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459. HERBS will be tenderer and fairer, if you take them out of beds, when they are newly come up, and remove them into pots with better earth. The remove from bed to bed was spoken of before; but that was in several years; this is upon the sudden. The cause is the same with other removes formerly mentioned.
460. COLEWORTS are reported by one of the ancients to prosper exceedingly, and to be better tasted, if they be sometimes watered with salt water; and much more with water mixed with nitre; the spirit of which is less adurent than salt.
461. It is reported, that cucumbers will prove more tender and dainty, if their seeds be steeped a little in milk; the cause may be, for that the seed being mollified with the milk, will be too weak to draw the grosser juice of the earth, but only the finer. The same experiment may be made in artichokes and other seeds, when you would take away either their flashiness or bitterness. They speak also, that the like effect followeth of steeping in water mixed with honey; but that seemeth to me not so probable, because honey hath too quick a spirit.
462. It is reported, that cucumbers will be less watery, and more melon-like, if in the pit where you set them, you fill it, half-way up, with chaff or small sticks, and then pour earth upon them; for eucumbers, as it seemeth, do extremely affect moisture, and over-drink themselves; which this chaff or chips forbiddeth. Nay, it is farther reported, that if, when a cucumber is grown, you set a pot of water about five or six inches distance from it, it will, in twenty-four hours, shoot so much out as to touch the pot; which, if it be true, is an experiment of an higher nature than belongeth to this title: for it discovereth perception in plants, to move towards that which should help and comfort them, though it be at a distance. The ancient tradition of the vine is far more strange; it is, that if you set a stake or prop some distance from it, it will grow that way; which is far stranger, as is said, than the other : for that water may work by a sympathy of attraction ; but this of the stake seemeth to be a reasonable discourse.
463. It 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 tere bration, 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 swines 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 me. liorate 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 mix. ture of bran and swines dung, or chaff and swines dung, especially laid up together for a month to rot, is a very great nourisher and comforter to a fruit-tree.
469. It 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 potado-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 fruits
and flowers. 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 over-ruleth 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