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Apple trees have not yet come into profitable bearing, Mr. Gidley thinks owing to their rank growth in this naturally warm, loose soil. Pear trees have been almost free from blight, having been carefully watched, and the slightest appearance of black on leaf or limb being immediately removed by the knife. Mr. Gidley reports the Beurré Clairgean pear as a very early and abundant bearer, the fruit luscious and magnificent almost beyond comparison. Grapes, the Concord and Delaware, are certain. The vineyards of Peach Plains cover ten acres. The same authority reports Hale's Early peach as a satisfactory and profitable variety. The Early Barnard does not pay as well, simply because going into market with the Early Crawford, and causing great abundance, it brings down prices. Jacques Rareri pe succeeding, a most perfect fruit. The Red Cheek and Late Crawford, benefited by timely rains, ripened up this season, and the Yellow Smock, though late, ripened in time for good prices.
PRODUCTIVENESS OF OLD APPLE TREES. In the city of Grand Haven, where apple trees have been growing in almost pure sand for twenty or thirty years, they bear crops varying from ten to twenty-five bushels each in a season. At Spring Lake, near the village, where the trees are twelve to fifteen years of age, the Baldwins and some other varieties are grown in great perfection and beauty, as shown by the exhibition of Mr. Walter G. Sinclair and others at the meeting of the State Pomological Society, held here October 13th, 1874. Mr. Sinclair has for many years taken the State premium for Baldwins.
A PREMIUM ORCHARD. Mr. Charles E. Soule, one of the most successful growers on Spring Lake, has a farm on which sand, gravel, and clay can all be found, as well as muck and marl. It is located so as to be nearly surrounded by water. A portion of this orchard was planted cleven years ago. It commenced bearing the fifth year from planting and has borne a good crop of peaches six years out of the seven, except on the Crawford trees. The Early Barnard, Old Mixon and Yorks are with him regular annual bearers. Last year, however, the crop was injured by the curculio. But this year it has been abundant with all varieties. Whenever a tree appears diseased he digs it out and replaces it.
THE CROP OF 1874.
Mr. Soule reports the year 1874 as by far the most cheering and successful for the fruit growers of Spring Lake. Peaches constitute the principal crop, and they sold at remunerative prices, although produced in great abundance. He does not speak so highly of Hale's Early as Mr. Gidley, but holds on to his high opinion of the Early Barnard as a profitable market peach, realizing prices equal to those of the Crawford, and yielding much more to the tree. Mr. Soule complains of the ravages of the thrip on the Delaware grapes, and asks for a remedy for this destructive insect. We examined Mr. Soule’s trees and saw a better show of fruit buds on the Crawford even than elsewhere, and he reports an excellent prospect for peaches on all his trees for the season of 1875.
A PIONEER ORCHARD. Near Mr. Soule's orchard, on the same little peninsula, is the old orchard of Mr. Hezekiah G. Smith, one of the pioneer veterans of fruit culture in Spring Lake. It seems to bear its annual load, not only of pears and peaches, but of apples also, and should satisfy skeptics that apples will bear in this vicinity when
the trees have arrived at maturity. Mr. Smith bad shipped 1,800 baskets of peaches, and was about to commence on his apple crop when we called.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION AND ADVANTAGES. There are many fine orchards around Spring Lake, as shown by the awards of the State Pomological Society. Those of Cutler and Savidge, George Seagrove, Thomas Petty, and Ambrose and James Soule are specially fine. The places enumerated at the head of this article each have their specialties, according to soil and location, some peaches and grapes, others strawberries and raspberries, and some ship only blackberries from the adjacent forests and partial clearings, but all contribute to the great fruit markets of Chicago and Milwaukee, and some send east to various places on the line of the D. & M. Railroad, and sometimes as far as Boston, Mass.
The Alden Fruit Factory at Spring Lake is being run by the Superintendent, Capt. Chas. S. Fassett. He dries principally peaches; also some apples, squash, sweet and Irish potatoes, and pumpkins. The present process is by vaporizing by direct application of hot air, the fruit being evaporated in the cloud of moisture produced from the fresh fruit below, so that the air is not dry after it reaches the first two or three frames.
