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463. Ir hath been touched before, that terebration of trees doth make them prosper better. But it is found also, that it maketh the fruit sweeter and better. The cause is, for that, notwithstanding the terebration, they may receive aliment sufficient, and yet no more than they can well turn and digest; and withal do sweat out the coarsest and unprofitablest juice; even as it is in living creatures, which by moderate feeding, and exercise, and sweat, attain the soundest habit of body.
464. As terebration doth meliorate fruit, so upon the like reason doth letting of plants blood; as pricking vines, or other trees, after they be of some growth; and thereby letting forth gum or tears; though this be not to continue, as it is in terebration, but at some seasons. And it is reported, that by this artifice bitter almonds have been turned into sweet.
465. THE ancients for the dulcorating of fruit do commend swine's dung above all other dung; which may be because of the moisture of that beast, whereby the excrement hath less acrimony; for we see swine's and pigs' flesh is the moistest of fleshes.
466. It is observed by some, that all herbs wax sweeter, both in smell and taste, if after they be grown up some reasonable time, they be cut, and so you take the latter sprout. The cause may be, for that the longer the juice stayeth in the root and stalk, the better it concocteth. For one of the chief causes why grains, seeds, and fruits, are more nourishing than leaves, is the length of time in which they grow to maturation. It were not amiss to keep back the sap of herbs, or the like, by some fit means, till the end of summer; whereby, it may be, they will be more nourishing.
467. As grafting doth generally advance and meliorate fruits, above that which they would be if they were set of kernels or stones, in regard the nourishment is better concocted; so, no doubt, even in grafting for the same cause, the choice of the stock doth much; always provided, that it be somewhat inferior to the cion; for otherwise it dulleth it. They
commend much the grafting of pears or apples upon a quince.
468. BESIDES the means of melioration of fruits before mentioned, it is set down as tried, that a mixture of bran and swine's dung, or chaff and swine's dung, especially laid up together for a month to rot, is a very great nourisher and comforter to a fruit-tree.
469. Ir is delivered, that onions wax greater if they be taken out of the earth, and laid a drying twenty days, and then set again; and yet more, if the outermost pill be taken off all over.
470. It is delivered by some, that if one take the bough of a low fruit-tree newly budded, and draw it gently, without hurting it, into an earthen pot perforate at the bottom to let in the plant, and then cover the pot with earth, it will yield a very large fruit within the ground. Which experiment is nothing but potting of plants without removing, and leaving the fruit in the earth. The like, they say, will be effected by an empty pot without earth in it, put over a fruit, being propped up with a stake, as it hangeth upon the tree; and the better, if some few pertusions be made in the pot. Wherein, besides the defending of the fruit from extremity of sun or weather, some give a reason that the fruit, loving and coveting the open air and sun, is invited by those pertusions to spread and approach as near the open air as it can ; and so enlargeth in magnitude.
471. ALL trees in high and sandy grounds are to be set deep; and in watery grounds more shallow. And in all trees, when they be removed, especially fruit-trees, care ought to be taken, that the sides of the trees be coasted, north and south, etc. as they stood before. The same is said also of stone out of the quarry, to make it more durable; though that seemeth to have less reason; because the stone lieth not so near the sun, as the tree groweth.
472. TIMBER trees in a coppice wood do grow better than in an open field; both because they offer not to spread so much, but shoot up still in height; and chiefly because they are defended from too much
sun and wind, which do check the growth of all fruit; and so, no doubt, fruit-trees, or vines, set upon a wall against the sun, between elbows or buttresses of stone, ripen more than upon a plain wall.
473. It is said, that if potato-roots be set in a pot filled with earth, and then the pot with earth be set likewise within the ground some two or three inches, the roots will grow greater than ordinary. The cause may be, for that having earth enough within the pot to nourish them; and then being stopped by the bottom of the pot from putting strings downward, they must needs grow greater in breadth and thickness. And it may be, that all seeds or roots potted, and so set into the earth, will prosper the better.
