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turnips—any of the leguminous crops— may be grown without detriment to the trees. But I would advise the planting of not more than two rows in the space between rows of trees. These crops should not come nearer than six or eight feet from the trees.
Nursery stock and small fruits may be planted in the orchard if the same rule of not overcrowding is observed.
Crops Not Advisarle.—All grain crops —any crops, in fact, that preclude cultivation—should be avoided as they involve great injury or total destruction of the trees. Watermelons and pumpkins are undesirable since they cover much of the ground to the exclusion of the cultivator, and their roots ramify to great distances, frequently drawing moisture directly from the roots of the trees.
Citrus And Deciduous Trees.—Some people adopt the plan of planting deciduous trees of early bearing habits—like the peach—in alternate rows between their orange trees. To this end the orchard is often planted close together with the intention of ultimately cutting away the deciduous trees when the oranges come into bearing. My experience with this
method has not led me to favor it. In the first place consulting appearances, I do not like the intermixture of the two kinds of trees—citrus and deciduous. Secondly, trees of different habits need to be treated differently in irrigation, and it is generally an awkward matter to irrigate part of the trees in an orchard without watering all. Thirdly, peach and some other deciduous trees come into bearing before the oranges, it is true, but the fact also remains that they are still vigorous trees when the oranges begin to produce. In Southern California the peach tree has been known to live fifty years. The oranges will need all of the space in the orchard when the deciduous trees are still in their very prime. It is hard for one to sacrifice the result of years of toil, and hence too often the deciduous trees are left and the oranges suffer—all of the trees suffer from crowding.
An Orange Grove Pure And Simple. —If the orange grower is master of the situation, so that he does not need to raise anything in his orchard but the orange trees themselves, and can keep the whole surface well pulverized and free from extraneous growth—that is, after all, the best plan.
THE ORANGE TREE IN BEARING.
Extra Care.—The orange tree when it begins to bear requires extra attention. Not only should the cultivation be most thorough, but, beginning with the time when the fruit first forms, there must be more irrigation than formerly, and every means must be adopted to keep the tree up to full vigor as it assumes its new productive function.
Tendency To Overrear.—The natural tendency of the tree is to overbear; i. e., to form more fruit than it can properly mature, or at least so much that, if matured, its own vitality suffers thereby.
Thinning The Fruit.—For this reason it is imperative that the fruit first formed be thinned out with no sparing hand. If two-thirds or three-quarters of the sets are pulled off when they are the size of a hazelnut, it will be the better for the tree.
How many oranges a tree should be allowed to bear the first season it would be impossible to say, as so much depends upon the size and strength of the tree, but I would place the safe limit somewhere between three and twenty. Aim to keep within rather than to pass the limit by a single orange, and the future well-being of the tree will reward you therefor. When a tree overbears at first it is generally stunted, and in such case the original yield may be its best for a number of years. In some instances the tree never produces so good fruit afterwards. The second season more liberty may be allowed in the matter of production, but both tree and owner must still practice self denial to a degree.
After Production.—The second year of bearing a budded tree may be allowed to produce from twenty-five to fifty oranges, the third year two hundred, and thus increasing proportionately until in full bearing.
Fruit Thinning Afterwards DesirArle.—The careful grower will not overlook the thinning of his fruit at any age of the tree. Thus only is the finest quality and a good uniformity of fruit to be obtained. As the trees become large the task of thinning increases to laborious proportions, but that is no reason why it should be overlooked. No greater oversight is to be charged to our orange growers generally than in their neglect to repress the over-productive tendency of their trees.
A Short Cut In Thinning.—An expeditious way of thinning the fruit adopted by some growers is to prune their trees quite heavily in June or in one of the fall months when in a dormant stage. This finds the fruit newly set or half formed, and a fair proportion of it is removed with the severed limbs. I believe this to be an excellent plan, "killing two birds with one stone," and both of them pretty good birds.
Props.—If the high system of prunning has been observed, the fruit will be bornenear the extremities of long slender branches, and it is generally necessary to sustain these branches with props from the time the oranges are half grown until matured and gathered. Poles with forked ends are in general use for this purpose. If props are not used, the limbs often break with their weight of fruit and thus the grower suffers loss both in crop and tree.
Productive Capacity Of Seedling.— A seedling tree at ltiverside bore at nine years of age sixty oranges; the next year five hundred, and the next two thousand, when it was accounted at fullest productiveness. Not all seedling trees even when vigorous and healthful in every way can do as well as this or ought, in fact, to be allowed to produce so heavily.
Yield Of Budded Fruit Less.—Semidrawf budded varieties will never give so large a yield, tree for tree, as seedlings; but the difference is made up by the earliness of bearing, the extra number of trees to the acre, and the superior quality of the fruit.
. PICKING, PACKING AND SHIPPING.
Picking Too Early.—The most advanced of the orange fruit, having attained about three-fourths of its normal size, begins to assume ayellowish color in December and January. Some growers, desirous of obtaining the good prices which prevail at the opening of the market, pick such oranges as appear ripe in January and February. When they do this they make a mistake. The juices are not at that time properly developed and ripened, and the fruit is sour and really unfit to eat. The short-sighted people who sell such trash do not stop to consider that for a mere temporary gain they are ruining the reputation of their fruit, and that for every dollar thus made they must ultimately lose two. The man who eats one of these sour oranges will surely think less and eat less of the fruit the rest
of the season—perhaps for the rest of his natural life.
