This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol3", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
The Pear may be taken to be a much less important item in the market fruit plantation than either the Apple or the Plum. It has not become so generally accepted as a food, and still is regarded somewhat in the light of a luxury. Its value when cooked does not seem to be widely appreciated, and, so far, the magicians of the kitchen have not made popular any methods of dealing with the pear to form a counterpart to the apple dumplings, apple tarts, and the various other confections in which the apple plays a prominent part. For this the pear itself does not seem to be at fault, but rather, perhaps, that tendency in human nature which induces us to keep to the old paths that the fathers trod, unless forced by something in the nature of an earthquake to seek fresh ones, for stewed pears form surely one of the most tasty of fruit dishes, and it can scarcely be doubted that cooked pears could be made attractive in many forms, and who knows but they might be made even to offer an alternative to the ubiquitous banana!
Without any question the best advice to a planter as regards Pears is: plant them if you have "pear land", and you will find no kind of fruit give you more satisfaction, but if you plant them on land that is not " pear land ", nothing you do will produce more disappointment.
A distinguished professor, in the course of a paper on spraying, read to a meeting of agriculturists, called attention to the samples of pears one sees sometimes exposed for sale, especially in provincial markets, and after ridiculing the cracked and gnarled appearance of many of them, said that by proper spraying all these deformed specimens might have been healthy, shapely fruit. If the trees from which they came had been planted in uncongenial soil, you could no more get healthy fruit from them by any amount of spraying than you could restore health to the victims of consumption by applications of the best-advertised soap.
Mr. Owen Thomas, in The Fruit Garden, gives directions for taking out the natural soil to the depth of 2| ft., where it is too cold and clayey, or too light and poor for Pears, and substituting for it a mixture of turf carefully cut into blocks of the size of bricks, road scrapings, mortar rubble, horse manure, and 1/4-in. bones. It scarcely needs pointing out that such procedure would be too expensive for the market grower who desires to make a living from the profits of his operations. There is enough suitable soil in parts of the country where the climate is warm enough for Pear culture to shut out, from the prospect of paying, any plantation where so much elaborate preparation had been necessary. Where a good wall exists running from east to west, it might pay to do something of the kind to get Pears on its south face, and in planning the buildings for a new place such possibility might be taken into consideration.