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.
There are few modes of culture that have made more rapid progress in the United States, than that of the pear upon the quince stock. Ten years ago these dwarf pears, were found in very few gardens, and then only as specimens valuable for their novelty. They were even, until a very few years since, esteemed temporary in their character, and were never planted in a permanent orchard. While this opinion may be to a certain extent true, or rather, while we have no evidence to controvert its truth, and while the pear on its own root, must always have the preference in a permanent orchard, yet those on quince may always advantageously have a place in every orchard, and may be profitably cultivated for market fruit. That this opinion is becoming more prevalent, is evinced by the large sales of pears on quince that are made annually, in various parts of the country. To ensure success, they require very different treatment from those on their own root, and as a few years experience may be of value to some who are about planting, I will briefly relate the course that I have pursued with satisfactory results.
Some few years ago, becoming convinced that the profits of the nursery business could not be relied upon, I decided, with our friend Rivers, to cast out another anchor to windward. I prepared at first only four acres, intending with these to test the experiment, and then, if successful, to plant my whole farm.
Although much fruit has not yet made its appearance, the fruit buds promise me so abundant a crop another year, as almost to warrant me in planting to a very large extent.
The field I selected was an old pasture ground, with light loamy soil, but not inclining to sand, and a subsoil of hard-pan. This I planted with corn until the ground was well mellowed, and then put upon it two sloop loads, or 3,000 bushels of stable manure, worth half on pear and half on quince, and the whole orchard contains 1,760 pears, 1,320 being on quince, and 440 on their own root. By thus planting, I think I gain a double advan-tage. Those on quince come in bearing soon, and will produce a good crop while the others are growing, and those on pear will undoubtedly be sufficiently large to produce a good crop, and even to occupy the ground to the exclusion of the others, long before those on quince will decay, if such decay ever should take place.
Pears on quince require high garden culture, and it is my practice to put upon this orchard two sloop loads of manure every year. The first year after planting, the orchard was cropped with corn, which I found to be injurious to the trees. I have since cropped with potatoes and sugar beets, alternately, and with good management, the crop of these can be made to pay for the manure, and sometimes for the labor. With the exception of a single row, all those on their own root are of one varieiy, the Lawrence. This variety originated on Long Island, is hardy, an early and abundant bearer, and a good grower. The fruit of medium sue, nearly equal to the Virgalieu (Doyenne) in flavor, is in eating from mid-autumn to mid-winter, and will keep and ripen in a barrel, like apples. Its uniform price in the market in autumn, is five dollars per bushel, and at its latest period of maturity, when, no other pears can be found in market, it would probably bring ten to fifteen dollars per bushel.
Of the varieties on quince, I have only planted six. Glout Morceau, Vicar of Wink-field, Louise Bonne de Jersey, Winter Nelis, Lawrence and Beurre d'Aremberg. With the two latter the orchard is not quite finished, owing to the difficulty in obtaining them. It is always quite as uncertain to form an estimate of a crop of fruit, as it is for our Boston friends to calculate the amount of money they can make from the 250 chickens hatched from the 260 eggs, laid according to guarantee, in 276 successive days, by the pure white Shanghae hen, which may have cost fifty dollars. But after making all reasonable allowances, and finding to-day, upon some of my Vicar of Winkfield trees, planted in the spring of 1849, from fifty to seventy-five fruit buds each, I shall be somewhat disappointed if those on quince, in the fifth year from planting, should not produce one dollar per tree. The same result I hope to obtain from those planted on their own root, in the tenth year, after making all reasonable deductions from loss by blight. It will not be safe to estimate that the crop.between the trees will always pay the expense of cultivation.
With good management, it may do so the first few years; but as the trees grow, the roots will gradually occupy the space between them, when no crop can be grown, although high manuring will still be required.
There may be, and we know in the experience of some there have been, obstacles in the cultivation of this fruit, which have not yet obstructed the advancement of my trees, and it may not be safe for all to estimate according to the preceding statements. Such, however, are the results of my experience; and while it may be expedient to make large allowances for difficulties which may hereafter present themselves, I cannot doubt, that with the present almost entire destitution of good pears, in ail the markets, and the facilities of transporting them to England, I should be fully justified in planting much more largely than I have yet done. S. B. Parsons.
Flushing, Dec. 10,1850.