This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The ninth annual meeting of this Society was held at Manhattan, Kansas, on the 14th, loth and 16th of December past. The most of the regular and reliable members of the Society were present, except Dr. Wm. M. Howsby, who has grown gray and become almost superannuated in the labors of the cause; and Mr. S. T. Kelsey who within the last year has removed from the State to North Carolina, where he is now prosecuting the business of practical fruit growing.
Upon recommendation of the Committee on Constitution and By-laws, the Constitution was so altered that all ladies attending the meetings were permitted to all the privileges of membership without admission fee, and each of the District Horticultural Societies were entitled to two delegates, and each of the other auxiliary Societies of the State reporting to the Secretary of the State Society were entitled to one delegate, who should be admitted to annual membership free of the usual fees.
H. E. Van Deman, of the standing Committee on Botany and Vegetable Physiology, called the attention of the Society to the same matter to which reference was made at the previous meeting at Fort Scott in June last, viz.: The death and injury to trees and plants in Kansas during the last two years.
As before stated, the two prime and chief causes were the drouth of the summer of 1874 and the defoliation by locusts the same season. These so weakened their vital force that nearly all kinds of trees and plants were not able to resist the evaporating influences of the following dry, cold weather without injury. Many died outright even before the winter set in, which was unusually dry, and when the spring came many more were either dead or seriously weakened by evaporation. The past summer has been further witness to the same causes of injury, which was shown by the feeble growth of many trees and plants when the season just past was most favorable to growth. The same causes he thought might occur again, and if the true physiological principles were understood, the horticulturists of Kansas might be able to prevent or ameliorate in a degree, the natural results.
Mr. Cutter, of Junction City, spoke of the damage sustained in 1874 by the parched condition of the earth killing the surface roots, and so cutting off the supply of moisture usually taken from the soil. Mulching he had found to counteract this influence.
Dr. J. Stayman, of the Committee on Vegetable Gardening, read a report or an essay giving directions to all engaged in either market or home gardening. They did not differ from those usually given for the more Eastern States. During the evening of the first day an address of welcome was given by Mr. R. A. Parker, from the citizens of Manhattan, and responded to by H. E. Van Deman, on the part of the Society.
It is a noteworthy fact that since its first organization, the members of this Society have been most freely and generously welcomed to the homes of the citizens of every place in which its meetings have been held. Indeed, we think, for the State and the Society, this method of circulatory meetings is far better than a permanent location.
The officers elected for the ensuing year are: President, E. Gale, of Manhattan; Vice President, Robert Milliken, of Emporia; Secretary, G. C. Brackett, of Lawrence; Trustees, H. E. Van Deman, of Geneva; D. B. Skeeles, of Gales-burgh; and Geo. Y. Johnson, of Lawrence; Treasurer, F. Wellhouse, of Leavenworth.
Following the report of the standing Committee on Arboriculture was a long discussion on windbreaks, their uses and construction, the best trees to plant in them, etc. The cottonwood seems to be one of the most available and suitable. Lombardy poplar, the ash and elm in their native species, the silver maple, and better than all for a quick growth, good fuel, besides a quantity of fruit, the common seedling peach, that can easily be obtained and grown by the people.
We had a most instructive talk, as he called it, from Prof. Wm. K. Kedzie, of Kansas State Agricultural College, on the experimental stations of Europe, based upon his recent tour of observations among these institutions. He thought America should not be blind to the value of such great instructors as similar stations would be in this country. Private individuals cannot afford the time and means to properly carry out this grand idea, and the general government or the States should each foster it. We of Kansas propose to see first what can be done without money, and hope to inaugurate a series of experiments that may never stop short of untold good to the fruit growers of this region. With such a live, willing, working chemist as our young Kedzie, and such an entomologist as Riley, of Missouri, to aid us, we may hope to reach some sound conclusions.
This latter enthusiastic worker favored us with his presence, and in his quiet, plain, sensible way gave us much instruction. He who rides a bug for a hobby certainly has a lively time if he keeps his seat, but Riley comes as near it as the next one. The grasshopper from the Rocky Mountains gave him a rough jolting this last trip, and indeed this whole Western country has felt the effects of the ride. We want the government to order a survey of the region from whence they came and to which they have gone, which lies in the Rocky Mountain plateaus of Northern United States. Perhaps we can then be able to effectively combat the devastators. You see that we, from necessity, are horticulturists of the rough and ready pioneer sort, who can scarcely yet get to even discuss the more aesthetic and elaborate departments of the subject. We have aspirations, but must needs first lay the foundations for what are as yet but our air-castles.
Let me say that the tree act of Congress, granting lands to those who should plant and cultivate a certain per cent. of the acres taken, has proved entirely abortive in Kansas.