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 desire of the public to know about the early peaches, now closely rivaling each other for superiority, is intense. It is very difficult to settle contending claims, and among so many friends it is not pleasant to be the referee; but it is our misfortune to be in this position, and we have no choice but to decide to the best of our ability. We have had the chance to test this season the following, all grown within sixty miles of each other, and without going into details, must say that for earliness we believe them to stand as follows: 1. Downing; 2. Saunders; 3. Alexander; 4. Musser; 5. Ams-den; 6. Beatrice; 7. Wilder; 8. Hales' Early. We believe these will ripen in the order named if growing all near each other.
Now as to quality, we would put first No. 4, then as follows in order, No. 3, 2, 1, 6, 7.
In size we should put the numbers in the following order, 7, 4, 3, 2, 1, 6.
All this is subject to future revision, but it strikes us this way at present.
Mr. H. M. Engle, Marietta, Pa., says: "The question, which is the earliest peach, has been considerably agitated the last few years, and it is still undecided. Would it not be for the public interest to arrange to have them exhibited and tested at the Centennial? We know that latitude, soil and situation, and other circumstances, will prevent a positive fair test, but the period of ripening, size, appearance and quality may be approximated by a competent committee, which would certainly be some criterion until they can all be grown side by side. The prospect for my seedlings, Wilder, Downing and Saunders is fair, and I expect to show them at the proper time. There is also an early new seedling in Cumberland Valley of fair promise, that fruited for the first time last season, which shall be on hand if it comes to time. Let us hope the Beatrice, Louise, E. Rivers, Ams-den, Alexander, Honeywell, and all other candidates for honors of earliness will be on hand.
My first impulse was to write an article for the Monthly, but have concluded that it would be more effective in the shape of an editorial, if you approve of the suggestion.
[Mr. Engle's suggestion is a timely one. We hope those who have early peaches will send them. No application for space is required, as requested of the permanent exhibitors. If they are sent, express paid, to Burnett Landreth, Agricultural Bureau, Centennial Buildings, Phila., they will be properly taken care of, and placed on exhibition. The early kinds exhibited should of course come from the same localities for comparison. On the 9th of June some fine Early Beatrice were on exhibition, but they were from Alabama, and there were no other kinds from that region to compare them with. One of these was eight and a-half inches round, and the flavor better than any we had tasted before of this kind. - Ed. G. M.]