Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

very few; yet, as all are pretty and fragrant, we should not neglect the pansy because we cannot grow our flower in conformity with what is, after all, rather an arbitrary standard. The qualities of a good pansy, as laid down and published by the Flower Committee of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society a few years since, and to which the flowers given in our illustration conform, are, —

1. The flower should be round, flat, and very smooth at the edge; every notch or serrature or unevenness being a blemish.

2. The petals should be thick, and of a rich velvety texture, standing out firm and flat without support.

3. Whatever may be the colors, the ground-color of the three lower petals should be alike: whether it be white, yellow, straw-color, plain, fringed, or blotched, there should not in these three petals be a shade of difference in the principal color.

4. Whatever may be the character of the marks or darker pencillings on the ground-color, they should be bright, dense, distinct, and retain their character without running or flushing, or mixing with the ground-color; and the white, yellow, or straw-color should be pure.

5. The two upper petals should be perfectly uniform, whether dark or light, or fringed or blotched. The two petals immediately under them should be alike; and the lower petal, as before observed, must have the same ground-color and character as the two above it; and the pencilling or marking of the eye in the three lower petals must not break through to the edges.

6. In size, there is a distinct point, when coarseness does not accompany it; in other words, if flowers are equal in other respects, the larger is the better: but no flower should be shown under an inch and a half across.

GENERAL REMARKS.

Ragged edges, crumpled petals, indentures on the petal, indistinct markings or pencillings, and flushed or run colors, are great blemishes; but if there be one ground-color to the lower petal, and another color to the side ones, or if there are two shades of ground-color at all, it is not a show-flower, though many such are improperly tolerated (the yellow within the eye is not considered ground-color). In selecting new varieties, not one should be let out which has the last-mentioned blemish, and none should be sold that do not very closely approach the circular four. One of the prevailing faults in the so-called best flowers is the smallness of the centre yellow or white, and the largeness of the eye, which breaks through it into the border. We are so severe in these matters ourselves, that we count the very best of them no bloom in summing up the good ones.

Glen Ridge, October, 1867. E. S. J?., j?2m.

THE CULTIVATION OF SMALL FRUITS AS AN EMPLOY-
MENT FOR WOMEN.

"Wife, into thy garden, and set me a plot
With strawberry-roots of the best to be got."

Tusser's SepUmbtr Husbandry.

The author of " Needle and Garden," published in "The Atlantic" a year or more since, and a late writer in "The Independent," have anticipated a good deal of what I wish to say; but the subject is perhaps new enough to most of the readers, fair or otherwise, of "The Journal of Horticulture," to justify my adding a few words on the feasibility of the cultivation of the " small fruits," as a partial or entire employment and means of support for women.

Having entire faith in the ultimate civil and social emancipation of woman, I recognize the fact that she will shortly succeed to many pursuits and callings from which social prejudices and legal relics of barbarism now exclude her, and will assume the performance of new duties as well as long-denied rights. But, even if this were not so, it is certain that our American women imperatively need more open-air labor, a wider range of industrial pursuits, and employments where the remuneration will be in a direct ratio to the ability and industry engaged, and not given on an arbitrary distinction of sex.

In the cultivation of small fruits, I think I see a desirable employment for woman's labor, especially where the natural head of the family is wanting. The unmarried or widowed woman and her dependent relatives too often devote themselves to saving the scanty fortune of a deceased parent or husband, without taking thought of bettering their condition by any enterprise in which forethought, energy, and business ability, have their place. All these are taught without very dear experience in a business such as this. The capital required is small; and, while providence and diligence must be exercised, the pursuit is free, for the most part, from that exposure to rough manners and coarse chaffering from which the sensitive shrink.

The woman of small means and uncertain income can scarcely hire, much less own, a lodging-place in the larger cities, and too often goes the downward way of struggling poverty and desperate sin ; and they who would keep the wolf from their door, and preserve a respectable position as workers in the world, look to a quiet cottage in a country village as the safest abode of feminine frugality. In such a spot, a few hundred dollars will often purchase in fee-simple a residence and an acre or more of ground, and the soil be made to furnish no small part of a comfortable subsistence.

To those who are, or can be, thus situated, I would suggest the culture of small fruits as a profitable, pleasant, and healthful occupation.

Under the name of small fruits are generally included the strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, currant, and gooseberry (some might practically add the grape and cherry with good reasons; but these I omit from this list). These fruits, excepting the heavier labor of preparing the ground (all of them requiring a deep and thorough preparation of the soil before planting), can be easily managed by women; the labor being of the dexterous, patient, and neat sort, rather than the hurried, hard, and unclean.

