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and is hurtful, and hence the necessity of turning dunghills, especially if all composed of horse dung, and in warm situations; too much cold rain checks fermentation, and hence the benefit of covering from this. Before carbon can be admitted into the spongioles of the roots, it must also, it is said, be made soluble, by being mixed with alkalies into a saponaceous matter. The alkalies necessary for this purpose are contained in the manure, or may be increased by applying lime, salt, and other alkaline substances. The dark brown-coloured substance in well-rotted manure formerly denoted vegetable extract, but now humus is formed of the proper mixture of these substances, and is the essential requisite in the food of plants. It is this substance which gives the colour to the drainings of the dunghill; and, being in a soluble state, we see hence the great benefits derived in watering with manured water. Dung from high-fed animals is most superior. Bullock's blood is rich in carbon, and should be mixed. A simple easy method of knowing the quantity of humus in soils was lately given in Paxton's Magazine. Sist and wash the soil repeatedly, till all the impalpable powder it contains is separated with the water. Put this into a long narrow glass vessel of water, and shake it
well from the bottom : the alumina will fall to the bottom, and deposit quickly, while the humus will float on the top for a considerable time. We may thus have a pretty rough guess of the quantity, both of alumina, or clay, and humus contained in the soil; and without a due proportion of the first, to retain humus and moisture, no soil will be rich. The presence of animal matter in the soil may be detected by the smell given off, similar to burning feathers, on burning a portion of the soil; and the presence of chalk or lime may be known by its effervescing with an acid, and giving off air-bubbles and heat. For a complete analysis of soils and manures, so far as at present known, as useful in practice, I would refer to that lately given in the Quarterly Journal of Agriculture, by Dr. Madden; and, as the table he gives of their actions contains so much information in a little space, I have subjoined a copy of it.
In the work before us, Dr. Lindley confines himself to a statement of their general principles, and the manner in which they act. He also notices the other metals and minerals, &c., found in some plants, and the necessity of these in the soil to the perfect growth of the plant. He also notices the best times of applying manures, which, he says, are October for grass lands, and spring for cultivated crops; also the necessity of applying manures to the extremities of the fibres of the root, to the young spongioles, and not at the bole of the stem, which he humorously likens to feeding a man through the soles of his feet.
Table of Manures, arranged according to their Action, by Henry R. Madden,
Esq., M.D., Edinburgh.
Manures which act speci. Manures Manures which act on Manures fically upon certain Manures which act which act by the Organic Matter of the which
Crops. by yielding Organic yielding Earthy
altering From From
act 25 Plants. Matter to
the Tex-containing containing Stimulants. Plants.
ture of the peculiar peculiar
I have thus gone through all the divisions of the treatise. The subjects discussed are very important, and it has necessarily been tedious; but I have endeavoured to condense as much as I could, and hope the example I have set will soon be followed by others. Let us differ from each other as much as we can, when we can give reasons for our opinions ; let us also weigh well one another's reasons, and not consider our neighbour must be wrong, merely because he differs from us in opinion, and mutual benefit will be the result, as every practical man has his own sphere of operations, to which, from habit and necessity, he is most attached, and has opportunities of observation on certain subjects which others do not possess; and when any important observation has been made, it should not be kept hid.
Kilmarnock, August 1. 1840.
Art. I. Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London. 2d
Series, Vol. II. Parts III. IV. 4to. London, 1837 to 1838.
(Continued from p. 417.)
