BULLETIN NO. 39.
S MARKET AND THE HOME.
i The Bulletins of this Station will be sent Free to any addr
in Florida upon application to the Director of the Ex-
rI periment Station, Lake City, Fla.
DE LAND, FLA.
U. 0. PAINTER C00.,
Board of Trustees.
HON. WALTER GWYNN, President... ......... ... Sanford
HON. F. E. HARRIS, Chairman Executive Committee.,.... Ocala
HON. A. B. HAGEN, Secretary............... ... .Lake City
HON. S. STRINGER.... ... ....... ...... ....Brooksville
HON. H. W. GELSTON ......... ......... ....DeLand
HON. WM. FISHER............. .............. Pensacola
HON. H. S. REES... .................. ... ... Live Oak
O. CLUTE, M. S., LL. D........................ Director
P. H. ROLFS, M. S............ Horticulturist and Biologist
A. A. PERSONS, M. S................ ... ...Chemist
A. L. QUAINTANCE, M. S.............. Assistant in Biology
JOHN F. MITCHELL ........ ..... Foreman of Lake City Farm
J. T. STUBBS ...... ... Supt. Sub-Station, DeFuniak Springs
W. A. MARSH ....... ........... .Supt. Sub-Station, Myers
J. P. DAVIES, B. S............ ...Assistant in Chemistry
LIBRARIAN... .... ...... .. .. ... .......Lake City
S. POWERS, Experimenter with Strawberries....... Jacksonville
Table of Contents.
Strawberries grown in Florida mainly for market..... ......... 465
Important that producers live near together .....................465
Shipping and telegraph facilities ................................ 466
The crop demands work and care ................... ............466
Soils ......... ..... ..... ..... ......... .. ...... ... ....... 466
Flatwoods soil best ..... .............. ............................466
Hammock or bayhead .......................... ............466
Muck ......... .... ........ ...... .......... ........... .... 467
Light sand ................. .............. .... ....... ....467
Irrigation ...................... ........................ ....467
Varieties ................ ................ ............. .......468
The Newnan ................... ............................468
The Cloud ......... ............... ........ .............. 468
The Hoffman ................ ............. ....... .........468
The Lady Thompson ...... .............. ........... .......468
Degeneration of stock .................. .......................469
Maintaining the vitality ...................... ... ..............470
Another method .............................................470
Importing plants from northern latitudes .......................471
To preserve plants through the summer ......................... 472
Raising runners ......... ..... .................... .........474
Digging and shipping plants .............. ............. ........476
Turning under old beds .........................................477
Cleaning up old beds ..........................................478
Plowing for new beds ................... .................. .....478
Plowing under vegetable matter ..............................479
Beds or fiat culture ............... ........................480
Making the beds .............. ............ .... ..............481
Marking off beds .................. .......... .... ............481
Setting plants ...................... ........ ................ 482
Time of setting ........ ............ ............ ......... ... 48
W watering and shading ....... .... ......... .......... ..........484
Setting plants with a trowel ................................... 4 .6
Cultivation ........... ....... ... .......... .......... 456
Fertilizing ....... ...... ... ................ .. ...... ......487
Home-mixed fertilizers ......... ....... .................... .488
Cutting runners ............ .................................489
Mulching ................... ................. ......... ..... 489
Insects ...... ... ........... ...... .............. ............49J
Diseases, rust .............. ....................... ..........491
Dieback, or white bud ....... ............ .....................492
Picking ........ ........... .. ........ ... ........... ......494
Sorting and packing ............... .................. .......495
Facing ...... ... .......... ...... ........ ........ ........496
Shipping-commission houses .... ............ ............... .. 496
Present conditions ............. .................. ......... ....497
Conditions in South Florida ........ ...... ..................... 499
Paper by C. H. Ward. ............ .............. ... ...... 501
Varieties .. ........ ............... ....... ..501
The Phenomenal Strawberry.. ................ ..... 501
Summer Treatment .......... ...... ........... 502
Profits................ ......... ..... .. ....502
Formula for Strawberry Fertilizer ........ ............. 504
FOR MARKET AND FOR HOME USE.
Strawberries are grown in Florida only to a limited extent
for home consumption; they are produced mostly for shipment
to Northern markets. Hence there is comparatively little scien-
tific interest attaching to the pursuit with most growers, so far
as the discovery of new varieties is concerned, and the develop-
ment of old varieties to that state of perfection to which North-
ern growers are stimulated by frequent competitive exhibitions
at the fairs. The Florida grower pursues a system of great sim-
plicity in its objects; the two questions of paramount importance
with him are, first, to produce a berry that will ship well; sec-
ond, and depending on the first quality, one that will sell well.
But it must not be supposed that the attainment of these ends
does not involve questions of complexity and difficulty. There
is no other commercial crop grown in the State which requires
more skill in producing and more shrewdness in marketing.
CONSIDERATIONS WHICH SHOULD DETERMINE A
CHOICE OF THIS PURSUIT.
To the novice contemplating the choice of strawberry cul-
ture as a specialty there are -certain considerations which should
exert a leading influence with him. It is of great importance that
he should have enough neighbors engaged in the same pursuit
to form a body of shippers sufficient to guarantee good shipping
facilities, such as refrigerator cars, boxes, etc., and a substantial
recognition by the transportation companies in the shape of a
favorable schedule and the provision of an ample supply of cars
for the reception and forwarding of the shipments. There should
be a telegraph station during the season. This is not of such im-
portance in the matter of market reports, as these sometimes
cause a stampede of the shippers to a market reported favorably,
causing gluts and low prices. The greatest value of the wire is
in securing a prompt supply of refrigerators, ice, etc., at critical
times, when a delay of a few hours might involve serious loss.
No indolent or careless man should choose strawberry cul-
ture for a vocation. Ordinary farm crops which do not require
much expenditure for fertilizers and labor may be cultivated in
a slipshod manner and still yield some sort of a living. But the
strawberry demands a great deal of painstaking labor-drudgery
it would be called by one not in love with his calling-besides
a considerable outlay for expensive fertilizers; so that, unless the
crop is kept up to a high standard and all the ins and outs of the
markets and transportation methods are vigilantly looked after,
the result will be failure. Industry, economy and a careful per-
sonal attention to a multitude of details are more important than
an intimate knowledge of the markets, for it may be set down
as axiomatic that.good Ifrbit will sell itself.
The best soil for strawberry culture is a good quality of flat-
woods, for this plant demands a liberal supply of water and a wa-
ter-holding capacity of the soil. To this end there should be a
subsoil of clay eighteen inches or two feet below the surface. A
long gentle slope to the south is the best situation, as the sub-
soil of clay acts as a roof, conducting the waters of precipitation
slowly downward beneath the surface, in a thin sheet along the
clay sheet from which it percolates upward by capillary attrac-
tion, watering the plant through a drouth by a system of natural
A hammock or a "Ibayhead" (a cypress swamp) offers the
next most favorable conditions, but a soil of nearly pure muck or
vegetable detritus, of a fine floury texture, does not resist drouth
as well as does the sandy flatwoods soil. Such soils pack to-
gether hard, the moisture rapidly evaporates, the cus-
tomary spring drouth quickly reduces the size of the
berries and terminates the harvest before the shipping
season is over. If such soils have to be used their texture can be
improved by an admixture of sand; five hundred wagon loads
per acre, well incorporated with the muck, would work a decided
betterment, but the question whether it would pay for the labor
would have to be considered. If the grower has good shipping
facilities and the other favoring accessories above noted, and a
piece of muck a quarter or half a mile from the railroad station,
it would pay him to spend a good deal of labor in hauling sand
upon it rather than go out two or three miles to find land natur-
ally adapted, and be obliged to wagon his berries that distance
over rough roads before they are shipped.
On light sandy soils, where orange culture would prosper,
it is an almost hopeless undertaking to plant strawberries.
Nothing will warrant the attempt except the possession of fa-
cilities for copious irrigation.
The time will probably come, under a higher system of cul-
tivation and improved methods of transportation which will pre-
serve tender, high-grade fruit in transit, when irrigation will be
profitable. Under present circumstances it may well be consid-
ered problematical in a great majority of cases. An enterprising
wide-awake grower will prepare his land early, breaking it up
deep and making it fine and firm; set his beds before the end of
the summer rainy season, securing deep-grown, powerful plants
which will, on suitable soil, go through the severest autumn
drouth without detriment, growing right along. In the usual
spring drouth judicious irrigation would doubtless increase the
size of the berries-not their number-and enhance their market
value. But large strong plants on a deep flatwoods soil will en-
dure a drouth surprisingly well; and the reduced yield of the
carelessly cultivated plantations will give a higher value to the
output of those which were well cared for, nearly, if not quite,
counterbalancing the falling-off in quantity. Still, we believe
that, even with the abundant though badly distributed rainfall of
this State, some inexpensive but effective system of irrigation
will eventually be adopted by the best growers.
