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.
When the berries from which we wish to grow seedlings are ripe, they should be mashed and mixed with dry sand, so thoroughly that no two seeds shall remain together, putting sufficient sand to absorb all the moisture. Then sow the sand containing the seeds in a bed previously prepared in some half shady place, or under glass, sift on some fine mold, covering the seeds about an eighth of an inch deep. If the soil is kept moist, the plants will begin to appear in about four weeks, and will continue to come up until cold weather; at which time they should be covered lightly, with straw, say one inch deep. The plants should be set the following spring, 18 inches apart, in rows, at least two feet apart.
Stop all runners every week throughout the. season, and keep the beds clean. The second year after transplanting, you will have fruit. Mark sexes of each as they come into blossom. As the fruit ripens, mark the time and character, and select the very best and destroy all other plants. Lift carefully those that are to be preserved, and put them into new beds where they will have more room to make runners. The correct estimate of the value of any new variety can not be ascertained until it has fruited two or three years. For my own part, I shall never save a pistillate, although I have done so heretofore extensively, for the purpose of ascertaining by actual experiment whether they were any more likely to be better, or more productive than the bisexual varieties.
The results of some of the largest experiments which I have tried are, that out of several hundred seedlings of 1856 none were good, although sown from the best seed that I could obtain. In 1859 I raised another large quantity. Being more careful in selecting the varieties and in their fertilization, the result was a thousand different varieties. There were sixty pistillates, one staminate, which produced no fruit, and the remainder bisexual or hermaphrodite.
Out of this number, I have three varieties that have fruited three years, that I think worthy of being cultivated. From two hundred seedlings of 1860, fruited two years, I shall keep two for further trial.
To those who may think this a tedious undertaking, I would say that no one should undertake to produce new and improved varieties of fruits and flowers if it is to be looked upon as labor. It should be made a pleasant pastime.
[The above was read at the last meeting of the Farmer's Club of the American Institute, and is sufficiently interesting to find a place here. - ED].