This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Perhaps the most useful contribution to the public that a horticulturist can make is to give the results of his year's work. 1877 has been so fruitful that it has given us an opportunity to test thoroughly and favorably many kinds of fruits and flowers.
1. In answer to your question concerning the apple blight. It has reached as far north as northern New York. It is occasionally the cause of death to trees, especially those cultivated in rich soil much manured. Apples grown in sod seldom sutler badly. There is, however, a difference in varieties. The Pound Sour and Crab apples with me were considerably defaced, and the crops damaged.
2. The theory is again confirmed by the experience of the year that pear blight is at least most successfully prevented by culture in sod; by feeding with salt and ashes and keeping the trees well mulched, perhaps with sawdust or ashes is best. Any exposure of the soil to sun and weather has a disastrous effect.
3. The grape crop has been admirable, ripening tolerably in spite of too frequent wet days throughout October. I am inclined to think more and more highly of the Goethe, if grown on open trellis, in a warm exposure. Of the lona, well ripened, I would raise my figures constantly. Both are withal excellent-keeping grapes. I have Ionas, now the 10th of December, in as good condition as my Isabellas. The Diana keeps best of all; but is so very tough and skinny that even those who like its peculiar flavor cannot enjoy it. But we must have it. The simplest and best method of preserving grapes for Winter is after all to spread them thinly on oil-cloth floors in cool dry rooms; or on shelves similarly covered.
4. Among small fruits I have given up the endeavor to raise cultivated blackberries without cultivation. No matter what may be said by a few who have raised an occasional crop in grass, we must take the Kittatinny in hand and rule it. Mine are wired to stakes and well sheared in. The easiest method is to clip the arms with an ordinary sickle.
5. In managing extensive hedges I have found this same instrument of great service. For Buckthorn I generally use shears; but for Arbor Vitae I have rarely use for anything except a moderately sharp sickle. Give generally an upward stroke, and walk backward. You can trim in one hour in this way as much as you could with shears in half a day, and do it quite as well. Of course this will not apply to hedges not already well formed. By the way, most evergreen hedges that we see are seriously injured by making the sides too erect, and flattening the tops. It is impossible to keep for a longtime a handsome hedge of Arbor Vitae or Hemlock without the base is nearly double the thickness or depth of the top, and the top cut in an arched form like nature.
6. It is exceedingly necessary to eliminate only tolerable small fruits from the catalogues as well as from our gardens. For instance, the Turner Raspberry, a worthless humbug, to one who can have the Philadelphia. You can say no better of most of the new strawberries. The older nurserymen can do us good service by classifying established fruits. The Monthly has done much good by its conservation concerning novelties.
7. In landscape gardening plant for all seasons. There are some things which make no note of themselves until late Autumn. Others like the purple berberry, and some of the dogwoods, are valueless except in very early Spring.