But care must be taken not to give excessive watering. A
certain modicum of moisture in the soil imparts to the berries
size, gloss, plumpness and firmness, but too much injures their
The leading varieties cultivated in the State are the Newnan,
Hoffman, Cloud, Wilson and Lady Thompson, in the order of
their mention. There are probably five times as many Newnans
grown as of all the others put together. It is probably not worth
while to give a technical description of these varieties since the
purpose of this bulletin is to treat them with reference to their
commercial uses. None of them are of first-class quality for the
table. Probably the Lady Thompson and the Cloud are the best
for this purpose. The Newnan is so inferior for home consump-
tion that, among the numerous luscious varieties grown in the
North, it would occupy a position well down toward the bottom
of the scale. It is a hard and rather acid berry, especially in the
winter and early spring, and at this season it ripens somewhat
unevenly, frequentlybecoming brilliantly sunburned on the upper
side, with a glossiness like that of glass, while on the under side
it remains green or even almost white. It is the coldness of the
ground and the lowness of the sun 'in the horizon, burning rather
than ripening, which causes this unevenness. In May, if the
Newnan is allowed to become purple ripe, it is more passable,
but still requires generous treatment with sugar.
The Newnan is not as large a berry and not as productive as
the Cloud and the Lady Thompson; it is not as handsome as the
Hoffman; not as early as the Hoffman and the Lady Thompson;
and the plants are not as vigorous growers as either of the two
first above mentioned; yet its all-round good qualities make it
very popular, especially in North Florida, where it constitutes
the bulk of the plantings, though in South Florida it divides
popular favor to a somewhat greater extent with other varieties.
The Cloud is a fine large berry, the plant is a vigorous
grower and prolific, but it is a pistillate or imperfect bloomer and
must be planted in the vicinity of some perfect bloomer. It is
customary to set a bed of Clouds and a bed of Newnans in al-
ternation,orClouds in the middleof the bed and Newnansaround
the outside. The Cloud is perhaps less hardy to resist drouth
than the Newnan, and in ordinary seasons it does not fruit as
late. Being a pistillate bloomer and therefore destitute of pol-
len, it does not suffer from the attacks of the thrips as much as
the Newnan, since that insect seems to have a special fondness
for feeding on the pollen, stamens and petals of the bloom.
The Hoffman is a long, sharply conical, almost purple, rich-
looking berry, usually commanding the highest prices in the
market, but deceptive in flavor, not coming up to its promise.
It is not as popular in Florida as among the Charleston grow-
ers; it requires a rich soil to bring out its beauties to perfection.
It does not hold out well against the spring drouth in this State;
it falls off, if it does not altogether cease to bear, several days be-
fore the shipping season should close. It is well enough to have
a few beds of Hoffmans, highly fertilized, to catch the earliest
and highest prices.
The Lady Thompson is comparatively a newcomer, but it
has scored a few remarkable successes. It is prolific in a high
degree and of an agreeable flavor; its greatest fault is its light
color. This renders it unpopular in Boston, while in New York
and Philadelphia it is said to have secured, for careful growers
and shippers, some very flattering returns. It is a fruit for pains-
taking men; careless growers should let it alone.
DEGENERATION OF STOCK.
The writer does not believe that strawberry plants neces-
sarily deteriorate in the climate of Florida, but that they actual-
ly do so in most instances can not be denied. This is 'chiefly a
resultof careless pioneer methodsof propagation and cultivation.
The same plants are generally compelled to produce both fruit
and runners, which is very much the same as the treatment ac-
corded by some of the peasants of Europe to their cows, which
they require to supply milk and at the same time labor in the
furrow. It is true that in a state of nature the strawberry plant
propagates itself by both methods-by seed and by runners, and
in a wild, condition it probably does not strain itself by so doing.
But in a cultivated state it must be remembered that the fruit-
ing aptitude has been enormously stimulated, even to such an
extent that plants sometimes kill themselves in a single season by
their excessive fruitfulness, and that too when they are not al-
lowed to produce runners.
MAINTAINING THE VITALITY.
It has been repeatedly demonstrated in Florida that, by
careful management, the vitality of plants may be maintained at
a high standard through several seasons and even through suc-
cessive generations. For instance, if plants are allowed to es-
cape into fallow ground, provided it is not too heavily seeded
with crab or other grasses, and to run wild for a season or two,
it is observed that their runners take on a heightened stamina.
They seem to recover some of the freshness and robustness of
nature, through the survival of the fittest-the weaker ones per-
ishing from neglect. This operation obeys the same laws as
those observed by the skillful breeder of live stock, who, how-
ever pampered, housed and blanketed he may keep his. show ani-
mals, allows his breeding herds and flocks to run afield, "rough-
ing it" more or less, whereby, though their coats may become
somewhat shaggy, they acquire the ruddy skins and the robust
muscles of perfect health.
It is a matter of great importance not to cultivate strawber-
ries year after year. on the same land until it becomes "straw-
berry sick." This is one of the most fruitful causes of the degen-
eration and "running out" of varieties which we find occurring
in the older strawberry sections of the State.
The vitality of plants may be preserved much longer than
it generally is, perhaps indefinitely, if they are well cultivated and
fertilized and not allowed to produce fruit. To this end the blos-
soms or the young fruits should be systematically pulled off, and
the earlier in their development the better. The formation of
seed is the highest functionof fruit production, it makes a heavier
demand on the vitality of the plant than anything else connected
with its growth and development; hence if every flower is pulled
off as soon as it appears or even before it opens, the plant will
have a reserve of life force to bestow upon its successors, the run-
ners. It will augment still more this reserve if the runners are
not permitted to spin out too long. They should be clipped off
after they have taken root five or six times. Each plant in suc-
cession, as we recede from the parent stock, is weaker and more
IMPORTING PLANTS FROM NORTHERN LATI-
In the several ways above mentioned the stamina of the
plants might be preserved, perhaps indefinitely, but, unfortunate-
ly, few growers have yet been discovered in Florida who will
take the necessary pains. In the first place, it requires a resolute
man to pluck off and throw away fruit when he has been waiting
for a whole year for something to pay his store bills with, and
that too at a season of the year when fruit is generally bringing
fancy prices. During the shipping season the growers are busy
and excited over the kaleidoscopic changes in market prices, and
few can be found willing to bring their minds down to the pro-
saic labor of cultivating plants. After the shipping season is
over, everybody is exhausted, and it is only a very energetic
manwho is willing to resume at once the treadmill routine which,
to insure success, must continue practically the year round. The
rush of the strawberry shipping season is feverish, its fascina-
tions are great, and this same cause which makes strawberry
specialists poor and infrequent growers of general garden and
field crops also has the effect of making them neglectful of the
plants at this time except to strip them as rapidly as possible of
their money-yielding berries.
Hence when planting time approaches many growers find
themselves with badly depleted beds, hundreds, perhaps thou-
sands of plants dead. Their best resource, then, if within their
reach, is to send to a more northerly situation for a fresh stock,
for it is the case with strawberries as with Irish potatoes that a
resort to higher latitudes for seed secures a fresh infusion of vi-
tality. It is not necessary to go any further north than the pied-
mont region, or the extreme lower foothills of Alabama ro Geor-
gia, where the clay of the flanks of the Appalachian chain breaks
down into the vast wire-grass flats of the coast region. And it is
highly probable that the advantage gained here arises more from
the clay soil, with its greater natural supplies of potash, than
from the inconsiderable difference in latitude between North
Florida, for instance, and the region directly north of Mobile.
A still more marked advantage is gained by importing plants
from the piedmont regions of North Carolina; for in this case
there is not only a better soil but an important gain in latitude.
That the higher latitude is not the principal element of su-
periority in northern regions is proven by the fact that straw-
berry plants imported from States north of the Potomac and the
Ohio are almost universally a failure in Florida. The simple
fact is, take the Newnan or any other variety acclimated in Flor-
ida, carry it up to the edge of the clay foothills and grow it there
even one year, then return it to Florida and it will be found to
have received an important accession of vigor.
TO PRESERVE OLD PLANTS THROUGH THE
In some instances it is worth while to preserve through the
summer, plants which have fruited once; in other cases it is not.
In another paragraph the importance of bringing plants from a
more northerly section was explained, it is there shown that it is
unprofitable to cultivate continuously the plants grown in Flor-
ida. The considerations there given will decide the planter
whether or not to hold his stock over and fruit it another year.
If he decides to do so, very soon after the picking season is
ended the mulching should be raked off and the beds should be
hoed out. Leave all the trash lying where it grew, and if there
is not enough of it to shade the ground, throw back some of the
As the strawberry plant practically grows all winter in Flor-
ida, it must have a season of rest sometime during the year.
That season is in midsummer. It does not-want to be cultivated
then; it ought to be let alone and allowed to lie dormant. At
this time the life of the plant retreats into the central bulb. All
its roots die and turn black. Only a thin and feeble plume of
leaves remains to show that there is any life left in the plant at all.
