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IT is one of the best of the signs of the times that the love of gardening and its practice, in and around our towns, have greatly increased within the last few years. Men of all classes, deeply engaged in business, from the humblest mechanic upwards, show a growing disposition to cultivate what Bacon has termed "the purest of human pleasures," and add to their homes that adornment which may be found in the culture of such a piece of ground as their means will allow them to secure. Much has been written to assist in the gratification of this wholesome taste, but there can be no doubt that people generally have still a great deal to learn as to the principles which should guide them in their gardening amusements, and the direction. in which their time and outlay might be expended to the best advantage. In the present paper we shall offer a few hints as to the general principles which should be kept in view in suburban gardening, especially in small plots of ground, leaving gardening upon a larger scale for future consideration; and we shall follow these hints by details as to the profitable culture of flowers, vegetables, and fruit, by persons whose means and whose opportunity for gardening are alike limited.
CONDITIONS OF TOWN GARDENING.
It is often supposed that the conditions of soil
atmosphere, &c., under which gardening is pursued in the vicinity of towns,
render it difficult to meet with a similar measure of success to that found in
country gardens. If any proof were wanted of the general ignorance which exists
on gardening subjects, it would be afforded by the prevalence of this belief.
The fact is that, rightly followed, town gardening may be made as successful and
as profitable as gardening in the country; and the reason why the one so often
presents an unfavourable contrast to the other is chiefly that suitable subjects
are not employed, or, if used, are not tended with proportionate care. What will
grow well in the country will often not thrive well in a town, and the attempt
to rear the same plants and the same varieties under the two widely different
conditions, frequently results in conspicuous failure. But, on the other hand,
town growth is peculiarly suited to some classes of plants, which positively
flourish better in the more heavily-charged air. The greater quantity of ammonia
in a town atmosphere, which is constantly being brought down in large quantities
by the rains and absorbed into the ground, is precisely what many vegetables and
plants require for their full development; and the town gardener has therefore
in this case a constant and natural supply of that which the country farmer is
at considerable expense to procure by artificial means.
Again, the greater warmth which is found in towns as compared with the open country in winter, is eminently favourable to many of the forms of vegetable life. The superior growth and condition often observed in many of our best evergreens in town as compared with the same objects in the country, is an instance of the peculiar suitability of the neighbourhood of town to a certain class of plants; and in other classes it is equally favourable to some varieties, although it may be injurious to others. What these varieties are we shall have occasion to point out under their several headings, when we come to touch upon the different kinds of plants cultivated in our gardens.
But, while the gardener in town or suburb should bear these facts in mind for his encouragement, he must also remember not only that it is necessary to choose suitable plants for his garden, but to counteract the impurity of a town atmosphere by greater attention to the cleanliness of his plants. The leaves of a plant are its air-vessels, through which impurity will be conveyed to its system if it exists in the surrounding air. A good supply of water in dry and dusty weather is therefore doubly necessary to plants grown in town; but the water should be applied, not to the roots only, as is the general practice, but by gentle sprinkling or washing as in a rainfall, over the entire surface of the plant. At frequent intervals the soot and dust which are sure to settle more or less on the leaves should be entirely washed away, and the plants, if healthy, will immediately repay the attention by their fresh appearance and vigorous growth.
These two principles of suitable selection of plants and constant attention to cleanliness, are the chief points necessary to be observed to enable the town and suburban gardener to compete successfully with the resident in the country. But now as to other matters which demand his consideration.
THE SOIL, AND HOW TO IMPROVE IT.
The first is, to study at the outset the character of the
soil with which he has to deal. This must be his guide as to the class of plants
that he should attempt to grow. Some flourish in light while others thrive in
heavy soils, and his choice must be made accordingly; but it is always possible
in a small garden, by a little judicious outlay, to do much to alleviate the
general character of the soil, whether of the one kind or the other. Stiff
clayey soil, for instance, may be lightened by the addition of sand,
road-scrapings, and vegetable manure; while too light a soil requires the
addition of clay or marl and rich vegetable earth.
Many suburban gardens, attached to newly-built houses, are formed of meadow land recently broken up; and the soil in these is generally sufficiently rich and fertile to form basis for operations without much trouble in preparation. But in others the ground which the gardener has to cultivate [-21-] is thickly strewn or intermixed with brick and rubble, which must be carefully cleared away before he can do. any good with it. Even this rubbish, however, will be useful in small quantities, as a little of it interspersed in the subsoil will assist in the drainage of the ground. It is a common mistake to remove all stones from the earth or mould. They assist in keeping the ground open and making it porous, preventing it from caking in the heat of summer, or being washed out of the beds on to the paths in heavy showers of rain. Moreover, in hot weather stones are highly useful in preventing the loss of moisture from the plants by evaporation; for, if you remove a stone; from the surface of the mould, you will generally find the earth damp underneath.
Then, again, the soil may be shallow in depth, and require either that fresh soil should be imported or that the subsoil should be brought up by trenching - an operation which we shall hereafter explain. Lastly, and more commonly still, the fruitfulness of the ground may have been quite exhausted by previous operations, in which case plenty of manure must be dug well into it. Rotted stable manure is the best possible material for this purpose, but many others are easily procured. Road scrapings, matter gathered from ditch bottoms, all kinds of vegetable refuse, with lime, soot, &c., are all useful in their way, according to the character of the soil and its condition. The right use of manures will form the subject of a future chapter.
ASPECT OF THE GROUND.
Other considerations to which proper regard must be; paid are the aspect and the surroundings of the garden. If the general aspect be south or south-west, you may attempt to grow vines, fruit trees, and many delicate vegetables and flowers with which you would certainly fail if your garden were exposed chiefly to north and easterly winds. It may be that your plot of ground is so situated. that you have two entirely different aspects, one side being fully exposed to the genial influences of the sun and the south-west breezes, and the other lying nearly always in the shade, and meeting only the keener winds. You will find both sides useful for different purposes. On the brighter side, for instance, besides planting your vines and fruit trees, you may sow your seeds in spring, and the rising plants will get warmth and shelter until they are ready for planting out. The other side will be equally valuable - as summer advances; for many of your vegetables and tender plants which would be burnt up by the heat, will here flourish in the shade. You must carefully observe, then, the aspect of the ground, and be guided by this in your planting.
WALLS AND FENCES.
The next point for consideration is the manner in which the garden is enclosed - whether by fence or wall. Brick walls, as a rule, are much less suited to gardening purposes than open fences. They obstruct the light, and the free passage of air to the plants. The wind and the rain beat forcibly against them, and all things immediately within their shelter suffer in consequence. On the other hand, they have their occasional advantages. A good wall facing the sun is the most suitable spot in the garden for a vine or a plum tree, as it retains and reflects the heat to ripen the fruit. If fruit is not desired, many of the climbing plants, such as the Virginian creeper and the blue passion-flower, common in the southern counties of England, may be used as a covering and ornament. For a damp wail, ivy is the best thing, as it will keep it dry; but in a garden it should be kept cut close, and thinned from time to time, otherwise it will grow unsightly, and form a breeding place for a colony of vermin. A continuous wooden fence presents the disadvantages of a wall without its advantages; therefore choose, if you can, a garden enclosed by an open palisading, which will admit the light freely to the plants, and at the same time break the force of strong currents of wind, while it allows a thorough circulation of air.
LAYING OUT THE GARDEN.
Now as to the planning out and arrangement of your garden.
If you have an open fence, this will require less consideration, and the usual
plan of a narrow bed round the sides, with others in the centre, will do very
well, supposing you wish to grow flowers chiefly. But if you aim at the culture
of vegetables, it is preferable, if the garden is a small one, to have the sides
occupied by wider beds, with one pathway running down the centre Thus you get
more available space, and can cultivate your vegetables in larger and wider
strips, which will be much more convenient for planting, &c., and, at the
same time, more favourable to their growth.
If a small garden is enclosed by a wall, the best arrangement is to have the paths running round the outer sides, leaving the whole of the central space for your plants and flowers. Thus you bring them out of the shade into as much light and air as can find their way into the enclosure, It will be better still if you can raise the bed or beds into which you may divide this central space, above the general level of the ground, so as to give them still more exposure, and at the same time a better drainage. In many cases this may easily be done when you are making a garden, by importing a quantity of broken bricks and similar rubbish, and with this forming a foundation ii for the soil. The expense is trifling, and the trouble will be amply repaid in the saving of labour and the better condition of your plants at a future time.
In all cases remember to lay out your garden and place your beds so that the plants may be readily got at in all stages of their growth. And when you come to plant, do not fall into the common error of planting so thickly that the subjects choke up each other, and you have a difficulty in attending to one without injury to the rest. The air should be allowed to circulate freely around the stem, and the sun's rays and the rain should be able to reach all the leaves of every single plant, if you wish to have a collection of anything more than weak and sickly vegetation.
SUCCESSION OF PLANTS.
If you intend to devote your ground to the culture of
vegetables, you will not need to be reminded that it is desirable to have a
constant succession of plants in the ground, and that gardening will therefore
require your attention and afford you amusement throughout the year. But if you
think of growing flowers only, avoid, above all things, the modern practice of
occupying the ground in the summer months alone by tender and showy plants,
geraniums, calceolarias, and the like, and leaving it a barren and desolate
space throughout the rest of the year. The smallest piece of ground is capable
of affording you a new pleasure in every month from January to December
inclusive, as we shall show in detail, in the course of these papers, if you
will plant such flowers as follow each other in reaching perfection at the
successive seasons of the year.
So much for the general principles which should be kept in view in setting out. We now come to the practical details of the subject, and shall treat in an early paper on the laying out of the small suburban flower garden.
THE WINDOW GARDEN.
ALTHOUGH it is not in every man's power to have a garden, in the ordinary
sense of the word, it is not difficult to improvise a greenhouse, or to
cultivate flowers in the very heart of a town. Window-gardening is within reach
of all who have a roof to cover them, and the nearer the sky the operations are
carried on the better chance haze the flowers of thriving. A few boxes made of
rough boards nailed together, or, indeed, anything that will hold earth and
permit drainage, will serve as the ground-work of a window garden; and even in a
house where there are only two or three rooms, flowers may be cultivated
It is erroneous to imagine that it is unhealthy to have plants in living-rooms. There are, of course, exceptional cases, where the perfume of some particular flower produces sickness or headache, but this only occurs with delicate persons; from sleeping-rooms, however, growing plants ought to be excluded. As a rule, it is a good plan to keep flowers in a living-room during the day, as they absorb the noxious gases in the atmosphere. These they exhale by night; and as they thus poison the air of the room, it is desirable, as far as possible, then to remove them.
[-44-] We have said that anything capable of containing soil and affording an outlet to moisture will do for flowers to grow in. Ordinary flower-pots are most frequently used, but they are not desirable when economy of space is an object. The great advantage of pots is the facility which they afford for changing the plants from time to time. Zinc boxes are often preferable to clay pots, and they can be had at a very trifling cost, or made at home without much trouble. The bottom must be perforated, and, the box either raised upon small feet of wood or iron, or set upon bricks. A wooden outside case is a very great advantage - it ought to be a trifle larger than the zinc one-the intervening space being filled with moss, or straw, or dried leaves. The object to be gained by this is one every window-gardener must attend to - namely, to prevent the rays of the sun over-heating the earth in which the roots of his plants are lying. Very pretty and ornamental cases are made by planting common ivy between the zinc and wood, and letting it trail over the sides, or upon a little trellis-work, which is easily made by bending and interlacing willow wands, such as basket-makers use, sticking the ends into the earth. I once saw a box of this sort with a very picturesque device. Four wands were fastened at the corners, from which four more met in the centre; round these a small-leaved clematis was trained, and kept so close that it did not interfere with the passage of air or light to the other flowers.
The pots or cases having thus been secured, the next - thing to do before filling-in the earth will be to attend to the drainage. Be very particular never to let your plants stand in water. Some few plants, it is true - hydrangeas, for example - like to have their roots kept constantly moist, but, as a rule, plants, like men, are better with their feet dry.
The best way to set about the drainage is to cover the - hole at the bottom of the pots with a piece of a broken pot, so placed as to afford a free passage for the water; over this spread moss or straw, to prevent the earth running down and choking up the drainage. If a case is used, set to work in the same way, only lay the broken pieces a little thicker, and let the moss be also thicker, and well pressed down. A very good drainage may be easily obtained by filling the bottom of the box or pot with a layer of common coal cinders, about an inch in thickness.
The next thing is to get soil - not always an easy matter in a crowded town, and often entailing many a long walk. In London it is very difficult indeed to get soil, if there is no ground adjoining the dwelling which can be laid under contribution. It will often prove the best economy to procure some from a gardener, which will have the advantage of being specially prepared for the growth of flowers; and the expense of getting such a small quantity as would be required for a window-garden would be very trifling indeed. At any large market where flower roots are sold, the gardeners are glad to part with any of the refuse soil they have brought there round the roots of the plants for a very trifling cost. For a penny or two the amateur window gardener will get enough soil to fill at least two good-sized flower boxes. When people can get out into the country, they will have little difficulty in obtaining leave to gather the earth that they want from the little hillocks of road-scrapings piled at the side of the road, which are full of valuable manure, choosing always those parts where the grass is stiff and sharp. For some plants - namely, those of the fine hair-rooted sorts, such as heaths, &c. - a more fibrous earth, mixed with flints and sands, will be required. This can always be obtained where heath grows. When you have time, and really mean to excel in your flowers, it is an excellent plan to carry home a few sods of the wiry grass we mentioned, and having charred the grass at the fire, lay the sods away in any dark dry corner for a month or two, when it will be ready to powder down with the hand. In some cases it is a good thing to mix sand with it. All soils, however, do not require an extra quantity of sand, and you can determine as to this in a very simple way. Take a little soil in your hand, and work it into a pulp. If it feels gritty, you will require very little sand, perhaps none at all; if it gets simply soft and smooth, add sand accordingly. The manure you mix with the soil must be perfectly rotten, and in a crumbling state. You must use your own judgment, when it is thoroughly mixed with the soil, as to adding sufficient moisture. It is a mistake to use too fine soil, as it is apt to run together and cake; therefore take rough soil in proportion to the size of your pots.
In transplanting or repotting you must be careful to damp the earth and roots thoroughly, then spread the fingers over the surface, reverse the plant, and tap the pot smartly, the contents will come out unbroken; separate the outer roots a little at the outside, place the plant in the pot, and crumble in the fresh earth round the ball of roots. If the earth is lumpy, and the roots scanty, wash the roots free from soil, keeping them in your hands and manipulating very quietly, for fear of breaking the fibres; then, replacing the plant in the pot, throw in the fresh earth, packing carefully, but lightly, when rapid growth is the object. This last should always be observed; but if you want to stimulate flower bulbs, pack the earth firmly. After transplanting, water equally with a rose, or if you have not such a convenience, take any flat thing - a lid or a piece of wood - and by holding it over the plant, a gentle stream of water falls upon the surface, which will thus be diffused over the foliage as well as the soil.
For raising seedlings, warmth, air, and comparative darkness are essential. Warmth must range at 45º or 50º to germinate the seed, after which 60º is quite as much as the young plants will bear. Moisture is essential, but should be equal, and never excessive.
Comparative darkness is desirable, as the seed will sooner germinate, and throw forth its shoot, than when kept in a hardened condition by the influence of a hot sun. Care must, however, be taken to accustom the plants gradually to the light, and that as soon as they begin to show above the surface. The great secret in raising seedlings is never to allow them to get a check.
