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.
It seems to be an inevitable conclusion forced upon strawberry growers, that they must begin irrigation. The seasons are now becoming so treacherous, and periodically or entirely dry about the time of ripening of the strawberry, that the crop is either cut short from one-third to one-half, or else is totally lost. One of our best growers whose crops usually bring $2,000 to $3,000, lost his entire crop this year, from the excessively dry weather; and in our own experience we have lost for three successive seasons, on both strawberry and blackberry crops, from 25 to 40 per cent. for the want of rain or moisture. We think it will pay any one, whose fruit crops reach $1,000 per annum, to make preparations to irrigate in dry seasons. Will any one tell us how this may be cheaply and effectively done ?
Eds. Horticulturist:Dear Sir: You inquire in November No. in regard to irrigation. Now, we raise all we have by that style of fertilizing by moisture, and take pleasure in giving your readers the benefit of our experience. To begin: the plat of ground you wish to moisture must be below running water, and should be graded, or terraced according to lay of ground, in such manner that the water rows be nearly level, only allowing fall sufficient for water to run slowly. Now make your (strawberry) rows two feet apart, and plant a foot apart in rows, and make a small, even furrow with the hoe between the rows, either before or after setting the plants. Bows should not exceed four rods in length without a head ditch.
Now, either by damming or otherwise, turn water enough for your purpose from natural to an artificial channel, and bring it into a nearly level head ditch, at the top of ground to be watered, and carefully manipulate, so that the water be evenly distributed in the rows you wish to wet at the same time. If you wish rows longer than three or four rods, make other head ditches and bring the water along outside the patch, and into the head rows as desired.
There may be walks between the terraces or platoons, and also a tail ditch to catch the water from the terrace above, and which should be brought around the walk into the head ditch; water can be put upon a garden when desired, and remain until the ground is well soaked. We have had strawberries from April to Christmas, from any variety of plants. By keeping plants well wet, after first crop the vines go on blossoming constantly, though not in full crop as at first in spring. The command of a stream of water for irrigation would be invaluable to a gardener oftentimes.
Yours, J. E. Johnson,
Editor The Utah Pomologist.
St. George, Utah.