This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Having seen the Ranunculus cultivated in many instances with less success than I could desire, I am anxious to offer through your pages a suggestion to your practical readers, and to solicit their co-operation in a proposed experiment.
I have eagerly read all I could meet with of the writings of Mad-dock, Williamson, Hogg, Tyso, Glenny, Miles, Lightbody, Horner, Reid, Brown, Carr, Harrison, etc, respecting the culture of this flower; and while I find almost uniformly the highest importance attached to the preparation of the compost and making the bed, yet the mode of procedure is very diversified. Loam, dung, and sand, are ingredients usually approved, but variously applied. The plans of these writers, though differing in detail, may be arranged under three heads:
1. Mix the manure and soil equally throughout the bed.
2. Place a stratum of six or more inches of pure manure at about as many inches below the surface.
3. Apply the manure in a liquid form, pouring it on successive layers of soil till the mass is saturated, except the surface-layer of two or three inches.
With respect to sand, one class advise mixing it with the soil; another, sprinkling it over the tubers at planting; and the third, its use as a top-dressing an inch thick after the plants are up.
I know one or two extensive growers are this season about to try a small bed on each of the three schemes, and intend to plant, as Dr. Horner recommends, about St. Valentine's day. My object is to invite those cultivators whose stocks admit of experimentalising to make a similar trial; to prepare the beds carefully, to note attentively the results during growth, and the final issues in vigour of bloom and health of tubers. The relative success of the three plans should be reported in detail through your pages about the month of August; so that you might give in a condensed form in one of your autumn numbers the aggregate approvals and disapprovals of such persons as may be induced to make the experiment. The document would be of infinite value to all who are interested in this flower, as the evidence would not be from any one particularly favoured locality or soil, but, embracing every variety of condition, might be safely directive in future to your readers throughout the country.