The soil which is best suited for the Strawberry is a heavy loamy clay, in which all except the scarlet varieties will succeed best. For the scarlet class - that is to say, Grovend's Scarlet and suchlike - the soil best suited is a good rich loam of a medium texture, in which they will produce immense crops. I know a market-garden, within a very short distance from here, where the soil is a heavy blue clay, similar to that generally used for brick-making - in fact, the adjoining field is at the present time in full working order as a brick-work, and in which the finest and largest crops of Strawberries I ever saw are annually grown. I must not forget also to inform the reader that, besides all this, the plants bear fruit to a very great age, as indeed, at the present time, there is a plot of the old Chili Strawberry planted seventeen years ago, and which yearly produces first-rate crops. This is the oldest plantation in the garden, but there are several others over ten years of age, and bearing very large crops. The present has been a most unusually bad year for the Strawberry-grower; nevertheless, in the garden referred to, fair crops have been the result.

In one instance, however, the most enormous crop I ever saw, or perhaps ever was grown anywhere, was produced there during the past season. The variety grown was Robertson's Wizard of the North, a fine free-bearing variety, and the space of ground occupied by them was about 16 Scotch poles. From these 16 poles the enormous quantity of about 1 ton of fruit was gathered,* realising to the grower something about or over 30 sterling. I saw the crop before it was pulled, and can fully believe the accuracy of the grower's statement. The ground had more the appearance of having had hamperfuls of fruit tumbled upon it than the reality of bearing a living, growing crop. If the grower had been fortunate enough to have had an acre or two of this, as he has of some other varieties, it is easy to calculate what an enormous sum per acre he must have realised - something about or over 300 - a sum we venture to think which never has been equalled, if ever surpassed, in the history of market-gardening. While we thus speak of this one variety, it must not be considered that this is the only one that succeeds well, for almost every variety grown there produces larger and better crops than are to be found in any other garden in the county.

I of course exclude, as I said before, the scarlet class, and with them I may also exclude the Keen's Seedling, which never has done well in this part of the country, and more particularly during the last few-years. This piece of market-garden ground is without a doubt the most suitable place for Strawberry-growing we have ever seen. It is, and must have been, an ungainly piece of ground prior to its being converted into Strawberry-grounds, and many a good gardener might have had grave doubts about the possibility of ever doing any good upon it. Nevertheless, the present tenant, who is the first ever working it as a market-garden, has almost closed his first nineteen years' lease, and will very shortly enter upon his second lease of a like period; thereby proving that the ground has come up to his expectations, although I know he had many misgivings at the time he entered upon his first lease. I therefore have come to the conclusion that a heavy clay soil is best suited for general Strawberry culture, and that no one need fear to plant upon such ground, even if it should be suitable for brickmaking.

* We have seen marvellous crops of the Wizard; but while we do not doubt Mr M'Millan has been informed that 1 ton has been gathered from 16 poles, we do doubt the accuracy of the calculations that show such a result. - Ed.

Having thus spoken of the nature of the soil best suited for the Strawberry, we will now revert to the preparation of the same. Our own practice is always to plant after a crop of Onions, so that the preparation for the one crop is in a great measure a preparation for the other: I will therefore explain the preparation of the Onion-ground. Manure - good, rich, stable and cow manure - is laid down at the rate of from 30 to 50 tons per acre, according to the quality of the manure and the nature of the soil. After this we start trenching the whole over four spit deep, which is about the depth of our soil; above every spit of soil is laid a layer of manure, so that the whole soil to the depth trenched is incorporated therewith from top to bottom. This operation is generally performed in autumn. In spring all the night-soil about the place is spread over the surface of the soil, to which is added both soot and gas-lime. These are all dug in with steel forks, and the ground lies over till dry and fit for the seed being sown.

That crop having been sown, grown, ripened, and gathered by the second week in September, the ground is dug over without any manure, and the Strawberry plants planted from the nursery-beds. It depends a great deal upon the quality of the fruit and the size of the berry at what distances the plants ought to be planted. The smaller-growing varieties, including Black Prince, we generally plant in 4-feet beds, planting seven lines in each bed, and allowing 6 inches between each plant. By planting thus in early autumn, we generally manage to get fully a half crop during the first season. Other varieties we plant 2 feet between the rows, and 1 foot plant from plant. These distances we consider wide enough for all practical purposes, while if much closer they would become too crowded - so much so, that it might tell injuriously against the size and quality of the fruit. Where fruit of the highest quality is desired, the finer kinds and larger-fruiting sorts ought to be employed. To allow them every facility for development, they ought to be planted from 2 to 3 feet apart every way, and never allowed to form rows, but kept in stools or separate plants, with at least 1 foot of free space, so that the light and air may freely circulate about them in all directions.

