the leaves are dry.

GLADIOLUS.—We are surprised that this fine soldier-like plant is not
more extensively employed to adorn gardens, yards, and lawns. A few
varieties only are found in our gardens. Great attention has been
given in Europe, especially in Belgium, to raising new varieties, and
many magnificent kinds are now found in European collections which, so
far as we know, are not to be had for love or money in America. The
bulb, or rather corm,[17] increases very rapidly, and by a little
attention one may obtain from a few, a very large supply. They may be
planted with good effect in rows, in clumps, and in beds, but not
singly. A sandy loam, well mixed with leaf-mold, is their delight. We
usually remove the top soil, and then take out and reject about twelve
inches of the subsoil, making in all about twenty inches depth; return
the top earth, together with enough compost of leaf-mold, sand, and
thoroughly decayed manure, to fill it; plant about four inches deep,
measuring from the top of the corm. When your plants are growing,
examine every day; if you see a sawdust-like matter about them, they
need attention. On searching, a perforation will be found in the stem.
With a penknife slit the stem down from the hole until you reach the
worm which caused the mischief. If this course is not properly
pursued, you will lose stem and root. With a thin strip of bass
matting, or a bit of green ribbon, the stem may be tied and fastened
to a rod for support. In door-yards, and in the scanty grounds of city
yards, clumps of ten or fifteen gladioli would have a very beautiful
appearance, especially if different varieties, instead of being mixed,
should be planted in separate but contiguous patches.

TUBEROSE.—The beauty of its pure, white florets, but especially the
delightful odor of this fragrant flower, has rendered it a favorite
wherever it is known. It is very tender to frost, and must not be
planted out until about the first of May. It is to be treated like the
gladiolus. Its effect is heightened by being put in a half shade,
where its pure white is relieved by a green background. The flower
stem rises from two to three feet and requires a rod to sustain it.
The fragrance is so powerful that a few plants will, at evening, scent
a whole garden; a circumstance well known to owners of pleasure
gardens, who render their grounds very delightful by dispersing these,
and other odoriferous flowers, in various parts of their grounds, thus
loading the dewy evening air with delicious perfume. They may be
planted in tea-inch pots and sunk in the ground until they have begun
to blossom, when the pots may be raised and conveyed to the parlor or
veranda. A single plant will sometimes make a room disagreeable by its
excessive odor.

The roots are imported to England from Italy, as that climate is too
humid and cool too perfect them for flowering. But, in our soil and
climate, we have found no difficulty in raising, from off-sets, the
finest possible bulbs. No yard or garden should be without tuberoses.

PLANTS IN POTS.—It is better when one has ground at hand, to turn out
plants which have been housed through the winter into the open garden.
Roses, geraniums, azaleas, cape jasmins, fuchsias, etc., will be
wonderfully invigorated by such treatment. The tea and Bengal roses
can hardly be brought to perfection in pots, and those who have only
seen the penurious growth and diminished and sparse blossoms in the
parlor have no idea of the beauty of these roses. We usually excavate
a place two feet square and two feet deep for each rose, filling it
with sandy loam very highly enriched with leaf-mold and decayed
manure. The trouble will be repaid four fold; for nature has never
made a plant that forgets to be grateful for attention.

In turning out plants, put the left hand in such a way upon the top as
that the stem shall come between the second and third finger, then
invert the pot and give the bottom of it two or three sharp raps, when
the pot will come off. If the plant is in a lively, growing state, and
the outside of the ball of earth is covered with fine, white, new
roots, it will be best to put the ball into the ground without
disturbing the roots at all. But if the plant is not growing, the
earth may be carefully worked out from the roots with the hands,
taking care to break the fibres as little as possible. Spread out the
roots as much as possible in every direction, and cover with fine
earth.

Rose bushes will need attention soon, as worms and bugs begin their
depredations. When the number of bushes is limited, hand-picking every
day or two is best. For a large collection one must resort to more
general methods. Drench your shrubs, which aphides and worms infest,
with soapsuds, made of two pounds of _whale-oil_ soap to fifteen
gallons of water. This is by far the most efficacious—the only
efficacious—course for destroying insects.

As flower-seeds come up, see that they are well weeded, and if
crowded, thin them out. We would recommend the cultivation of some
old-fashioned flowers. Nothing is more showy than a bed of poppies of
mixed colors. Holyhocks are becoming very great favorites, and we saw
recently flowers as magnificent, and as well worth having, as any
dahlia. The varieties of lupine should be sought for, and for those
who have seen nothing but the white and blue lupines we make an
extract from Mrs. Loudon’s “Companion to the Flower Garden”—an
admirable work, which, though professedly written for ladies, may be
used with profit by everybody who cultivates a garden.

“LUPINUS.—_Leguminosæ._—The Lupine. A genus of herbaceous annuals and
perennials which contain some of our most beautiful border flowers:
yellow, blue, white, and pink lupines are among the oldest border
annuals; _L. nanus_ is a beautiful little annual, with dark blue
flowers, a native of California, and requiring the usual treatment of
California annuals. _L. mutabilis_ and _Cruicshankii_ are splendid
plants, growing to the height of four or five feet, and branching like
miniature trees. _L. Polyphyllus_ and its varieties are perennials,
and they are splendid and vigorous-growing plants, with spikes of
flowers from one foot to eighteen inches in length; _L. nootkatensis_
is a handsome dwarf perennial, and _L. arboreus_, when trained against
a wall, will attain six feet in height, and in sheltered situations it
will grow with equal vigor trained as a bush tied to a stake; _L.
latifolius_ is a perennial from California, with very long spikes of
blue flowers. All the species will thrive in common garden soil; the
annuals are propagated by seed sown in February or March, and the
perennials by division of the roots.”


     [17] Bulbs are of two kinds: those which have a number of
     coats, or skins, one within the other, like the hyacinth,
     which are called tunicated bulbs; those which consist of a
     number of scales, only attached to the base, like the lily;
     but what are called corms, are only a solid mass of feculent
     matter, and which modern botanists do not allow to be bulbs,
     but call underground stems. Corms do not require taking up
     so often as bulbs; and when they are intended to remain for
     several years in the ground, they should be planted from
     four to six inches deep at first; as every year a new corm
     will form above the old one; and thus, if planted too near
     the surface, the corm, in a few years, will be pushed out of
     the ground.—_Loudon._



PREPARATION OF SEED FOR SOWING.


Many persons suppose that when seeds have been selected, nothing is
necessary but to put them into the ground just as they are. A careful
preparation of seed, both for field or garden use, will add much to
the success of a planting.

1. ASSORTING SEEDS.—In every lot of seed there are many imperfect
ones; some are insectiferous, some are unripe, some are the extreme
terminal seeds, small and weak, some are very often a little moldy. In
some way all defective seeds should be removed.

Then it should be remembered, that the soundest and largest seeds will
produce plants of a corresponding vigor, and that by planting only the
healthiest, the variety is kept pure—or even improved.

For garden use hand picking will suffice. We pour our corn on a table,
and select only the kernels which are plump and large, rejecting any
which show an intermixture of other varieties. Beet seed requires
careful winnowing, nearly one-fourth, as they are usually sold, being
unfit for planting. Peas are more uniform in size and quality, and
require but little selection. Melons, squashes, and cucumbers should
be culled, or better yet, be put into water; only those which sink
promptly should be used, the swimming and floating ones being light
and trashy. Beans are apt to be imperfect. We have usually found
occasion to reject full one-third of every quart, for seedsmen are apt
to put in every seed that grows, whether they will ever grow again or
not. There is no dishonesty certainly in this; but if one would
habitually screen or select, and put, up only the very choicest, he
would ultimately get a higher price, and secure for his seed a
universal demand.

2. SOAKING SEEDS.—Some seeds will not germinate for a long period,
unless they are artificially brought forward. Locust seeds are
_scalded_ before planting. Peas are scalded to kill the bug, when thus
inhabited. The cypress vine seed require soaking to induce a quick
germination. Celery seed is very sluggish unless soaked.

Seeds are often steeped in _prepared_ liquids to force their growth.
Old seeds, whose powers of germination are much diminished, are made
to vegetate by being put into a weak solution of oxalic acid. Wheat is
_pickled_ in salt brine, then rolled in lime, as a preventive of
_smut_.

Corn is protected from worms by copperas water; and peas are put into
train oil to guard them from moles and mice. Tanner’s oil, and a
solution of saltpetre are often used; the first for turnip-seed, to
protect them from a destructive insect; and the latter for all seeds,
as a stimulant to their growth and to guard against worms and bugs.

Some excitement was made in Scotland, not long ago, by the great
effects alleged to have been produced by so preparing seeds that they
would contain in or on themselves all those fertilizing qualities
usually looked for in the soil. It is possible, by employing chemical
mixtures, or coatings, to make the seed germinate with great vigor,
and to establish itself strongly; but we do not suppose any process
can be made to reach beyond this. No mere soaking or coating can
extend its influence through the whole growth of the crop.

When seeds are soaked they anticipate the weeds in coming up,
especially seeds planted in May and June, and this is a very important
object, as crops are, often, almost smothered with weeds before they
are large enough to be weeded.



SOWING FLOWER SEEDS—TRANSPLANTING.


Many flower-seeds require no more skill in planting than do peas or
beans, for they are as large and as easily germinated. But very many
are small, and some extremely small, and if planted too deeply, they
will not shoot, or will shoot very feebly.

Select a free-working and rich piece of ground—a sandy loam is best,
and a stiff clay the worst—let it be spaded deeply, incorporating very
thoroughly-rotted manure, _i. e._ manure full two years old and which
will crumble in the hand as fine as sand. With a fine-toothed rake
reduce every lump and bring the surface to the finest state of
pulverization. If the seed is very small, it had better be mixed with
a little sand, or dry soil, to increase the bulk. The sowing will be
easier and more equal. Scatter the seed upon the bed; then with the
hands or a fine garden sieve, sift fresh and mellow earth upon it from
a quarter to half an inch in depth. To bring the earth compactly about
the seed, spat the bed with moderate strokes with the back of a spade.
If the weather is very dry, water the bed at evening with a
watering-pot—to pour it from a pail or cup would wash up the surface.
Keep the plants from weeds, and when they are one or two inches high,
they may be transplanted to the places where they are to stand.
Balsams, larkspurs, poppies, and, indeed, most flowers do better by
being transplanted. The operation checks the luxuriance of the plant,
and increases its tendency to flower.

Sometimes seeds are planted where they are to remain; the treatment is
precisely the same as before, except they are _thinned out_ instead of
transplanted. No mistake is more frequent, among inexperienced
gardeners, than that of suffering too many plants to stand together.
One is reluctant to pull up fine thriving plants; or he does not
reflect that what may seem room enough while the plant is young, will
be very scanty when it is grown.

There is much taste to be displayed in arranging flowers in a garden
so that proper colors shall be contrasted. It is important that proper
colors should be matched in a garden, as on a dress.



PARLOR PLANTS AND FLOWERS IN WINTER.


The treatment of house plants is very little understood, although the
practice of keeping shrubs and flowers during the winter is almost
universal. It is important that the physiological principles on which
success depends should be familiarly understood; and then cultivators
can apply them with success in all the varying circumstances in which
they may be called to act.

Two objects are proposed in taking plants into the house—either simple
protection, or the development of their foliage and flowers, during
the winter. The same treatment will not do for both objects. Indeed,
the greatest number of persons of our acquaintance, treat their winter
plants, from which they desire flowers, as if they only wished to
preserve them till spring; and the consequence is, that they have very
little enjoyment in their favorites.


HOUSE PLANTS DESIGNED SIMPLY TO STAND OVER.

Tender roses, azaleas, cape jasmins, crape myrtles, oranges, lemons,
figs, oleanders, may be kept in a _light_ cellar if frost never
penetrates it.

If kept in parlors, the following are the most essential points to be
observed. The thermometer should never be permitted to rise above
sixty degrees or sixty-five degrees; nor at night to sink below forty
degrees. Although plants will not be frost-bitten until the mercury
falls to thirty-two degrees, yet the chill of a temperature below
forty degrees will often be as mischievous to tender plants as frost
itself. Excessive heat, particularly a dry stove heat, will destroy
the leaves almost as certainly as frost. We have seen plants
languishing in a temperature of seventy degrees (it often rising ten
degrees higher), while the owners wondered what could ail the plants,
for they were sure that they kept the room warm enough!

Next, great care should be taken not to overwater. Plants which are
not growing require _very little_ water. If given, the roots become
sogged, or rotten, and the whole plant is enfeebled. Water should
never be suffered to stand in the saucers; nor be given, always, when
the top-soil is dry. Let the earth be stirred, and when the _interior_
of the ball is becoming dry, give it a _copious_ supply; let it drain
through thoroughly, and turn off what falls into the saucer.


PLANTS DESIGNED FOR WINTER FLOWERING.

It is to be remembered that the winter is naturally the season of
_rest_ for plants. All plants require to lie dormant during some
portion of the year. You cannot cheat them out of it. If they are
pushed the whole year they become exhausted and worthless. Here lies
the most common error of plant-keepers. If you mean to have roses,
blooming geraniums, etc., in winter, you must, _artificially, change
their season of rest_. Plants which flower in summer must rest in
winter; those which are to flower in winter must rest either in summer
or autumn. It is not, usually, worth while to take into the house for
flowering purposes any shrub which has been in full bloom during the
summer or autumn. Select and pot the wished-for flowers during summer;
place them in a shaded position facing the north, give very little
water, and then keep them quiet. Their energies will thus be saved for
winter. When taken into the house, the four essential points of
attention are light, moisture, temperature, and cleanliness.

1. LIGHT.—The functions of the leaves cannot be healthfully carried on
without light. If there be too little, the sap is imperfectly
elaborated, and returns from the leaves to the body in a crude,
undigested state. The growth will be coarse, watery, and brittle; and
that ripeness which must precede flowers and fruit cannot be attained.
The sprawling, spindling, white-colored, long-jointed, plants, of
which some persons are unwisely proud, are, often the result of too
little light and too much water. The pots should be turned around
every day, unless when the light strikes down from above, or from
windows on each side; otherwise, they will grow out of shape by
bending toward the light.

