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twenty years ago it was rare to see a barrel of the white RutaBaga in Boston Market, almost all sold being of the yellow sort, now ten of the white may be seen to one of the yellow. Of the yellow varieties Skirvings has been exceedingly popular, but though it forms good bulbs, yet the long neck that goes with them is an objection, and Laings, London and Shamrock Swedes are now preferred.
In testing about a score of flat turnips, American and foreign, I have found our white and purple strap leaf the earliest, yet I think it is not generally known to our farmers that these are the most subject to the attack of the worm, of the whole class of flat turnips. Yellow Finland, Improved Yellow Globe, and Cowhorn are preferable in this respect.
Of onions, the standard for an excellent table article is found among those that are not over three inches in their greatest diameter, with a fine, close skin, thin, compact layers, a small neck, with the whole bulb feeling about as hard when handled as a stone. The Large Red Wethersfield onion is the latest in maturing, and a large percentage makes but scullions, even under the best of treatment, while the Early Red Globe grows to as large a size, crops equally well, and the onions are among the most symmetrical, and in earliness are among the earliest. For these reasons, as would be inferred, it is fast superseding the Late Red where it has been introduced. The Early “ Cracker” onion, when I first introduced it to the general public, was remarkably early, but quite thin, and therefore would not measure well when marketed; for the past two or three years while retaining its earliness, it has grown much thicker, and now so closely resembles the old Flat or Strasburg onion, that the public would be decidedly a gainer if they would throw overboard that late variety, and substitute in its place the “Cracker," which matures fully two weeks earlier, a characteristic of vast value in short seasons to the onion farmers of the North. For general crop in Essex County the Early Danvers rules the market, and we know of no variety for a standard onion that deserves to replace it. The Potato
onion is the earliest of all varieties, and when used as early, is the sweetest and tenderest of all onions, but after summer has past it soon becomes tough and unsuitable for the table. I would advise all farmers to plant a quart or so of the potato onion setts to be used in the family before those raised from seed get sizable.
The largest cabbage of its kind is usually the best, and among our greatest cabbage-eating class the largest cabbage of the largest kinds always find a ready market. For these reasons it is desirable that we should encourage at our exhibitions the largest specimens of all varieties where such specimens have hard and handsome heads. The largest cabbage of its kind, other things cqual, is the best, because to attain this extra size it must have grown faster than its fellows, and having grown faster it is therefore more tender, and being more tender under these circumstances it is also the sweetest. The Marblehead Mammoth is our standard large cabbage in Essex County, and when the market is within a few miles it is a capital sort to raise for our Irish and German brethren ; but where the market is more distant, or there is mostly a different class of customers, then the Stone-Mason and Fottler become standard sorts. For family use the Savoy family are decidedly the best, having that rich, marrow-like taste that belongs to no other class of cabbages. The carly Ulm Savoy is as early or earlier than Early York, and with the Improved American Savoy is as reliable for heading as any cabbage grown. I have been experimenting with over sixty foreign and native varietics this season, of which I may have more to say at some oth
When the Autumnal Marrow, or Boston Marrow Squash, as it is usually called, was first introduced, it was of small size, weighing about five or six pounds; it cooked very dry, was fine grained and of excellent quality. At the present time it is usually watery, often coarse grained and poor in quality; we have utterly lost its fine qualities for the table. Within a few years the American Turban as a fall squash, and
the Hubbard for winter use, have to a large extent replaced the Marrow upon our tables. In these two we find the chief good characteristics of the Marrow, when in its palmiest days, and in addition superior keeping properties which characterize these two fine varieties. As a general rule the Turban and Hubbard are too grainy in their texture to enter into the structure of that grand Yankee luxury a squash pie; for this the Marrow excels, and this, I hold, is now the proper sphere of this squash—it is now a pie squash. Wherc dryness, sweetness and quality for the table are sought for we find these, as a rule, in squashes of medium size, those weighing from six to ten pounds. This, therefore, I hold, should be the standard encouraged for a table squash. If we select large specimens for seed stock, we find in practice that there is more of sport in the crop, that the Hubbard gradually loses its shell and grows coarse in structure, while the Turban tends to develop the cross of the French Turk's Cap that is in its blood, which gives it size at the expense of quality. Because this is so, and because the temptation among market-men is to raise weight at the sacrifice of quality, I hold that our premiums should point emphatically to the correct standard of weight in these two prominert table squashes. Discussing the Marrow as a pie squash (and I find that the most intelligent of the marketgardeners around Boston agree with me), I hold that our premiums consult the best welfare of both consumer and producer, when they encourage the largest crop possible consistent with a sufficient fineness of structure for pies. It is my opinion that for this use the Marrow squash can safely be grown to average from twelve to fourteen pounds in weight. The idea entertained by many good farmers, that special aim should be made to grow the Marrow as small sized as formerly, when it was so excellent a table squash, based on the idea that by so doing we can get the old excellence back again, is a delusion, as is proved by the fact that with all the efforts in this direction the old excellence has not been recovered.