It is more difficult to raise seeds in pots than in the [-45-] open air, and we shall therefore give a few practical directions for planting and raising them.
Our illustrations show designs for hanging-baskets, which may be suspended in the window by a hook driven into the ceiling of the apartment, and, when filled with ferns, creepers, &c., will be found to produce a very elegant effect. Of these Fig. r represents a basket made of rough pieces of rustic wood joined together, while Fig. 2 is of a little more elaborate kind, being composed of twisted wire.
THE SMALL SUBURBAN GARDEN.
AMONG the many thousands of houses which have been built
during the last few years in the neighbourhood of our large towns, few are
without some small patch of ground which may be turned to account for flowers.
There may not be room for an extensive and showy display, but there is usually
enough, either at back or front, to make an ornament to the house, and to afford
some degree of amusement and interest to the owner. What to do with these small
plots, is the difficulty with many who are without gardening experience, and
have little time to acquire it, and consequently we very often find such spaces
either very injudiciously filled, or neglected altogether. We shall try to put
our readers in the way of making a flower garden, even if the space at their
disposal be only a few yards in extent, and this at a very small outlay of
either money or labour.
We must ask our readers to keep in view the hints we gave in our last paper, as to the planning of the small garden, and the preparation and improvement of the soil. Taking these as a starting-point, we will suppose the beginner to have put his piece of ground in order by clearing away rubbish, well turning and breaking up the soil, and importing mould if necessary. For getting the ground ready, if it has ever been used as a garden before, he will find a three-pronged fork far more useful than a spade. It will be more effective in its work, while at the same time it is more easily handled. But, in selecting either spade or fork, do not choose a large or heavy implement. Select a tool that you can wield with ease, for by so doing you will be able to go over far more ground in a given time, than if you chose one which apparently would turn up a great deal more at a stroke, but would entail in its use a degree of fatigue which might soon compel you to desist altogether. People very often fancy that it is necessary to get tools for their work of the same size and weight as those which a regular gardener is in the habit of using, but this is a mistake.
With such operations as trenching, manuring, and making pits, all of which are most important, and will require a full explanation, it is not our purpose to deal at present. Our readers who may desire information on those subjects will find it as we proceed ; it being our intention to describe all the various gardening operations in their regular order, as they are successively required.
The ground prepared, it has next to be laid out. There must be the space in which the flowers are to be grown, and - what it is equally important to provide for - the means of getting at the flower-bed or beds from all points, for planting or cultivation. A small garden should have small beds ; but it is a common mistake to make one large bed in such a place, usually in the form of a circle or an oblong square. If the garden is surrounded by an open fencing, the best arrangement is a flower border running round three of its sides, with a walk up the centre.
[-59-] If there is sufficient width, a middle space may be allotted to flower-beds in addition. But if as we have before remarked, a wall or close fence encloses the plot, make your flower-beds in the centre, and your walks around the sides.
The arrangement of side beds may be made either in the usual fashion of a straight and uniform line, or with the outer border forming a waved line. The latter plan is decidedly preferable where the available space is not so limited as to cause a trivial effect. Besides being a departure from the tiresome uniformity which ordinarily meets the eye, it affords somewhat better means of tending the flowers, as the indentation of each curve gives a more convenient approach to the plants. But in these and other matters, it is hardly possible to lay down any very definite rules, and the reader must be guided by the suitability of the plan suggested to the space at his disposal.
As to centre beds, beware, in any case, of
the mistake to which we have before alluded. It may be easy enough to plant a
large bed, beginning from the middle and working outward ; but when the plants
come to grow, it is impossible to tend them properly without risk of injury.
When they require trimming or watering, the plants are difficult of access, and
you must step upon the bed to accomplish the work. For watering, in town
gardens, should be given occasionally to every individual plant; not to its
roots alone, but thoroughly over its leaves, to remove from them the dust and
other pollutions which choke their pores. And when plants are in flower, it is
necessary to remove from them continually all decaying leaves and spent
blossoms, so that they may be kept in health, and their period of blooming may
be prolonged as far as possible.
Accordingly, for any central space, let the ground be divided, so that access to all the plants is freely open. If the space will allow the formation of one good-sized bed only, reject the form of either circle or square ; there are others which will be both more pleasing to the sight and more convenient from the gardening point of view. We give two or three diagrams of suitable forms of single beds, Figs. 1, 2, and 3, which will suggest others to our ingenious readers.
When there is a larger space available, and more than one central bed can be made, the ground may be portioned out in geometrical forms, comprising a circle or an oval, with segments of a circle. Our illustrations, Figs. 4 and 5, suggest figures applicable in this case, always remembering to let the forms chosen satisfy the eye, as well as afford ready access to the plants.
We have seen, where plans similar to these are adopted, and especially where the garden is formed on what was previously meadow land, the grass left on the spaces around or between the beds. But we must confess we would rather relay turfs at any time than attempt to renovate old and coarse grass, which can never be made to look so well as new; neither do we approve of turf for either edging or lawn in very small gardens. It requires, in summer particularly, incessant clipping and attention to keep it in tolerable order, and the time which should properly be devoted to the plants is thus occupied by their surroundings. What is best for the purpose is a walk of neat gravel.
FORMATION OF GARDEN PATHS.
In the case of paths, we have heard it stated that
perfect drainage is only absolutely essential in a very damp locality, or where
there is a rush of water from higher ground near at hand; but we beg to differ
in this respect, because we look upon it that "whatever is worth doing is
worth doing well," and as it is merely the question of a little extra
labour, there is no good reason why so important a matter should be slighted.
Our plan is to shape out the paths exactly, and remove the earth in their entire
course to the depth of eighteen inches, making, as it were, a clean, square
trench; then, having spread stones or rubbish, such as broken crockery, burnt
brick clay, or some similar hard material, so as to fill to the surface, we
permit it to lie for a time, ramming it down every now and again, until it has
become perfectly solid. In a week or more, according to the weather and labour
bestowed, it will be sunk to a distance of six inches from the top of the
trench. Then place upon it a layer of coarse gravel, from three to four inches
thick, and let it be well rammed down, and afterwards rolled as flat as
possible; and as soon as you have made the surface to your liking, put another
two-inch layer of finer gravel over the whole, roll it as before, and you will
have a path that will discharge any amount of wet, and never give way or become
rotten or untidy, let the weather be what it may. The gravel for the purpose may
be obtained in many localities at a very slight expense, and it is not
necessary, although it may be desirable, to have more than the usual bottom of
well-beaten earth; but where it is not so easily procured, stones, shingle,
rubble, or any similar material, may be beaten into the ground to form a solid
path. All garden paths, great or small, should be somewhat higher in the centre
than at the sides, to allow water to run off freely, and so prevent their
getting into a sloppy and unpleasant condition in wet weather.
In the choice of material for the borders of beds, tastes differ widely, some preferring a permanent edging of tiles, [-60-] or similar material, while others will have nothing but flowers. But where flowers are used for the purpose, it is necessary to plant very closely, or one of the chief objects of the edging - namely, to keep the mould from being brought down on to the path by rain, &c.- will not be secured. Nothing answers this end better, or looks neater, than good terra-cotta tiles, which may be obtained at the rate of about 15s. the hundred, each tile nine inches in length. Where this edging cannot be procured, rounded stones are sometimes used; and in small gardens, in the vicinity of towns, we have frequently seen borders of oyster-shells, or broken bricks driven into the ground with the corners uppermost.
Box is the best and most lasting material for a permanent green edging, but it must be planted with great care, to protect it against frost. The soil round the edge of the bed to be formed must be patted down firm and even, or level, and having chopped out the trench in a slanting direction towards the walk, the roots of the box must then be laid against this, and the soil pressed down tight as the trench is being filled up around them. They should be planted in March or September, and clipped in July or August. An edging of grass is objectionable, as we have already remarked, as it requires constant attention to keep it tidy.
THE CULTIVATION OF SMALL GARDENS.
In the outskirts of London, and, indeed,
of most towns, there are to be found numbers of small houses at a moderate
rental, with a very small patch of ground at the back, from twenty to thirty
yards in length, and six or seven yards wide, so small, in fact, that at first
sight it might appear questionable whether it would be really worth the time,
trouble, and necessary expense to keep it in a state of cultivation. We hope to
be able to show that this would be a mistake. A plot of ground, however small,
is far too valuable to be wasted, especially in the suburbs of towns, where
garden produce of every sort and description is very expensive; and our present
object is to show those of our readers who have small gardens of this kind in
what manner they may cultivate them to the best advantage.
The laying-out of them should be as simple as possible - either with a path down the centre, and beds on each side to the boundary walls, or else with a path running round the garden at about two or three feet from the wall. Of these, the latter is preferable, for several reasons; it is certainly more sightly, and enables the occupier to reach every part of his little territory with facility.
Of course, if it be merely intended to use the garden as an ornament, it will be easy enough to fill the surrounding beds with flowers, the centre being laid out in grass, with a few small beds of flowers in the centre, as we have already described, but this is an expensive matter, as all the plants will have to be procured fresh year after year, there not being sufficient space to propagate fresh ones, or to keep a stock through the winter for the next summer's planting.
If it be desired to make the garden remunerative, flowers must be made a secondary consideration, and the principal part of the space should be filled with a judicious selection of vegetables. In favourable situations such a plot would grow the cabbages, lettuces, radishes, endive, onions, spinach, and the various useful herbs necessary for a small family; and if all the ground were kept continually under cultivation, or, in other words, as soon as one crop is done with it were cleared off, and another put in its place, it might be made remunerative.
In the case of smaller plots of ground, such as belong to or accompany dwellings of a minor description, which might be better understood by the name of yards, if they were only paved, it would likewise pay the tenant to grow useful pot herbs, and such crops as onions, lettuces, radishes, and so forth; and as such there is no reason why even a single foot of soil should lie idle. In a future paper we shall again revert to the subject of gardens on a somewhat larger scale, and endeavour to show how to make them pay.
Cauliflowers, rhubarb, sea-kale, and even asparagus might be grown.
A few of the most useful fruits, such as raspberries, currants, gooseberries - of course, small-sized - might be planted here and there in the garden, currants might be nailed against the wall with advantage - (these latter would prevent that look of bareness about the walls, so detrimental to the appearance of any garden) - and space might also be found here and there for a few strawberries.
In an ensuing paper we shall give a plan for the laying out of a small villa garden, and shall then proceed with some account of the tool-house - so necessary an adjunct to every garden, however small - and with a brief description of the nature and uses of the more ordinary garden tools.
THE WINDOW GARDEN (continued from p.45).
THE practical result of good gardening is to keep up a
show of blossom or ornamental foliage all through the year, to effect which it
is necessary to know the seasons when the various plants arrive at perfection.
Supposing, therefore, we begin our year in winter, though few flowers are
blooming out of doors, yet our window garden may be gay enough, as may be seen
from the following list of flowers which bloom at that season, all of which are
available for our purpose -Pompon chrysanthemum, tree carnation, Chinese
primrose, polyanthus, single garden anemone, mignonette, musk, Neapolitan and
Russian violet, wallflower, scarlet geranium, myrtle, camellia, China rose,
Besides these there are many more, but as they require more attention and greater space for growth than most of our readers will be able to spare, we shall leave their names until a future number, and say a few words upon the culture of each of those given in our present list.
Pompon Crysanthemums are especially suitable for winter window decoration, both on account of their size and variety of colour. Though naturally dwarf ·plants, they will admit of still further dwarfing, by having the points of the shoots "laid" at the end of August. In potting you will require rich light soil give plenty of water afterwards, and when they have done flowering remove them into a yard or spare window and protect them from sharp frosts. You can increase your stock by dividing the roots or suckers, in April or May
Tree Carnation.-Make cuttings in spring, re-pot in May, again in September; pinch off the points of the early shoots when you first re-pot, so as to retard the flower-buds. Train upon a wooden frame or up the sides of the window.
Chinese Primrose - Sow in April or May under a square of glass; pot and re-pot twice, as the plants increase in size. Use sandy, fibrous, rich earth, and see that you have free drainage. When past flowering treat as chrysanthemums, and re-pot for the second season.
Polyanthus takes a moderately large pot, rich loamy soil, and should be watered with liquid manure.
Single Garden Anemone. The roots of these and their bulbous brethren are the better for being taken out of the earth when flowering is over, and stored for the summer. This, however, must not be done until the foliage withers, which shows that Nature is resting. Good plants may be had by putting in the roots early in winter, and keeping the pots in a dark cool place until their leaves appear.
Mignonette·-To bloom through the winter, select from the box or bed, and re-pot a strong woody plant, train it up a frame of sticks, and water sparingly.
Musk - grown either from seed, cuttings, or division of the roots. Keep very moist while growing, and dry while the plant is sleeping.
Violets, Neapolitan and Russian.- Re-pot in May, expose to the air as much as possible, either in a border yard, or window-box. Use well-manured, rich earth watering freely. When the runners appear, nip them back so as to concentrate the strength in the main root. In September re-pot into light loamy good soil, and place in your window. Give all the air you can, and wash the leaves frequently.
Wallflowers may be made to bloom in winter by cutting back in spring or summer, and from their perfume are always a favourite adjunct of the window garden
Scarlet Geraniums.-The sweet-scented and oak-leafed are the best for winter growing, and will go on flowering up to February. Of their treatment we shall have occasion to speak under the head of pelargoniums.
Myrtle.- No foliage is prettier and fresher. The plant will last for years, is easily propagated by cuttings, and although apt to grow too large for its share in a window case, can be kept within bounds by pruning. Sandy loam. mixed with heath and a little silver sand, is the best soil in which to grow myrtles. Re-pot once a year; wash the foliage now and then as soot smuts blister the delicate green leaves.
Camellias.-Choose the double, which are the best flowering sort, and treat in the same way as the myrtle. A very simple way of striking camellia cuttings is by merely putting a spray (first nipping off the flower-bud) in a small medicine bottle half full of water; let the stalk just enter the water. Hang up the bottle in a light warm place, and in a short time you will have a well-rooted young plant to pot.
China Roses - Plant in midsummer, or even later , use rich loamy soil, well chained. Strike at any time from cuttings.
Heaths - being rather capricious in their growth, must be planted in heathy soil well mixed with silver sand and leaf mould, thoroughly drained, and kept free from wet. The pot must be rather small in proportion to the size of the plant. Give plenty of air, and protect carefully against a hard frosts.
Daphne - although not very ornamental, and apt to straggle in its growth, will nevertheless always find a place a where sweet perfume is acceptable. Heath soil and loans is the most suitable earth. Be careful to keep off frost or even a sudden chill and remove from the window at night. Indeed, we may here observe that this rule should apply to all winter flowers. The temperature falling so suddenly inside the room the dying out of the fire, renders the plants extremely sensitive to the change in the outside atmosphere. If such a misfortune as a frost-bite occurs, remove the plant to a dark place, and let it recover itself; light will blister and decay the surface affected by the frost.
These flowers will have shed their beauty in January. when you should have your bulbs ready to fill their place. Of these the following will flower in January and February :-Hyacinths, narcissus, jonquils, tulips, crocuses, snowdrops, and scillas. The pretty effect a selection of these will produce when well arranged, is shown in our illustration, Fig. 2.