2. MOISTURE.—Different species of plants require different quantities
of water. What are termed _aquatics_, of which the _Calla Æthiopica_,
is a specimen, require great abundance of it. Yet it should be often
_changed_ even in the case of aquatics. But roses, geraniums, etc.,
and the common house plants require the soil to be _moist_, rather
than _wet_. As a general rule it may be said that every pot should
have one-sixth part of its depth filled with coarse pebbles, as a
drainage, before the plants are potted. This gives all superfluous
moisture a free passage out. Plants should be watered by _examination_
and not by _time_. They require various quantities of moisture,
according to their activity, and the period of their growth. Let the
earth be well stirred, and if it is becoming dry on the inside, give
water. Never water by _dribblets_—a spoonful to-day, another
to-morrow. In this way the outside will become bound, and the inside
remain dry. Give a copious watering, so that the whole ball shall be
soaked; then let it drain off, and that which comes into the saucer be
poured off. But, in whatever way one prefers to give water, the thing
to be gained is a full supply of moisture to every part of the roots,
and yet not so much as to have it _stand_ about them. Manure-water may
be employed with great benefit every second or third watering. For
this purpose we have never found anything of value equal to _guano_.
Besides water to the root, plants are almost as much benefited by
water on the leaf—but of this we shall speak under the head of
_cleanliness_.

3. TEMPERATURE.—Sudden and violent _changes_ of temperature are almost
as trying to plants as to animals and men. At the same time, a
moderate change of temperature is very desirable. Thus, in nature,
there is a marked and uniform variation at night from the temperature
of the day. At night, the room should be gradually lowered in
temperature to from forty-five degrees to fifty degrees, while through
the day it ranges from fifty-five degrees to seventy degrees. Too
much, and too sudden heat will destroy tender leaves almost as surely
as frost. It should also be remembered that the leaves of plants are
constantly exhaling moisture during the day. If in too warm an
atmosphere, or in one which is too dry, this perspiration becomes
excessive and weakens the plant. If the room be stove-heated, a basin
of water should be put on the stove to supply moisture to the air by
evaporation. Sprinkling the leaves, a kind of artificial dew, is also
beneficial, on this account. The air should be changed as often as
possible. Every warm and sunny day should be improved to let in fresh
air upon these vegetable breathers.

4. CLEANLINESS.—This is important element of health as well as of
beauty. _Animal-uncleanliness_ is first to be removed. If ground-worms
have been incorporated with the dirt, give a dose or two of lime-water
to the soil. Next aphides or green-lice will appear upon the leaves
and stems. Tobacco smoke will soon stupefy them and cause them to
tumble upon the shelves or surface of the soil, whence they are to be
carefully brushed, or crushed. If one has but a few plants, put them
in a group on the floor; put four chairs around them, and cover with
an old blanket, forming a sort of tent. Set a dish of coals within,
and throw on a handful of tobacco leaves. Fifteen minutes’ smoking
will destroy any decent aphis.

If a larger collection is on hand, let the dish or dishes be placed
under the stands. When the destruction is completed, let the parlor be
well ventilated, unless, fair lady, you have an inveterate smoker for
a husband; in which case you may have become used to the nuisance.

The insects which infest large collections of green-houses, are fully
treated of in horticultural books of directions.

_Dust_ will settle every day upon the leaves, and choke up the
perspiring pores. The leaves should be kept free by gentle wiping, or
by washing.

       *     *     *     *     *

White Clover is an important grass on flourishing old meadows. It
grows very thick at the bottom of the other grass, although in a good
season it will grow to the height of from twelve to sixteen inches. I
have seen it in low spots completely covered for weeks together.
Therefore land which produces abundant crops of grass, would require
extensive draining for grain, and seeing that plowing such land
destroys its life, it is far better to keep it in grass continually.



PARLOR FLOWERS AND PLANTS IN WINTER.—(_Art. 2._)


There are so few who care enough for flowers to trouble themselves
with them during the winter, that it seems almost unkind to criticise
the imperfections of those who do. But it is very plain that, for the
most part, skill and knowledge do not keep pace with good taste. _Not_
to point out defects to those who are anxious to improve would be the
real unkindness.

There are two objects for which plants are kept over.

Plants are housed for the sake of their verdure and bloom during the
winter; or, simply to protect them from the frosts. Our first
criticism is, that these two separate objects are, to a great extent,
improperly united. Tables and window-stands are crowded with plants
which ought to be in the cellar or in a pit. Plants which have bloomed
through the summer _will_ rest during the winter. To remove them from
the heat and dust of the parlor—to place them in a dry, light, warm
cellar, will certainly conduce to their entire rest, and the parlor
will lose no grace by the removal of ragged stems, falling leaves, and
flowerless branches. When a large quantity of plants are to be
protected, and cellar room is wanting, a pit may be prepared with
little expense. Dig a place eight or ten feet square, in a dry
exposure. The depth may be from five to six feet. Let the surface of
this chamber be curbed about with a plank frame, the top of which
should slope to the south at an inclination of about three inches to
the foot. This may be covered with plank except in the middle, where
two sash may be placed. The outside of the plank may be banked up with
earth, and if light brush or haulm be placed upon the top, in severe
weather, it will be all the better. The inside may be provided with
shelves on every side for the pots, and thus hundreds of plants may be
effectually protected. During severe freezing weather the sash should
be covered with mats, old carpet, straw or anything of the kind; and
in _very_ cold weather this should not be removed during the daytime:
for if the plants have been touched with frost, the admission of light
will destroy or maim them, whereas, if kept in darkness, they will
suffer little or no injury. Several families may unite in the expense
of forming a cold-pit and thus fill it with plants at a small expense
and very little inconvenience to each. _Very little_ if any water
should be given to plants thus at rest.

Even where plants are wanted to bloom in the parlor late in the
winter, it is often better to let them spend the fore-part of the
winter in the cellar or pit.

Our second criticism respects the _character_ of winter collections.

The most noticeable error is the strange crowd of plants often huddled
together, as if the excellence of a collection consisted in the number
of things brought together. Everything that the florist sees in other
collections has been procured, as if it would be an unpardonable
negligence not to have what others have. Hence we sometimes see scores
of plants, very different in their habits, requiring widely different
conditions of growth, reduced to one regimen, viz. a place near the
window, so much water a day, and one turning round. This summary
procedure, of course, soon results in a vegetable Falstaff’s regiment;
some plants being long, sprawling, gangling, some dormant and dumpy;
some shedding their leaves and going to rest with unripe wood, some
mildewed, a few faintly struggling to show here and there a bewildered
blossom. In such a collection the eye is pained by the entire want of
sympathy arising from jumbling together the most dissimilar kinds;
from the want of robust health, and from the entire disappearance of
that vivid freshness and sprightliness of growth, compact while it is
rapid, which gives a charm to well managed plants.

All plants which are not growing, or for whose growth your parlors are
not suitable, should be put into the cellar and should there be
allowed to stand over in a state of rest. According to your
accommodations, select a _few_ vigorous, symmetrical, hearty, healthy
plants for the window. _One plant_ well tended, will afford you more
pleasure than twenty, half-nurtured.

In our dwellings, one has to make his way between two extremes in the
best manner that he can. Without a stove our thin-walled houses are
cold as an ice-house, and a frosty night sends sad dismay among our
favorites. Then, on the other hand, if we have a stove, the air is apt
to be parched, and unwholesome, fit for salamanders, fat and torpid
cats and dozing grandmothers. There is not much choice between an
ice-house and an oven. _There can be no such thing as floral health
without fresh air and enough of it._ This must be procured by frequent
ventilation.



PROTECTING PLANTS IN WINTER.


Very many shrubs, vines, roses, etc., usually regarded as tender, may
yet be safely left standing in the garden if properly protected.

_The neck of plants_, _i. e._ that part at which the roots and stem
come together, requires thorough protection; both because it is the
most tender (as some say), and because it is at this point, that
freezing and sudden thawing must occur. The black soil absorbing heat
rapidly, the neck of a plant will be first and most affected by the
morning sun; and this is the reason, we think, rather than any special
tenderness of parts, why plants are killed at the crown of the root.
Let the ground be well covered with leaves or with coarse manure, and
let it come up three or four inches high on the stem. It is better to
have the top strawy, rather than dark colored manure.

_It is the sun_, and not the frost, that, for the most part, kills the
stems of half-hardy plants. Protection is often, therefore, only
thorough shading. The Bengal tea, and noisette roses are left out at
Philadelphia and at Cincinnati without detriment.

Drive a stake by the side of the plant, and drawing up the branches to
it, cover them with straw, or bass-matting wrapped around them. Kegs,
barrels, boxes, etc., may be turned over such as are not too high and
will sufficiently protect them. Air-holes should be bored in barrels,
etc., and the north side is the best for the purpose.

_Grape vines_ which need protection should be loosened from the
trellis or wall, pruned, laid down on the ground and earth thrown over
them three or four inches deep. Isabella and Catawba grape vines will
need no protection.



TO PRESERVE DAHLIA ROOTS.


The least frost destroys these roots. In warm and damp cellars they
rot. Very many persons have no cellars at all (a very frequent
destitution at the West); others are so small and moist, as to be
unfit (our own, for instance); and the extreme variations of
temperature during the day and night make sitting-rooms and their
closets very unsafe places for them. The labor of packing them in sand
is not great to those who have it ready or men to procure it; but to
ladies, and especially to many in towns and cities who are
enthusiastic cultivators of flowers, but grievously vexed with poverty
of pocket, this plan is inconvenient.

Why may not dahlias be kept in the soil? We think there is not the
least doubt that they can be protected from _frost_ and _heat_. Every
one knows that in spading up in the spring the dahlia beds of the
previous year, large sections of the tubers, which had broken off when
the main roots were removed, are found in a fresh and sound condition.

Let a pit be dug say two feet deep, the roots carefully disposed in
it, covered with soil, and the whole protected by coarse litter,
straw, etc. We do not advise any to adventure their whole stock in
this manner; but we design to select the inferior sorts from our stock
and treat them thus; and if successful, we shall, another year, try
our whole stock.



HEDGES.


1. Where a hedge is properly made and carefully trimmed, it is the
most beautiful fence that can be made; and, as an _object of beauty_,
it may be well to form hedges in a wood country; but as a mode of
general fencing we deem it totally inappropriate to the condition of a
country abounding in timber. The labor of setting and tending it until
it is established, is tenfold more than is required for a timber
fence; a hedge requires from five to eight years for its
establishment; and every year of this time it must be _well_ tended;
when grown, it requires annual shearing; which, on a long line of
fence, is a labor to which few farmers will submit for the sake of
_appearances_. It is liable to get out of order by disease, or the
death of particular parts; and, if neglected a few years, it becomes
ragged, a covert for vermin and mischievous animals. In yards,
gardens, and lawns, hedges should be grown for ornament, and to serve
as screens, and backgrounds.

Upon the estates of the affluent where money is less valuable to the
owner than decorations, hedges should be established. Hedges may also
be economical in a prairie country; the labor and expense of making
and keeping may be less than would be the cost of timber; but on farms
in a woodland district they are to be regarded as a _luxury_; and like
all luxuries, they are expensive.

2. The white thorn will do very well for hedges if carefully tended.
The usual materials for hedges, at the East, are the English white
thorn (_cratægus oxycantha_), the buckthorn (_rhamnus catharticus_),
Newcastle thorn (_cratægas crus-galli_), honey locust (_gleditschia
triacanthos_), red cedar (_juniperus Virginiana_), the Washington or
Virginia thorn (_cratægus cordata_).

The Osage orange (_maclura aurantiaca_) has been highly recommended;
it is eminently beautiful, and if proved to be good for hedging,
should be employed. Privet makes a sightly hedge, but is thornless.
The Washington thorn is employed in this neighborhood by Aaron
Aldredge; it is very beautiful; will require eight or ten years to
give it maturity.

3. When the thorn is used, the berries should be gathered and mashed,
in the fall, and the seed exposed, mixed with moist sand, to the frost
of winter. In the spring they should be sown in nursery rows, and at a
year old, they should be transplanted. A reserve of plants should be
kept in the nursery to supply vacancies which may occur.

The ground should be thoroughly and deeply pulverized by plowing
(spading would be much better) and the plants set about six inches
apart. The ground should be kept entirely free from weeds; this may be
done in a profitable manner by planting bush beans on each side, the
tending of which will keep the hedge clean, the ground mellow, besides
the profit of the crop. Dr. Shurtliff, of Boston, gives the following
brief but excellent directions:

“Prepare your land in the best manner; use suitable plants of thrifty
growth, the older the better; assort and accommodate to the different
kinds of soil; preserve all the roots, but crop the tops, leaving only
few buds; keep a few in your nursery; set them sloping to the north,
and leave the ground a little concave about the roots; keep them clear
of grass and weeds, and add a little earth to the roots at each
hoeing; clear away the leaves at autumn; trim the side branches
carefully, and leave the main stems to nature till they are six feet
high, then crop of the tops to the height you mean to have your hedge.
It will look like a wedge with the sharp end upwards, and will exhibit
a most beautiful appearance.”



WATERING TREES, ETC.


We have observed many persons copiously watering young trees and
garden plants.

1. In many cases much water is a positive injury. The roots draw up a
larger supply of liquid than there is vigor in the tree to digest or
appropriate. In such cases the tissue is enfeebled, the roots decay,
and the tree perishes in the trying heats of July and August.

2. It often happens that wetting the tree itself is much better than
watering the root. Take a watering-pot and drench the leaves, and
limbs and trunk, several times in a day. In a small tree a large bunch
of cotton or rags may be put in the crotch and saturated with water.
It will gradually trickle down the stem, and also evaporate, keeping
the leaves in a moist medium. This trouble is worth while in case of
rare trees difficult to be obtained. A tree perspires as really as an
animal or a man. Every leaf is furnished with _stomata_ or pores, the
number and size of which determine the amount of perspiration. Of
course, as they vary in different plants, there is a corresponding
difference in the amount which they perspire. Plants which grow in
exposed situations, scorched by the sun, have a structure which admits
but slight perspiration, while those which grow in the shade and in
moist places perspire copiously.

It is upon this state of facts that watering the tree itself is
beneficial. The exhalation from the leaf is diminished, and sap
retained within the tree. Beside this, the leaf and young green bark
absorb some moisture.

3. Where watering is resorted to it should not be upon the surface;
especially is this injurious in clay soils. The moisture is
immediately exhaled, and the sun hardens the wet earth into a crust,
nearly as impervious to light, and air and moisture, as if it were
sheet-iron. Let a slight trench be opened, and after the water has
sunk away, replace the earth and pulverize it. In this way no baking
will take place.

4. But the best method of watering by the root, is that which is
technically denominated _mulching_. Cover the surface of the ground
beneath the tree or shrub with three or four inches’ thickness of
coarse, strawy manure. If watered through this the earth will not
bake; the moisture will not evaporate; the root will be shielded from
the sun, and enriched by the infiltration of the juices of the manure.



LABELS FOR TREES.