474. THE cutting off the leaves of radish, or other roots, in the beginning of winter, before they wither, and covering again the root something high with earth, will preserve the root all winter, and make it bigger in the spring following, as hath been partly touched before. So that there is a double use of this cutting off the leaves; for in plants where the root is the esculent, as radish and parsnips, it will make the root the greater; and so it will do to the heads of onions. And where the fruit is the esculent, by strengthening the root, it will make the fruit also the greater.
475. It is an experiment of great pleasure, to make the leaves of shady trees larger than ordinary. It hath been tried for certain that a cion of a weechelm, grafted upon the stock of an ordinary elm, will put forth leaves almost as broad as the brim of one's hat. And it is very likely, that as in fruit-trees the graft maketh a greater fruit; so in trees that bear no fruit, it will make the greater leaves. It would be tried therefore in trees of that kind chiefly, as birch, asp, willow; and especially the shining willow, which they call swallow-tail, because of the pleasure of the leaf.
476. THE barrenness of trees by accident, besides the weakness of the soil, seed, or root; and the injury of the weather, cometh either of their overgrowing with moss, or their being hide-bound, or their
planting too deep, or by issuing of the sap too much into the leaves. For all these there are remedies mentioned before.
Experiments in consort touching compound
WE see that in living creatures, that have male and female, there is copulation of several kinds; and so compound creatures; as the mule, that is generated betwixt the horse and the ass; and some other compounds which we call monsters, though more rare; and it is held that that proverb, Africa semper aliquid monstri parit, cometh, for that the fountains of waters there being rare, divers sorts of beasts come from several parts to drink; and so being refreshed, fall to couple, and many times with several kinds. The compounding or mixture of kinds in plants is not found out; which, nevertheless, if it be possible, is more at command than that of living creatures; for that their lust requireth a voluntary motion; wherefore it were one of the most noble experiments touching plants to find it out: for so you may have great variety of new fruits and flowers yet unknown. Grafting doth it not: that mendeth the fruit, or doubleth the flowers, etc. but it hath not the power to make a new kind. For the cion ever overruleth the stock.
477. IT hath been set down by one of the ancients, that if you take two twigs of several fruit-trees, and flat them on the sides, and then bind them close together and set them in the ground, they will come up in one stock; but yet they will put forth their several fruits without any commixture in the fruit. Wherein note, by the way, that unity of continuance is easier to procure than unity of species. It is reported also, that vines of red and white grapes being set in the ground, and the upper parts being flatted and bound close together, will put forth grapes of the several colours upon the same branch; and grape-stones of several colours within the same grape: but the more after a year or two; the unity, as it seemeth, growing more perfect. And this will likewise help, if from the first
uniting they be often watered; for all moisture helpeth to union. And it is prescribed also to bind the bud as soon as it cometh forth, as well as the stock, at the least for a time.
478. THEY report, that divers seeds put into a clout, and laid in earth well dunged, will put up plants contiguous; which, afterwards, being bound in, their shoots will incorporate. The like is said of kernels put into a bottle with a narrow mouth filled with earth.
479. It is reported, that young trees of several kinds set contiguous without any binding, and very often watered, in a fruitful ground, with the very luxury of the trees will incorporate and grow together. Which seemeth to me the likeliest means that hath been propounded; for that the binding doth hinder the natural swelling of the tree; which, while it is in motion, doth better unite.
Experiments in consort touching the sympathy
THERE are many ancient and received traditions and observations touching the sympathy and antipathy of plants; for that some will thrive best growing near others, which they impute to sympathy; and some worse, which they impute to antipathy. But these are idle and ignorant conceits, and forsake the true indication of the causes, as the most part of experiments that concern sympathies and antipathies do. For as to plants, neither is there any such secret friendship or hatred as they imagine; and if we should be content to call it sympathy and antipathy, it is utterly mistaken; for their sympathy is an antipathy, and their antipathy is a sympathy: for it is thus; Wheresoever one plant draweth such a particular juice out of the earth, as it qualifieth the earth, so as that juice which remaineth is fit for the other plant; there the neighbourhood doth good, because the nourishments are contrary or several: but where two plants draw much the same juice, there the neighbourhood hurteth, for the one deceiveth the other.