Continue i from page 3687, Part 30
Grape. The grape is beyond the scope of this series, requiring as it does extensive glass, experienced handling, and a certain market. As a profitable hobby for an amateur gardener, the grape vine is excellent, but it would not prove remunerative to a lady commencing a fruit-farming business.
Fruit-trees that are to be felled should not be sawn through. A spade and mattock should be employed, so that the stump is dragged from the ground by the falling treemedlars, as comparatively few people care for this fruit. At the same time, a few standard trees may be grown. They cost Is.6d.apiece.
Nectarine. This beautiful, juicy fruit is a ready seller and is by no means difficult to cultivate. Quite a separate fruit, it follows closely on the lines of the peach, and requires practically similar treatment. Certainly it succeeds best when grown as a wall-fruit, and fan-trained trees are usually the most profitable.
Early Rivers, Rivers' Orange, and Victoria are the three leading varieties of nectarine, and fan-trained trees for walls may be bought for 3s. 6d. each from any nurseryman. Nectarines should be grown on a wall facing south, but the later varieties may be planted in a westerly aspect. A pailful of broken mortar rubble should be dug into the soil at the time of planting. Nuts. When one considers that good home-grown filberts and walnuts sell retail at 8d. per lb., it is a wonder that they are not more cultivated. Even cob nuts command a ready sale, and are not to be despised by any means as a remunerative side line.
About 6s. per dozen is the average price for young nut-bushes, and Red and White Filbert, Kentish Cob, Cosford Cob, and Prolific Cob are leading varieties. The bushes should be planted in rows six or eight feet apart, and the roots should be kept free from grass and weeds till the bushes are well established. Contrary to general opinion, nut-bushes respond readily to pruning. Certainly, all coarse suckers and in-growing shoots should be removed, and the strong young shoots should be shortened, much as one would treat a fruit-tree. As the majority of folks know, the long, furry catkins - pussy-cats' tails, we called them as children - are the male blossoms. The pollen from them is scattered on to the tiny red tufts that appear on the wood itself, which are the female or nut-bearing buds. Care must be taken, therefore, that in shortening one does not cut away these tufts.
The varieties that bear large nuts with chin shells are naturally the best, and nurserymen sell standard trees at about half-a-crown each. They form ideal trees for a bold corner, and naturally require an immense amount of room. In days gone by it was considered a disgrace if the son of the house did not make his gun-stock from walnut grown at home, and the size of one of these trees in its prime is enormous.
It is practically impossible to prune such a large tree as the walnut, but it is benefited if a little lime is scattered round it every two or three seasons. The old theory that one should "bash" a walnut-tree with a long pole to make it fruitful has never been countenanced by the experts.
The Portugal quince is the leading variety, and the tree succeeds best in a spot that is slightly damp. It is usually grown as a standard, in which form it costs about eighteenpence.
Quince jelly is much sought after, and the fruit is made into a preserve by old-fashioned housewives. It is also used largely for flavouring purposes.
Peach. In the South of England the peach may be grown out of doors in a kindly situation with considerable success, but north of the Trent it is more certain when raised under glass, and excellent fruit is produced from small bushes grown in pots in cool greenhouses, the pots being placed out of doors in the late summer, so that the wood may ripen naturally and effectively.
Peaches are ideal subjects for wall cultivation in a southerly aspect, and are best when grown as fan-trained specimens. Mortar rubble should be mixed with the soil when planting, and the leaders should be pruned back for the first couple of seasons, so that strong side shoots may be formed. As all lovers of fruit-trees will have noticed, the peach is usually grown so that as much fruit-bearing wood as possible is crowded into the space on the wall allotted to the particular tree.
When the fruiting season has passed, the rank growth should be shortened by pinching out between the finger and thumb, and disbudding is frequently practised on a tree that is too vigorous. During the stoning period - i.e.,the time when the stones are forming in the fruit - water must be given liberally.
Bushes in pots, for cultivation in an unheated greenhouse, cost from 5s. upwards, and fan-trained trees for walls from 3s. 6d. each. Among the leading varieties may be mentioned Crimson Galande (mid-season), Duke of York (very early), Hale's Early (an old-fashioned variety of great merit), and Sea Eagle (late).