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.
Although this society was organized one year ago it has not yet been reported to the readers of the Monthly.
We are not asleep in this corner of the vineyard, but in our weakness and ignorance are striving to cultivate the field lying in this corner of Kansas. Indeed we think that we have a very fruitful field too.
On the 26th and 27th of January, 1876, there was a meeting of this Society, at Chanute, Neosho Co. It was its first annual meeting. The exercises consisted of reports of the officers and standing committees; reading and discussion of essays; adoption of fruit list for the district, and election of officers, together with other and smaller matters.
Any one who undertakes the organization of such a society, except the people are first thoroughly awake to its need, will find it an uphill business. Great credit is due Mr. D. B.
Skeeles, of Galesburg, and Capt. G. W. Ashby, of Chenute, in particular for their untiring energy in carrying this nurseling Society through its early life. These gentlemen have acted as President and Secretary with energy and patience.
President Gale and Secretary Braskett of the State Horticultural Society, have lent their aid also, and now we hope to proceed to active life-work. After an essay by Capt. Ashby upon Flower Culture, there was some discussion which resulted in making plain the fact that tender flowers may be protected at orice by planting hemp or castor beans, or both. To the settler upon the prairie, this is a matter of necessity if he or she would grow flowers where not a tree or a bush stands to oppose the sweep of the winds. What we need is a protection or windbreak available the first year, and until something more substantial can be grown. One of the best exercises of the meeting was a lecture or black-board talk, by Prof. Knox, of Baker University, on the Elementary Principles of Vegetable Growth. Plain, practical, easily understood lessons, like this one, are the kind that take root in the mind.
Dr. Bailey, of Chanute, offered a resolution declaring "That fruit culture in Kansas had been, and always would be a failure." This brought to their feet many persons of experience and observation, who denied the declaration of the resolution, and gave positive testimony against it. This sort of shells is the kind to rouse the sleepers and provoke discussion and elicit facts. We are glad it was offered, and indeed it was presented to bring out facts. Although the mover bravely stood his ground, it was lost in a vote with only one on the affirmative. Another fact demonstrated was, that apple and pear trees trained with high heads, or rather with tall trunks, are badly sun-scalded on the south-west side. They must be headed very low in this climate - say 1 to 2 feet above ground and the trunks kept protected by the shade of the branches. Also plant with an inclination to the south-west.
The officers elected for the present year are, President, H. E. Van Dernan, Geneva; Vice-President, W. W. Tipton, Burlington; Secretary, G. W. Ashby, Chanute; Treasurer, M. Bailey, Chanute; Directors, A Shinn, Ft. Scott; H. A. B. Cook, Blue Mound; and Frank Bacon, Chanute.
During both evening sessions we were delighted and cheered by songs from a select company of singers, belonging to the city of Chanute, accompanied by the music of the cabinet.organ. We think this accompaniment of music a decided help to a horticultural gathering, and indeed a most lawful outgrowth of the spirit, we, as a society, strive to awaken. Let others copy. There was no show of fruits, for it was not expected by the members who might have brought them. Then there are very few specimens to exhibit this year, and more especially in this newly settled section of Kansas. There are, however, a very few orchards now nearly twenty years old.
Of house-plants we had a small, but handsome display from the window-gardens of Chanute. The next meeting will be held in Burlington, Coffey Co., in the month of October, 1876.