In this puny condition one can often kick out with the toe of
one's shoe, what in the spring was a vigorous plant firmly an-
chored to the ground and yielding a good crop of berries.
At this time therefore, it does not need to be cultivated, be-
cause cultivation would keep it in a state of semi-activity, drag-
ging along through the "rainy season" and emerging in the fall
with a spent vitality, unable to recover itself and produce a good
crop. The hoeing above mentioned is not to constitute a cultiva-
tion but a simple scalping of the ground, cutting off the weeds at
the surface. The nearer the plant can be allowed to lapse into
a condition of perfect dormancy, the better it will be for it in the
fall. Plants cultivated all summer will give a delusive promise
in autumn, only to break down completely when the fruiting
In this feeble condition it requires protection from the sun.
If mulching can be retained on the ground without breeding de-
structive vermin, this will be a help; it keeps the ground cool.
If mulching is out of the question it is better to let the weeds
and grass grow to some extent. Of course, the crabgrass can
not be allowed to have its own way unchecked, or else it will
speedily smother to death the enfeebled plants. These must
have access to the sun but they want a modified sunlight. A
thin row of corn about every four feet or one of rice every three
feet will help to protect the strawberry plants. But these protec-
tors must be removed gradually in the fall, or else the sudden
change will destroy the plants. The writer has seen a hedge of
dog-fennel growing in the dead furrowbetween the beds preserve
in good condition the plants as far out as the shade extended,
while those left to the tender mercies of the crab grass perished.
A neat farmer would condemn these hedges of dog-fennel as
slovenly, but he might do worse than by.tolerating them.
Running through the rows once in three or four weeks, with
a Cole garden sweep, roughly scalping and cutting the thickest
patches of grass, is advisable. But let everything be done with-
out stirring the soil.
IN LIGHT SOILS.
There may be cases where strawberry culture would pay for
a home supply, on soils so light and sandy that it would be well
nigh, if not quite, impossible to preserve plants alive during the
summer. The bearing season is so long in Florida and the value
of a supply of fresh berries for the table every day in the late win-
ter and spring is so great, both from an economic and a hygienic
standpoint, that the grower could afford to purchase a few
hundred plants afresh every fall. But we doubt whether straw-
berry culture for commercial purposes would pay on soils so
light that the plants would wholly perish every summer.
The greatest enemy to strawberry plants in this State is the
crab grass, and this also interposes the most serious difficulty
which is encountered in raising runners. For this purpose it is
best to select a piece of land which has not been long enough un-
der cultivation to become seeded to crab grass. A piece of wire
grass sod, just inverted, would afford perfect exemption from
this pest, but, unfortunately, the strawberry will not vine well on
raw land. It will throw out runners to some extent if the sod is
well treated with quick lime or fresh hardwood ashes; still it is
generally advisable to plant land which has been a year or two
in cultivation, even though it may have a little crab grass.
For the propagation of runners it is advisable to set the par-
ent plants as early as March or even February. The ground is
then cool, very few perish, they take root and grow off rapidly.
Runner plants formed in the spring or early summer may be al-
lowed to stand a month or two; they thereby mature and their
roots lose their white, fresh appearance and that tenderness
which makes them so perishable when transplanted. The novice
will generallyreject these dark-rooted plants as being too old, and
eagerly purchase the white-rooted ones; but unless he is pre-
pared to remove them with earth on or to shade and water them
with assiduous care, he will make a mistake in this selection.
The dark-rooted plants will live when others will die.
The method of bedding is elsewhere described. Run out a
furrow wth a hand-plow, strew in it a mixture of four parts cot-
ton seed meal (by weight) with one part fifty-per-cent sulphate
of potash at the rate of five or six hundred pounds per acre. Run
another furrow close alongside covering up the fertilizer and set
the plants in this last furrow. Firm the earth well around them
with the feet as a protection against the customary spring
drouth. As soon as they are established and begin to grow, run
around them with a garden sweep (Cole's is best), carefully pick
out all weeds lurking around them and lightly hoe. In a week
or ten days, unless it is very dry and threatening drouth, plow
deep and close to the plants. The deepest stirring should be the
first, before roots have been formed; then go shallower each cul-
tivation as the surface feeders are thrown out. Always weed
thoroughly; turn up the leaves and pull out all sneaking intrud-
ers. If allowed to remain and grow until they reveal their pres-
ence above the plants, they disturb the latter more when pulled
out and they bring away with them a quantity of fertilizer which
they have stolen-a clear waste.
After the last cultivation has been given the runners should
be straightened out and distributed around over the ground so
that, as they take root, the young plants shall not be crowded to-
gether in bunches.
VWhere old plants are used for the propagation of runners,
the fruit should be kept picked off until the end of the bearing
season; otherwise it will fall down around the plants, rot and the
seeds will spring up, producing seedlings which may be totally
unlike the parent plant and worthless.
IF OLD LAND IS USED,
It is best to continue the cultivation of it severely until about
the middle of July, regardless of the runners that may start out.
By this time most of the crab grass seed which may bein the
ground will have germinated and the young grass plants will
have been destroyed, so that when the cultivation ceases there
will be little left to come up. If the cultivation is discontinued as
soon as the runners begin to shoot out, the crab grass will grow
so rapidly that it will swamp the young plants unless a large
amount of hand-weeding is done. The Planet Jr. cultivator has
an adjustable fender which lifts the runners to one side and en-
ables the cultervation to be performed without covering up the
ends of them with the furrow-slice.
It is very important to stir the ground deeply in which
plants are to be grown, and this is especially the case when it has
been compacted by the repeated tramping of the pickers. If the
ground is left hard the tender, white rootlets of the young plants
can not penetrate it to any depth; they spread out near the sur-
face, stunted and feeble; and, even if the plants acquire sufficient
volume to promise well, they are very unsatisfactory because
their roots are so short that they quickly dry out and die when
transplanted. On the other hand if the ground is kept mel-
low the roots run down long and vigorous and such plants can
be set with much more confidence that they will survive.
It is very essential also to keep the grass and weeds sub-
dued on the runner-bed, for if the young plants are compelled to
grow up tall and spindling to reach the sunlight they are tender
when transplanted; they fall over helpless, do not shade and
keep the ground cool around their own roots, and quickly perish.
Plants grown on clean land are short, stocky and vigorous.
DIGGING AND SHIPPING PLANTS.
As much of this is done in the heat of the summer it is nec-
essary to handle and pack the plants very carefully or they will
either dry out or else become heated and spoiled. To dig them
strike, a prong-hoe into the ground as deep as the roots extend,
pry and loosen it up. Pull them out without breaking the roots
unnecessarily, pinch off all runners which are over three or four
inches long, plunge them into a bucket of water and place them
at once in the shade. Have a box with a saw-cut in each end
deep enough to hold a string, and stretch the string across about
three inches from the side of the box. Lay the dampened plants
across the string with their roots against the side of the box; this
will give the ,bunches a neat, even appearance. Tie them into
bunches of 50, Ioo or 200, according to their size. In coolish
weather they may be shipped safely in a box just deep enough
to receive the bunches placed on end, standing on a generous
layer of dampened sphagnum moss. Crowd them in as tight as
they can possibly be crowded, to prevent drying out, then nail
Slats across the top of the box, with spaces of an inch between
them to give ventilation.
If the weather is dry and hot and the distance is considerable
greater precautions must be observed. Pack the bunches in a
barrel, a half-barrel or a box, laying them on their sides with the
roots inside.' Have a log or a section of stove pipe extending
down through the middle of the package. When the box or bar-
rel is full, withdraw the stove pipe and cram the space which it
occupied full of dampened moss. The package may then be
closed up tight with the exception of a few auger holes here and
there to give ventilation.
TURNING UNDER OLD BEDS.
It is very seldom that it will prove profitable to retain a bed
of plants more than two years, though the writer did once keep
nearly his entire plantation three years and harvested the third
year a heavier crop than in either of the preceding years. But
the berries, though in immense numbers in the wide-spreading
plants-some of them almost as wide as a straw hat-averaged
very small and the losses in sorting were consequently heavy.
Subsequent experience has confirmed mein the belief that a care-
ful, energetic grower can turn his beds under every spring and
replant them outright in the fall more cheaply than he can fight
crab grass all summer, laboriously scrape and pick it out of the
beds in the fall and refill the many missing places. To adopt
this bold course of turning his beds under every spring, he
should make sure of a generous provision of vigorous young
plants early in the fall or late summer; then he may do it fear-
Take a three-horse sulky plow of the Canaday or other equally
good pattern and with it split each bed in the middle, throwing
half of it each way. A good plow man will lay the furrow-slices
over one on the other as even and regular as the courses on the
side of a weatherboarded house. Sow the beds in cow peas and
run over it a few times with a cutaway harrow to cover the peas.