The treatment of these several sorts is much alike. Plant in soil mixed with leaf mould and well-rotted manure, early in autumn, say September. Keep in the dark until well rooted, which process is encouraged by having a saucer supplied with water below the pot. When the roots are thoroughly grown, which will generally take place in eight weeks, remove the pots to the light, and the flower and foliage stems will soon show. Great [-82-] care should be taken to have the drainage act quickly, as although the plant should be well supplied with constant moisture, it must not get clogged with wet earth. If the flowers of the hyacinth begin to show before the stein has sprung up far enough to let them develop fully, you can force its growth by twisting a paper funnel and placing it over the plant; flowers always seek the light, so the hyacinth will strain to reach the greatest light as shown by the aperture at the top of the funnel.
By the time your bulbs have finished flowering there are many pretty spring flowers ready to blossom, so we will suppose you have been preparing a stock of primroses, violets, ranunculus, anemone, Indian pink, forget-me-not, and lily of the valley.
Of these, Primroses are perhaps the most popular, reminding as they do of country lanes ; they require no further care than good drainage, and to be planted in light soil mixed with leaf mould.
Violets we have already described.
Ranunculus, Anemone.-These are treated in the same manner as the single anemone mentioned before.
Indian Pink, Forget-me-not.-Sow in November, thin out if too thick, keep cool and dry.
Lily of the Valley.-Take close plump roots and pack tightly in the pot, shake in a light sandy soil, and place in a saucer constantly half-full of water.
To follow the early spring show you have a large and very beautiful family of flowers, known as annuals. We scarcely need say that an annual is a plant which is sown, blossoms, goes to seed, and dies in a year.
Some annuals, it is true, may be made to live on for several years, but this is only by coaxing nature into an unusual course, by picking off the buds, or pruning back. The annuals suitable for our purpose are those not requiring artificial heat, and therefore designated hardy and half-hardy ; of these the following list will suffice to keep up the summer supply:- Mignonette, lobelia, mesembryanthemum, portulaca, balsam, cockscomb, convolvulus, anagallis, calandrinia, nemophila, and mimulus.
The treatment of these small-seeded annuals is alike. Sow in March or April under a pane of glass, thin out, and transplant when large enough. They will then be ready to fill your window in June, or even the end of May, and continue flowering until the harder wooded perennials are ready. Of these, the favourite sorts suitable to the window are:- Pelargoniums of various sorts, fuchsia, salvia, and calceolaria.
For low-growing plants to fill up the case, you should keep up a supply of lobelia, musk, and moss. Mignonette never comes amiss for an odd corner, and the common wild mosses, grown in flower-pots, form a lovely relief to the bright colours of the geranium.
Pelargoniums, usually known as geraniums, are propagated by cuttings made from March up to the end of August.
The scarlet geraniums are not quite so suitable for - window gardening as the large florists' geraniums, which grow luxuriantly in the house, and often, too, under the most adverse circumstances. In taking cuttings you should select well-ripened stems, removed as far as possible from the flowering shoot; let them be about three inches in length, and cut across a joint with two or three joints above; the cutting should not be sunk deeply in the soil, an inch is quite deep enough.
Pelargoniums require forcing every year ; first you must prepare them for the operation by hardening the wood in the open air. When they have been out of doors three or four weeks, cut back the young shoots, giving the plant the form required; this is the fittest opportunity for cuttings, as you then make a better selection, and do not damage the plant.
After pruning, the plant should be kept pretty dry until the young shoots break away, then they must be re-potted into sandy loam, leaf mould, and fibrous earth. Take care to nip off any decaying roots, water freely, and shade from the glare of sunlight. Plants re-potted in February will flower in June, and you can go on, keeping up a continuous show by merely taking care to re-pot at proper seasons, beginning when the plant is young, or by nipping off the first young shoots, thus obliging the parent stem to send out fresh flower stems.
Fancy or dwarf geraniums are much grown now, and if nicely pruned form lovely little shrubby plants. These require more water while sprouting, and should have smaller pots in proportion, while the addition of a little heath soil is a great advantage. The best time to make cuttings of any geranium is in March and April, and then you should take the little side shoots, and having struck re-pot them once or even twice during the summer. Before leaving the subject of propagation by cutting, we must impress upon the window gardener that to have a good strong plant to stand the winter he must strike his cuttings not sooner than March or later than June.
Some of the fancy geraniums bloom almost continually. This is a grand object to achieve in a window garden, so we advise our readers to buy a plant of Gaines' scarlet, Rollisson's purple, or the Prince of Orange, a strong young plant, any one of which may be had for three or four pence at a nursery gardener's ; and here let us observe that the first outlay is the last, as a good stock can always be kept up by propagation, or exchange. Those geraniums which are kept in foliage all the winter require considerable care ; the leaves will grow yellow and drop off if you do not keep them moist, which is best done by syringing, or washing delicately leaf by leaf with a small sponge or bit of flannel, an operation which can be easily done after the day's work, if you are careful to draw the plant-case into the room, and avoid any chance of frost catching the damp leaves. While plants are blooming, care should be taken to keep them moderately moist.
Fuchsia.- There is nothing more graceful or ornamental than this queen of window plants, and on the whole nothing more simple in its cultivation. Propagated like the pelargoniums from cuttings, the plants require much the same treatment, that is to say, re-potting, pruning, and hardening. One thing, however, the fuchsia is more greedy of, and that is water; you can scarcely water a healthy plant too much, always understanding that the pot has a quick and thorough drainage. Give all the air possible, and when the lovely bells fall and the leaves turn yellow put the plant out of doors to drink in life and vigour from the pure breath of heaven. Take care however, that it does not get frost-bitten; prune and remove into smaller pots for the winter in October cm November, and set it somewhere where neither frost nor excessive damp can reach it.
In March, when the plant is shooting, you must form it carefully. Slips pulled off close to the old wood in April will strike well, and make neat plants for flowering in autumn ; the parent plant must be re-potted in a slightly larger pot, and kept well watered by syringing the stem, rather than deluging the root.
The best form in which to train a fuchsia is that shown in Fig.1. The plant throws out more graceful branches, and takes tsp less room in the winter; the stem will go on growing until it attains a considerable thickness. Liquid manure is good for fuchsias while they are preparing to bud, but should not be given after flowering, and the flowers should never be wetted, or they will drop off before their time.
Salvias.- The scarlet, by proper management, may be contemporary with the chrysanthemum as well as the pelargoniums, and all the precaution necessary is to top your cuttings taken in early summer, and force the plant to go over its preparation for flowering again.
THE WINDOW GARDEN (continued from p. 81).
FERNS are among the most beautiful of the plants adapted to window culture.
The graceful forms of the foliage more than compensate for the absence of
flowers when they are used alone ; but when they are employed together with
flowering plants, in some such contrivance as the bulb case engraved in our last
paper the effect extremely pleasing. They may be placed as a centre with dwarf
flowers around, according to their size and habit of growth. But they are
also useful for hanging-baskets, the drooping fronds falling naturally over the
sides, and making a handsome base either for the flowers or taller ferns which
may be grown in the centre.
With regard to the baskets used for such purposes as this, we may remind our readers that it is not at all necessary that they should be of a very ornamental character; so long as they are neat in outline, and adapted to the purpose by being sufficiently roomy to admit the soil and the free growth of the plants, it is immaterial what amount of decoration may be displayed upon the sides. As the plants grow, these will be covered and hidden from view, and, therefore, the elaborate and expensive affairs which are sometimes sold for hanging-baskets, are practically worth no more than the plain and unpretending articles which may be purchased for a quarter of the sum. A good example of the hanging-basket has been included in our previous illustrations.
When ferns are employed alone in the basket, it should be fitted with a zinc pan, in which to place the soil, as it will be necessary to keep this constantly moist, and without the pan an unpleasant dripping would be experienced. Ferns for the purpose of indoor culture may be found in abundance in any wood, and in most of our country lanes. They may occasionally be seen growing in chinks of rocks, upon old walls, &c. A good variety might thus be obtained with very little search including the common maidenhair, the hart's tongue, spleenwort, lady fern, and many others. The locality will in many cases decide the examples which may be thus selected for growth as each district has some kinds more or less peculiar to itself. The plants chosen should be small - the smaller the better - as the more pleasure will be found in watching their gradual development; and when they have grown somewhat too large for the pot or basket, they may be removed to the garden, where they will help to make a pleasing variety among the shrubs and flowering plants.
If ferns be procured from a nurseryman or seedsman the hardy native kinds should be chiefly chosen for window gardening, and they may be seen in numbers and variety to suit any individual taste. Many of the other species are apt to require too much heat and moisture to render them desirable subjects, especially for growing in baskets. A few good healthy ferns to start with, will enable you to keep up a constant supply, as they may be propagated with ease by division of roots, and by raising from the spores. The spores are the seeds which are found on the under surface of the frond, and they are most easily collected by cutting off the frond entirely when the spore-cases become brown, and laying it by in a warm place, wrapped in a piece of paper. In a few days the cases will have burst, and the spores may be collected and sown. They may be sown in a pot, which should be half or three parts full of material for drainage, and the soil should be light and fine. A little moss placed underneath the soil will keep it sufficiently moist, and assist the growth. A small piece of window-glass should be put over the pot, and left there until the shoots begin to appear above the surface, when it must be raised occasionally for the admission of air. When the plants have grown large enough to handle, they should be transplanted immediately.
Drooping plants, which will flower freely in the basket, may be had in great variety and at very little cost. Among the most popular favourites of this kind are the nasturtium family, tropeolum, canariensis, and other varieties, convolvulus major, honeysuckle, and trailing mesembryanthemum; but there is scarcely any limit to the number of plants that may be grown in this way. The verbenas, heliotropes, petunias, nemophilas, lobelias, mimuluses, &c., may be trained to cover the sides of the hanging-basket, and thus each spring or summer an entire change may be made in the character of the plants so grown.
We will conclude these papers on the window garden with some hints on the raising and keeping of plants which require something more than the slight degree of attention which is sufficient for many of the kinds described in our last paper. It will be found advantageous to stimulate the growth of certain seeds by artificial means, some of which may be carried into effect simply and inexpensively. Bell glasses are useful, and not expensive. A cracked tumbler will answer the purpose in some cases; and in others, a flower-pot turned upside down. In a cottager's garden we once saw a very neat contrivance: a tray was filled with sawdust, and placed in an east window; on this the pots with their seedlings were placed, and over them was a frame of glass. The sawdust, by being kept wet, moistened the soil, and at the same time generated a sort of bottom heat, which materially helped the seeds to germinate on cold days. The master and inventor of this little forcing establishment sprinkled the sawdust with warm water.
[-114-] The pots must be filled one-third with cinders for drainage; we then divide the remaining space into three parts-laying first a layer of lumpy, rough soil; then a layer of finer soil, mixed with sand; next, and lastly, finely-powdered soil, containing a greater quantity of sand.
The surface soil must be sandy and light, If you cannot obtain heath soil, a little powdered charcoal is a good substitute.
Water the pots so as to thoroughly damp the soil, and let them stand for a day to drain in a dry shaded place.
Level the surface of the soil and then thinly scatter in the seeds, top-dressing them with a layer of fine soil of a thickness in proportion to the size of the seeds used press the soil down, and lay over the top of the pot a square of window-glass; sometimes, in case the plants are delicate, or the sun scorching, it will be found advisable to shade with a piece of paper.
For small seeds, such as calceolaria, lobelia, &c., a slight dressing of dry silver-sand is best. Mignonette requires dusty dry earth, lightly laid on. Balsams will take the tenth of an inch, and convolvulus one-fourth, to cover them. It is a very common mistake to plant seeds a great deal too deep.
For bringing on tender plants, and keeping the less hardy kinds in winter, the miniature greenhouse is a most useful contrivance. Any ingenious person possessed of a few tools may make one for himself. The size and kind of the house must depend upon the number and nature of the plants he wishes to provide for, and it may be either little more than the ordinary garden-frame in character and appearance, or so constructed and fitted as to keep stove-plants in health in a severe season. Our illustrations will afford an idea both of the more simple and the more elaborate contrivances of this kind, and they maybe of very moderate dimensions - in fact, in length from four feet upwards.
Fig. 1 represents a small house, which may be placed in the corner of a garden or yard, to act as a receptacle for the window-plants when they have ceased to flower, a training-house for young plants raised from seed or cuttings, and a shelter for fuchsias, calceolarias, verbenas, &c., in the winter.
It should be erected with the back on the north side of the garden, and the roof sloping towards the south, so as to receive as much as possible of the sun's rays. A good layer of fermenting dung, placed underneath the soil, and removed from time to time, will generate heat; but in fine and temperate weather the roof should be lifted for the admission of the air, which is necessary to keep the plants thoroughly dry and healthy. At night, if the weather be frosty, the structure should be covered with a cloth or mat to prevent radiation.
Our next illustration represents an arrangement for the supply of heat by artificial means without much expense or trouble, and this also is adapted to a greenhouse on a very small scale. The means used is a hot-air chamber, kept at a certain temperature by means of a spirit-lamp laced under a water-reservoir. A is here the reservoir, and B the opening for the water supply, covered by a lid when the lower portion of the reservoir is full. C may be either a stand for pots, or the soil in which the plants are embedded. D D represents the air chamber surrounding the reservoir, and which moderates the heat before it reaches the plants; while E is the flue through which the heat is allowed to make its escape when it becomes excessive. F is the spirit-lamp, G the movable sash by which the outer air is freely admitted in temperate weather, and H the tap by which the water may be drawn off. Either of these plans is capable of adaptation to any corner of ground that may be available for the purpose.
CULTIVATION OF SMALL GARDENS.
(Continued from p. 60.)
necessarily vary in extent and shape. We will take as an example a plot of
ground ninety feet long by forty wide, and although this will afford very fair
scope for carrying out a nice arrangement with economy, still simplicity of
design will be necessary. We do not advocate intricate plans on a small scale,
as they only entail extra labour without an equivalent return. Suppose, then,
that the frontage is laid out as a lawn and flower garden, we will proceed to give
a few hints to enable our readers to follow out our plan, with such variations
as their own inclination may suggest. As a rule, let all walks in this
department be curved rather than straight, sharp angles being very objectionable
and harsh to the eye. Let the beds and borders be oval, round, or simply curved,
rather than angular. If you have room for a grass plot, all well and good; but
we do not like to see a lawn too small to be effective. It will be seen by the
plan (Fig. 3) that we have provided for one in this instance. On this lawn we
would plant a few miniature ornamental trees such, for instance, as copper beech
silver birch, red or black thorn; or some of the better kinds of conifers, as
cypress, pines, &c. The plots marked 2 may be planted with flowers; 3 is
For kitchen and fruit garden, we have set apart two-thirds of the entire plot. On the wall a let a peach, nectarine, apricot, or vine be planted, or one of each, if the aspect and situation allow of it. The centre, or main portion of the ground, may be cropped with vegetables; and if you follow a system of rotation in cropping, and have due regard to the application of manure, you cannot fail to make your garden pay. Let herbs occupy the border, b, cover the wall c with plum, cherry, and pear trees. The wall d will do for tomatoes, and the border e for smaller crops, such as lettuces, radishes, and the like.
A TOOL-HOUSE of some kind or other must be provided in every
garden, or you will invariably find your implements out of order, and a great
deal of time will be wasted in looking for them when required for use. Such a
structure need only be of the very simplest kind; all you want is to keep out
the wet, and if you have no little outhouse convertible for the purpose, you
may put up, at a trifling expense, a small lean-to shed against the garden wall.