It is of _great_ importance for every farmer to preserve the names of
his fruit-trees; and no amateur cultivator should think himself worthy
of a name whose garden and fruit ground is not registered and
labelled.

It is best in every case to have a fruit-book, in which should be
entered the name of each tree, its place, time of planting, from whom
obtained, how old it was from the graft or bud, when set out, its
size, condition, etc.

Such a book, kept in the house, is a sure and permanent record of the
names of your fruit-trees. Beside this, each tree should have a
_label_ attached to it. For, in passing through an orchard or fruit
garden, it is desirable to know the names of trees without the
inconvenience of carrying your book under your arm. The labels are for
daily use; the book keeps a permanent record, so that if a label be
lost the name of the tree does not go with it. It is quite provoking
to examine a friend’s premises without being able to learn the name of
a single tree. Beside, every cultivator should know the names of his
trees as well as of his cattle; otherwise they will get local names,
and the same fruit have a new name in each orchard.



TRANSPLANTING EVERGREENS.


The general impression that evergreens are very difficult to
transplant is not well founded if one will observe a few directions.

_The best time for transplanting_ is when the tips begin to show fresh
growth in spring. This is exactly the reverse of directions in English
books, which denounce spring, and enjoin fall transplanting—in the
climate of England, doubtless with good reason; and it is a good
illustration of the caution necessary before imitating, in our
climate, the most skillful foreign practices.

A friend informs us that he has always totally lost all his fall
transplantings; not saving ten in a hundred; and other men say they
have had similar experience, and _it is a settled fact that fall
transplanting of evergreens is bad practice_.

_The best method_ of removing is to lift the plant with as many roots
and fibres as possible. More care should be used in this respect than
in the removal of fruit-trees; indeed, there is little risk when good
roots are obtained and kept in a moist condition. In planting, the
most successful operators that we have seen, mix about half and half
common soil and old rotten wood from the forests, filling it in
carefully about the roots and covering the surface with substances
which will prevent too much evaporation of moisture, as litter,
decayed wood, sods grass side down, etc., etc.

The old wood employed should be thoroughly decomposed; and that of the
hackberry, maple, and beech are preferred. The decayed wood of the
black walnut and oak do not seem congenial to plants.

When large trees are to be removed it is often done with success in
the winter, by opening a trench about the tree and permitting the ball
of earth to freeze pretty thoroughly. The tree is then undermined and
upon a sledge easily removed to its destination. The hole for its
reception should have been dug while the ground was unfrozen, and it
will be necessary to wait until it thaws before it can again be filled
in about the tree.



FLOWERS, LADIES, AND ANGELS.


If ladies wish to get into the very best company possible, we do not
know of any pleasanter way than is detailed in this beautiful scrap
from a German poet:

  A flower do but place near thy window glass,
  And through it no image of evil shall pass.
  Abroad must thou go? on thy white bosom wear
  A nosegay, and doubt not an angel is there;
  Forget not to water at break of the day
  The lilies, and thou shalt be fairer than they;
  Place a rose near thy bed nightly sentry to keep,
  And angels shall rock thee on roses to sleep.

And pray what will happen if a _gentleman_ does all this? For one, we
have a personal curiosity to know; for we do all these things and a
good many more. If any other angels have hovered about us than angelic
flowers, we make an especial request to them not, hereafter, to be so
shy about it. Our natural eye would delight to behold in veritable
substance all the flower-spirits which our ideality spies lurking in
our garden-blossoms.



HORTICULTURAL CURIOSITIES.


Mr. Hovey, editor of the magazine which bears his name, had occasion
during the year 1844 to visit Europe, for professional objects; “not
the least was that of giving some account of the condition of
gardening in that country, from whose works, whose practice, and
experience, our own cultivators have derived so much knowledge.”

We cull from the several numbers already published in his magazine,
the most interesting facts.

RHODODENDRONS.—Speaking of the Liverpool botanical gardens, he says:

     “The principal clumps were filled with rhododendrons of
     various kinds, which do remarkably well; the climate, from
     its humidity, seems to suit them, and most of the plants
     were clothed with branches from the base to the top. _R.
     altaclerense_ we saw six feet high; how fine must be its
     numerous clusters of splendid rosy blossoms! From the time
     we entered this garden, where we first saw the rhododendrons
     in abundance, until we returned home, we were constantly
     impressed with the importance which this shrub is destined
     to hold in our gardens. Although a native of our woods and
     forests, it is scarcely known out of our native habitats;
     yet abroad we see it the first ornament of the garden. By
     hybridization, and the production of an immense number of
     seedlings, during the last fifteen years, it has been
     increased in splendor, until it now almost equals its
     tender, but gorgeous eastern sisters. How long shall our
     gardens be deficient in this great ornament?”

FUCHSIAS, OR LADIES’ EARDROP.—Nothing will be more surprising to those
who have cultivated this beautiful plant, and thought it well grown if
a foot high, and brilliant if a dozen blossoms showed at once, than
the magnificent size and flowering of _Fuchsias_ as seen in England.

At the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Mr. Hovey saw the Fuchsias globosa
major, upwards of _twenty feet_ high, the stem, at the base, being two
inches through! Its drooping branches were clothed with thousands of
flowers; another variety, “called _Youngii grandiflora_ was also
twenty feet high, and equally strong, with innumerable flowers: this
plant was only seven years old. It is almost impossible for those who
have never seen specimens more than four or five feet high, to imagine
the great beauty of such gigantic plants; notwithstanding their size
they were well grown, being of symmetrical shape, and with vigorous
and healthy foliage; they were planted in very large tubs, about two
feet deep and two feet in diameter.

     “The splendid _F. fulgens_ and _corymbiflora_ we also saw
     here upward of ten feet high, and full of their showy
     flowers.”

The Regent’s Park Garden occasions the following remarks:

     “_Fuchsia globosa_ was, perhaps, as beautiful as anything
     which we saw for this subject. There is an opinion prevalent
     that fuchsias in our climate do not do well in the open
     border; but we suspect such an idea has been prematurely
     formed without experience, for we recollect seeing in the
     garden of Mr. Johnson, of Lynn, three years ago, plants,
     which were then in profuse bloom, and had been so all
     summer, turned out of the pots into the soil; the
     probability is that the plants have not been abundant enough
     to give a fair trial. As they are easily propagated, and may
     be sold almost as cheap as verbenas, we hope to hear of
     experiments being tried to test their capability of enduring
     our warm sun.”

At Chiswick Mr. Hovey saw the original tree of Williams’ Bon Chrétien
pear (the Bartlett of Boston gardens). It was hale and healthy.

TULIPS.—Mr. H. visited Mr. Groom, at Clapham; “preparations were
making for planting out the great collection of tulips in October. For
this flower Mr. Groom is famous; he has raised several very splendid
seedlings, some of which are priced as high as _five hundred dollars_,
and a great number at _one hundred_ dollars each (£21 sterling). It
would seem to those who know little of the tulip that this was
something of a tulip mania; but the tulip is a most gorgeous flower,
and when once a love for it takes possession of the amateur, and he
obtains a knowledge of its properties, there is scarce anything he
would not sacrifice to obtain the choicest kinds. In England, there
are many collections valued at thousands of pounds. In this country
the tulip is but little valued, and a bed of the most common kind
attracts nearly as many admirers as one of the choicest and
high-priced flowers.”

DWARF PEAR-TREES.—“The garden is laid out with numerous walks, and the
borders of them were filled with bearing trees. They were from six to
ten feet high, trained in pyramidal form, and many of them full of
fruit. This mode of growing trees appears to be universally adopted
around Paris; we scarcely saw a standard tree. The advantages of the
pyramidal or quenouille form are, that, in gardens of moderate extent
only, a collection of two or three hundred kinds may be cultivated;
they occupy but little room, being placed about six feet apart, and
being pruned in, they do not throw sufficient shade to injure anything
growing near them. They afford greater facilities for examining the
fruit while growing, and for picking it when ripe; the trees are not
so much shaken by high winds, and the large kind of pears do not so
easily blow off: the facilities for making observations upon the wood
and leaves, are also greater; and, as regards appearance alone, they
are, when well managed, far more beautiful than standards. To those
who wish to plant out large quantities for orchard cultivation, they
would not, of course, be recommended; but for the garden, the
pyramidal form should be adopted.”

ALPINE STRAWBERRY.—This variety is especially valuable from its
propensity to bear all the summer. At the gardens of the Luxembourg,
Paris, Mr. Hovey says:

     “The Alpine strawberry is cultivated very extensively for
     the supply of the royal tables throughout the whole summer
     and autumn, and one-quarter was devoted to this fruit; the
     plants were set out in long rows, with alternate plantations
     of dahlias, which were now in most profuse bloom; a great
     many of them were the _fancy_ sorts, which are greatly
     admired and extensively cultivated in and around Paris. One
     of the finest we saw was the Beauty of England, purple
     tipped with white; and every flower distinctly marked. The
     strawberries are set out in August or September, and the
     following season produce abundantly; or they may be raised
     from seed in the spring, and planted out to bear a crop in
     the autumn. A moist soil and half shady aspect is most
     favorable, and, in our climate, to expect success, such a
     locality should be selected if possible; an abundance of
     fruit may then be expected. The best berries were as large
     as the finest Woods we generally see in our market. We
     recommend all who love this delicious fruit to try the
     experiment of their cultivation. Such profusion as we saw
     them exposed for sale in the cafés of Paris, shows that
     there can be no great difficulty in the way of success.”



THE CORN CROP.


The valleys of the West are regarded as the corn-fields of the world,
and the people seem to regard the crop of corn as the foundation crop.
Lately wheat is becoming a rival, particularly in the northern part of
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Our real object, is, not
to theorize,—to teach “book farming”—but to lay before practical men
practical results, to inform them of _what has been done_. We give on
page 382 the method of cultivating the potato as employed by eminent
and successful cultivators. We here present the modes of cultivating
corn which have produced the largest crops.


W. C. YOUNG’S METHOD.—Mr. Young is a Kentucky farmer, and raised 195
bushels of shelled corn to the acre. When this was first published it
quite staggered the faith of eastern farmers. This roused the zeal of
Kentucky, and the _Dollar Farmer_ sets forth the manner, and adds a
series of explanations, all of which we give. We must say, that such a
depth, for seed on stiff soils—on any soil except the lightest and
mellowest, and on these, in a cool or rainy spring, would not be
proper. Neither could planting be done in March in the latitudes of
Indiana unless in the southern part, and then only in early seasons.
That Mr. Young did produce 195 bushels to the acre, we feel just as
certain as that we now hold a pen in our hand. It was measured by as
respectable gentlemen as any in Jessamine County—gentlemen appointed
for the purpose by the Jessamine Agricultural Society. And let it be
remembered that this was no first experiment on a single acre. The
corn was planted and cultivated according to the method long adopted
by Mr. Young, and his whole crop was pronounced equal to the five
acres measured. This extraordinary crop was produced in 1840, a year
very favorable to corn; but we are told by Mr. Young that in the
dryest years he does not get less than 100 bushels to the acre.

Here then is not “book farming,” but a method of cultivation
_practised_ for years by a plain, practical, but intelligent farmer.
Here then is actual experience for a course of years, the very thing
the farmer says he must have before he can be convinced! But, reader,
are you convinced? No. You can not get round the experience, provided
it _was_ experience, and you will take a short way of evading the
matter by simply saying that you don’t believe a word of the whole
story.

Strange as it may seem, these worthy farmers that go so strong for
_facts_ and _experience_, and who yet deny all facts and all
experience that do not tally with their own notions—these very farmers
are fond of arguing, and like mightily to have the reason or
_rationale_ of things explained; and many a one of them will yield to
the _theory_ who will not yield to a _fact_. Well, then, let us look
into the theory of Mr. Y.’s practice. Hear him:

     “My universal rule is, to plow my corn land the fall
     preceding the spring when I plant; and as early in the
     spring as possible, I cross-plow as deep as circumstances
     will permit; and as soon as this is done, I commence
     checking off—the first way with my large plows, and the
     second with my small ones; the checks three feet by three,
     admitting of working the land both ways. And then I plant my
     corn from the 20th to the 25th of March—a rule to which I
     adhere with scrupulous exactness; planting from eight to
     twelve grains in each hill, covering the same from _four to
     six inches deep_, greatly preferring the latter depth. So
     soon as my corn is up of sufficient height, I start the
     large harrow directly over the rows, allowing a horse to
     walk each side; harrowing the way the corn was planted; and
     on land prepared as above and harrowed as directed, the
     hoeing part will be so completely performed by this process,
     that it will satisfy the most skeptical. Then, allowing the
     corn thus harrowed, to remain a few days, I start my small
     plow with the bar next the corn; and so nicely will this be
     done, that when a row is thus plowed, so completely will the
     intermediate spaces, hills, etc., be lapped in by the loose
     earth, occasioned by this system of close plowing, as to
     render any other work useless for a time. I thin to four
     stalks upon a hill, never having to transplant, the second
     plowing being performed with the moldboard toward the rows
     of corn; and so rapid has been the growth of the corn
     between the first and second plowings, that this is
     performed with ease; and when in this stage, I consider my
     crop safe—my general rule being, never to plow my corn more
     than four times, and harrow once. My practice is, to put a
     field in corn two successive years, then grass it, and let
     it lie eight years—a rule from which I never deviate. Now, I
     do not pretend that the labor bestowed upon a sodfield to
     put it in a state of thorough cultivation, does not meet
     with a fair equivalent from one crop; but I presume no
     farmer will doubt when I say the second year’s crop from sod
     land is better than the first, with not more than one half
     the labor. The best system of farming is to produce the
     greatest amount of profit from the smallest amount of labor.”

Now what are the essentials of this method?

First—Fertility of soil, kept up by his system of manuring and grass,
of which we shall not speak.

Second—Early planting. In consequence of this, the corn matures before
the dry season commences, and every farmer knows that plenty of rain
will make a good crop of corn in almost any soil. They all know that
the essential thing for corn is rain, and there is generally plenty of
rain till about the 1st of July. Mr. Young might plant his corn
considerably later and have it come up as early, and grow off more
rapidly, by soaking it in a solution of saltpetre. Thus would the
effect of frost and chilly mornings be in a degree avoided, while we
feel confident, from our own experience, all injury from the cut-worm
would be avoided.

