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The Florida agriculturist. [volume] (DeLand, Fla.) 1878-1911, June 26, 1878, Image 1

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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;
Pago 53—Floridians; Locals; Cheap
Column; Advertisments.
Page 54—The Lonisina Floating Bee;
Market Gardening in Florida; ITen Ma
Puge 55—Respect of Parents; Camping
Out; Adv’mta.
Page sfl—Telegraphic News; Market
Report; Adr’mts.
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
“ 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 >
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.
Frederick Watts,
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
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
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
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:
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.

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