« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
is decided either for or against a systematic effort to increase our professional knowledge, advancement in rural sciences, except by accident, is impracticable. Hence, in the fifty new volumes on agriculture yearly furnished by State and county agricultural societies, agricultural journals, Patent Office reports, horticultural reviews, and book publishers in cities and villages, one searches in vain for enough that is new to fill six hundred pages octavo. Important original researches are nowhere prosecuted, so that the discovery of new truths is neither expected nor made. Under such a state of things, how is it possible to enrich our rural literature by additions to our present stock of professional knowledge? We may all repeat what little we really know a million times each, and leave the sum total of knowledge just as we found it. Progress implies an advancement from things known to things unknownan addition to the aggregate wisdom of the world. Of the true principles of tillage and husbandry the world is profoundly ignorant, and the evils resulting from this ignorance are increasing in this country faster than population increases. We suggest not merely the manufacture of fewer works on agriculture, but the expenditure of more time and money to develop new and useful facts, to be printed in these works for the instruction of their readers.
Among the most valuable published, the eleven annual volumes issued by the present New York State Agricultural Society deserve particular commendation. The first dates no farther back than 1841, and the last received is for the year 1851. Whatever is valuable in northern agriculture, as now practised, is plainly, truthfully, and copiously set forth in the transactions of this State institution, which is as wisely as it is liberally fostered by the legislature. The Society has availed itself of the scientific labors of Professor Johnston, of England, who delivered a course of lectures at Albany; of Professor Norton, of Yale College; of Professor Einmons, State geologist and agricultural chemist; of Dr. Salisbury, of Albany, chemist to the Society; and of hundreds of educated farmers in that large and populous Commonwealth. Our limits forbid the making of extracts from any of these eleven volumes, a majority of which approximate a thousand pages each. That for 1851 contains the elaborate and instructive report of B. P. Johnson, esq., the distinguished secretary of the Society, to the Governor, on the great London Exhibition, to which Mr. J. was sent as the commissioner to represent the State of New York. His report fills nearly two hundred pages of the eleventh volume.
The agricultural societies of Massachusetts have contributed largely and creditably to the rural literature of the United States. To do justice to these comparatively old and energetic associations, one needs to devote the labor of a year to read, compare, collate, and condense the valuable matter contained in many volumes. If all that is most worthy of study and preservation were printed in one book, it would deserve a place in the library of every farmer in the country; and we respectfully invite the attention of Boston publishers to the opportunity of getting out one or two volumes on the agricultural literature of Massachusetts, which would command an extensive sale out of that State and New England. The wants of reading farmers in most of the States are now quite indifferently supplied; and agricultural books of real merit would pay well for their publication.
The State societies of Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin are printing annual volumes of their transactions, which contain much valuable information. The spirit of improvement is fairly aroused in the West, and Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa will soon be in a condition to issue each an annual volume. The Southern Central Agricultural Society of Georgia has published one volume, and a continuance of the work is confidently expected. It has long appeared to the writer that an associated effort should be made by the three hundred agricultural societies in the United States to cultivate and improve the rural literature and science of every State and Territory, for the honor of the agricultural profession. An attempt has been made to realize this wish by the organization of a United States agricultural society, having for its basis all State and county institutions for the promotion of agriculture. How far this national society will fulfil the intentions of its founders depends entirely on its future management. An error has been committed in putting the price of its quarterly journal at two dollars per annum. Several attempts have been made by men of capital, talent, and business capacity to establish agricultural periodicals at prices above a dollar a year, but they have all signally failed. The journal of the United States society may be supported by donations from patriotic motives, or by aid from Congress. This, however, is to destroy its independence of character and influence. It should rely not on a few rich men or government for support, but on several hundred thousand working farmers, members of the society. At two dol. lars per annum, not two thousand bona fide subscribers can ever be obtained and kept two years in succession. A journal of so limited a circulation will be nearly powerless for any purpose of public utility. In a nation that has some millions of farmers, a work has little claim to popular favor or nationality which costs twice as much as a majority feel able to pay, or one in a hundred is willing to pay, for it. Reading farmers have many local journals, State and county societies to support; and, therefore, the number that will permanently give two dollars a year for a national work is comparatively small. By attempting too much, we often fail to accomplish the good which is clearly within our means and reach.
At the second session of the American Pomological Society, held in the city of Philadelphia in September, 1852, several valuable papers were read, being reports of commitiees from different States; so much of which as our limits will permit are copied, that the useful information therein contained may have a much wider circulation.
The communication of Mr. H. F. French, of Exeter, New Hampshire, on the same subject, written for this Report to Congress, is given as an introduction, and indicates many of the advantages to accrue from the extension of fruit culture in the United States.
NOTES UPON FRUIT GROWING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
He would have been a bold man who, even ten years ago, had prophesied that fruit would one day become a principal source of wealth to any part of New Hampshire, as bold as he who, but a few months since, ventured to announce that culoric would ere long supersede steam as a motive power. Both these strange events, however, seem already near their consummation.
In the present year, 1852–53, it is a fact beyond controversy, that many towns in the county of Rockingham have received more money in exchange for their surplus product of apples than for any other article raised upon their farms.
The fact that this is the most profitable crop which can be cultivated among us, is well understood, and the only apprehension is, that the supply may exceed the demand. It is a fair estimate in this part of the State, that ten barrels of winter apples will generally sell for as much money as a ton of the best hay. Hay has been considered, for many years, the most profitable crop that can be raised for sale in this section of the State, and it has borne a price, for the ten past years, not upon the average above ten dollars per ton.