Third—Close planting. Every farmer must know that to produce the
heaviest possible crop, a certain number of stalks must be upon the
ground. It is often observed that the great sin of American
agriculture is too thin sowing. Grass is nearly always sowed too thin,
and the same is true of small grain. In England they sow four and five
and sometimes six bushels of oats to the acre; in this country
generally not more than a bushel or a bushel and a half. Hence in
England they yield three or four times as heavy as in this country;
while in this country we never hear of an extraordinary crop where
less than three or four bushels to the acre were sown. Now, we venture
to affirm that no very large corn crop was ever grown unless it was
planted more than usually thick. In the crop of George W. Williams, of
Bourbon county, Kentucky, the corn was planted in rows two feet apart,
with a stalk every foot in the rows. This crop produced 167 bushels to
the acre. But there is another important advantage of close planting.
The corn very soon becomes so dense that the ground is shaded, and the
growth of the grass is prevented, and the moisture retained in the
soil. By this method of cultivation, no grass is ever allowed to
absorb the moisture from the earth, or to take up the nutritious gases
which ought to be appropriated exclusively to the corn.

Fourth—Deep planting. This probably operates favorably by giving the
roots a bedding where the soil is always moist. Another advantage may
be that the roots are thus not so liable to be broken by the plow in
cultivation. But it must be here noted, that by Mr. Young’s methed,
the corn is “laid by” before the roots are so extended as to be liable
to much injury from the plow.

Fifth and last—It will be observed that, by Mr. Young’s method, the
soil is kept very friable and loose, and that to a considerable depth.
This may be considered the all-essential point in husbandry. One of
the chief advantages of all manures is, so to divide the soil that the
atmosphere, from which plants derive their principal nutriment, may
freely penetrate to the roots of the plants. In such a loose soil,
too, it is well known that much less rain is requisite than in a
stiff, cold, close soil. For this reason, gravel, sand, or sawdust is
often the best manure that can be put upon a stiff soil. In the fall
of the year, Mr. Young turns down very deep a thick-rooted sod of
eight years’ standing. The vegetable matter in the sod will obviously
keep the soil very loose for a year or two by mechanical division, as
well as by the slow fermentation of this matter in the soil. But this
is not all. The soil is deeply broken up before planting; it is
harrowed thoroughly as soon as the corn comes up, and then there is a
rapid succession of plowing, until the ground is shaded by the corn,
and plowing is no longer possible or necessary. No doubt the plow is
preferable to the hand-hoe or cultivator in the case of Mr. Young; for
it makes the soil loose to a greater depth, and we have already
explained that, according to his method, the roots of the corn are not
exposed to injury from the plow.

We append to this account of Mr. Young’s method, that of several other
cultivators, and are indebted for them to the _Western Farmer and
Guardian_. In Mr. Miller’s account the reader will observe the _depth
of planting_ in a stiff clay.


MR. SUTTON’S METHOD.—Mr. James M. Sutton, of St. George, Delaware, who
raised upon seventy-nine acres 6,284 bushels of corn, and who gives an
accurate and detailed account of the condition and cultivation of each
field, makes this remark in relation to the use of the plow:

     “In order to test the advantage of the cultivator over the
     plow, for tilling corn, he had five rows in this field that
     he lapped the furrow to, with a plow, previous to going over
     it the last time with the cultivator. He soon discovered
     that the growth of these five rows fell short, in height, of
     those adjacent, and yielded one-fifth less corn.

     “There is no doubt but the true mode of tilling corn,
     especially where sod-ground is used, is to plow deep, and
     use nothing but the fallow and flake-harrow for its
     cultivation. By not disturbing the sod plowed down, it
     remains there as a reservoir of moisture, and an
     exhilarating principle throughout the season, to the growth
     of the corn.”

Upon Mr. Sutton’s report of his crop, Judge Buel adds the following:

     “The management which led to the extraordinary product of
     corn, should be deeply impressed upon the mind of every
     corn-grower. 1, The ground was WELL dunged with LONG manure;
     2, it was planted on a grass lay, one deep plowing; 3, it
     was well pulverized with the harrow; 4, the plow was not
     used in the after-culture, nor the corn hilled, but the
     cultivator only used; 5, the sod was not disturbed, nor the
     manure turned to the surface; and 6, the corn was cut at the
     ground when it was fit to top. These are the points which we
     have repeatedly urged in treating of the culture of this
     crop; and their correctness is put beyond question by this
     notable result. The value of lime and marl are well
     illustrated in the second experiment.”

Mr. Charles H. Tomlinson, of Schenectady, N. Y., in giving an account
of his experience says:

     “The two last years’ corn has been raised in the following
     manner, on the Mohawk Flats near this city. If in grass, the
     land is plowed and well harrowed, lengthwise of the furrow,
     without disturbing the sward. The ground is then prepared
     for planting, by being marked out two and a half feet one
     way and three feet the other. The last season, the field was
     rolled after being planted, with evident benefit, as it made
     it level. When the corn is three inches high, the cultivator
     is passed through both ways; and twice afterward it is used
     in the same manner; no hills are made, but the ground is
     kept level. Neither hand-hoe nor plow are used, after the
     corn is planted. Fields manured with coarse manure have been
     tilled in the same manner. Corn tilled in this way is as
     clean of weeds as when tilled in the usual way: it is no
     more liable to be blown down, and the produce equally good.
     It saves a great deal of hard labor which is an expensive
     item in the usual culture of corn. Last October, ten rods
     were measured out in two different places, in a corn-field,
     on grass land—the one yielding ten, the other nine, bushels
     of ears. In one corn-field, after the last dressing in July,
     timothy and clover-seed were sown, and in the fall the grass
     appeared to have taken as well as it has done in adjoining
     fields where it had been sown with oats.”

Upon which Judge Buel again remarks: “All, or nearly all, the accounts
we have published of great products of Indian corn, agree in two
particulars, viz. in not using the plow in the culture, and in not
earthing, or but very slightly, the hills. These results go to
demonstrate, that the entire roots are essential to the vigor of the
crops, and to enable them to perform their functions as nature
designed, must be near the surface. If the roots are severed with the
plow, in dressing the crop, the plants are deprived of a portion of
their nourishment; and if they are buried deep by hilling, the plant
is partially exhausted in throwing out a new set near the surface,
where alone they can perform all their offices. There is another
material advantage in this mode of cultivating the corn crop—it saves
a vast deal of manual labor.”

The preceding considerations justify us in recommending, that in the
management of the Indian corn crop, the following rules be observed,
or at least partially, so far as to test their correctness.

1. That the corn harrow and cultivator be substituted for the plow in
the culture of the crop.

2. That the plants be not hilled, or but slightly so—this not to
prevent the soil being often stirred and kept clean, and,

3. That in harvesting, the crop be cut at the ground as soon as the
grain is glazed.

Again, in reference to the system of level cultivation of corn, Judge
Buel remarks:

     “The experience of the last two years has been sufficient to
     admonish us, that without due precaution, our crops of
     Indian corn will not pay for the labor bestowed on the
     culture; and yet, that where due attention has been paid to
     soil, manure, seed and harvesting, the return has been
     bountiful, notwithstanding bad seasons. Having been
     uniformly successful in the culture of this crop, we feel
     justified in repeating some leading directions for its
     management.”

“AFTER-CULTURE.—In this the plow should not be used if the corn harrow
and cultivator can be had, and if used, should not be suffered to
penetrate the soil more than two or three inches. The plow tears the
roots, turns up and wastes the manure, and increases the injuries of
drought. The main object is to extirpate weeds, and to keep the
surface mellow and open, that the heat, air and moisture may exert
better their kind influences upon the vegetable matter in the soil, in
converting it into nutriment for the crop. At the first dressing with
the hand-hoe, the plants are reduced to four, or three, in a hill, the
surface is broken among the plants, the weeds carefully extirpated,
and a little fresh mold gathered to the hill. At the second dressing,
a like process is observed, taking care that the earthing shall not
exceed one inch and a half, that the hill be broad and flat, and that
the earth for this purpose be not taken from one place, but gathered
from the surface between the rows, where it has been loosened by the
cultivator.”


MR. MILLER’s METHOD.

                            “GEORGETOWN × ROADS, _Kent Co., Md._

“I have just finished measuring the corn that grew this year on a lot
of mine of five and a half acres, and have measured 105½ barrels and
one bushel of ears, making 103 bushels of corn per acre. The following
is the manner in which I prepared the ground, etc. The soil is a stiff
clay; and one and a half acres of said lot was in clover last year,
the balance in wheat. I put 265 two-horse cart loads of barn-yard
manure on it: the manure was coarse, made out of straw, corn-tops and
husks, hauled into the yard in January and February, and hauled out in
March and April, consequently was very little rotted. I spread it
regularly and plowed it down with a large concave plow, seven inches
deep. I then harrowed it twice the same way it was plowed. I then had
the rows marked out with a small plow, three feet ten inches wide, and
one and a half inches deep. I planted my corn from eighteen to
twenty-two inches apart, and covered it with hoes: just drawing the
furrows over the corn, which covered it _one and a half inches below
the surface_. When the corn was four inches high, I harrowed it, and
thinned it to two stalks in the hill: in about two weeks after
harrowing, I cultivated it: about the 15th of June I cultivated it
again, which was all the tillage I gave it. We farmers of the eastern
shore count our corn by the thousand: I had 38,640 hills on my lot,
and I think my corn would have been better had I planted earlier: I
did not plant until the last of April. I think the planting of corn
shallow and working it with the cultivator is much the best way,
especially on clover lay.”


MR. HOPKINS’ METHOD.—“_Soil and Culture._—The soil is a warm sandy
loam. It was plowed deep in the autumn. About the first of May, I
carried on, and spread all over the ground, about thirty loads of
stable and barn-yard unfermented manure, then rolled and harrowed the
ground well, being careful not to disturb the sod, which was timothy,
and mown the summer preceding; and on the 9th and 10th of May planted
the same, two and a half feet between the rows, and fifteen inches
between the hills. It was dressed with ashes when it made its
appearance above ground. On the 10th June commenced weeding and
thinning, leaving from two to four of the best spears in each hill,
the whole averaging about three spears in a hill. After this I ashed
it again, using in all about ten bushels of good unleached house
ashes. On the 10th of July commenced hoeing, and at the same time took
off all the suckers—put no more about the hills than we took from
them, but carefully cleaned out all the weeds from the hills. The seed
was prepared by simply wetting it with warm water, and rolling it in
plaster.

“HARVESTING.—The corn was cut up on the 18th September at the ground,
and shocked in small shocks; and on the 9th of October it was housed
and husked, and subsequently threshed and measured.

“PRODUCT.—Ninety-nine bushels of first-rate corn, without even a
nubbin of soft or poor grain, owing to the fact, probably, that there
were no suckers on which to grow them.”



POTATO CROP.


The potato crop has never been as much attended to in this region as
in New York, and New England. We believe, however, that its value is
becoming apparent, and that potatoes will be produced to a much
greater extent than hitherto. Reserving some remarks of our own to a
future number, we insert the methods of cultivation, employed by
eminent cultivators.


SPURRIER’S METHOD OF CULTIVATION.—“Be careful,” says he, “to procure
some good sets; that is, to pick a quantity of the best kind of
potatoes perfectly sound and of a tolerably large size; these are to
be prepared for planting by cutting each root into two, three or more
pieces, minding particularly that each piece be furnished with at
least one or two eyes, which is sufficient. Being thus prepared, they
are to be planted in rows not less than eighteen inches distant: if
they are to be plowed between, they must not be less than three feet,
and if four feet apart the more eligible.

“The best method I have found by experience is to make a trench either
with the spade or plow, about five inches deep, and put long dung or
straw at the bottom, laying the sets on it at their proper distances,
which is from 9 to 12 inches apart, covering them with mold. They must
be kept clean from weeds.”


MR. KNIGHT’S PLAN.—“He recommends the planting of whole potatoes, and
those only which are of fine medium size—none to be of less weight
than four ounces. The early sorts, and, indeed, all which seldom
attain a greater height than two feet, are to be planted about four or
five inches apart in the rows, centre from centre, the crown ends
upward, the rows to be from 2 feet 6 inches to 3 feet asunder. The
late potatoes, which produce a haulm above 3 feet in height, are to be
planted 5 or 6 inches apart, centre from centre, in rows 4 or 5 feet
asunder. The potatoes to point north and south and to be well
manured.”


MACKENZIE’S PLAN.—“Work the ground until it is completely reduced and
free from root weeds. Three plowings, with frequent harrowings and
rollings, are necessary in both cases, before the land is in a
suitable condition. When this is accomplished, form the drills; place
the manure in the drills, plant above it, reverse the drills for
covering it and the seed, then harrow the drills in length.

“It is not advantageous to cut the seed into small slips; for the
strength of the stem at the outset depends in direct proportion to the
vigor and power of the seed-plant. The seed-plant, therefore, ought to
be large, rarely smaller than the fourth part of the potato; and if
the seed is of small size, one half of the potato may be profitably
used. At all events, rather err in giving over large seed than in
making it too small; because, by the first error, no great loss can
ever be sustained; whereas, by the other, a feeble and late crop may
be the consequence. When the seed is properly cut, it requires from
ten to twelve hundred weight of potatoes, from 12½ to 15 bushels,
where the rows are at 27 inches distance; but this generally depends
greatly upon the size of the potatoes used; if they are large a
greater weight may be required; but the extra quality will be
abundantly repaid by the superiority of the crop, which large seed
usually produces. Plant early in May.”


BARNUM’S PLAN.—“Plow deep and pulverize well by thoroughly harrowing;
manure with compost, decomposed vegetables or barnyard manure; the
latter preferable. When coarse or raw manure is used it must be spread
and plowed in immediately. Stiff clay soil should always be plowed the
fall previous. Lay your land in drills 27 inches apart, with a small
plow, calculated for turning a deep, narrow furrow running north and
south; lay on the bottom of the drills 2 inches of well-rotted
barnyard manure, or its equivalent, then drop your potatoes, if of the
common size, or what is more important, if they retain the usual
quantity of eyes—if more, they should be cut to prevent too many
stalks shooting up together; put a single potato in the drills or
trenches 10 inches apart, the first should remain uncovered until the
second one is deposited, to place them diagonally in the drills, which
will afford more space between the potatoes one way, than if laid at
right angles in the rows. The covering may be performed with a hoe,
first hauling in the furrow raised on each side the drill, then
carefully take from the centre of the space the soil to finish the
covering to the depth of 3½ or 4 inches; by taking the earth from the
centre of the space on either side to the width of 3 inches, it will
leave a drain of 6 inches in the centre of the space and a hill of 14
inches in width gently descending from the drill to the drain, the
width and depth of the drill will be sufficient to protect the plant
against any injurious effects of a scorching sun or drenching rain.
The drains in the centre will at all times be found sufficient to pass
off the surplus water.

