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The Florida agriculturist. [volume] (DeLand, Fla.) 1878-1911, March 06, 1907, Image 2

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PECAN CULTURE PROFITAALE.
Has a Most Promising Future*
We have given several articles
about pecan culture, because we think
it a promising industry. Believing
however, that it will be difficult to
learn too much about the art of grow
ing pecans, we this week copy an ar
ticle from the Tribune Farmer, writ
ten by Prof. John Craig, of Cornell
University:
It is astonishing how few people
there are who know what a pecan
nut is, and still more surprising to
realize that there are very few who
recognize differences in quality or
varieties, and who really know that
there is nearly as much difference in
the flavor of pecans as there is in the
flavor of different varieties of apples.
The wild seedlings may be thick
shelled, bitter and astringent, whereas
the cultivated forms are thin-shelled,
rich, and delicate in flavor and tex
ture. For many years the markets
of the East have received and have
consumed considerable quantities of
the seedling nuts of Florida, Louis
iana, Mississippi, Texas and other re
gions where the pecan is indigenous.
These nuts range from good to very
indifferent and poor. They all pre
sent the same polished brown exter
ior in the grocer’s window, but vary
greatly in the quality of their meaty
contents.
The United States is a good deal of
a nut eating country. Something over
$5,000,000 worth of nuts are imported
annually. On -the other hand, we only
export about $30,000 worth. This ex
port quantity is largely made up of
English walnuts grown on the Pacific
Coast, and perhaps a few pecans from
the South. It is interesting to note
that as the pecan has become known
in the East its consumption has in
creased, and with increasing consump
tion have come also higher prices.
Less than ten years ago ordinary nuts
could be bought for 5 or 6 cents a
pound. These nuts, which were then
used by nurserymen for growing seed
ling stocks, now bring from 8 to 12
cents a pound. There is a still great
er advance in the price of the really
edible varieties. Where formerly they
were sold for 10 cents, they now bring
20 and 30 cents, while the propagated
varieties sell up to 50 and 60 cents,
when a private and personal trade is
established. There is no question at
all that the pecan is one of the com
ing nuts, and is bound to be a leader
among the orchard fruits of the fu
ture.
Asa fruit it possesses the important
quality of being non-perishable within
reasonable limits. Cold storage is not
a factor, and transportation facilities
are of relatively small importance.
This tree, which belongs to the
walnut family and is known technical
ly by the name of Carya olivaeformis,
or, more lately, Nicoria pecan, has
quite a wide distribution in the Unit
ed States. Naturally, it is distributed
more abundantly on the rich, alluvial
bottoms of the streams than on the
higher lands. Roughly speaking, we
may say that it occupies practically
the same area as the cotton plant, al
though it can be grown further north.
When growing in the open it makes
an exceedingly handsome tree. It is
stately and symmetrical. Well devel
oped specimens reach a height of 150
to 170 feet. The flowers, like those of
a good many nut trees, are of two
kinds, male and female, or staminate
and pistillate. The staminate flower
is in the form of a catkin, while the
1 pistillate flower is an inconspicuous
floral organ, which finally develops
the nut with its four-valved covering
or husk. The pecan depends upon
the wind to set its flowers. The pol
len is scattered and drifted and car
ried by the wind, and nature does the
rest. Unfavorable pollination periods,
then, may lessen the set of the fruit,
but, aside from this, the weak points
are remarkably ifew.
As intimated in an earlier part of
this paper, the nuts vary greatly in
size. Some of them weigh as much as
an ounce, while others weigh less than
an eighth of an ounce. Then there is
an extraordinary difference in the
thickness of the shell, the improved
varieties being veritable “paper
shells.”
Propagation at the present time
differs little from the method prac
tised in propagating stone fruits.
Seedlings are grown from cheap nuts,
and these are grafted or budded. Dif
ferent growers have their preference
in regard to methods of propagation.
One man who practises cleft grafting
says that this is the method for him,
while another man who is 'an adept
at whip grafting clings to this method,
while another says that patch or ring
budding, which means the transfer
of a strip of bark from the scion with
the bud to the stock, is the only plan
worth practising.
A good deal of top working is now
going on where seedling trees of sat
isfactory vigor but of poor quality of
fruit are grown. These, with care and
good judgment may be changed over
to profitable varieties, and this work
is being done by some of the skillful
propagators, of Georgia and Florida.
The pecan is, as noted above, a
large growing, long lived tree. It
needs therefore plenty of space in the
orchard. Growers are now setting
them at forty to fifty feet apart. If
one sets forty by forty, twenty-seven
trees to the acre are required. Forty
by forty-five calls for twenty-four
trees, while fifty by fifty requires on
ly seventeen trees to the acre.
The reader will ask, How soon do
they come into bearing? How long
must a man wait for his investment
to begin to yield a dividend? Well,
this is not altogether a difficult ques
tion to answer, although results will
vary in different parts of the country.
It may be said that in general the
pecan orchard will bear as early as
an apple orchard and remain in bear
ing twice as long. Plants as far apart
as has been suggested gives oppor
tunity for' utilizing the ground with
other crops during the unproductive
period. Some of the best growers in
Florida and Georgia are planting
peaches between their pecans, and
then for the first two or three years
growing cotton in the interspaces.
This method is all right if it is prose
cute?! with good judgment and skill,
but there is danger of over-working
the ground, and some danger of in
juriously crowding the pecans.
Among the varieties now generally
recommended are Stewart, Van De
nial! and Frotcher. Oather good
kinds are Schley and Curtis. As in
growing apples, I think that a man
should avoid planting too many kinds.
THE FLORIDA AGRICULTURIST .
