The Minnesota Horticulturist 27(9): 352 (September, 1899)


(Some months since Prof. N. E. Hansen visited the place of this veteran horticulturist, at Excelsior, Minn. The following interesting; article is an extract from a published account of this visit. Sec'y.)

Mr. Gideon has many seedlings coming on of Wealthy, Peter, Martha, Florence and other of his earlier seedlings. He is still working for the long keeping apple. On being asked how he expected to get it, Mr. Gideon replied:

"I have many of the best long keeping American apples in orchard. If they bear before we have another such hard winter as 1884-85, I hope to cross these American long keepers with my hardiest cross-bred Siberians and then plant the seed of the American long keepers. My experience with thousands of seedlings is that a seedling will ripen its fruit at or near the season of its mother. From the Siberian the first requisite, hardiness, will be obtained; from the American, the long keeping capacity. It is useless to plant seed of the common American market apples. In my first attempts I planted in orchard and grubbed out again more than twenty thousand seedlings of old Eastern market varieties before I got one apple to eat. Every year I would plant seed, and the next winter would clean them all out. Every year for nine years I persevered, and at the end of ten years I had one tree left, and that one was a crab seedling; so I regard that point as well demonstrated on my grounds. I am this year planting seed of the Peter only, which is one of my first seedlings of the Wealthy. I cannot distinguish between these two varieties by the fruit, but the Peter is the hardier tree; it is as hardy as a crab. I now have between two and three thousand seedlings of the Peter from seed sown last spring.

"I have had very poor success with apple seed kept dry over winter and soaked and frozen in the spring. My method is to plant in the fall. I have had very good success with planting the cores, or the pomace fresh from the cider press, covering not more than one inch deep. Seed gathered in the fall at various times may be dried a little in the shade without harm and then planted as soon as possible in the fall, and covered not over one inch deep. Have had little trouble with cut worms. I leave the seedlings in nursery row two years, and then select those of clean, smooth growth, with perfect terminal bud. My rule is always to reject a seedling if it loses its terminal bud the second winter. A seedling of smooth, clean growth with large, smooth, thick leaves and not too many thorns, is promising. Wealthy and Peter both had thorns on when young, but not many. Any little thorny, brushy seedling, generally with small leaves, I throw away every time. The seedlings are all taken up and the rejected ones are cutoff and used at once as stocks for root-grafting, if needed."

Gideon: Origin of Wealthy apple (1899)