This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The past season in most parts of the country has been one of very abundant bearing, and unless the food has been kept up by a liberal supply of manure, there will be many weak and exhausted trees, and short crops next season. We prefer to manure in such cases as these in midsummer. The cells of trees are like honey combs, and store up matter for use the next season. They have of course to do this while growing. Whenever this has not been done, matter for a surface dressing should be got ready during autumn and winter. Much injury has been done to fruit culture by the expressed dread some cultivators have of a "too rank growth," and a consequent advice not to manure. A fruit tree never suffers from too much manure, if the roots are healthy. If a tree seems to suffer after a heavy manuring, it is only that it was in a bad way before this. Of course, if one were to empty a cesspool, a cart load of fresh lime, or some other inordinate mass of food under a tree, it would suffer; but our meaning is that no amount of manure that would be found of benefit to any regular garden, will be otherwise than beneficial to a fruit tree, if the roots be healthy.
Celery as it grows will require earthing up, and Endive successively blanched; but the main business of the month will be preparations for housing the root crops for the winter. Beets are generally the first thing attended to, they being the most easily injured by frost; Carrots, Salsafy and Parsnips following. The latter are never really good until they have been well frozen; and many leave them entirely in the ground taking them up as wanted for use. We prefer taking them all up and packing them in sand or half-dried loam, in a shed or cellar, which can be kept just above freezing point; yet the cooler the better. If suffered to be in heaps they heat and soon rot. In the same situation Endive and Cape Brocoli may be preserved to the end of the year - they are taken up with a small quantity of earth adhering to them, and placed side-by-side together. Tomatoes, if dug up also, and suspended, roots upward, in such a situation, will keep good a long time; but this must be done before the least frost has touched them. It is a wise plan to sow a little more Early York Cabbage early in the month, as in fine mild winters the September sowing grows too forward when protected. A very slight protection is better for them than any elaborate affair, the sun principally injuring them.
The same remarks apply to Lettuce intended to be kept over winter for spring use, though the sun is less destructive to them than to the cabbage.
Forcing vegetables, wherever the least command of heat can be had, is the most interesting and useful part of gardening. It is not by any means what it is often considered, an operation by which you pay a dollar for a mouthful. The Asparagus, Sea Kale, Lettuce, Radish and Cauliflower can be had for months earlier than in the open ground, wherever a regular temperature of 55° can be obtained, with, of course, the proper amount of air, moisture, etc. Asparagus can be had under a greenhouse stage, though of course the tops will not be so green, nor will it be much else but indifferent under such circumstances, as it would be in full light.
Radishes require an abundance of air, and Lettuce light. Cauliflowers, if kept for some months with all the light and air possible, at a temperature of 50° or 55° may have it gradually raised to 60° or 65°, and even 70,° and thus come into use in February, when there is no vegetable more desirable.
Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Beans require a temperature of at least 65° to begin with. If a temperature of 70° can be maintained in the coldest weather, a few of these might be sown by the end of the month, which will produce some very acceptable dishes about New Year's day. Rhubarb, if carefully taken up at the fall of the leaf and potted, or put into boxes, will also come forward well if put under the stage in a house of the last temperature.