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The Florida Agriculturist
Vol. 1. Contents of this Humber. Pagf> 49 —Growth of the Cork io the United States: From California—lnfor mation Wanted. I’ase 50—ITanRine on the Outside Gate, poetry; A Story About an Elephant: A ,gll t Errant 5 Stephen A. Douglass; Ftrey Tomatoes; Recipes. Pagesl—Why We Should Prune; Ma- Dtire for Sweet Potatoes. I’:igo Vi—Programmes for Membem of the Press; Fine Apple Cultureon Indian River; Editorials. Pago 53—Floridians; Locals; Cheap Column; Advertisments. Page 54—The Lonisina Floating Bee; Market Gardening in Florida; ITen Ma nure. Puge 55—Respect of Parents; Camping Out; Adv’mta. Page sfl—Telegraphic News; Market Report; Adr’mts. GROWTH OF -THE CORK TREE M the United States. The following paper, read before the Germantown Horticultural Soci ety, by John Jay Smith, will be fiinnd valuable. It was a witty reply—and wit keeps for a long time—whiob Mat. thews gave when asked if he had ever been to Cork: “ No, but I hare seen many drawings of it.” Onr theme at present is not the city of Cork, but the growing of cork trees iVom acorns. Whether this will be come, in the Southern States, anew industry or not, further experience only will test; more probably than not, a cork tree plantation will prove of equal if not of greater value than -■ sugar orchard; the profits of the latter from Canada to Virginia, are not inconsiderable. From official statements it appears ♦hat the value of cork imported into the United States in the year ending June 30, 1874, was $435,909, and in J*'ic vear ending June 30 1875 s3<*J, ‘059. No weight was given. Surely, here is inducement enough to make as to render ourselves independent of foreign countries. [lt is said tea cul ture is at last becoming successful in Georgia. Why not also cork ?] The countries which supply us w ith cork ire Spain, principally, and Barbary; we pay, in two years, if we count the above sum in gold, three-quarters of a million of dollars for a useful substance proved, as I shall show to grow successfully in our Southern climate, and where thousands upon thousands of acres are to be bought for a few dollars an acre I The eman cipated slave looks upon to morrow' futurity, and is happy if he can see his way to the next Saturday. The statesman should look with fore cast to the future of our country; while lie fosters manufactures by high tariffs, he should look to every portion of the products from the 'and, and encourage new industries. About twenty-four years ago this whs attempted, as regards acorns of Ibe cork oak. A great flourish was ■Hide, and a few bushels of nuts ■Were distributed to cultivators in the *outh—this by the Patent Office, there being then no Agricultural Bureau; the latter came into fashion, and one would have thought the cork acorns would have been looked afler. Upon writing to Judge Watts on the subject I received the following let ter, and this would seem to be all he knows: “ December 13,1875. •’ John Ja y Smith, Esq.,German town. Philadelphia—Sir: —ln re ply to your letter of the 10th inst., I send you the experiment of J. 11. Ftiori. YVimsborongh, S. C. He says: In 1859 I planted acorns of the cork oak sent mo from your depart ment (meaning, no doubt, the Patent Office). All came up, producing healthy plants. I gave away some, and transplanted others to my back yard. Those I gave away are doing well where planted, and I now have three flourishing trees. One of them is twenty-three feet high, and twenty *een inches in circumference. I e*d you the bark of one, which you > A JOURNAL DEVOTED TO STATE INTERESTS. see is good cork, three quarters of an inch thiok. ‘The trees are evergreen, resem bling somewhat the live-oak - ; they are of slow growth, and very long lived. Spain is the home of the cork oak, but the largest tree known grows in England. Besides the corit, this tree produces enormous acorns, which are fine lood tor stock, and, when roasted, are much relished by the Spaniards. Spanish Black is simply the charred black of this tree. There is no reason why this tree may not be profitably grown in any part of the United States.’ ” [The writer should have said in any part where the live oak will flourish. It would not succeed at the North. He could have added that the mast gives a peculiar and delicate taste to the lard of hogs fed upon it.] I had said to Judge Watts that two trees at least were in flourishing health at Orangeburgh, S. C., and ho asks ; “ The Department would like to hear further of the success of the two trees in Orangeburgh, S. C., that you mentioned in your letter. Respectfully, Frederick Watts, Commissioner.” Accordingly I forwarded to the Department the following copy of a letter from Judge Thomas W. Glo ver, of Orangeburgh, S. O. Under date of December 21. 