صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

that is, a shriveling of the short stems of the grapes after they have set. The vine border has then its winter covering removed; and, after being forked over, a coating is laid on of rotten dung, two or three inches thick; or, what is better, a coating is laid on of turfy loam chopped up, and old lime mortar, about two inches deep, and on that a coating of rotten dung, two inches thick; over these may be replaced the coating of decayed leaves a foot thick, and straw or reed mat, which was laid on the bed during the severe frosts of winter. The grand point is, to keep the roots and part outside the house in the same temperature as that within, or even warmer.

When fire heat is first applied, the thermometer should be 55° at night, and 60° or 65° in the day; but the heat should be gradually increased as the buds begin to swell, keeping the heat at night about 10° lower than that of the day till the flower-buds appear, when the spurs are generally stopped about one bud beyond the flower-bud, and the leaf-shoots, which are opposite the flowerbuds, are each stopped at a single leaf. The bunches must also be thinned, and not more than nine or ten allowed to each vine, if trained in the spur manner. The heat of the house should now be about 80° by day and 70° by night, and a little air should be given for half an hour every day, whenever it can be done without lowering the best) should be mixed with the soil. Some persons make fresh strawberry beds every year, and some every third year; but strawberry beds will continue to produce for ten or twelve years, if a thick coating of decayed leaves be put on the bed every winter, and their remains forked into the bed in spring. When a new bed is to be formed, the strongest runners should be selected from the old plants; and they may be planted in beds containing three rows each, eighteen inches apart, the plants being about twelve inches apart in the line. Alpine strawberries may be raised from seed, and will fruit the first year. The Pine is an excellent strawberry for flavour, but Keen's seedling is the best for general use.

The Hautbois requires a great deal of manure, and, as the male and female flowers are on different plants, nearly one half the plants in a bed are unproductive. Strawberries grow very well on banks facing the south or south-east, or on little terraces supported by walls, but in these situations they must be regularly watered twice a day. Strawberry plants never produce good fruit unless they have abundance of leaves, as shade is essential to the fruit being juicy and of a good flavour. Most gardeners take off the runners in August or September, and plant them in nursing beds for the winter, transplanting them to their proper beds in March.

Tart-rhubarb is propagated by seed or by division of the root, but the former method is generally considered the better. When beds of rhubarb are to be formed, the soil should be deeply trenched and richly manured, and the seed then sown in drills two feet apart for the scarlet rhubarb, and three feet apart for the larger kinds. When the plants come up they should be thinned out so as to leave the plants about the same distance apart as the rows are asunder. A few leaves may be gathered from each plant the second year, but it is generally considered to strengthen the plants if no leaves are gathered from them till the third year. Rhubarb may be forced in the open garden by putting pots over it, in the same manner as is done for sea-kale; or the plants may be taken up and potted, after which they may be placed in the kitchen near the fire and covered with matting or old carpet, being watered every day with warm water.

LETTER XII.

OPERATIONS OF GARDENING. DIGGING, FORKING, AND

HOEING. SOWING SEEDS. - TAKING OFF SUCKERS. MAKING LAYERS AND CUTTINGS, — BUDDING, GRAFTING, AND IN ARCHING. - PRUNING AND TRAINING,- DISBUDDING. - MANURING. - KEEPING FRUIT IN A FRUIT-ROOM.

Digging is the first operation necessary in gardening, as nothing can be done in the way of cultivating the soil till it has been first pulverised, 80 as to allow the fine delicate roots of the plants to penetrate among its particles. It is also necessary that the air should have access to the roots of plants, as they depend for their nourishment almost as much on the carbon and other elements which they absorb from the air, as on those which they obtain from the soil. On this account it is necessary, not only to dig the soil well before any thing is planted in it, but also to fork it over occasionally whenever its surface becomes hardened and impervious to the air and rain. When manure is applied also, it is customary to dig it into the soil; and ground is occasionally trenched in order to bring up fresh soil to the surface, whenever the surface soil appears to be exhausted and to want renewing. The operation of digging requires considerable strength, as it requires first to be able to force the spade into the ground, and then to raise as much earth as will lie upon the blade and turn it over. It is, however, a fine healthy occupation, not only from its calling the muscles into vigorous action, but from the smell of the new earth being particularly invigorating; and you might have a lady's spade, with a smooth willow handle, that will enable you to dig a small bed without much difficulty. You will be surprised, however, to find, if you try the experiment, that there is an art in digging as well as in every thing else; and that it is extremely difficult, both to dig in a straight line, and to make the ground look even tolerably level after it has been dug over. Raking, though it appears so simple, also requires considerable skill to make the ground look smooth and perfectly level. Forking is not so difficult, as it merely requires to have the fork pressed into the ground, and then pulled backwards and forwards, so as to loosen a portion of the soil without turning it over.

There are two sorts of hoes: the draw-hoe, which is used for drawing up the earth to any plant that is to be earthed up; and the thrust-hoe, which is principally used for destroying weeds. There are many varieties of both these forms,

« السابقةمتابعة »