This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
My reply to Mr Hinds on this subject need not be a long one. I am perfectly willing to discuss the matter with him or any one else who is disposed to meet his adversary on fair grounds, and the arguments advanced against him, without evasion; but in the present instance this seems to be more than I may expect, and therefore, so far as I am concerned, these few remarks close the discussion. In my last I charged your correspondent with laying down rules of conduct for his neighbours that he was in the habit of violating with impunity himself, in his calendarial writings, where he has the least provocation for doing so; and also of advocating practices in Strawberry-forcing which, while they were extra expensive and troublesome, had nothing to recommend them, so far as Mr Hinds has yet demonstrated, at least. These two charges he has been unable to refute.
I next contested his wholly unqualified assertion that large and fine leaves upon Vines showed that they were in the "worst possible condition," and indicated "just the reverse of superior culture" - furnishing testimony on my side from my own experience, as well as authenticated examples of famous crops of fruit produced in conjunction with foliage of great size and vigour, at Dalkeith and Floors. These examples Mr Hinds says he "fails to see the relevancy of " - and that being so, I have only to say that I despair of making him see the relevancy of any facts, opposed to his own preconceived notions; and I would neither be consulting the patience of your readers nor my own sense of propriety in making the attempt. J. S., W.
I think I may answer the questions put to me by "Learner," and also make a few concluding remarks upon the merits of the subject lately under discussion between myself and J. S. W. together, as both are a part of the same subject. With regard to "Learner's" question, I may be allowed to state that I desire to be courteous even to a "masked junior; "and while I congratulate my young friend upon his shrewdness and subtlety, I also hope to be able to satisfy his "curiosity " upon the point he has raised. Let me, however, remind "Learner" that there is such a thing as "setting a sprat to catch a mackerel," and that in doing so there is just the possibility of losing both.
"Learner " wishes to know why, after I say the produce from a 5-inch pot is equal in all respects to that of a 6-inch pot, I go on to state that for "all round work " nothing surpasses the 6-inch size. The answer is simple. It is because there is hardly one place in twenty where labour is over-plentiful, and, of course, the 6-inch pots do not require the same amount of watering as the 5-inch, for obvious reasons. I shall be surprised if it is proved that I enumerated Sir Charles Napier in the list of those varieties that I have forced in 5-inch pots. If so, it has been an oversight, as I have invariably found that only those varieties that will bear hard forcing will succeed well in small pots, and my memory must be treacherous if I included Sir Charles Napier in the number.
I have next to express my surprise that the discussion on "Fruit-Culture" between J. S. W. and myself should have collapsed so suddenly after my last paper in ' The Gardener' for September. I hope the idea of my sending out a "seedling" Strawberry for which J. S. W. stood horticultural sponsor at Leeds has not frightened him: out of the field. W. Hinds.
[This controversy may now be discontinued. - Ed].