In this way finer fruit is generally produced than by any other method, and the quantity will often bear very favourable contrast with those grown upon any other plan. The planting having been completed, the after-cultivation becomes the next matter for consideration. The smaller-growing varieties are allowed to ramble at will until the bed has become a complete mass of fruit-bearing plants. The alleys are all kept free, to allow of an open passage for gathering the fruit and cleaning the weeds away. Our reasons for this mode of cultivation are, that we get a crop of fruit more quickly, and that these varieties bear best, as a rule, during the first two or three years of their existence. The larger-growing kinds require more careful cultivation. After planting, it is necessary to stir the soil frequently with a Dutch hoe, not only to keep down weeds, but also to keep the soil open and free to the influences of the atmosphere. The first year the larger varieties ought not to be allowed to fruit, and for this purpose all flowers ought to be removed upon their first appearance. This will not only encourage the growth of the plant, but will also be the means of encouraging a healthy and fruitful constitution.

We are not of those who think that the runners ought to be removed upon their first appearance. Upon the other hand, we think that, if the runners are removed, say in the middle of July, it will not be again necessary to remove them until the growth of the season has been completed. The runner does not injure the parent plant to the same extent as the production of fruit and flowers, for while the latter are compelled from their position to obtain all their nourishment from the parent plant, and that too in an increasing ratio as the process of development proceeds, the former only requires nourishment for a very short period, until such time as the runner has formed roots fit for gathering food for its own sustenance.

As the Strawberry delights in moisture, it is a very good plan to mulch between the rows - for the purpose, in the first place, of preventing evaporation; and in the second place, to keep the fruit clean. This operation may be performed any time from the middle of May till the middle of June, but we prefer doing so towards the end of May. Various materials have been used for these purposes, each and all of them having special recommendations of their own. What we ourselves use is short grass, brought from the lawns and spread about 2 inches deep all over between the rows. This proves a very tidy mulching, easily procured and easily applied, but with this drawback, that it is one of the very worst to use for the encouragement and protection of snails and slugs. Other cultivators use straw which has recently been used in the stables, and which does not prove such a harbour for vermin, but we object to it upon the score of cleanliness. The best materials, however, are oat and wheat straw pure from the stackyard.

These no doubt prove rather expensive mulching materials, but as no objections can be made against them upon the score of cleanliness, nor do they so comfortably harbour vermin, I should prefer them above all other materials if I only had my own wishes to fulfil.

If the ground has been prepared as directed, the young Strawberries will require no manure for several years, more especially if liberal waterings with manure-water be given while the fruit is swelling. At the end of three or four years, however, it may be necessary to assist them in one way or another. For this purpose we recommend liberal top-dressings in early winter of rich rotten manure, spread over plants, crowns and all. All the care necessary in this matter is to be careful not to bury the plants. We prefer this method to the common practice of spreading the manure between the rows and digging it in, as experience and observation have led us to believe that digging is not conducive to the wellbeing of the Strawberry, unless it cannot be avoided, on account of weeds and other dirt which may have accumulated to such an extent as to be only disposed of in this way.

We now come to speak of the diseases and insect enemies to the Strawberry. Of diseases it may be said there are none; for while there may be diseases among Strawberries to some extent, yet these, so far as we have observed, were generally more the result of circumstances than hereditary or constitutional. Of insect enemies, snails and slugs are the worst, and the only means to diminish their numbers is to apply a dusting of lime. Mice and rats are sometimes very troublesome: trapping is the only plan for them. Of insect enemies there are very few, and consequently the crops seldom suffer from their attacks. The larvae of St Mark's fly (Tipula Marci) sometimes attack the flower-stalks, cutting them over by the ground. To destroy it, search for their haunts, which are indicated by the presence of fine earth, and have them destroyed by removing the soil and having it burned. There are other two enemies mentioned by Mr Thompson in his 'Gardener's Assistant' - viz., Hepialus lupulinus and Otiorhynchus tenebricosus; but as it is so rare that they ever attack the Strawberry to any great extent, it is unnecessary to do more than name them.

James M'Millan. (To be continued).