Home Vegetable Gardening Part 14

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APPLES

Without any question, the apple is far and away the most valuable fruit, both because of its greater scope of usefulness and its longer season--the last of the winter's Russets are still juicy and firm when the first Early Harvests and Red Astrachans are tempting the "young idea" to experiment with colic. Plant but a small proportion of early varieties, for the late ones are better. Out of a dozen trees, I would put in one early, three fall, and the rest winter sorts.

Among the summer apples are several deserving special mention: Yellow Transparent is the earliest. It is an old favorite and one of the most easily grown of all apples. Its color is indicated by the name, and it is a fair eating-apple and a very good cooker. Red Astrachan, another first early, is not quite so good for cooking, but is a delicious eating-apple of good size. An apple of more recent introduction and extremely hardy (hailing first from Russia), and already replacing the above sorts, is Livland (Livland Raspberry). The tree is of good form, very vigorous and healthy. The fruit is ready almost as soon as Yellow Transparent, and is of much better quality for eating. In appearance it is exceptionally handsome, being of good size, regular form and having those beautiful red shades found almost exclusively in the later apples. The flesh is quality is fully up to its appearance. The white, crisp-breaking flesh, most aromatic, deliciously sub-acid, makes it ideal for eating. A neighbor of mine sold $406 worth of fruit from twenty trees to one dealer. For such a splendid apple McIntosh is remarkably hardy and vigorous, succeeding over a very wide territory, and climate severe enough to kill many of the other newer varieties.

The Fameuse (widely known as the Snow) is an excellent variety for northern sections. It resembles the McIntosh, which some claim to be derived from it. Fall Pippin, Pound Sweet and Twenty Ounce, are other popular late autumns.

In the winter section, Baldwin, which is too well known to need describing, is the leading commercial variety in many apple districts, and it is a good variety for home growing on account of its hardiness and good cooking and keeping qualities; but for the home orchard, it is far surpa.s.sed in quality by several others. In northern sections, down to the corn line, Northern Spy is a great favorite. It is a large, roundish apple, with thin, tender, glossy skin, light to deep carmine over light yellow, and an excellent keeper. In sections to which it is adapted it is a particularly vigorous, compact, upright grower.



Jonathan is another splendid sort, with a wider range of conditions favorable for growth. It is, however, not a strong-growing tree and is somewhat uncertain in maturing its fruit, which is a bright, clear red of distinctive flavor. It likes a soil with more clay than do most apples. In the Middle West and Middle South, Grimes (Golden) has made a great local reputation in many sections, although in others it has not done well at all.

The Spitzenberg (Esopus) is very near the top of the list of all late eating-apples, being at its prime about December. It is another handsome yellow-covered red apple, with flesh slightly yellowish, but very good to the taste. The tree, unfortunately, is not a robust grower, being especially weak in its earlier stages, but with good cultivation it will not fail to reward the grower for any extra care it may have required.

These, and the other notable varieties, which there is not room here to describe, make up the following list, from which the planter should select according to locality:

_Earliest or Summer:_--Early Harvest, Yellow Transparent, Red Astrachan, Benoni (new), Chenango, Sweet Bough, Williams' Favorite, Early Strawberry, Livland Raspberry.

_Early Autumn:_--Alexander, d.u.c.h.ess, Porter, Gravenstein, McIntosh Red.

_Late Autumn:_--Jefferies, Fameuse (Snow), Maiden's Blush, Wealthy, Fall Pippin, Pound Sweet, Twenty Ounce, c.o.x Orange, Hubbardston.

_Winter:_--Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, Northwestern Greening, Jonathan, Northern Spy, Yellow, Swaar, Delicious, Wagener, King, Esopus, Spitzenberg, Yellow Bellflower, Winter Banana, Seek-no-further, Talman Sweet, Roxbury Russett, King David, Stayman's Winesap, Wolf River.

PEARS

Pears are more particular than apples in the matter of being adapted to sections and soils. Submit your list to your State Experiment Station before ordering trees. Many of the standard sorts may be had where a low-growing, spreading tree is desired (for instance, quince-stock pears might be used to change places with the plums). Varieties suitable for this method are listed below. They are given approximately in the order of the ripening:

Wilder: Early August, medium in size, light yellow, excellent quality.

Does not rot at the core, as so many early pears are liable to do.

Margaret: Oblong, greenish, yellow to dull red.

Clapp Favorite: Very large, yellow pear. A great bearer and good keeper--where the children cannot get at it.

Howell: A little later than the foregoing; large, bright yellow, strong-growing tree and big bearer.

d.u.c.h.esse d'Angouleme: Large greenish yellow, sometimes reaching huge size; will average better than three-quarters of a pound. The quality, despite its size, is splendid.