1875, he says : “About twenty four years ago I planted sir acorns of the cork tree. All germinated, but grew slowly, as the soil was barren, and the location exposed them to th<? sun. They were not cared lor; bat wishing to test their adaptation to our climate, after four or five years I removed them to a more favorable soil, and whero they enjoyed the shade of a house. Since their removal the trees advanced in height and increased in diameter. My trees are about twen ty feet high," ana tfiirty-one Inches'" in circumference, and nineteen inches at five feet from the ground. The leaf resembles that of the live oak, bat the branches are not so extend ed. My trees have never yet borne any acorns. I am satisfied that the tree can be successfully cultivated here. I enclose pieces of bark." All this is satisfactory and to the point. The specimens of the bark no one can mistake; they are of c6rk. (Specimens were shown.) We come now to the facts of Eu ropean cultivation, and will give pres ently a few particulars from Miclianx, and tho exhaustive account of that expounder of botanical matters, Lou don, in his great work, the Aboreium Jirittanicum. As long ago as 1845 I visited one of the largest cork trees in the world, at Ham House, Eng land, which was planted by Dr. Foth ergill, and is still in tolerable condi tion, not having ever been stripped. I have taken pains since to examine single trees in various parts of Italy, especially at Isola Bella in Lake Come, one of the Roromean isles, where the Quercus suber flourishes admirably alongside of the camphor, and many botanical curiosities I have rarely met with elsewhere.” “Aye be planting, Jock,” applies emphatically to our America. Sup pose that at the Revolution in 1776 every member of Congress from the South had planted only a peck of cork tree acorns! Would we not bless every “signer” and his mem ory for his forethought? Suppose we try the experiment in 1877, and record the names of our patriotic cork men. Let us see now what Miohaux and Loudon say. Taking the first author ity and condensing his information we find that— The cork grows naturally in the southern parts of France, in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the States of Barbary, which are comprised be tween the 44th and 35th degrees of latitude; that it rarely exceeds forty ieet in height and three feet in diam eter. (The trees already mentioned as growing in South Carolina jire Deland, Florida, Wednesday, June 26,1878. twenty-throe and twenty-seven feet high, attained in a little more than twenty years.) Its leaves arc evergreen, but the greater part of them fall and are re newed iu the spring; they are ovate, thich, slightly toothed, of a lfoht green on the upper surface, and glau cous underneath. The are rather large, oval, and half enclosed in a conical cup, and being of a sweetish taste, are eagerly devoured by swine. The wood is hard, compact, and heavy, but less durable than the com mon European oak, particularly when exposed to humidity. The worth of the tree resides in its bark, which be gins to bo taken off at the age of twenty-five years. The first growth is of little value; in ten years it is renewed, bat the second product, though less cracked than the first, is not thick enough for bottle corks. It is not until the tree is forty-five or fitly years old that the bark possesses all the qualities requisite for good corks, and from that period it ircol lected once in eight or ten years. Its thickness is owing to the extraor dinary swelling of the cellular tissue. It is better fitted than any'other sub stance for the use to which it is ap propriated, as its elasticity exactly adapts it to tho neck of a|boUle, and its impenetrable etrucjfee refuses exit to the fluid. Had my edition of Michaux’s great work been deferred till this date, (it was published in 1857.) and two editions issued, I should have added that gutta percha and gum elastic have been tried wsb some suc cess with a view of %ujerseding cork, but the heavier cost art! iinper feet adaptability are so grea.; that as long as the true cork is obi liable ail substitutes yet tried will je found greatly inferior. It n/Tylore be added that a vast pof,*:' f the jpnrV declined by European users. The best is taken by the champagne bot tlers abroad. The bottled wines of this country are remarkable for their inferior corkage, and Matthews