Considering the importance of Nuts as food, the cultivation of the various Nut-producing trees has never received, in this country, the attention it deserves. In nutritive value Nuts take a high place, and in some parts of the world they form a staple article of diet. The Sweet, or Spanish Chestnut, for example, is consumed in great quantities in some parts of the Continent, there being several methods of preparing it for table, one of which is the wellknown”polenta,”a form of porridge. Until recent times, considerable quantities of all kinds of Nuts were annually imported into Great Britain. It must, of course, be admitted that some kinds, such as the Brazil Nut and the Cocoanut, are altogether unsuited to outdoor cultivation in our climate ; while others, such as the Almond and the Spanish Chestnut, though hardy, are uncertain in cropping, unless given conditions favourable to the ripening of their fruits. But even the Cobnut and Filbert, varieties of Corylus Avellana, and indigenous to Britain, are in most gardens sadly neglected, rarely producing anything like the crops of which they are capable under gt-.od cultivation, while they likewise present a splendid field for experiment at the hands of the hybridist. The following are notes on some of the most important Nut-producing tiees : Almond, Sweet (Prunus Amygdalus dulcis).The Almond is chiefly grown here as an ornamental tree, and there are numerous varieties. It is one of the first trees to flower early in the year, and in consequence the blossoms are cut off by frost and cold winds, so that it rarely bears fruit. But in a fairly sheltered situation the tree under notice will often ripen its fruits. It will grow in any good soil, well dug, and containing lime. The usual method of propagation is by grafting on the common Plum stock. It reaches a height of about 20 ft., and calls for no special treatment. The Bitter Almond (P. Amygdalus amara) fruitsunder similar conditions. Barcelona Nut.See below, under Cobnut, Filbert, and Hazel. Brazil Nut.This is produced by Bertholleiia excelsa, an evergreen tree which, in its native home, reaches a height of 100 ft. In this country it can only be grown in a greenhouse with a winter temperature of 55-60 degrees F. The soil should be a mixture of peat and loam. Butter Nut. This is the fruit of Caryocar nuciferum, a tropical tree growing 100 ft. high, the culture of which in this country is not possible. Chestnut. The edible Chestnut is known as the Sweet or Spanish Chestnut, and botanically as Castanea sativa. The Horse Chestnut (Msculus Hippocastanum) is totally unfit for human food, nor will the horse touch it. The Sweet Chestnut makes a very handsome tree, reaching to 50 ft.in height, and the timber is of considerable value. It likes a deep, but by no means heavy loam ; but if Nut production be the object of its cultivation, its root run should be restricted by planting it where thesoil is not more than 18-24 ins. deep, with a thick layer of stones or bricks at the bottom. This prevents the formation of tap-roots, and stimulates the growth of fibrous roots, which in their turn lead to a dwarf habit and earlier fruiting. The situation should be warm, and the trees should not be exposed to cold winds from the North. Beyond this, no special treatment is required, and little or no pruning is called for indeed, pruning means no fruit, the Nuts being borne at the ends of the shoots. There are several varieties, of which Devonshire, Downton, and Prolific are most grown of British Chestnuts ; of French, Marron and Marron ordinaire are esteemed,others being Chataigne Ancisse, Chataigne Bois Jaune, Chataigne Crosniere, and Chataigne Vert de Limousin, but these are not so suitable for the English climate. They are propagated by grafting on the common Chestnut. Cobnut, Filbert, and Hazel. These are all varieties of Corylus Avellana and C. maxima, to which also belong the Barcelona Nut or Spanish Nut. The term Cob was formerly given to those Nuts with a short calyx or husk ; while those with a long calyx were known as Filberts, supposed to be derived from”full beard,”referring to the calyx ; but nowadays, owing to intercrossing, this distinction of naming is not maintained. The Hazel embraces all forms, including the Common Nut or Wild Nut. Almost any soil will suit these trees, but they especially revel in a fairly light loam. Whatever the nature of the soil, it should be deeply dug and well drained. Left to themselves they make dense bushes, throwing up numerous suckers from the base, and bearing little”fruit.”With proper training they can be made very productive. The usualmethod is that known as the Kentish or Maidstone system. This consists in growing the trees on short stems, up to 2 ft. in height, from which a head of six or eight main fruiting branches is formed. These branches are shortened back a third or onehalf, and the centre of the bush is kept open, to assume a vase-hke form. From the cut-back shoots others will spring, which in turn are shortened the following year, the leading shoots also being shortened. The Nuts will be borne on spurs on the laterals or side branches, and once the trees are formed the pruning will consist in cuttingout those shoots that have fruited, and shortening the growths so that the trees are not more than 6 ft. or so in height. The fruit is borne on ripened shoots of the previous years growth. All suckers that spring from the base or from the stem must be promptly cut out, also all dead wood and unnecessary twigs. The male and female blossoms are borne separately, the females being small, and scarlet or pink in colour ; the male blossoms are long, soft catkins. These shed their pollen in early spring, and not till after this is done should pruning be attemptedif done too soon, the female blossoms will not be fertilised, and there will be no Nuts. Gathering should not be done till they are fully ripe and brown ; they can then be stored in a dry place or in sand. The Barcelona Nut is Corylus maxima barcelonensis. Of the numerous varieties of Cobnuts and Filberts, the following are among the most popular : Cosford Cob, Kentish Cob, Duke of Edinburgh, Pearsons Prolific, Red-skinned Filbert, Webbs Prize Cob, and Whiteskinned Filbert. Propagation is usually effected by layers, cuttings, and grafting. Cocoanut. The fruit of Cocos nucifera, an East Indian Palm,reaching 50 ft. in height, and suitable only for greenhouse culture in Britain. (It is also known by the name of Coconut.Editor.) Hazel.See Cobnut, Filbert, AND Hazel. Hickory.See Walnut. Nut, Common. See Cobnut, Filbert, and Hazel. Pistachio Nut.This is the fruit of Pistacia vera, which does best on a wall, or on a sheltered south aspect. Male and female blossoms are borne on separate trees, and, when planting, care should be taken that both sexes are represented. A rich loam, deeply worked, is best for this tree. The Nuts grow in clusters. It may be well to point out that this tree so seldom fruits in this country that, if Nuts are the object, it cannot be recommended for general culture. The Nuts require to be cooked to be palatable. Sweet Almond. See Almond, Sweet. Walnut. This, by many regarded as the King of Nuts, is the fruit of Juglans regia, a handsome tree,valuable also for its timber. It reaches a great height, and does not commence to bear freely until it attains a good age ; but by special cultivation varieties have been produced of dwarfer habit, which fruit when much younger. It should have a good loamy soil, but does not need shelter, as it is quite hardy. There were at one time many varieties which are now rarely met with, such as The Yorkshire, Highflyer, Duck Nut, Hdtif, and Thin-shelled ; Fertilis is a more modern, early-fruiting variety. The Hickory Nut of America (Carya sp.) belongs to the same family, the Nuts being distinguished by their smooth shells, which are very hard, and mostly with a small kernel. It requires the same treatment as Juglans. W. J. C.
