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ripen in February, but in greater perfection and more plentiful in March and April; and by regular successions of plants, fine fruit may be obtained till the supplies in the open ground, about the end of May or beginning of June.
FORCING STRAWBERRIES IN PEACH AND OTHER FRUIT-TREE FORCING HOUSES, ETC., INCLUDING VINERIES.
Par. 64.-Forcing houses for fruit trees are admirably adapted for forcing strawberries, bringing them to great perfection; some may be introduced as soon as the house is set in motion by artificial heat, and a succession continued as directed in the vinery; and where there is a bark bed some should be plunged therein, which will forward them considerably; and about the end of January or beginning of February place some forward near the glasses, also upon shelves in different parts of the house and in any other convenient situation, thus a supply may be continued until the season for ripe strawberries in the open air.
FORCING STRAWBERRIES IN HOT-BEDS, WITH
Par. 65.-In the absence of the convenience of hot-houses for producing early strawberries they may be forced by hotbeds under frames and lights, and they will come to tolerable perfection about April; these hotbeds may be made of stable dung, or of tanner's bark; if convenient to make them of the latter, they are to be preferred, as the heat is more steady, kind, and durable, and generally proves more successful; but the bark hotbed must have a bricked pit, or a case of post and planking, to contain the bark in, otherwise its loose texture will make it inconvenient to form it into a bed. The beds should be about three feet deep, width according to the size of the frames, and length to what extent may be required.
But a well constructed pit of brick-work, about four feet deep in front, by five to six feet behind, to admit of hot water pipes, or a flue along the upper part at the back, or continued all round above the top of the bark-bed, will
be very beneficial to assist occasionally in cold weather, and more particularly when the heat of the bed becomes low; then it would prove of great advantage to the plants; these beds may be made any time, from the middle or end of January, till about the middle of March, and when the bark is of a proper moderate heat, plunge the pots therein; by this practice good crops of early strawberries will be produced.
Dung hotbeds for forcing strawberries may be made also from the end of January, in February, or March, in the same manner as is usual for making hotbeds of stable dung; set on the frames and lights, and when the bed is of a moderate heat, bring in the earth, and cover the bed about six or seven inches deep, in which to plunge the pots; or if not in pots, to plant the plants in, which should be taken if possible immediately from the nursery bed to that of the hotbed, with as much ball about the roots as can be preserved; after the bed is planted, and a moderate watering given to the plants, put on the glasses, and give vent to the steam arising from the bed, then cover the glasses every night
with mats, &c.; and when the plants are in a growing state, admit air daily when mild, and more freely when the sun shines, and especially when in bloom, and the fruit is setting. Support the heat when it declines by linings of hot dung, and treat the plants in every other respect as directed for their culture in the hothouse.
If convenient to have ten or twelve inches of bark to place on the top of the dung hotbed instead of mould, to plunge the pots in, it will prove of advantage to the crops. On the other hand, when the plants are intended for the bark pit without pots, mould should be placed on the bark, about six inches thick, to receive the plants; although the plants will grow, and often do tolerably well, by being planted in the bark.
When the plants have not been properly prepared for forcing, as before directed, or not a sufficiency for the purposes required, some plants may be taken up from the natural beds in the open ground, and be immediately potted, or transplanted with balls direct in the hotbed. Observe, in bark-bed forcing, should the heat become very weak, take up the pots and fork up
the tan, which will revive the heat, and then replunge them immediately. As the plants advance in growth, be careful to attend to the watering. They will require a greater supply to the earth while in bloom and the fruit setting; but when the fruit is ripening, very little should given, in order to preserve the rich flavour of the fruit.
Therefore in hotbeds, either of dung or tan, supplies may be produced in succession, by introducing the plants at different times, and by occasional linings to the former, and forking up the latter, the heat may be revived to produce fruit, until the strawberries arrive at maturity in the open ground; and for the purpose of having plants which may be depended on for fruiting successfully, it is advisable to have fresh supplies prepared for forcing, as formerly described, every season, which will preclude the necessity of forcing the plants a second time, which seldom proves so successful as fresh plants.
Par. 66. The raspberry as a table fruit being