The Time Of Ripening.—Oranges begin to attain their best flavor in February, and that is the time when the market should be opened. The fruit on the outer branches most exposed to the sun ripens first and is the best. That growing on the inside of the tree, besides being slower in maturing, does not color so highly and is inferior in flavor.
Long Preservation.—The orange, unlike most other fruits, does not begin to deteriorate directly after ripening, and then drop from its stem. It will hold its juices in perfect preservation from March until June, after which it suffers gradual loss, but remains palatable until August or September. All tills time it maintains its place on the tree, unless subjected to
some accident, such as the pricking of a thorn or a violent shaking by the wind or other disturbing element.
A Year On The Tree.—It is not an unusual thing to find oranges hanging upon the tree a full year after maturity and when the next succeeding crop is ripe. Such old fruit, although in outward appearance as sound and handsome as ever, is found when picked to be soft, and when opened, to contain only a juiceless pith.
Oranges Should Not Be Left Too Long.—It is a bad plan to leave oranges unpicked later than March and April, at which time the tree puts forth its blossoms for the next crop. A moment's reasoning will show that the old fruit, in the effort to maintain itself, must absorb no slight quantity of the juices of the tree, and this to the detriment of the forthcoming crop. Thus the young oranges are robbed of their proper aliment, while the old grow no better, and nothing but loss results.
The Proper Season—For picking oranges is then from February to April. In the earlier part of this season I would advise a nice discrimination, in order that only the fully ripe fruit be taken. Although the color may be substantially the same, a practiced eye and hand can easily detect the difference between the ripe and the unripe. In the latter part of the season the picker may gather the fruit clean from the tree as he goes.
The Best Picker.—Although a number of machines and devices have been invented for picking, I know of no better implement than the human hand. The man or woman who supplies the hand and the motive power therefor may stand on the ground when the tree is small, otherwise on a step-ladder. The picker twists the fruit a little to one side, and with a quick double jerk breaks the stem close up. It does not answer to pluck the orange with straight outward pull, as in that case a small patch of skin adhering to the stem is often taken out, thus ruining the orange for market.
Must Not Be Bruised.—In no case should the oranges be dropped to the ground or thrown even a few feet to their
receptacle. The picker generally carries a sack slung to his shoulder.
Gather When Dry.—Oranges should not be gathered in wet weather or when there is dew on the trees, the dampness being unfavorable to the keeping qualities of the fruit.
When the picker's sack is full he deposits the contents in a pile beneath the tree, or in a box or barrel, thence to be hauled to the packing house.
Too Hasty Packing.—It has been almost a universal custom with our growers to sort and pack the fruit immediately after picking, and ship at once. I pass over without just reprobation the careless manner in which this work has usually been done. The result in demoralized markets and short returns has been shown and commented on elsewhere. For present purposes it is sufficient for me to point out the better way. Those who are joined to their idols and will not learn from experience are not likely to be admonished by a scolding.
Curing.—Although we have totally ignored the plan practiced in other countries of curing or seasoning our oranges before packing, and have succeeded fairly in making our fruit keep without it, I still think that the coming packer will adopt this system. When carried to the packing house the oranges should be spread upon shelves or racks not more than two or three layers deep, all having glaring defects being at that time rejected. The fruit is thus left from two to five days, during which a portion of the water is evaporated from the skin, leaving it more tough and elastic and not so susceptible to damage by bruising as in the fresh state. Slight blemishes not readily discoverable at first are likely to develop by this time, and the defective fruit may then be thrown out.
Sorting.—I would advise every packer to have two grades of fruit. Let him make the first grade as uniform in size and color as possible, and first class in every respect. In sorting for this he should reject
1—All fruit affected by rot.
2—All fruit pricked by thorns.
3—All fruit with skin torn or abraded.
4—All fruit that is unripe.
5—All fruit that is under-colored.
6—All fruit that is too large.
7—All fruit that is too small.
For the second class he may put in all fruit rejected from the first that is sound and ripe, irrespective of size and color.
Cleaning.—If the fruit is disfigured by smut, this should be removed with a brush before packing.
The Grader. — An apparatus which greatly facilitates the assorting of oranges is known as the grader, an illustration of which appears herewith:
are in use: One, known as the California box, is 8 inches wide, 19 inches high and 22)^ inches long. The ends are a little less than an inch thick and the sides and bottom half an inch. There are two boards on each side, between which cracks of half an inch to an inch are left for ventilation.
Another, called the Eastern box, is 13 inches wide, 13 inches high and 26 inches long, outside measurement. It is composed of the same material as the other box, but is divided into two compartments, each of which measures a cubic foot in the clear. Cracks are also left for ventilation. The Easternbox is now most favored.
