For main crop or pickle cucumbers should be planted in the open ground
from June until the middle of July; at this season there is less danger
of damage from the striped cucumber beetle and the stink bug, both
serious enemies of the vine family; but even so late in the season it
will be well to take the easy precaution of strewing tobacco stems or
dust on the hill about the plants.
For pickles plant in hills four to six feet apart each way and keep the
entire surface of the ground clean with frequent cultivation. Hoeing
about the hills and running the hand cultivator with the scuffle-hoe
attachment between the hills will be sufficient, but no weeds should
be allowed to make a start, as once the vines have begun to cover
the ground it will be difficult to eradicate the weeds and the vines
must not be tramped on or handled unnecessarily. When the plants are a
foot long pinch out the ends of the branches to induce branching and
check too rampant a growth. Pull up all but three or four plants when
all danger of bugs is past. Keep a close watch for root maggot, borer,
and wilt. Spray with Bordeaux arsenate of lead mixture at the first
appearance of wilt, and continue once a week until the fruit appears;
after that it will not be safe to use the poison.
Gather the pickles frequently—every other day if bearing well; do not
allow fruit to grow large or ripen on the vines if grown for pickles as
this will check production.
One of the best table varieties is Early Fortune—also a desirable
pickling variety. Arlington, White Spine and Davis’s Perfect are
excellent table sorts and Chicago Pickle—a standard pickle sort—and
Long Green, or Jersey Pickle and the Westerfield’s Chicago Pickle are
all excellent types for growing for pickles.
Used for preserving and for sweet pickles, require the same treatment
as melons and squash. Seed may be planted directly in the open ground
or started on pieces of sod in the hotbed; this is preferable as the
fruit sometimes fails to ripen in a short season and unless fully
ripened on the vine the preserves have a watery taste, no matter how
carefully prepared. Citron make about the same length of vine as the
watermelon so should be planted from five to six feet apart, and when
the vines are a foot in length the tips should be pinched off to induce
branching and check too straying a habit. Keep cultivated, remembering
that the dust-mulch is the best garden insurance and spray with
Bordeaux mixture against blight and use tobacco dust liberally as a
preventive measure against the yellow striped beetle and the squash bug.
In securing seed for growing musk melons one should take into
consideration the climate and the length of the growing season.
Certain varieties of melon require certain climatic conditions and will
not give satisfaction if these are lacking. Melons that are adapted to
the climate of Colorado—like the Rocky Ford, the Honey Dew and the
like seldom do well in the east and middle west where early frosts
are apt to find the fruit still immature, but there are many other
excellent varieties well adapted to these sections. The Extra Early
Hackensack, the Osage, the Irondequoit and others can be grown with
satisfaction and all are especially fine and large.
As a general thing I think a large melon, sweetness and flavor
being equal, preferable. One of the sweetest melons with which I am
acquainted is the old Cassaba; this is the largest musk melon grown—a
perfect specimen being from twelve to fifteen inches in length and as
much as one wishes to carry up from the garden, but the delicate green
flesh is melted sugar, nothing less, with a flavor all its own.
For an early crop of melons one should start the seed in the hotbed on
squares of sod, using plenty of seed so that one will have an assured
stand, and transplant when all danger of frost is past. If one only
grows a few hills it will well repay one for the extra trouble to cover
the hills with shallow boxes, covered with wire netting or mosquito
netting. The boxes should not be more than four inches high and about
twelve inches square, or thereabouts; if removed as soon as danger of
bugs is past and stored in a dry place they will last for a number of
years. Empty biscuit boxes sawed in two make good frames or strips of
three inch lumber can quickly be converted into frames by any one handy
with hammer and saw.
Dry weather is one of the serious drawbacks to melon culture as the
drought usually comes just as the fruit is setting. Sinking tin cans,
with holes punched in the sides near the bottom, to the top in the soil
in the middle of the hill and keeping them filled with water will be
of much assistance in bringing the fruit on to maturity. Occasionally
too much rain interferes with the ripening of the fruit; in such cases
the empty can will act as a drain pipe by accumulating water from
the surface soil. The glass plant protectors used in early spring are
helpful in concentrating the little sunshine cloudy weather affords and
where these are not available old window glass may be used to afford
protection from rain and wind for a few days. This should be supported
on the north side by a frame or stout stakes, their lower edge resting
on the ground.