All of these fruits may be grown to advantage on any of the main lines of railway leading into our great cities. Here in Illinois, for instance, the Chicago branch and lower trunk of the Illinois Central carry fruit directly from the grower in latitude 37°, where the strawberry ripens early in May, to Chicago, whose market is bare of home-grown berries until late in June. The Ohio and Mississippi Railway terminates in Cincinnati and St . Louis. The Chicago and Alton connects St. Louis and Chicago. All these great cities purchase, first for their own wants, and then to supply the areas of surrounding country into which their railroads radiate; thus furnishing a constant and increasing demand for all fruits.

Tor nearly all these fruits, too, there is an increasing local want. They are passing from the rank of luxuries to that of the necessaries of life. They are no longer sweetmeats, but food. As they increase, the demand increases in a larger ratio. Do they grow cheaper, everybody buys them; and, whether they cheapen or not, a conviction of their value as a prophylactic continually increases their sale. Careful parents would rather pay the fruit-grower than the physician.

Along the various railways of our country, lands in small quantities, suitably enclosed and with sufficient buildings, may be purchased, in convenient proximity to stations, at from fifty to three hundred dollars per acre. The land may be double-ploughed, by one plough following in the furrow of another, to the depth of ten or twelve inches (eighteen would be better), and harrowed smooth and fine, at an expense of not over five dollars per acre. This done as early in the spring as may be, the remaining labor can readily be performed by women. The tools used should be selected with an eye to lightness, strength, and good temper (in tool and worker). Good yearling plants should be used in setting the plats. The following number of plants is needed to plant an acre each of the several sorts at the distances given, and will cost about the sums stated :—

10,000 Wilson's Albany Strawberry, I by 4 $30.00

1,700 Doolittle's Raspberry, 5 by 5 34-00

1,700 Lawton Blackberry, 5 by 5 34-O0

1,700 Red Dutch Currant, 5 by 5 34-O0

1,700 Houghton Gooseberry, 5 by 5 68.00

From this the cost of a plantation of larger or smaller dimensions may be approximately determined.

A line stretched across the plat, at the width assigned for rows, either upon the level ground, or, better, in a shallow furrow, marks the place of the row; and white or red threads tied upon this line at the proper intervals mark the places of plants in the row. By this help, the labor of the shallow planting may be rapidly performed with the single help of the trowel or hoe.

This planting is generally best done in the spring. Culture should be commenced before weeds have time to start, and kept up until midsummer. The hoe and the light hand-cultivators can do this; though the horse-cultivator is more rapid, and requires less manual labor.

The strawberry-plants, as they make their runners, should be directed to first filling the rows and any vacancies in them, and then to filling a space

VOL. IL 35

of a foot on either side. This leaves alternate strips of strawberries and bare ground two feet in width. Farther than this I would not permit them to go. Some would even confine them to hills; but it is still questionable whether this will be best, all things considered. If blackberries or raspberries make a strong growth, their ends should be cut or pinched off, at the height of four or five feet, in latter July or August. Cultivation, generally, should cease early in July, or be confined to the extirpation of weeds without much stirring of the ground, which would produce late growths to be nipped by early frosts. The rows should be ridged up a little in their cultivation, so as to be free from surface-moisture.

For winter, in our almost snowless prairies, the best treatment for strawberries is to cover them, entirely, after the ground freezes, with old straw (the more decayed, the better). The raspberry and blackberry may sometimes be benefited by a similar mulch applied to their roots and more pliable canes. The gooseberry and currant need nothing of the kind, unless, it may be, in wet places, where the plants are more liable to be thrown out by the alternate freezing and thawing.

When spring comss, the straw should be pushed aside from the strawberry-rows into the intermediate spaces, and there remain, as a protection against weed-growth and drought, during spring and early summer. The blackberry and raspberry bushes, where their growth has been feeble, should be cut down to the last bud, and give their whole strength to forming canes for next year's fruit. The strong plants may be tied to one another or to stakes for support, and permitted to bear fruit. The currant and gooseberry will probably need only cultivation. The strawberries will need no cultivation until the crop is gathered; when the spaces should be dug or ploughed well, unless the straw-mulch prevent.

This, the second year, the first and finest fruit should be produced by the strawberry; and, if the work has b:en 7oell done, there should be a product of a hundred bushels per acre. For the considerable labor which this involves, provision must be made in anticipation. In case there are many strawberries, it will be necessary to employ assistance. During some days, perhaps, as many as ten persons to the acre are necessary. Women, boys, and girls can pick at two and two and a half cents per quart, and make good wages. I have heard this year of a smart boy who picked a

« ZurückWeiter »