The shed should be fitted up inside with shelves and drawers for stowing away
mats, netting, and the like when out of use, as well as for keeping together
shreds, nails, flower-sticks, and so forth, all ready for use at a moment's
notice. Then again, the walls or sides should be furnished with nails, hooks,
pegs, brackets and supports, upon which every tool may be hung, or put away,
when not in use. Each tool should be carefully cleaned and returned to this
house as soon as it is done with. It is important to keep the shed as dry as
possible, for the damp soon rots the mats and nets, and covers iron
and..-steel tools with rust, especially knives and scissors. The larger
implements, such as the mowing machine, barrow, &c., might stand in the
centre of the building. Our illustrations show the best forms of several of the
most ordinary garden tools.
The Spade - This implement is made of three sizes, and it is advisable to have two for a moderate-sized garden ; the largest, or second size, to be used for trenching purposes, and the smallest for digging amongst the flowering plants in crowded borders. There are two kinds of handles, as shown in Figs. 4 and 5, the second being preferred by many on account of its being more easily wielded.
The Digging Fork, Fig. 3, as its name implies, is used for turning up the soil, and to be really useful should have four prongs. We generally prefer the fork to the spade where the ground is hard, as the points enter with greater ease, and do the work of pulverising or breaking up the clods with better effect.
Small Weeding Fork.-This is invaluable for weeding, and lifting bulbous and fibrous roots from one spot to another without injury. A convenient shape is shown in Fig. 10.
The Rake, Fig. 6, is used for levelling newly turned-up ground, removing, or rather collecting in a body for removal, weeds and rubbish, burying seeds and the like by a series of forward and backward movements. To perform this kind of work, lightness of hand is very essential, as, if clumsily done, an even surface may very soon be made rough. This implement is made of several sizes.
The Hoe is of great service for clearing away weeds, thinning the various crops, loosening the surface of the soil, drawing drills, earthing up, &c. It should be handled (when weeding or loosening the soil) something like a chopper, bringing the blade towards you in a slanting position at each blow; of this tool there are several forms and sizes. That shown in Fig. 7 is useful for rough weeding and drill- drawing; Fig. 8 for lighter kinds of work, and Fig. 9 for weeding and thinning such small crops as onions, &c.
The Turf cutter, Fig. 1, is a handy tool, and is used for cutting grass turfs, paring, or rather regulating, the edges of lawns, and other similar worlc. It should be kept sharp all round.
The Pick-axe, Fig. 11, although not likely to be used to any great extent in a small garden, is nevertheless useful, and necessary for turning gravel walks, and loosening rubbish that has become too hard for removal by any other means.
The Ladder and Garden Steps.-The former, Fig. 12, will be useful for getting up to tall trees, and climbers on walls, for the purpose of pruning and training; and the latter, Fig. 13, which is a kind of double ladder, will stand without any other support. This will be of great use for pruning, or gathering fruit from standard trees, against which it is undesirable to rear a ladder, for fear of breaking the young shoots, and injuring the bark.
The Daisy Rake, Fig. 2.-This is a very useful instrument on a small lawn. By drawing it over a lawn studded with daisies the heads or flowers become fixed between the teeth, and thus the lawn can be cleared in a very short time. It may be used also for clearing away dead leaves from the grass.
The Hammer for the garden should be furnished with claws, such as we have described in our paper on the Domestic Tool Chest (page 24), for the purpose of drawing out old rusty nails, and training trees and plants on walls.
The Roller is, or should be, called into use for keeping the surface of gravel walks smooth, as well as for levelling grass-plots, both of which operations should be performed in damp and cloudy weather. Iron rollers have quite [-138-] superseded the stone rollers of former days they are more lasting, easier to draw, and much more effective. The size of your roller must be regulated by the width of your walks and grass-plots. It is well to have one as large in circumference as you can conveniently manage. Clean it carefully after using, and put it in the shed, or somewhere under cover. The axle must be kept well oiled, or it will soon wear and work loosely.
The Watering Pot, of which there are several sizes, is for giving moisture to plants in dry, hot weather, without which they would certainly suffer severely at times, and occasionally perish altogether. The one which we figure above, Fig. 14, will be found as convenient in shape as any.
The Axe, for felling trees, pointing stakes, and such work, is a necessary item among garden requirements. In buying an axe take care to select one that you are able to use with case, not too heavy, and well balanced. Nothing is so fatiguing as to work with an awkwardly-made axe, which requires all your strength to wield it. The edge must be well steeled, and the handle of ash. It should not be ground to too fine an edge, and should be kept in order with a smooth, hard rubbing-stone.
The Hand-Barrow, Fig. 15.-The chief use of this is to remove potted plants from place to place. The only drawback is that it requires two to use it ; but no other implement will do so well for the purpose. In our next paper we will describe some more of the most ordinary garden tools.
ROTATION CROPPING OF A SMALL GARDEN.
In our last article on Gardening (page 114), we gave a plan
for laying out a small villa garden. In the present and subsequent papers, we
propose to give directions for cropping to the best advantage the eight beds
into which the kitchen garden was divided. The numbers refer to the beds in the
January.- 1. This bed is planted with strawberries and raspberries-the former must be protected from frost, and the stakes of the latter attended to. 2. Manure and dig this compartment as soon as vacant ; half of it may be cropped with potatoes, the remainder to be left for cauliflowers, to be planted in March or April. 3. This plot is laid down with permanent crops of sea-kale, rhubarb, and globe artichokes. All that can be done now us to cover the roots of the artichokes with stable manure. 4, Let this plot be well manured and dug as soon as empty, so that it may be ready for the reception of onions early in March. 5. Early peas may be sown to succeed those sown in November, and such greens and other crops as are of no further use removed to make room for a succession of peas. 6. If celery, Brussels sprouts, or other winter crops, have been grown here, you may clear them off as soon as possible, and manure and dig the ground for the reception of scarlet runner beans. 7. If this plot is empty, as it should he, get it ready for carrots and other roots by trenching the ground to the depth of eighteen inches at least. 8. This is supposed to serve for odds and ends. All you can do is to manure and trench such portions as become vacant, leaving the surface to be penetrated by frost.
February. 1. Remove covering from strawberries, and fasten raspberries to their stakes. 2. If potatoes were planted here last month, no particular attention will be required, save getting in readiness the space left for cauliflowers. 3. Sea-kale and rhubarb for succession should be covered with leaves or dung. 4. Give this a slight forking over on a frosty day. Radishes may be sown with the onions in March. 5. Another sowing of peas may be made for succession. Remove spent broccoli, and dig the ground at once. 6. Continue to manure and dig the ground as it becomes vacant, for it will be required for dwarf and runner beans. 7. Expose the surface of the ground to frost as much as possible by digging and leaving it in rough trenches, and sow a row or two of broad beans. 8. Take up winter turnips, and have the ground manured and trenched for the reception of future crops.
March.-. 1. If the covering was not removed from strawberries last month, remove it at once, and stir the soil between the rows. Prune raspberries left untouched last month, and stir the soil between them, but not deep enough to injure the roots. 2. Plant cauliflowers here. Potatoes planted last month will make their appearance above ground, and will require protection from frost; any portion of this plot that has become vacant by the removal of any winter crop, should be removed and dug up at once. 3. Make a fresh plantation of globe artichokes, and keep up a succession of rhubarb and sea-kale. 4. Sow onions here, either broadcast or in rows; if the former method is adopted, radishes may be sown with them. 5. Sow peas, and get any vacant ground cleared, manured, and trenched for the reception of future crops. Round-leaved spinach may be sown between the rows of peas. 6. Very little can be done with this plot as yet, it being too early for dwarf and runner beans, but it must be well weeded, and the surface of the soil occasionally stirred. 7. If a few broad beans were sown here last month you may get the remainder of the plot ready for the reception of a crop of carrots, with parsnips if you wish them. 8. This plot being intended for growing various things not mentioned above, it may be got into order for whatever things the cultivator may have occasion to grow hereafter.
April.- . 1. As this contains the strawberries and raspberries only, there will be little to do save forking over the ground between the rows of the former, and pruning and tying up the latter, if not already done. 2. A portion of this may be planted with cauliflowers, if not done last month. Potatoes may occupy another portion, and, if desirable, the remaining ground filled up with later cauliflowers. 3. This being laid down with permanent crops, will require, during the present month. little or no care, save putting the ground in order for the season. 4. Presuming that you sowed radishes and onions here last month, there will be nothing to do but to stir the soil between the young plants with a hoe. 5. Two lots of peas may be sown at different periods this month. Clear the ground of green stuff that is done with, and manure and dig the vacant space. Stick the early sown peas as they advance in growth. 6. This plot, which has been kept vacant may be sown with dwarf and runner beans, at the commencement, and against the end of the month. 7. Early horn and long Surrey carrots may be sown early in the month, and beet at the end of it. Thin out the parsnips as soon as they are large enough to handle. Stir the surface between advancing beans and sow more for a second crop towards the end of the month. 8. Turnips may be sown on a portion of this plot, about the second week in the month, and any other crop that is likely to be required may be sown or planted in the remaining space.
May.- 1. Attention will be required here, for if the season proves dry it will be necessary to water the strawberry plants liberally. The raspberries will require little or no attention for the present. 2. Earth up the potatoes towards the end of the month, and keep down weeds. Stir the soil between the first planted cauliflowers, and put out a row or two more in the space reserved for a second lot. 3. Give the sea-kale beds a good dressing, and the ground between the plants a slight digging or forking over. 4. Keep onions clear of weeds, and draw radishes as soon as possible, to give the onions ample room to grow. 5. Place stakes to the different crops of peas as they seem to need it, and sow a [-139-] row or two of a later sort for succession, and reserve a portion of the plot for another and final solving in June. 6. Should the crop of dwarf kidney beans have failed, as is quite possible, make another sowing directly, and continue to do so as long as you have room for the same, bearing in mind that they will require protection when first they make their appearance, as they are very tender. Scarlet runners may be sown the first week in the month. 7. The carrots sown here will require thinning as soon as large enough to handle. Another solving of broad beans may be made, and the early sown ones earthed up. Stir the soil between the growing rows of beet. 8. The first sowing of turnips may be preserved from frost by covering with a layer of clean straw or mat. Remove the remnants of greens and broccoli, and manure and dig the ground afterwards. A few lettuces may be planted or perhaps a row of celery, and for this purpose a spare corner should be reserved.
June.- 1. Dry litter should be laid down between the strawberry rows to keep the fruit from the ground, and it will be necessary to water the plants occasionally in dry weather. 2. By the second week in the month this plot will be quite full, the second row or two of cauliflowers having been planted; but as the potatoes will be almost ready for taking up, there will soon be room for something else. As soon as the potatoes are removed from the ground, add a little dung if necessary, and turn up the ground that it may be fit to receive the next crop. 3. Very little attention need be paid to sea-kale, except to prevent the plants from producing too much flower and seed. 4. Thin the onions in this bed by means of a small hoe, if you want fine bulbs; taking care, however, to leave no footmarks upon the ground. Celery plants ready for planting, should be got out at once on a vacant portion of this plot: a foot wide and ten inches deep will be sufficient for the drills, at the bottom of which a little well-rotted manure should be put previous to planting. 5. Make the final sowing of peas about the middle of the month, and place sticks to such advancing crops as may require support. 6. Dwarf kidney beans may be sown once or twice more this month, and any imperfections in the rows may be made good by transplanting from places where they have come up too thick and are choking each other. Stick scarlet runners as they advance in growth, and keep weeds down by frequent hoeing. 7. Thin the carrots in this compartment, and also the turnips as soon as large enough, and sow more for succession. Put in another crop of broad beans, and earth imp the previous sowing. 8. Let your celery trenches be prepared for the reception of the plants, and on the top of the ridge between the trenches, lettuces may be planted with advantage, as they will come up in time to allow of the crop being earthed up. The portion of this plot that has been occupied with winter broccoli should, as soon as cleared of the stumps, be well manured and trenched.
In our next paper we propose to continue these remarks upon rotation cropping, and when they are concluded, we shall proceed to give detailed information on the three great departments of gardening-the cultivation of vegetables, fruits, and flowers.
THE TOOL-HOUSE (continued from p. 138).
BEFORE finishing our description of the contents of the tool-house, the following list of the prices of tools may be found useful to some of our readers:
Draw Hoe, 6d., 1s., and 1s. 6d.
Rake, 1s. 2d. and 2s.
Shears, short handles
|Do. long handles||0||5||0|
Water Pots, 1s. 3d. and 5s. 0d.
Mowing machines have become much cheaper
of late years, and one which will do all the work of a small garden can
now be bought for the sum above stated. It should be well oiled, and when
necessary can be sharpened by revolving the opposite way with emery and oil.
Pruning Scissors will be found handier than the knife at times and for this reason we would include them in our catalogue of garden requisites. They are especially useful for trimming small currant and gooseberry bushes.
The Hand-saw and Tenon-saw we have already described (p.43); the former will be found useful in the garden for the removal of such branches as are too thick for the knife to separate ; the latter is frequently needed in grafting where the stock is of too tough a nature, or of too large a size to admit of the use of the pruning-knife.
The Scythe-stone, or Rubber. - This is essential for keeping up a good edge to the blade of the scythe, which necessarily gets dulled by use, or injured by coming in contact with stones, &c., and requires sharpening. Most people know the old kind of stone or rubber used by mowers, which is of a very rough texture; but there is now a better kind for garden purposes, that puts on a smoother edge, and consequently enables the mower to do his work cleaner and quicker. The above is usually carried in a kind of leather satchel or sling, supported by a strap over the shoulder. The rubber must never be used when wet, and must be handled gently, as it is very brittle. It is a good plan to wash it carefully when you have done with it, but you must remember to dry it before using.
Shears (Fig. 8), which are neither more nor less than a large pair of scissors with long wooden handles in place of loops for the fingers, will be found of great service for clipping the borders of grass, box edgings, quick, and other hedges.
The Dutch Hoe (Fig. I) is very useful for cutting up, or rather under-cutting weeds, and at the same time loosening the surface of the soil. This implement should, however, be pushed before you at the depth of from one to two inches, so that it may cut up any weeds. Fig. 2 shows a drill hoe used for making shallow trenches for small seeds.
[-149-] The Pruning Knife, as its name indicates, is used for the purpose of keeping fruit and other trees and shrubs in order by cutting back the shoots at the proper time. A good form of pruning-knife is shown in Fig. 10.
The Dibbler or Dibble, of which there are two kinds (Figs. 5 and 6), is used for various things; the small one for planting stocks, cabbages, lettuces; and the large one, with a projecting piece of iron for the foot to rest on, for dibbling in potatoes. Either of these may, if necessary, be made out of an old spade-handle, with a little contrivance, although it is better that you have such things properly shod with iron, as they do the work cleaner and with greater expedition.
The Pitchfork (Fig. 3) is an exceedingly handy implement in a garden, as it is often required for turning over manure, making up hot-beds, shaking out dry litter, and distributing such dressing or manure as is spread over the ground previous to its being dug.
The Budding Knife is of small dimensions, and is used in preparing the bud and stock for budding. It has a bone or ivory handle tapering towards the end, which is used for raising the bark so that the bud may be inserted easily. There are blades of several shapes, but the one represented in Fig. 9 is the best for ordinary work.