The best soil for melons is a warm, sandy soil well enriched with
barnyard manure and a supplementary shovelful should be placed in each
hill. Make the hills about six feet apart each way, and thin out to
three plants to a hill. If desired such small sorts as Rocky Ford,
Paul Rose, Hoodoo and the like may be grown on netting; they will not,
perhaps, bear as freely, but the fruit will be more perfect than when
grown on the ground, and there is this advantage that the fruit drops
when perfectly ripe so that there is no uncertainty about gathering
it. Where there is only a small garden spot available the growing of
melons, cucumbers and the like on netting is a distinct advantage;
the cultivation then becomes as simple as that of a row of peas and
can be continued throughout the season; gathering the fruit is much
simplified as there are no vines to be trampled on and if water is
needed it can be quickly applied along the row. Melons grown on netting
are easily protected from early frost, but it is difficult to cover any
considerable area on the ground.
Require the same treatment as musk-melons except that it is all right
that they should be started in the open ground, spacing the hills from
eight to ten feet apart each way; giving a spadeful of manure in each
hill. Spray with Bordeaux arsenate of lead mixture once or twice, using
a much weaker dilution than for other vines. Pinch out the ends of the
vines. Keep cultivated and free from weeds. Avoid stepping on the vines
or handling them unnecessarily.
Cole’s Early, Kleckley Sweet and the new melon—Tom Watson—are all
good sorts of much sweetness and crispness of flesh. The first is well
adapted to the northern states, the Kleckley a few days later than
Cole’s Early. A few Winter Watermelons will extend the season long
into the winter as this variety may be gathered at the approach of
cold weather and stored in a cool, frost-proof cellar and will retain
its delicious flavor and sweetness for weeks. Unlike the other melons
mentioned, which are oblong and green, and very tender of rind, the
Winter is round, nearly white-skinned and of a hardness approaching
the citron. The flesh, however, is red and very firm. It must not be
concluded that the Winter is a late season melon, for it is one of the
earliest, continuing to bear until frost cuts the vines, so that it may
be grown for a single melon crop if desired.
Winter squash are an important garden product, not much appreciated
during the flush times of summer but coming into its own at the
approach of cold weather; the culture is practically that of all vine
products. Starting seed on sod in the hotbed and transplanting has much
to recommend it as the squash seems to attract more than a fair sort
of attention from striped cucumber beetle, squash bugs, stink worm and
blight. The vine borer also takes its tithe of the plant and a sudden
wilting of the leaves is indication that he is at work; he should be
hunted for and killed. Usually there is little hopes of saving the
injured branch; if anything will do it it will be burying the wound in
earth and keeping it moist for a time until it either heals or sends
out roots at the nearest joint and so becomes an independent plant.
As a rule squash, melons, cucumbers and the like will not transplant.
It often happens that about all of the seed planted in some hills will
germinate and make strong plants while other hills will have but one
or two plants and it is desired to transplant some of the extra plants
into hills where they are needed; attempts to do this with a trowel
invariably fail; it is possible, however, to transplant an entire
hill—or a part of one if spaced far enough apart, by passing a spade
down into the ground at a sufficient distance from the plant to avoid
disturbing the roots and lifting a large spadeful of earth with the
plants. The hill that is to receive them should have been prepared in
advance so that the earth may slide off the spade into the hole without
disturbing or breaking it in the least; the soil should not be pressed
down as this would have a tendency to crumble, but any space about it
should be filled in carefully and water poured around it. Squash or
other vines moved in this way invariably live and go on growing without
any appreciable setback. A considerable patch of winter squash—the
Delicious—was entirely secured by taking up plants that had come
up self sown in various places; somewhere some immature squash were
left in the garden the fall before; some came from the frame around a
standpipe in the barnyard which was filled with coal ashes. How the
squash came to come up in that unusual place is unknown, but there
were a number of nice plants and these were lifted on the spade and
carried—a spadeful at a time—and planted where they were wanted and
the entire patch was very thrifty and bore abundantly.
