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.
During a brief visit, last autumn, to an intelligent cultivator, who resides in New Jersey, on the banks of the Delaware, some 20 miles above Philadelphia, and who grows fruit and vegetables for that market, while conversing about his facilities for obtaining manure, he remarked that stable manure could be had, landed on the bank of his farm, from sloops, at $2 per cord, but thought guano, at $50 per ton, was decidedly cheaper, besides being free from weed seeds, and he used it almost exclusively. The soil was what we should call a good light loam, although it is there termed a strong loam, in distinction from the sandy lands of eastern New Jersey.
Among the many things which attracted attention at this place, the one that interested me most was an orchard of 1500 pear trees, on the quince root These were not all planted at the same time, nor were they alike in other respects, for some 300 or 400 of them were grown in this country, and grafted upon the common quince, probably the apple or pear quince, or seedlings from them. These were dwarfish enough, and though they had been planted seven years, had borne but little, and decidedly realized the idea which used to prevail, that quince rooted pears were necessarily poor, weakly and short-lived trees; but the other 1100 or 1200 were fine trees, imported from France, and grown on the Angers quince, or some other hybrid variety, equally adapted to this purpose, and their condition was in striking contrast to that of the others - thrifty healthy, and of vigorous growth, and bearing all they were able to do without injury. Having been carefully thinned out, the fruit was large and of fine quality, and presented a rich treat to the eye, as well as promise of a richer one bye and bye to the palate.
Among them were 150 trees, (three rows), of the variety called Duchess d'Angouleme, which had been planted four years, and were bearing nearly enough, and I am not sure but quite enough, to pay the cost of the trees, planting, and the land they stood on; for he had bargained the whole crop to a dealer in Philadelphia at $1 per dozen, who would undoubtedly realize 12 1/2 cts. each for them; and how many pears, at that price, would it take to pay 60 or 75 cts. for a tree, and 25 cts. more to plant; and mulch, and tend it properly the first year, and also the 400th part of say $200, for an acre of land, (they were 8 feet apart, with 10 feet between some rows,) and for two or three pounds of guano per annum, for three years, at 2 1/3 cta per lb.! I reckon a dozen and a half would not be out of the way. I plucked one or two of them, although not fully grown, to bring home and compare with my own, which were growing on trees only two years planted, but they weighed 15 1/3 and 16 oz., and mine only 11 3/4 and 12 oz.
This, by the way, is a variety which always succeeds best on a warm, rich, light soil, and as mine was heavy, and the trees only planted some sixteen months, I didn't feel exactly inclined to "give up the ship," as yet.
But to return to guano, which came pretty near being lost scent of in running over this orchard, there are two or three points of some consequence to be determined by the cultivator before using it, and his success, presuming, of course, that he buys a good article, will be very much in proportion to the correctness of his practice in regard to them, - the quantity, the time, and the mode of application. The quantity should be enough; the time, long enough before the seed for it to impart to the soil all its acrid and caustic properties, and become thoroughly mild; and the mode should be to cover deep in light soils, and less deep in proportion as they are heavier. - & L. G., in Maine Fanner.
Martynia fragrans, in one of your late numbers, is represented as being rather tender. With me it ripens its seed from plants self-sown in the natural ground, just the same as the common one. This last-the common Martynia - I find much preferable for pickling. Charles Elliott. - Sandwich, C. W.