EXTENT OF THIS FRUIT REGION AND ITS ATTRACTIONS. The Grand Haven and Spring Lake frnit region, as here described, includes territory some twenty miles square, and contains a vast variety of soil. It
, cannot be characterized except by its variety and capacity for the production of all the fruits common to this latitude. In addition to its fruit productiveness, it bas at Fruitport, Spring Lake, and Grand Haven superior attractions for visitors, and the hotels and bathing houses at these places are thronged during the summer months with very respectable and intelligent people, who spend their time in various sports and pastimes, and in hunting, boating, and fishing, to which attractions a regatta on the harbor and lake, and races at the new trotting park at Peach Plains, were added during the season of 1874.
SHIPPING AND MARKET FACILITIES. This region, although increasing in population and wealth, still has room for more settlers, and good lands can be had at moderate prices. It is traversed by steamboats on the river and lakes, by two railroads running east and west, and two running north and south, affording every possible facility for reaching markets, while the thousands of visitors during the summer, and large manufacturing population, create a large demand at home for all the productions of the farm, orchard, and dairy.
MUSKEGON CITY, BEAR LAKE, BLACK LAKE, LAKE HARBOR, LAKETON,
WOLF LAKE, FRUITLAND.
MUSKEGON HARBOR AND CITY. Eleven miles north of Grand Haren, the magnificent harbor of Lake Muskegon enters Lake Michigan. The channel at the mouth is straight through between sandhills, and opens into an expanse of water about two miles wide, drawing narrower at its head, and about six miles long. There is probably no finer view of commerce and manufacture combined than is presented by this lake. On the south and southeast sides, the city of Muskegon, with its numerous sawmills, its handsome court house, its many fine residences, and its business blocks presents a very picturesque appearance from every part of the lake; on each side of the lake, along its banks, are suw-mills, boarding houses, and cottages, there being, in all, we believe, some forty mills where lumber is produced with wonderful rapidity. Along the south side the land is almost level, extending four miles, to Black Lake. This land has a fair elevation, but it is light and sandy, the timber being the oak that usually follows pine. Fruit farms are being made on this land, with moderate profit to the owners. At Black Lake, however, the land is of a much richer character.
BLACK LAKE OR LAKE HARBOR. A round this beautiful little lake, four miles long by half a mile in width, may be found one of the best fruit regions on the shore. This is so not only on account of the superior soil, elevation, and position in regard to Lake Michigan, but on account of the entire devotion of the people to the one idea of fruit raising.
THE LAKE HARBOR FRUIT GROWERS. Of the largest growers here, Messrs. Rood & Sons occupy prominence. They have an excellent position on the south side of the lake and within a mile and a half of Lake Michigan. They have a large farm, and produce peaches, pears, crab-apples, quinces, cherries, and strawberries in great abundance. They are now setting out a large pear orchard. They raise their own nursery stock. During the peach season they averaged five hundred baskets a day, shipping both by lake and over land to the city of Muskegon. Their crop of peaches alone was about 12,000 baskets.
Mr. Antisdale, another extensive grower, grows large quantities of red and white currants, on which he realizes good prices. He shipped twenty-four crates a day during the currant season.
Messrs. Cobb & Son, also extensive fruit growers, have a small factory on the sonth side of the lake, where they produced and sold 100,000 berry boxes and 12,000 peach baskets this season. They intend using their steam engine to raise water for the purpose of irrigation, should next summer prove very dry.
Milo Rowe & Sons, on the north side of the lake, have a fine, large orchard, and, also, run a special steamer during the fruit season, from Lake Harbor to Grand Haven, with the productions of Black Lake.
THE CODLING MOTH CONQUERED. Mr. Rowe claims to have discovered an effectual antidote to the apple worm pest. And as this is the worst insect pest with which fruit growers have to contend, we give the account of his experiment as related by bis son: Mr. Rowe had a patch of potatoes on a portion of his apple orchard. In order to kill the potato-bugs, he procured spent-lime from the gas works at Muskegon, and spread it all over the potatoes. It killed the bugs; it killed the potatoes, and it killed or drove away the apple worm and codling moth, for all the apple trees under which the gas lime was spread produced sound apples, while the apples all over the other portions of the orchards were wormy. The apples that were sound were the Golden Russet, a variety on which they commit their worst depredations. Whether pure lime would produce the same result, or whether the gas ammonia is required, remains to be proved by experiments.