The pecan is certainly one of the at
tractive fruit crops of the Middle
South, and a pecan orchard in that re
gion promises as well and probably
better as an investment than any other
kind of field crop that a man can go
into. It is a crop which, as far as our
knowledge of its requirements ex
tends, will take care of itself as well
as any, has fewer enemies, and has
greater possibilities from the stand
point of handling and holding the
crop than any other orchard fruit cul
tivated at the present time. Large
areas are being planted in the Gulf
States, but in my opinion there is lit
tle fear of the industry being over
done for the reasons already stated.
Southern Corn Growing—The “Wil
liamson Method.”
Mr., E. M. Williamson of South
Carolina, writes to the American Ag
riculturist of his method of growing
corn. This has been the weakest point
in southern farming. His plan is
new, yet it may be better than the
old way. The only way to decide the
matter is to test it in actual practice,
on a small scale, by the side of thor
ough cultivation. The article is as
follows:
For a number of years after I be
gan to farm, I follwed the old-time
method of putting the fertilizer all
under the corn, planting on a level
or higher, 6 to 3 feet, pushing the
plant from the start and making a big
stalk, but the ears were few and fre
quently small. I planted much corn
in the spring, and bought much more
corn the next spring, until finally I
was driven to the conclusion that corn
could not be made on uplands in this
section, certainly not by the old meth
od, except at a loss.
I did not give up, however, for I
knew that the farmer who did not
make his own corn never had succeed
ed, and never would, so I began to ex
periment. First, I planted lower, and
the yield was better, but the stalk was
still too large, so I discontinued alto
gether the application of fertilizer be
fore planting, and knowing that all
crops should be fertilized at some
time, I used mixed fertilizer as a side
application and applied the more solu
ble nitrate of soda later, being guided
in this by the excellent results ob
tained from its use as a top-dressing
for oats. Still the yield, thugh regu
lar, was not large, and the smallness
of the stalk itself now suggested that
they should be planted thicker in the
drill. -
That was done the next year, with
results so satisfactory that I continued
from year to year to increase the
number of stalks and the fertilizer,
with which to sustain them, also to ap
ply nitrate of soda at last plowing,
and to lay by early, sowing peas broad
cast. This method steadily increased
the yield, until year before last, with
corn 11 inches apart in 6-foot rows,
and $n worth of fertilizer to the
acre, several of my best acres made
as much as 125 bushels.
Last year I followed up the same
method, planting the first week in
April 70 acres, which had produced
the year before 1,000 pounds seed cot
ton per acre. This land is sandy up
land, somewhat rolling. Seasons were
very unfavorable, owing to the tre
mendous rains in May, and the dry
and extremely hot weather later.
From June 12 to July 12, the time
when it most needed moisture, there
was only 5.8 inches of rainfall here,
yet with $7.01 cost of fertilizer, my
yield was 52 bushels per acre. Rows
were 6 feet and corn 16 inches in the
drill.
With this method, on land that will
ordinarily produce 1,000 pounds of
seed cotton with 800 pounds of fer
tilizer, 50 bushels of corn should be
made per acre by using 200 pounds of
seed meal, 200 pounds of acid phos
phate, and 400 pounds of kainit mixed,
or their equivalent in other fertilizer,
and 125 pounds of nitrate of soda, all
to be used as side application as di
rected below.
On land that will make 1 1-2 bales
of cotton per acre when well fer
tilized, 100 bushels of corn should be
produced by doubling the amount of
fertilizer above, except that 300
pounds of nitrate of soda should be
used.
In each case, there should be left
on the land in cornstalks, peas, vines
and roots, from sl2 to sl6 worth of
fertilizing material per acre, besides
the great benefit to the land from so
large an amount of vegetable matter.
The place of this in the permanent im
provement of land can never be taken
by commercial fertilizer for it is abso
lutely impossible to make lands rich
so long as they are lacking in vege
table matter.
Land should be thoroughly and
deeply broken for corn, and this is
the time in a system of rotation to
deepen the soil. Cotton requires a
more compact soil than corn, and
while a deep soil is essential to its
best development, it will not produce
as well on loose, open land, while
corn does best on land thoroughly
broken. A deep soil will not only
produce more heavily than a shallow
soil with good seasons, but it will
stand more wet, as well as more dry
weather.
In preparing for the corn crop, land
should be broken broadcast during
the winter, one-fourth deeper than it
has been plowed before, or if much
more vegetable matter is being turned
under it may be broken one-third
deeper. This is as much deepening as
land will usually stand in one year
and produce well, though it may be
continued each year so long as much
dead vegetable matter is being turned
under.
It may, however, be subsoiled to
any depth by following in bottom of
turn plow furrow, provided no more
of the subsoil than has been directed,
is turned up. Break with two-horse
plow, if possible, or better with disk
plow. With the latter, cotton stalks
or corn stalks as large as we ever
make, can be turned under without
having been chopped, and in pea vines
it will not choke or drag.
Bed with tufn plow in 6-foot rows,
leaving 5-inch bank. When rea'dy to
plant, break this out ivith scooter,
following in bottom of this furrow
deep with dixie plow, wing taken off.
Ridge them on this furrow with same
plow, still going deep. Run corn
planter on this ridge, dropping one
grain every 5 or 6 inches. Plant early,
as soon as frost danger is past. Es
pecially is early planting necessary on
very rich lands where stalks cannot
otherwise be prevented from growing
too large. Give first working with
harrow or any plow that will not
cover the plant. For second work
use 10 or 12-inch sweep on both
sides of corn, which will now be about
8 inches high. Thin after working.
It is not necessary that the plants
should be left all the same distance
apart, if the right number remain to
each yard of row.
Corn should not be worked again
(Continued on page 6.)

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