This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It is perilous to carry grading about a house into Autumn, inasmuch as late rains and early Spring rains will be likely to cut and furrow the surface, and when on a side hill, to wash away no inconsiderable part of your work. Yet it sometimes happens that you must run the risk. Grass seed after the middle of October will hardly get a good hold in the latitude of New York, and in some seasons, when cold comes early, it will not fasten itself at all. Under circumstances like these I sowed rye liberally with grass seed. It came well; formed a good covering; and even when ruts were made by rain the long blades of rye lay down in the channels and prevented further deepening. In the Spring two or three cuttings, as soon as the rye is six inches high, ends its career and leaves the grass to itself.
There is a prevalent notion that much skill is required to raise carnations. Any man who can raise lettuce or peas can succeed with carnations. I obtain the best seed possible.; sow it thickly in rows, in June, as I would salad. It comes speedly. When about one or two inches high prick it out upon a prepared bed, about eight inches apart and let it grow till frost comes, then very slightly draw earth enough to it to cover the collar, and let it alone for the Winter. When I used to cover it with straw or brush I lost half my plants. But by leaving them open and unprotected they come through the Winter without bleaching, and go to work early.
The great difficulty in blooming carnations is the want of good seed. In some seasons, buying the best seed in market, I have not raised a single double. It does look as though foreign seedsmen sometimes adulterate their carnation seeds; for that it should be done in New York is not to be thought of.
There ! I have done my duty for the nonce. I mean to send you some notice about building on a side-hill.