would have found very often a difficulty in taking drawings of them. July and August are the seasbns for gathering cork. Two opposite longitudinal incisions are made through the whole length of the trunk of the tree, and two others, transverse to the first, at ihc extrem ities ; the bark is then detached by inserting a hatchet-handle like a wedge. Great care must be taken not to wound the alburnutn, as the bark is never renewed upop the in jured parts. After being scraped, the bark is heated on its convex side and laden with stones, to flatten it and render it easier of transporta-! tion. It should be from fifteen to i twenty inches thick. Michaux, who is an authority, as serts that this tree would he an impor tant acquisition to tho United States, and would grow wherever the live oak subsists. This region may be said to commence about the latitude of Fortress Monroe,Virginia, and ex tended to the Gulf of Mexico. lumuch of this region land is only worth, say, from one to three and five dollars the acre. If a man was desirous of found ing a family, lie should plant these acres, or some of them, with cork, walnut, locust, larch, catalpa, and other trees ; if he selects his land with judgment, his children arid grand children can and will supply the great demand which is to come for railroad ties, furniture, car builders and the thousand artificers who are always demanding more wood, The bark of the cork tree will always be in demand. We have quotations every week oi the Quercitron used by tan nerß, it is within tho possibilities that quotations of cork oak bark will here after be made at one hundred times the value of the “ tanners bark. ” Though the time for receiving re turn for planting cork seems a long one, let us remember that the black oak has taken quite as many years to produoo its bark, and that when strip- ped the tanners’ bark is never re newdo. Both outer 3nd inner bark, accord ing to Loudon, abound in tannin, and the former contains a peculiar princi ple called suberine, and an acid called the suberic. The wood of the tree is said to weigh 84 lbs. per cubic foot, but is never found of sufficient size to be of much consequence; its outer bark was applied to useful purposes even in the time of the Romans. Pliny speaks of a buckler lined with cork, and the Roman women lined their slippers with it; both Greeks and Romans appear to have used it occa sionally for stopperst to vessels, but it was not extensively used for this pur pose until about tho tenth century, when glass bottles began to be gener ally introduced. Besides the above uses, bungs are made of it, and it is employed by fishermen for buoying their, nets, in the construction of life boats, so-called life jackets, etc. The Venetian ladies employ it for their high heeled shoes, and the poor people of Spain lay planks of it by their bed side to tread on, as rugs are employed. Sometimes the inside of houses built of stone are lined with this bark, which renders them very warm, and collects the moisture of the air. Bee hives are also made of the bark of young trees; even furniture of the lightest kind in made of cork. If we add to its compressibility and elasticity, that it is tho best non-con ductor, flexible, its adaptability to life-preservers either in the form of boats, its imperviousness to liquids, and its great durability, we have an article readily produced, of the utmost importance, and well worthy of culti vation in our country; its commerce extends throughout the civilized world. Recent efforts have been made with cork shaved thin to adapt it for the soldiers knapsacks, belts, and even 1 \S l*nnt,fer\ tb Ijß - * and dryness; understood these efforts have been successful.— Who can say that the huge trunks now employed may not be made of cork ? When the cork tree lias attained the age ot about fifteen or twenty years, the bark is removed for the first time, but the first bark is found to bo crack ed, and is, therefore, only fit for burn ing; or being employed in tanning. The largest cork tree is in England says the same valuable authority just quoted, Devonshire, at an elevation oi -150 teet above the level of the sea, in-a soil of fine, rich, red loam, on a substratum of stone conglomerate. It is only three miles from the sea, and is exposed to the sea breeze from the East, a situation not unlike the long reach of our Florida coast. | Byron has alluded to this tree thus: “The cork trees hoar that crown the shim srv deep.’’ and Southey speaks, in Roderick, the last of the Goths, of “The cork tree’s furrowed riud, its lift* and swells.” i In conclusion, this