The Trowel (Fig. 4) is a tool no gardener should be without, as it is most useful for the removal of plants from one spot to another, where it is necessary to retain a ball of earth to their roots,, and whenever the spade could not conveniently be used.
Baskets (Fig. 7).-These will be found useful for collecting weeds, vegetable refuse, roots, &c., in small quantities, for removal from one place to another in lieu of the barrow. The size and number of these entirely depend upon circumstance
ROTATION CROPPING OF A SMALL GARDEN.
(Continued from p. 139.)
July - 1. As raspberries and strawberries are the only occupants of this department, little care will be needed, with the exception of removing suckers of the former and runners of the latter, in the event of their not being required - and they will not be unless the family is particularly partial to them, at the expense of other things. If, however, a few plants are wanted, some of the strongest runners may be permitted to ramble at will over the ground, on the outside row, and these should be either pegged down into pots, or into the ground. 2. As soon as the potatoes in this quarter have been taken up, the ground should be dug over, and some early turnips sown for a winter supply. We prefer to sow a small quantity often, rather than wait till the entire spot becomes vacant. As it is almost too late to plant cauliflowers, a portion of the ground may be reserved for early or autumn broccoli. 3. Liquid manure supplied to sea-kale now will prove far more beneficial than dung heaped upon their crowns in winter time. Rhubarb will require no further care than cutting away all but one of the flower stems, and this one may be considerably reduced. If, however, no seed is required, it may be cut down close towards the end of the month. Use the hoe continually for the purpose of keeping weeds under, and the soil in a healthy condition. 4. The hoe may be used between onions, provided you can use it without injuring the leaves, but not otherwise, as this crop will or should have had a final thinning last month. If perchance a row or two of celery was planted in this department last month, it will he necessary to earth up the same; but a dry day must be chosen for the work. Any vacant ground should have a slight raking over, just to make it look neat until such time as you can plant it. 5. Place sticks to such peas as require support, and see to the immediate removal of those past bearing, taking care not to injure broccoli and other things planted between them. 6. Very little attention will be required here, with the exception of keeping the kidney-beans clear of weeds, and seeing that high winds do not injure either the dwarf or runner varieties, for it is alike detrimental to both. 7. There is just a chance that carrots may prove a failure, and if so, as it will be too late to sow again, the best plan will be to fill up the gaps in the beds with lettuces; or a sowing of turnips may be made to come in in the autumn; but do not fill the ground with anything that is likely to occupy it in the winter, as such an arrangement would interfere with your future plans. Such broad beans as are making rapid progress must have their tops nipped off and the soil should be afterwards stirred between them, and, indeed, between every other crop. 8. This compartment being principally intended for the growth of celery, and the time having arrived for planting the general or main crop, a few words on its management will doubtless be acceptable. Here we will only say that, to ensure good and fine sticks, abundance of room will be necessary. Single and shallow trenches suit best for a small supply. but for a larger quantity broad ones should be made. Fuller directions on the growth of celery will be given as our work proceeds. As endive and other odds and ends will partly occupy this plot, the requisite attention must be paid to each at the right time.
ROTATION CROPPING (continued from p. 149).
August.- 1. Early strawberries will have completed their
work in the producing line, and the late kinds be making progress, and therefore
it will be necessary to give them their summer dressing, by clearing away all
weeds, runners, and whatever material was laid down for the purpose of keeping
the fruit free from grit and dirt. A good watering with liquid manure will prove
very beneficial both to those that have done bearing and those that are coming
into fruit. Raspberries will be in full bearing now, and as much depends on the
gathering, we would advise daily recourse to the trees for that purpose, until
they have ceased to yield. These, like strawberries, should be kept entirely
free from weeds and other litter, and be occasionally supplied with liquid
manure. 2. The whole of this plot, if properly managed, will be under
winter crop, with the exception of that portion occupied by a few potatoes
intended for seed. Under good management, broccoli will have been planted, and
turnips sown by this time, and, if so, little remains to be done, except the
making up of deficiencies, of which our readers will be the best judges. 3. This
department being of a permanent nature, little need be said, save to recommend
salt to be sparingly scattered over sea-kale; but rhubarb will need a more
generous food, and must have its full quantum. Weeds must be in all cases kept
at bay, and neither crop must be permitted to extend beyond its proper boundary.
4. As the onions in this plot will have made considerable progress, a vigilant
watch must be kept upon them, so that as soon as they are ripe they may be
pulled up, dried, and stored away in some dry, airy place. The ground thus
rendered vacant should be at once planted with celery, in single trenches,
forty- two inches asunder from centre to centre, and not deeper than eighteen
inches. A six inch layer of well-rotted stable dung should be mixed up with the
soil at the bottom of each trench, previous to planting. The first row planted
will require earthing-up by this time, and this operation you cannot do better
than see to at once. A good watering will also prove beneficial in dry weather.
5. Such peas as are over should be removed without delay, to make room for
future crops, or for the broccoli planted between them. Any gaps in the rows of
savoys, Brussels sprouts, &c., should be filled up at once, and as soon as
the whole of the peas have done their work for the season, remove the haulms,
stir the surface of the ground, and give it a good soaking with liquid manure,
for the purpose of encouraging the growth of the broccoli and other green crops,
which will require earthing-up shortly. 6. As this plot is at present entirely
occupied by kidney beans, both dwarf and runners, you will merely have to keep
the ground clear of weeds, and see that the latter have proper support. 7.
Provided the requisite quantity of beans were planted here, and the carrots were
properly thinned last month, all you will have to do for the present is to
remove the haulms of the first crop of beans as soon as done with, and keep the
compartment tidy in all other respects. 8. As some of the early
celery is still in this quarter, due attention must be given to it, so far as
earthing-up, watering with liquid manure, and weeding, is concerned. A moderate
quantity of endive may be planted out here, and a few lettuces might very well
be planted upon the celery ridges, provided it can be done early in the month,
because, if left later, the ridges will be required for earthing-up before the
celery can be cleared away.
September. - 1. No time should be lost in giving this plot the dressing advised last month, provided you have hitherto omitted to do so, and there wilt be little required afterwards save keeping weeds under, and getting rid of any litter that may perchance accumulate thereon. As the raspberries - that is to say, the earlier ones - will have done bearing by the end of the month, you may cut away the old canes, and thus strengthen the young ones, and thereby increase their fruitfulness next year. Place stakes to the autumn-bearing ones, to which secure them from time to time, as required. A few of these late-bearing kinds should be cultivated in every garden. 2. This compartment, provided it has been properly treated, will be tilled entirely with winter crops, and all the attention they will require at present is earthing up. Such of these vegetables, however, as are at all backward will be greatly assisted by one or two applications of liquid manure. Not that we approve of gross growth, as that only tends to make them more susceptible of injury from frost and so forth but in moderation assistance of this kind will be found very beneficial 3. The chief attention required here is to keep the ground entirely clear of weeds, with the exception of gathering seed of sea-kale that has been permitted to ripen. 4. The growth of celery must be hastened by every legitimate means, because the onion crop will have prevented your putting in the plants so early as you would otherwise have done. Earth up such as are ready for the operation, but not otherwise, as we are no advocates for performing this kind of work too hastily. Where lettuces or the celery ridges have been cut for the table you may remove the old stalks, for two reasons-first, to promote the growth of the celery, and, secondly, for the purpose of giving the plot a neat and orderly appearance. 5. The peas in this plot will soon be done with, and the removal of their haulms will give more room to the savoys, broccoli, and other winter stuff planted between them. In a word, as soon as you have cleared away the former, give the soil a moderate digging, and a slight allowance of liquid manure. In a little time the latter may be earthed up a little, that is to say, as soon as they have taken advantage of the additional space accorded them, which their roots will have done in a week or so; and fill up all gaps in the rows, and keep the weeds under by the continual use of the hoe. 6. As soon as the kidney beans have given over bearing, the ground they occupied should be cleared, manured, and trenched for a supply of spring cabbages, which may be planted as soon as the ground is ready for their reception. Let the rows be two feet apart, and the plants one foot asunder in each row, so that every other one may be drawn early, and the others left to heart. 7. The broad beans occupying a portion of this plot should be removed as soon as they have completed their work of bearing; and, having manured and dug the ground, it will be ready to receive cauliflowers or some similar crop. The carrots in this compartment will need little or no attention till the end of the month, when they will be ready for taking up and storing away. The parsnips and beetroots, as a rule, should be left in the ground until March, with the exception of such as you may require for use between now and that time. 8. It will be necessary to earth up the celery several times during this month, taking care, however, not to commence the work too early, nor to allow a particle of earth to enter the hearts of the plants. Coal-ashes will be found beneficial for blanching the latest crop, provided they are placed against the plants and an additional outer lining of soil is added. Endive, which should be advancing rapidly on this ground, must be kept perfectly free from weeds, and on no account must anything be allowed to enter the hearts of any one of the plants.
October.- 1. Little or nothing will be required here for the present, with the exception of putting a stop to the growth of weeds by rooting them up with the hoe, and the removal of every description of litter. The late raspberries will most probably still continue to bear, and as they do not like dry weather you wilt be doing them a good turn by supplying them with a little moisture. Suckers may, and indeed should, be removed as soon as they are [-167-] ripe, but the pruning may be postponed till the spring with advantage. 2. This compartment, if filled with winter crops, will need very little care save earthing up such of them as have not yet been attended to. 3. The seakale in this plot will be ready for forcing towards the end of the month, which can be accomplished in two ways, namely, on the ground with the aid of inverted flower-pots and long litter, and by taking the roots or stools up and bringing them forward in a heated structure of some kind. 4. Every attention should be paid to the earthing up of celery on this plot, and, provided dry weather continues, a good watering with liquid manure will be found to improve its growth. 5. In a general way the peas on this quarter will have been gathered long ere this, and in that case the sooner their haulms are cleared off the better it will be for the broccoli and other green stuff that has occupied the intervening spaces. 6. Provided you did not put in the cabbage plants, as advised, last month, you should do so now, on the spot from which the kidney beans came. 7. The carrots may be taken up and stored. The portion of the - plot just cleared should be at once well dug, and, if moderately sheltered, it will do for the first crop of early cauliflowers. 8. If necessary, thin out the late-sown turnips, but in moderation the first time.
ROTATION CROPPING (continued from p. 166).
November.- 1. The strawberries in this compartment will be greatly improved by having a moderate layer of well-rotted stable dung carefully put down between the rows. The raspberries will likewise be benefited by being treated in a similar manner, and in both cases the manure may be slightly pointed in - that is to say, turned into the soil with a fork. The former will require no further care than the removal of any runners that have hitherto escaped your notice, taking care to avoid cutting away any leaves, while the latter need merely have the old canes removed for the present. 2. This being all under winter crops in a state of progression, it is only necessary to say that where two or more varieties of broccoli are planted, notice should be taken of the periods at which each one comes into use, as a guide for a future season. In the event of very severe weather setting in, it would be advisable to have all the Cape broccoli that are ready for use cut and suspended in a damp cellar or outhouse, as by this means you may keep them for several days, whereas if they were left exposed in the open ground a sharp frost would render them useless in as many hours. 3. Now is the time to force any sea-kale you may have to spare, but not otherwise, for, remember, the plants or stools you take up for that purpose will be of no further use for out-door purposes. The way to accomplish this, is to take up a few, plant them in deep pots, and remove them to a warm place, where light can be entirely excluded. This can be easily managed by putting an inverted flower-pot over that in which the plants are inserted. This method, of course, will produce a much earlier supply, but we prefer the old mode of covering each plant with an inverted pot, and these receptacles, ground and all, with some kind of fermenting material-such, for instance, as a mixture of dung and leaves, or old dung from a half-spent melon or cucumber frame. 4. But very little attention need be paid to celery in this compartment during the present month, with the exception of earthing up the later kinds as they may seem to require it. It will be found a good plan to level down and afterwards fork over the ridges on which the early celery has been grown as soon as it is at liberty, to give frosts an opportunity of pulverising it, and thereby prepare it for a future crop. 5. As the removal of the peas will afford the broccoli planted between them more room to grow, we may naturally expect that they will begin to look considerably better, both as regards uniformity and compactness. The only attention requisite just at present, therefore, is to clear the plants of dead and dying leaves, and of vermin where prevalent. 6. As cabbage plants will occupy the greater portion of this plot, the work required will necessarily be chiefly that of searching for and destroying slugs, either by picking them off by hand or dusting the plants with lime, earthing them up from time to time as required, and manuring and digging the remaining portion as soon [-191-] as it can be conveniently cleared. 7. By this time you will have taken up and stored away the carrots, and thus rendered the space previously occupied by them ready for he reception of some other crop. Should this position. be suitable for peas, a row or two might be put in with advantage, about the sixteenth of the month. In any case, let the ground be ridged up as soon as possible, so that it may be well pulverised by the time you mean to make use of it. Any beets, celery, or parsnips may be taken up before severe weather sets in, and stored away in a cool place ; but they must be covered over with earth or silver sand-the latter is preferable. 8. Endive, lettuce, and turnips occupying the main portion of this department, there will be a good deal of care required, inasmuch as the endive will need blanching by covering over with an inverted flower-saucer or a board, for. want of a better contrivance. The lettuce will require tying-up slightly, while the turnips will merely want thinning out and keeping free from weeds.
cultivated in the open air, require soil of a light and rich nature - such,
for instance, as a mixture of one-third sandy loam and two-thirds
well-decomposed manure; and therefore, where the bed or border is of a damp and
heavy description, it will be necessary to add at least a third of silver sand,
or light mould, to overcome the injurious effects of cold, clayey soil, or
otherwise the bulbs would be sure to get mouldy, if not rotten. As it is most
important chat the soil be fresh and sweet, the moment bedding plants are done
with see that the ground be properly ridged up, so as to permit the air to
pulverise it thoroughly prior to the bulbs being planted. The said bulbs should
be planted four inches deep, and from seven to eight inches asunder in every
direction; and as soon as they give indication of having made good root, let
them have a liberal supply of moisture, but not before.
From the middle of October to the end of November is the best time to plant in the open air, as, if put in earlier in the season, they are very apt to receive injury from frost and wet.
Those who contemplate rearing this much-admired flower in pots should plant them singly, in pots four inches in diameter, and six inches deep. Our reason for advising this method is because, where several are planted together in a large pot, one or two may fail, and thereby spoil the effect; whereas, if they are grown singly, it is easy enough to mass perfect and healthy ones together without any risk of a failure, for the turning out or transplanting will in no way injure them.
As soon as you have potted as many as you are likely to require, place them in a dry and level place, and cover them with a six or eight inch layer of cocoa-nut fibre, tanners' bark, sand, or decayed leaves, and over this lay a bast mat, or something of the kind to keep the rain off. They will require no water for eight or ten weeks, as the soil on which they stand contains sufficient moisture to serve them until uncovered at the expiration of that time, when they will have thrown out an ample supply of roots, and may then be gradually supplied with water. Such of the bulbs as show their flower truss through this temporary covering should beat once selected, and placed in a shady spot for a day or two ; but if required for forcing into bloom by Christmas, it will be necessary to remove them to a forcing pit, where they should be plunged up to the rims in a bottom heat of from seventy to seventy-five degrees. Many persons who attempt to force these bulbs fail, simply because they do not place them on a hard substance, and thereby prevent the roots shooting through the pots into the forcing material, and also because they do not shade them until the leaves have assumed a bright green hue. Where the stems have been too much forced it will be necessary to remove them to a cooler temperature ; while, on the other hand, should the flower truss grow squatty, or close to the foliage, it will be necessary to increase the top heat, and place an inverted flowerpot over the plant ; but as soon as the truss shows signs of flowering properly, the said pot may be raised out of the bottom heat, and have an ample supply of fresh air and moisture. These plants, after remaining on the surface of the bed for two or three days, should be removed to the greenhouse, or, for want of that, the sitting-room. If you do not want to force the plants into bloom before March, you need merely keep them in a dark place until such time as they have made good roots, without which fine blooms cannot be expected.
