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.
So many readers of the Horticulturist have expressed a wish to be more particularly informed respecting the Crescent Seedling strawberry, that I have written to Mr. Lawrence, of New Orleans, and learn from him that his manner of cultivating it is very simple. He says: "I give it all it requires to perfect its fruit, and check the luxuriance of the vines by reducing our rich, alluvial soil two-thirds - that is, I add two-thirds river sand to it. This mode likewise enables the plant to withstand the excessive hot months of June, July and August. In fact, the soil best adapted to my seedling is a sandy loam; and I also know, by experience, that the less manure of any kind used, the better it is for the plant. In planting, I never mulch; I place the plants 10 inches apart in the rows, and the rows 18 to 24 inches apart. In dry weather I water copiously two or three times, in as many consecutive days, and then let them take care of themselves for awhile. When the ground is moist from previous rains daring the planting season, I never water. I transplant every year into new beds, as new soil is preferable to old, and besides, as I have noticed in a former letter, the old stools die out completely by over-production of fruit and incessant bearing.
I gathered the last fruit of the season on the 25th of July, which is seven months, to a day, since they commenced bearing - December 25, 1851. This experiment of mine, accidental as it is, I consider as one among the wondrous productions of nature. A similar accident may not occur again for many years, and I have been always impressed with the belief that I have been aided and assisted by our climate in producing this truly extraordinary strawberry; and although I give myself but little credit, yet I am happy that it should be so widely known and favorably noticed throughout the Union, and, although I disliked it, I could not prevent my name going forth in this connection. My only aim is pleasure and amusement in this delightful climate of ours".
A few weeks ago Mr. Lawrence answered my minute inquiries on the subject as follows:
" 1st. The runners bear the same season they strike.
"2d. It is the same identical plant which bears fruit so fine and large in January, and which continues to bear a constant crop until the July following. Weak plants are shy bearers at all times. I plant none but the strongest plants (runners)-; the weaker ones I neither use nor dispose of until such time as they are fit to set out. I am disposing of my seedlings so rapidly that it is doubtful whether I can supply the demand".
Mr. L., in a previous letter, informed me he had sold 20,000 plants. I consider Mr. L.'s suggestions, in regard to the cultivation of the strawberry, valuable for our soils and climate. I am no more disposed to enrich our soils for the strawberry, with ordinary manures, than Mr. L. It should be remembered that our seasons are of different length than the seasons at New Orleans. My Crescent Seedlings are very strong and vigorous, and I have already forwarded to B. M. Watson, Plymouth, Mass., more than 250 plants, from the avails of eight feeble runners that were scarcely alive when set out in my garden on the 28th of May last. This fact indicates a vigorous plant, and I shall look with interest for its habit of bearing, next July and August. R. G. Pardee. - Geneva, N. Y.
[We expressed an opinion, some time ago, in the Genesee Farmer, that this strawberry might disappoint those who expected it would be a perpetual bearer in the north. We did this without doubting in the least the correctness of the statements made by Mr. Lawrence, whom we believe to be an honorable man, or by Mr. Pardee, whom we know to be in every respect, a gentleman worthy of confidence. Our doubts arose from the fact that in the south, in such a climate as New Orleans, where strawberries blossom and bear in January, it requires no great art to make any variety bear for several months, because, as Mr. Lawrence says, "the runners bear the same season they strike." But we are informed that the same identical plants of the Crescent continue to bear for seven months. This is the point we wished to get at, as it gives us some hope of obtaining successive crops in the same season here. The question will be settled during the coming season. Cremome perpetual, that attracted some attention in Europe a year or two ago, proves not perpetual.
Similar discoveries at various times have proved deceptive. - Ed].