If the weather is very dry it is well to roll the ground. A good
enough roller can be manufactured by the grower himself from
a pine log about eighteen inches in diameter, set in a frame-work
with a bench above it on which the driver can ride to give it
The attempt to turn under a mass of weeds and grass,
mulching and plants with a one-horse plow is one of the most
unsatisfactory and exasperating labors on the farm; but
with a large heavy plow, as above described, it can
be done to perfection. After the cow peas have been
removed, split the beds again and reverse them, thus
making the dead-furrows or allews where they were before.
By this time the mulching and old plants turned under will have
mostly rotted and imparted their juices to the soil to benefit the
coming strawberry crop.
CLEANING UP OLD BEDS.
Along in the latter part of August in North Florida(a month
or six weeks later in South Florida), the grower must decide
whether it will be more profitable to clean up his old beds or
plow them up and plant anew. This question will be decided by
the condition of the old stand and his supply of young plants.
If half the plants are dead he had better plow the beds down,
first removing the most vigorous of the old plants, to be divided
and reset, and the best of the runners. If there is over half a
stand, it will probably pay to clean up the beds and refill the
To do this hoe the grass off at the surface and pull it out of
the stools, leaving it to lie where it stood for several days. If
removed at once the sun may heat the earth to such a degree as
to kill many of the plants. Old plants which are vigorous
enough to be worth saving over another year do not require any
further cultivation at this time; the simple killing of the grass,
giving the plants the benefit of all the sunshine and of the moist-
ure in the soil, will be all they need until October perhaps. But
the missing places should be refilled as soon as the beds are raked
If there are many thrifty young plants scattered about in
the grass it will be worth while to save them, unless the grower
has an abundance in his runner-beds. To do this it will be nec-
essarv to pull out a good deal of the grass. Shake the earth from
it and return it to the ground where it stood. In a week or ten
days it may be raked off; the plants will by this time have be-
come accustomed to the change so that they can endure the full
PLOWING FOR NEW BEDS.
If new land is chosen, the raw wire grass sod should be
broken up the winter before hand, though the plowing may, if
necessary, be deferred until the picking season is over, or even to
the beginning of the "rainy season," if a good application of lime
or potash is made to correct the native acidity of the soil. The
plowing should be done with a powerful team, turning the sod
over at least eight inches deep, followed by a man with an ax to
chop out the roots left in clearing. Native farmers oppose such
deep plowing for the first time, on account of the sourness of the
sub-soil (and their argument is correct if no application is made
to correct this sourness), but the lime removes this objection.
Besides that, a considerable depth of loose soil is needed to make
a mellow bed, as it is difficult to cut up the tough sod sufficiently
fine to receive plants. It is best to bury it deep down and to use
no implement in the subsequent cultivation that will bring any
pieces of it to the surface.
Plow the sod into beds twelve or fourteen feet wide, slice
them very thoroughly with the disc or cutaway harrow, length-
ways and crossways. Plow out the dead-furrows a second time
and throw the loose earth over the beds to assist in forming a
mellow surface. Sow lime over it at the rate of fifteen or twen-
ty barrels to the acre. Caustic lime freshly slacked is better than
the air-slacked; stone lime is better than oyster shell lime. This
should be done in the rainy season to give the showers an op-
portunity to wash the lime down and "sweeten" the soil. Then
let the beds stand two or three weeks-depending on the amount
of rainfall-for if plants are set sooner than that the lime may
burn one here and there.
PLOWING UNDER VEGETABLE MATTER.
If old beds are to be plowed, the question arises, How much
vegetable matter is it advisable to turn under? We have not
space here to enter into a discussion of the humus question in all
its bearings. Unquestionably the thin, sandy soils of Florida
need decayed vegetable matter or humus, but it is extremely in-
jurious to strawberry plants to set them over a mass of green
vegetation, whether cow peas or crab grass, recently plowed un-
der. In fact, this should not be plowed down any time in hot
weather, as it sours and deadens the soil for a year or more af-
terward. (In the spring plowing above described the mulching
and the dried up plants are not injurious to the land). There-
fore, at the time of the summer or fall plowing, everything on the
surface should be mown off close, leaving only a short stubble
to be plowed down. We have known a mass of cow peas plowed
under to sour the land to such a degree that strawberry plants
set over it yielded practically nothing, and it was two years be-
fore the land recovered its tone and vigor.
BEDS OR FLAT CULTURE.
Strawberries are grown in Florida by various systems, from
a bed containing a single row up to those with eight or ten rows,
and without any bedding-up, the flat culture. The adaptability
of each system must be determined by the character of the soil.
The best strawberry soil is found in a good class of flatwoods;
and of this there is a good deal which "runs together" in a rain
and dried out with a crust. Such land will produce an excellent
crop of berries if it is broken up afresh every fall, and frequently
it is almost impossible to secure a good crop from it without.
On wide beds in this sort of land ohe will frequently see the out-
side row flourishing quite beyond any other one on the bed, not-
withstanding the fact that, being on the outside, it receives only
half as much fertilizer as the inside rows. This superiority is un-
doubtedly due to the better drainage and to the consequent light
and friable nature of the soil. Indeed, if one of these outside
plants is pulled up, it will be found that a large majority of its fine
feeding roots are on the bank-slope, growing close to the surface,
where they can enjoy the sunshine and not be lacerated by culti-
vation. In such land therefore a just medium should be ob-
served. If the beds are too wide the water does not run off
readily after heavy rains and the inside plants are stunted; if
they are too narrow they dry out and it is difficult, in setting
plants, to make them live unless the weather is showery.
Narrow beds do not retain mulching well in a high wind.
Narrow beds are best in a wet season, in a dry season they suffer
most from the drouth. Still, on the whole, it is advisable to plant
a few two-row beds to furnish early berries.
All beds should be full in the middle, sloping evenly to the
edges so that no water shall collect and stand in hollows. This
is a very important item in making the bed. We have known a
row midway of one side of the bed, on account of bad drainage,
to produce not over fifty per cent as much as an outside row or
the one on the central ridge.
On a bed running east and west the side sloping to the south
will produce more and earlier berries than the side sloping to the
On dry, light lands, especially in South Florida, it is best to
pursue the system of flat culture.
MAKING THE BEDS.
Where the plowing was well done, as above described, and
the cutaway harrow and roller employed, the amount of hand-
work required is reduced to a minimum. Still, the grower should
walk up and down several times and survey the beds critically,
garden rake in hand, to determine the situation of any inequal-
ities and remove them. The beds should lie a week or two, then
the rain will settle and firm them and point out unerringly
where the hollows are. All roots and sticks should be collected
into piles and burned. All pieces of sods should -be raked off into
the ditch; they interfere with the stretching of the line in setting
MARKING OFF BEDS.
On deep, rich, mellow land, plants may be set in rows 20 to
24 inches apart, and 15 inches in the row; on thinnish land, 18
inches apart and a foot in the rows. Hill culture is universal in
Florida; matted rows, as in the North, could not be managed on
account of the prevalence of crab grass. The plants also need
to be isolated so that the sun may be able to shine on all sides of
them and color the berries, which is not so readily accomplished
in March as in June.
For a punch a round pointed wooden stake will answer. If
the grower can not judge distances readily by the eye he had bet-
ter construct a four-pointed punch-the points 12 or 15 inches
apart, as desired, and mortised into a bar upon which he can step
to thrust them into the ground. The points should be steel, to
prevent damp earth from adhering to them; about three inches
wide and six inches long, wedge shaped.
For a marker, take four inch-boards about two feet long and
six inches wide, shape them like sled-runners and fasten to a
frame-work, 18 to 24 inches apart, as desired,'to be pushed or
pulled by a handle, making slight row marks in which to set the
plants. Stretch a line near the outside of the bed and run the
marker by this the first time. It is very important to have the
rows straight for convenient and rapid cultivation. If the rows
are straight a good workman with a neat hand-plow can shave
out'weeds within an inch of the plants, thereby saving hand
It is always advisable to lay off a bed in an even number of
rows. Pickers like to take two rows at a time, and if there is
an odd row they are likely to skip it unless closely watched, and
thus berries will be overlooked.
The strawberry plant under different weather conditions
behaves very differently. In the cool humid atmosphere of a
northeaster in September it will live if thrown on the ground.
In the dry hot weather of October it will generally die despite all
, precautions of watering and shading. The condition of the at-
mosphere is all-important. It is nearly of equal importance to
keep the plants constantly dampened and bunched snugly in a
vessel to protect them from the sunshine. When the sun is
shining it is a ruinous policy to drop them along the rows and
let them lie several minutes before the setters reach them. A
better plan is to have a boy insert the roots of the plant in the
hole just a few seconds ahead of the setter; or else let the setter
keep a vessel of plants before him and help himself to them one
at a time.
Some growers think it best to pull the leaves off the plant
before setting; others hold the contrary opinion. This is really
of much less importance than the condition of the atmosphere
and the ground as to humidity. We favor the retention of the
leaves, since they shade the ground and thus protect the plant
In the cool of the evening is a much better time for setting
than the forenoon; then the dew is beginning to fall, the atmos-
phere is cool and refreshing and the plant has time to recover
from the shock before morning. It would, in many cases, pay
the grower to employ an extra hand to carry a lantern and set
until nine o'clock, rather than have the plants put out at nine
o'clock in the forenoon free of charge.