24. On the Cultivation of the Melon in open Frames. By John Williams, Esq.
C.M.H.S. Read February 21, 1837. Nothing can be more simple than the construction of my glass covering. I sink a shallow pit about 9 in. or 1 ft. deep in the ground; a strong wood frame is made the size of the intended bed to support the glass. My frame is 18 ft. long, by 8 ft. 3 in. wide; each light is divided into two parts, the upper part being the shortest. By this division the lights receive less injury in being removed; and, as wood props soon decay in the ground, I procured some small cast-iron pipes 2 in. in diameter from our Gas Works, and by cutting the pipes a little above the moulding, this circular projection affords a secure shouldering for the wood frame to rest on; the lower end of the pipe goes into the ground, and is secured in its place by a few small stones rammed round it in the way of paving a street. Four long pipes support the upper, or north side of the frame, and four short ones, the lower or south side. The lower part of the pit is filled with a mixture of old leaves, the winter prunings of raspberry plants, and other twigs from wall trees and shrubs which every garden affords in the spring; to these I add a little horse litter and the first mowings of grass lawns, dusting in a little lime in powder, which hastens the decomposition, kills insects, and keeps up a durable bottom heat for some weeks. I find in the autumn the melon roots go through the whole, down to the bottom of the pit, and, when removed in the following winter, it affords an excellent compost for the garden. The melon plants are raised in small pots, each plant being in a separate pot, the seed being sown in March or beginning of April ; this will give time for each plant to be stopped twice in the seed-frame ; and they will then afford female flowers from the lateral shoots, very soon after they are planted at the end of May. I usually, when first the plants are turned out of the seed pots, simply cover them with hand-glasses, say the first fortnight, each glass being furnished with a night-cap of matting to prevent the radiation of its accumulated interior heat in clear nights. The glasses of course are raised on one side, every sunny day, to harden the plants as much as possible ; and at the same time their use saves the trouble of moving, and endangering the breaking of the frames. The bottom compost is covered with about 9 or 10 inches of soil, and this soil with slates, the principal runners being carefully spread, and pegged down, that each leaf may receive its due portion of light. The glass, when the bed is settled down, should be from 16 in, to 18 in. above the slates, so as to give room for the leaves to expand and receive motion from the wind, and the exhaling moisture to be carried away. As the bottom heat declines, I keep a supply of grass mowings, fallen leaves, and other garden refuse, as a lining on the north side. Green glass is much to be preferred to crown glass, the leaves are less liable to be burnt, in spots, by the sudden exposure to light in showery weather. The plants require no water at root after they have first got rooted in the bed, nor any syringing with water on the surface of the leaves ; I found the latter did injury. One single dusting of flowers of sulphur thrown amongst the leaves in a calm morning or evening, by means of the newly-invented portable fan engine, I found, last summer, effectually kept off the red spider and thrips. Every gardener who saw the plants growing expressed surprise at their healthy appearance, and the abundance of fruit.
“ Should this mode of cultivating melons be adopted, I have no doubt of its succeeding; and from a trial I made with a late plant of the Ispahan melon, last summer, I have reason to think that this, and all the Persian varieties, except those which are liable to crack, can be matured by the end of August, or beginning of September, and afford a supply, till the middle of October, of very superior quality to any raised in close frames.” 25. On the Cultivation of Figs. By T. A. Knight, Esq., F.R.S., Pres. Read
February 21. 1837. “ I made, during several successive years, attempts to ripen one of these, the Nerii fig, which is one of the best, if not the best, of the figs of Italy: and I have ultimately succeeded ; and as the mode of management which I have adopted is peculiar only, and not difficult or expensive, and nearly similar to that under which the peach and nectarine will be found to acquire the highest state of perfection, I have thought the following account of it worth communicating.
“ I begin to heat the house in the middle of February, and continue the fire till the fruit has acquired its first swelling in May. If artificial heat be still applied, the first-formed fruit will fall off, and will be succeeded by other fruit, which will also fall off abortively. The fruit, therefore, after it has acquired its first swelling, is subjected to the influence of confined solar heat only, till it begins to acquire maturity. Much air is then given ; and, if the weather be not dry and bright, artificial heat is, to a small extent, again employed, to prevent the mature fruit becoming mouldy; and I believe, upon the evidence of many friends, who are well acquainted with the merits of that fruit in different southern climates, that it is rarely seen in a higher state of perfection than when ripened in the manner above described. The fig is naturally ripened in shade, and in southern climates the birds and insects destroy, or injure, most of the best, before it has acquired its perfect state of maturity.
“ The peach and nectarine acquire the greatest state of perfection in the climate of England (and the same treatment is, I believe, equally applicable to every species of fruit which requires the aid of artificial heat), if they are to a certain extent brought forward early in the spring, and subsequently subjected to the influence of solar heat only.