“When the plant makes its appearance above the surface, the following
mixture may be used: for each acre take 1 bushel of plaster and 2
bushels of good ashes, and sow it broadcast as even as possible; a
moist day is preferable for this operation—for want of it, a still
evening will do.

“The operation of hilling should be performed _once_ and _once only_
during the season; if repeated after the potatoe is formed it will
cause young shoots to spring up, which retards the growth of the
potatoe and diminishes its size. If weeds spring up at any time they
should be kept down by the hand or hoe, which can be done without
disturbing the growth of the stalk.

“My manner of _hoeing_ or _hilling_ is not to haul in the earth from
the space between the hills or rows, but to bring on fresh earth
sufficient to raise the hill around the plant 1½ or 2 inches; in a wet
season the lesser quantity will be sufficient, in a dry one the larger
will not be found too much. The substance for this purpose may consist
of the scrapings of ditches or filthy streets, or the earth from a
barnyard that requires levelling: where convenient, it may be taken
from swamps, marshes, the beds and banks of rivers or small sluggish
streams at low water. If planted on a clay soil, fresh loam taken at
any depth from the surface, even if it partakes largely of fine sand,
will be found an excellent top-dressing. If planted on a loamy soil,
the earth taken from clay pits, clay or slaty soil will answer a
valuable purpose; in fact, there are but few farms in the country but
what may be furnished with some suitable substance for top-dressing,
if sought for. The hoeing and hilling may be performed with facility
by the aid of a horse and cart, the horse travelling in the centre of
a space between the drills, the cart-wheels occupying the two
adjoining ones, thereby avoiding any disturbance or injury to the
growing plants.”

Mr. Barnum’s method has attracted great attention, from the fact that
he actually raised from 1,000 to 1,500 bushels of potatoes to the
acre! When this was first published it was received with great
incredulity; calls were made for the method of cultivation, which drew
forth an elaborate article from Mr. B., of which the above is but a
morsel. It afterward was stated, and the most authentic and
unquestionable evidence adduced in proof, that Mr. Barnum raised, upon
experiment, _at the rate_ of more than 3,000 bushels to the acre. Now,
although the labor and the great amount of seed required would prevent
the cultivation of many acres of land thus, yet it is worth a trial in
a small way; and if one acre can be made to produce 1,000 bushels, it
will be as much as is usually dug from _five_ acres; and it is
questionable whether the labor and seed for five acres are not more
than that required by Mr. B.’s method for one.


MR. A. ROBINSON’S PLAN.—He says: “If I plant low ground, I plow my
ground in beds in a different direction for the water to drain off,
then harrow lengthwise of the furrows and small lands; having a number
of them, side and side, I take a light, sharp horse-harrow, and harrow
crosswise of the beds, which pulverizes the ground and fits it well
for planting, leaving a small space between the rows, which answers
for two purposes, one for a guide for the rows for dropping: this is
done by dropping in the middle of the tracks of the harrow, which is
easily and correctly performed, by any small boy. It also serves
completely to fill up all cracks or holes, the seed lying fair and
easy. I then drop my manure directly over the seed potatoes, and when
covered up, the seed is safe from inundation, by being some inches
above the surrounding surface: the seed lies warm under this manure,
the rains drain into the middle furrows; I plant three feet distance;
it takes the most of the surface that is pulverized to cover the
potatoes, and by the time they are twice well hoed, my hills are as I
want them to be. They naturally rise high above the surface in the
form of a sugar-loaf: this hill is to turn off heavy rains, and it
naturally keeps the potatoes from being too moist, and they are often
injured thereby. I have found that three feet each way is the most
proper distance to insure a good crop; I plant three common sized
potatoes in the hill; it is no use to cut them: if cut small, the
vines come up small and weak, grow fast and fall down.”

The following method we take from an able writer in the _Louisville
Journal_, signing himself “Grazier:”

“The ground selected for potatoes should be dry, where no
surface-water will rest. It should be rich; if not naturally so, it
must be made so by a sufficient quantity of good manure. It should be
plowed twice, and at least twelve inches deep. After the first
plowing, it should be harrowed and cross harrowed; and after the
second plowing, harrowed again, and if not very friable and free from
clods it should then be rolled. The mold cannot be too fine, as on the
depth of the plowing, and fineness of the earth, depend the _retention
of that moisture_ so indispensable to the health and maturing of all
bulbous roots in particular. The ground thus prepared, should then be
opened off in _drills_, three feet from the centre of one to the
centre of the other, and, if practicable, running north and south.
When opened, if manure is to be applied, it must then be hauled in
carts; the horse going down between the drills, the bed of the cart
will cover two drills, where the manure can be pulled out at
intervals, in quantity sufficient, not only for the two drills
described, but for one on each side in addition; all of which one
hand, following with a fork, can easily distribute and spread in the
four drills.

“This done, the ground is ready for the seed. I shall first describe
the whole of the cultivation and harvesting necessary, and then speak
of the seed and its preparation separately. The seed should be dropped
in the manure, twelve inches apart, and as quickly as a drill is
planted, the plow should follow and cover it in. The _double
mold-board_ plow, which is the proper implement for the business, will
cover two drills by going once up and once down the field; if the
single mold-board plow is used, it will of course cover but one drill
by the same operation. When your ground is thus gone over, your land
will all be in high drills, and can rest so for about one week, when
you must take a two-horse harrow, and harrow your drills _across_,
leaving your field as level as before your drills were opened. There
is no danger, as some would suppose, of disturbing your seed.

“In a few days, when you can see your plants distinctly above ground,
from one end of your drills to the other, you must take your one-horse
plow, and go up and down each drill, running the _land side_ of your
plow as close to the plant on each side as you safely can, throwing
the earth _away_ from it, which operation will leave your field in
raised drills between your plants. In a few days after this you take
your _double mold-board_ plow, and go down the centre of the blank
drills, covering all your plants nearly out of sight, observing as you
go along that the weight of earth is thrown _against_, and not _on_,
the plants. Then, in some days after, when your plants are well over
the top of your drills, take your scuffle, an implement not unlike
your cultivator in this country, and for which the cultivator can be
substituted, and go over your whole field between the drills, giving
the earth a good stirring, and not be afraid of encroaching a little
at each side on the drill. At this stage, a boy should follow the
scuffle, and pull up any weeds that appear on the top or sides of the
drills. In a few days after this, when your plants are strong and well
up, you go down the centre between the drills, with your _double
mold-board_ plow, the wings well apart, and throw the earth well up to
the plants. This must sometimes finish the cultivation, if the vines
have spread and are closed too much, but _generally_ the vines will
allow it, and the crop be much benefited by one more scuffling; but
this time take _particular care not to disturb the drill at the
bottom_, as the bulbs are now forming and spreading; then gently run
your _double mold-board plow_ through the whole field again,
_narrowing the wings of it_, which will have the effect of adding the
earth, and compressing it to the _bottom_ of the drill, where the
bulbs are forming, rather than throwing it up to the stalk at top,
where there is sufficient already. This finishes the cultivation.

“To prepare the seed you must select well-shaped, even potatoes, not
too small nor too large. Cut them, leaving one good eye at least to
every set; prepare them from two to three weeks _at least_, before you
plant; and each day, as you cut, roll your sets in pulverized lime,
and spread them on the barn floor to dry: when dry, heap them in a
corner till taken out to plant. If this plan is pursued, and the
ground selected and prepared as directed, you may rest satisfied that
so sure as the laws of nature are invariable, and that like effects
follow like causes, as sure will a _good_ and _sound_ crop of potatoes
be produced in this climate with no variation in the result, except
what may be occasioned by the vicissitudes of the season.

“Ten tons of potatoes, two thousand two hundred and forty pounds to
the ton, is considered a _fair_ crop in Ireland. Twelve tons an
_extra_ one—equal to three hundred and seventy bushels the first, and
four hundred and forty-four bushels the second, allowing sixty pounds
to the bushel, which I have found to be about the average weight of a
bushel here. I have grown four crops of potatoes in this country, in
two different situations and latitudes (six acres the smallest
quantity cultivated any season). Each crop was treated in every
particular as here described, and in three instances out of the four,
I got a little over four hundred measured bushels to the acre. The
fourth crop was only about three hundred and fifty bushels to the
acre, caused by the peculiarity of the season, which produced an
almost entire failure with my neighbors, under their management.”



POTTING GARDEN PLANTS FOR WINTER USE.


Roses, geraniums, chrysanthemums, Cape jasmins, etc., which have been
put into the garden borders, should be prepared for removal to the
parlor for winter, before frost, else the plants will not be
established in the pots when removed to the parlor, and will thrive
but poorly.

Select the pot which is to receive each plant, draw a circle about the
plant of the size of the pot, then thrust a sharp spade down so as to
cut all the roots at the line of the circle described. Let the plant
remain, watering it _thoroughly_; and if it droops, let it be
sheltered from the sun. In a few days new roots will begin to form
within the ball of earth described by the circle, and in three or four
weeks that ball may be carefully lifted, placed in the pot for which
it was measured, and it will go on growing as if nothing had happened
to it. If one waits till frost, then digs up the plant without a
previous preparation of its roots, it will oftentimes not recover from
the violence during the winter. But by the method suggested above,
roses, etc., will go on growing and blooming through the winter.

       *     *     *     *     *

There are many who suppose it necessary to leave the second growth of
grass undisturbed, to rot on the ground, in order to preserve the
fertility of old meadows in grass where top dressing with manure is
not resorted to. But such management is oftentimes extremely hurtful,
and the injury is proportioned to the amount left untrodden and unfed.
If the amount left standing, or laying loose upon the surface, be
considerable, it makes a harbor for mice, which will, under cover of
the old grass, intersect the surface of the land with paths
innumerable, from which they cut all the grass that comes in their way.



MARY HOWITT’s USE OF FLOWERS.


Here is another of those beautiful gems which can never be brought to
the light too often. And when more appropriately than in the middle of
our spring-time, while bursting buds and fragrant blossoms are
delighting every sense?

  God might have made the earth bring forth
    Enough for great and small,
  The oak-tree and the cedar-tree,
    Without a flower at all.

  We might have had enough, enough
    For every want of ours,
  For luxury, medicine, and toil,
    And yet have had no flowers.

  The ore within the mountain mine
    Requireth none to grow,
  Nor does it need the lotus flower
    To make the river flow.

  The clouds might give abundant rain,
    The nightly dews might fall,
  And the herb that keepeth life in man,
    Might yet have drunk them all.

  Then wherefore, wherefore were they made
    And dyed with rainbow light,
  All fashioned with supremest grace,
    Upspringing day and night?

  Springing in valleys green and low,
    And on the mountains high,
  And in the silent wilderness,
    Where no man passeth by?

  Our outward life requires them not,
    Then wherefore had they birth?
  To minister delight to man—
    To beautify the earth.

  To comfort man, to whisper hope
    Whene’er his faith is dim,
  For whoso careth for the flowers,
    Will much more care for Him.



WHAT ARE FLOWERS GOOD FOR?


     “I have said and written a great deal to my countrymen about
     the cultivation of flowers, ornamental gardening, and rural
     embellishments; and I would read them a homily on the
     subject every day of every remaining year of my life, if I
     thought it would induce them to make this a matter of
     particular attention and care. When a man asks me, what is
     the use of shrubs and flowers, my first impulse is always,
     _to look under his hat and see the length of his ears_. I am
     heartily sick of measuring everything by a standard of mere
     utility and profit; and as heartily do I pity the man, who
     can see no good in life but in the pecuniary gain, or in the
     mere animal indulgences of eating and drinking.”—_Colman’s
     Agricultural Tour._

We protest against the sauciness of the italicized line. Mr. Colman
never feels any such impulse; and if he does, he ought to suspect his
own ears. Nothing is more preposterous than interflagellations among
men on the matter of likes and dislikes. Every man selects _his_
ruling passion, and scoffs at such as do not grow enthusiastic with
him. A market gardener rails at a florist for fol-de-rol trifles; and
the florist looks at the length of the fellow’s ears who has nothing
but turnips, onions, and cabages; while a big Miami farmer, who puts
in his five-hundred-acre corn-patch, by way of summer amusement,
regards both as small affairs. We find no fault with those who possess
a super-ardent enthusiasm for flowers; but when they throw it in other
people’s faces, and call them brutes and asses, for not liking pretty
flowers, we think the thing has been carried quite far enough. We love
good manners _along_ with pretty flowers.



THE BLIGHT IN THE PEAR-TREE.[18]

ITS CAUSE AND A REMEDY FOR IT.


The year 1844 will long be remembered for the extensive ravages of
that disease hitherto denominated _fire-blight_. Beginning at the
Atlantic coast, we have heard of it in Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and as far as Tennessee; and it is
probable that it has been felt in every fruit-growing State in the
Union where the season of 1843 was the same as that west of the
Alleghany range, namely, cold in spring, dry throughout the summer,
and a wet and warm fall, with early and sudden winter.

In Indiana, and Ohio the _blight_ has prevailed to such an extent
as to spread dismay among cultivators; destroying entire
collections—taking half the trees in large orchards—affecting both
young and old trees, whether grafted or seedings in soils of every
kind. Many have seen the labor and fond hope of years cut off, in one
season, by an invisible destroyer, against which none could guard;
because, in the conflicting opinions, none were certain whether the
disease was atmospheric, insect or chemical.

I shall now proceed to describe that blight known in the western
States (without pretending to identify it with the blight known in New
York and New England), to examine the theories proposed for its
causation, and to present what now seems to me the true cause.

I. DESCRIPTION.—Although the signs of it, as will appear in the
sequel, may be detected long before the leaves put out in the spring,
yet its full effects do not begin to appear until May, or if the
spring be backward, until June. On the wood of the last year will be
found a point where the bark is either dead and dry, or else at the
same point the bark will be puffed, softened, or sappy with thickened
sap—these two appearances indicating only different degrees of the
same blight. Wherever the bark is dead and dry, the limb will flourish
above it, make new wood, ripen its fruit, but perish the ensuing
winter. In the other case, as soon as the circulation of the sap
becomes active, the point described shows signs of disease, the leaf
turns to a darker brown than is natural to its ordinary decay, being
nearly black, and the wood perishes.

The disease, at first, blights the terminal portions of the branch;
but the affection spreads gradually downward, and sometimes affects
the whole trunk. The time from the first appearance of the blight to
that in which any affected part dies, is various; sometimes two or
three weeks—sometimes a day only; and sometimes, but rarely, even a
few hours consummate the disease.

On dissecting the branch, the wood is of a dirty, brownish, yellow
color; the sap thick and unctuous, of a sour disagreeable odor, like
that of a fermented watermelon, on the tops of potato vines after they
have been frosted. In still, moist days, where the blight is extensive
in an orchard, this odor fills the air, and is disagreeably
perceptible at some distance from the trees.

