Page images

this was nothing but the loosening of the earth, which comforteth any tree, and is fit to be practised more than it is in fruit-trees: for trees cannot be so fitly removed into new grounds, as flowers and herbs


436. To revive an old tree, the digging of it about the roots, and applying new mould to the roots, is the way. We see also that draught-oxen put into fresh pasture gather new and tender flesh; and in all things better nourishment than hath been used doth help to renew; especially if it be not only better, but changed and differing from the former.

437. IF an herb be cut off from the roots in the beginning of winter, and then the earth be trodden and beaten down hard with the foot and spade, the roots will become of very great magnitude in summer. The reason is, for that the moisture being forbidden to come up in the plant, stayeth longer in the root, and so dilateth it. And gardeners use to tread down any loose ground after they have sown onions, or turnips, etc.

438. IF panicum be laid below and about the bottom of a root, it will cause the root to grow to an excessive bigness. The cause is, for that being itself of a spongy substance, it draweth the moisture of the earth to it, and so feedeth the root. This is of greatest use for onions, turnips, parsnips, and carrots.

439. THE shifting of ground is a means to better the tree and fruit; but with this caution, that all things do prosper best when they are advanced to the better: your nursery of stocks ought to be in a more barren ground than the ground is whereunto you remove them. So all grasiers prefer their cattle from meaner pastures to better. We see also, that hardness in youth lengtheneth life, because it leaveth a cherishing to the better of the body in age: nay, in exercises, it is good to begin with the hardest, as dancing in thick shoes, etc.

.440. IT hath been observed, that hacking of trees in their bark, both downright and across, so, as you may make them rather in slices than in continued

hacks, doth great good to trees; and especially delivereth them from being hide-bound, and killeth their


441. SHADE to some plants conduceth to make them large and prosperous, more than sun; as in strawberries and bays, etc. Therefore amongst strawberries sow here and there some borage seed; and you shall find the strawberries under those leaves far more large than their fellows. And bays you must plant to the north, or defend them from the sun by a hedge-row; and when you sow the berries, weed not the borders for the first half year; for the weed giveth them shade.

442. To increase the crops of plants, there would be considered not only the increasing the lust of the earth, or of the plant, but the saving also of that which is spilt. So they have lately made a trial to set wheat; which nevertheless hath been left off, because of the trouble and pains: yet so much is true, that there is much saved by the setting, in comparison of that which is sown; both by keeping it from being picked up by birds, and by avoiding the shallow lying of it, whereby much that is sown taketh no root.

443. It is prescribed by some of the ancients, that you take small trees, upon which figs or other fruit grow, being yet unripe, and cover the trees in the middle of autumn with dung until the spring; and then take them up in a warm day, and replant them in good ground; and by that means the former year's tree will be ripe, as by a new birth, when other trees of the same kind do but blossom. But this seemeth to have no great probability.

444. It is reported, that if you take nitre, and mingle it with water, to the thickness of honey, and therewith anoint the bud after the vine is cut, it will sprout forth within eight days. The cause is like to be, if the experiment be true, the opening of the bud and of the parts contiguous, by the spirit of the nitre; for nitre is, as it were, the life of vegetables.

445. TAKE seed, or kernels of apples, pears, oranges; or a peach, or a plum-stone, etc. and put

them into a squill, which is like a great onion, and they will come up much earlier than in the earth itself. This I conceive to be as a kind of grafting in the root; for as the stock of a graft yieldeth better pre pared nourishment to the graft, than the crude earth; so the squill doth the like to the seed. And I suppose the same would be done, by putting kernels into a turnip, or the like; save that the squill is more vi gorous and hot. It may be tried also, with putting onion-seed into an onion-head, which thereby, perhaps, will bring forth a larger and earlier onion.

446. THE pricking of a fruit in several places, when it is almost at its bigness, and before it ripeneth, hath been practised with success, to ripen the fruit more suddenly. We see the example of the biting of wasps or worms upon fruit, whereby it manifestly ripeneth the sooner.

447. IT is reported, that alga marina, sea-weed, put under the roots of coleworts, and, perhaps, of other plants, will further their growth. The virtue, no doubt, hath relation to salt, which is a great help to fertility.

