Cranberry

A name applied to trailing species of
the genus Vaccinium (Ericdcerz). Of the true Cranber
ries there are two species in North America,-the small
( Vaccinium Orycoccus), and the large (V. mac1-ocar
part). These are native to swamps, where they trail
their slender stems and little oval evergreen leaves over
the sphagnum and boggy turf. The red, firm berries
ripen late in fall, and often persist on the vines until
spring. when well protected with snow. Each berry is
borne on a slender pedicel ; and the curve of this pedi
cel in the European species is said to have suggested
the name Craneberry. which is now shortened to Cran
berry. See Vaccinium.
The large Cranberry, Vaccinium macrocavpon, is now
cultivated on hundreds of acres in the United States;
and this Cranberry culture is one of the most special
and interesting of all pomological pursuits. This Cran
berry grows only in North America; and North America
is the only country which has a domestic or cultivated
Cranberry. Because Cranberry-growing is such an un
usual type of horticulture, it is thought advisable to
devote considerable space to it in this Cyclopedia.
Cranberries may be grown on land both low and high;
but it is the general experience that low, boggy lands
are the only ones which give permanently good results.
In the winter, the natural Cranberry bogs are usually
fiooded, and in summer they are free of standing water.
The flowers are often caught by the late frosts of spring,
and the fruit may be injured by the early frosts of fall.
Bogs are often ruined by fire in times of drought. In
sects and fungi often play havoc with the cro .
The ideal bog for Cranberry culture is t e one in
which the natural environments of the plant are most
nearly imitated. and in which the grower can have the
greatest control over the difiiculties mentioned above.
it should have the following qualifications : (1) Capa
bility of being drained of all surface water, so that free
water does not stand higher than one foot below the
390 CRANBERRY CRANBERRY
surface in the growing season. (2) Soil which retains
moisture through the summer, for Cranberries suffer
greatly in drought. (3) Suflicient water supply to en
able it to be flooded. (4) A fairly level or even surface,
so that the flooding will be of approximately uniform
depth over the entire area. (5) Not over-liable tofrosts.
Bogs which contain moss or sphagnum and which have
a peaty or mucky soil are usually chosen. If heath-like
shrubs grow naturally in the bog, the indications are all
the better. The presence of the Cassandra or Leather
leaf is regarded as a good augury. Black ash, red
maple, swamp huckleber , and white cedar swamps are
often very satisfactory. ld mill-ponds often give good
results.
Before the Cranberries are planted, the bog must be
cleaned of trees, bushes, moss and roots. This may
be done by “turflng,” which is the digging out of the
$68. Cranberry-picking scene on a Cape Cod bog.
In the upper corner is a hog in full flood (lfl Wl!1!8l')- In "19 10""
is the flume or outlet dam.
swamp growth, or by "drowning," which is (l\'(-lily
flooding the place for a year. The method of preparing
the surface for receiving the plants varies in diflerent
regions. Open ditches are run through the place in
suflicient number to c 01! the surface water. They
are usually made 2 to 4 feet deep. If some water stands
in them during the summer, better results are expected.
These ditches usually feed into one main or central
ditch; and this main ditch is preferably the one which,
when dammed at its lower end, floods the bog by back
ing up the water. Growers prefer, if possible, to divert
a living brook through the bog, or to straighten and
deepen one which may exist there; but in the absence
of a brook, a reservoir
may be constructed above
the bog. Sufficient water
supply should be had to
cover the entire area from
December until April or
early May, to a depth of at
least one foot. The lower
places will have a deeper
covering, but 4 or 5 feet
in places usually does no
harm in the winter. It
569. Cranberry hand-picker. "-150 may be n9¢e9"7Y W
flood in sprin or fall, to kill insects or to protect
from frosts. T e objects of flooding are as follows: (1)
to protect the plants from heaving in winter; (2) to
avoid late spring and early fall frosts ; (3) to drown in
sects; (4) to protect from drought; (5) to guard against
flre. Unless serious contingencies arise, the bog is
flooded only in winter. A flooded bog looks like a lake
(Fig. 568). Good results are obtained now and then in
"dry" or upland bogs, which cannot be flooded; but such
bogs or meadows rarely give uniform results, and they
are less advised than formerly.
There are three centers of Cranberry growing in North
America,—Cape Cod peninsula, New Jersey, Wisconsin.