The grower must not allow himself to be deceived even by
a daily shower. There are times in July and August when a
shower falls nearly every afternoon, yet the forenoons are so
hot and drythat fifty to ninety per cent of plants set then will per-
ish inside of ten days. We have thought sometimes that where
the strawberry grower is not naturally "weather-wise" it would
pay him to keep a hygrometer, an instrument for measuring the
moisture in the atmosphere.
It is of the highest importance to have the beds well settled
and firm before setting begins, so that, when the holes are
punched, the punch will leave a clean-cut, smooth-walled hole
and not pull up and loosen the earth. To enable the rootlets of
the newly set plant to draw moisture and keep the plant living
they must be pressed up against a permanently moist surface.
The harder the bed can be rendered the better-provided it was
plowed not over a month before-for after the plants become es-
tablished it can be loosened up again. Hold the roots of the
plant against the firmest side of the hole and fill in with moist
earth; all dry, crumbly soil should be brushed away and not al-
lowed to fall into the hole. Tamp the earth down solid clear to
the bottom of the hole; if an air-hole is left it will dry out and
kill the plant. Stamp the surface down with the foot or strike it
a smart blow with the fist. To test the work take hold of a leaf
and pull; if the plant is properly set the leaf will break off be-
fore it will loosen the plant. When the filling in is completed
the bud of the plant should be just on a level with the surround-
ing surface. In a very dry time, however, it is well to set -he
plants in the bottom of a light furrow made by a hand-plow,
though, when a shower comes, it will be necessary to examine
the plants to see if any have become sanded, that is, the buds
covered with earth.
It is a mistake to have a large quantity of roots on a plant.
They make a loose bundle which can not be compressed tight
enough to exclude the air and they will dry out; whereas a few
long roots, reaching down to permanent moisture, can be so
closely packed with earth that they can not dry out but will draw
moisture steadily arid keep the plant alive.
TIME OF SETTING.
The grower of strawberries for the earliest markets should
beware of delay in setting. Better harvest the cow peas or crab
grass when half grown, prepare the beds and plant rather than
wait for the hay crop to mature and thus have a late stand. A
small, thin-foliaged plant, is a very poor piece of property in the
spring when frosts are falling. On the contrary, a large, deep-
grown, powerful plant, set in July or August and encouraged
by constant care and feeding to a steadily progressive, un-
checked development, will, in time of frost, protect its fruit as a
brooding hen does her chickens. We can not write too emphat-
ically on this subject. The frost will pierce through and through
the weak, small plant and freeze every berry, every blossom;
while the grand plant, fully matured, will hide away dozens, yes
scores, of blooms and berries in its voluminous foliage which
the frost will never touch. A certain proportion on the outside
may be frosted, but nothing short of a bitter freeze can penetrate
its interior. Such are the benefits of early planting.
WATERING AND SHADING.
The best way to water before planting is to punch the holes
and fill them with water; when this has soaked away set the
plants as above described. Watering strawberry plants newly
set in a drouth is generally labor lost, unless there is an irriga-
tion plant, enabling the growers to saturate the ground. It is
usually more efficacious to set the plants in the bottom of a slight
hand-plow furrow and cover each one with a shingle or a dwarf
palmetto leaf, sloping close down over it. A little water applied
in a situation like this will help a considerable. Do not pour the
water down a foot or two and let it crust and harden the ground;
hold the cup clear down to the earth and allow the water to flow
out. A crust formed by the beating of a stream of water, unless
broken up, will greatly injure the plant, if it does not kill it.
There is nothing in the strawberry industry more unsatis-
factory and exasperating than to get a late stand and then to
coddle it through the fall drouth, puttering with water and shade
and perhaps with pinches of nitrate of soda, and then not see the
plants grow a single leaf in a fortnight, perhaps even longer.
On the other hand, plants set in July or August and well-rooted
before the drouth begins, will grow in the driest, hottest weather,
grow in a way which is surprising to the novice. By all nieans
let the grower provide an abundant supply of vigorous plants,
with a margin for losses, and then get an early start. (See para-
graph on South Florida, further along.)
SETTING OLD PLANTS.
This is to be avoided if possible, but sometimes it is neces-
sary. Vigorous plants not over two years old, if taken up early,
divided into fingers, properly prepared and set will frequently
fruit about as well as young plants.
Before the new fall growth sets in an old plant is nothing
but a bulb; it has no live feeding-roots whatever. This bulb is
wrapped up in a quantity of dry, leathery husk. The feeding-
roots which start first are white and exceedingly tender and frail.
If this old, tough husk is not removed it takes them a long
time to penetrate it and reach the earth. Scrape it away with a
knife or wring it off with the hand, thoroughly, down to the pink
-not into it. These minute, white roots spring close to the
surface of the ground, directly below the base of the leaves;
hence the cleaning of an inch in length is sufficient. If this husk
is not removed the plants will get such a late start that they will
not amount to anything.
SETTING PLANTS WITH A TROWEL.
Where the plants do not have to ,be carried but a few rods
and the earth is tenacious, the writer has found it very satisfac-
tory to transplant with a trowel. A careful hand can work at
this all day regularly in anything except the very driest, hottest
weather. This method is slow but sure. By it large, strong
plants can be removed as late as November and still bear a good
crop. A nearly flat, wide trowel is better than one deeply
dished. Be careful not to break open the balls of earth contain-
ing the plants. If the earth is somewhat dry water the bed be-
fore taking up the plants.
The first cultivation may be given when the plants have
been set about ten days. The flat or weeding hoe is the proper
implement. File it up sharp and shave off the grass around the
hill very shallow, merely to break the crust. Clean out the mid-
dles with a hand-sweep. Keep the sloping edge of the bed un-
broken; let the weeds and grass grow there as a retaining wall
to prevent the bed from being washed down by heavy rains.
In three weeks the stirring may go as deep as it is intended
to go any time during the season;.but if the weather is continu-
ously very dry, let the cultivation be shallow, simply enough to
stir the surface a half-inch or an inch deep. The "dust-mulch" is
the best protection of plants against drouth, that is, a thin car-
pet of soil kept very finely divided and frequently disturbed and
level. In ordinary weather, with seasonable rains, the cultivation
may be as deep as a strong man can drive the plow down; but
after the first month or so, especially when the cool autumn
nights sets in, it should go more shallow each time. In the hot
weather of summer the roots go down by instinct in search of
moisture; when the nights grow longer and cooler they begin to
run nearer the surface to receive the effects of the sunshine. The
depth of the stirring should be guaged accordingly.
,If the bed has stood over the summer, the first cultivation
will be laborious, it will take a strong man and he will have to
pass two or three times in each balk to drive the plow down deep
enough. For this he should use a bull-tongue. Between the
plants in the row the crust will have to be broken up with a
prong hoe; it should be struck down its full depth and the crust
pried up and mellowed by a stroke or two with the back of the
hoe. This is tedious work but it will pay.
Occasionally an enterprising grower breaks up old beds in the
fall with a narrow cultivator drawn by a horse. This is a great
saving of labor and is advisable where the balks are wide enough
to permit it. If the weather is unusually dry great care should
be taken not to cultivate so close as to break the old plants loose;
it may be well to remove the outside teeth of the cultivator to
narrow it down sufficiently.
It will pay to run a sweep or a light hand-rake through the
rows every week or ten days, even if there is no trash in sight.
It promotes the growth-of the plants greatly; it is worth almost
as much as a shower.
A good fertilizer is as follows (See formula on last page):
Ammonia .................. ...........2 to 4 per cent.
Phosphoric acid ........ ............... 7 to 9 per cent.
Potash ............................... I to 12 per cent.
We would have no cotton seed meal in it, or, at any rate, the
less of it the better. Some growers argue that cotton seed meal
will answer every purpose as an autumn application merely to
make growth. We object to it even for this purpose. It will pro-
duce beautiful foliage and an abundance of it, but next spring it
will be found that the foliage is out of proportion to the fruitage.
The fruit will be short-stemmed, lurking down among the leaves,
and will never color up properly. The mineral fertilizers are
better in every respect. No animal manure, unless it has been
rotted at least a year, should be applied to strawberries that have
to be shipped a thousand miles; they will be too soft to stand the
ordeal. And, for the same reason, nitrate of soda should not be
applied to them for three months before shipping begins.
The judicious grower will keep before him as his great ob-
ject in fertilizing to feed the plant progressively, never to let it
come to the end of its supply and begin to retrograde. In the
thin soils of Florida the strawberry plant lives on the farmer;
it depends on his fertilizer sack as absolutely as the pig confined
in a pen depends on the grain sack. If it is fed liberally in the
late summer or early fall and makes a vigorous growth, exhaust-
ing its supply of nourishment, or some element of it, it will go
back; diebackk" will set in. It is simply an indication of famine,
and prevention is tenfold better than cure.
