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.
At Warsaw, Indiana, on the 8th of January, the thermometer was 19° below zero at 6 P. M., and on the 9th 27° below 0 at 6 A. M., the coldest morning ever known in Northern Indiana. Peaches and young orchards, it was feared, would be injured. On the 24th of December, at Napersville, Illinois, at 6 o'clock, 16° below 0, and, on the 26th, 21° below 0. At St. Paul's, Minnesota, the cold was equally severe, being 27° below 0, and in January even colder. One would think this beyond the endurance of many plants known everywhere as "hardy." On Staten Island the cold has been greater than known there for seven years. Greenhouses suffered much in every direction, even where water was kept at the boiling point all night. Around Cincinnati, just before sunrise, the thermometer fell to 24° and even 28° below zero, and it is feared that the peaches' are destroyed. At Cleveland, the modifying influence of the lake was such that the thermometer stood around that city from 14° to 20° below, while a few miles removed from the lake in the direction of Sandusky, a gentleman writes that it ran down to 32°!
On February 6 and 7,1855, the thermometer was at 26° below zero in the lake counties of Western New York, where 0° is considered very cold and of rare occurrence. Thus we have had two intensely cold winters in succession. There has, doubtless, been much injury to fruit, but our field is now so large that a moderate supply of nearly all the varieties may still be hoped for. Greater attention must be paid to those fruits which have not been affected. We are obliged to many correspondents for thermometrical observations, but, generally speaking, these were well known before we could publish them. In this latitude it has rarely been colder, or of longer continuance.
Will U. U. be kind enough to give us an opportunity of addressing a letter to him? Thanks to J. B. P.; but we are supplied. Robert Meston received.
2. Chestnut and English walnut-trees should be planted as far apart as standard apples, and filberts as near as dwarf pears.
4. You had better not employ any grass or grain among your fruit-trees. A crop that requires manuring and working, such as potatoes or other low crops, that demand the frequent use of the plough or hoe, will not be detrimental for a few years; but, if well stirred, will be useful until the roots have spread oyer the whole ground.
(Easter Beurre.) This old variety is a very uncertain fruit; sometimes very fine, mostly partially good. If the fruit of "Subscriber," instead of remaining in the barrel, had been removed and put on shelves in a dry cellar or closet, out of reach of frost, no doubt more than half of them would have been saved. Pears, with the exception of a few varieties, do not keep well in barrels; they want a cool, rather dry cellar, or basement where a cellar within a cellar - say a closet, with a window eastward - can be constructed. In such a place the writer took out some summer apples and two Andrews' pears, which commonly ripen in September, on the 4th of last January, sound and delicious. They were overlooked on a low shelf in a common provision cellar.