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.
A correspondent of the N. Y. Tribune gives a severe chasting to the vender of the new Cape Cod Cranberry: I took up a circular the other day in which the vines of the famous Cape Cod cranberry, the best in the world, were advertised for sale. They are no better than others of the same kind found in other places, nor do they raise better cranberries in Cape Cod than in some other localities in this country. The nature of the ground on which they grow determines the color, size, and; quality of the berry. When we were about to set our grounds a person came to us with a sample of berry, and said that he had a new and superior kind and wished to sell us vines. At the rate he proposed it would have cost (40,000 for vines enough to have set our ground, and in addition he wanted one-quarter of the net proceeds forever after. We did not accept the proposition. I was poor and the rest of the company were not altogether green. We went to a neighboring swamp where we knew the vines were good, and obtained them for nothing. And what is the result? We have raised larger and finer berries than he ever did, or I think ever will.
The Bell is the best kind to set.
"Is winter flooding indispensable?" I would not say indispensable, but very necessary. Good cranberries have been and can be raised without it, but the crops will not be as sure nor the grounds as permanent in bearing as with it. Flooding not only keeps the grass and weeds down, but destroys the insects and enriches the soil. I should always flood where I had the means, when it was not too expensive. One party in Cape Cod floods a ten acre plantation with one windmill. I will close by saying, let every one who has lands adapted to this business utilize them.
Suffolk Co., L. I. S. Lee.
A company was formed a few years ago to raise cranberries on a certain field of marsh land purchased as adapted to that culture. One hundred acres were purchased for 823.
About 22 acres, including a part of two of these swamps, have been prepared by ditching, turning over the turf, and covering it about seven inches thick with gravel and then setting out the vines about a foot apart each way, the work being all under the charge of the Brothers Stockwell. Last autumn they gathered from these 22 acres over 400 bushels of cranberries, sold in Millbury, Worcester and Webster for $10.50 per barrel, three bushels to the barrel. The yield in some places was very large, 15 bushels being picked from one square rod, and 15 square rods yielded at the rate of 330 bushels per acre. A plot of six acres yielded at the rate of 325 bushels per acre; 15 or 20 men, women and children, were engaged in picking at two cents a quart, many earning two dollars a day. One man picked four bushels in a day. It is expected, when the ground is well covered with vines, that the yield will be much larger than it was last year. There are three dams and a reservoir. When there is any danger of a frost, all the ditches that surround the squares in which the plots are laid out can bo at once filled with water, which prevents any injury to the fruit and vines; and all can be easily flooded through the winter, which not only protects the vines from freezing, but saves them from the cranberry worm.
The company had last autumn expended $18,000. But experience will enable them to prepare the rest of the ground at a much cheaper rate. They have 75 acres, out of the 100 purchased. suitable for cranberries They have cultivated four different kinds of berries, viz., the Kirke Fiske, which is the earliest, the Cherry, the Bell and the Sutton, which is the largest and the handsomest, but is the latest.
A great deal has been written and said, the last two years, about the possibility and'profit of cranberry plantations, made on dry upland. Knowing the habits of the wild cranberry to be fixed and not variables we have never had the least faith in the practiceability of activating this sub-aquatic plant in this way. We notice that several of the so-called successful experiments, have at length turned out failures, and it will be found that people who wish to grow cranberries for profit, must have the command of low grounds - or an abundant supply of water. If ever the cranberry is made to thrive on dry lands, it will be by raising it from seed, and so gradually adapting the constitution to the absence of moisture - not by taking the wild plant from the swamp where it grows naturally.
Mr. Elias Needham, of West Danvers, has shown us some Cranberries grown on high land, which are of good size, and which, he says, he produces, with good success, having raised some one or two hundred bushels a year, and selling them for three dollars and four dollars a bushel We have heard his experiments favorably spoken of by his neighbors, and can have no doubt but that he finds an ample reward in the crops for all cost and labor. Here, then, is the example; why can not others copy it, and produce this wholesome and palatable food, so that it shall become common on every table!"
Three or four years ago I transplanted cranberry Tinea from my meadow to one of my gardens, which is pine plain land. They have grown well, and they are now loaded with fruit. I had compromised with them ; that if they would come and live with me on my land, I would bring them their native soil, so that they would not suffer by emigration. I dug channels two feet wide, twenty inches deep, and three feet apart. I removed the gravel, and filled the channels with muck from whence they were to be taken. I took up the cranberry plants in small clusters, and set them deep in their natural element. They appeared to be perfectly contented with their new locality. They now occupy one square rod of ground, and they are beginning to enlarge their borders. I keep this patch clear of weeds. The expense of this cranberry square rod was about two days labor of one man, and one days labor of one horse. The prospect now is that the cranberries will yearly pay expenses of their new settlement. Muck and experiments well directed will prove successful.
Where do our Flowers come from?
Some of our flowers came from lands of perpetual summer, some from countries all ice and enow, some from islands in the ocean. Three of our sweetest exotics came originally from Peru; the Camellia was carried to England in 1789; and a few years afterwards the heliotrope and mignionette. Several others came from the Cape of Good Hope; a very large calla was found in ditches there, and some of the most brilliant geraniums, or pelargoniums, which are a spurious geranium. The verbena grows wild in Brazil; the marigold is an African flower, and a great number from China and Japan. The little daphne was carried to England by Captain Ross, from almost the farthest land he visited toward the North Pole. Some of these are quite changed in form by cultivation; others have become larger and brighter; while others despite all the care of the florists and the shelter of hot houses, fall far short of the beauty and fragrance of the tropics.
Among improved ones is the dahlia. When brought to Europe it was a very simple blossom, a single circle of dark petals surrounding a mass of yellow ones. Others with scarlet and orange petals were Boon after transplanted from Mexico, but still remained simple flowers. Long years of cultivation in rich soil, with other arts of the skillful florist, have changed it to what it now is - a round ball of beauty.