To rear these bulbs successfully in glasses it will be necessary to fill the receptacles with rain water, just high enough to touch the base or bottom of the bulbs, and no more ; and, having done so, remove them to a dark cupboard, or cellar, where light can be entirely excluded, and there let them remain for four or five weeks. At the expiration of that time they may be removed to the greenhouse or sitting-room, where an ample supply of light can be ensured, and a sudden change of temperature guarded against. So long as the roots are kept in the dark, there will be no necessity to change the water; but as soon as they are exposed to the light it will be advisable to remove one half the water once a week, and fill up the glasses with fresh. without disturbing the roots. A little guano added to the water will tend to strengthen the plants, and thus improve their blooms. As a preventive against their growing spindly, and producing meagre trusses of flower. the room in which they are kept must not be too warm.
THE VEGETABLE GARDEN.
THE chapters hitherto given on the subject of gardening must be regarded as
merely preliminary. We shall now take up in order, and describe in detail, the
three great divisions of the garden, as comprising vegetables, fruits and
flowers. Of these the vegetables claim our first attention, because of their
constant use as articles of diet, in which respect they occupy a more prominent
position [-224-] than
fruits, and are even more necessary than animal food.
We shall commence with the formation of the kitchen garden, a topic which involves a variety of considerations, among others the situation, exposure, aspect, extent, shelter, shade, soil, water, form, &c. The situation of a kitchen garden is very important. It should be near the dwelling-house as is consistent with convenience. If possible, it should be either to the back or at the side of the house, but never in front, as, independent of its appearance, the necessary garden operations would be at times unpleasant. It frequently happens that gardeners are guided by circumstances ; but, if possible, low situations and the bottom of valleys should be avoided as in the first instance, there is a natural sourness in the soil that cannot be removed ; and, in the second, there is liability to damps and fogs, which are very prejudicial to plants, in spring evenings, by moistening the young tops, and exposing them to injuries from frosty nights which often succeed them. Neither should the situation be so high as to be exposed to boisterous winds, which are equally hurtful; but a situation between these extremes is the most desirable.
The next consideration is exposure. The garden should not be surrounded by close woods or plantations because a foul stagnant air is frequent in such confined situations, which is very prejudicial to growing plants, but should he open and free, to admit the sun and air, with an inclination of the ground of about one foot in thirty.
The aspect is another consideration of great importance in the laying out of a garden; it should lie to the south-east if possible, but there is no objection to its being a point or two more to the east, as the sun will still be upon it soon after rising, and its influence will increase regularly as the day advances, which will be found to have a very beneficial effect in dissolving hoar-frost.
When the sun is excluded from a garden till ten or eleven o'clock in the morning, and then darts upon it with all its full heat derived from considerable elevation, the aspect is bad; the powerful rays of heat melt the icy particles at once, and, acting upon the moisture thus created, scald the tender tops of the most delicate plants and greatly injure them. The covering of the hoar-frost is otherwise particularly preservative to vegetables from frosty winds.
In respect to the extent of a garden, but little can be said, depending as it does either upon the demands of the family, or the amount of land actually at disposal for the purpose. Few gentlemen's gardens in the country contain less than three roods, and sometimes they extend to ten or twelve acres. The farmer and cottager have generally small portions allotted in the most convenient part or corner of the homestead, in which they grow the most common kitchen garden crops, as potatoes, turnips, carrots, &c. For a family of four persons (exclusive of servants) a rood is about enough, and so on in proportion, allowing it to be larger rather than too small. In order to bring the produce of the soil to perfection, the garden should be sheltered from the east, north, and west winds by hills and rising ground ; but these should be at such a distance on all sides as not to prevent the suns rays in the spring, when warmth is of immense value.
In the next place the soil of a garden is obviously of the greatest moment. This should be a moderately light mellow loam, and if mixed with silvery grit so much the better. It should not be of a binding nature in summer, nor retentive of an undue quantity of wet in winter but of such a texture as may be worked at any season of the year. The soil of a garden should be at least eighteen inches deep; but if it be two feet so much the better for when the plants are in a state of maturity, if the roots of most kinds are minutely traced, they will be found to penetrate into the earth in search of food to that depth or more, providing the soil he of such a nature as to admit them. The very worst soil is a heavy clay, and the next a light loose sand; a moderate clay, however, is preferable to a very light soil, though not so pleasant to work, yet the former may be made good garden soil with a little trouble and expense, but the latter will require a good deal of both. It will very rarely happen that the soil is exactly suitable, inasmuch as it will either prove too poor, too strong, or too light, and in either case it must be carefully improved without delay; in the performing of which our readers must be guided by its nature, so as, if possible, to render it subservient to most general purposes. Hence our duty is to endeavour to hit on that medium which Suits the generality of vegetables grown in kitchen gardens. If the bottom or subsoil be of a wet, cankering nature, judicious draining (which we shall describe in a future paper) is the most eligible means; but where the soil is stubborn, small gravel, sand, coal ashes, lime, and the like, are very appropriate substances to be applied, and will, if carefully and well worked into the ground by digging in the winter months, or indeed at all times when the ground is not in crop, soon bring it to a proper texture for most purposes. The ground should be laid in ridges, in order to give the greatest possible extent of surface for the weather to act upon. Where the soil is poor sand or gravel, clay or clayey loam, the scourings of ditches, which run on a clayey subsoil, pond-mud from a similar situation, or scrapings of roads which lie in a clayey district will be found great improvers; but all, or any of these, are of little use unless the ground be well worked and pulverised, which is of itself a very obvious improvement, and which, indeed, is applicable to most soils in proportion to their adhesive texture. Even free siliceous soils will, if not moved, soon become too compact for the admission of heat, air, and rain, and the free growth of the tender fibres of plants.
Our next consideration is water, a copious supply of which is essential to a good kitchen garden, it being necessary both to the commencement and progress of vegetation, as it is, so to speak, the vehicle which conveys to vegetables all the substances useful to their support, and without it no one will continue to vegetate; and if kept long without, the leaves will droop and assume a withered appearance; and for want of it many kitchen garden crops are lost, or the produce is of very inferior quality. From whatever source water is obtained, it should be conducted to, and reserved in, an open pond or basin, as near the centre of the garden as possible. The best plan, however, is to have a square tank built in the ground with bricks, which if compoed over, will last for years, and may be kept constantly filled from a pump, by means of a sufficient length of hose (fitted to the spout) to reach from the former to the latter. Well water, recently drawn, is very improper for watering any kind of vegetable; yet if it has stood in a pond or basin until warmed by the sun's rays it may be used; but soft or rain water is much more conducive to vegetation. The garden should be situated near a river, pond, or brook, if possible, from which the water may be conducted to it by drains or pipes, being careful to lay .them low enough to receive the water in the driest season, when it is generally most wanted.
Our next consideration is as to form, and none to our notion is more proper than a square or a parallelogram; but we decidedly give the preference to the former. Kitchen gardens are mostly, or should be, bounded by lines of walling, the chief reason for which is for the production of fruit, as a kitchen garden destined solely for the production of vegetables may be as well fenced by hedges as walls, and indeed, where hedges are good, they are more secure from trespassers. In laying out a kitchen garden with walls the principal considerations are as to height, aspect, construction, and materials, all of which we shall take into consideration in a future paper.
GARDENING.—XI. THE VEGETABLE GARDEN (continued from p. 224).
Garden Walls.—The height of walls is more
commonly determined by the size of the, garden and the slope of its surface,
than with a view to the training of fruit trees. A small spot enclosed with high
walls has a gloomy appearance, but if the walls are built of different heights,
this will be considerably relieved. In a garden of an acre, or thereabouts,
square in shape, and slightly elevated, the north wall may be raised to fourteen
feet ; the east and west walls to twelve feet ; and the south wall to ten feet
above the surface of the ground. If the garden is larger, the walls may be a
trifle higher. The extreme height of the north wall of any garden should not
exceed eighteen feet, the east and west walls fifteen, and the south wall
twelve. The terms north and south wall denote the north and south sides of the
garden ; but in speaking of wall-fruit, if it be said a tree requires a south
wall, it must be understood to mean a wall with a south aspect. The north wall,
by being raised higher, shelters the garden from the northern blast, and it
affords ample space for training the finer sorts of fruit trees on the south
side of the wall. South aspects are generally deemed the best for fruit trees,
but we prefer an aspect a few points to the. east. It may possibly be argued by
some that the hottest part of the day is the afternoon, and that the sun shines
stronger at that time than in the morning, and so it does, but it is not so
healthy, as the great heat of the sun causes the trees to exhale their juices
faster than their roots can absorb them, which will cause the fruit to be
smaller, the pulp harder and worse flavoured. On the other hand, an aspect
towards the south-east will catch the sun's rays [-240-] earlier,
by which the cold night dews will be sooner and more gently dissipated, and the
scorching effects of the afternoon's sun earlier off the trees.
The next consideration is the construction of these walls ; so far as we have been able to judge, the upright form is preferable to any other. The foundation for them should be dug out no deeper than the thickness of the soil upon the surface, in order that no more of the wall may be lost than necessary, or, in other words, that economy may be studied in rearing or building of them. It is necessary that they should be built solid, that is to say, on a good foundation, and not upon arches, as advised by some, for when so built, it gives the roots of the trees liberty to grow out at the back of the wall.
When walls are of any length, and the foundation not of first-rate quality, they may be strengthened by projecting buttresses, set at stated intervals, but unless such support be absolutely necessary, the face of the wall presents a very much better appearance without them, and is much more convenient for wall fruit if it be perfectly smooth and even.
As regards copings, there are many opinions. There can, however, in our opinion, be no objection to a temporary coping of boards, projecting a foot or eighteen inches.
We come to another point, and that is, the materials
necessary for the construction of them. Bricks should be chosen for the
superstructure, and stone for the foundation and basement. If the wall is not
entirely built of brick, it should at least be faced with it on the south-east
and west aspects. If durable stone can be obtained, the basement of the wall
should be built of it, in preference to bricks. The basement of all walls should
be some inches thicker than the superstructure.
Wooden walls are sometimes adopted in small gardens, but, although good fruit may be produced from them, they are not durable, and on that account we do not undertake to recommend them.
Trenching, Ridging, Manuring.—The kitchen
garden should include herbs and vegetables enough to furnish an ample supply at
every season ; and it must also be kept in good order. The soil of a garden
should be frequently pulverised, to render it sweet, free, and rich; or it will
not produce early, well-flavoured, and handsome plants. The soil must be sweet,
that the nutriment which the roots receive may be wholesome ; free, that they
may be at full liberty to range in quest of it ; and rich, that there may be no
defect in the food produced. Vegetables cannot wander in search of food, which
must, therefore, be provided for them, in accordance with their habits and
constitutions. The fibres of roots take up the nutriment which they find in the
soil, and the freer the soil is, the more the absorbing fibres will increase, to
the consequently greater vigour of the plants. Hence the soil is to be
pulverised, not only before planting or sowing, but during the growth of
vegetables, if spice permits. The depth of pulverisation will depend on the
nature of the soil ; in clayey land it can hardly be too deep.
Soils are greatly improved by exposure to air, hence the importance of ridging and trenching. Ridges form a series of nearly equilateral triangles connected at their bases, thus doubling the surface exposed to the atmosphere. (Fig. 2.) Trenching is appropriate on all soils, and helps to mix and pulverise the ground, as well as to change the surface. (Fig. i.) Gardeners complain that their ground is worn out, or will not produce certain kinds of vegetables, when it is neither poor nor unmanured. The real cause is neglecting to change the surface. The best method with which we are acquainted for the preservation of the fertility of the soil, is this : to take three crops off the first surface, and then trench the ground three spits (or spades) deep, which operation is performed by first opening a trench two or three feet wide, carrying the soil so taken out to the other end of the plot, where the work will necessarily finish; then another strip the same width is to be begun, and one spit of the top surface (a, Fig. i) is to be thrown, to the bottom of the first trench (a). The next' spit under (b), must be cast upon the first in the same way, and the third (c) upon the second, by which means the top and bottom spits are re- versed, and the middle remains in the centre as previously, only somewhat displaced. Three crops should be taken off this surface also, and then trenched two spits deep, as before, turning the surface spit to the bottom, and the second to the top, by which the middle becomes the top, and the top the . middle. Take also three crops oil this surface, and then trench three spits, by doing which, that which has been the middle and the top, becomes the bottom, and the original surface now becomes surface again, after having had six years' rest. Proceed in this manner alternately, trenching one time two spits deep, and the next three, by which means the surface will always be changed, and will rest six years and produce three. The next thing to claim our attention is manure, the use of which is of so much importance that almost everything in culture may be said to depend upon it. When manure is applied, the ground should never be overdone' with it ; a little at a time, and 'often, is much better than an abundance at once. and only now and then applied; for when used in great quantities, and lying in lumps, it encourages worms, grubs, and other insects, and forces the plants to grow too rampant and rank. Vegetables are always sweetest where least dung is used at once. There arc various ways of applying manure, depending chiefly upon the season of the year, the sort to be used, and the condition it is in. When the superficial soil is much exhausted, it is a good way to dig it over late in the autumn, and spread some good rotten manure on the surface, and to let it lie till towards spring, or till the ground is wanted, before it is dug in. This method is particularly suitable for land on which superficial growing crops, such as leeks, onions, radishes, and the like are. When the ground is to be manured at the time of planting, the best way is to spread the manure on the surface, previous to digging, and to dig it in immediately, and particularly so in spring and summer, for if left exposed to the action of the sun and air, the greater portion of its nutritive matter will be lost by evaporation, or otherwise Manure may be applied either as a simple or as a compound, but the latter is the most eligible where a well-flavoured crop is the leading consideration, for if it has not undergone a proper fermentation, its effects will necessarily give the vegetables a rank and disagreeable flavour.
THE VEGETABLE GARDEN (continued from p. 240).
ROTATION, or change of crops, is a matter of much importance, as
it is well known that each sort of plant requires a somewhat different
nourishment, so that one crop may immediately succeed another, but it should be
contrived that a wide crop should follow a close one, or a close crop a wide
one. The seasons for planting or sowing the different vegetables should be
particularly attended to, in order that each may be obtained as early as its
nature will permit. Another very important subject is the selection of seeds of
the best kind. The quantity of ground to be sown or planted with each kind of
vegetable must be determined not only by the size of the garden, but by the
demands of the family. At the same time, it is advisable to sow or plant rather
more of each sort than you are likely to want. No exact rule can be laid down in
order to proportion the Crops properly, or as we could really wish, and
therefore the cultivator must, to a certain extent, use his own judgment.
