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.
As you so kindly published in your valuable magazine my strawberry feat, perhaps you will further indulge me in a little more bragging. I am prepared, sir, to measure crowns with the champion man on strawberries, whoever he may be. I am now setting Monarch of the West ground layers, that are simply immense. They stand fully a foot in height, with great spreading foliage. Weeks ago I measured a Seth Boyden ground layer, transplanted from an April set plant, and found it 19 inches across. But my ruling desire, in this communication is to " sound a note of warning" on the use of Paris green for exterminating that pestilent foe of the strawberry, the grub. I observe one of your correspondents employed a mole to capture the enemy with - decidedly an "elevating" result. I used a solution of Paris green, and killed my splendid Sharpless outright, - Mr. grub not heard from. A veteran fruit grower started me on this work of devastation. He recommends as a preventative, to dip the roots in a strong solution of Paris green, before setting. My candid opinion, founded on high authority, is that it would effectually destroy the plants before the grub could find them.
I poured my solution about the plants.
Scientific experiments have proven that arsenical preparations, in certain proportions, are •destructive of plant life. Professor Freytag, from the actual effect of sulphurous and metallic fumes of the Freiberg Metallic Works upon vegetation, discovered that solutions containing only .80 per cent, arsenious acid, killed plants placed in them. Prof. Wm. McMurtrie, chemist of the Department of Agriculture at Washington, in a series of careful experiments demonstrated conclusively that 500 milligrams of Paris green in the soil is injurious to vegetation, and that as the arsenical compound is increased so the injury is increased. From an experiment of my own, a concentrated solution of Paris green is innocuous to worm life when drenched with it. Paris green, in solution, within certain limits, may be used with safety. Better, I think, to dispense with it altogether. It has killed more than it has cured, from carelessness. As to the grub, he is a tough customer, and must be hunted down and sacrificed remorselessly. His presence is first detected by the curling and withering of the leaf. Remove the soil very carefully from about the plant and kill the grub feeding at the collar of the root.
Hoe the alleys very circumspectly, from time to time, to destroy grubs that may be lurking near the plants. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Many remedies are given to prevent the ravages of worms and insects upon vegetation, but do not rely too much upon them. Search, search, search, - kill; would be my summing up. Begin in time. Beat time at his own game. I write with the fervent hope of aiding some fellow-lover of the Fragraria vesca, and trusting that I have not imposed an unmeaning task upon you.