In most old soils there is sufficient remnant of fertility to carry
the young plant along a month or six weeks; then it will need
feeding. Run a light furrow with a hand-plow, about two inches
from the plants, strew in a complete fertilizer at the rate of about
400 pounds per acre and cover it with a return furrow. It is a
good plan to make the first application on the outside or the
inside of each row, running the plow down one side of the
bed and up the other. Then, a month or so later, make the sec-
ond application on the opposite side from the first application.
Then make the third and last one, in November or December,
directly between the plants in the row. Let this be the main ap-
plication; it is in mellow ground where the pickers will not
tramp and the roots will feed on it all through the fruiting sea-
son. It can be put in rapidly by three men. One stroke of a
hoe makes the hole, the fertilizer is dropped in-not in a bunch
but scattered-a second stroke pulls the earth back. It gives the
plants a cultivation at the same time. First application, 400
pounds per acre; second, 600; third and last, I,ooo; total, one
ton per acre. It is not too much, if the grower is a good man-
ager otherwise-if he is not, he would better let strawberries
alone anyhow. The writer has applied two tons per acre and be-
lieved that the last half ton paid nearly as well as the first ton and
There is no doubt that the farmer can save a few dollars by
purchasing the ingredients and mixing them himself. Among
our acquaintances there are a few who pursue this policy, but
they are not generally as successful as some others who buy
ready-mixed fertilizers. This does not prove that the home-
mixing policy is necessarily a mistake-though we think it is
generally-it simply shows that this class of growers are usually
men of extreme views in some direction and they do not supply
the plants with a complete fertilizer, one containing all the ele-
ments they require in the proper proportions. A mixture of bone
and ashes is a favorite with some of these growers. It does not
usually give the highest results; it is not a complete fertilizer; it
contains little or no nitrogen. Plants are like animals in one re-
spect; they thrive best on a variety of feed. A fertilizer which
draws each of its three principal elements from several different
sources generally gives the best results. For instance, nitrogen
derived from nitrate of soda, sulphate of ammonia, blood and
tankage is generally more acceptable to the plants than nitrogen
supplied from either of these sources alone.
The runner always detracts from the fruiting capacity of a
plant and is to be removed before it acquires any length. A
plant which is allowed to put forth runners at pleasure will pro-
duce as many berries next spring as if it had not borne the run-
ners, but they will be so small that there will be a heavy loss in
sorting. The gain in runners will be counterbalanced, and more,
by the loss in berries of a merchantable size. The best way to
remove runners is to hire a small boy with his own knife, and
we say this advisedly, for he will lose knives about as fast as you
provide them. We have tried various implements for clipping
off runners, but found nothing equal to hand-cutting.
The best available material for this purpose is wire grass
hay; it is free from seed of all descriptions, soft, tough and dura-
ble. In the flat woods it can be cut with a mowing machine at
the rate of several tons a day. Generally about a ton per acre
is required to properly mulch the plants. Pine straw is the next
best material; it is, however, objectionable because of its resinous
quality and dark color, which cause it to absorb the sun heat and
reflect it in the faces of the pickers. Its sharp points warp up
and prick their knees.
The mulching is carried out on slatted straw carriers and
sprinkled evenly over the beds, hiding the plants from sight. In
two or three days it settles and reveals the outlines of the plants;
experienced hands go on their knees and with a quick, circular'
motion pull the plant through and at the time tuck the mulching
under all around.
Energetic growers like to apply their mulching about Jan-
aary I, thereby getting rid of further cultivation and securing a
rest before picking begins. But it has been discovered that a
later application is better in several respects. In the winter the
plants need the sunshine, and if this is suddenly cut off by the
application of mulching and a cold rain falls, the plants are apt
to experience a check in growth and suffer from rust. Where
the mulching is put on early the winter weeds grow up through
it and become troublesome before the end of the picking season;
whereas, if the mulch is kept off later, a final light hoeing will
destroy these weeds. Lastly, the naked ground affords no small
protection against frost. Berries lying on the ground will es-
cape the frost while those near by lying on the mulching will be
frozen to the centers.
Some growers think that if the mulching is applied after
blooming sets in, the plants are knocked about and some of the
pollen is lost. Probably this objection does not amount to much.
But it is certain that, where the mulching is put on late in fhe
winter, it should not be left long; all the plants covered during
the day should be pulled through before night. (See paragraph
on South Florida).
In some sections the white or cotton cricket gives consid-
erable trouble. It cuts off the leaves and drags parts of them
down into its burrow, being a subterranean dweller. The best
remedy is to heat a kettle of water near by and pour a teacupful
boiling hot down the burrow.
The white grub is remediless. It gives no indication of its
presence until the plant is seen to wither and die, when an ex-
amination shows that it is cut in two near the surface. Grubs are
generally worse in sod land or in old land which has lain in grass
awhile; after two or three years cultivation they disappear.
Good strawberry land may be profitably kept in cultivation year
after year, thus measurably escaping grubs, white crickets and
cut worms. It will pay to fertilize a little extra with this in view,
but to observe a rotation of crops.
Against cut worms the best defense is hand-picking. Em-
ploy children and pay them a few pennies per pint or quart.
Poisoning with a mixture of wheat bran, water, Paris green and
molasses enough to make it sweetish is said to be efficacious; we
have never given it a trial. Larks, quails and kildees, if not dis-
turbed, will probe the earth with their bills and catch a good
many. It is a mistake to kill these birds, even in the fruiting
season; they may be.frightened away by the discharge of a shot-
The thrips, in an occasional season, say once in six or eight
years perhaps, does much damage by destroying the pollen and
petals and even scattered pips of the berry, causing it to grow
misshapen and dwarfed. It is an insect of a clear honey-yellow,
about a sixteenth of an inch long, with rudimentary wings. Its
presence is not generally detected until the blossoms are no-
ticed to be turning brown prematurely, and by this time it is usu-
ally too late to combat it to much purpose, as the mischief is al-.
ready done. If detected in time it may be destroyed by a moder-
ately strong solution of whale-oil soap, one pound to four or five
gallons of water if thrown upon the flowers in fine spray. Appli-
cations of pyrethrum will also effectually reduce their numbers,
says Professor H. G. Hubbard. They seem to be most abundant
after a mild open winter, and in such seasons it is well to be on
the lookout for them early. A few are always present in the
blossoms in spring and need not constitute a ground of alarm.
Pistillate plants like the Cloud are mostly exempt from their at-
tacks, on account of their scarcity of pollen; he is fortunate who
has a strong contingent of this variety in a thrips-producing sea-
It is an invaluable measure of defense against insects of all
kinds to have the plants large and vigorous. Prevention and
protection are always better than cure.
"Strawberry rust" is more correctly designated as leaf-spot;
it consists of small brown spots with white centers, which grad-
ually increase in numbers until they nearly run together and so
kill the leaf. These spots are caused by a destructive spore or
vegetable fungus which fastens itself to the leaf and feeds on its
tissue, spreading its.roots out in every direction. It is not a con-
stitutional or sap disease; it is not propagated within the plant it-
self but from without. These spores or disease germs are borne
through the air by various instrumentalities, and a plant contain-
ing them on its leaves becomes a center of infection to all its
neighbors. Various sprays are recommended for the cure of
this disease, but we have always believed general treatment of
the plant more effective than local treatmentand have never ap-
Leaf spot generally strikes plants which have been making
a rapid growth and are accordingly soft and succulent, and then
from any cause receive a check. Thus a long, cold rain or the
sudden application of mulching, thus cutting off the sunshine
from the ground when they are growing, are frequent causes of
"rust." When these causes are removed good strong plants will
generally "grow out of it" in a few weeks. They need to be stim-
ulated with fertilizer and cultivation, if not too late in the
season for the latter. If most of the diseased leaves are picked
off and burned, it will assist the plants in throwing off the para-
sites. Strong, well-nourished plants seldom succumb to the dis-
ease; it is an accompaniment of weakness. It is important to be
certain that the leaves are free from the parasites when the plants
are set; then by maintaining a steady, progressive growth, never
too rank, never falling back, the grower can carry his crop along
without fear of injury from this source.
DIEBACK OR WHITE BUD.
This is produced by conditions similar to those which cause
leaf spot, but more particularly by over-feeding and a consequent
lush growth in the hot weather, followed by a letting-down when
cooler weather supervenes. Dieback is simply starvation, a pin-
ing away for lack of one or more elements of fertility-in most
It.is important to the grower to be able to detect the earliest
symptoms of this disease, in order that he may be ready to meet
it with the correct treatment. The first indication of its pres-
ence is the appearance in the center of the crown of the young
leaves, just unfolding, slightly touched with a reddish yellow or
purplish yellow tinge, unnaturally crinkled and smaller than nor-
mal. .If not arrested the disease soon takes entire possession of
the plant and all its leaves, old and young, are greatly shrunken,
being scarcely larger than one's finger-nail, giving the plant a
pinched appearance. The closest examination with the micro-
scope fails to reveal anything in leaf, stem or root abnormal ex-
cept the size and color of the leaves. The name "white bud" is
sometimes applied to it on account of the bleached-out color of
the youngest central leaves in the crown. There is evidently a
lack of chlorophyll or coloring matter, just as there is a lack of
blood in those cattle dying of starvation in the piney woods in
winter, which the native farmer says perished of "white mouth."
