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.
Feeling a common interest with my brother Horticulturist, I have thought a few words from the far West might be of interest to your many readers, and, with your permission, I would occasionally give some notes on fruit culture from this State, believing it to be one of the best fruit countries in the United States. I have travelled and conversed with many persons in most of the States, and from my own observation, and from all the information I have, I come to the above conclusion. Now for my own actual experience. In the spring of 1844, I commenced my improvements; a place to live in, first. In the fall, planted my fruit-trees, and not a year has passed since but some new varieties, and those of the best I had, have been planted. In three years from the seed, my peach-trees averaged one bushel to the tree, and I had apples enough for family use, in the same time, from two years old grafts. I now have thirty acres in all the various fruits that grow in this climate, yielding me, after a bountiful supply for family and friends, a net profit of about two thousand dollars annually.
My apple-trees will average (twelve years old), this year, twenty bushels to the tree, and are from two feet to two feet eight inches in circumference round the body, at two to three feet above ground; but few of the first peach-trees now standing. They are not long-lived here, but bear soon and abundantly for five to ten years, though some in this county are twenty-five years old; but the fruit is much better on young trees.
The Catawba Grape is much the best we have, and does finely, and will average (good and bad years) about two hundred and fifty to three hundred gallons of wine per acre. A few vineyards in this county have rotted (say one-half), but most of them are not as yet injured materially. I suppose twenty thousand gallons of wine will be made in this county this year (1857).
Strawberries also do well, yielding from fifty to one hundred bushels per acre. Hovey's are the principal crop.
All fruits do well here except the heart cherries and pears; they take the blight, and die in five or eight years, as a general thing. In my orchard of fruit-trees, I raise potatoes and low-growing vegetables for the first six or eight years; then sow down in red clover, and ploughing once in three or four years, so that the land is very nearly as productive as if no trees were on it.
Our railroads, or something else, have given a new impulse to business, and property is rapidly increasing in this State, though but little attention has as yet been paid to horticulture. I have tried to increase the circulation of your very valuable monthly in my vicinity; it will increase much in a few years, and I will continue my exertions in its behalf. We would be very much pleased to have you visit us this fail, during our Agricultural Fair. I think you would be pleased with the horticultural department.