02 June 2014

Amanuensis Monday: William Gurwell and his Apples

From The Apple - What It Is (Topeka, KS: Kansas State Horticultural Society, 1898) --

Wm. Gurwell, Fanning, Doniphan county : I have lived in Kansas thirty-five years : have 5000 apple trees, planted from two to thirty years. For commercial orchard I prefer Ben Davis, Winesap, Jonathan, White Winter Pearmain, and Rawle's Janet: and would add for family use Early Harvest and Domine. Have tried and discarded Yellow Bellflower; not prolific in this climate. I prefer hill with black loam and clay subsoil : any slope but southwest is good. I prefer two-year-old trees, and set them in holes dug two and-half to three feet square with a spade, and set the trees two or three inches deeper than they stood in the nursery. Have tried home-grown root grafts, and was successful. I cultivate to corn, potatoes, pumpkins, and melons, using plow and harrow. I crop a bearing orchard lightly, and cease when in full bearing. I kill the rabbits. I prune with saw, knife, and clippers, and think it beneficial. I seldom thin fruit on the trees. My trees are planted in blocks. I fertilize the land near the trees with stable litter; I would advise its use on thin soil. I pasture my orchard with calves and hogs, and think it advisable; it pays in some orchards. Trees are troubled with borers ; I hunt the borers with a wire. We pick carefully in large baskets and sacks from a step-ladder ; I pack in barrels. My best market is northwest of here ; I sometimes sell in the orchard at wholesale, retail, and peddle; dry and make cider of the culls; never dry for market. I sometimes store a few apples, and find the Winesap, White Winter Pearmain and Rawle's Janet keep the best. We have to repack stored apples before marketing them. Do not irrigate. Prices have been from 60 cents to $1.25 per barrel. I employ all kinds of help, and pay one dollar per day.
William Gurwell was my 2xg-grand uncle.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

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