A symptom is substituted for a disease in both cases.
The remedy for the diseased (starving) plant is simply-feed
it. Kainit seems to be about the quickest in its restorative ef-
fects, but care must be used in applying it not to sprinkle it di-
rectly on the foliage, or the salt in it will badly stunt the plants if
it does not kill them outright. Sulphate of potash is safer. Prob-
ably the best application in general will be one of a good com-
plete fertilizer. Let it be strewn in a light furrow; close to the
roots, say two inches, so that it may begin to act on them speed-
ily; and thinly sprinkled along, so as not to "burn" them, and
then covered with the same implement. They ought also to be
hoed at once, if merely to break the crust around them and ad-
mit the air to the roots. If the weather is very dry the fertilizer
can not be dissolved and become available to the roots and may
lie several days or weeks without taking effect; in this case it is
necessary to dissolve it in water and pour a little on the affected
plants. The whole secret of the treatment is, to furnish the plants
something to eat as soon as possible.
Dieback generally makes its first appearance before hot
weather is- over in the fall; rust is more likely to strike the plants
after the nights have become considerably colder. In both cases
prevention is better than cure. Feed the plants moderately and
steadily, to keep up an unbroken growth. If the plants are set
in July or early in August, it is better to fertilize too little, or
none at all, for a month or six weeks, even if the plants get some-
what "off color (yellowish), rather than to fertilize too much
at the outset and not be able to maintain the pace up to the be-
ginnning of cool nights, when the liability to dieback measurably
In the North, where the picking season lasts only about
two weeks in any given section and the berries come on very rap-
idly it is possible, with care, to pick them neatly enough in the
field to bear shipping without sorting. In Florida this is not pos-
sible. The berries ripen so slowly in March and April when the
sun is low in the horizon, lingering on the plants for weeks, that
the insects have more opportunity tc gnaw them, the rot is more
likely to speck them on the underside, and, altogether, it would
require a far more intelligent and careful set of people than ne-
gro women and children usually are to pick a cup of berries fit
to be shipped without sorting. A packing house and packing
tables are therefore indispensable.
It is usual to provide round pasteboard tickets to be given
to the pickers in the field; these are printed for one quart and
six quarts, since six quarts is the most convenient number to
carry to +he packing house in a tray. These may be cashed with
money or with dollar tickets and redeemed at the end of the
With this rollicking and irresponsible race it is absolutely
necessary to bear a firm hand. Let the foreman assign each picker
his or her rows and see that they stick to them, no matter what
happens, until they are picked clean. If not watched the scamp-
ish ones will abandon rows which do not seem to yield well and
steal over to others which promise better pay. Forbid them
from wrenching and twisting the plants roughly, from running
crossways of the beds, from rolling or lolling on them, etc. It is
well, if possible, to prohibit all conversation except witH the fore-
man. In hot weather require them to set their quarts in the
shade or cover them with a wisp of weeds until gathered up. Al-
low no one to hold several berries in the hand; but insist on
their being placed in the cup one at a time. Let no one seize the
berry, but take it by the stem, pinching this off with the thumb
nail about an inch long. It is best to require each picker to bring
his own berries to the packery in a tray, then there will be no
confusion and miscount.
If shipping by express without ice it will pay the grower to
get his pickers into the field, if possible, as soon as there is light
enough to enable them to see the color of the berries. When
they are bathed with dew they are cool and solid; they will rat-
tle when poured down on the table. Spread them out thin in the
shade on newspapers, to be replaced when dampened, and let the
breeze draw over them until dry or very nearly. After the sun
has shone on the plants for two or three hours in the morning the
berries expand and become soft; the slightest pressure will rupt-
ure the skins and make a "mess" on the table. If picking has to
continue through the heat of the day, these berries are not fit to
ship by express; they require to be placed in the refrigerator as
soon as crated.
SORTING AND PACKING.
Some packers have a sorting machine, a narrow endless
band revolving on a roller at each end of the machine, turned
by a crank. The berries are poured on this band and as they
pass before the sorter they are stirred and culled, finally falling
down a narrow chute into the cup or basket. When sorted by
hand they are spread out thin on the paper and a finger with
the point bearing on the paper is shoved around among them,
thus turning them over without clawing and bruising them. It
will pay to reject the very small berries as well as the gnawed or
specked ones. Five quarts of berries with all the small one re-
tained will frequently bring less money than four quarts or even
three of sizable berries. One of the most conscientious and tidy
men we ever knew, who rigidly rejected all specked ,r :mper-
fect berries but put in all the small ones, wondered a long time
over his low returns, and finally a friend in true kindness told
him the reason.
"Facing" or "plating" is legitimate and expected in all mar-
kets, provided it is kept within bounds. It is not dishonest to
put a handful of nice berries on top of the cup, loosely laid on;
but it is a mistake to handle the berries so much as is required
to place each one separately, even wedging them together to make
them present a smooth surface. When the weather is so cold
that they can travel to the North without any perceptible shrink-
age, this practice may be tolerated; but in the warm weather usu-
ally experienced here in March and April, any berry that has
been jammed into its place will be so injured in appearance, if
not ruined, that when the basket arrives it will have to be refaced
or else it will appear greatly defaced.
Then, if all the nicest berries have already been used for
this purpose and have to be either thrown away or put into the
bottom of the cup, the berries can hardly be made presentable.
A shipper without reputation will have to plate his berries
more or less, because it is expected and because "everybody does
it." But an old shipper who has created a name for his berries,
so that they are waited for and purchased in advance, can afford
to neglect this piece of deception. Let him pour them lightly
into the cup without handling them to brush off the bloom, hold
it up and tap it several times to settle them thoroughly so that,
when they arrive in market, they shall not have a shrunken,
"skimpy" appearance. This is exceedingly important; it is bet-
ter to settle them well and round up the center so that it will be
flattened and bruised by the cup above than to have them arrive
at their destination sunken a half inch or more below the top of
This paper is not a sermon; it is written for commercial
uses alone. But shippers will do well to remember that worldly-
wise old aphorism, "honesty is the best policy," and that city
people, especially dealers, are the shrewdest people there are
anywhere. The actual consumer who buys a few quarts for din-
ner does not, one time out of a hundred, know who shipped
them. But the retail grocer, who is the arbiter of prices after all,
so far as the grower is concerned, soon learns the names of a large
number of growers in Florida and remembers the main points as
to the quality and condition of their respective shipments. These
retail dealers can not be deceived more than once or twice by the
We ask the growers to let an old and successful shipper
give them a little personal advice. Select your commission house
with the utmost care, then ship to that house through thick and
thin. Do not get angry with your merchant because you do not
hear from his house every twenty-four hours. The best and sol-
idest houses generally take their time, remitting probably once
a week. If your berries are good they will make a name; they
will be spoken for in advance and will command the highest mar-
ket price. But if you allow yourself to be wheedled away to this
house or to that by every smooth and oily tongue that wags,
shipping to a strange house you lose the benefits of your good
We have often thought that telegraphic reports from a mar-
ket a thousand miles away are an injury rather than a benefit to
the grower. The market for strawberries is very mercurial-up
today, down tomorrow. A telegram may come, reporting great
scarcity and high prices in a certain city, but before berries can
get there the very opposite condition may prevail.
The writer has at times shipped for solid weeks to the same
house, indifferent to the telegrams and to the nervous growers
who continually consulted them and shipped to half a dozen
places perhaps in as many days; and at the end of that time had a
much better bank account than the men who were so anxious
to catch the top of the market in several cities.
We do not say this to boast, but because we wish to
strengthen the grower and encourage him in good business hab-
its, as well as the proper cultivation of the plants.
A number of unfavorable conditions combined to render the
season of 1897. one of the least profitable the growers of the
State have ever experienced. In the central and southern parts
of the peninsula the temporary collapse of the orange industry
caused a number of the growers to resort to strawberry growing
as a makeshift until their groves could grow up and become pro-
ductive again. Thus there was an excessive number of shippers
while the financial depression all over the country reduced the
number of purchasers. Stations in the lower part of the State
that had heretofore shipped crates, now shipped carloads.
There was no .central bureau of information and direction; the
growers shipped blindly. Thus in one day, Lawtey, Gainesvillc,
Hawthorne, Sydney and San Antonio all shipped by the carload
to New York. There was no partition of the markets; gluts
were of frequent occurrence, especially in New York, while at
the same time other markets were without a sufficient supply.