The duration of crops varies to a very great extent. The principal or best time for propagating the different kinds of vegetables is in the spring months—namely, February, March, and April. for crops to come on in summer; while smaller portions for succession during summer and autumn may be sown or planted between the months of April and October. The season for pricking out and planting each crop must be well attended to, doing it as soon as the seedlings or plants are sufficiently large for the purpose, and allowing ample room between each, without which they will neither grow large nor be well flavoured. The thinning out of the various seedling crops should likewise be attended to before the young plants have drawn each other up too high. All kinds of vegetables grow stronger, and arrive at greater perfection when there is a free circulation of air between them, and the sun is not impeded; and for this reason we advise a bountiful supply of both, as soon after the plants make their appearance above ground as possible. As a rule, people are afraid of taking out a sufficient number of seedling plants, excusing themselves by exclaiming, "What a pity to pull them up; what a waste!" and so forth ; but they little think that by overlooking or neglecting such a precaution they frequently lose half or two-thirds of their crops. But we consider it a much greater pity to permit any crop to grow at will, so that plants choke or destroy one another. Of course such a state of things does not exist with those who have had any experience, and for this reason we wish to impress upon other minds the importance of timely thinning in all cases. The eradication of weeds is of equal importance; at all events, where beauty and order is the first consideration ; and it should be, both as regards appearance and the health of the plants. Very many gardens promise to supply abundant crops, and would do so if the cultivator, either from negligence or fear of expense, did not expose them to destruction by obnoxious weeds; and his ground to be robbed by them of its richness. The best way to get rid of weeds is either by hoeing or pulling them up by hand, and either to expose them to the sun and air to wither, or, what we consider much better, to burn them on the spot, or throw them on the refuse heap and kill them by fermentation - so long as they are deprived of vitality it does not shatter by what means. Watering is a matter of much importance, as it not only affords a proper degree of moisture but is of service in bringing the soil into a right condition for performing its various functions or offices—in a word, dry earth of itself has little effect, but when moistened it has the property of decomposing atmospheric air, and of conveying its oxygen (the air we breathe and Which is alike essential to the support of both animal and vegetable life) to the roots of those plants which vegetate within it. It also performs an important part in most of the changes which take place, both in the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Watering, however, in some cases, we look upon as productive, of more harm than good ; as in using hard or calcareous water, which if abundantly applied will taint the vegetables, and, to a certain extent, injure the surface of the ground. Rain water should always be used, if possible, but when it cannot be obtained, resort must be had to pump or spring water that has been exposed long enough to become impregnated with the sun's rays. The time, of watering must be regulated according as the weather is cold or warm—that is to say, water in the evening from the commencement of June to the end of September; but at any other time of year we prefer the morning for the operation, although it is safe to moisten anything after sunset. Vegetable crops generally are gathered by degrees, or we may say the gathering should be commenced as early as possible, and be continued as long as there is any produce left. At the same time no portion of a crop should be touched until it has attained a. certain or proper degree of maturity, nor after it has begun to decay. In respect to the degree of maturity, a line must be drawn, as it very much depends upon the particular taste of the growers ; as in the case of cabbages, some esteeming them most while open and green, and others not until they, are fully headed and blanched. The operation of gathering vegetables is performed either by cutting, as in the case of cabbages; by pulling or breaking, as in the case of peas, beans, and similar productions ; or by drawing or digging up, as in the case of turnips, onions, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, celery, and the like. In the performance of these operations due regard should be had to those roots that will ultimately have to be stored away for future use—such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes &c., so as not to bruise them, as in such case they will either rot or lose their flavour. As soon as each crop is over, the roots and other remains, which domestic animals will not eat, should be removed to the compost heap or dung yard, as such refuse is unsightly on the ground, but invaluable as manure.
Manure.—This is one of the most important requisites for the garden ; the productive power of the soil is continually weakened, and its nutriment extracted by the crops grown upon it, and it is necessary to replace this by artificial means. Any substance which, by being mixed with soil, promotes vegetable growth, is called a manure. Various substances are so employed ; some in their natural state, others in a manufactured condition, and act upon the productive power of the soil with different degrees of intensity. For the ordinary vegetable garden the simplest manures are most generally used, as being most easily obtainable, and satisfying every requirement. Horse manure is the most generally used of these fertilising substances, and it is generally found most advantageous to use in a half-rotted condition. As a rule, the better the horses are fed the more valuable is the manure. It, is certainly most economical to use it as fresh as possible ; but it is very difficult to work it, into the ground satisfactorily, as it is apt to clog the spade, and render the digging a difficult process. Where possible, the best mode of applying horse manure is to dig it in an inch or two below the surface, of the soil along each side of the plants it is intended to benefit. Cow, manure is frequently employed' in the garden; but its fertilising powers are by no means so great as [-247-] that of horse manure. It is most frequently used as an ingredient in composts for potted plants. Cow manure should be gathered fresh, kept in a dry place, often turned over, and broken into small pieces before using. The other unmanufactured manures generally available, are those from the piggery and hen-roost, which are very valuable, and often the only manures obtainable by the cottager. Liquid manure, either specially manufactured from fertilising substances in a dry state, or merely as the drainings from the manure heap, is most generally used for stimulating the growth of fruit and flowers. Of the special application of other manures and fertilisers, such as lime, salt, guano, sand, peat, and the like, we shall speak when we have to discuss the treatment of the various plants, for which they are specially valuable. It is only of late years that attention has been turned to the employment of sewage as a manure—in this country, at least, for in many others its value has long been recognised. Its disagreeable odour long prevented its being generally employed; but great ingenuity was brought to bear. upon the subject of deodorising it. Mr. Moule, by his simple invention of the earth closet, has succeeded in reducing many of the drawbacks of sewage manure almost to a minimum, utilising valuable substances hitherto wasted, and removing from our houses noxious smells which poisoned fresh air, and produced diseases innumerable. Mr. Moule thus states his case :-
"The earth of the garden, if dried — or dried and powdered clay — will suck up the liquid part of the privy-soil ; and, if applied at once and carefully mixed, will destroy all bad smell and all nasty appearance in the solid part, and will keep all the value of the manure. Three half-pints of earth, or even one pint, will be enough for each time. And earth thus mixed even once is very good manure. But if, after mixing, you throw it into a shed and dry it, you may use it again and again; and the oftener you use. it, the stronger the manure will be. I have used some seven, and even eight times; and yet, even after being so often mixed, there is no bad smell with the substance; and no one, if not told, would know what it is.
"The proper way to apply it to your garden is either to powder or sift it, and scatter it in small quantities over your seed beds of cabbage, turnips, onions, or lettuces. Or, if you are putting in peas or beans, then mix with water about half a pound, according to its strength and the length of your drill, and put it in with five or six gallons of water. If you are putting in plants, use water in the same way. Make a good hole with your setter, and fill it with the thin mud. One pound weight of that which has been mixed five times is quite enough, if used in this way, for six dozen broccoli or cabbage plants.
"But now, how is this plan to be worked out? At once fill up your privy vault. Let the seat be made in the common way, only without any vault beneath. Under the seat place a large bucket or box, or, if you have nothing else, an old washing-pan. A bucket is the best, because it is more easily handled, only let it have a good sized bail or handle. By the side of the seat have a box that will hold (say) a bushel of dried earth, and a scoop or old basin that will take up a pint or a pint and a half, and let that quantity of earth be thrown into the bucket or pan every time it is used. The bucket may be put in or taken out from above by having; the whole cover moved with hinges. or else through a door in front or at the back.
"If you can make a place into which you could go from your upstairs room, there would be no need of a bucket or pan; earth and all might fall into the place below (which would of course be enclosed), and there it might at once be mixed and dried."
In our articles on the Construction of the House we shall have occasion to allude again to the employment of this valuable invention.
ROTATION CROPPING (continued from p.191).
December.— 1. As raspberries and strawberries are the chief occupants of this quarter, there will be little to do, with the exception of removing weeds and such rubbish as will accumulate from time to time amongst them. The gooseberry and currant bushes surrounding this or any other department, should be pruned at once, and the cuttings removed directly afterwards, so as to keep up a neat and orderly appearance. 2. Examine the broccoli here repeatedly, for the purpose of having such as are fit for use cut and stored away in a cool place where it will keep good for many days. Should this situation be a very cold one, we should advise you by all means to have a portion of the winter variety laid down on their sides, in the following manner:— Commence at the west side of the plot, taking a spit or spadeful of soil from that side of the plant, bend the same down in that direction, then take a spit of earth from the next plant and lay it, as it were, on the back of the first to keep it down, and continue to do the same until the entire piece is completed. The reason for treating them in this manner is, because it enables them to endure a much harder frost with greater ease, and at the same time does not cause the heads to deteriorate in the least, so far as shape and flavour is concerned. 3. Previous to very severe weather setting in, it will be advisable to cover up the Globe artichokes so as to keep them from all possibility of danger. The forcing of seakale is the most important operation just now in this department, and there is no better way of accomplishing the work than covering the plants with inverted flower-pots or proper pans, having first scraped away a little of the soil from the collar of each plant and filled the vacancy thus made with coal-ashes which will keep away slugs and other vermin. As a fermenting material tree leaves will be found as serviceable as anything, the heat being so gentle and yet so regular, that sea-kale seems to thrive with it better than anything else we know of. Rhubarb may be forced in the same manner, but it takes a much longer time to start, although when it has once made a cove it continues to grow with great rapidity. [-272-] 4. The celery in this plot must be well covered up with dry litter in the event of severe weather setting in. Ridge up the ground as fast as it becomes vacant, that it may have the full benefit of frost ; but in doing so avoid as much as possible treading on the surrounding ground in wet weather. 5. As late broccoli and other winter greens are the sole occupants of this division, no particular directions are necessary just now, save that of laying a few of them down as already described in compartment No. 2. 6. Such cabbage plants as become loosened by wind, or raised up out of the ground by frost, must be replaced by pressing the soil round about their stems on a dry day. Likewise point over with a fork the ground between the early-planted ones, for the purpose of destroying all weeds as soon as they make their appearance, for, upon the principle that " a stitch in time saves nine," these wild plants if destroyed early will save no end of labour at a future time, to say nothing of the benefit that will accrue from the soil being loosened. 7. The peas sown here last month should be vigilantly watched, for the purpose of preventing the depredations of mice and birds, both of which do no end of mischief when left to feast unmolested. The beet here may be left in the ground until wanted. And lastly, ground that has become vacant by the removal of carrots and other roots, should be dug up at once, unless the soil be of a heavy nature, when ridging would be preferable. 8. A few lettuces should be taken up with balls of earth, and housed previous to severe weather setting in, when it might be difficult, if not impossible, to get at them.
THE CULTURE OF VEGETABLES.
Having now concluded our preliminary remarks on the formation, cultivation,
and management of the kitchen garden, we shall proceed in this and following
papers, to treat separately of the different vegetables usually cultivated.
The Globe Artichoke. —Of this plant there are two varieties in cultivation, the conical or French, and the Globe ; the former having an oval head with scales, open and not turned in at the top as in the latter, which are turned in at the top and have the receptacle more succulent than the former. This plant is propagated by offsets from the root, in March or April, when they will be from five to ten inches high. In performing this work, open the ground round and about the old stool, and slip them off clean to the root, leaving three or more of the strongest to the parent plant to bear the next summer crop. Prepare the offsets for planting by clearing away all the under decayed or broken leaves, as well as any hard or ragged part at the bottom of the root. Those about to plant, should bear it in mind that this vegetable delights in a rich light soil of a good depth, as well as in an open and exposed aspect. The ground should likewise be well manured, and dug or trenched. Plant them with a dibble in rows, three feet and a half asunder, and three feet apart in each row. Water them immediately after planting, and should the weather prove dry, and continue so, repeat the operation until such time as they have made good root, when they will be able to do without help. Hoe the ground over frequently during the summer months, in order to check weeds and keep the surface soil loose about the plants ; this is really all the management necessary until the season of production is over, with the exception of giving them moisture in dry weather. These roots will, as a rule, under favourable circumstances, produce middling-sized heads the same year, from August to November, and the following year be in full perfection. It not unfrequently happens, that several young shoots or heads spring from the sides of the chief or main stem, but in order to encourage the principal head to attain a full size, detach them from the parent plant as soon as they can be applied to use, which they may be as soon as they are the size of a hen's egg. The main or chief heads are not in perfection until the scales diverge considerably, but should be gathered before the flower appears, cutting two or three inches of the stalk to each head. As soon as the entire crop is gathered from the stem, cut it down close to the ground, in order to give the plant more strength to enable it to throw up superior new shoots next summer. They will now require their winter dressing, and for this purpose it will be necessary to first of all cut away all the large leaves, being careful not to injure the small central ones or new shoots. Then dig The ground between each row, raising the soil gradually, ridgewise, over the root and close about the plant. In frosty weather cover the ground with from four to six inches of good rotten manure, taking care to lay it close about each plant. The spring dressing should be given between the months of March and April, according as the weather proves favourable, but previous to doing so, it will be necessary, not only to clear away all litter, but to examine the stocks, and select two or three of the best shoots for growing and producing the next summer crop, removing the rest by pressing them off either with the finger and thumb, which we prefer, or with a knife; then dig the ground level, loosening it well about the crowns of the roots of each plant. In the course of seven or eight years, even with the very best management, the heads will degenerate or, in other words, become smaller and less succulent, consequently it is essential that a new plantation be made about once in six years. Those desirous of saving seed must attend strictly to the following advice. Early in the summer select some of the first and largest heads, and when the flowerets are about. to show symptoms of decay, turn the head down in a pendulous or drooping manner, in order that the calyx may throw off the wet.
Jerusalem Artichokes.—The tubers of the root, which are generally abundant, are the only portion used. Before potatoes were known as well as they are now, they were highly esteemed, and are yet considered a nutritious food, and when boiled and mashed with butter they are excellent eating. The best way to propagate this root is by using middling-sized tubers and planting them entire. We select for this purpose moderate-sized roots, those about as big as a shilling, plant them, and when the shoots show above ground remove all but one, or two at the most, of the strongest. The best time for planting is from the beginning of March to the end of April. Having prepared the ground by digging, plant them with a dibble in rows three feet asunder, eighteen inches apart. They should not be planted more than four or five inches deep, and when you have finished this portion of the work, rake the ground over, filling in the ground regularly as you proceed. The only care or culture needed, is when the plants are up—and they will be in about six weeks after planting—to hoe the surface of the ground over for the double purpose of destroying weeds and loosening the surface of the soil. As soon as the weeds have been cleared off the ground, you may draw a little soil up to the bottoms of the stems. This, as we have already said, is all the attention required until the time of taking up the crop arrives. The tubers will be ripe between the months of October and November, at which time the stems should be cut down, and the produce dug up as wanted, or the whole may be removed from the soil (and this is the best plan), and laid in sand under cover, in order that they may be ready in frosty weather, when, if left in the ground, they could not be got at very easily. The roots of this plant, if not carefully taken up, so as not to leave the smallest tuber, or portion thereof, will prove very troublesome, as the least particle, so to speak, will come up the following season, and for years to come, pestering and disfiguring the ground without yielding sufficient produce for a crop. Finally, make it a rule to plant, or form a new plantation every year, making up a bed in a different spot, if possible, each time.
THE CULTURE OF VEGETABLES (continued from p. 272).
Asparagus.--The young shoots, when grown about two inches above ground, are the parts to be used; but of this we shall speak more explicitly, as we proceed.
There are only two varieties cultivated—the red topped and the green topped; the fanner rising with a very large, full, close head, of a reddish-green colour, and the latter not so plump and close, but generally considered better in flavour. Of these the former are the most esteemed by market gardeners ; the latter by private cultivators. One mode of culture is applicable to both. There are several sub-varieties, as, for instance, the Battersea, Deptford, Gravesend, early Mortlake, Dutch, and large Reading.