Sometimes the bark bursts, the sap exudes, and runs down, turning
black; and its acridity will destroy vegetation on which it may drop,
and shoots, at a distance from the trunk, upon which the rain washes
this ichor, will soon perish. When we come to treat of the _cause_ of
this disease, it will be important to remember this malignancy of the
fluids.

We are carefully to distinguish these appearances, peculiar to what I
suppose ought to be called _winter-blight_, from another and a
_summer-blight_. In this last, the leaf is affected at first in spots;
gradually the whole leaf turns russet color and drops. Along the wood
may be seen the hardened trail as of a slimy insect, of an ash color.
The _wood_ suffers very little by this summer-blight, and sometimes
none. The winter-blight is found on almost all kinds of trees. This
summer it has affected the apple, the pear, the peach, the quince, the
English hawthorn, privet, black birch, Spanish chestnut, elder, and
calycanthus. I enumerate the most of these kinds on the authority of
J. H. James, of Urbana, Ohio, and C. W. Elliott, of Cincinnati, having
observed it myself only on fruit-trees.

II. THEORIES.—A variety of theories exist as to the causes of this
disease. Some are mere imaginations; some are only ingenious; and some
so near to what I suppose to be the truth, that it is hardly possible
to imagine how the discovery was not made.

The injury is done in the fall, but is not seen till spring or summer,
or even the next fall. Thus, six months or a year intervene between
the _cause_ and the _effect_—a sufficient reason for the difficulty of
detecting the origin of the evil.

1. Some have alleged that the rays of the sun, passing through vapors
which arise about the trees, concentrate upon the branches, and
destroy them by the literal energy of fire. Were this true, the young
and tender shoots would suffer first and most; all pear-trees would
suffer alike; moist and hot summers would be affected with blight;
herbaceous plants would suffer more than ligneous: all of which
results are contrary to facts.

2. Some have supposed the soil to contain deleterious substances, or
to be wanting in properties necessary to health. But in either case
such a cause of the blight appears untrue, when we consider that trees
suffer in all soils, rich or poor; that, in the same soil, one tree is
blighted and the next tree escapes; that they will flourish for twenty
years and then blight; that a tree partially diseased recovers, and
thrives for ten or more years without recurrence of blight.

3. It has been attributed to violent and sudden changes of temperature
in the air and of moisture in the earth; to sudden change from sward
to high tillage; and the result is stated to be an “overplus” of sap,
or a “surfeit.” All these causes occur every year; but the blight does
not every year follow them. Changes of temperature, and violent
changes in the condition of the soil, may be _allied_ with the true
cause. But when _only_ these things exist, no blight follows.

4. Others have attributed the disease to over-stimulation by high
manuring, or constant tillage; and it has been said that covering the
roots with stones and rubbish, or laying the orchard down to grass,
would prevent the evil. Facts warrant no such conclusions. Pear-trees
in Gibson County, Indiana, on a clay soil, with blue slaty subsoil,
were affected this year more severely than any of which we have heard.
Pears in southern parts of this State, on red clay, where the ground
had long been neglected, suffered as much as along the rich bottom
lands of the Wabash about Vincennes. If there was any difference it
was in favor of the richest land. About Mooresville, Morgan County,
Indiana, pears have been generally affected, and those in grass lands
_as much_ as those in open soils. Aside from these facts, it is well
known that pear-trees do not blight in those seasons when they make
the rankest growth more than in others. They will thrive rampantly for
years, no evil arising from their luxuriance, and then suddenly die of
blight.

5. It has been supposed by a few to be the effect of _age_, the
disease beginning on old varieties, and propagated upon new varieties
by contagion. Were this the true cause, we should expect it to be most
frequently developed in those pear regions where old varieties most
abound. But this disease seems to be so little known in England, that
Loudon, in his elaborate _Encyclopedia of Gardening_, does not even
mention it. Mr. Manning’s statement will be given further on, to the
same purport.

6. Insect theory: The confidence with which eastern cultivators
pronounce the cause to be an _insect_, has in part served to cover up
singular discrepancies in the separate statements in respect to the
ravages, and even the species of this destroyer. The _Genesee Farmer_
of July, 1843, says, “the cause of the disease was for many years a
matter of dispute, and is so still by some persons; but the majority
are now fully convinced that it is the work of an insect (_scolytus
pyri_).” T. W. Harris, in his work on insects, speaks of the minuteness
and obscure habits of this insect, as “reasons why it has eluded the
researches of those persons who disbelieve in its existence as the
cause of the blasting of the limbs of the _pear-tree_.” Dr. Harris
evidently supposed, until so late as 1843, that this insect infested
only the _pear-tree_; for he says, “the discovery of the blight-beetle
in the limbs of the apple-tree, is a new fact in natural history; but
it is easily accounted for, because this tree belongs not only to the
same natural group, but also to the same genus as the pear-tree. It is
not, therefore, surprising, that both the pear and the apple-tree
should occasionally be attacked by the same insect.” [See an article
in the _Massachusetts Ploughman_, summer of 1843, quoted in _Genesee
Farmer_, July, 1843.]

This insect is said to eat through the _alburnum_, the hard wood, and
even a part of the pith, and to destroy the branch by separation of
part from part, as a saw would. On these facts, which there is no room
to question, we make two remarks.

1st. That the blight thus produced is _limited_, and probably
sectional or local. No account has met my eye which leads me to
suppose that any considerable injury has been done by it. Mr. Manning,
of Salem, Mass., in the second edition of his “Book of Flowers,”
states that he has never “_had any trees affected by it_”—the blight.
Yet his garden and nursery has existed for twenty years, and contained
immense numbers of trees.

2d. It is very plain that neither Mr. Lowell, originally, nor Dr.
Harris, nor any who describe the blight as caused by the
blight-beetle, had any notion of that disease which passes by the same
name in the middle and western States. The blight of the _scolytus
pyri_ is a mere _girdling_ of the branches—a mechanical separation of
parts; and no mention is made of the most striking facts incident to
the great blight—the viscid unctuous sap; the bursting of the bark,
through which it issues; and its poisonous effects on the young shoots
upon which it drops.

We do not doubt the insect-blight; but we are sure that it is not
_our_ blight. We feel very confident, also, that this blight, which
from its devastations may be called the great blight, has been felt in
New England, in connection with the insect-blight, and confounded with
it, and the effects of two different causes happening to appear in
conjunction, have been attributed to one, and the least influential
cause. The writer in Fessenden’s _American Gardener_ (Mr. Lowell?)
says of the blight, “it is sometimes so rapid in its progress, that in
a few hours from its first appearance the whole tree will appear to be
mortally diseased.” This is not insect-blight; for did the
blight-beetle eat so _suddenly_ around the whole _trunk_? Now here is
a striking appearance of the great blight, confounded with the minor
blight, as we think will appear in the sequel.

This theory has stood in the way of a discovery of the true cause of
the great blight; for every cultivator has gone in search of insects;
they have been found in great plenty, and in great variety of species,
and their harmless presence accused with all the mischief of the
season. A writer in the _Farmer’s Advocate_, Jamestown, N. C.,
discerned the fire-blight, and traced it to “small, _red_, pellucid
insects, briskly moving from place to place on the branches.” This is
not the _scolytus pyri_ of Prof. Peck and Dr. Harris.

Dr. Mosher, of Cincinnati, in a letter published in the _Farmer and
Gardener_ for June, 1844, describes a third insect—“_very minute
brown-colored aphides_, snugly secreted in the axilla of every leaf on
several small branches; … most of them were busily engaged with their
proboscis inserted through the tender cuticle of this part of the
_petiole_ of the leaf, feasting upon the _vital juices_ of the tree.
The leaves being thus deprived of the necessary sap for nourishment
and elaboration soon perished, … while all that part of the branch and
trunk below, dependent upon the elaborated sap of the deadened leaves
above, shrunk, turned black, and dried up,” p. 261.

Lindley, in his work on _Horticulture_, p. 42-46, has detailed
experiments illustrating vegetable _perspiration_, from which we may
form an idea of the amount of fluid which these “very-minute
brown-colored aphides” would have to drink. A sunflower, three and a
half feet high, perspired in a very warm day thirty ounces—nearly two
pounds; on another day, twenty ounces. Taking the old rule, “a pint a
pound,” nearly a quart of fluid was exhaled by a sunflower in twelve
hours; and the vessels were still inflated with a fresh supply drawn
from the roots. Admitting that the leaves of a fruit-tree have a less
current of sap than a sunflower or a grape-vine, yet in the months of
May and June, the amount of sap to be exhausted by these very minute
brown aphides, would be so great, that if they drank it so suddenly as
to cause a tree to die in a day, they would surely augment in bulk
enough to be discovered without a lens. If some one had accounted for
the low water in the Mississippi, in the summer of 1843, by saying
that buffaloes had drank up all the upper Missouri, and cut off the
supply, we should be at a loss which most to pity, the faith of the
narrator, or the probable condition of the buffaloes after their feat
of imbibition.

But the most curious results _follow_ these feats of suction. The
limbs and trunk _below_ shrink and turn black, for want of that
elaborated sap extracted by the aphides. And yet every year we perform
artificially this very operation in _ringing_ or _decortication_ of
branches, for the purpose of accelerating maturation or improving the
fruit. Every year the _saw_ takes off a third, a half, and sometimes
more, of a living tree; and the effect is to produce new shoots, not
death. Is an operation which can be safely performed by man, _deadly_
when performed by an insect? Dr. Masher did not detect the insects
without extreme search, and then only in colonies, on healthy
branches. Do whole trees wither in a day by the mere suction of such
insects? Had they been supposed to _poison_ the fluids, the theory
would be less exceptionable, since poisons in minute quantities may be
very malignant.

While we admit a limited mischief of insects, they can never be the
cause of the prevalent blight of the middle and western States—such a
blight as prevailed in and around Cincinnati in the summer of 1844—nor
of that blight which prevailed in 1832. The _blight-beetle_, after
most careful search and dissection, has not been found, nor any trace
or passage of it. Dr. Mosher’s insect may be set aside without further
remark.

I think that further observation will confirm the following
conclusions:

1. Insects are frequently found feeding in various ways upon blighted
trees, or on trees which afterward become so.

2. Trees are fatally blighted on which no insects are discerned
feeding—neither aphides nor _scolytus pyri_.

3. Multitudes of trees have such insects on them as are in other cases
supposed to cause the blight, without a sign of blight following. This
has been the case in our own garden.

III. CAUSE OF THE BLIGHT.—The Indiana Horticultural Society, early in
the summer of 1844, appointed a committee to collect and investigate
facts on the Fire-Blight. While serving on this committee, and
inquiring in all the pear-growing regions, we learned that Reuben
Reagan, of Putnam County, Ind., was in possession of much information,
and supposed himself to have discovered the cause of this evil; and to
him we are indebted for a first suggestion of the cause. Mr. Reagan
has for more than twelve years past suspected that this disease
originated in the fall previous to the summer on which it declares
itself. During the last winter Mr. Reagan predicted the blight, and in
his pear-orchards he marked the trees that would suffer, and pointed
to the spot which would be the seat of the disease; and his
prognostications were strictly verified. After gathering from him all
the information which a limited time would allow, we obtained from
Aaron Alldredge, of Indianapolis, a nurseryman of great skill, and
possessed of careful, cautious habits of observation, much
corroborative information; and particularly a tabular account of the
blight for nine years past in his nursery and orchard.

The spring of 1843 opened early, but cold and wet, until the last of
May. The summer was both dry and cool, and trees made very little
growth of new wood. Toward autumn, however, the drought ceased,
copious rains saturated the ground, and warm weather started all trees
into vigorous, though late, growth. At this time, while we hoped for a
long fall and a late winter, on the contrary we were surprised by an
early and sudden winter, and with unusual severity at the very
beginning. In the West, much corn was ruined and more damaged; and
hundreds of bushels of apples were caught on the trees and spoiled—one
cultivator alone losing five hundred bushels. Caught in this early
winter, what was the condition of fruit-trees? They were making rapid
growth, every part in a state of excitement, the wood unripe, the
passages of ascent and descent impleted with sap. In this condition,
the fluids were suddenly frozen—the growth instantly checked; and the
whole tree, from a state of great excitability, was, by one shock,
rudely forced into a state of rest. Warm suns, for a time, followed
severe nights. What would be the effect of this freezing and sudden
thawing upon the fluids and their vessels? We have been able to find
so little written upon vegetable morbid anatomy (probably from the
want of access to books), that we can give but an imperfect account of
the derangement produced upon the circulating fluids by congelation.
We cannot state the specific changes produced by cold upon the
ascending sap, or on the cambium, nor upon the elaborated descending
current. There is reason to suppose that the two latter only suffer,
and probably only the last. That freezing and thawing decompose the
coloring matter of plants is known; but what other decomposition, if
any, is effected, we know not. The effect of congelation upon the
descending sap of pear and apple-trees, is to turn it to a viscid,
unctuous state. It assumes a reddish brown color; becomes black by
exposure to the air; is poisonous to vegetables even when applied upon
the leaf. Whether in some measure this follows all degrees of
congelation, or only under certain conditions, we have no means of
knowing.

The effect of freezing and thawing upon the tissues and sap-vessels is
better known. Congelation is accompanied with expansion; the tender
vessels are either burst or lacerated; the excitability of the parts
is impaired or destroyed; the air is expelled from the aëriferous
cavities, and forced into the passages for fluids; and lastly, the
tubes for the conveyance of fluids are obstructing by a thickening of
their sides.[19] The fruit-trees, in the fall of 1843, were then
brought into a morbid state—the sap thickened and diseased; the
passages lacerated, obstructed, and probably, in many instances burst.
The sap elaborated, and now passing down in an injured state, would
descend slowly, by reason of its inspissation, the torpidity of the
parts, and the injured condition of the vessels. The grosser parts,
naturally the most sluggish, would tend to lodge and gradually collect
at the junction of fruit-spurs, the forks of branches, or wherever the
condition of the sap-vessels favored a lodgment. In some cases the
passages are wholly obstructed; in others, only in part.

At length the spring approaches. In early pruning, the cultivator will
find, in those trees which will ere long develop blight, that the
knife is followed by an unctuous sap, and that the liber is of a
greenish yellow color. These will be the first signs, and the
practised eye may detect them long before a leaf is put forth.