There is no standard orange grader. The grader in use at Riverside consists of a stand 38 inches by 9K feet in surface dimensions. It is inclined from one end to the other, the higher end standing 36 inches from the ground and the lower 18 inches. At the upper end there is a table inclined somewhat, but not so much as the rest of the apparatus; dimensions 38x33 inches. Below this there are two series of slats running lengthwise, each 40 inches long. These slats perform the office of a riddle for the oranges in process of sorting. The slats in the upper series are 2}£ inches apart, and those in the lower series 3 inches apart. The fruit is first placed upon the table and then allowed to roll down the incline. The smallest fruit drops between the slats of the first series. The rest run over these slats and the next in size fall between those of the second series. The oranges that are too large for the last slats (i. c, more than three inches in diameter) run off the end of the table. Tims three grades are accomplished. Beneath each of the riddles is fastend a burlap, bagging to the middle, where there is a hole allowing the oranges to roll into the receptacle provided for them. By this appliance the work of grading is accomplished very quickly and accurately.
Packing Boxes.—Two kinds of boxes
Wrapping.—Our more progressive packers are adopting the plan of wrapping each orange in paper as it is placed in the box. This involves a good deal of labor and some expense, but it also offers these advantages:
1. It is a protection to the fruit against bruising while in transit.
2. It absorbs surplus moisture, thereby preventing rot.
3. It places the fruit in the market in a tasty manner and conveys the impression that the packer at least had a good appreciation of it.
4. If the wrappers are printed, it becomes a means of advertising the producer or packer and the variety of the fruit. The buyer who likes the oranges will look for that wrapper the next time he buys.
Numrer Of Orangs To The Box.—With the cases above described oranges run from 100 to 250 to the box. The happy medium is 150;—this for seedlings or average sized budded fruit, like the Navel or Mediterranean Sweet. Small fruit like the St. Michael will go 200 to the box on a good average.
Numrering The Contents.—The oranges are counted as they are packed and the number each box contains marked on one end.
Boxes Well Filled.—The boxes should be filled so that when the lid is put on it will press the fruit down sufficiently to prevent it from shaking about in handling.
Cost Of Picking And Packing.—The Riverside Fruit Company gives the cost per box as follows:
Packing, including wrapping 30
Shipping.—As soon as possible after packing the boxes should be shipped.
Markets.—Up to the time the Southern Pacific railroad was completed, giving direct rail communication with the East, our only market for large quantities of citrus fruits was San Francisco. Handling our products from the early times, when the fruit had not been brought to a high standard, and when the packing was uniformly bad, the San Francisco merchants got into a way of slaughtering it, and the growers of Southern California were at their mercy. Now that our people are making an effort to establish a better order of things, they find their past bad record and the settled habits of the San Franciscans against them. The metropolis of the State is therefore quite generally voted an uncertain market. This has induced producers and jobbers within the past two or three years to look eastward for the disposal of their fruits. Arizona and New Mexico are our natural fields of consumption and these have been fully supplied. Markets have been opened also in Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis,
nicago, Minneapolis, and some shipments have been made as far as the Atlantic seaboard. Not all of these shipments have proven satisfactory. This fact is not to be wondered at when we consider that many of the shipments were pioneer efforts. Some of the ventures, however, were highly satisfactory. A Riverside shipper cites his experience as follows:
"My oranges sold in San Francisco last season (1884) from $2 to $4 per box. At about the same time in Denver the same class of my seedling oranges (165 to the box) sold for $7.83. Another gentleman who shipped to Denver with me received for his very choice Riverside Navels,
$8.22 per box of 137. It costs about $4.20 to pay freight and commission on a box of Riverside lemons sold in Denver and $3.50 on a [.box of oranges. The cost of shipment to San Francisco and commission is 75 cents per box. This makes the Denver market nearly $2 per box better than San Francisco."
Freights.—The high freights of the Southern Pacific railroad* have been the chief impediment to eartern shipments. Some concessions were made by this company during the past year, but the tariff is still too high. It is to be hoped that the advent of a competing railroad, which we have in the Atlantic and Pacific,now establishing termini on this coast, will put quite a different face on the matter;—tha we shall soon have cheap access to all available Eastern markets. One thing is certain: San Francisco cannot be relied on to furnish an outlet for our vast citrus productions, and |the sooner our people establish their own commercial relations with consuming markets the larger their returns.
Avoiding The Trounle Of Picking, Packing And Shipping.—Of late years, jobbing firms of wealth and experience have come to the fore as purchasers of our citrus fruits, and the most common practice among producers is to sell their crops on the trees. They are thus relieved of all trouble and responsibility in the premises, and realize more satisfactorily than though they undertook the work themselves. The jobbers, well versed in the modus operandi of packing, shipping and supplying the various markets, can handle the fruit to much better advantage than individual producers.
*note.—The railroad company reduced the rate on oranges last year (1884) to all points east of the Missouri river from $350 to $250 per carload; to Tucson and Benson, A. T., to $225 per carload; to Kansas City $200 per carload. The through rat?s two years ago were as high as S0O0 per car. The difference in favor of orange growers is very large, being over $1 per box. This traffic is only in its inception. Each year it will increase, and with the increase no doubt further reductions will occur.