This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Mr. Barry being called upon to state some of the best varieties, recommended the Cherry Currant, the White Grape, and the Victoria - the two latter excellent bearers; the Cherry Currant, not quite so good, though very fair, and the Victoria, valuable on account of its lateness.
Mr. Warren, of Genesee Co., found the (Merry Currant very productive, more so than any other variety.
Dr. Long found the Black Currant to make the best wine, as good as Port Wine, and very much resembling it, and exceedingly valuable for medicinal purposes. The doctor strongly recommended the growth and use of the Black Currant.
The Raspberry was recommended by Mr. Burtis, and others, as worthy of extensive cultivation.
Mr. H. E. Hooker said the fruit growers in the neighborhood of Cincinnati, had cultivated the Black Raspberry for market. It would bear shipment without injury. The. Antwerps, and other varieties, would spoil in twelve hours after picking.
Col. Hodge, of Buffalo, bad found the common Black Raspberry, or Black Gap, as it is generally called, the most hardy, and, take it altogether, the best for general cultivation. The Antwerps were tender unless grown among trees, which would afford sufficient protection. Covering the plants in the fall was troublesome and expensive. The Allen is a variety much grown around Buffalo, and is a native of Ohio. It is of a reddish black, and a superior fruit.
Mr. Barry said the growing of the Antwerp*, and other good varieties, is profitable near large cities. The Bed Antwerp is the variety grown so extensively on the Hudson River for the New York market. His practice was, in the fall, to bend the tops down, and throw a spadeful of earth over them. The snow soon covers them. The Antwerps are far superior, in flavor, to the native varieties mentioned - so is the Orange, and other varieties that might be named - they are the Raspberry in perfection. The Red Antwerp is hardy in the gardens about this city, requiring no protection.
Mr. Hooker observed that the Black Raspberry would usually sell higher than other varieties, being much sought after for preserving. The foreign varieties ripened very fast, and in a few hours were over-ripe, so that they required to be watched, or a portion of the crop was destroyed. This was not so with the Black. It would keep in good condition several days.
Mr. Stone, of Oswego, thought it worthy of notice that the Black Raspberry was not attacked by worms when ripe, like other varieties.
Mr. Barry considered this a bad sign, as insects were good judges of fruit. ' If the people want the Black Raspberry, and are willing to pay more for them than for a better sort, so as to make their growth more profitable, of course fruit growers would do well to raise them. But, when all the pains necessary to grow better kinds is a slight protection in winter, in exposed localities, no one should allow the trouble to frighten them from their culture. This would be progress in the wrong direction. The Black Raspberry is too woody for our fancy. If we were obliged to eat a certain amount of wood, we shonld prefer to have it separate from the fruit.
Small fruits are grown on a large scale in the outskirts of London. At the fruit farm of Mr. F. Dancer, one of the most successful growers in the neighborhood of London, I had an excellent chance to study their methods. With raspberries, blackberries, currants and strawberries, our method of cultivating and yield would equal that of the best English growers. But with gooseberries the English are so much larger and so much more prolific, that 1 would not even think of drawing a comparison. I saw growing at Mr. F.'s farm, fifteen acres of gooseberries, without apparently a diseased leaf or berry. The heavy spring rains and late frosts destroyed the crop of apples and pears in England, so that 1 had no opportunity of seeing orchards in full bearing, and had to be content with drawing conclusions from the growth and foliage of the trees. But in Belgium and France, I examined many noted collections of these fruits, and 1 returned home with the firm and proud belief that with apples, pears and peaches we can beat the world, in size, quality and production.
The value of varieties of fruits can be largely determined by the prizes which are given by such horticultural societies as that at Boston. Here, among currants, the prizes of 1872 were taken by Versaillaise, among the red varieties, and Dana's Transparent was superior to any other white. It may be safely pronounced the most desirable of the white currants.
Early and late Richmond and English Morello fruited well the past season. I am more and more pleased with the late Richmond and the English Morello - especially the latter. Concord grape, a good crop, Doolittle, Mammoth Cluster and Golden Cap were full crops. Green Prolific Strawberry is as hardy as a burr-oak; it stood the winter without covering, and the only variety on my grounds which came through safe unprotected. It bears well and I like it.
Baxter, Iowa. S. B. Higgins.
These are usually more certain to produce a crop than the larger sorts; besides, readily confined to a small space. They can also be changed without any great cost of time, should the sorts first' planted prove unworthy of cultivation. Besides, some of the very best varieties are never seen in market in prime order, for the very good reason that it is impossible to transport them, when fully ripe, to any considerable distance. Consequently, if one would have such fruits they must cultivate them, or obtain a supply of some neighbor.