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.
The annual meeting of this Society will be held at Jacksonville, 111., December 12 to 15, instant. It will doubtless be a very interesting session.
THE sixteenth annual session of this society was held at Centralia. Dr. Hutton, on behalf of the citizens, gave to the members a cordial welcome to the hospitalities of the city, to which President Starr made a fitting reply. The President's annual address was a business like and well written paper. Though this meeting was not so numerously attended as at Ottawa two years ago, all parts of the State were most ably represented by her best horticultural talent. Thinking, practical men, who have labored long and patiently' in the good work were there.
The reports from the ad-interim committees, or Vice-Presidents, gave flattering assurance of the onward progress of horticulture in their respective districts. Concerning the fruit crop of 1872, the reports went to show a most prosperous year. The apple crop was very abundant, and the fruit unusually fine - so fine that special mention was made by Flagg and other members, of the great size and superior quality of many varieties. Peaches were never before so abundant, but were everywhere deficient in size and quality, and as a matter of course prices low.
The grape crop was never better, and the universal Concord the leading variety. Pruning and protection of the vine were briefly discussed. The weight of testimony brought out was adverse to much, if any summer pruning, or of laying down and covering in winter. On the preparation of soil, its degree of fertility, and the application of manure or other fertilizers in the culture of the vine to obtain the best results, there was a contrariety of thought among the speakers, that would have puzzled a Solomon to reconcile.
Little was said about either the plum, cherry, strawberry, or raspberry. Mention was made only of the Nelson and Green prolific Strawberries - the former for market all over. The Early Richmond takes the lead among cherries.
What now most agitates the fruit growers of the state, is what to do with, or how to dispose of their crops. What to plant, or how to plant is no longer the question, but rather, how to best utilize the immense and rapidly increasing fruit crops of the state. Some time was taken up in discussing this matter, and in which a lively and general interest was apparent. Dunlap spoke at some length upon the utility of converting the surplus, or unsaleable portion of the apple crop into cider and vinegar. Earle spoke of canning the fruit. Hutton spoke of a method of his own for drying, which he claimed to be a great improvement over the ordinary practice. Huggins had another plan for drying. The advantages claimed for the Alden process of drying was also presented. A bushel of apples yields six pounds of dry fruit at a cost of twelve cents per pound, market price twenty cents. Wier obtained but four and a half pounds of preserved fruit per bushel of fresh apples, and at the market price found it a losing business. He questioned any superiority of the Alden process over that used by him, either in product or quality of work.
Post had a fruit dryer, and claimed for it a saving of fifty per cent. in the expense of manufacture (with better work) over the Alden process - he really thought the specimens from his dryer were the finest on exhibition. He showed a model of his apparatus. From all that he could gather concerning those hot air methods for the preservation of fruit, we do not believe they offer a safe investment in view of the present price of fruit dried in the ordinary way. It is claimed for the Alden process, that the " fruit is equal in all respects to fresh fruit for pies, puddings, and other confections for the table." We know better, and so will any one else after a trial, though we admit its superiority over the common dried. But will the demand sustain the difference in cost of preparation - that's the question?
On root grafting the apple, Phoenix thought 2 1/2 inch cuts of the root best; Nelson concurred; Wier placed no special importance upon a very nice fit of root and cion, so far as concerns the bark, would unite and grow if not joined on either side. Nelson was of the same opinion, though would advise some care in fitting the bark of cion and root. Tying with waxed cotton yarn was conceded the best method of fastening, no waxing of the parts as of old. For waxing the yarn Bulwin used a composition made of three parts rosin, two beeswax, and one of tallow.
Dunlap exhibited a bushel crate of his getting up for shipping apples. It consists of two head boards 12 x 14 inches, lath 17 1/2 inches in length for sides. In transportation, the orates are packed endwise. and if need be in tiers. Its size and shape admits of packing into an ordinary wagon-bed with the greatest possible economy of space.
The election of officers resulted as follows:
M. L. Dunlap, of Champaign.