Each has methods peculiar to itself. It was in the Cape
Cod region that Cranberry culture began. The first at
tempts were made early in this century. William Ken
rick, writing in 1832 in this "Orchardist," says that
"Capt. Henry Hall, of Barnstable, has cultivated the
Cranberry twenty years;" "Mr. F. A. Hayden, of Lin
coln, Mass., is stated to have gathered from his farm in
1830, 400 bushels of Cranberries, which brought him in
Boston market $600." In the second and subsequent edi
tions, Kenricks makes the figure $400. It is not said
whether Mr. Hayden's berries were wild or cultivated.
At the present day, with all the increase in production,
~4.; _»_ _.._ r-‘E
R. .177/7‘.l“'*.-‘~_-§Y.‘.‘!I‘
g . . ..
0|.
prices are higher than those
received by Mr. Hayden.
In the third (1841) and subsequent editions, it is said
that"an acre of Cranberries in full bearing will produce
over 200 bushels; and the fruit generally sells, in the
markets of Boston, for $1.50 per bushel, and much higher
than in former years." It was as late as 1850, however,
that Cranberry culture gained much prominence. It was
in 1856 that the first treatise appeared : B. Eastwood's
" Complete Manual for the Cultivation of the Cranberry."
About 1845, Cranberry culture began to establish itself
in New Jersey.
In the Cape Cod region, the bogs are "turfed." The
surface covering is cut into small squares and hauled
off. The object is to obtain a uniform surface in order
that all plants may have equal opportunity. The bog is
then "sanded." Rather coarse, clean sand is spread over
the entire area to the depth of about4 inches. In this
covering, the vines are planted. The sand keeps down
weeds and thereby lessons subsequent labor; it aflords
a moisture-holding mulch for the muck; it renders the
plantation easier to be worked in wet weather, and it pre
vents the too vigorous growth of the vine. Every four
of five years a fresh sanding, to the depth of an inch or
less, is given. This keeps the vines short and close.
Formerly, whole roots or “sods” of Cranberry were used
CRANBERRY
for planting, but now cuttings are employed. These cut
tings are 6- or 8-inch pieces of vigorous runners, with
the leaves on. They are thrust obliquely through the
sand, only an inch or two of the top remaining un
covered. They are set about 14 inches apart each way.
In three or four years a full crop is obtained. The bogs
are kept clean by means of hand weeding. At Cape God,
it is estimated that the sum of $300 to $500 per acre is
required to tit and plant a hog. A good yield from a
bog in full bearing is 50 barrels to the acre; but 200
barrels have been grown.
In New Jersey, the general tendency is to omit the
sanding. The bogs are not cleared so carefully. The
plants are often set directly in
the earth bottom, after the heavy
turf is removed. The b0gs—or
meadows, as they are usually
called—are not kept so scrupu
lously clean. It is thought
that a reasonable quan
tity of grass prevents
scald i n g of
the berries.
If the vines
become too
deep, they are mown or burned in order to
secure a fresh growth from the roots.
The gathering of the crop is done preferably by
hand-picking, particularly in plantations which are
well cared for. In some cases the berries are raked
of! with a steel garden rake, but many of them are
lost and bruised, and the vines may be injured. It
is said by some that the tearing out of the old and
large vines in the raking tends to renew the plants,
and this is undoubtedly true; but there are better
ways of keeping the vines young and short, as by
sanding or mowing. In the East, raking is now
rarely employed, unless the crop is very poor or
prices very low; or unless hard frost is expected,
in which case the berries may be raked, the bog
flooded, and the berries caught at the flume. Some
times the bog is flooded when hard frost is threatened
and the water is allowed to remain all winter, and
the berries are harvested in the spring; but such
early flooding may injure the vines. The price paid
for the picking 0! Cranberries is usually about 40 to
50 ct-s. a bushel. Three to four bushels is considered to
be an average day’s picking. There are various devices
to facilitate the picking. On Cape Cod a popular im
plement is the Lambert picker (Fig. 569). The machine
is thrust into the vines, and the operater closes the lid
by bearing down with his thumb; drawing it backward
pulls oi! the berries. Usually the pickers are"1ined-off"
(Fig. 568) by cords stretched across the bog, thus limiting
each one to a particular area, which he is required to
pick clean. The berries are cleaned by running them
through a separator, by passing them over a screen,
by floating oil the litter by dowsing them in water, and
by other means. Dowsing usually reduces the market
value. They are then marketed in barrels or crates.
02 varieties there are three general types, determined