Spraying, hand picking and attention to cultivation are essential in
growing squash as with other garden crops. The dust-mulch is the one
certain assurance against failure.
The Hubbard Squash, both Golden and Warted, have long been standard
sorts, but both have lost, through much careless breeding, the
qualities which distinguished them—dryness and sweetness. It is
practically impossible of late years to find an individual of either
variety that is really dry or sweet or that has keeping qualities equal
to the early sorts. In the Delicious we have a much superior squash
whose dryness is notable and sweetness all that one could desire, even
small, immature specimens possess the quality in high degree. Unless
one has home grown seed from a Hubbard that was perfect in these
qualities I should advise planting the seed of Delicious and saving
one’s own seed from the best specimen of that.
Then there are all the varieties of summer squashes—Summer Crookneck,
Giant Summer Crookneck, the Vegetable Marrows, and the several bush
forms, which are a boon to the small kitchen garden as they take little
room and are always within bounds; they include the Bush Fordhook,
used as a summer squash when green, or ripe, a good keeper, often
lasting until the next season’s crop is ready. The Mammoth White Bush
or Patty Pan, Early Yellow Bush, Early Golden Bush and Bush English
Marrow are all good sorts—either cooked and mashed or egged and fried
like eggplant. All require the same general treatment and all bear
heavily and early. The summer squash are planted in the open ground
any time that is suitable for planting corn. To guard against loss by
seed decaying in the ground if the season is wet, set the seeds on
edge, instead of laying them flat; this is advisable with all flat
seeds of pronounced size; cover half an inch and mark the hills so that
cultivation can commence at once. Covering the hills with frames will
save much work in combating insects or a cap of window screening will
be effectual; this is made from a round piece of netting with a slit on
one side from center to edge to allow its being bent in a tent shape.
A stick should be fastened to it to hold it together and anchor it to
the ground; this can be easily arranged by taking a piece of wood four
or five inches longer than the cap and splitting it half its length,
inserting the wire where it laps into the split and thrusting the free
end into the ground. These little caps are very practical as they can
be flattened out and laid away when no longer required, occupying very
little space to store and for that reason are preferable to the boxes.
Squash vines may be kept from growing too rampant by shortening the
branches. They should always be pinched back as soon as they have made
a foot, or less, of growth and when fruit is well set on the vines the
ends may be severely cut back to insure the early maturity of the fruit
already set. I have removed branches several feet long and bearing
half-grown squash from vines of the English marrow without the least
ill effect and have no doubt that similar treatment would be well borne
by the Hubbard or other winter squash, and so save much useless growth
and conserve the strength of the vine for the main crop of squash and,
perhaps, induce a dryer, sweeter product.
The easiest way to raise one’s own sweet potatoes is to buy already
started plants of the market gardeners who make a business of starting
them for sale; but if one prefers to plant the tubers and raise one’s
own plants, and the potatoes are available—which seldom is the case
unless one has kept them over in a warm cellar buried in sand—then the
potatoes are cut the same as Irish potatoes, one eye to a piece, and
started in a warm hotbed in April. Before planting the pieces of potato
it is a wise precaution to dip each piece in sulphur to protect against
black rot. The plants should not be set out in the open ground until
the nights are warm and all danger of frost is passed. The hills should
be three feet apart each way at least as the vines make quite a rank
growth. Warm, sandy soil, well fertilized, is necessary and a trowelful
of poultry droppings may be added to each hill for good results.
Cultivate thoroughly and often and when the vines become too long to
make cultivating convenient they may be lifted and coiled around the
top of the hill, the hill, by the way, not being a hill at all in
the common acceptance of the term but merely a level space devoted
to the growing of the potato. It is quite important that the ground
immediately about the plant be kept clean, so that when the vines are
coiled up they need not be again disturbed to remove weeds.
The space between the plants should be kept mellow and free from weeds
throughout the growing season. Sweet potatoes are quite as easy to
grow as Irish potatoes, easier, in fact, as they have fewer enemies
and are not attacked by the potato beetle. They are more difficult to
keep, however, and should be stored in boxes of dry sand in a warm, dry
cellar over winter.
