This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The fruit crop of 1879 is a surprise to all, there being much more than was expected. This is noticeable of apples, the great staple fruit of New England. Last year was produced one of the heaviest crops ever gathered; so much so that many fine lots of No. 1 apples were manufactured into cider, the price being so low that this was considered the best method of disposing of them. So it was not expected that the present being the " off-year " would give us but little fruit; hence when the Baldwins and Greenings in the Spring gave us a good bloom, we were surprised. The old varieties maintain their prestige, - the Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, Roxbury Russet, and Porter still being the standards in the market. The Russian varieties over which there has been so much enthusiasm in northern localities fail, we think, to come up to the standard as a table fruit, but are excellent for cooking purposes. The pear crop is not so large as was anticipated when the trees bloomed, still there will be a fair crop. The bloom indicated a very large crop, but for some unexplained reason the fruit did not set heavy. There has come under my notice a Flemish Beauty pear tree, well loaded with smooth uncracked fruit, which in former years was worthless through cracking.
The owner of the tree, soon after the pears set, sifted over the tree a mixture of equal parts of plaster and sulphur; to this he attributes his smooth, fine pears. Is this anything new, or is it well known to horticulturists? I do not remember of ever seeing any account of the use of sulphur to prevent pears cracking. It may be, however, that some of the more experienced contributors of the Monthly, or you Mr. Editor, can tell us about this matter, or at least give an opinion of the efficacy of this remedy?