Seckel: Small in size, but renowned for exquisite flavor--being probably the most universally admired of all.

Beurre Superfine: October, medium size, excellent quality.

Bartlett: The best known of all pears, and a universal favorite.

Succeeds in nearly all sections.

Anjou: One of the best keepers, and very productive. One of the best in flavor, rich and vinous.

For trees of the standard type the following are worthy of note:

Congress (Souvenir du C.): A very large summer sort. Handsome.

Belle Lucrative: September to October.

Winter Nelis: Medium size, but of excellent quality and the longest keeper.

Kieffer: Very popular for its productiveness, strength of growth and exceptional quality of fruit for canning and preserving. Large fruit, if kept thinned. Should have a place in every home garden.

Josephine de Malines: Not a great yielder but of the very highest quality, being of the finest texture and tempting aroma.

PEACHES

Success with peaches also will depend largely upon getting varieties adapted to climate. The white-fleshed type is the hardiest and best for eating; and the free-stones are for most purposes, especially in the home garden, more desirable than the "clings."

Greensboro is the best early variety. Crawford is a universal favorite and goes well over a wide range of soil and climate. Champion is one of the best quality peaches and exceptionally hardy. Elberta, Ray, and Hague are other excellent sorts. Mayflower is the earliest sort yet introduced.

PLUMS

The available plums are of three cla.s.ses--the natives, Europeans and j.a.pans; the natives are the longest-lived, hardier in tree and blossom, and heavier bearers.

The best early is Milton; brilliant red, yellow and juicy flesh.

Wildgoose and Whitaker are good seconds. Mrs. Cleveland is a later and larger sort, of finer quality. Three late-ripening plums of the finest quality, but not such prolific yielders, are Wayland, Benson and Reed, and where there is room for only a few trees, these will be best. They will need one tree of Newman or Prairie Flower with them to a.s.sure setting of the fruit. Of the Europeans, use Reine Claude (the best), Bradshaw or Shrops.h.i.+re. Damson is also good. The j.a.panese varieties should go on high ground and be thinned, especially during their first years. My first experience with j.a.panese plums convinced me that I had solved the plum problem; they bore loads of fruit, and were free from disease. That was five years ago. Last spring the last one was cut and burned. Had they been planted at the top of a small hill, instead of at the bottom, as they were, and restricted in their bearing, I know from later experience that they would still be producing fruit. The most satisfactory varieties of the j.a.panese type are Abundance and Red June.

Burbank is also highly recommended,

CHERRIES

Cherries have one advantage over the other fruits--they give quicker returns. But, as far as my experience goes, they are not as long-lived.

The sour type is hardier, at least north of New Jersey, than the sweet.

It will probably pay to try a few of the new and highly recommended varieties. Of the established sorts Early Richmond is a good early, to be followed by Montmorency and English Morello. Windsor is a good sweet cherry, as are also Black Tartarian, Sox, Wood and Yellow Spanish.

All the varieties mentioned above are proved sorts. But the lists are being added to constantly, and where there is a novelty strongly recommended by a reliable nurseryman it will often pay to try it out--on a very small scale at first.

CHAPTER XVI

PLANTING: CULTIVATION: FILLER CROPS

As the pedigree and the quality of the stock you plant will have a great deal to do with the success or failure of your adventure in orcharding, even on a very small scale, it is important to get the best trees you can, anywhere, at any price. But do not jump to the conclusion that the most costly trees will be the best. From reliable nurserymen, selling direct by mail, you can get good trees at very reasonable prices.

As a general thing you will succeed best if you have nothing to do with the perennial "tree agent." He may represent a good firm; you may get your trees on time; he may have a novelty as good as the standard sorts; but you are taking three very great chances in a.s.suming so. But, leaving these questions aside, there is no particular reason why you should help pay his traveling expenses and the printing bills for his lithographs ("made from actual photographs" or "painted from nature,"

of course!) when you can get the best trees to be had, direct from the soil in which they are grown, at the lowest prices, by ordering through the mail. Or, better still, if the nursery is not too far away, take half a day off and select them in person. If you want to help the agent along present him with the amount of his commission, but get your trees direct from some large reliable nursery.

Well grown nursery stock will stand much abuse, but it will not be at all improved by it. Do not let yours stand around in the sun and wind, waiting until you get a chance to set it out. As soon as you get it home from the express office, unpack it and "heel it in," in moist, but not wet, ground; if under a shed, so much the better. Dig out a narrow trench and pack it in as thick as it will go, at an angle of forty-five degrees to the natural position when growing. So stored, it will keep a long time in cold weather, only be careful that no rats, mice, or rabbits reach it.

Home Vegetable Gardening Part 14

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Home Vegetable Gardening Part 14 summary

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