This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Auriculas, through the month of February, will require careful protection from cold winds, etc. As the fibres of these plants begin to move in the early part of the month, a mat or two should be thrown over the frames at night, and towards the latter end may be increased to three; for by that time growth will be perceptible, the foliage will begin to expand, and, with some, the trusses will be shewing themselves. They will also be more tender, and consequently require extra covering to ensure success. Give air and light whenever the weather will permit, but close the frames against frosty, drying winds. More frequent supplies of water may now be given, and the quantity increased as the plants advance in growth. R.ain is far more beneficial than artificial waterings The plants may be allowed to receive moderate showers during the month, if the wind be either southerly or westerly, more particularly from the middle to the end.
Embrace the earliest opportunity to perform this essential part of the business; if the compost is ready and the weather open, do it directly. At the same time, look over the young stock in small pots, and select those most likely to throw good blooms, or all that have filled their pots with roots, and shift them into a size larger. This should be done without breaking the ball of earth; and if the fibres are much entwined among the crocks that have been put in for drainage, do not disturb them - they will do no harm if left. Wash or otherwise cleanse all pots before using them a second time, prepare tallies, crocks for drainage, and have every necessary in readiness before commencing the work. Remove the top soil till you reach the roots, which should not be disturbed more than possible. Take away all offsets that have a shoulder or tap formed, to strengthen the plant for blooming, and fill up with the fresh soil a little above the bottom part of the foliage, so that the stem be well covered. Plant the largest and best-rooted offsets in separate pots, and those with fewer fibres two or more in a pot. Protect them in a cold frame, or under a hand-glass, till they become established.
The unrooted should be planted round the sides of small pots, and be plunged in a south border up to the rim; place a piece of tile or slate beneath each, to prevent the entry of worms, and cover them with small Carnation-glasses. Keep the soil only moderately moistened; they will root more quickly than if continued in a wet state: neither night covering nor shading will be required. Secure the plants from the attacks of slugs, by pressing the soil firmly round the bottom rims of the glasses. Let the compost for offsets be, three measures of leaf-mould, one of medium loam, and one of silver-sand; and that for top-dressing, equal parts of decomposed sheep manure, cow manure, and loam of medium strength; or nightsoil, cow manure, and loam, equal parts. Horse manure may be used as a substitute for either of the above, if not at hand.