THE selection of fruits will naturally depend on the size of the plot, and it is not surprising in the case of small-sized plots that the larger forms of trees must be omitted. In some instances the bush fruits alone are possible, but these will suffice until it is possible to extend the plot so that Half-Standard and Bush Apples and Plums, and Pyramid Pears may be grown.
In this chapter I shall deal with the stocking of a typical plot, viz., about six rods in extent, but, of course, a piece of a greater area than this need not be discarded as too large.
On such a plot the following fruits should be grown :-
It will be found best to place the Strawberries on the margins, but they can be planted in rows between the trees until the latter attain to such dimensions as to deprive the ground fruit of sunshine. In the event of this position being chosen, the scholars must be impressed with the importance of most careful surface culture.
Small fruits, viz., Currants, Gooseberries, and Raspberries, must be included, and in addition to the bush forms of the first and second, Cordon Red Currants and Gooseberries' may be added. It is possible, of course, to raise Currant and Gooseberry bushes from cuttings, yet in the majority of cases the results will not be very satisfactory. It is better to obtain two or three year old trees from the nurseryman for the reason that a good form of tree can only be obtained by skilful and careful attention. It is easy to strike cuttings, but it is a very different thing to transform them into well-formed bushes.
This matter will .be referred to in Chapter XVI.
In the matter of Apples and Pears it is necessary to consider the form of the trees, and this can be regulated in the infancy of each tree by the judicious application of the pruning knife. It is clearly out of the question to attempt the training and culture of standard trees since these take up so much space. For apple growing the half-standard and bush forms are best, and for Pears the pyramidal shape is most suitable. A single or double horizontal Cordon Apple may be trained along one side of the plot, but if the arrangement suggested in Fig. 54 is adopted, this cannot be done. One Half-Standard Apple may be placed in the centre of the plot, and in the same row two Plums, necessarily half-standards, may also be grown.
Bush Apples and Pyramid Pears make it possible to bring the work within the power of the boys. The trees are received from the nursery properly formed, and each year's work consists in careful training and pruning so that these forms are preserved. There is a common belief that fruit trees are only possible in large gardens, but a year's training in the school fruit plot will convince the scholar that small fruit trees are profitable additions to small gardens.
Then again many growers obtain bush forms and expect them to retain the same shape without pruning, with the result that the tree becomes an entangled mass of branch and leaf. Of course, such neglect can never produce a good yield of fruit, much to the surprise of the thoughtless grower.
A Suggested Selection of Fruits :-
Strawberries.-Sir Joseph Paxton, Royal Sovereign,
Fill basket. Red Currants.-Fay's Prolific, White Currants.-White Dutch. Black Currants.-Lee's Prolific.
Gooseberries.-Crown Bob Leader, Red Champagne.
Raspberries.-Hornet, Carter's Prolific.
Apples.-Prince Albert, Mank's Codlin, King of the
Pippins, Cox's Pomona, Stirling Castle, Cox's
Orange Pippin. Pears.-Emile D'Heyst, Louise Bonne of Jersey. Plums.-Monarch, Early Prolific, Victoria.