This plant may be propagated by dividing the root, but the most general and best way is by seed, which should be sown in March, broadcast, not very thickly, on beds four feet wide, or thereabouts, and in length according to the quantity required. Many gardeners make it a practice to tread the ground after sowing the seed, but we object to this method, and, instead of it, make it a rule, after sowing the seed, to rake the ground smooth and even, being careful that the seed is all well covered ; and, when the plants have made their appearance, to keep them perfectly clear of weeds, and stir the ground about them twice or three times during the summer. Should the weather prove dry at the time, a little water should be given once a week. In October protect the roots by covering the ground with well-rotted stable manure or litter, which must remain on until all danger from frost is over.
In the formation of new plantations the first thing necessary for our consideration is the situation, which should be open and unsheltered by trees or bushes ; as, unless the spot is fully exposed to the sun, success is next to an impossibility. Damp or wet ground, or where the subsoil is retentive of an undue quantity of wet, should, under any circumstances, be rejected, as being very prejudicial to this plant.
The soil should be from two to two and a half feet deep, and of a light sandy loam. Some months previous to commencing planting see to the preparation of the ground, by trenching it, if possible, at least two and a half feet deep, at the same time mixing a good quantity of well-rotted manure with the soil. When it has lain in this state a month or more, if the weather permit, work the ground over again to the same depth. and repeat this two or three times, in order that the manure and son may become well incorporated with each other. At the last turning over, before planting, lay a solid foundation of rich well-rotted manure in every trench, as no more can be applied for several years, or, indeed, so long as the beds stand. Make it a practice to perform this work in the best weather that can be commanded during the winter months, as such an operation should never be attempted during rainy or showery weather, inasmuch as it would only tend to make the soil heavy and cold. This portion of the work should be particularly attended to, as the preparation of the coil is of more moment than anything else during the whole course of its culture.
In the removal of the plants from the seed-bed, and final planting, take especial care to perform the work of taking them up by means of a fork, being very careful not to break or cut the roots, or to leave them a longer time exposed to the sun and air than you can help, as very few plants feel a hurt more severely than this ; the roots, being brittle, are easily broken, and do not readily shoot out again.
Although you may plant from the beginning of March to the end of May, the operation will not always be followed with the same success.
The best time, so far as our own experience goes, is just when the plants are beginning to grow ; for when they are removed earlier the plants lie for some time in the ground in a dormant state, and consequently the roots, being of a succulent nature, absorb a considerable quantity of moisture, which, in nine cases out of every ten, causes them to rot, and then the destruction of the plant becomes inevitable. On the other hand, if removed too late, the power of the sun and air will greatly injure them unless very great care be taken, and the roots put into a basket, or some other receptacle, with sand, as they are taken up.
When your plants are ready, and the ground having been previously prepared as above, stretch a line lengthwise nine inches from the edge, as at Fig. 2, and with a spade cut down a trench six inches deep, perpendicular next to the line, turning the soil to the outer or other side of the trench ; then, having the plants in readiness, set a row along the trench, nine inches apart, with the crowns of the roots two inches below the surface ; then move the line a foot further on, as shown at 2, Fig. 2, and open a second trench, turning the soil taken out of this into the first, over the roots just planted ;. and so proceed, making an allowance of three feet between every four rows for alleys. Should the weather prove dry at the time, give a little water to [-288-] settle the soil to the roots, and repeat the application until such time, the plants become well established. Fig. t shows a section of the bed. As a rule an asparagus bed should not contain less than a rod, as it very frequently takes more than this to make up a dish at one time; but for a large family twenty poles would not be too much.
Never gather any buds for the first three years after planting; but, on the contrary, permit them to run up to seed, and keep the beds clear of weeds, stirring the soil at each weeding, in order to keep it in a loose state.
It is the practice of some gardeners to throw out the alleys at every autumn dressing, and cover the beds with the soil so taken out. Now this may be done the first year after planting, but never afterwards ; instead of which give a good coat of rotten dung, and fork it evenly, both into the beds and alleys, every season. It is, or should be, well known that this plant forms a new crown every year, and it frequently happens that in a few years the crown extends itself into the alleys, so that by digging them out the plant is certain to be destroyed. We therefore advise that nothing at all be done to them rather than they should be treated according to this too general practice. The first two years a little celery and lettuce seed may be sown on the beds, and a few cauliflower plants may be planted at the distance of two feet asunder, in the alleys, but never after, as it would to a certainty rob the asparagus of a great portion of nourishment.
At the end of October, or beginning of November, the stalks will have done growing and begun to decay, when they must be cut down close to the ground and cleared away, taking off all weeds and other litter at the same time; then give the ground a good three-inch coat of well-rotted manure, and fork it m quite down to the crowns, as above advised, by which means the winter rains, &c., will wash the manure down amongst the roots, which will be greatly benefited thereby. Many people have a notion that by merely covering the beds with litter or recent dung from the stable, they have done. all that is necessary, but we maintain that such treatment does far more harm than good, as it only prevents the winter frost from having any influence over the soil without doing the least in the shape of enriching it.
At the end of March, or beginning of April, just before the buds begin to rise, loosen the surface of the beds with a three-tined or pronged fork, being careful not to wound the crowns with the points of the tines ; then rake the surface neatly level, drawing off all large stones and hard clods, leaving the beds as loose as possible, which will not only enable the buds to rise freely, but admit sun, air, and rain into-the soil, and thus encourage the roots to throw up buds, of a superior size and flavour.
By the way, we may mention that the shoots, or buds, come up but weak and slender the first year, stronger the second, and still stronger the third, when some old buds may be gathered, and in the fourth year the buds will be in full perfection.
So far as cutting and gathering is concerned, we say never begin to cut till the plants come to mature growth—that is, three or four years after planting, at which time, and not till then, they are of proper strength to produce full-sized buds. The buds are us the greatest perfection when they have risen above ground from two to three inches, as they are then close and plump. In gathering the buds, scrape an inch or two of the earth from the shoot, 1, Fig. 3, and then slip the knife down, as at 2, drawing it up in a slanting direction towards you, which will separate the head or shoot from the stool easily. Fig. 4 shows the best shape of knife for this purpose. This implement should be thrust into the soil, after having nearly bared the shoot down to the root, and with a saw-like motion sever the same in a slanting direction towards you. The same plan must be resorted to in each instance, until you have entirely cleared the bed. Never cut much after the middle of June, but
permit it to run up ; in fact, the weak shoots should not be cut at all. If on any particular occasion cutting should be required later than the above time, be careful to leave one or two shoots on each stool, in
order to draw the nourishment to it ; for if left destitute of growing shoots they would perish, and thus fill the bed with vacant spots. A plantation of asparagus, under judicious management, will generally continue to afford plentiful crops for twelve or fourteen years, after which time the shoots begin to decay, or, at all events, begin to decline in fertility, and the shoots are much inferior in quality, even if they do vegetate as long ; so
that to ensure a permanent supply every year a bed or two should be planted every now and then, so as to get them in readiness for cutting in three or four years' time, in order that they may come to a productive state
before the old ones are thoroughly worn out. Some people continue their beds for twenty years or more, but, in our opinion, by so doing they lose much to gain little.
Those desirous of saving seed —which we scarcely think necessary, considering how cheaply it can be purchased—should select some of the largest and earliest buds as soon as they rise in the spring, to which place sticks or stakes, by which to tie them to during the summer, taking care not to injure the crown of the plant when driving the said supports into the ground. As soon as the berries are ripe, gather and spread them
in a dry, airy situation, keeping them in the berry until the time of sowing.
To force Asparagus.—Plants about five or six years old should be chosen, if they appear strong enough to pro duce vigorous shoots for insertion into the hotbed. The first plantation for forcing should be made about the latter end of September, and if the bed goes on favourably a crop may be expected in four or five weeks' time. The bed will afford a gathering every two or three days, and will continue in bearing about three weeks. The hotbed for the reception of the plants is constructed of stable-dung or other material in the ordinary. fashion. This should be covered with about five or six inches of tan, or other light material sufficiently porous to admit the heat from the bed to the roots, which are planted in mould laid upon the tan. The bed must then be covered with six or eight inches of rich light soil. The plants may be inserted as close together as possible, several hundred under an ordinary-sized frame. In planting draw a furrow the length of the frame, and place the first row of plant* against it, covering their roots with soil, and proceed in the same way throughout. More soil is gradually to be added as the bed acquires a steady and regular heat.
THE CULTURE OF VEGETABLES (continued from p. 288).
THE VEGETABLE GARDEN (continued from p. 335)
The Dwarf French Bean.—This is an annual, and its constitution and habits are very similar to those of the runner, only it has not a running stem, neither is it so prolific or long-bearing as the former. The young unripe pods are used as in the former case ; in addition to which, while these are quite young, and not more than an inch long nor thicker than a straw, they are greatly esteemed for pickling. The varieties generally cultivated are the early yellow dwarf, early red speckled, early black or negro, early white, Battersea white, Canterbury white, black speckled, dun-coloured, and large white dwarf. The dwarfs will bear sowing a little sooner than the larger, growing kinds, and will come in somewhat earlier. They are more convenient to cultivate on a large scale, and are also considered by many to be more delicate in flavour. For the first early crop sow the early yellow, early black or negro, or the, early red speckled; and for a rather later crop the early white is the best, and is generally considered superior to the others in flavour. The Canterbury and-Battersea are decidedly the best for main crops. The dwarf kidney bean does not continue in bearing more than three weeks or a month, so that it is necessary to sow a successional crop or two in order to have a continuance until the runners come in, or for a regular succession throughout the summer. Half a pint will sow a row eighty feet long, the beans being placed from two and a half to three inches apart in the drill. This bean, like the runner, delights in a rich and light soil, and for early crops it should be rather sandy and dry; but for later ones a moist loam. is more congenial. You should commence sowing the various kinds of dwarf beans about the first week in April, provided the weather be fine and open. The best situation is a dry south border, although it is not absolutely necessary to their well-doing at all times. Draw drills two feet apart and an inch and a half or two inches deep, for the smaller sized beans, dropping them into the drills rather close together, in order to allow for a failure, which is almost certain to happen at this early season. For main crops, other portions must be sown towards the end of April, and in May and June, in order to have a continual supply. For later crops the drills may be drawn two feet and a half asunder, two inches deep, and the beans be placed from two to two and a hall inches apart in the rows. If a late crop is desired, a moderate sowing should be made about the beginning of August. Crops sown late should, as a rule, be favoured with the best situation the garden can afford, otherwise they will not turn out to your satisfaction. It is not worth the trouble to grow very late crops of dwarf beans, as the runners, under proper management, will continue bearing until frost cuts them off; and that will, as a matter of course, be very late in the season. The beans for summer sowing would be greatly accelerated in their germination provided they were soaked in soft water for six or eight hours previous to sowing. As the plants of different crops advance in growth, hoe and stir the surface between the rows, and cut down all weeds as they appear, and draw a little earth to the stems; which will tend very much to encourage the growth of the plants as well as to increase [-356-] the crop. The pods should be gathered while young, tender, fleshy, and brittle, as they are then in the greatest perfection. By clean gathering the crop will continue longer in perfection than if a superabundant one were left to grow old ; and, independently of this, you will prevent the successive pods from being robbed of a considerable portion of their nourishment or support. A row or two, or more if necessary, should be set apart for seed, taking care not to gather until they are fully ripened ; then pull up the haulm, and lay it in the sun until it is thoroughly dry ; after which the beans may be cleared out of the pods, and put away till wanted. It frequently happens that a sufficient quantity will be found upon the stalks after a crop is over, and when such is the case dry them and put them away for future use.
Red Beet.—This is a biennial plant, with large, oblong, succulent leaves of a reddish colour_; the roots, when at their full size, are from three to four inches in diameter, and from a foot to eighteen inches in length, and of a deep red colour. The flowers are of a greenish colour, and make their appearance in August. The roots are the only eatable portion when boiled and -sliced, either by themselves or in salads. They are also used for pickling, and occasionally for garnishing. There are several varieties of beet—namely Henderson's pine-apple, Nutting's, selected, Cattell's dwarf blood-red, and Beck's improved—all of which are good ; so that you cannot possibly make a mistake in selecting any one of the four. This plant delights most in a dry, light, and a rather sandy loam, having a good depth, so that there may be ample room for the root to penetrate at will. It is always raised from seed, which should be sown annually, either the latter end of March or the beginning of April. We never sow earlier ourselves, for this reason, that we have invariably found the'early plants run up to stalk, instead of making good root. The ground on which the seed is to be sown should be well manured and, trenched the preceding year, in preference to leaving it till the time for sowing arrives, as ground so recently manured invariably causes the roots to canker. The ground should be trenched eighteen inches deep, before sowing for the long-rooted kinds. The seed may either be sown in broad-cast or in drills a foot apart, but we prefer the latter method for two reasons ; first, because they can be more easily kept clear of weeds-, and, secondly, they can be thinned with greater facility. Draw drills as you would for peas or beans, and drop the seeds, two together, into the same, at about a foot apart, and as soon as the plants are of an age to distinguish the strongest, pull up the weaker, so as to leave one only standing. Presuming that they have been sown broadcast, as soon as the plants are about two inches high, they must be thinned out to about twelve inches ,apart in every direction, which will allow them full room, to grow and swell to a good size by the autumn, at which time they will be fit for use as wanted, and will continue in perfection during the winter and spring following. However, we make it a practice to "provide for a rainy day," if we may use the expression, by pitting them up as we would potatoes. But where, however, you have not a. sufficient quantity for such a purpose, the roots maybe then taken up, trimmed of their leaves, and be deposited in sand, in a shed or outhouse; or, if you prefer it, you may take up a portion only and keep them under cover for use, when hard frosts would fasten them in the ground; but the remainder may be still left in the soil, to be taken up as wanted, weather permitting. In February or March the pitted roots may require to be looked at, in order to check the growth, or prevent their running, or they will not keep good till May or June, as they would do if examined periodically, as already observed. Great care must be taken not to break or injure their roots, as they would then bleed much and become pale-coloured. For this reason, on taking off the leaves, an inch of the tops should be left on with the solid root. In order to save seed, a few strong roots should be selected and transplanted to some spot where they will not be in danger, when in flower, of impregnation with any inferior or different variety. A few strong roots may be left standing in the row, which will shoot up the second year, when their flower-stalks should be tied to stakes to prevent their being blown down.
White Beet.-This is a hardy biennial plant, the leaves of which are larger than the red beet, and very thick and succulent. It produces its flowers, which are of a greenish colour, in August and September. The leaves of this plant are the only usable parts, which are boiled like spinach or put into soups. The principal varieties in cultivation are the common small-rooted green-leaved, the common white, small-rooted, and the large white, or the Swiss. All the sorts are propagated by seed, and the soil for these varieties may be considerably stronger and richer than that for the red sorts, but need not be quite so deep. For a bed containing fifty-four square feet, one ounce of seed will be sufficient. The seed should be sown in March, either in drills, six or eight inches apart for the small sorts. and ten. or twelve for the larger, or broadcast, and the seeds raked in well. When the plants are up two inches high, they must be thinned out to from eight inches to a foot apart, and afterwards kept clear of weeds. The seed of this sort may be saved in precisely the same manner as that recommended for the red.
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