There is a considerable number of vegetables that are seldom
encountered in the general garden, many of which are well worthy of
acquaintance. Many of them are familiar to the city housekeper through
the medium of the fruit stores and the delicatessen stores; more of
them appear in the gardens of the foreign residents and might be
adopted for general cultivation with good results.
Which appear as an especial delicacy on the menus of the big hotels
and restaurants on special occasions only, are not difficult to grow
in sections of the country where the winters are not too severe. They
will not stand the winters of the northern states, however, and in any
longitude north of the Ohio, are better for winter protection. Given a
mild winter climate they are as easily raised as a cabbage or an ear of
corn and are far more ornamental, indeed so striking and handsome are
the plants that they may be grown for their effectiveness alone.
The plants are grown from seed started in a hotbed in March or earlier
and planted out in rich mellow soil when the weather is suitable. Set
the plants three feet apart each way. The plants do not bear until the
second year, but they may be had in cold sections by purchasing the
plants of the florist at any time after the middle of April. As many
undesirable sorts are often obtained from seed it is a more certain way
of getting good varieties to purchase the plants. They are, however,
more expensive than other vegetable plants and where they can not be
carried over the winter are somewhat expensive, costing one dollar and
fifty cents a dozen. However, a dozen will be ample for a small family.
The unopened flower head is the part eaten and it is served raw as a
salad or cooked in various ways as an entrée.
They should receive the same culture as okra or corn, thorough
cultivation and water if the season is unduly dry. At the approach of
severe weather the tops should be cut off close to the crown and the
plants banked up with coal ashes, which should be removed in the spring
before growth begins.
Though sometimes used as a vegetable and for pickling is especially
valuable for feeding stock, especially swine which are allowed to
harvest it by rooting it out of the ground. It is claimed that an acre
of ground planted to artichoke will keep from twenty to thirty hogs
from October to April. They have a special value as a means of clearing
a piece of land of undesirable weed growths—like Canada Thistle, quack
grass or locust sprouts, as the hogs in rooting for the tubers will
destroy the weed roots, thus redeeming a piece of land that may be
utilized for garden crops or fruit.
In planting the tubers are cut and planted the same as potatoes and
cultivated in the same way until the crop is matured sufficiently to
turn the hogs on it or they may be harvested to feed during winter to
any stock which needs a succulent winter food.
A vegetable similar to cauliflower, but of somewhat coarser flavor.
It is hardier than cauliflower and will do well in sections where
cauliflower is not successfully grown. For rapid growth it should
receive frequent cultivation and be grown in rich soil. Sow seed very
early in greenhouse, hotbed or warm window and set out as soon as the
ground can be prepared in spring, setting the plants the same distance
apart as cabbage and drawing the earth up about the roots when hoeing.
White Cap is about the best variety, making fine, large, compact heads
of a creamy-white color, of good flavor.
These little miniature cabbages, growing closely together on a stalk,
are delicious boiled like cabbage or used as a salad. The culture is
the same as that accorded cabbage. The seed should be sown in the
hotbed in spring and set out in the open ground in May in rows three
feet apart and about twenty inches apart in the rows. Cultivate to keep
down weeds and maintain a dust-mulch. By fall the little heads will be
fully developed. The delicate flavor is improved by a touch of frost.
For late use sow seed in June.
Sow seed in the open ground early in spring as for parsnips, thinning
to stand three inches apart in the rows and making the rows fifteen
inches apart. Dig the roots in the fall and store in a dark cellar
where the temperature can be controlled. Cut the leaves off a little
above the root crown and place them in horizontal layers with the
crowns outward covering each layer, excepting the tip of the crown,
with earth. Each layer should be a little narrower than the one
beneath so that they form a sloping bank. It is the tender white leaves
produced in the dark that are used for salad. Another form of Chicory,
the Large Rooted, is used to mix with or substitute for coffee, being
sliced, dried, roasted and ground.