When the season is advanced sufficiently to excite the tree to action,
the sap will, as usual, ascend by the alburnum, which has probably
been but little injured; the leaf puts out, and no outward sign of
disease appears; nor will it appear until the leaf prepares the
downward current. May, June and July, are the months when the growth
is most rapid, and when the tree requires the most elaborate sap; and
in these months the blight is fully developed. When the descending
fluid reaches the point where, in the previous fall, a total
obstruction had taken place, it is as effectually stopped as if the
branch were girdled. For the sap which had lodged there would, by the
winds and sun, be entirely dried. This would not be the case if the
sap was good and the vitality of the wood unimpaired; but where the
sap and vessels are both diseased, the sun affects the branch on the
tree just as it would if severed and lying on the ground. There will,
therefore, be found on the tree, branches with spots where the bark is
dead and shrunk away below the level of the surrounding bark; and at
these points the current downward is wholly stopped. Only the
_outward_ part, however, is dead, while the _alburnum_, or sap-wood,
is but partially injured. Through the alburnum, then, the sap from the
roots passes up, enters the leaf, and men are astonished to see a
branch, seemingly dead in the middle, growing thriftily at its
extremity. No insect-theory can account for this case; yet it is
perfectly plain and simple when we consider that there are two
currents of sap, one of which may be destroyed, and the other for a
_limited time_ go on. The blight, under this aspect, is nothing but
_ringing_ or _decortication_, effected by diseased sap, destroying the
parts in which it lodges, and then itself drying up. The branch will
grow, fruit will set, and frequently become larger and finer flavored
than usual.

But in a second class of cases, the downward current comes to a point
where the diseased sap had effected only a partial lodgment. The
vitality of the neighboring parts was preserved, and the diseased
fluids have been undried by wind or sun, and remain more or less
inspissated. The descending current meets and takes up more or less of
this diseased matter, according to the particular condition of the
sap. Wherever the elaborated sap passes, after touching this diseased
region, it will carry its poison along with it down the trunk, and, by
the lateral vessels, in toward the pith. We may suppose that a
violence which would destroy the health of the outer parts, would, to
some degree, rupture the inner sap-vessels. By this, or by some
unknown way, the diseased sap is taken into the inner,[20] upward
current, and goes into the general circulation. If it be in a diluted
state, or in small quantities, languor and decline will be the result;
if in large quantities, and concentrated, the branch will die
suddenly, and the odor of it will be that of frost-bitten vegetation.
All the different degrees of mortality result from the quantity and
quality of the diseased sap which is taken into circulation. In
conclusion, then, where, in one class of cases, the feculent matter
was, in the fall, so virulent as to destroy the parts where it lodged,
and was then dried by exposure to wind and sun, the branch above will
live, even through the summer, but perish the next winter; and the
spring afterward, standing bare amid green branches, the cultivator
may suppose the branch to have blighted that spring, although the
cause of death was seated eighteen months before. When, in the other
class of cases, the diseased sap is less virulent in the fall, but
probably growing worse through the spring, a worse blight ensues, and
a more sudden mortality.

We will mention some proofs of the truth of this explanation.

1. The two great blight years throughout the region of Indianapolis,
1832 and 1844, were preceded by a summer and fall such as we have
described. In the autumns of both 1831 and 1843, the orchards were
overtaken by a sudden freeze while in a fresh-growing state; and in
both cases the consequence was excessive destruction the ensuing
spring and summer.

2. In consequence of this diagnosis, it has been found practicable to
predict the blight six months before its development. The statement of
this fact, on paper, may seem a small measure of proof; but it would
weigh much with any candid man to be told, by an experienced
nurseryman, this is such a fall as will make blight; to be taken,
during the winter into the orchard, and told, this tree has been
struck at the junction of these branches; that tree is not at all
affected; this tree will die entirely the next season; this tree will
go first on this side, etc., and to find, afterward, the prediction
verified.

3. This leads us to state separately, the fact, that, after such a
fall, blighted-trees may be ascertained during the process of late
winter or early spring pruning.

In priming before the sap begins to rise freely, no sap should follow
the knife in a healthy tree. But in trees which have been affected
with blight, a sticky, viscid sap exudes from the wound.

4. Trees which ripen their wood and leaves early, are seldom affected.
This ought to elicit careful observation; for, if found true, it will
be an important element in determining the value of varieties of the
pear in the middle and western States, where the late and warm autumns
render orchards more liable to winter blight than New England
orchards. An Orange Bergamot, grafted upon an apple stock, had about
run out; it made a small and feeble growth, and cast its leaves in the
summer of 1843, long before frost. It escaped the blight entirely;
while young trees, and of the same kind (we believe), standing about
it, and growing vigorously till the freeze, perished the next season.
I have before me a list of more than fifty varieties, growing in the
orchard of Aaron Alldredge, of Indianapolis, and their history since
1836; and so far as it can be ascertained, late-growing varieties are
the ones, in every case, subject to blight; and of those which have
always escaped, the most part are known to ripen leaf and wood early.

5. Wherever artificial causes have either _produced_ or _prevented_ a
growth so late as to be overtaken by a freeze, blight has,
respectively, been _felt_ or _avoided_. Out of 200 pear-trees, only
four escaped in 1832, in the orchard of Mr. Reagan. These four had,
the previous spring, been _transplanted_, and had made little or no
growth during summer or fall. If, however, they had recovered
themselves, during the summer, so as to grow in the autumn,
transplanting would have had just the other effect; as was the case in
a row of pear-trees, transplanted by Mr. Alldredge in 1843. They stood
still through the summer and made growth in the fall—were frozen—and
in 1844 manifested severe blight. Mr. Alldredge’s orchard affords
another instructive fact. Having a row of the St. Michael pear (of
which any cultivator might have been proud), standing close by his
stable, he was accustomed, in the summer of 1843, to throw out, now
and then, manure about them, to force their growth. Under this
stimulus they were making excessive growth when winter-struck. Of all
his orchard, they suffered, the ensuing summer, the most severely. Of
twenty-two trees _twelve_ were affected by the blight, and _eight_
entirely killed. Of seventeen trees of the Bell pear, eleven suffered,
but none were killed. All in this region know the vigorous habit of
this tree. Of eight Crassane Bergamot (a late grower), five were
affected and two killed. In an orchard of 325 trees of 79 varieties,
one in seven blighted, 25 were totally destroyed. Although a minute
observation was not made on each tree, yet, as a general fact, those
which suffered were trees of a full habit and of a late growth.

6. Mr. White, a nurseryman near Mooresville, Morgan County, Indiana,
in an orchard of from 150 to 200 trees, had not a single case of the
blight in the year 1844, though all around him its ravages were felt.
What were the facts in this case? His orchard is planted on a
mound-like piece of ground; is high, of a sandy, gravelly soil:
earlier by a week than nursery soils in this county; and in the summer
of 1843 his trees grew through the summer; wound up and shed their
leaves early in the fall, and during the warm spell made no _second
growth_. The orchard, then, that escaped, was one on such a soil as
insured an _early_ growth, so that the winter fell upon ripened wood.

7. It may be objected, that if the blight _began_ in the new and
growing wood, it would appear there; whereas the seat of the evil, _i.
e._ the place where the bark is diseased or dead, is lower down and on
old wood. Certainly, it should be; for the returning sap falls some
ways down before it effects a lodgment.

8. It might be said that _spring-frosts_ might produce this disease.
But in the spring of 1834, in the last of May, after the forest-trees
were in full leaf; there came frost so severe as to cut every leaf;
and to this day the dead tops of the beech attest the power of the
frost. But no _blight_ occurred that year in orchard, garden or
nursery.

9. It may be asked why forest-trees do not suffer. To some extent they
do. But usually the dense shade preserves the moisture of the soil,
and favors an equal growth during the spring and summer; so that the
excitability of the tree is spent before autumn, and it is going to
rest when frost strikes it.

10. It may be inquired why fall-growing shrubs are not always
blighted, since many kinds are invariably caught by the frost in a
growing state.

We reply, first, that we are not to say that _every_ tree or shrub
suffers from cold in the same manner. We assert it of fruit-trees
because it has been observed; it must be asserted of other trees only
when ascertained.

We reply more particularly, that a _mere frost_ is not supposed to do
the injury. The conditions under which blight is supposed to originate
are, a growing state of the tree, a sudden _freeze_, and sudden
thawing.

We would here add, that many things are yet to be ascertained before
this theory can be considered as settled; as the actual state of the
sap after congelation, ascertained by experiment; the condition of
sap-vessels, as ascertained by dissection; whether the congelation, or
the thawing, or both, produce the mischief; whether the character of
the season _following_ the fall-injury may not materially modify the
malignancy of the disease; seasons that are hot, moist and cloudy,
propagating the evil; and others dry, and cool, restraining growth and
the dsease. It is to be hoped that these points will be carefully
investigated, not by conjecture, but by scientific processes.

11. We have heard it objected, that trees grafted in the spring blight
in the graft during the summer. If the _stock_ had been affected in
the fall, blight would arise from _it_; if the scion had, in common
with the tree from which it was cut, been injured, blight must arise
from _it_.

Blight is frequently caused in the nursery; and the cultivator, who
has brought trees from a distance, and with much expense, has scarcely
planted them before they show blight and die.

12. It is objected, that while only a single branch is at first
affected, the evil is imparted to the whole tree; not only to the wood
of the last year, but to the old branches. We reply, that if a single
branch only should be affected by fall-frost, and be so severely
affected as to become a repository of much malignant fluid, it might
gradually enter the system of the whole tree, through the circulation.
This fact shows, why _cutting_ is a partial remedy; every diseased
branch removed, removes so much poison; it shows also why cutting from
_below_ the seat of the disease (as if to fall below the haunt of a
supposed insect), is beneficial. The farther the cut is made from that
point where the sap has clogged the passages, the less of it will
remain to enter the circulation.

13. Trees of great vigor of constitution, in whose system but little
poison exists, may succeed after a while in rejecting the evil, and
recover. Where much enters the system, the tree must die; and with a
suddenness proportioned to the amount of poison circulated.

14. A rich and _dry_ soil would be likely to promote early growth, and
the tree would finish its work in time; but a rich and _moist_ soil,
by forcing the growth, would prepare the tree for blight; so that rich
soils may prevent or prepare for the blight, and the difference will
be the difference of the respective soils in producing an early
instead of a late growth.

IV. REMEDY.—So long as the blight was believed to be of insect origin,
it appeared totally irremediable. If the foregoing reasoning be found
correct, it will be plain that the scourge can only be occasional;
that it may be in a degree prevented; and to some extent remedied
where it exists.

1. We should begin by selecting for pear orchards a warm, light, rich,
dry and early soil. This will secure an early growth and ripe wood
before winter sets in.

2. So soon as observation has determined what kinds are naturally
early growers and early ripeners of wood, such should be selected; as
they will be least likely to come under those conditions in which
blight occurs.

3. Wherever orchards are already planted; or where a choice in soils
cannot be had, the cultivator may know by the last of August or
September, whether a fall-growth is to be expected. To prevent it, we
suggest immediate _root-pruning_. This will benefit the tree at any
rate, and will probably, by immediately restraining growth, prevent
blight.

4. Whenever blight has occurred, we know of no remedy but free and
early _cutting_. In some cases it will remove all diseased matter; in
some it will alleviate only; but in bad blight, there is neither in
this, nor in anything else that we are aware of, any remedy.

There are two additional subjects, with which we shall close this
paper.

1. This blight is not to be confounded with _winter-killing_. In the
winter of either 1837 or 1838, in March a deep snow fell (in the
region of Indianapolis) and was immediately followed by brilliant sun.
Thousands of nursery-trees perished in consequence, but without
putting out leaves, or lingering. It is a familiar fact to
orchardists, that severe cold, followed by warm suns, produce a
bursting of the bark along the trunk; but usually at the surface of
the ground.

2. We call the attention of cultivators to the disease of the
peach-tree, called “The Yellows.” We have not spoken of it as the same
disease as the _blight_ in the pear and the apple, only because we did
not wish to embarrass this subject by too many issues. We will only
say, that it is the opinion of the most intelligent cultivators among
us, that the yellows are nothing but the development of the blight
according to the peculiar habits of the peach-tree. We mention it,
that observation may be directed to the facts.


     [18] Read before the Indiana Horticultural Society, and
     communicated by Mr. Beecher to Hovey’s Magazine of
     Horticulture, December, 1844.

     [19] Lindley’s Horticulture, p. 81-82.

     [20] See Lindley, p. 32.



PROGRESS OF HORTICULTURE IN INDIANA.[21]


I am induced to send you some remarks upon Horticultural matters, from
observing your disposition to make your magazine not merely a record
of specific processes, and a register of plants and fruits, but also a
chronicle of the yearly progress and condition of the Horticultural
art. I should be glad if I could in any degree thus repay the pleasure
which others have given me through your numbers, by reciprocal
efforts.

The Indiana Horticultural State fair is held annually, on the 4th and
5th of October. Experience has shown that it should be earlier; for,
although a better assortment of late fruits, in which, hitherto, we
have chiefly excelled, is secured, it is at the expense of small
fruits and flowers. The floral exhibition was meagre—the frost having
already visited and despoiled our gardens. The chief attraction, as,
in an agricultural community, it must long continue to be, was the
exhibition of fruit. My recollection of New England fruits, after an
absence of more than ten years, is not distinct; but my impression is,
that so fine a collection of fruits could scarcely be shown there. The
luxuriance of the peach, the plum, the pear and the apple, is such, in
this region, as to afford the most perfect possible specimens. The
vigor of fruit-trees, in such a soil and under a heaven so congenial,
produces fruits which are very large without being coarse-fleshed; the
flavor concentrated, and the color very high. It is the constant
remark of emigrants from the East, that our apples surpass those to
which they have been accustomed. Many fruits which I remember in
Connecticut as light-colored, appear with us almost refulgent. All
summer and early fall apples were gone before our exhibition; but
between seventy and a hundred varieties of winter apples were
exhibited. We never expect to see finer. Our most popular winter
apples are: Yellow Bellflower; White Bellflower (called _Detroit_ by
the gentlemen of Cincinnati Horticultural Society—but for reasons
which are not satisfactory to my mind. What has become of the White
Bellflower of _Coxe_, if this is not it?) Newtown Spitzenberg,
exceedingly fine with us; Canfield, Jennetting or Neverfail, escaping
spring frosts by late blossoming, very hardy, a great bearer every
year; the fruit comes into eating in February, is tender, juicy, mild
and sprightly, and preferred with us to the Green Newtown
pippin—keeping full as well, bearing better, the pulp much more
_manageable_ in the mouth, and the apple has the peculiar property of
bearing frosts, and even freezing, without material injury; Green
Newtown pippin; Michael Henry pippin (very fine); Pryor’s Red, in
flavor resembling the New England Seek-no-further; Golden Russet, the
prince of small apples, and resembling a fine butter-pear more nearly
than any apple in our orchards—an enormous bearer; some limbs
exhibited were clustered with fruit, more like bunches of grapes than
apples; Milam, favorite early winter; Rambo, the same. But the apple
most universally cultivated is the Vandervere pippin, only a second or
third-rate table apple, but having other qualities which quite ravish
the hearts of our farmers. The tree is remarkably vigorous and
healthy; it almost never fails in a crop; when all others _miss_, the
Vandervere pippin _hits_; the fruit, which is very large and comely,
is a late winter fruit—yet swells so quickly as to be the first and
best summer cooking apple. If its flesh (which is coarse) were fine,
and its (too sharp) flavor equalled that of the Golden Russet, it
would stand without a rival, or near neighbor, at the very head of the
list of winter apples. As it is, it is a _first-rate_ tree, bearing a
_second-rate_ apple. A hybrid between it and the Golden Russet, or
Newtown Spitzenberg, appropriating the virtues of both, would leave
little more to be hoped for or wished. The _Baldwin_ has never come up
to its eastern reputation with us; the Rhode Island Greening is eaten
for the sake of “auld lang syne;” the Roxbury russet is not yet in
bearing—instead of it several false varieties have been presented at
our exhibitions. All the classic apples of your orchards are planted
here, but are yet on probation.