Mr. Robert F. Williams gathered from an orchard of one acre only, the present year, from grafts set in the year 1849, in very old and decayed trees, two hundred barrels of first-rate Baldwin apples. This statement is more valuable as showing how readily old trees may be changed from producing worthless fruit to the production of that which is of the best quality, than as giving evidence of a remarkable product.
To show how long a time is required to bring trees from the nursery into bearing, I will give another statement, which is about a fair example of the success of good cultivation among us.
John A. Lowe, esq., of Exeter, set sixty trees about three years from the bud in his orchard in the spring of 1843, and forty more in the fall
of the same year. They bore a few apples in 1847 and 1848. In 1850, he gathered six barrels; in 1851, twenty-one barrels; and in 1852, fifty barrels of fruit of the best quality.
A writer in the New England Farmer states that he knows an orchard of forty Baldwin apple trees that yielded more than three hundred barrels of fruit of the best quality the past season, and about the same quantity in the season of 1850."
He says, further," the ground about these trees has been kept in a perfectly pulverized state for half a dozen years or more, and manured like a garden." It should be borne in mind, however, that the Baldwin usually produces only every other year.
It would be a fair estimate that fifty trees, which would stand upon an acre at the distance of about thirty feet apart, would produce an average annual crop of sixty barrels of apples, worth at least sixty dollars. It is not uncommon to see a single tree bear ten barrels of fine apples, and instances have occurred where sixteen barrels have been gathered at once from a single tree. At the lowest rate of product that any man in his senses, who has ever properly cultivated an orchard in this county, would estimate as a common crop, an apple orchard will give four times as much profit as the same quantity of land in grass for hay, with less cost of cultivation.
With these remarks, as to the profit of the apple crop, I will proceed to other considerations. By way of apology to those who have given attention to this subject, and who will find nothing new in my suggestions, it may be proper to state that, abundant as fruit is in some parts of our State, in other parts no attention has been given to its cultivation. Indeed, apples are carried every year from Boston market fifty and even a hundred miles into New Hampshire, and sold at double the price of their first sale by the producer, because the demand can be met at no cheaper rate. In the greater part of the State, indeed, I suppose there is nothing like a supply adequate to the home consumption.
In the Patent Office Report for 1849, in an article on this subject, I gave some directions for planting and cultivating orchards. I shall pass over that topic at this time, with the remark, that the same manuring and working of the land which is bestowed usually in this State upon the cultivation of the corn crop is sufficient for an apple orchard. Indeed, my own practice has been to plant my orchards with corn and potatoes as if no trees were there, until the apple trees shade the land so that nothing else will grow, and then to plough and harrow the land once a year, applying about ten loads of compost to the acre, and letting the land lie fallow. No orchard kept in grass will flourish; and it is said, on good authority, that small grain, especially rye, has an extremely injurious effect upon fruit trees when raised among them.
VARIETIES OF APPLES FOR THIS LOCALITY.
For reasons which are not easily understood, the apple seems extremely sensitive to changes of climate. A variety which thrives well in New England, ofien fails in New York; while the favorite apple of
New York, the Newtown Pippin, cannot be raised in our part of New Hampshire.
A different list is therefore necessary for each locality, to be determined upon by careful observation of the actual success or failure of each variety.
In planting an orchard, regard should first be had to home consump tion, so that the best variety of each season may be produced, and not a profusion followed by a famine.
I have, with some care, prepared a list of apples which have been proved in this county to be good bearers and of good quality, and which will probably, with such additions as every man will make, of two or three varieties from the old homestead, which taste better to himself than to any body else, be found a sufficient variety for all useful purposes. Except to the mere amateur, a great variety is a source of great trouble and little profit. Such an assortment as will supply the dessert and the kitchen through the whole year with the best varieties, both sweet and sour, and which comprises the best that can be profitably grown in this portion of the country, I have endeavored to include in
list. For the market, unless for a mere market man, who sells daily, the less kinds of apples one raises, the more profitable. A single bushel of the best fruit will scarcely pay the trouble of selling, especially if it be not of a well-known variety; while a hundred bushels of Baldwins or Boxbury Russets will entice a fruit-dealer from Boston the whole length of our State, for the privilege of buying them in the cellar of the producer.
I have placed against each name the season at which the fruit may be considered fit for use in this locality. The same fruit is earlier as raised further south. 1. Sweet Bough.
.August. 2. Williams...
.August. 3. Porter....
. September and October. 4. Gravenstein.
.. October. 5. Minister....
..October to January. 6. Calef Sweet...
October to January. 7. Hubbardston Nonsuch
November to January. 8. Rhode Island Greening
.November to February. 9. Baldwin....
.November to March. 10. Boxbury Russet..
December to July. 11. Green Sweet..
.. December to July. 12. Red Russet....
December to July. For orchard culture for the market, the last seven upon the above list, having been long tested in this part of the State, are recommended with confidence,
The Calef Sweeting originated at Kingston, New Hampshire, on the farm of a clergyman whose name it bears. It is well known in this region, and has found a ready market wherever offered. It is of about the size and form of the Baldwin, of a whitish-yellow color, a great bearer, and the very best baking apple known to me. Were not the character of this fruit established by the opinion of some of the best judges of fruit in the country, I should not dare to place it, all unknown to fame as it is, upon my list.
The Hubbardston is perhaps the most beautiful apple that grows, and in this instance " outward beauty is an index of inward good.” Being