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Sir Joseph Banks, from a variety of experiments, and the experience of many years, recommends a general revival of the now almost obsolete practice of laying straw under strawberry plants, when the fruit begins to swell; by which means the roots are shaded from the sun, the waste of moisture by evaporation prevented, the leaning fruit kept from damage, by resting on the ground, particularly in wet weather, and much labor in watering saved. Twenty trusses of long straw are sufficient for 1800 feet of plants. On the management of strawberries in June and July, the future prosperity of them greatly depends; and if each plant has not been kept separate, by cutting off the runners, they will be in a state of confusion, and you will find three different sorts of plants. 

 

1. Old plants, whose roots are turned black, hard, and woody. 

2. Young plants, not strong enough to flower. 

3. Flowering plants, which ought only to be there, and perhaps not many of them. Before the time of flowering is quite over, examine them, and pull up every old plant which has not flowered; for, if once they have omitted to flower you may depend upon it they will never produce any after, being too old, and past bearing; but to be fully convinced, leave two or three, set a stick to them, and observe them next year.

If the young plants, runners of last year, be too thick, take some of them away, and do not leave them nearer than a foot of the scarlet, alpines, and wood, and fifteen or sixteen inches of all the larger sorts; and in the first rainy weather in July or August, take them all up, and make a fresh plantation with them, and they will be very strong plants for flowering next year.

Old beds, even if the plants be kept single at their proper distance, examine, and pull all the old plants which have not flowered. When the fruit is nearly all gathered examine them again, and cut off the runners; but if you want to make a fresh plantation, leave some of the two first, and cut off all the rest. Then stir up the ground with a trowel, or three-pronged fork, and in August they will be fit to transplant.

If you have omitted in July do not fail in August, that the runners may make good roots to be transplanted in September, for, if later, the worms will draw them out of the ground, and the frost afterwards will prevent them from striking root; the consequence of which is, their not flowering the next spring; and you will lose a year.

STRAWBERRY AND RASPBERRY FOOL 

Bruise a pint of scarlet strawberries, and a pint of raspberries, pass them through a sieve, and sweeten them with half a pound of fine sugar pounded, add a spoonful of orange-flower water, then boil it over the fire, for two or three minutes; take it off, and set on a pint and a half of cream, boil it and stir it till it is cold; when the pulp is cold, put them together, and stir them till they are well mixed; put the fool into glasses, or basins, as you think proper.

STRAWBERRY JAM 

Dissolve four pounds of lump sugar in a quart of currant juice, then boil and scum it quite clean. Mash four quarts of raspberries, and mix with it. Let it boil quick, over a clear fire, for nearly an hour, or till the sugar and raspberries are quite mixed. This may be known by putting a little on a plate; if the juice drains from the fruit, it must be boiled longer. When done enough, put it into pots, and the next day put brandy papers over them. Tie them down with another paper, and set the jars in a dry place.

STRAWBERRIES PRESERVED 

To keep whole strawberries, take equal weights of the fruit and double refined sugar. Lay the strawberries in a large dish, and sprinkle over them half the sugar in fine powder. Shake the dish gently, that the sugar may touch the under side of the fruit. Next day make a thin syrup with the remainder of the sugar, and instead of water, allow to every pound of strawberries a pint of red currant juice. Simmer the fruit in this, until sufficiently jellied. Choose the largest scarlet strawberries, before they are dead ripe. They will eat well in thin cream, served up in glasses.

STRAWBERRIES IN WINE 

Put a quantity of the finest strawberries into a gooseberry bottle, and strew in three spoonfuls of fine sugar. Fill up the bottle with madeira, or fine sherry.