Nothing can exhibit better the folly of trusting to _seedling_
orchards for fruit, for a main supply, than our experience in this
matter. The early settlers could not bring trees from Kentucky,
Virginia or Pennsylvania—and, as the next resort, brought and planted
seeds of popular apples. A later population found no nurseries to
supply the awakening demand for fruit-trees, and resorted also to
planting seed. That which, at first, sprang from necessity, has been
continued from habit, and from an erroneous opinion that seedling
fruit was better than grafted. An immense number of seedling trees are
found in our State. Since the Indiana Horticultural Society began to
collect specimens of these, more than one hundred and fifty varieties
have been sent up for inspection. Our rule is to reject every apple
which, the habits of the tree and the quality of its fruit being
considered, has a superior or equal already in cultivation. Of all the
number presented, not six have vindicated their claims to a name or a
place—and not more than _three_ will probably be known ten years
hence. While, then, we encourage cultivators to raise seedlings
experimentally, it is the clearest folly to reject the established
varieties and trust to inferior seedling orchards. From facts which I
have collected there has been planted, during the past year, in this
State, at least one hundred thousand apple-trees. Every year the
demand increases. It is supposed that the next year will surpass this
by at least twenty-five thousand.

In connection with apple orchards, our farmers are increasingly
zealous in pear cultivation. We are fortunate in having secured to our
nurseries not only the most approved old varieties, but the choicest
new pears of British, Continental or American origin. A few years ago
to each one hundred apple-trees, our nurseries sold, perhaps, two
pear-trees; now they sell at least twenty to a hundred. Very large
pear _orchards_ are established, and in some instances are now
beginning to bear. I purchased Williams’s Bon Chrétien in our market
last fall for seventy-five cents the bushel. This pear, with the St.
Michael’s, Beurré Diel, Beurré d’Aremberg, Passe Colmar, Duchess
d’Angoulême, Seckel, and Marie Louise, are the most widely diffused,
and all of them regularly at our exhibitions. Every year enables us to
test other varieties. The Passe Colmar and Beurré d’Aremberg have done
exceedingly well—a branch of the latter, about eighteen inches in
length, was exhibited at our Fair, bearing over twenty pears, none of
which were smaller than a turkey’s egg. The demand for pear-trees,
this year, has been such that our nurseries have not been able to
answer it—and they are swept almost entirely clean. I may as well
mention here that, beside many more neighborhood nurseries, there are
in this State eighteen which are large and skillfully conducted.

The extraordinary cheapness of trees favors their general cultivation.
Apple-trees, not under ten feet high, and finely grown, sell at _ten_,
and pears at _twenty_ cents; and in some nurseries, apples may be had
at _six_ cents. This price, it should be recollected, is in a
community where corn brings from twelve to twenty cents only, a
bushel; wheat sells from forty-five to fifty; hay at five dollars the
ton. During the season of 1843-’44, apples of the finest sorts
(Jennetting, green Newtown pippin, etc.), sold at my door, as late as
April, for _twenty-five_ cents a bushel—and dull at that. This winter
they command _thirty-seven_ cents. Attention is increasingly turned to
the cultivation of apples for exportation. Our inland orchards will
soon find an outlet, both to the Ohio River by railroad, and the Lakes
by canal. The effects of such a deluge of fruit is worthy of some
speculation. It will diminish the price but increase the _profit_ of
fruit. An analogous case is seen in the penny-postage system of
England. Fruit will become more generally and largely an article, not
of luxury, but of daily and ordinary diet. It will find its way down
to the poorest table—and the _quantity_ consumed will make up in
profit to the dealer, what is lost in lessening its price. A few years
and the apple crop will be a matter of reckoning by farmers and
speculators, just as is now, the potato crop, the wheat crop, the
pork, etc. Nor will it create a home market alone. By care it may be
exported with such facility, that the world will receive it as a part
of its diet. It will, in this respect, follow the history of grains
and edible roots, and from a local and limited use, the apple and the
pear will become articles of universal demand. The reasons of such an
opinion are few and simple. It is a fruit always palatable—and as
such, will be welcome to mankind whatever their tastes, if it can be
brought within their reach. The western States will, before many
years, be _forested_ with orchards. The fruit bears exportation
kindly. Thus there will be a _supply_; a possibility of distributing
it by commerce, to meet a taste already existing. These views may seem
fanciful—may prove so; but they are analogical. Nor, if I inherit my
three score years and ten, do I expect to die, until the apple crop of
the United States shall surpass the potato crop in value, both for man
and beast. It has the double quality of palatableness, raw or
cooked—it is a _permanent_ crop, not requiring annual planting—and it
produces more bushels to the acre than corn, wheat, or, on an average,
than potatoes. The calculations may be made, allowing an average of
fifteen bushels to a tree. The same reasoning is true of the pear; it
and the apple, are to hold a place yet, as universal eatables—a
_fruit-grain_, not known in their past history. If not another tree
should be set in this county (Marion County), in ten years the annual
crop of apples will be 200,000 bushels. But Wayne County has double
our number of trees; suppose, however, the ninety counties of Indiana
to have only 25 trees to a quarter section of land, _i. e._ to each
160 acres, the crop, of fifteen bushels a tree, would be nearly _two
millions_.

The past year has greatly increased the cultivation of small fruits in
the State. Strawberries are found in almost every garden, and of
select sorts. None among them all is more popular—or more deservedly
so—than Hovey’s Seedling. We have a native white strawberry, removed
from our meadows to our gardens, which produces fruit of superior
fragrance and flavor. The crop is not large—but continues gradually
ripening for many weeks. The blackberry is introduced to the garden
among us. The fruit sells at our market for from three to five
cents—profit is not therefore the motive for cultivating it, but
improvement. I have a _white_ variety. “What color is a _black_-berry
when it is _green_?” We used to say _red_, but now we have ripe
_black_-berries which are _white_, and _green black_-berries which are
_red_. Assorted gooseberries and the new raspberries, Franconia and
Fastolff are finding their way into our gardens. The Antwerps we have
long had in abundance. If next spring I can produce rhubarb weighing
two pounds to the stalk, shall I have surpassed you? I have a
_seedling_ which last year, without good cultivation, produced
petioles weighing from eighteen to twenty ounces. My wrist is not very
delicate, and yet it is much smaller in girth than they were.

In no department is there more decided advance among our citizens than
in floriculture. In all our rising towns, yards and gardens are to be
found choicely stocked. All hardy bulbs are now sought after.
Ornamental shrubs are taken from our forests, or imported from abroad,
in great variety. Altheas, rose acacia, jasmin, calycanthus,
snowberry, snowball, sumach, syringas, spicewood, shepherdia, dogwood,
redwood, and other hardy shrubs abound. The rose is an especial
favorite. The Bengal, Tea and Noisettes bear our winters in the open
garden with but slight protection. The Bourbon and Remontantes will,
however, drive out all old and ordinary varieties. The gardens of this
town would afford about _sixty_ varieties of roses, which would be
reckoned first rate in Boston or Philadelphia.

While New England suffered under a season of drought, on this side of
the mountains the season was uncommonly fine—scarcely a week elapsed
without copious showers, and gardens remained moist the whole season.
Fruits ripened from two to three weeks earlier than usual. In
consequence of this, winter fruits are rapidly decaying. To-day is
Christmas, the weather is spring-like—no snow—the thermometer this
morning, forty degrees. My Noisettes retain their terminal leaves
green; and in the southward-looking dells of the woods, grasses and
herbs are yet of a vivid green. Birds are still here—three this
morning were singing on the trees in my yard. There are some curious
facts in the early history of horticulture in this region, which I
meant to have included in this communication; but insensibly I have,
already, prolonged it beyond, I fear, a convenient space for your
magazine. I yield it to you for cutting, carving, suppressing, or
whatever other operation will fit it for your purpose.


     [21] A letter published in Hovey’s Magazine of Horticulture,
     February, 1845.



BROWNE’s AMERICAN POULTRY YARD.[22]


Let no man turn up his contemptuous nose at this Treatise until he has
traced the manifold relations of eggs and capons to cake, company, and
civilization. Banish the barnyard, and the universal aldermanhood
would shrink and grow lean; cup-cakes and sponge-cakes, omelets, whips
and legionary confections, would become mere dreams of remembrance.

Every friend of the trencher, every notable housewife, complacently
glorious amidst stacks of praised and devoured cake, has an interest
in this book. There is, therefore, a certain interest which every
civilized community should take in the progress of the great art of
fowl-breeding.

There are striking analogies, also, which should be noticed by every
comparative psychologist. The doctrine of transmigration has some of
its strongest proofs in the Kingdom of Poultry. The glowing comb, the
haughty carriage, the resplendent tail-feathers, and ostentatious
crowing of the lord of the barn-yard creation, reveals to the
sagacious reasoner either the origin or destination of many other
“lords of creation.”

Nor can one mistake the resemblances traceable in the gentler sex of
hens. Some there are industrious only in scratching and cackling, but
nervous, gadding, restless; never content at home, never so happy as
when at work in a new-made garden, and sagacious always of the very
spots which are most precious in the owner’s eyes. Are these the types
of human busybodies, or are these resemblances only accidental? Others
are discreet, domestic, prolific, useful and happy hens, human and
feathered. Many there are neglectful. Some fowls are laborious
egg-layers, but poor setters; others disdain the pains of laying, but
are quite willing of a leisure summer’s month to set awhile upon other
eggs.

In the management, too, of their families, can any candid man resist
the evidence of resemblances and affiliations between hens and
humanity? Here a hen walks forth from her nest with but a single
chick; the whole farm is too small for her anxious spirit. On this one
precious pledge she bestows more clucking, more research and
scratching, than a discreet old matron of many broods would upon five
annual generations! And after all, what is the little brat good
for—lazy and worked for, but never taught to work, it lives a few
months petted and spoiled—dies of neglect, or is anatomized by some
science-loving weasel! Other, and unnatural hens there are, to whom
the vast brood of peeping, chirping chicks is but a burden. They seem
to have thoughts of their own, and are perplexed and interrupted by
the cares needful for their household. Could we pry into the secrets
of this race, doubtless there would be found to be literary mothers,
too busy for the general good to have much time for special duties. We
cannot stop now to draw out these analogies, so well worthy the study
of mental philosophers; else we should exhibit the distinctions of
rank, race, and culture, in this interesting kingdom. There are nice
questions of pedigree, there are points in relation to feathers and
top-knots, combs and spurs, tail-feathers and wing-feathers,
neck-hackles and toes, which are worthy the attention of any Calhoun
of the barn-yard. The more savory but homely considerations of
fattening, slaying, dressing, selling, stuffing, cooking, carving,
distributing, eating and digestion, must be left to our readers’ own
reflections. Meanwhile, any man that owns a hen, or has a coop in
prospect, may buy this book, certain of his money’s worth.
Book-farming and book-fowling are better than nothing.


     [22] Published by A. O. Moore & Co., New York. Price $1 00.



REFLECTIONS ON THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR.[23]


The labor of another year has passed beyond our reach. We can alter
nothing, and the past is of no use to us except as a lesson for the
future. The soil that the plow ripped up, in the spring, has yielded
its harvest, its work is closed, its fruits garnered. The tree whose
boughs grew green when the singing of birds proclaimed that spring was
come, has ripened its fruit, perfected its growth, its store is
gathered, and its leaves are lying beneath it, and slowly returning to
the earth from which they sprang. Only here and there, on a bright
morning, do we see one of those birds which, a few months ago, builded
their nest, watched their young, or taught the nestlings how to
fly—young and old, with their grace of motion and sweet notes, are
gone to a fairer clime. These changes one cannot help noticing; and no
meditative mind can avoid many thoughts which flow out of them. Where
are the harvests garnered which grew in the soil of the human heart?
What thoughts and generous purposes have been ripened and stored up
like fruit, and what ones have fallen and perished like leaves? Our
vernal orchards never stood, within our remembrance, in such a glory
of bloom; yet when the fruit should have set, most of the blossoms
proved vain. And how many good purposes and fair resolutions have so
perished within us! Have we, like the trees which we love and care
for, made growth, of root and branch? Everything in nature has
gradually assumed a preparation for winter. Those frosts and that ice
which would have sent such mischief upon the leaves of summer, now
lie, without harm, upon orchard and garden. Are we ripe and ready,
too, for such a winter as adversity brings upon men?


     [23] A.D. 1845.



THE END.



Transcriber’s Note:


This book contains many words that use alternate spellings, are
misspelled, made-up, or obsolete. All were retained as printed.

Words and phrases in italics are surrounded by underscores, _like
this_.

Footnotes were numbered in sequence and moved to the end of the
section in which the anchor occurs.

Obvious printing errors were corrected, such as duplicate words, words
in the wrong order, upside down, backwards, partially printed or
unprinted letters and punctuation. Inconsistent punctuation (such as
commas contained inside close parentheses) was corrected.

Inconsistencies noted, but not changed:

  Use of capitals and lower case letters for botanical names
  Use of italics for “i. e.”
  Feb. 29th, 1845, for date of letter from A. J. Downing
  Period not used to separate dollars from cents in footnote [22]
  Denominator missing in fraction: “rain 6-1/ , inches;”





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