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.
Many thanks for the pleasant allusion in the Monthly for November, to my Academy article on the Arizona Potato, and more especially for the kind yet just reproof following it. In all my search, which of necessity was hurried, I did not learn of the eight years trial of these potatoes that you say was reported in the proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. No doubt the report is packed away in the shelves of our California Academy, but no one knows of it, and hence the facts it contained were not intentionally omitted.
Reports are now coming to me from all quarters, and those from this coast are very encouraging-. Tubers are sent me measuring over four inches in circuit, and with thin skin, free from ver-rucose spots, derived the first season from tubers the size of bullets. A Mr. B. Rinehart living in one of the original localities of these wild potatoes, that is in a north canon of the Huachuca mountains, has become deeply interested in their cultivation. He planted 600 tubers dug from the top of an adjoining peak, and has just harvested fifty to sixty pounds. He planted too thickly. They sprouted in July, and at six inches high began blossoming profusely, which they continued to do all summer, as they grew taller and branched out widely, 25 to 50 inches. Nearly a bushel of seed-balls perfected, before the vines began to die in October. As yet few tubers were to be found, and these were not fit to dig. Not until the 1st of November were the hundreds of tubers ripe, and some of them are fully as large as English walnuts. Three varieties appear, white and round, flesh-colored and flattened, and purplish and oblong.
Many of these tubers are startlingly similar to certain cultivated varieties, and if they refuse to become opulent and popular, more is the pity.
I am making an abstract from characteristic re-. ports to be published in our Pacific Rural Press soon, and will send you a copy. Have not heard from Europe yet, but expect a failure.
Sir Joseph Hooker writes under date of October 2nd: "Your Arizona potatoes have flowered and will be figured in next Botanical Magazine".
We are very busy this winter determining, packing, and sending out the large accumulation of years. Hope to finish by early spring. Thereafter will only keep authentic duplicates of all our collections, for reference. Expect to continue exploring Arizona and the border lands, for several years yet, as long health permits, but it is hard, wearing, dangerous work, and we may fail at any time. I believe Mrs. Lemmon has twice the strength and determination that I have. She has made dozens of excellent water-color paintings of flowers. Oakland, Cal.
[We are not sure that this letter, though addressed to the "Editor," was intended for publication just as written; but it contains so many matters of general interest, that we have given the public the benefit of the doubt. - Ed. G. M].