To grow Peaches and Nectarines out of doors the protection of a wall or fence is necessary, and for preference one facing south or south-west. Although they will grow elsewhere, yet to secure perfect wellflavoured fruit the trees need all the sunshine available, and unless attention can be given to cultural details similar to those grown under glass as regards disbuddmg, thinning, etc., the space afforded them would be much more profitably employed by being devoted to the choicer Pears and Plums. Nectarines and Peaches are amongst our earliest fruits to flower, and consequently, if exposed, are extremely liable to injury from early spring frosts, therefore some protection is necessary either in the form of a permanent coping, the temporary use of blinds, or some substitute such as a double thickness of fish netting. If the latter plan is adopted, means must be afforded so that the blinds may be drawn up during the day when the weather conditions are favourable, to allow the blossoms to become perfectly developed and fertilised, either naturally by the bees or artificially by a sharp tap of the trees about the middle of the day or during sunshine when the pollen is dry and flies. Though the outlay is greater, a permanent peach case or shelter is much the best, and can be erected by the use of iron standards at every 12 ft., connected with a top rail, which should be 9 ins. lower than the top of the wall to allow a good fall to the movable glazed lights, which are supported between the latter and the wall. A convenient width for the whole structure when complete is 3 ft. The wall, as a saving of labour for years to come, should be wired as close to the stone as possible to give the trees the benefit of the warmth, but leaving sufficient space to allow of the tying material being placed easily and quickly at the back of them. An ideal fitting to the whole is the Uic of a wooden trellis to walk upon, and the fixing of guttering and down pipes for collecting, and the use of rain water which would otherwise go to waste.The iron supports may be made use of also for outdoor Tomatoes or for training Cordon Pears or other fruit against ; if so, temporary sticks should be affixed to them to prevent the growth coming in contact with the iron. The best of fruit may be obtained under such a structure equal to that grown under cool house treatment, and, generally speaking, with additional advantages, since during the resting period the trees are permanently exposed to the elements, with the exception of, the roof covering, though if this last is made in sections, as previously mentioned, it can also be removed, and at no season of the year is the attention of ventilating needed. Perhaps the greatest boon of all is the rendering of the trees practically immune from the attacks of leaf-curl or peach blister. In a wet, sunless season the trees and fruit are greatly benefited, besides allowing work to be done during wet weather, whilst in hot, dry summer weather the roof may be shaded over to protect the foliage from the scorching rays of the sun. These advantages therefore compensate for the extra labour entailed in watering and syringing, which after all are necessary with those unprotected to secure the best results. The type of tree usually employed is the dwarf fan-trained. These should be planted 15 ft. apart, and for the first few seasons the most may be made of the space by planting standard fan-trained trees in between. Exactly the same remarks apply to planting, training, and other cultural details as to those grown under glass, and the quality of the fruits will largely depend upon judicious thinning, feeding, and mulching, also on the exposure of the fruit to the sun. By selecting early mid-season and late varieties a long season is maintained. With outside trees syringing must be relied upon to combat insect pests, and insecticides properly diluted according to the makers instructions should be applied when the weather is dull, and preferably towards evening so as to allow the foliage to remain wet for a longer time. Earwigs and woodlice, two disagreeable enemies, have a great dislike to moisture, and frequent syringings of the trees will do much to keep them away. Trapping of these pests may also be carried out by means of short lengths of bean stalks, and small pots filled with dry hay put down at night and emptied in the morning. After a heavy watering, woodlice can often be killed in great numbers crawling up the wall. Birds, wasps, and bees also prove troublesome at times, and necessitate protection by netting tiffany, muslin, etc.E. B.
This is a genus chiefly of tender exotic annuals and shrubs suitable for the hothouse. The most important species is 0. Basilicum, popularly known as Basil or Sweet Basil, the culture of which is briefly outlined in our article on Potherbs, which see.