Centennial pe j riod is a very proper one to inquire what we can do for the next, hundred years. For one thing, I would say, plant cork acorns, and don’t depend upon l'atent Office or Agricultural j Bureau for encouragement. Since all the parade of government patronago was made, we have obtain ed California, with a climate in place no doubt admirably adapted to the evergreen or live oak and the cork oak. Whether it will be secured there is a question to be decided, and how far irrigation will bo required remains tor the future to ascertain. Doubt less there arc situations wherein both these important aids to cultivation will flourish. We recommend a trial; and if acorns arc wanted Messrs. Vil morn, Andrieux & Cos., Quai de la Messagerie, Paris, will gladly supply them in any needed quantity. Parties reading this article will con fer a favor on the public by communi cating to the editor any further facts in relation to the growth of these trees in the United States. I may add that I have •uocecdcd in getting part of a trank that grew in South Carolina, for the Centennial Exhibition. Since this was penned my friend, D. Esq., suggests that the limit of Fortress Monroe ia not suffi ciently far south. Even in the south ot England, though the bark is true cork, as it is in South Carolina, the trees are never turned to account by stripping. It is probable that a warmer latitude is necessary to per feet the bark for commerce. From California—lnformation: Wanted. Editor Florida Agriculturist. I have observed in the San Diego Hews an account of Mr. Jackman slating that a Mr. W. ft. Warwick has live year old coffee trees that produce 500 pounds to tho tree. Is there not a mistake in the figures ? I have coffee trees growing in my garden and feel interested in. ascertaining if it be possible to get such a yield. I have the fig, olive, lemon, orange, Japanese persimmon, Central Amer ican guava, California guava, pear, peach and pomegranate, all growing and some bearing. lam experiment ing to find what the country is bes f adapted to. Am uow planting the African date, and tea seeds; I think they would both succeed in Florida. Yours truly, R. R M. There is evidently some mistake in. the report, as quoted from our paper. The highest yield of coffee to the tree that we have known in the tropics is one bushel, and this is considered a large quantity even there. We have no confidence in the date here, ex cept as an ornamental tree; blit the palm that produces the “ Palm Oil ” of commerce would no doubt do well. We intend shortly to bring out some articles descriptive of the palms, that we think will add to the wealth per has been the means of bringing abont an exchange of products be tween this State and California which will be beneficial to both, and which we hope to see further exteuded. Curing- Beef Without Salt. Our system of salting meat makes it unhealthy and distasteful. Why do we salt hones? Were they ex tracted, one third the salt would suf fice, the meat so cured would lose, little of its nutriment, besides gain ing in value. Two-thirds of the smoking might be dispensed with, and one cause of indigestibility great - ly lessened. Modern mechanical skill cau surely contrive a tool to disbone a ham, and let the salt have equal ac cess inside and outside. The thick skin might be removed with equal benefit. Custom may claim the shape of the ham as important, but this ot jection would give way before the great superiority of the meat. Farm ers would find profit in it for their own household. A boned turkey is always attractive. When raised fa from market, a turkey boned and slightly salted and smoked would find ready sale at remunerative prices. The Mexicans cure beef without salt The first opperation is to unbone it. Then it is cut into narrow strips and exposed to the sun till a superficial crust is formed to exclude the air. A slight smoking keeps insects away.— It, is usually kept in sacks in a dry place, and time does not injure it. It is now suggested that great improve ments can be made in curing all meats without salt, by some adoption of the Alden fruit dryer. We have seen beef and mutton shredded into broad ribbands, two inches thick, and passed through an Alden dryer and slightly smoked till a stronger outer crust was formed. The cured meat was served to sailors on a voyage to the Sandwich Islands and back, and was esteemed a great luxury compared with the best salted mesa beef. Some that was brought back to San Fran cisco satisfied the experimenters that this mode of curing meats is destined to come into general use. No. 7.