A Need For Change
After acquiring the Salubria land and building his manor house here in 1830, Dr. John H. Bayne quickly realized that devoting the entire property to the cultivation of tobacco was not going to produce the income he needed. Tobacco was a labor intensive crop, and the African slaves necessary to provide the labor were becoming too expensive to acquire and maintain. In addition, tobacco could be planted in a field only once in three years. More frequent tobacco planting robbed the soil of its necessary nutrients. As a result, Bayne began formulating plans to replace tobacco with more profitable and less labor-intensive crops - fruits, vegetables and flowers for the national capital area market.
Dr. Bayne saw the need to develop these crops with particular attention to their suitability to the soil and weather at Salubria. He also sought to develop strains which were early producers of choice fruits and vegetables. His experiments in cross pollination and selective grafting proved to be very successful in producing excellent strawberries as well as superior peaches, apples, pears and grapes. Bayne reputation as a horticulturist, first recognized locally in 1843, quickly spread from Maryland in the mid-Atlantic region and onward to New England and even to Europe. By 1847, Bayne was commonly addressed as "The Prince of Horticulturists" in the press, professional journals and among his peers. In that year Prince George County Agricultural Exhibition, Bayne ?mammoth apples and superior grapes? garnered exceptional praise.
A More Profitable Use of Trained Slaves
By 1852, Dr. Bayne orchards contained 15,000 trees - 8,000 of them were producing peaches suitable for consumption as table fruit, rather than limited to the production of brandy. The Salubria field slaves were apparently trained by Bayne not only to plant the trees and harvest the crops, but also to prune and maintain them to maximize their early harvest productivity. Salubria field workers also played a part in producing superior strains of strawberries, grapes and potatoes. Because of the scope of these tasks, Baynes slaves must have participated in implementing his selective cross pollination of the strawberry plants and the grafting of the grape vine stock.
Sharing His Knowledge
Dr. Bayne was an early supporter of the concept of a professionally educated farming community. He regularly wrote articles on agriculture and horticulture which were published in local, regional and national trade journals. He was elected President of the Prince George County Agricultural Society in 1849.
Bayne was also a member of a small group of prominent farmers and horticulturalists who founded the Maryland Agricultural College which became the University of Maryland at College Park.