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. Knox. - Mr. Fuller has placed me under embarrassing circumstances. Some friends bare injudiciously styled me the "Strawberry King." I do not profess to be even "a Prince." In my opinion "A. Fuller" claim can be made to this title by a member of your Society.
When a toddler, I have often strayed away to the Strawberry patch on my father's farm, and it has always been a love of mine. If you undertake to prove Eve was not tempted by a Strawberry, you will find it a difficult matter; and if by the bright, polished surface of the Triomphe de Gand, I would look charitably upon her.
The soil I prefer is a light clay limestone. This I have, and think it the best. I stir the ground, for a crop of two or three years, not to a great depth, 8 to 10 inches. For producing Strawberries ten or more years, stir from 20 inches to 2 feet, after drainage. I do it with an ordinary plow and lifter, by oxen. Plant in rows 2 1/2 feet apart, and 10 inches apart in the rows. I raise no fruit the first year, but take off the fruit-stems and all runners as fast as they appear. My Strawberries are in specimen, propagating, and fruiting beds. For a few years I stirred the soil with a Strawberry cultivator, but now do not disturb the soil at all; the whole ground becomes a network of fibrous roots, and their little mouths say, as Jeff. Davis says to the North, "Let us alone." As a protection in the fall, I prefer rye strew threshed with a flail and bound in bundles. I attach great importance to this covering; frost will destroy much embryo fruit if not protected; it acts as a mulch, and keeps moisture in the ground. I have discarded every implement except the hoe, and use that only for weeds. I speak with considerable caution about varieties. Hovey's Seedling is a very valuable seedling; does well at Boston and Cleveland, but does not do well with me with all my care. Some values deteriorate.
Boist's Prise has run out, and is nearly discarded by powers at Pittsburg. We have to suit different tastes; some like tart and others like sweet, and we are trying to educate tastes at Pittsburg, so that they will ask for what they want It is important to lengthen the season; the ordinary season is three weeks, but by selecting different kinds we can extend the season to five weeks. Baltimore Scarlet, Jenny Lind, ana Burr's New Pine are good early Strawberries. Trollope's Victoria, Kitley's Goliath, Nimrod, and Buist's Prize are good later ones. Medium, Brighton Pine, Boston Pine, McAvoy's Superior, Scott's Seedling, Moyamensing, Downers Prolific, Fillmore, Golden Seeded, British Queen, Vicomtesse Hericart de Thury, Wilson's Albany, and last, but not least, the Triomphe de Gand. Wilson's Albany is certainly a very valuable variety, although our Boston friends condemn it; it improves by years, and is preferred by many. But the Strawberry of all strawberries, the one I would plant if confined to one, on 10 feet or 100 acres, the Strawberry for the eye, the palate, or the pocket, is the Triomphe de Gand. It produces an abundant crop; not so much as the Wilson, put an acre of the Triomphe de Gand is more profitable than an acre of the Wilson. Nearly all the Triomphe de Gand are uniformly large, and they remain so to the end of the season.
It is the most beautiful of all Strawberries, ana would draw the attention from all others. It throws the Wilson into the shade. It carries well; have sent them to Erie. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and New York. Had orders from New York for the whole crop. In marketing, my experience is this: Produce a good berry, handle it well, bring it before the people in handsome and attractive order, and they will pay for it; and it will be a long time before the market can be overstocked with fine fruit. In conclusion, I would say that horticultural pursuits bind men more closely and strongly together. If horticulturists had the settlement of our national difficulties, it would not be long Before they would beat the swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks, and make the whole country blossom as the Rose.
In answer to questions, he said, Pinch off the berry with the stem on; don't pull them. The Wilson may be made to produce 5 to 6(>0 bushels to an acre. We can average 300 bushels to the acre with the best varieties properly cultivated.
MR. Knox:- Sorry to say I have. In speaking of Long Island varieties, however, I have no reference to Mr. Fuller's Seedlings.
MR. Fulleb: - I am glad Mr. Knox has given us his opinion on the Triomphe de Gand. I would prefer one more acid, but think the friomphe de Gand the most noble berry ever cultivated; can depend on 300 bushels to the acre. All say in New Jersey the little Strawberry is the most profitable; but I think 25 bushels to the acre is all that they get I think it ridiculous that New Yorkers should have to get their finest berries from Mr. Knox. MR. Knox. - Mr. Hallock has made a box that answers the purpose. It is much less expensive to gather large berries than small ones. My mode of culture met with much objection and general outcry at Cincinnati By expending $100 I can make one acre pay better than five in the old way. I care nothing for old plans as long as I can invest my money at 100 per cent., and I have good reason to know that mine pays that.
MR. Mead: - I regret that the "Strawberry Prince" is not here to-night to hear the "Strawberry King." The Triomphe de Gand is the most valuable foreign variety we have. A native Strawberry will be introduced soon, I think, that will fully equal it.
[The remainder of the evening was taken up with brief remarks on Room Plants and an essay on Window Gardening by Mr. Cavanach. This brings our report up to the last meeting. Hereafter we shall go on as usual. - ED].