This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In those parts where the frost has not yet been severe enough to injure the Celery crop, it may have another earthing up. Care must be exercised in the operation not to let the earth get into the hearts of the plants or they will be liable to rot. Where the plant has evidently finished its growth for the season, measures should be taken to preserve it through the Winter. For family use, it is probably as well to let it stay where it is growing, covering the soil with leaves, litter or manure, to keep out the frost, so that it can be taken up as wanted. Where large quantities are frequently required, it is better to take it up and put it in a smaller compass, still protecting it in any way that may be readily accessible. It always keeps best in the natural soil, where it is cool and moist and free from frost, and whatever mode of protection is resorted to, these facts should be kept in view. Beets, Turnips, and other root crops, will also require protection. They are best divested of their foliage and packed in layers of sand in a cool cellar. Parsnips are best left in the soil as long as possible. If any are wanted for late spring use, they may be left out to freeze in the soil, and will be much improved thereby. Cabbage is preserved in a variety of ways.
If a few dozen only, they may 'be hung up by the roots in a cool cellar, or buried in the soil, heads downward, to keep out the rain, or laid on their sides as thickly as they can be placed, nearly covered with soil and then completely covered with corn stalks, litter or any protecting material. The main object in protecting all these kinds of vegetables is to prevent their growth by keeping them as cool as possible, and to prevent shriveling by keeping them moist. Cabbage plants, Lettuce, and Spinach sown last September, will require a slight protection. This is usually done by scattering straw loosely over. The intention is principally to check the frequent thawings, which chaw the plants out of the ground. In reviewing the progress of fruit culture, it is remarkable how much we have gained in Grape knowledge the few past years. We tried the foreign Grape in the open air and failed, and then fell back on the improvement of our native kinds, but we had scarcely made much headway before mildew, rot and insects gave us hard work to do, and after all, seemed likely to beat us. We found we had fallen into barbarous modes of propagation and culture. We gradually came to think Grape culture hardly worth pursuing.
We left the whole thing to nature in a great measure, and we were surprised to find how much better the Grape vine did. Then it was resumed under more sensible auspices on the rules derived from sad experiences, and now we find no more difficulty in raising Grapes from improved varieties than from any other kind of garden fruits. The Phylloxera is still troublesome, but not nearly so bad as it used to be, and not because we have found out any particular remedy, but the plants themselves seem to suffer less. It is probable that more rational methods of culture have given them greater resisting power, and then, entomologists tell us that as fast as one insect enemy increases and threatens to overpower us, an aid generally comes from some other insect which feeds on and keeps down our foes. At any rate, we go on and plant the rarer and choicer kind of Grapes with much more confidence than formerly.
In Plums, however, no insect foe seems to have come to our assistance in our little unpleasantness with the curculio, and we do not know that we have gained much in our knowledge over past times. It is still some trouble to get good Plums, though the improvements from the Chickasaw are giving us something in the place of nothing.
In the Peach the great run has been to see who shall be in the market first. There appears to have been some little gain here, though it is rather from the degeneration of the older kinds. But then why is this ? There ought not to be degeneracy, if culture was what it should be.
It is much the same with the Strawberry. We have some very good new kinds, but none better than we have had in the past, and they are valuable chiefly because the older ones have not done as well by us, as we think we have done by them.
In the Raspberry, there has been no gain of late years. Prom time to time, younger and more enthusiastic fruitists have introduced new kinds of European races, fancying, perhaps, that they were " hybrids " or " crosses " with the native kinds, or flattering themselves that there was some good reason why they should be more successful than those who went before. But the older ones stood charitably by and shook their heads in silence. They did not want to throw cold water on efforts that might by a bare possibility succeed. But where are the improved Raspberries now ? In good Raspberries, we are rather the worse off than ten years ago. This is, perhaps, owing to the attention given to the "hardy, " but still inferior native kinds, which has led us to forget the little we knew of the much superior kinds of foreign breed.
On the whole, we would suggest that we have been looking too much to improved kinds in fruits, and too little to common sense modes of culture. We spoil our good sorts by bad treatment, and then look for the remedy in new varieties. We believe we cannot offer our readers at this time any more profitable " Seasonable Hints" than to look up and ponder what has been offered from time to time in our pages. on common sense fruit culture.