The Gooseberry green the first fruit of the year, In pudding or pie, affords exquisite cheer, But e'en should the season their pleasure forefend. In such a dilemma, green Rhubarb's a friend.
Finish planting trees, vines, and shrubs as early in this month as possible; those planted last month should be kept watered in dry weather, and stakes should be applied to such as may be exposed to the wind, 93, 101 and 125.
Strawberry beds may be made early in this month, and if the transplanting is well done, and the plants frequently watered, they will produce some fruit this year, and a plentiful supply the next season. Hovey's American Seedling is worthy a place in every good collection for its productiveness, and the superiority of its fruit. The Methven Scarlet, and Mulberry or Pine, are large and yield plentifully. Kean's Seedling, and also the Downton, are of superior flavour. The Elton Seedling, Southborough Seedling, Myatt's Seedling, and Bishop's Orange, are in great repute where cultivated. The old Scarlet, being one of the earliest, should not be forgotten. The Wood and the Alpine Straw berry will produce fine fruit from seed sown in the spring. For names of other varieties, mode of planting, etc, see article, page 136.
If frost prevail when fruit trees are in blossom, those trained on trellises, or against walls and fences, may be protected by hanging matting or sheets of tow cloth over them; some defend them by sticking bunches of evergreens between the branches, as cedar, laurel, pine, etc. The object in doing this, is not so much to keep out the frost, as to break off the sun's rays in the morning after a. frosty night, because the sudden transition from cold to heat does more injury than the cold itself.
Propagate Fig trees by layers, cuttings, suckers, and by grafting, 62.
If any webs or larvae of insects appear on the leaves of fruit trees and vines, pluck off and destroy such leaves before the insects become quickened, which may be a means of preventing any depredation to the advancing leaves and buds. The trees of Plum and other stone fruit are very apt to gum and canker at this season of the year: in such cases the defective parts should be pruned closely off, and whale oil soap applied to the wound. A little soot also should be rubbed on while wet. In large fruit gardens and orchards, means should be used to destroy insects by fumigation, washing, etc. For various remedies, see Observations on Insects, and Diseases to which Fruit Trees are liable, page 13; see, also, article page 30.
Divest young budded and grafted trees of all shoots from the stocks, below the bud or graft, as they appear; also rub off all useless buds in early-shooting wall trees, as Nectarine, Apricots, etc, 48.
To protect Gooseberries and other fruits from mildews sprinkle the leaves with soap-suds; and while they are wet, bow sulphur lightly over them. This may be done two or three times a week if necessary, as it is better to use a little of the ingredients frequently, than too much at once. A solution made of saltpetre and stone lime is also a good remedy; but it must be used with caution. See pages 14 and 71.