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.
Having experimented during the past three years with more than fifty varieties of strawberries, the conclusions reached may possibly benefit neophytes who fancy this delicious fruit. The soil - a clay loam with a hardpan subsoil - was deeply trenched - three and four feet - and richly manured.
1. Trenching - deep trenching - in this locality cannot be too earnestly commended. Its value may be fully illustrated in a dry season by comparing the crops of trenched and untrenched ground.
3. Moisture is an essential element in developing site and flavor.
4. Mulching, whether of straw, hay, grass, long manure, etc. is necessary for the protection of the fruit from dust, while, in dry seasons, it subserves in a great measure the requirement of dew and rain. Mr. Downing's free and (successful trial of tan-bark as a mulcher for strawberries will probably give it a preference over other materials. Prof. Mapes considers the tannic acid it contains specifically applicable to the strawberry, which adds another inducement for its general use.
5. Some strawberries flourish as well, if not belter, in rows or in crowded beds. Examples: Crimson Cone, Hovey's Seedling, Iowa, Alpine, Wood, etc. Others, on thecon-trary, require planting in stools at liberal distances - whether dependent on sun and daylight or circulation of air - if large and fine flavored fruit in any quantity be expected. British Queen, Hyatt's Eliza, Deptford Pine, Schiller and Wiley, should never be plant at less distances than two feet, while three and four feel, will euhance their size and ality.
Many strawberry plants apparently demand varied eciflc nutrition, as much so as different families of trees. A large bed was prepared and vided into three equal portions; one containing potash neutralized by muck; another hes treated in the same manner; and last phosphate of lime (Bone-dust.) Lines of the me plants extended across the three soils. Boston Pine, Crimson Cone, Iowa, Burr's edling, Columbus, Rival Hudson, Late Prolific, Wiley, British Queen, Myatt's Eliza, ctoria, Huntman's Pistillale, Scarlet Melting, Ohio Mammoth and Scioto displayed a irdy growth throughout this entire triple tract; at the same time they exhibited a sitive preference for the potash over the ashes; for the ashes over the bone-dust. Buist's Prize, conversely, grew more vigorously and bore larger fruit where the honest had been applied.
Black Prince grew with a sickly foliage, producing small and insipid fruit where potash d ashes were used; and the plants were miserable and the fruit almost worthless on e bone-dust tract. Tasting the latter variety from my neighbor, Mr. Downing's tan-rk bed, it was certainly excellent; confirming the judgment of its advocates, while the mer justified the opinion of its opponents. Another illustration, requiring further at-ition, offers singular interest touching specific nutrition. A bed of plants, procured as ggin's seedling, was fertilized with the following inorganic manures: Sulphur flour 1 at; iron cinders 12; charcoal 40. The color and flavor of the fruit were similar to those Mr. Downing's Black Prince. The product was enormous as to numbers; the average approached three inches, and very many specimens exceeded four inches in circum-■trice. Mr. Downing and others pronounce this strawberry to be the Black Prince! ve believe Higgins' seedling is a scarlet strawberry - the sort sent Dr. Hull under this me, was a very dark colored fruit - undoubtedly the Black Prince. Ed.]
7. Lime, in almost every form, unless neutralised by fresh muck, or other substances, 11 injure most varieties of strawberry plants, and vitiate their fruit. The same objec->n will probably apply to potash in a crude state. A bed of Hovey's Seedling, where ude lime and potash were used, labored through two years of sickly existence, produc-small and flavorless fruit, and reached, a fatal decline this spring. Last year some vi-rous plants of Hovey's Seedling were placed in the border of a bed specifically oomposfor the pear tree, phosphates of lime forming on important proportion. These plants ve barely lived, and have not produced a single blossom this season.
I. Staminatrs - of these the following have been selected.
This strawberry far exceeds all others in regard to size, flavor and mber. Specimens, fo five inches in circumference, with a delicate polished surface of deep lake, and a rich juicy flesh, are the parents of this opinion. The Queen comes into hearing a trifle later than Hovey's, and continues among the latest, producing fruit about three weeks. It revels in a deep, moist, rich soil, and requires cultivation in stools, at a distance of three or four feet.
This beautiful, light scarlet fruit, characterized by its burnished, seedless base, in frequent instances reminding one of an acorn, demands the first rank for flavor among strawberries. Examples have melted in the consumer's mouth, equalling the peculiar rich flavor of the best pine apple. It is slightly inferior to the Queen in average size and quantity, but later in maturing; indeed, it is later than any large strawberry, a bed being in fair bearing at this moment.
This is a delicious large fruit, intermediate in color to the Queen and Eliza. It has more of the form and glistening surface of the former, and the flavor of the latter, with a degree or two more of acidity. It has proved a shy bearer the present season.
This German strawberry was procured last year from Mr. Hogg, who had imported it, but lost its original name. In vigor of growth, and in its large, free flowers, it exceeds any other plant of its kind. The fruit is paler than the Queen and darker than Eliza; of a capricious conical form; of the size of Eliza; of firm, sound flesh, and of a rich, aromatic flavor, frequently quite acid and sprightly, giving it a preference with some judges over the previous named. It ripens late. These four strawberries are suited only to private culture.
The plants of this strawberry - in rows now three years out - have grown with surpassing vigor this season, and produced fruit equal in size and number to some of the best pistillates. Last year they produced indifferently. The flavor surpasses that of Hovey's, nearly equalling it in size, very many berries measuring four and four and a half inches in circumference. If this be its usual character, Mr. Long-worth can allow his anxieties respecting a good masculine standard, to repose on this noble plant, as answering the full requirement. These were cultivated in the triple tract of soil previously alluded to.
These two have produced fruit quite freely in the triple tract, approaching Buist's in size and number. The Mammoth, which has even a sickly and repulsive paleness, has the finest flavor, partaking in a fair degree of the peculiar aromatic taste of the New Pine.
This strawberry was grown in distant stools, and produced fruit, although sparingly, of marked beauty, fine flavor and good size, specimens measuring four inches in circumference.
This energetic staminate presents a massive foliage and produces most liberally, although its light scarlet berries are scarcely over the medium size, and are too acid where better ones can be easily secured.
Hovey's Seedling - sustains its high reputation here for productiveness and size, many specimens exceeding five inches. It is, however, somewhat deficient in flavor.