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perfect demonstration of these latter causes and effects, I suffered some of those trees which were diseased to grow the next year, without any additional supply of food, when they recovered their health. I also took others that were healthy, and treated them in the same manner as the former, and these became diseased like them.
Having from these and many other observations been led to believe, that dung or its extract, and blood, or other animal matters, when brought in contact with the roots of plants in a putrefactive or undecomposed state, obstructed both their health prolificacy; and knowing that blood, when suffered to remain undisturbed a short time, formed two distinct substances, the serous and the clotted, and that the serous was less likely to putrify, more divisible, and more readily diluted, and reduced to the required state of food for plants, I took a quantity of blood as it had been taken from animals, and suffered it to remain in a vessel for a day or two, until it was separated; I then poured off the serum, and diluting it with different portions of water, applied it as food, not only to my peach trees, &c., but to every description of plant I had growing, either in pots or out of them and all those which were fed with a mixture of about one part of serum, to from three to six of water, by applying it in the usual manner and quantity as water, discovered a more immediate and improved appearance than I had ever seen by the application of any other substance whatever ; but I found that
this mixture applied either too frequently, or in toð large quantities, produced disease.
It being obvious that a state of great luxuriance or increase of growth in a tree, is seldom accompanied by prolificacy in seed or fruit; and also that a state of poverty or sterility of soil is unequal to the production of a crop of fruit, I was desirous of ascertaining some means of modifying those extremes; and the above observations having furnished me with a clue, I proceeded to arrange a course of experiments. Different trees were supplied with certain quantities of food or diluted serum at stated periods, which evidently produced different effects; those trees which were fed liberally in winter, or early spring, made a luxuriant growth, but threw off their fruit; such as were supplied at a more advanced period of the spring, produced a larger spread of leaf, and luxuriant midsummer shoots, which of course rather obstructed than improved the growth of either the immediate fruit, or the wood for fruiting the next season. Those which were supplied at Midsummer, were forced into a fresh expansion of shoots and leaves, which, at so late a period, retarded the ripening of the fruit and wood; other trees I supplied with food or serum about the middle of the period, between Midsummer and the fall of the leaf, or from the beginning of August to the middle of September; and I observed that this in no respect injured the immediate fruit, but had the effect of increasing and forwarding the growth of
the fruit buds, which were forming for the next year; and so much so, that the trees thus supplied came into bloom in the house at least a month earlier than others which were of the same sorts, and placed along side, but under different treatment as to feeding; and they sustained their fruit throughout, and ripened it at least a fortnight earlier.
The best mode and proportion of supplying this food to the peach and nectarine trees in pots, I found to be, to give about three pints in the year, mixed in the proportion of three parts of water and one of serum, divided and given at three different periods: that is to say, one pint at the end of August, one in the middle, and one at the end of September.
As I have in the former part of my work shown it to be demonstrative, that from the peculiar formation of the roots, and the general habits of plants, they cannot take in or apply their food, otherwise than in a state of solution, and that water is the only medium of supply, I need only further remark, that the peach tree requires a liberal supply of water; and that those in the house to which I gave, in the proportion of about one quart to each pot, every alternate day whilst in leaf, by pouring it entirely over the leaves and branches, I found to be the most healthy and prolific; and the evening after sunset appeared to be the best time for this operation.
A certain method of extirpating the aphis in a
house is to fill it with tobacco smoke, which is easily done by setting fire to a small quantity of tobacco, and shutting the house close up during the night.
When trees are regularly watered over their leaves and branches, the red spider will seldom do much injury; nor will the mildew extend much; but when the mildew appears, it may be instantly
, checked by throwing over it a little dry powder of sulphur vivum, which is readily done with a hare's tail used as a powder puff.
In the application of heat I obtained the greatest quantity, and finest quality of fruit, under the following management: the house being heated by steam, with Hague's patent apparatus ; the steam was got up in the morning by sunrise; and for the first month the temperature raised gradually, until the thermometer stood at 70 degrees Fahrenheit at mid-day. About the sun's setting the fire was banked up or withdrawn, and the heat suffered to subside during the night, taking care only that it did not get below 35 degrees. The second month the thermometer was raised to 80 degrees at mid-day, and gradually increased until the third month, when it was raised to 100 degrees, suffering the heat to decline at night during the whole time.
Being of opinion that a constant supply of fresh air must in every way contribute to sustain the grand object of the conservatory, I made arrangements on my steam apparatus to produce this, as is explained in my essay on the pine apple, and shown by the sketches in plate 13.; and I found it in every respect to answer my expectations.
To afford a more certain means of distributing water equally over the surface of the soil in the pots, and at the same time to support an equal evaporation, I placed a covering of small pebbles on them, which produced the desired effect, and preserved a neat appearance.
With the view to obtain the greatest quantity of fruit, and the greatest variety within a limited space, I tried various modes of training the trees; and having found the method represented by plate 13. decidedly preferable to every other plan, I conceive it useless to describe any other. By this mode, it must be obvious, no time is lost by cutting back in the first instance; the nourishment taken up is effectively appropriated, and with the least waste; the annual increase of the tree duly supported, and the surface of the leaves, and the fruit, all brought to the greatest possible exposure to the sun and air. Fig. 1. plate 13. represents the plant in its first stage. Fig. 2. the manner in which it is to be fixed or trained. Fig. 3. the second year; and fig. 4. the third year. The most complete steps for the branches are small iron rods painted, and fixed into wood stumps, driven into the soil. A reference to my former observations on the force and flow of the sap in trees will show the principle which determines the branches to grow as described by the sketches. The first summer after planting, some of my trees bore a fine fruit;