This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It need not be a grey-headed person to tell of the almost total absence of plums in our time. It is, indeed, but a few years ago when the young people did not know what a garden plum was. The curculio was master of the field, and it was useless for the curious inquirer to even look through the fence. Now the enemy is at bay, and the good gardenei has possession of a good portion of the ground Plums are everywhere. Thousands of bushels are annually sold in the Philadelphia markets. The little pest is simply shook off the trees on to sheets, and then swept away. The man who first invented shaking should not be forgotten, although here, as in all other things, the original idea has been vastly improved on. We suppose Dr. Hull, of Alton, Ills., was the one who first put shaking to profitable use, though we are not sure he was the first to practice the plan. But the jar, by his barrow plan, struck the tree so low down, that when the tree became large, it had little effect. Then came the mallet plan, by which the tree could be struck at arm's reach; but here again the tough old tree did but laugh at the effort which brought the younger one to terms.
Then the Geneva folks invented the long-legged crutch, by which all the leading branches could be reached and jarred, and then came the glorious crops of plums. All this is going through our mind while a huge basket of green gages - the best kind of green gage, Reine Claude - from S. D.Willard, is on the table before us. Beauties they are, over an ounce in weight - five of them weighing six ounces - and so sweet that they would perhaps pay to make grape sugar when other things give out. When, the few years ago we have referred to, it was thought we should have to let the curculio reign supreme, we looked to the woods and fence rows for a "curculio proof variety" which would at least bear the name - who would have thought we should so soon be able to get the good old plum of our daddies back again?