THE CROP OF 1874. It was estimated that at least 30,000 baskets of peaches, besides other fruit, were shipped this season from this lake. Grapes were also very produetive and appear, every year, more successful.
MUSKEGON LAKE ORCHARDS. One of the most intelligent growers in the city of Muskegon is Mr. S. B. Peck, a gentleman who has studied, with great interest, all the sciences bearing on the subject, including entomology. He has succeeded in raising peaches and other fruit on the level, sandy land, on which the city is built. He has several orchards of five and ten acres in extent. From our observation, we should not select this level, sándy land for the peach. Sand hills even, exposed to the lake, would be preferable. Mr. Peck grows the Clinton grape to great perfection, allowing it plenty of room, and regards it as one of the best and most productive grapes grown in this climate. He also grows Concords and Delawares to perfection. Ionas do not succeed here at present. Mr. Peck has a plum orchard fenced off for fowls, but these do not prevent the ravages of the curculio without using the sheet and mallet. Mr. Peck uses a woolen rag with which to catch the apple worm.
Hon. H. H. Holt, Lieutenant Governor of the State, succeeds admirably with his plum orcbard of fifty trees, consisting of Blicker's Scarlet or Lombard, Washington, Jefferson, Coe's Golden Drop. These trees blossomed very full, and would have produced a large crop but for the drouth. He has mastered the curculio with the sheet and mallet, taking care to protect the bark of the tree by a woolen rag before jarring the tree with the mallet.
On the north side of Muskegon lake, and between it and Bear Lake, is a narrow peninsula, three and a half miles long, and averaging 100 rods wide, on which Mr. B. Moulton has a very fine peach orchard, and a vineyard of 11 acres, 50 acres in all. Mr. Rudiman has also 50 acres under fruit near the westerly extremity of the peninsula. Only about 150 acres on this favored spot is yet under cultivation, leaving about 400 acres still uncleared. A man from Coldwater is preparing to plant 20 acres more next spring. This valuable fruit land can be purchased, unimproved, for $50 to $90 an acre. It is much better soil than on the opposite side of the lake, sandy loam, and its great advantage consists in its proximity to water on both sides, exempting it from early frosts in the fall, and late frosts in the spring. The 19th of October, this year, was the first frost affecting grape leaves, and Mr. Moulton had, October 20th, about 4,000 baskets of grapes on his vines which appeared aninjured. He had picked 4,000 baskets, and had his barn full, shipping them off as rapidly as market could be found. His Concords were excellent, but the Delawares appeared to be injured by the thrip and the birds. He sacrificed about $200 worth of Delawares to the birds in order to save his magnificent erop of Concords. While there are Delawares, the birds will not touch Concords. Mr. Moulton's plums did well by jarring off the curculio. Cherries did well here, but the Early Richmond was the only cherry not eaten by the birds. Blackberries and raspberries did well last year, but this year they were damaged by the drouth. Mr. Moulton had his Hale’s Early peach trees watered during the drouth last summer, hauling the water from Bear Lake by team. He found it repaid him well in fine, large, juicy peaches, while those not watered were small and inferior.
UNIMPROVED LANDS. There is much territory adapted to fruit north of Muskegon and Bear Lakes yet undeveloped, and we found a disposition among land-owners to sell at reasonable prices and on long time. Some of this land is so situated as to be as free from late and early frosts as the Moulton peninsula. Bear Lake on the east, Muskegon Lake south, Lake Michigan west and Duck and White Lakes north. The prospect is good for a prosperous and wealthy fruit region on this territory, the transportation being uvexceptionable, railroad along the east, and lakes on all the other sides.
SHIPPING FACILITIES AND MARKETS. The whole of the Muskegon fruit region is admirably supplied with shipping facilities. At the head of Black Lake is a station on the Michigan Lake Shore Railroad, and at Muskegon there are, in addition to the fine lake harbor, railroads north, northeast, east, and south, furnishing a choice of markets in every direction, besides the home consumption of fruit is very large, it being the most extensive lumber region in the country.