Thursday, February 8, 2018

La Maison Rustique - The Potherbs - Strawberries

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


The Potherbs

(Chapter 41)

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Strawberries

Strawberries do not require much cultivation, provided they are planted in soil that isn’t fertilized; especially in shady places, because they take great delight in the shade of other plants, so we see them growing in the woods well sustained without any cultivation. True, they grow very well in full sun, provided they are watered once or twice a week, mainly when they start to blush, it is necessary to replant them after three years to make their fruit very beautiful, and weeded once every year at Advent with a weeding fork, and weed them by hand when leaves can be seen growing therein.

In the soil where they are transplanted, put well-rotted horse manure, or cow manure, each hosted by a board three feet long. Work this soil in dry weather, then let it rest, and in damp weather when it isn’t raining, plant them a half foot in all directions, with root at peg. 

It is necessary to mark an innocent, almost miraculous thing with strawberries, which while growing on the ground, and assiduously trampled by snakes, lizards, and other venomous beasts; they are never infected and do not acquire any venomous flavor, which is a sign that they have no affinity with venom.

Among the other commodities that they bring, the juice or wine expressed from strawberries is excellent to remove redness and small rash that comes to the face from heat of the liver, and the same to ease redness of the eyes; and erases marks and pocks of leprosy. Similarly, the decoction made from the roots and leaves of strawberry, made into wine, is singular for jaundice if you drink it sometime in the morning, and also for provoking the month for women, and this nonetheless stops yeast infections and the flux of dysentery, the same when used in the form of a gargle comforts the gums and teeth, and repels mucus in the head.