Witloof Chicory, or French Endive as it is sold by dealers in fancy
fruits and vegetables, is sown in June in drills a foot apart and
cultivated until frost, when the plants should be taken up and trimmed
to an inch and a half from the neck and replaced upright in trenches
about sixteen inches deep, setting the plants about an inch and a half
apart. The trench is then filled in with soil and covered with manure
to hasten growth. The tender, white tops will be ready for use in about
a month and are eaten raw, like celery, used as a salad or cooked.
Or turnip-rooted celery is grown for its bulbous root, which has a
distinct celery flavor and in gardens where celery will not succeed it
makes a very good substitute. It is used, cooked, either as a salad or
as a vegetable. It is cultivated much as celery is, only it does not
require the banking so necessary with that plant. It may, however, be
blanched and is said to be very fine that way. Delicatesse is a fine
sort with perfectly smooth root, free from side rootlets, pure white,
tender and excellent in quality. Giant Prague is another fine sort.
Earliest of All is ready for use in June and is a good sort.
Resembles parsley and is used for garnishing and for seasoning.
Cultivate like parsley, making the rows a foot apart and thin to six
Grown at the south as greens and as a substitute for cabbage. Plant
seed in rows, thinning or transplanting to a foot apart in the row. It
is improved by a touch of frost.
Sow in spring in drills a foot apart. For winter and spring use sow
in drills in August and September and cultivate like lettuce or other
Upland Cress, which has the flavor of water-cress, can be grown in any
good garden soil without the presence of water. The seed should be
sown very freely in rows one foot apart, making repeated sowings for
succession as the plant soon runs to seed. Water-cress can be grown
about a water hydrant if the soil is clayey, or can be underlaid with
a few inches of clay. Water-cress sown at intervals in such a position
will give a supply of the pungent green that will be a very welcome
addition to lettuce, corn or other salad. Remove a foot or eighteen
inches of the soil for a square yard of space and in the excavation
thus formed lay a few inches of clay, tamping and puddling it down
until it makes a continuous layer, then apply a few inches of earth
rich in humus or marsh earth, leaving the surface slightly lower than
the surrounding soil and scatter the seed broadcast and keep free from
weeds until up and growing. Allow the hydrant to drip sufficiently to
maintain sufficient moisture. Continue to scatter seeds at intervals
for a succession of cress.
For those who love the bitter tang of the dandelion as a green, the
cultivated affords a much finer dish than the wild as the leaves are
double the size of the wild dandelion. The seed should be sown in
drills, covering very lightly and shading with newspapers or brush
until up. Thin to stand a foot apart and blanch, if desired, by
inverting a box or flower-pot over each plant, or a cone of stiff paper
can be used. For greens, only the top may be removed but for salad the
plant may be cut down to the root, the part beneath the surface of the
ground being very white and tender. There is no danger of dandelion
grown in the garden becoming a troublesome weed as it is easily kept
from seeding, which is its only way of spreading.
FENNEL OR FINOCCHIO
Is extensively used in Italy as a salad. The part used is the
enlargement of the leaf stalk at the base of the stem. When this is
about the size of an egg, the earth should be drawn up about the plant
to cover the enlargement partly and in a week or ten days the eggs
maybe used, removing as many as required, a succession being produced.
The flavor is delicate, resembling celery, and it may be used either as
a salad or boiled.
So beloved of the Italians is quite worth cultivating in our American
gardens. It is used in minute quantities as a seasoning in almost all
forms of savory cooking, in omelets, salads, soups, dressings and
wherever a piquant flavor, suggestive of onion, but distinctive, is
desired. The garlic comes in a bunch of cloves which are separated
and planted like onion sets an inch apart, but it requires warmer
weather than the onion, succeeding especially well in the climate of
California. It is, however, indigenous in a wild state in many parts
of the country and cattle browsing in garlic-infested pastures have a
distinctive garlicky flavor to their milk. So agreeable is the taste of
garlic or leeks in butter to some people that it was once quite common
in the Philadelphia markets to hear “leeky butter” inquired for.
KALE OR BORECOLE
Are grown for greens and as a substitute for cabbage, being more hardy
than that vegetable. For summer use sow the seed in the open ground in
May or June and cultivate the same as cabbage. For early spring use,
sow seed in September and protect during winter. Some of the varieties,
like Imperial Long-standing Kale, are so hardy that they may be dug out
from under the snow in the winter. Dwarf Curled Scotch is an excellent
sort, very tender and fine flavored and with beautiful curled foliage.