In addition to this, the uppper sections of the strawberry
belt suffered last spring from a visitation of the thrips. This in-
sect occurs in sufficient numbers to be injurious only once in
six, eight or ten years, and that generally after a warm, open
winter like that of 1896-7. Its ravages upon the bloom can be
measurably stopped it is said, by timely spraying with an infu-
sion of whale-oil soap, but the trouble is the growers are gener-
ally so busy shipping that they take no note of the presence and
effects of this parasite until they have reached such a pitch that
spraying would afford relief too late. A new relay of berries
would have to grow, as was the case last spring, and by the time
they mature the shipping season is over so far as the northern
markets are concerned.
These insects occur in the greatest numbers generally in the
lowest, dampest situations. It is also a well ascertained fact that
they attack perfect-bloomers, like the Newnan, while the pistil-
late or imperfect bloomers, like the Cloud, mostly escape-a phe-
nomenon doubtless due to the fact that the favorite food of the
thrips is pollen. Bradford 'county seems to have suffered a sever-
er visitation than any other, probably on account of the low, wet
soil of its flatwoods, which, otherwise, are so admirably adapted
to strawberry culture. Yet, even in this unusually unfavorable
year, there were growers who by energy, industry and good
management made a profit, as usual, though smaller. Among
these I may mention the following, from whom I obtained the
information in person:
At Lawtey, Enoch Griffith, from six acres of plants, shipped
293 bushels of berries which netted him $4.40 a bushel. He is
a methodical man, keeping strict account of all his expenses and
receipts, and he stated that, after deducting all his expenses of
growing and shipping, he had received about $60 a month for his
own labor for the entire year. Besides his strawberry crop he
raises a considerable part of his living, such as corn, sweet pota-
toes, rice, vegetables, pears, eggs and poultry, so that his store
bills are very light.
W. S. Funk, from seven acres, shipped about 200 bushels,.
which netted him between $4.50 and $5.00 a bushel. His net
prices were above the average, made so by his frequent ship-
ments by open express, which is less expensive than the refriger-
C. H. Churchill shipped from four acres 180 bushels, for
which he received over $1,200 gross. What his net receipts were
he did not state, but they were probably not quite half the above
amount, as his expenses were heavy.
Fortune Moulin, from four acres shipped 300 bushels and
his net receipts were about $I,ooo. He is a careful, industrious
grower and a shrewd shipper; he received much the larger part
of his returns from shipments made to other cities than New
CONDITIONS IN SOUTH FLORIDA.
The cultural directions given in the foregoing pages do not
always apply to the lower parts of the State. One instance is
found in the advice as to the best time for setting plants. The
growers in that section state that it is not advisable for them to
plant in July, August or the first part of September, as is recom-
mended for North Florida. At that time the heat of the atmos-
phere is so great and the ground so saturated with warm rain
water that the plants "scald." If set after a shower in October,
when the nights are cooler and longer, they will live, if well
planted, and, as they practically grow all winter in that section
of the State, they will come into bearing in the late winter or
early spring, as soon as there is any considerable demand for
berries in the northern markets, and will produce as abundantly
as plants set in North Florida in July and August.
The growers living south of Alachua and Marion counties
also generally depart from North Florida practice, in not mulch-
ing their plants. They claim that, owing to the warmth of their
season, the mulch affords a harbor for crickets and other vermin
which injure the fruit more than the mulching benefits it by
keeping it free from sand. As I have had no experience in that
section I have no opinion to offer, and can not do otherwise than
accept the statements of the growers. Certain it is that they ob-
tain strictly fancy prices for much of their early fruit, though
this fact may be, and no doubt is, largely due to its extreme ear-
In North Florida the growers have adhered pretty closely to
a few old favorite varieties, while further down the peninsula
there has been more experimenting with new varieties, which,
however, do not appear' likely to attain anything beyond a local
Central and South Florida has some advantages over North
Florida in strawberry culture and some disadvantages. They
have more recently embarked in the industry in the south and
they are somewhat more inclined, on that account, to indulge in
rose-colored statements. There have been newspaper reports of
profits, in individual cases, exceeding anything substantiated of
North Florida growers; but as I was unable to verify them by
personal interviews I have not given them here. Certain it is
that either section offers today and, in my opinion, always will
offer to the shrewd, industrious and energetic strawberry grower,
a reward not less certain than that of the cotton or corn grower
in any State. It is not an industry which presents "bonanza" con-
ditions or offers "bonanza" rewards. The man who cultivates
intensively from three to six acres will seldom fail to add to his
bank account each season; but if he goes beyond those modest
limits he is almost -certain to harvest reduced profits, if he does
not suffer actual loss.
Paper by C. H. Ward,
OF ORANGE COUNTY.
The best time to set out plants is any time after September
first when we have a favorable season for such work, for if the
ground is dry and the weather hot it is much better to wait until
it is cooler and the nights longer. If the ground is just moist,
plants set out after four o'clock are pretty sure to live; care must
be taken to see that the ground is well firmed around the roots
and especially just below the bud (which should be just above the
surface) as the new roots start from this point in a great measure.
Although the varieties and names of strawberries are legion,
there are but few kinds that will do well in Florida.
I try new kinds every year, but they nearly always prove of
so little value that they are discarded. I have, however, found
two varieties which have done remarkably well with me. One is
the Lady Thompson. This berry is staminate or perfect flower-
ing and is very early, as well as a prolific bearer of very large, nice
berries; I think for home use, or near by market, it is a great suc-
cess, and for shipping early in the season when prices are high, it
would do well.
The other berry I am very much pleased with is the Phe-
nomenal. This berry was originated in Orlando from seed of the
Hoffman, hence its name-Phenomenal-for the phenomenal
city of Florida.
THE PHENOMENAL STRAWBERRY.
This berry has many good points, among which may be men-
tioned its earliness-being one of the first to ripen. It is perfect
blooming, very productive, a vigorous grower, free from rust,
extra large size throughout the season, beautiful form and color,
and is a good shipper.
We are all acquainted with the old reliable standby for
Florida, the Newnan-but with me it has not done very well for
the past two years.
Then we know the Michel or Michel Early, which seems
to do pretty well for home use, but I am told it is not a good
shipper; have not tried it myself.
Our President says he would like to know how to carry our
plants through the long, hot summer, or at least hdw to grow our
own plants for fall setting.
I am sorry to say that up to the present time, I am unable
to successfully answer this question. I have tried many different
ways; by partially shading the plants, by clean culture and plenty
of water in dry time, by planting corn, cow peas or some other
crop among them, and by letting the grass and weeds grow, all
with very poor results.
The best success I have had in raising plants, is to take the
first new plants that make after plants are through bearing
(which generally get well rooted early in June), and set them out
on good, rich, moist ground and keep all runners off, and the
ground well cultivated until the.middle of August, when they will
be in shape to put out abundance of first class plants for October
planting; and these plants will give the best results. Plants that
haire grown all summer among a lot of grass and weeds are of
little value, and are very hard to make live, and generally give
Twelve or fifteen years ago there was considerable money
made in shipping berries, but now one has to be very successful
in all points in order to make much money. As the express
charges range from ten to twelve cents a quart, there is not much
money in it after prices get below twenty-five or thirty cents per
quart in our Northern markets.
Orlando and Winter Park have usually been a good home
market at ten to twenty cents.
The past season has been a fairly successful one with me,
notwithstanding we had hard frosts in January at a time when
we had just fairly commenced picking and prices were high. Our
next crop came on a month later and came into competition with
all the rest of the State, and in fact Charleston berries were soon
after in the market. Then our home trade was a handy thing to
help us out. So that at twelve to fifteen cents we did fairly well.
For the past two weeks we have been picking our third general
crop off same vines.
In what other State can they pick ripe berries six months in
the year? Although I have not kept an accurate account of ex-
penses and receipts this year, I think it is safe to say we will net
about $250 per acre. In looking over my books I see the best
we ever did on strawberries was in 1890. We planted out in
August and September, 1889, three-quarters of an acre of the
Florida Seedling or the Improved Newnan, and up to May Ioth
we had sold 3,488 quarts, for which we received $662.82, an
average of about 184 cents per quart. We also sold that year
$Ioo worth of plants.
The best price we ever received for berries was for nine
quarts we shipped to Philadelphia on January 3, 189o, which was
a check for $19, or $2.16 per quart, net. The next shipment a
few days later sold for fifty cents, showing that fancy prices will
not last long at any season of the year.
While there may not be the chances for making five to ten
hundred dollars per acre on strawberries, as there used to be, still
I think with careful and intelligent management, one can make
as much, or more, in this branch as in any other line of farm
Formula for Strawberry Fertilizer.
(See page 487.)
Nitrate of soda. ................... .. 200 pounds
Dried blood. ................... ...... 300 pounds
Sulphate of potash (50 per cent. grade)........ 600 pounds
Dissolved bone.. ........... . . 450 pounds
Acid phosphate. ................... .... 350 pounds