The change that has come over the public estimate of fruit and vegetable growing for market is great enough to make one who remembers "things that were" rub his eyes in astonishment. "Has it come to this?" was the greeting of a schoolmaster to a former pupil on suddenly discovering him, after leaving school, aproned and trimming parsnips on his father's market garden. Emma Jane Worboise, in one of her stories, to signify the downfall of her heroine, says, she even married a market gardener! Now everyone seems to be crowding into the calling. It is astonishing how many families there are with a son who must have an open-air occupation; and none other appears to rise to the surface on the parental mind except market gardening. Now is the time for charlatans with impudence and a glib tongue to fleece the unwary by taking pupils to teach them a science they themselves do not know, and to practise an art they themselves have never mastered. It may be taken as a well-used modern maxim: "When you fail to make your market garden pay, take in pupils"! He who chooses market gardening for a calling may be sure of three things: a healthy life; a calling of varied interest, never fully learnt; plenty of real hard work. It may also be set down as a certainty that he will never make a fortune at market gardening.

A market garden may be wholly devoted to the cultivation of vegetables and flowers, or fruit, or a mixture of all three may be grown. The considerations that decide the course to be adopted will be: (a) the size of the holding; (6) the terms on which the holding is held; (c) the nature of the soil; (d) the market to be courted; (e) the knowledge or preference of the cultivator. This much, however, is clear at a glance: the grower of fruit only will have certain seasons of the year when there will be little to occupy his energies, and he will be most dependent upon the moods of our beautifully variegated climate. The first fact will be seen to have an intimate connection with the labour problem; for it is needless to point out that the necessity of employing casual labour for certain seasons only, and then casting it adrift, is depending upon a set of social conditions so bad for the labourer and for society at large that they must be got rid of if the fabric is to be preserved.

The fact is not lost sight of that the slack time of one trade may coincide with the busy time of another, and that many men manage to fit a spell of fruit picking into a busy year, of which a considerable part is occupied in other directions. Notwithstanding this, it remains unquestioned that a fair prospect of continuity of employment is necessary if you would have your men take an interest in their work. What trade is there in the whole gamut in which such an interest on the part of the employees is more desirable than that of the growing of fruit? The second fact mentioned above will be seen to have a direct bearing upon the commissariat of the grower. On an average, until we succeed in bringing our climate to heel, the grower may reckon that in two years out of five there will be little or no fruit. Unless during the years of plenty he has sat with profit at the feet of Joseph in Egypt, he will find himself in the position of those familiar occupants of an Irish cabin, where it is said streaky bacon is made by alternations of good feeding and its antithesis. There are certain kinds of flowers that seem to do well with vegetables, and many a market gardener has found his Wallflowers, his Stocks, or his spring-flowering bulbs do as well as any of his crops.

To deal with the fruit plantation first. Here a definition is much needed. When is a fruit plantation an orchard, and when is it a fruit garden? It is time the term "orchard" were restricted to plantations of fruit trees with the grass growing under, and where no cultivation takes place. Where an under crop of bush fruit or flowers is grown, and the ground is cultivated, it is a "fruit garden".

The first question that comes to anyone contemplating making a plantation is, what shall be the size of the holding? To answer it for anyone else is almost as difficult as to tell one about to marry what size of house to take. A great deal must depend upon the resources of capital he is able to control. Two rules may be laid down which must be like the laws of the Medes and Persians if happiness is to ensue: (1) Never take a larger holding than your capital can work easily, and have some capital to spare; (2) if your capital is borrowed, be sure the lender has a patience that will stand testing. A man whose ambitions go beyond having a pound a week to spend, and who proposes to depend upon fruit alone, must not start with less than 10 ac, and for this he ought to be able to see his way clear to 500 capital. The following figures, which refer to a plantation of 30 ac. of Dwarf Apple trees planted close and with no crop under, may be useful: -

s.

d.

1st Year.

Cost of 10,250 Dwarf Apple trees at 50s. per 100..

256

0

0

Manuring 30 ac. at 10 per acre ...

300

0

0

Ploughing, sub-soiling and preparing for planting...

60

0

0

Planting...

42

0

0

Cultivation for the year ...

60

0

0

Bent at 2 per acre, and taxes ... .., ,..

75

0

0

793

0

0

s.

d.

2nd Year.

Interest at 5 per cent on 793..

39

13

0

Cultivation for the year...

60

0

0

Rent and taxes...

75

0

0

Brought down...

793

0

0

967

13

0

3rd Year.

Interest at 5 per cent on 967...

48

7

0

Cultivation...

60

0

0

Rent and taxes...

75

0

0

Pruning...

15

0

0

Brought down ..

967

13

0

1166

0

0

On the third year, if the trees were of the right sorts and in the right place, there would be, perhaps, fruit to the value of 4 to 5 per acre.

If the spaces between the rows had been cropped, the same amount per acre might have been secured in addition each year, although the cost of cultivation would have been somewhat increased; but the point is that in three years close on 40 an acre had been invested, and this without allowing anything for equipment, establishment expenses or household expenses. It would probably be the fifth or sixth year before sufficient return could be expected to cover outgoings, and by that time the capital invested would have been considerably added to. [w. g. l.]