Dwarf Green Curled Kale and Excelsior Moss Curled Kale are other good
sorts, very mossy, attractive and delicious.
Sea Kale, less well known than the annual kale, is a hardy perennial
that is cultivated somewhat like asparagus, the seed being sown in the
spring in rows three to four feet apart. The seedlings give a crop
the third year but quicker results come from planting root cuttings
or offsets. The Sea Kale has a very long tap-root and should be grown
in rich mellow soil that has been ploughed or dug very deep. As soon
as shoots show above the ground blanch with boards, earth, sand or
anything that will exclude light until ready for use. When blanched the
leaf-stalk is cooked like asparagus or the leaves are used as greens.
The bulb which grows on the stalk a few inches above the ground is
the edible part of this vegetable. This is stripped and cooked like
turnips, but is much more sweet and delicate. Sow seed in the open
ground in June, making the rows sixteen inches apart and thin to six
inches in the rows. Sow for succession from early spring until July.
Cultivate like cabbage.
Sow seed in April in drills one foot apart and one inch deep.
Transplant when large enough to handle or thin to stand six inches
apart in the rows, setting the plants as deep as possible so that
the earth will come up well about the neck to blanch and insure its
whiteness and tenderness. In cultivating draw the earth up about the
plants. Seed may also be sown in August or September, the same as
onions, and the plants transplanted the following spring.
Prizetaker Leek is a fine exhibition sort. Large Musselburg has
enormous broad leaves and a pleasant flavor. Long Mezieres also has
broad, erect leaves, fine flavor and a long, snow-white stem and is
very hardy. Leeks are a valuable addition to the onion family of the
The curious pods of this vine vegetable are used for pickling and
produce a very fancy article. They should be gathered when only half
grown. Sow the seed in the hotbed in spring and transplant into hills
three feet apart each way and cultivate the same as cucumbers. The
plants will self-sow and voluntary plants will appear each year so that
once established one is quite sure of a supply. Seed may also be sown
in the open ground, if preferred, in May.
NAME |OUNCES|POUNDS| DRILL |HILLS|ACRE| PLANTS
Asparagus | 1 | 4-5 | | | 1| 200
Beans | 1 | 1 | 50 | | |
Bush Lima | 1 | 1 | 50 | | |
Pole Lima | 1 | 1 | 75-100| | |
Beets | 1 | 5-6 | 50 | | 1|
Brussels Sprouts | 1 | |200 | | |
Cabbage | 1 | 4 | | | ¼|3000-4000
Cauliflower | 1 | | | | |3000
Carrots | 1 | 3-4 |100 | | 1|
Chicory | 1 | |100 | | |
Celery | 1 | | | | |5000-6000
Cucumbers | 1 | 2 | | 50 | 1|
Corn Salad | 3 | |100 | | |
Collards | 1 | | | | |3000
Eggplant | 1 | | | | |1000-2000
Endive | 1 | |300 | | |
Kale | 1 | | | | |5000
Kohl-Rabi | 1 | |300 | | |
Lettuce | 1 | | | | |3000
Muskmelon | 1 | 2-3 | | | 1|
Watermelon | 1 | 4-5 | | | 1|
Onion | 1 | 4-5 |200 | | 1|
Okra | 1 | |100 | | |
Parsley | 1 | |150 | | |
Parsnips | 1 | 5-6 | 200 | | 1|
Peppers | 1 | | | | |1000-1500
Peas | | 1 | 50 | | |
Pumpkins | 1 | | 25 | | |
Potatoes | | 13 | | | |
Radishes | 1 | | 100 | | |
Rhubarb | 1 | | 125 | | |
Salsify | 1 | | 50 | | |
Squash | 1 | 3-4 | | 25 | 1|
Spinach | 1 | 10-12| 100 | | 1|
Tomatoes | 1 | | | | |3000-4000
Turnips | 1 | 1-2 | 200 | | 1|
For those vegetables of which only a small quantity is grown the
packets will be ample, most packets giving from one to two hundred
plants, when started in the hotbed.