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.
The cherry crop has been more than usually good in most places this year; and even the birds have had to rejoice and seem to sing "cherry-ripe" in every note. But the bird trouble is getting to be a serious one where there are but a few trees; there are few left for the owner, robins and cat-birds getting nearly all. Some people had an idea that when the sparrows came we should see the native birds fall back to the "original forest" which was once in the state of Ohio, but in our case at least, there are more native birds than ever. They must have made a treaty offensive and defensive, for they live with the sparrows in peace and harmony, and are driven away, no not once. We wish they would drive them a little about cherry time. Robins, cat-birds, and the like, do an immense amount of good; from the time the frost leaves us till cherries are ripe they live wholly on insects - friends and foes - and after the cherries are gone they again take to the grubs and caterpillars. But we don't like to lose the cherries.
Perhaps we shall have to take to fish netting to keep the birds from the trees and there is the additional satisfaction of knowing that this is "the way they do it in Europe".
Most kinds of fruit promise well for full crops. It is here that trouble often begins, for trees cannot bear forever on nothing, and many forget to give them food. The wise orchardist has thinned his fruit at an early stage of growth, and will now be looking round for material to fertilize them with. It is not too late to do it yet to advantage. We should surface dress with manure, compost, or rich materials, any time between now and frost; but the earlier the better. There is not much use in putting it on after the soil is frozen. Rains wash its best portions away. As to kind of manure, it makes little difference. If the surface is not disturbed much, the richer the surface soil the better. We have noticed but little difference between animal manure and mineral. Some of the best and healthiest trees we know, stand near the manure heaps in farm yards.
A little trimming is useful to most trees at this season. The blackberry and raspberry may have their tops shortened so as to leave the canes about four feet. Some do this earlier in the season: but the buds are apt to burst if done too soon. In like manner, pear and apple trees that grow well, but produce no fruit, are benefited by having, say half of some of the young growth cut back. The buds then left are very likely to form flower buds, in place of growth buds for next season. Many take out the old shoots of raspberry and blackberry after they have done bearing, and we have in times past recommended it ourselves; but on further observation, we see very little good, if not positive injury. The partial shade the old stems make, seems rather beneficial than otherwise under our hot suns..
Strawberry planting often commences in August, providing the weather offers a chance. Get the soil in readiness for this chance. Heavy manuring is not good for the strawberry except in very poor soil. Wet soils are not good. But the soil cannot well be too deep. In the field subsoil, - in the garden dig at least twelve to eighteen inches. Strawberries do better moderately close than too wide, some kinds do very well in beds.
After a piece of ground is dug at this season for strawberries, roll it well with the garden roller. "When read}* to plant, make holes with a dibble, fill the holes with water, and when it soaks away, put in your plant which has been kept in water to prevent wilting. But in putting in the plant do not plant too deep. "Too deep" kills ninty-nine-hundredths of all the strawberries that die in the year from transplanting. "'Too deep" is when anything but the small fibres are buried under the surface.
Almost all trees, and in particular the grape vine, at this season will require attention to see that the leaves are all retained healthy till thoroughly ripened. It is not a sign of healthiness for a vine to grow late : on the contrary such late growth generally gets killed in the Winter, but the leaves should all stay on to insure the greatest health of the vine until the frost comes, when they should all be so mature as to fall together. Frequent heavy syringings are amongst the best ways to keep off insects from out-door grapes, and so protect the foliage from their ravages.
Towards the end of the month a sowing of spinach may be made in rich soil, which will come in use before Winter. That desired for Winter and early Spring use is usually sown in September in this region. A few turnips may be also sown for an early crop, but will be hot and stringy unless the soil is very rich.
Celery will require earthing up as it grows, to get it to blanch well. It is not well, however, to commence too early, as earthing up tends in a slight degree to weaken the growth of the plants. Take care also, not to let the soil get into the heart in earthing, or the crown is apt to rot.
At this season of the year, more than perhaps at any other, it is important to hoe and rake between the rows of growing crops. A loose surface soil not only admits the various gases that the roots luxurate in, but it also prevents evaporation and checks a too great absorption of heat, and then, besides all this, the weeds are kept down, and neatness and order reigns. After every heavy shower, if the time can at all be spared, the hoe and the rake should be freely employed.