The annual exhibition of vegetables this season was hardly
up to the usual standard. We particularly missed the great variety usually displayed by Mr. Merrill, who for so many years has been the right hand of the society in this department. As the exhibitors had no standard in common to guide them while selecting their various kinds of vegetables for the Annual Fair, I hardly feel that the quality of the vegetables was open to criticism. There was a large variety on the tables and some fine specimens of the various standard kinds.
It would greatly improve our vegetable exhibiters if the same plan was pursued as has been adopted in the fruit department, that of offering special premiums for each standard vegetable, the number of specimens required of each kind to be stated, and the standard of excellence to be briefly given. The Massachusetts Horticultural Society has practised this in part for the past few years, with marked improvement in its annual exhibitions. In its printed programme the Society has confined itself to specifying how many in number or how much in measure of cach vegetable was required to compete for the premiums offered ; I propose that our ancient society become a pioneer in a still further improvement, and fix a standard of excellence in the several vegetables so far as the characteristics that present themselves to the eye. The experience and good judgment of the vegetable committee of the Massachusetts Horricultural Society has usually assigned premiums to the most deserving of their kind, yet in their exhibitions anomalies have been presented that would be impossible under the more matured system that I propose ; such as prominent premiums assigned to overgrown potatoes, overgrown squashes, to Hubbard squashes that were but little more than half matured, the color being of a deeper green when in that stage; one year awarding premiums to the largest, coarsest onionsthe next, to the ripest. I fully believe that our Society would promote the best interests of the community, and add much to the educating value of its exhibitions, if it would define in general terms what a premium onion, potato, squash, or other vegetable, must be.
There can be no good vegetables without good sced ; and the more hands seed passes through before reaching the end of its journey—the seed drill of the farmer, tlic greater the chances are of its being too old, impure, or wrongly named. I hold, therefore, that the Essex Agricultural Society has done a wise thing in directing its attention of late years to the matter, and offering special premiums for seed grown within the limits of the county. It is very difficult for the farmer who has had the misfortune to handle worthless seed, to fix the responsibility on any one; it has passed through several hands, and “ he told me so," is the catch phrase of the entire series ; but let the seed be grown in his own neighborhood and the direct responsibility is a powerful stimulus to the utmost honesty and highest care on the part of the grower, while it proportionally increases the confidence and profits of the planter. There are three positions taken by prominent societies in New England in respect to the exhibition of vegetable sced: the Massachusetts Horticultural Society not only does not offer any premiums for vegetable seed, but goes farther than this, and positively refuses to have any exhibited on its tables. As several of the prominent men who are active members of that society are seed dealers this action appears anomalous; but a knowledge of the fact that under the by-laws of that society the exhibitor must have grown his own seed, naturally tones down all surprise. The New England Society offers premiums simply for garden seed, without any condition that it shall have been grown in or out of New England, or that the exhibiter shall have raised a grain of it. The obvious effect of such a course is simply to encourage the production of seed as a commercial article. Our own Society in offering premiums for a home grown product, encourages a very important branch of agriculture in our midst, annihilates the vast intervals that usually exist between the producer and the planter, and keeps a wholesome responsibility within easy access of the purchaser.
For the Committee-James J. H. Gregory: