MID-SEASON VEGETABLES

Is one of the garden assets. Once established an asparagus bed is good
for a lifetime, almost; certainly it is a permanent feature of the
garden, showing little if any deterioration if well cared for and kept
free from weeds.

The starting of an asparagus bed is not the serious undertaking it
was a few years ago, as the deep planting then thought so necessary
is seldom practised now; instead it is thought sufficient to open a
furrow—with the plough, if the planting is large, with the spade, if
small—set the plants and fill enough earth to cover the crown of the
plant, and, as growth starts, to gradually fill up the furrow until
the ground is level. The ground should be of the best and heavily
fertilised before planting, for asparagus is a gross feeder and an
additional application of coarse ground bone in each hill is well worth
while as it furnishes food for two or three years independently of such
annual dressing as the bed may receive.

For garden culture where hand cultivation is to be practised, the
plants may be set in hills two or three feet apart each way, leaving
room to cultivate between each way for the first few years. Two year
old roots are the best to use and in planting a little mound of earth
should be made in each hill, the roots of the plant spread out around
this so that the earth will fit in beneath, close to the under side of
the crown, then the earth should be firmed about the roots, a handful
of bone meal sprinkled over the soil and the remainder of the soil
filled in. Asparagus beds may be set in spring or fall; good results
follow either setting. The asparagus bed must be kept free of weeds
and grass from the start as once allowed to become infested with foul
seed and grass it is a very discouraging proposition. One of the worst
weeds to combat is the young asparagus plants which come up every year
from self-sown seed; to avoid this the tops should be cut, as soon as
the berries are red, and burned. If the tops are burned on the bed the
resulting ashes will be of benefit. It has been my observation for
many years that the spots where the tops were burned always gave finer
stalks than the rest of the bed; this suggests the application of wood
ashes as a top dressing after the dressing of manure, which should be
applied every spring, has been worked into the soil. A heavy covering
of barnyard manure may be applied in the fall and spaded under in the
spring, or it may be applied in February; if this is not feasible it
is an excellent plan to spade into the space between the hills any
available manure—poultry, rabbit or sheep or stable manure that is
well rotted. The space between the rows, or paths, should not be broken
up when this is done as, if unbroken and hard, it is easier to keep
the beds clean and an application of some good herbicide may even be
used to keep down weeds here. When the bed has been thoroughly spaded
and enriched in this way in the early part of the season I have found
the after care of the bed very much more successful than when all over
culture was attempted.

The variety to plant is largely a matter of taste—some prefer the
green, some the white grasses. Lately a preference is being shown for
the green. These will always be preferred by those who like a tender
asparagus. The white sorts—Bonvilete and Argenteuile—are unbelievably
tough as they appear in the market though beautifully white and of
mammoth proportions that make them very attractive; possibly if cut, as
the green grasses are, just below the level of the ground they would
prove more edible. All asparagus is tough below the ground, green as
well as white, and, for this reason, should not be cut much lower than
the surface.

Of the green grasses Conover’s Colossal and Dreer’s Eclipse are excellent
sorts, and Columbian Mammoth White is a white variety that is good.

If one wishes young plants for setting one can obtain them very easily
by cutting the tops of asparagus when the berries are nearly ripe and
piling them in some convenient place where the ground is mellow and
free from weeds and grass and leaving them undisturbed for a year; the
seeds will germinate and produce a large quantity of thrifty young
plants that later may be taken up and set where desired, and all
without any care or labor further than the cutting of the tops.

One may begin cutting the asparagus when the bed is two years old,
though small stalks will be produced at that age. Cutting at this age
should not extend over a period of two weeks and in an established
bed should be limited to four. All small stalks should be cut and not
allowed to grow during the cutting period as they would exhaust the
plant if allowed to grow, but when the cutting period is over they
should, of course, be allowed to grow.

Salt was formerly considered essential to successful asparagus culture
and certainly does no harm, but its chief value is in keeping down
weeds and this can be quite as successfully done by hand cultivation;
this is better than to form the habit of depending on some quick,
laborless road to clean beds—in the annals of gardening “There ain’t
no such animule.”

May be classified under two heads: those that remain in the ground over
winter and are ready for use as soon as the frost is out of the ground
and those vegetables that, owing to the short time required to bring to
maturity, are first available from the present year’s planting; among
the first may be cited such forms as asparagus, parsnips, salsify,
parsley, kale, onions and a few others.

The latter class include such vegetables as beets, lettuce, radishes,
endive and early peas, all of which may be planted as soon as the
ground can be worked in spring, but for very earliest results use
should be made of the hotbed, sowing the seed in February or March
according to the latitude and transplanting as soon as the ground
can be worked in spring. By doing this from three to six weeks’ time
may be gained. At the same time that plants from the hotbeds are
transplanted seed may be sown in the open ground in adjoining rows or
as a continuation of a short row of transplants, to come into use about
the time the first planting is exhausted; in this way a succession may
be maintained and the ground made to produce a more profitable amount
of vegetables as seed may be sown where the transplanted vegetables
were grown as soon as they are removed.

BEETS

Which may be planted in open ground as soon as it can be worked in
spring, do best on a fibrous loamy soil, but any good, warm, rich loam
will grow them satisfactorily; the cleaner the ground and the more
thorough the cultivation, however, the more uniform the crop which
will be produced. Sow the seed in drills fifteen to twenty inches
apart and about ½ inch deep, covering and tramping down the rows. It
is customary to sow the seed rather freely when sown by hand, but if
the seed is good rather better results follow sowing with a seeder,
owing to the more even distribution and the lessened amount of thinning
required; if vegetables of this class did not need thinning their
cultivation would be robbed of its chief burden; unfortunately they do
need it and quite drastic thinning at that; thinning should commence
as soon as the beets are large enough to handle, leaving them standing
about one inch apart. In about two weeks another thinning may be given.
By this time the young beets will be large enough for greens and they
may be thinned to stand two inches apart in the row; a third thinning
will be final and should leave about four inches between the beets;
this will allow room for full maturity and perfectly formed roots.
Beets are at their best when about an inch to an inch and a quarter
in diameter and this is the size which is utilized for canning; when
used of this size about an inch of the top may be left on and they are
served whole, dressed with butter and seasoning.

The old Egyptian beet has long been acknowledged as standard, but
Crosby’s Egyptian is a distinct improvement upon the old form. It is
earlier, the color fine and the quality very sweet and tender. Early
Model beet is a new comer with an excellent reputation and both are
good selections for the home or the market garden.

In sowing in the hotbed it is not necessary to cover more than a fourth
of an inch; scatter the seed thinly and transplant in about three to
four weeks from the sowing of the seed, or when the plants and weather
make the successful planting most assured; set the plants about an inch
to an inch and a quarter apart and in using remove every other one;
this leaves abundant room for them to develop and makes cultivating and
freedom from weeds more assured.

A light application of nitrate of soda will work wonders in growing
early beets; scatter the nitrate thinly along the rows and cultivate
in, or the nitrate may be dissolved in water and applied from a
watering can, care being taken to apply to the soil only and not to
the plants. A handful of nitrate, about the usual quantity applied to
a two-gallon watering-pot of water, will be sufficient, or a hundred
pounds to the acre—this would amount to about twenty-five pounds to
the ordinary garden.

Beets may be sown for succession up to the middle of July and will
mature a crop for winter use. Late sown beets are less care to
cultivate owing to the fact that the season’s crop of weeds is by that
time pretty well under control.

SWISS CHARD

Has been for several years much exploited by seedsmen as the one
indispensable vegetable for the city garden. It is no doubt a
dependable source of greens, making a rapid growth of succulent leaves
and is one of the showy, effective things in the garden that gives an
air of abundance and successful gardening unsurpassed by any other
vegetable, but, in my opinion, its merit ends right there and if
it were not for its value in furnishing green food in the greatest
quantity in the least time I should not give it space in the garden;
the midrib, so much recommended for cooking like asparagus, has an
unpleasant, earthy taste that, to me at least, is very disagreeable.

Its culture, however, is so easy that it is worth while for any one
who likes it to grow it. It can be planted in the open ground as soon
as the ground can be worked in the spring, or sown in the hotbed
and transplanted, thus gaining three weeks or more; sow in drill,
scattering the seed thinly and thin out the plants to stand six inches
apart in the rows. A light dressing of nitrate of soda will hasten the
growth and render the leaves more tender and succulent. This plant
does not need to have successive sowings made as by cutting down to
the ground it will make a new growth, and the outside leaves may be
gathered, the same as is done with spinach, and so produce a continuous
growth of tender, crisp leaves.

There are two varieties of the chard, the Giant Lucullus and the Silver
Beet; the latter variety being more delicate in flavor, having less of
the earthy taste. A novel variety—a cross between the Swiss Chard and
the table beet—is now offered by Luther Burbank which combines with
the usual chard qualities, much beauty of foliage, the leaves being
gorgeous in pink, yellow, green and white and it would certainly add
to the joy of gardening to have so beautiful a thing to tend, for this
reason and because the bunnies must have food, I am growing it in my
garden this year.

CHINESE CABBAGE

Though not a spring vegetable it is so similar in some respects
to Swiss Chard that it may well be a companion vegetable. It much
resembles the Romaine or Coss lettuce in its lush, upright leaves.
It should not, however, be planted until about the first of July as
early plantings run quickly to seed and do not develop the fine big
leaves of the type. It may be planted in short rows and transplanted
to about nine inches apart when large enough to handle. Nitrate is
again indicated for this quick-growing, succulent plant and as soon
as the leaves have attained considerable size they should be confined
by tying with bast or strips of soft cloth, to prevent their falling
apart rather than to blanch them. The outer leaves may be gathered as
they mature, leaving the inner leaves to grow and be gathered later. It
is eaten raw or cooked like cabbage, being more delicate in flavor and
without the objectionable cabbage odor when cooking. The large, fleshy
midribs, stripped off the leaf, may be eaten raw with salt like celery
or cooked like asparagus. When tied up the plant much resembles a very
large, handsome stalk of celery, but with big, broad leaves instead of
the feathery fronds of the latter plant.

ENDIVE

Classes with the foregoing vegetables, requiring practically the
same treatment. It should be started in the hotbed for early use,
transplanting to the open ground when the weather is favorable. As it
does not make very rapid growth at first it may as well remain under
the favorable guardianship of the warm hotbed until the middle of May,
when it should be transplanted in rows, setting the plants six inches
or more apart. When the plants are about two-thirds grown they must
be drawn together and tied for blanching, without which they are unfit
to use; this must be done when the plants are perfectly dry—in the
middle of a bright, sunny forenoon, being the best time for the work,
otherwise they will rot as they are very sensitive to moisture and
prone to decay—as a Japanese friend said of chrysanthemum seed;—”They
are very corruptible.”

They are a most acceptable addition to salads and combine acceptably
with lettuce having a tangy bitterness very piquant, but it is as a
garnish that they excel; the fringed and curled fronds, pure white or
tinged with green in the less well-blanched specimens, are beautiful
indeed and they may well be grown for this alone.

Covering with boards is sometimes resorted to instead of tying, two
boards being laid along either side of the row to form a cap. It takes
about three weeks to properly blanch endive and the plants should be
used as soon as ready. If desired plants may be taken up in the fall
and planted in pots or boxes and placed in a light warm cellar or an
upstairs window for winter use. As the endive makes a mass of fibrous
roots it can be lifted without in any way checking its growth.

The Giant Fringed Endive is one of the best kinds. The Self-blanching
Endive is not a satisfactory sort as it lacks the beautiful color of
the blanched sort and is more prone to run to seed; either sort when
running up can be cut and fed to the rabbits and so turned to good
account, in fact I consider it worth planting for this purpose alone.
The Staghorn Endive is an excellent sort for spring growing as, started
in the hotbed and transplanted, it does not run to seed—a fault most
other varieties are addicted to; this sort may be planted for early
salads and the Giant Fringed later for fall and winter. Like all plants
which depend upon rapid growth for crispness and flavor an application
of nitrate is beneficial to endive and mellow, rich soil should be
selected for its growth.

LETTUCE

For the very earliest use plant seed in hotbed and transplant to open
ground about the middle of May, setting the plants about a foot apart
if head lettuce is desired and, of course, no one who is acquainted
with the superior excellence of head lettuce over the leaf variety
will care to grow the latter. There are so many excellent varieties
of lettuce on the market that one hesitates to recommend any special
sort but some are more reliable headers than others. One of the
surest headers and an excellent sort to plant in summer as it is more
resistant of heat than most sorts, is the Improved Hanson; this variety
makes a large, globe-shaped head, so compact that the inner leaves are
beautifully blanched and the quality is excellent. For those who like a
brown-leaved lettuce and in my opinion this sort excels in flavor all
others, the old May King is one of the best and should always find a
place in the garden whatever other varieties are grown. It is not as
large as lettuce and permits of closer planting than Hanson or All
Season—another most excellent head lettuce—a sure header and slow to
run to seed; it makes an immense head—almost as large as a Flat Dutch
Cabbage, with beautifully blanched inner leaves and a fine, buttery
flavor.

[Illustration: _Gratifying evidences of your own care and industry_]

Of the loose-leaved lettuce the Grand Rapids Forcing Lettuce is the
best known. This is a good sort to grow in the hotbed and may be
allowed to remain after the other vegetables are removed, resetting to
stand a few inches apart. The leaves are upright and loose, beautifully
green and curled and the flavor crisp and delicious. It may be grown to
use while the other sorts are heading.

Romaine or Coss Lettuce is the sort served in the big hotels as
Romaine salad. It requires transplanting either from the hotbed to
the open ground or from the seed row in the open ground to another
row. It should stand about four inches apart in the row as the growth
is upright, rather than spreading, and when of sufficient size the
leaves must be tied together to blanch. It is very crisp and delicious
lettuce when quickly grown by the aid of much fertilizer, good culture
and moisture, but lacking these is rather tough and bitter. Nitrates
may be used to advantage, applied along the rows after the plants are
transplanted.

All lettuce is at best in spring and early summer. It is very difficult
to grow good lettuce in hot weather. If a width of cheese cloth is
stretched over the row and the soil kept moist much better results can
be secured. Leaf lettuce is more easily managed in mid-summer than head
lettuce and unless one can give special attention this is a better sort
to sow for succession.

ONIONS

Are an all-the-year-round vegetable and belong to each season according
to how they are handled. For green onions, early in spring, the White
Potato, or Multiplier, Onions are deservedly popular; these are usually
raised from sets planted in drills where they are to form a permanent
bed and cultivated during summer; they form a clump of tender shoots
which are ready for use in May. If, however, the bed is neglected and
allowed to form sod or weeds the onions deteriorate and become tough
and woody; their principal merit consists in their earliness. For first
class bunching onions, however, onions with bottoms, one should sow
seed in August in a fine, clean seed bed that has been heavily manured,
scattering the seed thinly in drills one foot or fifteen inches apart
and thin the plants to stand two inches apart in the rows. Onions are
quite hardy and will usually winter without protection but in severe
climates a light covering of straw or of evergreen boughs will be
beneficial; this practice gives very fine green onions early in the
spring.

Another practice, very satisfactory for the home garden, consists in
planting in early spring the old onions placed in storage for winter
use; usually these will have begun to grow by March and are useless for
cooking, but if pulled apart and each shoot planted out in good garden
soil they will start at once into growth and in a few weeks’ time
produce a delicious green onion, sweet and of the utmost tenderness. I
have found it a good thing to spade the flower beds intended for the
growing of annuals and bedding plants early in the season and plant the
onions in these, thus saving room in the garden and getting a greater
use of the flower beds.

Unlike many vegetables the onion can be grown year after year on the
same ground, providing it is well fertilized each year with barnyard
manure, so that the humus content of the soil is not depleted. Clean
tilth is essential, so that as little hand work as possible may be
required for onions tops are exceedingly tender and injury to them
checks the growth of the bulbs. The garden overalls adopted by many
women for working is a distinct advantage in the onion bed. For onion
sets sow seed in drills early in spring; gather the sets when ripe and
store in a dry place till spring; slight freezing will not injure them
but they must be protected from thawing and freezing.

But for winter onions of notable size and quality the New Onion
Culture should be adopted:—This consists in sowing the seed in the
hotbed in early spring and transplanting to the open ground when the
weather is suitable. Set the tiny plants an inch apart in the rows,
thin when big enough to use as green onions, removing every other one
leaving them standing two inches apart, thin again to stand four inches
apart and grow on until fall. If seed of Prizetaker or Ailsa Craig are
used onions quite the equal of the fancy Spanish onions sold in the
fruit stores will be produced. The soil must be more than ordinarily
rich; besides the spring dressing given the garden before ploughing the
space selected for the onions should have well-rotted manure trenched
in at the rate of a wheelbarrow load to every square yard: in trenching
lay back a spade’s depth of soil across the end of the onion bed; fill
this space with manure, trench a second row, throwing the soil on top
of the manure, fill the fresh trench with manure and continue till
the whole bed has been worked over. Rake the bed until the surface is
perfectly fine and smooth and sow the seeds in drills fifteen inches
apart or set the plants as directed.

Onions are occasionally attacked by root lice which if not at once
exterminated will quickly destroy the plants; the lice work on the
roots of the onion and the first evidence of their presence is a sickly
yellowing of the tops; if an onion is pulled up and examined the
presence of the tiny white lice will at once be evident: the remedy is
salt and the method of applying is to open a shallow trench beside the
rows and scatter salt quite plentifully along it, filling in the earth
again; one application will exterminate the lice. Attacks of root lice
are by no means common, but the fact that they do occur and are very
deadly should make one watchful for the first sign of discoloration in
the tops.

When the onion tops show signs of ripening they should be broken down;
this is sometimes done by rolling a barrel over them. A light home-made
roller may be easily constructed by taking a length of nine inch stove
pipe, fitting a piece of wood in each end with a hole through the
center to admit a bar of wood or iron which should be attached at the
ends to a handle adjusted so as to allow the cylinder to roll; this
being light can be rolled over the bed, leveling two or more rows at
a time according to the length of the cylinder; it can be quickly
constructed of waste material about the place and any piece of wood of
suitable length—a couple of lathes, even, will answer, will do for
handles. It is a good idea when it is found necessary to employ help
in cultivating the garden to have a few little jobs like this on hand
in case rain interferes with the work; in this way neither the time of
the help nor the money of the employer is wasted and I have found that
it gives far better satisfaction to the help if there is something of
the kind for him to do so that he need not lose his day’s or forenoon’s
work. Sharpening tools is another job that it pays to remember in the
odd moments. A memorandum of things that can be done when it rains,
tacked up in a conspicuous place in the work room, toolhouse or barn
is a very useful reminder and avoids an awkward delay while one tries
to think of something to do.

If possible onions should be dug on a warm, bright day and allowed to
lie on the ground until dry and clean; they should then be stored in
a dry, airy loft or on a scaffolding. On the hay in a barn is a good
place for onions and they can be left there until freezing weather,
for the shorter time they are in a warm house the better they will
keep. If the temperature drops suddenly a little hay can be thrown over
them. Slight freezing does not injure onions, but repeated freezing
and thawing does. An upstairs room is better for storing than a cellar
unless the latter is unusually dry and not too warm. Onions will,
usually, keep in perfect condition until the middle of February or the
first of March, when they will begin to grow and should be sorted out,
and the sound ones given a cool, dry place and sold or used as quickly
as possible and the remainder saved for planting in the open ground.

PARSLEY

So universally used for garnishing and for flavoring soups and salads
is of very slow germination and for that reason is more successfully
grown when started in hotbeds and transplanted into the open ground
in May. The ancients held that parsley should never be sown as they
claimed that the seed had to make a journey to Hades and remain six
weeks; when sown in the open ground it seems to bear out that theory,
so slow is its appearance above ground. In the hotbed it requires
about three weeks. England, too, has its superstition of the parsley,
believing like the ancients, that it should be planted, not sown, that
it must make the long journey to the infernal regions and return and
that there the devil takes his tithe of it, for proof of which they
point to the fact that a small part only of the seed comes up. A better
explanation would be found, I think, in the quality of the seed, the
home grown seed coming up quite as well as other seed, the boughten
seed sometimes proving unsatisfactory.

The Greeks held the plant in great respect. A crown made of dried
and withered leaves was given to the victors in their games. A crown
together with a bunch of laurel was dedicated to the god of banquets
while all the guests at these feasts wore crowns of parsley under the
impression that the herb created quiet and promoted appetite. The
Romans also decked themselves in like manner upon similar occasions
because they believed that the plant had the power to absorb the fumes
of wine and thus prevent drunkenness.

It was parsley that Hercules selected for the making of his first
garland of victory. Greek gardens were bordered with parsley and rue,
giving rise to the saying, “Oh, we are only at the parsley and rue.”
As these ancients used the plant in their rejoicing and merrymaking,
so, too, it was brought into use in their funeral decorations. Sprigs
of the herb were strewn over their dead. According to old folk lore
parsley should be sown on Good Friday.

Parsley is a biennial plant, making a fine clump of edible leaves the
first year which in mild winters or protected positions survives the
winter and starts into growth the following spring. It soon, however,
runs to seed and is of no further value except to produce seed. If,
however, one wants a small supply of parsley without the annual trouble
of sowing and transplanting a small bed of it may be allowed to go
to seed and self-sow, when it becomes, practically, a perennial but
does not attain the fine quality that the specially grown plant does.
A single row through the garden will furnish parsley for an entire
neighborhood as the older leaves are gathered as needed and the crown
allowed to produce new leaves; this should be done whether the leaves
are needed or not as the quality of the new growth will be finer in
every way, for leaving the old leaves to mature checks the growth of
the crown leaves. Nine inches at least should be allowed between the
plants and twelve is better, though when the tiny plants are first
transplanted it may seem a long and lonely distance between them, but
the plants soon fill up the space.

Very little cultivation is needed between the plants when once they
attain full size; the plants are so dense and spreading that they
effectually choke out the younger weed growth, but the space between
rows should be kept clean.

Of the varieties to plant, only the fine moss curled should be
selected. The Champion Moss Curled is a standard sort and one of the
best, rich green in color and so crumpled and curled as to have the
appearance of moss. Nearly all florists or seedsmen have their own
especial brand of seed and one can select those which promise the
best product. If desired bunches of the parsley may be lifted in the
fall and potted or planted in window-boxes for winter use. They make
a most attractive plant for the window and a pot of parsley, one of
well-blanched endive and one of red celestial peppers make a most
cheerful window decoration for the kitchen or dining-room, as well as
furnishing crisp decorative material for the table.

PARSNIPS

May be classed among the early spring vegetables as they are planted
as early as the ground can be worked in spring and are likewise ready
for use as soon as the frost is out of the ground so that they may be
dug; like all root vegetables they require rich, deeply dug or ploughed
land. Not less than twelve inches in depth is required for successful
cultivation; with shallow cultivation crooked and many branched
roots are produced which are unsalable and of little value for home
consumption. The long, smooth, beautifully white roots—two inches or
more at the crown, are only produced in well-prepared soil.

Parsnips are planted directly in the open ground as soon as the ground
can be worked in spring, sowing the seed in drills an inch and a
quarter deep, covering and tramping down the rows if the weather is
dry. They should be thinned to stand from four to six inches apart in
the row that the roots may make perfect development. The rows should be
eighteen inches apart and the ground kept loose and clean throughout
the growing season.

The usual practice is to let the parsnips remain in the ground over
winter, taking up and storing in boxes of slightly moist earth or sand,
in the cellar, a supply for winter use. The parsnip is improved in
quality by a touch of frost but must be dug before growth starts in the
spring.

Parsnips are eaten quite readily by Belgian hares and imperfect or small
roots may be sorted out and fed to them, avoiding any loss in grading.

PEAS

Of the very earliest kinds, and that is distinctly the smooth peas,
should be gotten into the ground very early in spring. Most of the
early sorts will stand considerable cold, but the wrinkled sorts are
tender and should not be planted until the weather and soil are warm
and reasonably dry. More failures in growing peas come from planting
in cold, wet soil, in a mistaken hurry to get early peas than from any
other cause.

Ground for peas should be very rich; it is not sufficient that the
garden plot has been well manured before ploughing;—the strip allotted
to the growing of peas should have additional fertilizer trenched
in, especially is this necessary in growing the wrinkled sorts and
especially the dwarf peas, such as Nott’s Excelsior and the like. These
dwarf peas cannot bear a big crop on their abbreviated tops unless
forced to production by heavy feeding, but as the wrinkled, medium
early and mid-season peas are the most delicious of all in quality, the
extra care required is well repaid. Another object in heavy fertilizing
is that by this means a succession of peas may be grown on the same
ground. Personally I prefer peas that require support to the very
dwarf sorts; in the first place you have more vine for the production
of pods. You cannot, with the best intentions, get as big a crop from
one foot of vine as you can from three, all things being equal. Again,
the labor of gathering pods from upright growing vines where the pods
are easily seen and reached is far less than from the prostrate vines
which must be lifted or looked under in search of pods. Wire netting
furnishes a better support than brush and where the gardener is a
woman is much pleasanter to work about. Brush has an unpleasant habit
of catching on the clothing and twisting around, often to the injury
of the vine, but the netting gives a firm support, to which the vine
readily attaches itself.

In the home garden the best way to plant peas is in double rows a foot
apart, making the trench about three inches deep and dropping the peas
as evenly as possible. Early sown peas do not require as deep planting
as the wrinkled sorts which may be planted four or five inches deep to
avoid blight. As the wrinkled sorts are very tender they should not
go into the ground before corn planting time and not then unless the
nights and soil are warm.

An excellent arrangement for a succession of peas in the home garden is
to prepare the rows by trenching in manure and then make two furrows
a foot apart and in one furrow plant the earliest peas and in the
other a second early pea, stretching a four or five foot width of wire
netting between the rows; this extends the bearing season a couple of
weeks. When all the pods have formed on the earliest varieties of vines
a second furrow may be opened beside it and a wrinkled sort of medium
earliness be planted; these will be ready to climb about the time the
first vines are turning yellow when they may be pulled up, leaving
their place for the new vines. This system of succession of planting
may be repeated on the other side of the netting, thus giving four
sowings of peas to one strip of netting and a succession of peas for
several weeks.

The germination of the seed may be hastened by soaking the seed over
night in warm water and when sowing unsoaked seed, in dry weather,
germination is hastened by pouring hot water into the trench before
covering the seed.

The experienced gardener will have his pet variety of peas but the
amateur will be somewhat afield in selection so I would suggest as a
desirable early sort the Gradus or Prosperity Pea, a delicious sort
of the tall kind that has much to recommend it. American Wonder is
another extra early pea of a wrinkled sort that appeals to those who
prefer a dwarf pea, being but a foot in height and compares in general
excellence with Nott’s Excelsior. On the same trellis with Gradus
may be planted the Senator Pea; this is a number one pea in every
respect—quality, quantity and appearance; following these one may
plant more Senators and the Telephone; these will give a succession of
peas for several weeks.

So many enemies conspire against the pea that close watch must be kept
from the planting of the seed until the plants are well above the
ground. Usually the chief depredation comes from moles which run along
underneath the seed and destroy it; poisoned bait placed in the trench
along with the seed often destroys the moles before much damage is
done. A mole trap set at each end of the row or at the point where the
mole enters the run will often prove effective. A very successful home
made trap consists of a large can or crock—a lard can is good, sunk
in the ground and a trap consisting of a long, endless box with about
a third of the bottom sawed apart and pivoted on nails driven through
the side, so that anything entering at one end will drop through the
swinging trap into the can beneath, which should be kept full of water;
this arrangement will catch more moles than any steel trap with which I
am familiar, and as the presence of the moles in the garden threatens
other vegetables as well as the peas it will be time well spent to
prepare one or more of these traps for use when occasion arises; the
making of these traps may well be put on the list of rainy day tasks.

Cutworms sometimes take the peas as fast as they appear above the
ground; poisoned bait along the rows before the peas break the ground
will dispose of this enemy. Blackbirds often destroy a planting of peas
before their presence is suspected and English sparrows have been
known to do much damage, so if one would enjoy fresh, home grown peas
one must exercise due vigilance.

The use of Mulford and other cultures for inoculating peas is growing
in practice among the most progressive gardeners and is a very wise
precaution to take; especially is it desirable in intensive culture
suggested by growing two crops of peas on the same strip of land. Peas,
like all legumes, are nitrogen feeders and gatherers and the use of
the culture supplies the young plant, at the start, with nitrogen and
puts it in shape to begin the accumulation of nitrogen from the air by
its own efforts. The nitrogen gathered from the air is stored up on
the roots in the form of nodules or bunches, and it is for this reason
that the growing of all legumes is so beneficial to the soil. If when
the first planting of peas is matured and gathered the vines are cut or
broken off close to the ground, instead of being pulled up, root and
all, this supply of nitrogen will remain in the soil and be available
for the succeeding crop.

The inoculating of the seed is very simple: the small bottles, which,
by the way, cost but twenty-five cents for garden size, are only
one-fourth full; simply fill up the bottle with water and moisten the
seed before planting; this is all, and the same bottle will supply
inoculating material for the beans which also being legumes respond
favorably to the treatment.

RADISHES

A few radishes may be grown in the hotbed for very early use, but the
main planting should be in the open ground. It is hardly worth while to
devote any definite part of the garden to radishes as room can be found
for them among the other vegetables. An excellent way to grow them is
to drop seeds at intervals along the rows of beets, carrots, parsnips
and salsify. All these seeds are slow in germinating and by dropping in
occasional radish seeds which germinate in from three to five days the
rows will be marked so that they may be kept cultivated without waiting
for the plants to appear and indicate the rows. A surprising amount of
radishes will be grown in this way, without any special labor and loss
of ground; and they will be out of the way before the ground is needed
for the permanent occupant of the row.

The turnip rooted sorts are the most quickly and easily grown, the
Twenty Day as its name indicates being ready for use in twenty days
and the French Breakfast and Improved Breakfast Radish being ready in
twenty-five; both of these are very tender, crisp and mild sorts and
beautiful in appearance, white at the base and scarlet above, making a
beautiful appearance when prepared for the breakfast table with a bit
of the green top for contrast. For those who prefer a white radish the
Icicle Radish is a fine sort, crisp and tender and does not grow coarse
or pithy until quite large.

If one wishes to devote a definite space to radishes and maintain a
succession of plants it will be a good plan to drop a seed in the
ground for each radish pulled; in this way there will be a constant
supply of young, crisp radishes all summer.

Where only a few are desired it is a good plan to plant a short space
of the rows devoted to other vegetables to radishes and lettuce and
perhaps a few plants of endive and parsley next to the path and near
the house so that they may be easily got at without walking on the
newly cultivated ground.

SALSIFY

Is another plant that is started very early in the spring and eaten
as soon as the frost is out of the ground. It is one of the most
useful and delicious of this class of plants and is not nearly as much
cultivated as it should be. Sliced and cooked tender it makes, when
combined with milk, seasoning and cracker crumbs, a most acceptable
substitute for oyster soup or, cooked, mashed and mixed with a little
flour and seasoning and butter, dipped in egg and bread crumbs, it
makes delicious little cakes when fried. Its culture is simple, any
good, light fertile soil producing a good crop, but to produce clean,
smooth roots it should be deeply dug and well cultivated. Sow the seed
in shallow drills early in the season; thin to stand six inches apart
in the row. It is hardy and may remain in the ground all winter, but
a supply for winter use should be dug at the approach of cold weather
and stored in boxes of sand or earth in the root cellar. As soon as
the frost is out of the ground in spring and before growth starts they
must be dug. If it is desired to grow seed the plants should be set out
again, or may be left where they are if the ground is not needed for
other vegetables, and cultivated the same as seedling plants.

SPINACH

The most important of the vegetables grown for greens, should be sown
in the open ground as early as the ground can be worked if wanted for
early spring and summer use. For fall and winter use sow in September.
For a succession sow every two weeks. Sow in drills one foot apart
and one inch deep, in soil as fertile as one can compass; the soil
cannot be too rich for spinach, as upon the rapidity of its growth
depends the tenderness and succulence of its leaves; in poor soil,
especially if allowed to suffer for water, the leaves will be tough and
ill-flavored. Light applications of nitrate of soda have a magic effect
on spinach and should be applied lightly every two weeks.

The Round Seeded Savoy is a standard sort, with thick, fleshy leaves,
curled and crinkled; the New Zealand is a good sort for summer as it
withstands heat well and is slow to run to seed. In gathering the
spinach the entire top may be cut off a bit above the crown; this
induces a new, quick, tender growth of leaves.

In planting for spring and winter use the beds should be covered with
straw at the approach of cold weather. Spinach often self-sows and
gives a volunteer crop the following spring. When the spinach begins to
send up seed stalks it may be cut and fed to the rabbits and so waste
that would otherwise ensue may be avoided.

Being somewhat tender, should not be planted until the ground is warm
in spring. Corn-planting time will do for the field and navy bean, but
the white podded string bean and the lima bean should not go into the
ground until all danger of frost is past and the ground is in growing
condition. At the present advanced cost of seed—fifty-five cents a
pound for the string and lima sorts with postage added by some dealers,
it will not do to take any chances by being in too much of a hurry to
get seed into the ground; neither will it pay to buy seed of any but
reliable dealers. There has never been a time when so much importance
attaches to choosing one’s seed merchant wisely. Cheap seed never
pays, for the time lost in replanting seed of poor germination, or,
worse still, that comes untrue to name, giving one inferior or mongrel
vegetables, offsets, many times, the amount saved in money.

String beans are the first form in which this favorite vegetable
appears on the table and a very delicious and attractive dish they
make when such white wax or golden wax as Wardwell’s Kidney, Davis’s
Kidney Wax, Improved Golden Wax are selected; well grown plants of
these varieties, well laden with their long, wax-like pods are a joy
to the gardener; and if the pods are gathered as fast as they mature,
and this may be done as soon as they whiten, up to the time they are
fully grown, when they will still be sweet and tender, the bushes will
continue to bear heavily until cut down by the frost; this should
always be done whether the beans are wanted for use or not; they can
be canned, sold, or given away or fed to the pig—anything rather than
to check the vines’ bearing. If one wishes to save seed for the next
year’s planting, and this is worth while when such high prices prevail,
it will be well to set aside a row, or portion of a row, for seed,
allowing the first pods to ripen as this establishes the early bearing
characteristic of the plant.

In planting beans good soil should be chosen, but beans do not need
rich soil as many other garden vegetables do. It is said that beans
will grow on soil that will not grow anything else; this is rather an
extreme statement, but it is a fact that they will thrive where more
exacting plants will languish; this is accounted for by the fact that
the bean is a legume and so empowered to draw an important part of its
nourishment from the air in the form of nitrates, which it stores in
little pockets or nodules on its roots and so has a larder of its own
to draw on.

Open a drill a couple of inches deep and drop the beans at regular
intervals two or three inches apart, or they may be planted three or
four in hills, six inches apart; cover and tramp down the rows and draw
the rake lightly over them. Except for the distance at which they are
planted, all beans require practically the same treatment; they should
never be cultivated when wet or gathered or handled in any way; the
rule should be to give them a wide berth in wet weather; working among
them when wet is the cause of the disfiguring rust that makes them
unsalable and in bad cases uneatable. Wardwell’s and Davis’s Kidney Wax
are as free from rust as any of the white podded varieties and are the
best selections the amateur gardener can make.

For those who like a green podded bean the Stringless Green Pod is a
fine variety and very popular with gardeners. Giant Stringless, Green
Pod and Longfellow make up a trio of beans hard to beat.

Boston pea bean or navy bean is the best selection for baked beans;
these should be allowed to ripen their pods until quite dry. The usual
method of harvesting is to wait until all the beans are ripe in late
summer and harvest by pulling the vines and piling in heaps until dry;
this is not an economical way, however, nor specially adapted to the
small home garden; a better way is to gather the pods as fast as they
ripen, storing them in a dry, airy place until ready to shell easily;
if this is done many more beans will be produced and there will be no
loss from the earlier beans shelling out on the ground as they will
when the vines are left for the entire crop to ripen. Usually it will
be necessary to go over the vines about four times but the result will
be a much greater quantity of beans and all in the finest possible
condition; when left until all are ripe it will be found that there is
a considerable amount of mouldy or injured beans.

Lima beans require somewhat different treatment from the string or navy
bean; to begin with they require a much richer soil and the ground
should be well manured and a supplementary dressing of hen manure,
rabbit droppings or ashes about the plants when well established will
be of much benefit; they require more room in the row than the string
beans, not less than eight or nine inches with the rows two feet apart;
the beans should be planted about two inches deep, setting the seed
with the eyes downward and covering and tramping the rows. Rather late
planting is advisable for limas than for string beans and for very
early beans a few may be started in the hotbed and transplanted in the
open ground about the twentieth of May at the north—add or subtract
a week for each hundred miles north or south. The bean, having no tap
root and a broad spread of lateral roots, is one of the easiest plants
to transplant and by starting a hundred plants in the hotbed a much
earlier crop will be obtained; that will be filling up the time while
the open air planting is coming forward.

Another very important advantage in starting seed in the hotbed is the
larger per cent. of plants obtained; if good seed is used every one
may be depended upon to grow. The hotbed also affords protection from
the enemies that destroy the lima, one of the most destructive being
hens, and it will be wise to assure Biddy’s absence from the garden
until the beans are showing their first leaves as the succulent looking
white seeds that first break through the ground have an irresistible
attraction for her and she will walk along the rows, nipping off every
pod as it appears; this seems to be due to curiosity as she does not
eat, but drops them on the ground; I have seen whole plantings of lima
beans destroyed in this way. English sparrows also are known to destroy
the tops. String beans do not offer the temptation that the limas do so
are seldom molested.

For the home garden the bush limas are to be preferred as they take
less room and are easier to handle. The Improved Fordhook Bush Lima is
one of the best varieties if not the best. The New Wonder Bush Lima is
highly recommended. Beans may be planted every two weeks for succession
up to August. Dry limas that remain on the vines in fall may be used
for cooking in winter. Limas are not injured by light frosts as much
as the other varieties of beans; the pods cuddling under the thick
foliage are protected and one can frequently gather a mess after the
frost has cut everything else in the garden; the thick pods, too, are a
protection to the beans inside.

If it is desired to grow pole limas set the poles four feet apart each
way and plant five or six beans to each hill and thin to three when the
plants are up; when the plants have reached the top of the pole pinch
out the top; add a spadeful of well-rotted manure to each hill before
planting, mixing it thoroughly with the soil. Carpenteria is about the
best of the pole limas and Early Leviathan Lima is another good sort.
Wire netting may be used in place of poles and will be found more
convenient and economical. Treating the beans with farmogerm, Mulford
or other culture is advisable.

CABBAGE

For early cabbage sow seed in the hotbed or in flats in the house
and transplant to the open ground in May. Cabbage are not injured by
light frosts and can go into the ground earlier than most other garden
stuff; usually the early sorts are selected for first planting but
the late and winter sorts will, if started in heat, do about as well
as the early; it is largely a matter of handling. The Late Flat Dutch
is an excellent sort for the first planting as it is a very sure
header, giving large, flat heads of the best quality. In twelve years’
experience in growing this variety I have never found a diseased plant
nor, except in a year of very exceptional weather, a soft head. They
keep well over winter and are altogether a very satisfactory all round
cabbage.

In transplanting the plants from the hotbed to the open ground all but
the upper pair of leaves should be removed and these may have the upper
half clipped; this gives the roots a chance to establish themselves
before they are called upon to support top growth. Set the plants about
two feet apart each way, or the rows two feet apart and the plants
twenty inches; the nearer distance is tenable if one raises rabbits
as the lower leaves may be removed and fed to them, thus giving the
plants more room; they should close up the gaps between them when fully
grown as this shades the ground and conserves moisture—an important
feature in a dry season. The ground should be kept well cultivated and
free from weeds as long as work can be carried on among them and when
the cultivator can no longer be used the scuffle-hoe can be introduced
under and between them without injury to the leaves. In hoeing or
cultivating draw the earth up towards the plants.

When the heads are filled out and hard and it is not desired to gather
them they may be kept from splitting by pulling the roots loose on one
side and bending them over.

The principal enemy of the cabbage is the white butterfly and its
offspring—the green caterpillar. There are many ways of combating this
pest; the most effectual way, early in the season is dusting with Paris
green mixed with flour. A convenient way to apply is to take a quart
Mason jar, take the lid, remove the porcelain lining and punch the top
full of holes, fill the can with flour mixed with one teaspoon of fresh
Paris green and sift over the plants while wet with dew at the first
appearance of the pest; this should not be used after the heads have
formed; after this sprinkling with salt and working it in between the
loose leaves of the head is often effectual. Dusting with dry earth
sometimes has a deterrent effect on the worms.

The grey aphis is another most troublesome pest; this comes so
insidiously that the plants are well infested before their presence
is suspected. Spraying with kerosene emulsion is sometimes effectual
if the heads are not too far advanced. Spraying with zenoleum—a
tablespoonful to two quarts of water—will kill every louse it touches
and by its odor discourage any intending arrivals, but this should not
be used where the heads are at all advanced, though a hard rain would
rid the plants of the odor of both zenoleum and kerosene. Soapsuds,
especially whale oil and nicotine, are suggested and hand picking
of worms is not without its value. Spraying with hot water 140° is
effectual and safe and cleanses and stimulates the plants.

Cut worms are very destructive to cabbage when first set out; their
depredations may be guarded against by enclosing the stem of the plant
in a band of stiff paper when planting; this should go into the
ground an inch and extend up the stem two or three inches. Strewing
poisoned bait along the intended rows for a night or two is suggested
but this is a dangerous practice where there is poultry at liberty;
baiting after the plants are set is often successful, too, but the best
safeguard is to have a good supply of surplus plants in the hotbed.
The rows should be looked over the first thing in the morning after
planting to discover what plants have been cut and wherever a plant
is missing the worm should be looked for, and when found killed; this
is really the most satisfactory way of eradicating the pest. The worm
never goes more than two or three inches from the plant and will be
found somewhere just below the surface of the ground, usually under
some bit of roughage that makes a little hollow. If there is a piece
of sod or clover-land near the garden the cut worms will usually begin
their work from that side and if a planting of cabbage is made a few
days in advance of other plants this will serve as a trap for the worms
and hunting and killing them for a few days will make the planting
safe for the tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

A little nitrate of soda sprinkled around the plants is a great
incentive to growth.

For winter cabbage sow seed in the open ground in May and transplant
into permanent rows as soon as large enough, giving the plants more
room than early cabbage. Late Flat Dutch, Wakefield, Danish Roundhead
and Dutch Winter or Hollander are all good sorts which will prove good
keepers and sellers.

If in setting out plants of winter cabbage it is found that there
are more plants than are needed, they may be allowed to remain where
they are and given a little protection, such as boards, cornstalks or
evergreens, and can be used for setting out the following spring.

CAULIFLOWER

Require the same general treatment as cabbage. They are set somewhat
closer in the rows and cultivated the same as cabbage; however, for
the best results it is desirable to transplant the cauliflower from
the hotbed into cold frames as soon as they have their second pair of
leaves, setting three inches apart each way and as soon as they resume
growth giving a light application of nitrate of soda, then transplant
when the weather is favorable. Cauliflower are quite hardy and not
injured by early fall frosts, making steady growth until severe cold
weather and many heads that have failed to fill during the fall will
fill out finely in November.

As soon as the curd, or head, forms and has made a little size the
leaves must be drawn over it and tied to exclude rain and light; this
must be done when the plants are perfectly dry and the weather clear,
a sunny day about noon is the best time for the work. If tied up when
wet or damp the heads will rot. If not tied up growth will start in
the heads, they will turn purple and green and be unfit for food. It
is upon the successful tying up of the cauliflower that its successful
culture depends; like the cabbage it requires a rich, well fertilized
soil and applications of nitrate of soda once a week during the
growing season will hasten the development of the head; wood ashes,
too, are beneficial.

The insect enemies of the cauliflower are those of the cabbage, but
they molest it in a somewhat lesser degree. The remedies to be employed
are the same.

There are two important varieties of cauliflower—the Snowball and
the Dry Weather. The former is a poor cropper in dry seasons unless
artificial irrigation can be supplied. The Dry Weather Cauliflower,
on the other hand, seems to be at its best in a dry season and will
give fine heads when the other fails. As one can not forecast what the
rainfall of any given season will be it is well to be provided against
any contingency by planting both varieties of cauliflower; by this
forethought one will be assured of a crop whatever the weather and the
snowballs that failed to head during August and September may come on
in October and November and give a late crop for pickling.

In the majority of gardens cauliflowers are grown exclusively for
pickling; this is a mistake for there is no vegetable more delicate and
toothsome than this; it outclasses cabbage and when fried in batter
or breaded with egg and cracker crumbs, it affords a most excellent
substitute for meat, indeed, it is really more acceptable when no meat
dish accompanies it; for this reason—its desirability as a table
vegetable—special pains should be taken to produce early heads, by
starting in hotbeds, transplanting into cold frames, fertilizing with
nitrate and giving special attention to thorough cultivation throughout
its growing period. If water can be supplied, a thorough drenching of
the roots once or twice a week, followed by a cultivation the following
morning to restore the dust-mulch, will be of much benefit.

The green cabbage worm is sometimes very troublesome on the heads and
leaves of cauliflowers and one should watch for the presence of the
white cabbage butterfly as this will indicate whether one may expect
an attack of caterpillars. If once the worms have become established
spraying with hot water of from 130° to 140° will exterminate all with
which it comes in contact, as worms are far more sensitive to hot water
than are the plants which they infect.

CORN

Is one of the most profitable of the garden’s offerings; there is,
practically, no loss connected with it; a delicious vegetable for
the table in its green state, fresh from the stalk; it is equally
welcome when it appears sweet and toothsome from the can in winter or,
conserved in a dried state, is soaked and cooked the same as fresh
corn. There is no waste in the unused corn that remains ungathered on
the stalks for it may be saved for seed another year or fed to the
poultry, while the stalks, cut and cured, make excellent feed for cow,
horse or rabbits. Cut while green and made into ensilage it is the best
substitute for green feed in winter for any animal that eats green
food. Much green feed for stock may be secured from the corn patch
in summer by removing all the side shoots that do not bear ears and
feeding them to the pigs or rabbits. This is of benefit to the corn as
it allows all the strength of the plant to go into the ears instead of
being wasted in growing useless foliage.

Corn is a gross feeder and requires a deep, mellow, fertile soil, well
enriched with barnyard manure. Clover sod well manured and ploughed
will give the maximum amount of corn, but any good soil if fertilized
will produce good corn.

Corn is somewhat tender and should not be planted until the ground
is warm, but in the small home garden where a small amount of seed
is required a little risk may be run by planting early in May and
replanting if an early frost catches the crop. It is not, as a general
thing, the spring frost that does the most damage, especially with
field corn, it is the late frost that catches the corn still in the
milk that does the damage, so that anything that pushes the crop
along to maturity before danger of fall frost is of moment. This is
one reason why heavy fertilizing is so important,—it speeds up the
maturing of the corn and gets it beyond the danger line in time.

Sweet corn may be planted in drills or in hills, but I prefer the hill
method. Even in a small patch that can be worked but one way with a
horse or cultivator—there is always a hoe to take care of the space
between the hills.

The rows should be three feet apart and the corn in hills three feet
apart, or if planted in rows make the rows four feet apart and the
corn twelve inches apart. Drop several kernels in each hill and thin
to three plants to a hill when the corn is up and danger of frost
is passed. One pound of seed will plant a hundred hills or from one
hundred and fifty to two hundred feet of row. If hard frost threatens
just as the corn is coming through the ground, throwing earth over it
with a hoe will often afford sufficient protection to save it.

In a small garden patch it is not much work to stick a mark of some
kind in the center of each hill and if this is done cultivation can
commence at once and a hard crust be prevented from forming; this will
hasten the germination of the seed and insure the elimination of weeds
at the start.

There are many varieties of sweet corn advertised, each seedsman
having his own favorite specialty, but there are really but two that
one need take into consideration—the old, reliable Stowell’s Evergreen
and the new Bantam Evergreen—a cross between that exceptionally sweet
corn, the Golden Bantam, and Stowell’s Evergreen, and combining the
great qualities of both parents, the delicious sweetness and tenderness
and earliness of Bantam with the more generous size and more tender
skin of the Evergreen. Plant these two varieties and have the best to
be obtained in sweet corn. One planting of Evergreen will give big
generous ears of late corn, while for succession the Bantam may be
planted every two weeks up to July.

When the corn is a couple of feet high it will be well to go through
the patch and remove all suckers or barren stalks so as to conserve all
the food and moisture for the production of ears.

In addition to barnyard manure, wood ashes is an important fertilizer
for corn, supplying the potash so essential to its growth; this may be
put in the hill at the time the corn is planted or may be scattered
about the plants after they are up and hoed into the soil; it should
not be applied in connection with manure as it has a tendency to
release the ammonia content of the manure, but should be applied
independently. Droppings from the poultry house may be used in the
growing of the corn crop, placing about a teacupful in a hill, but not
in contact with the seed. Several barrels of dry droppings should be
saved during the winter for just this extra fertilizing in the kitchen
garden.[3]

Corn is very easily transplanted so that where there is a failure of
the corn to germinate in some hills and an over supply in others, the
extra plants may be lifted carefully with the spade or trowel and
slipped into holes prepared for them where wanted. Last season I had
an interesting experience transplanting an entire row of corn, over a
foot high. A row of okra had been planted across the garden but failed
to appear on schedule time and was finally given up and corn planted
in its place; the corn came up and had made several inches of top when
to my surprise the okra appeared. It was evident that the two robust
plants could not occupy successfully the same ground and I did not
wish to sacrifice either, so an equal number of hills were prepared in
another part of the garden, fertilized with poultry droppings and ashes
and the hills of corn, then over a foot high, lifted, one hill at a
time, on a spade and carried and slipped into their holes, and not a
plant seemed aware that anything had happened to it; certainly there
was no check to the growth, but, by lifting on the spade with plenty
of soil adhering, the roots were not disturbed in the least.

Corn has so few enemies that it is scarcely worth while to consider
them, the principal one being earworm—a small worm that eats out the
tip of the ear; they can be poisoned by dropping Paris green in the
axils of the leaves when the plants are young.

CUCUMBERS

For slicing for the table should be planted as soon as the ground is
warm or a few seed may be planted on pieces of inverted sod, or in pots
or paper bands in the hotbed and transplanted into the open ground
about corn-planting time or when the danger of frost is past; this will
give several weeks’ start on outdoor planting and will also make the
plants practically immune from attacks of the striped beetle. Beetles
will of course appear, but by the time of their arrival the plants will
have attained sufficient size to withstand their attacks, particularly
will this be the case if protected with dry earth, sifted over the
leaves to roughen them or the application of tobacco tea or tobacco
stems or leaves about the plants.

Pieces of sod, about four inches square, should be cut and placed
earth-side up close together in the warmest part of the hotbed and
several seeds planted on each piece and the whole covered with a fourth
of an inch of earth. When ready to transplant lift the pieces on to a
flat board or carrier and slip into a hole prepared for them with as
little disturbance as possible and press the soil firmly about them so
that the air will not get underneath and dry the roots.

There is not too much room for vine vegetables of any sort in the small
kitchen garden and if desired the early cucumbers for table use may be
grown on netting. The Japanese cucumber is a climbing sort especially
addicted to this manner of growth, bears fine, large fruit of most
excellent quality and the position on the wire, away from the soil and
damp ground, produces a most attractive fruit, free from the yellow
blanching that is present on the cucumbers grown on the ground. Last
year among a number of these Japanese plants there occurred one or two
plants of a snow white cucumber that I found very superior in crispness
and flavor to the green fruit. Owing to early frost I was not able to
secure seed of this interloper. Mr. Burbank’s cucumber seed did not
produce a single white seed. This is not, however, a climbing sort, but
all vines which have tendrils can be grown on netting. Squash even will
grow, bear and seem to enjoy the experience.

Cucumbers when grown for the table should be gathered as soon as of
slicing size, whether wanted or not, as allowing the fruit to ripen
on the vine stops production; this is especially imperative in the
case of pickles which must be removed as soon as of sufficient size
to use. The small pickles of an inch and a quarter or less should be
gathered first and larger pickles left until the latter part of the
season as gathering the cucumbers while very small increases the vine’s
productiveness and there will always be enough overlooked to supply the
larger sort of pickles.

Cucumbers for pickling should not be sown before June and may be
planted at any time after that up to mid-July. Plant in hills from
four to six feet apart spading in a spadeful of manure in each hill;
thin out to three or four plants in a hill when danger of bugs is
past; spray with Bordeaux Arsenate of Lead three ounces to a gallon of
water, when in danger of beetles or blight; the combination of lead and
Bordeaux mixture covers both emergencies.

Keep the ground well cultivated as long as the vines will allow;
pinch off the ends of all the vines when about a foot long to induce
branching; when the plants begin to bloom notice the presence or
absence of bees. Some years the curcubita family fails signally in
setting fruit and this is usually caused by lack of pollenization by
the bees. On a small patch one may substitute cross-pollenization by
carrying pollen from one blossom to another with a camel’s hair brush
or by shaking the blossoms against each other, but a preventative
measure would be to raise a colony or two of bees. Sometimes the
presence of some plant especially attractive to bees will lure them
away from the melons, cucumbers and like plants. Two years ago the
presence of a patch of vetch proved so attractive to the bees that it
was not until late in the season that the flowers of a nearby patch
of winter squash and citron received sufficient attention to set any
fruit. The air was resonant with the hum of bees, but not one was to be
seen on the vines.

There are any number of good cucumbers to choose from for general crop.
Early Fortune has proved a favorite in my garden. It is a good bearer
and quality and appearance are all that could be asked. The Davis
Perfect, Arlington White Spine, and Westerfield’s Chicago Pickle are
all satisfactory sorts to grow.

EGGPLANTS

Are very tender when small, so they should be started in the warmest
part of the hotbed, or in a warm, sunny window in flats. When they have
grown their first pair of true leaves they should be transplanted—if
at all crowded, into other flats or other rows in the hotbed, setting
them two inches apart each way and grown on, given sufficient water and
occasional cultivation, but not sufficient to disturb the roots, until
time to plant out in the open ground; this should not be done until
the nights and soil are warm as a check at this time will mean a late
setting of fruit.

Eggplants are considered one of the difficult things to grow;
personally I have seldom lost a plant except at the hands, or mouth
rather, of cutworms, but I have frequently gotten an unsatisfactory
setting of fruit. However, one must have certain standards to adhere to
in their culture, the first of which is heat in all the early stages
of their growth, the second, rich soil, with occasional supplementary
dressings of nitrate of soda, and thorough cultivation.

The plants require considerable room when mature and should not be set
closer than three feet each way.

The principal enemy of the eggplant is the potato beetle which is quite
as partial to egg plants as to potatoes. Spraying with Paris green
or arsenate of lead is effectual before the fruit has formed but hand
picking is more satisfactory and where only a few plants are grown for
family use, quite as practical. It is not the mature beetle that eats
the leaves but the young beetles that hatch from the mass of yellow
eggs laid on the under side of the leaves, so at the first appearance
of the old bugs search should be made for the mass of eggs and these as
well as the parent beetle destroyed; by this means no beetles can get a
start. It is always good practice to avoid, as far as possible, the use
of poisonous insecticides in the kitchen garden; while their use may do
no harm on vegetables that have not set their fruit, there is always
a tendency to grow careless in their use and to continue it after the
safety zone has been passed.

New York eggplant is the standard variety for all but the northern
states; it is of the highest type, spineless and of a rich, purple
color, large and borne in abundance; it is not as early as Black
Beauty, long a favorably known sort, which is about twelve days
earlier; Very Early Dwarf Purple is still earlier and Black Pekin is
another good sort. In the northern states the earliest variety should
be planted, but the eggplant has one remarkable characteristic—for a
plant so tender in its early stages it seems, when fully grown, almost
immune to cold and early frost, and I have often gathered unharmed
fruit after severe frost had cut most everything else in the garden.
Throwing some loose stuff—clover hay, corn fodder or weeds—over
the plants on a cold night will usually save them and a spell of
warm weather that usually follows the first hard frosts may bring on
immature fruit to a usable size. It requires about five months from the
sowing of the seed to produce usable fruit so it will readily be seen
that it is important to start the seed in the hotbed, greenhouse or in
the house and to take every precaution to grow them on rapidly without
any check.

OKRA

So well and favorably known in the southern states, is practically
unknown in the north, except as its acquaintance is made in the
chicken gumbo of the commercial soups and a few other vegetable and
meat preparations. It should, however, form a staple vegetable of the
kitchen garden and, once its merits are known, would, doubtless, become
as popular north as it is south. Though its use is chiefly associated
with the preparation of soup it has other, equally acceptable, uses.
It is an excellent addition to hash, adding both richness and flavor;
added to tomatoes it imparts a fuller, richer flavor and used alone,
fried, is excellent. A small amount of meat, with the addition of
potatoes, okra and onion, the last two fried tender before adding the
meat and potatoes, makes a most satisfying one-dish meal.

It is one of the easiest vegetables to grow, requiring the same culture
as corn; making the rows three feet apart, and planting the seed in
drills and thinning to ten inches apart in the row. Perkin’s Long Pod
is the best general variety and the pods should be gathered when half
grown, whether needed or not, to prevent checking the production.

PEPPERS

Like the eggplant require much heat in starting and should be given
the warmest position in the hotbed—about the central sash, towards
the front—so that they may not be overtopped by other, taller growing
plants, for the pepper grows but slowly for the first few weeks of its
existence.

The seed germinates slowly, taking from two to three weeks to appear;
it may be sown thinly in drills, or broadcasted, covering sufficiently
to conceal the seed and placing paper over the plot to prevent drying
out. If started in flats in the house the plants may be transplanted
into other flats when they have made one pair of true leaves; if not
crowded in the hotbed they may be allowed to remain where they are or
be transplanted into fresh rows, setting them a couple of inches apart
each way.

They should not be planted out in the open ground until the soil and
nights are warm as a check at this time will mean late fruiting and
failure to ripen. Make the rows from twenty-four to thirty inches apart
and set the plants eighteen inches apart in the row. Before planting
spade a forkful of old manure or henhouse droppings into each hill for
the pepper is a heavy feeder and requires good soil.

Protect the plants on cold nights if frost threatens and keep the
ground well cultivated.

If the peppers are to be grown in the north such varieties as mature
their fruits early should be selected. Crimson Giant is about the
earliest; the plants are large and bear abundantly. The Upright
New Sweet Pepper is also early, a good bearer and its habit of
fruiting—holding the fruit erect instead of drooping—makes it very
easy to gather; it is a medium-size pepper, just right for stuffing
for mangoes and a desirable size to pickle for winter use in salads;
if the top and bottom are removed it leaves a broad ring which is
very lovely when filled with salad and garnished with parsley and
well-blanched endive; the parts removed may be used as pickles or added
to mixed or chopped pickles.

Magnum Dulce is an excellent sort for baking when stuffed with meat
or force-meat or fried. Pimento is a new salad pepper very attractive
in shape and form but does not do so well in the north as some of the
older sorts; however, some seasons it can be successfully grown and a
few plants set out will be well worth taking pains with. In the warmer
sections and in favorable seasons at the north one can grow the fiery
Tabasco Pepper from which the Tabasco sauce of commerce is made and
so prepare one’s supply of this expensive relish; it requires early
planting and great attention to heat and sunshine to succeed.

The little Celestial Peppers are so very attractive when grown in pots
that florists offer them along with other greenhouse stuff; they can
just as well be grown in one’s own hotbed or house and make welcome
gifts to the young housekeeper or the city dweller who does not have
the advantage of a country garden to furnish condiments and relishes.
The little plants can be grown in pots from the start or small plants
in the garden can be taken up and potted and will hold their tiny
scarlet fruit all winter, producing more as the first is removed. For
the sunny kitchen or dining room window nothing is prettier or more
ornamental than a window box filled with these little red peppers,
parsley and endive.

Cayenne peppers can be grown for the making of pepper vinegar; the
seeds are used for this, being separated from the husk when dry and put
into quart bottles filled with white wine vinegar; in a few weeks the
vinegar will be ready for use. The hulls may be saved and put in cans
of mixed pickles, a few hulls adding a piquant hotness; they may also
be added to pickled onions and to cauliflower.

As peppers are extremely sensitive to frost every effort should be made
to bring them along rapidly so that they may mature their fruit in
season; light application of nitrate will assist and the use of poultry
droppings in preparing the bed will be of use; in dry weather a wetting
with water from the laundry will do much good. If it is possible to
pipe or carry water with hose to the garden a shallow trench may be
made along the pepper rows and water turned in as required. Protecting
with papers or other covering on frosty nights may save a crop but the
covering should not rest on the plants as the frost will likely strike
through; hay or corn fodder would be likely to give better protection.

TOMATOES

Are one of the most important vegetables of the home garden not alone
as a summer vegetable, but also as an important part of the winter
cuisine, more tomatoes being canned for winter use than all other
vegetables.

Tomatoes require no expert care to grow; they are one of the easiest
managed of vegetables, but they do require heat for starting if they
are to be got to bearing in season to give a bountiful crop before
frost. It takes about four months from the time the seed is sown to
produce a crop of the main crop tomato. Some of the very early sorts
will come into bearing early in July; unfortunately, however, these
very early varieties lack the full, delicious flavor of the later
fruit. The tomatoes should not be set in the open ground until all
danger of frost is over; they should be given rich soil and a spadeful
of manure added to the hill in which they are planted. If the plants
are allowed to lie on the ground make the hills four feet apart each
way, but if they are to be staked or trained on a trellis three feet
will give sufficient room; both methods of culture have advantages;
the latter keeps the fruit up off the ground, makes pickling easy and
perhaps produces more perfect fruit; less room is required for growing
the same number of plants than would be required for the former method.
The first method has this advantage,—the plants suffer least in a
dry season as the vines shade the ground, and prevent the excessive
evaporation of moisture and require, accordingly, less cultivation;
then the branches will root wherever they touch the soil and so draw
moisture and nourishment from it; a much larger amount of fruit is
produced from plants allowed to rest on the ground, and if straw is
laid under the plants it will keep them from getting soiled and rotting
if the season is wet.

Where the plants are to be staked a six foot stake should be set at
each hill at the time the plant is set and the plant tied to it at
intervals as it grows. Pinch off the top as soon as it reaches the top
of the stake and remove all but a few of the side branches, pinching in
those that remain to make a shapely plant. I think the rack system of
training is preferable to the stake.

A long trellis or rack, about eighteen inches or two feet high and two
feet wide, is constructed of narrow strips of wood and placed over the
tomato rows, the plants growing up through the center of the frame and
spreading out on top of it. This gives more bearing surface and the
vines do not need to be tied to the wood; such a trellis can be used
for several years in succession if stored away in a dry place when not
in use. The wire tomato supports on the market are good but costly and
quite as satisfactory ones can be made at home from the wire or wooden
hoops from barrels, stapled to stout stakes sharpened at one end. About
three hoops should be used and three stakes. These, too, can be stored
away for future use so that the first outlay is the last for a number
of years.

In setting out the plants from the hotbed select those with the
stoutest stalks; it is not material whether they have grown tall or
keeled over in the hotbed or not if the plant appears vigorous with a
robust stem. If one has a good supply of plants to draw from one can
discard all but the best.

[Illustration: _The reward of your hours of pleasant labor_]

Prepare the hills in advance by forking in a forkful of old manure; if
the plants are long, make a trench two-thirds the length of the stem
with a deeper hole at one end; place the root in the hole and bend the
top carefully into the trench, turning the tip up straight so that it
stands four or five inches above the ground, draw in a part of the
earth and fill the trench with water, fill in the remainder of the
soil, pressing snugly, make a fine dry mulch about the plant and the
work is done. The long stem buried in the trench will send out roots
all its length and will have a much greater root system than a plant
set with just a few inches of stem in the ground; such a plant set in
such a way, invariably lives and makes a strong plant, but to plant it
with only the root part under the ground would only invite the loss of
the plant.

The plot should be looked over the following morning to see if cut
worms have cut off any of the plants during the night and to restore,
if necessary, the dust-mulch.

Plants grown on stakes or trellises are more susceptible to frost than
those grown on the ground as the soil holds the heat and it is an
easy matter to cover a considerable number of plants at one time with
tarpaulin or even newspapers and this should be done when there is even
a slight prospect of frost. The thermometer should be watched in the
late fall and if it is going down towards nightfall those plants which
one wishes to save should be protected.

After the first three hard frosts there are usually two or three
weeks of fine weather and it is at this time that tomatoes and other
perishable garden stuff command the highest price and those who are
fortunate enough to have a surplus to sell can realize a neat little
sum that will more than pay for the trifling trouble involved.

I am often asked which is the best tomato for the home garden and
have no hesitation in saying that, all things considered, there is no
better tomato raised, for an all season crop, than the Dwarf, Improved
Stone. There are earlier tomatoes and larger tomatoes. The Early
Detroit is earlier, but not very much so, and it does not compare in
size and quality with the Stone. Ponderosa is a much larger tomato but
the quality is not up to the Stone nor is its freedom from cracking
and irregularity to be compared to the Stone. Then the Stone is such
a satisfactory plant in the way of foliage and stem, so heavy and
rugged, the thick, crumply leaves are very distinctive and the plants
always command attention even when not in fruit. The fruit is quite
as large as best requirements demand and it slices beautifully for
the table and canned is entirely free from that peculiar taste that
characterizes the commercial tomato.

Earliana is the earliest and the most popular sort of the extra early
tomato and a few plants for early use will be worth while. There is
also a new ball-shaped tomato, New Globe, that is good for slicing
as it gives a number of fine slices just alike instead of the three
usually obtained from a flat tomato, only one—the middle—being
perfect. So if one wants a variety in the garden one may plant with
entire confidence the Dwarf Stone and Vaughan’s Improved New Stone and
add for variety the Earliana and the New Globe.

SQUASH

ENGLISH MARROW

In sections where the eggplant does not do well, or where one lacks the
skill to succeed with it a very satisfactory substitute will be found
in the English marrow; this is a bush form of the vegetable marrows and
occupies about as much ground as an eggplant. The vine sorts are such
rampant growers that they require a garden to themselves or at least a
walled enclosure, but they are very profitable to grow as they produce
enormously and the fruit is excellent fried like eggplant; few, if any,
persons would be able to distinguish between them and the difference,
if any, would be in favor of the marrow.

Rich warm soil is required for all the squash family and the bush
varieties are no exceptions. Give in addition to the usual manuring of
the garden a good forkful of manure in each hill. Space the hills four
feet apart each way and plant several seeds in each hill to provide
for the appetite of the squash bugs which make no exception in favor
of bush varieties; when danger of bugs is past the plants should be
thinned to three or four plants in a hill.

To repel the squash vine borer scatter a handful of tobacco dust about
the plants and at the first appearance of wilt in the leaves examine
the stems carefully for the point where the worm found entrance and
either slit the stalk sufficiently to uncover the worm or run a wire up
the stalk until he is encountered and killed; then if possible, bury
the wound in soil so that the branch may be saved; if, however, there
is too much injury done or the wound is too high up it will be best to
remove that part of the branch; at the same time the rest of the plants
should be carefully examined for other signs of injury, and the ground
inspected for larvæ. For yellow striped beetle and blight spray early
and repeatedly with Bordeaux arsenate of lead mixture.

The marrows are finer eating when only two-thirds grown. They should
be peeled, sliced and covered with salt for an hour, then rinsed and
drained and breaded and fried the same as eggplant, or, if preferred,
may be cooked and mashed like summer squash. They are good either way.

TURNIPS

Have an important place in the garden as they may be used as a catch
crop almost any time during summer. Wherever vacancies occur in rows
of early vegetables and it is inconvenient owing to lack of seed or
other reasons to replant with the same vegetable, then one may have
recourse to the ever useful turnip and fill in the hiatus with that.
Turnips are at their best when young and tender, about three inches
in diameter, and a constant succession can be assured by planting in
this way or where the first crop of vegetables has been removed. For
fall and winter use sowings may be made in July and August. Success
frequently results from sowing among the sweet corn just before the
last cultivation; with favorable weather a crop will mature before
severe freezing weather and turnips are the better for a touch of frost.

Open a shallow drill with the hand plough or by dragging the corner
of the hoe along the row and scatter the seed very thinly. If the
planting is in full rows make them a foot or fifteen inches apart. As
soon as the plants are large enough, thin to stand three or four inches
apart; this is important as fine, smooth roots cannot be produced if
crowded.

The turnip maggot is the greatest enemy the turnip has and it sometimes
appears in gardens that have been entirely free from it and I think
is brought in the seed. It is the same little worm that works its
tortuous way through and around the radish and, although I have never
grown a wormy radish, still last season an entire planting of turnips
were ruined by this pest, so as I was quite sure it was not previously
present in the soil I am forced to the conviction that I bought and
planted it together with the seed. Moral—Buy seed of reliable dealers
and examine carefully for worm holes before planting.

The Purple-top White Globe is a most popular market sort. Snowball
is a white variety of fine appearance and early maturity and if used
young is very tender and sweet. Early White Egg is another good early
sort and for those who like a yellow turnip the Yellow Globe is a
satisfactory sort. It makes a larger root than the others and is
excellent both for table use and for feeding stock. It is a dependable
root for feeding Belgian or other hares as it keeps well, buried in
earth in a frost-proof cellar, and when gathered for winter use the
tops can be piled in a cool place and fed to the bunnies. Of course
this applies to all turnips which are grown for winter use.

The planting of turnips, radishes and cabbage should be watched
closely for signs of the root maggot. The presence of a little,
dark-colored fly about the plant is always cause for suspicion and
when seen it will be well to take precautionary measures. As tobacco
in any form is obnoxious to most insect life, the strewing of tobacco
dust on the ground will usually drive these flies away and prevent
the laying of eggs, but the trouble is that they may have already
laid eggs before being discovered. Hot water poured around the plant
in sufficient quantity to soak the soil an inch or so will often
destroy the eggs and larvæ too. Soaking the ground with Paris green
solution—a teaspoonful of the poison to a large watering pot of water
is sufficient and the solution must be kept stirred to prevent its
settling—will destroy the maggot, but it may also poison the turnip so
is not to be recommended; also, if the worm has attacked the radish or
turnip and rendered it unsightly and unfit for the table, tobacco and
hot water then are the two safest and most reliable applications and
the hot water over the tobacco is especially effective.

Disks made from heavy tar paper are sold for the protection of cabbage
and cauliflower plants and may be cheaply made at home and though a
little more trouble to apply about turnips and radishes still are
practical and better than losing the crop. The disks may be either
round or square and should be about three inches in diameter with a
hole the size of the stem in the center and a slit extending out from
the hole on one side to the edge; this allows the disk to be slipped
around the stem of the plant. A leather punch which will cut a quarter
of an inch hole may be used and the slit made to the center of the disk
and the hole then cut. The disk lies flat on the ground and prevents
the entrance of the fly to deposit the egg and the tar paper repels.

[Footnote 3: Corn should not be planted in single rows for this
reason:—when the corn blooms the pollen is carried from ear to ear,
and from plant to plant. If a single row is planted broadside to
the prevailing wind, the pollen is dissipated and the corn remains
unfertilized and produces no ears. Three or more rows insures against
this loss of pollenization. If only a limited number of hills are to be
planted it will be better to plant them in blocks rather than in one
or two long rows. Corn that matures at different seasons should not
be planted in parallel single rows as the result would be the same as
one single row—the corn not blooming at the same time. Again, corn of
two different sorts should not be in adjoining, parallel rows, rather
should each kind be planted in blocks to avoid hybridizing. Where it
is necessary to give a long strip of land to the sweet corn it may be
divided into blocks, especially if the strip extends from north to
south, as the prevailing winds are quite uniformly from east or west and
there is little trouble with cross pollenizing from south to north.]

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