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.
The introduction of new American varieties from seed, adapted to all sections of our vast territory, not only in itself, but as incentives to further progress, connot be overrated. To this, more than to any other cause, are we indebted for the rapid progress of American Pomology. Fruits of foreign origin, although of great value in certain sections of our country, have not as a rule yielded such favorable results as those selected from our new and improved native fruits. By this means we have not only introduced new varieties, adapted to every section of our country, but varieties which have prolonged the season of fruits in some sections, either by early or late kinds, for one or more months. Especially is this to be seen in the peach, grape and strawberry, so that many of our markets are supplied for a much longer period than ever before.
By the introduction of early peaches, the season for this fruit has been advanced nearly a month. In South Carolina and Georgia shipments have been made this year to northern markets as early as May 25th. Similar illustrations might be given of the prolongation of the season of the strawberry, the grape, and the pear, in our markets; those of the north being now supplied with the strawberry from the first of May to the middle of July; and »with the grape and the pear from the first of July until April or May. And why may not those who have the means, supply their tables with fruits in some form through the year? Some of us already enjoy this luxury, beginning with the strawberry and following in succession with the other small fruits, the grape, the pear, and the apple, thus furnishing a circle of fruits which delights the eye, gratifies the taste, improves the health, and crowns our daily meals throughout the year.
California seems to be the most favored spot on earth for the production of new varieties of fruits, if we may judge by such pears as the Fox, Barry, Wilder and others, raised from seed by Mr. Fox, our Vice-President from that State. If his success should be taken as a criterion, and these fruits should prove adapted to other climes, that State alone can supply the world with improved varieties, not only of the pear but of other fruits. Matured as the seed is in the warm, dry Summers and Autumns of California, we have reason to hope for groat vigor and hardiness.
Great advances have been made in the improvement of our wild fruits, such as are seen in the varieties of the Chickasaw and Wild Goose Plum, of which these are types, and the new varieties of grapes for the South, from which regular and profitable results are obtained where none were before. In this connection we may also mention the crab apple, which, though not indigenous, has furnished, in its improved varieties and hybrids, fruit of the greatest value for the extreme north.