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 annual meeting of this society was held this year, and for the first time at Doylestown.
Mr. Edwin Satterthwaite, the well-known fruitgrower, and president elect, presided, his past experience in our Legislature well fitting him, in addition to his horticultural eminence, for this responsible position. He was elected for another term, as indeed were all the old officers, except the treasurer, for which office Mr. Geo. B. Thomas, of West Chester, was chosen. As the funds of the society were in a prosperous condition, the membership fee was reduced from two dollars to one dollar a year, and this is to include a copy of the annual proceedings to every member.
In the more practical business of fruit culture, Mr. H. M. Engle, of Marietta, for the General Fruit Committee, made a report on the condition of fruit culture the past year in the State. The pear seems always more or less of a success, never an entire failure, in Pennsylvania. The apple crop was fair, but not equal to former years. Plum culture seems on the increase, and injuries from the curculio not so prevalent. The knot on trees, which injured the cherries so badly in years gone by, is not near as bad as formerly,
With these facts before us, the Kansas State Horticultural Society has created an experimental commission, the purpose of which is to organize and peach culture, which once was hardly thought of as a Pennsylvania crop of any importance, is now on the increase in many of the southern counties. The president's annual address took in for its chief topic the profits of the fruit-growing business, in which he took the ground that it seemed to be somewhat overdone - that much more was being raised than there was a good market for, though he thought the present general depression pervading all classes of the community had much to do with this overstocked market, and brought about more sellers than buyers. There was a discussion as to whether the popular impression that a new fruit appearing in any given locality was better than varieties brought from abroad was correct in principle, and the drift of the discussion seemed to be that there was no such rule; sometimes they were and sometimes not. The popular Bartlett pear is an English variety, while the Jucunda strawberry is French, and Triomphe de Gand French is Belgian. On the other hand the Seckel pear is a Philadelphia seedling.
There was no rule as to nativity - only "try all things" would show the local adaptations.
A discussion on "cheap refrigerators for fruits" elicited nothing practical.
The raising of new fruits by design as hybrids produced an interesting discussion, the essayist opening it taking the ground that a selection of kinds and raising from these, trusting to natural laws of evolution for improvement, had done more towards producing our best fruits than cross-breeding had done or could do. The dissent from this view was emphatic on the part of many of the most intelligent members.
The cultivation of the apple, and the best varieties to plant for the various seasons and for profit, seemed the most popular topic introduced, and took up a good part of the time at the society's disposal. The Codling moth, which produces the "wormy fruit," is the worst foe to the apple-grower. Persistent gathering of fallen fruit, and collecting the eggs by hay bands round the trunks of the trees, will destroy the whole crop of insects in one year, and all for the next year's operations will be only those that may fly from one's neighbors' grounds.
In plum culture the interesting fact was brought out that the wild American plum had been so improved as to approach the old-fashioned the chance to taste one. These American plums seem to make themselves at home in our gardens.
In grape culture it seems that the finer varieties, which grow weak and liable to disease, can be grafted on Concord and Clinton roots, and then grow as well and as strong as these popular varieties. The French have found this out, and are importing largely of these American kinds for grafting their own kinds for their vineyards.
[In addition to what has been furnished above by our correspondent we may add that it is one of the most difficult things in the world to give even a synopsis of what takes place at a three-days' meeting of such societies as this. In endeavoring to condense, the speaker's real point is often lost, and frequently distorted. But one of the best attempts at this condensation was made by the Buck's Co. Intelligencer, from which most of the notices given in the papers have been made, but without fair credit. Though in its six long columns only the briefest heads of the remarks are given the true point is rarely lost. - Ed.G. M.]