“ I have succeeded in ripening the Nerii fig in a very considerable state of perfection, by introducing the trees in pots against the back wall of a stove in February, and removing them to a greenhouse, out of which the plants had been taken in the middle of May; and this may be successfully done, whenever the vines in the stove are confined to the rafters.” 26. Note on the Cultivation of the Cinnamon in England. By Mr. William
Buchan, F.H.S. Read February 7. 1837. The common cinnamon is generally considered a stove plant, but Mr. Buchan for several years has grown one in a green-house conservatory, which he found to suit it much better, as did M. David, gardener to M. Boursault in Paris. In our volume for 1830, it is stated, that at M. Boursault's conservatory the cinnamon tree had ripened fruit, from which many young plants were raised. Mr. Buchan is of opinion, that, with very little protection, the cinnamon would stand the winter in the open air, in favourable situations in England ; and in order that a trial may be made in such situations he has sent seeds and seedling plants from Blithfield in Staffordshire, where he is gardener, to the principal Botanic Gardens, and to various gardens in Devonshire, Cornwall, and Pembrokeshire, where many of our green-house plants stand the winter without any protection whatever. 27. E.xplanatory Notes respecting Six new Varieties of Vine recently introduced from Dukhun (Deccan). By Colonel Sykes, F.R.S. Read June 21. 1836.
A gentleman, lecturing to a Mechanics’ Institute lately, stated that the profitable cultivation of the vine was limited to countries having a mean temperature between 50° and 60° Fahr., and not within 30° of the equator ; whereas the whole of the six species adverted to are cultivated in Dukhun (Deccan), East Indies, between the 17th and 19th parallels of N. latitude, and longitude 73° 50' and 76° 50' east of Greenwich, at an elevation above the sea, varying from 1500 to 1800 feet; the mean temperature of the year being from 770 to 78° Fahr., the mean temperature of the hottest months (April and May) 81° to 85°, and of the coldest 66° to 71° in December and January ; the thermometer having been known to rise to 110° in a tent in April, and to sink for a few hours as low as 37° in the winter months.”
The six varieties cultivated in the Deccan, where they produce luxuriantly and without any difficulty, are the following:
1. The Hubshee. An elongated, truncated, fleshy, black grape, approaching a juicy plum in firmness, but infinitely sweeter, the finest of all the varieties.
2. The Fukree. An oblong, musky, green grape, slightly fleshy, and not nearly so large as the Hubshee; it fruits abundantly.
3. "The Sahibee. A comparatively rare grape, yellowish green when ripe, oval, fleshy, slightly astringent, and of a dry flavour, though sweet.
4. The Bè Dana, or seedless grape. Small, globular, yellowish green, thinskinned, and very delicious. It resembles the Kishmiss, from which the wine of Shiraz is made.
5. The Ahbee, or watery grape. Large, globular, thin-skinned, very juicy, green, passing to yellow, and terminating into a brown Indian red on one side.
6. This kind Col. Sykes cannot at present describe.
“ The whole of the above grapes ripen during January, February, and March, and they are occasionally seen for sale in all April.
“ The mode of treatment is different in different vineyards ; the most usual plan is to keep them low, but not quite so low as is done in France; but some gardeners grow them upon trellis work. The vines produce two fruitings annually : the first, in the early part of the year, being sweet ; the second, occurring in September, being acid." 28. Upon the Culture of the Strawberry. By T. A. Knight, Esq., F.R.S.,
Pres. Read May 2. 1837. “ So much has been written upon the culture of the strawberry, and the industry of the market gardener has been so much stimulated by the high price of the fruit in the earlier part of its season, that its culture may be reasonably supposed to be scarcely capable of further improvement. The results of some experiments in which I have been engaged during the last three years have, however, led me to think that I am prepared to point out some no very trivial improvements of management.
“ The gardener of the present time, in opposition to the practice of his predecessors, usually employs plants, which are afforded by the runners of the preceding year; and such practice is perfectly successful in warm situations, and after warm and favourable seasons; but it is important in such situations, and still more so in situations which are less favourable, to obtain plants as early as practicable in the season preceding that in which they are to produce fruit.
“Every gardener knows that plants of Keen's seedling strawberry, which have been forced early and properly in the spring, will afford, if turned out of their pots into the and properly watered, a second crop in the autumn. These plants have usually a good many runners attached to them, which readily emit abundant roots, if placed in close contact with the soil and plentifully supplied with water ; and the plants which may be obtained from these runners are greatly preferable to those which cannot be obtained till a much later period. They occupy more perfectly the whole extent of the pots in which they are planted, and acquire a much greater degree of strength