The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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FIG CULTIVATION.                                 477
torrid zones, and are of enormous size. The pulp is excellent, and much enjoyed.
Strawberry Culture.—Pennsylvania.—How to grow strawber­ries properly for home use is a question that has never yet been en­tirely settled to the satisfaction of every one. We believe, however, that most persons prefer growing them in beds, with runners kept off by constant cutting, and then mulch the surface of the soil to preserve a fair amount of moisture. In forming beds there also ex­ists a great diversity of opinion in relation to the distance apart to set plants. I believe in plenty of room when extra fine fruit as well as plenty of it is required. I am aware that some English garden­ers, for the purpose of securing exhibition fruit, set their plants two feet apart in the rows, and the rows 3 feet apart. Others again ad­vocate planting them 1 foot apart, with 2 feet between the rows; and after one crop of fruit has been gathered, remove each alter­nate plant in the row, thus leaving a space of 2 feet each way be­tween the plants. Of course no careful, neat gardener would think of allowing his runners to encumber the ground for the purpose of securing a large amount of little, imperfect berries. Such a course is always attended with positive loss, and is indicative of sloven­liness. When grown as I have suggested, say 2 feet apart each way, or at most 2 feet by 18 inches, and then carefully cultivated and enriched every year bountifully, I believe that most kinds will live and be profitable for 6 or 8 years. I know the Tri-umphe de Grand in heavy soils will, and the quantity of fruit will annually increase as the plants gets older. An excellent way to apply the manure is to spread it over the surface liberally in the autumn and in the spring fork it under, covering at once with the mulching material.
Pruning Blackberries.—Germantown Telegraph.—Persons hav­ing cultivated the new Rochelle blackberry are possessed of suffi­cient knowledge to understand the fact that the longer they allow the canes to remain unpruned the lateral branches are proportionally slender and the fruit smaller. To obtain the largest sized berries and the largest quantity, too, cut back the leading canes to not ex­ceeding 4 feet in length and shorten also the lateral branches. This will be found to increase also tl\g length and breadth of the stool, affording more bearing room, and generally to result in greatly im­proving the crop. It is not too late yet to shorten in where it has been much neglected, as we often see in some of our gardens. In July the young wood, which by that time has grown over the tops of the old, bending canes, should be clipped, especially the lateral branches. It will have the best effect upon the next year's crop.