448. IT hath been practised, to cut off the stalks of cucumbers, immediately after their bearing, close by the earth; and then to cast a pretty quantity of earth upon the plant that remaineth, and they will bear the next year fruit long before the ordinary time. The cause may be, for that the sap goeth down the sooner, and is not spent in the stalk or leaf, which remaineth after the fruit. Where note, that the dying in the winter of the roots of plants that are annual, seemeth to be partly caused by the over-expence of the sap into stalk and leaves; which being prevented, they will super-annuate, if they stand warm.

449. THE pulling off many of the blossoms from a fruit-tree, doth make the fruit fairer. The cause is manifest; for that the sap hath the less to nourish. And it is a common experience, that if you do not pull off some blossoms the first time a tree bloometh, it will blossom itself to death.

450. IT were good to try, what would be the effect, if all the blossoms were pulled from a fruit-tree or

the acorns and chestnut-buds, etc. from a wild tree, for two years together. I suppose that the tree will either put forth the third year bigger and more plentiful fruit; or else, the same years, larger leaves, because of the sap stored up.

451. It hath been generally received, that a plant watered with warm water, will come up sooner and better, than with cold water or with showers. But our experiment of watering wheat with warm water, as hath been said, succeeded not; which may be, because the trial was too late in the year, viz. in the end of October. For the cold then coming upon the seed, after it was made more tender by the warm water, might check it.

452. THERE is no doubt, but that grafting, for the most part, doth meliorate the fruit. The cause is manifest; for that the nourishment is better prepared in the stock, than in the crude earth: but yet note well, that there be some trees that are said to come up more happily from the kernel than from the graft; as the peach and melocotone. The cause I suppose to be, for that those plants require a nourishment of great moisture; and though the nourishment of the stock be finer and better prepared, yet it is not so moist and plentiful as the nourishment of the earth. And indeed we see those fruits are very cold fruits in their nature.

453. IT hath been received, that a smaller pear grafted upon a stock that beareth a greater pear, will become great. But I think it is as true as that of the prime fruit upon the late stock; and e converso; which we rejected before: for the cion will govern. Nevertheless, it is probable enough, that if you can get a cion to grow upon a stock of another kind, that is much moister than its own stock, it may make the fruit greater, because it will yield more plentiful nourishment; though it is like it will make the fruit baser. But generally the grafting is upon a drier stock; as the apple upon a crab; the pear upon a thorn, etc. Yet it is reported, that in the Low-Countries they will graft an apple cion upon the stock of a colewort,

and it will bear a great flaggy apple; the kernel of which, if it be set, will be a colewort, and not an apple. It were good to try whether an apple cion will prosper, if it be grafted upon a sallow, or upon a poplar, or upon an alder, or upon an elm, or upon an horse-plum, which are the moistest of trees. I have heard that it hath been tried upon an elm, and succeeded.

454. IT is manifest by experience, that flowers removed wax greater, because the nourishment is more easily come by in the loose earth. It may be, that oft regrafting of the same cion may likewise make fruit greater; as if you take a cion, and graft it upon a stock the first year; and then cut it off, and graft it upon another stock the second year; and so for a third or fourth year; and then let it rest, it will yield afterward, when it beareth, the greater fruit.

Of grafting there are many experiments worth the noting, but those we reserve to a proper place.

455. IT maketh figs better, if a fig-tree, when it beginneth to put forth leaves, have his top cut off. The cause is plain, for that the sap hath the less to feed, and the less way to mount: but it may be the fig will come somewhat later, as was formerly touched. The same may be tried likewise in other trees.

456. It is reported, that mulberries will be fairer, and the trees more fruitful, if you bore the trunk of the tree through in several places, and thrust into the places bored wedges of some hot trees, as turpentine, mastic-tree, guaiacum, juniper, etc. The cause may be, for that adventive heat doth chear up the native juice of the tree.

457. IT is reported, that trees will grow greater, and bear better fruit, if you put salt, or lees of wine, or blood to the root. The cause may be the increasing the lust or spirit of the root; these things being more forcible than ordinary composts.

458. IT is reported by one of the ancients, that artichokes will be less prickly, and more tender, if the seeds have their tops dulled, or grated off upon a




« PreviousContinue »