This section of the book is from the Guide To Hardy Fruits And Ornamentals book, by Thomas Joseph Dwyer, published in 1903.
We have been asked this question so often, and as it is so generally discussed, the writer has thought best to give his readers at least an approximate idea. While the cost will vary somewhat under different conditions and in separate localities, yet we feel quite sure that the figures we have prepared below will be found pretty accurate and reliable.
In arranging for the planting of an acre of strawberries I would want land that had been previously cropped with fruits, grains or vegetables. If the soil is in a fair ordinary state of fertility, I would want ten large team loads of the best stable manure that could be procured; I would prefer to have this manure half horse and half cow droppings mixed together and thoroughly rotted. Such manure as this costs us here in the Hudson River Valley two dollars per load delivered on the ground, or twenty dollars in all. The spreading of this manure, plowing, harrowing and fitting ground would cost six dollars. I would use the matted row system for fruiting and would set the plants two feet apart in the row and four feet apart between the rows; this would require five thousand five hundred plants, for the acre. Good strong northern grown plants are worth three dollars per thousand; this means, of course, sixteen dollars and fifty cents for the plants. It would cost five dollars and fifty cents to properly set these plants. I would then use one-half ton of Hardwood Unleached Ashes, or its equivalent; this would cost, applied around the plants after they are set, eight dollars. The fruit stalks should be removed from these plants the first season as soon as they appear; this would cost one dollar for the acre. The ground between the rows would need cultivating five times during the growing season, and this would cost ten dollars. The plants would need to be hoed five times, which would cost fifteen dollars. I would use six large team loads of horse manure to cover the plants with for winter protection, which would cost twelve dollars. The labor of spreading it on the plants would cost two dollars and twenty-five cents. In the Spring as soon as vegetation is well started the coarse part of this covering of manure (and that only) should be raked off the rows of plants and left on the ground between the rows; this would cost one dollar and fifty cents. This manure should be at once incorporated with the soil with the use of a small half mould board plow; the labor for this would cost two dollars. I would follow this plowing a week or ten days later with the cultivator, and would use the cultivator once more after the berries are beginning to form, these two trips of the cultivator would cost four dollars. Weeds will spring up in the rows before fruiting time in the Spring; it is however, a small labor to get rid of these and the cost would not be more than one dollar and fifty cents. Just after the last tillage with the cultivator I would mulch the ground between the rows with newly cut grass; this grass and the applying of it would cost eight dollars. As you will see the entire cost for one acre of strawberries the first year would be one hundred and thirteen dollars and twenty-five cents. For the second and third crop this cost would be reduced fully one half. After the fourth year's fruiting the plants should be plowed under when the ground will be in a high state of fertility and suitable for any crop of fruit, vegetables or grain. These plants would, with proper care, bear four crops of fruit, and would not be at their best until the second year's fruiting. I would have my matted rows for fruiting twenty to twenty-two inches in width and the plants six inches apart in every direction. This would give me ample room for Spiring tillage, which I have learned from many years of practical experience on different soils is most essential and necessary for best results.