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.
As already noted color in fruit is a criterion of good culture. So far as out-door grapes are concerned, they are too often allowed to bear too many bunches, when very fine fruit is desired. A good strong healthy growth however will bring mostly to perfection a very full crop. The Western papers are saying that the color and flavor of grapes are improved by enclosing the bunch ina paper bag when it is about to color. By what we know of the advantages of shade to glass house fruit, it seems reasonable.
People sometimes are anxious to get rare kinds of strawberries to fruit early, and hence plantations are made in the fall. For general crops we think there is not much gained by fall planting. In the case of rare varieties, however, it is often worth a little extra trouble to do things well. The best way to proceed, is to get small pots with rich earth, and sinking them in the ground, layer runners into it. Such plants become very strong, and can be transplanted from the pots without injuring the roots, and will make strong stocks which will fruit very well next year. We raised some excellent strong plants this way last year; of course the result was not sufficient to enable one to form an opinion of its whole character; but we may say, that in spite of the excessively hot weather, it has turned out remarkably well. In regard to the best strawberries, it is remarkable that the bulk of all the thousands of bushels which come to the Philadelphia market is still of the older kinds. Amongst amateurs there is no one that carries universal supremacy with it, as personal taste -dictates the favorite.
But certainly those which are grown the most extensively are Boyden's Mammoth, Monarch of the West, Chas. Downing, Albany and Downer's Prolific.
As we write the seed men are out with their advertisments of turnip seed, and thus remind us to say that there seems to be a dearth of new varities this season not only in the turnip, but in most other classes of garden vegetables.
The variety of tomatoes is now so great that in every city window we may note distinct named kinds of local fame, but if there is any better kind than the Trophy to be found this season we hope our readers will let us know of it.
As for varieties of asparagus, we suppose the world has come to the conclusion we predicted it would, namely, that there is but one kind. We have seen plants in rich soil set two feet apart the first season as large and fine as any ever grown in this world, with no pretentions to the plants being any body's "Leviathian" or the Boa Constrictor of the asparagus family.
There are many vegetables which will come in toward Fall about which some consideration may be given now.
In many amateur gardens late Peas are valued. It is essential that they be planted in the coolest part of the ground. The pea is a cool country plant, and when it has to grow in warm weather, it mildews. The Marrowfat class are usually employed for late crops. They need support. All peas grow better and produce more when grown to stakes.
Bush Beans may also be sown for late crops. A very deep rich soil is necessary to tender, crisp pods. The Lima Bean will now be growing rapidly. It is time well spent to tie them up to poles as they grow. The poles should not be too high; about eight feet is enough. They commence to bear freely only when the top of the pole is reached.
The lettuce is another cool country plant. It can only be well grown in hot weather when in very rich and cool soil.
For winter use, beets are occasionally sown now, and also cucumbers for pickling purposes, but not often; and at any rate it must be attended to early in the month.
Tomatoes trained to stakes give the sweetest fruit, and remain in bearing the longest; but many cultivators who grow for size and quantity only, believe they have the best results when growing them on the level ground.
Late cabbage is often planted in gardens between rows of potatoes, where it is an object to save space. Some fancy that the cabbage is better preserved in this way from the cabbage-fly, which they say prefers the potato; but on this point we are not sure. We do not think the cabbages do quite as well as when they have the whole ground to themselves; but of course a double crop could not be expected to be quite so fine.
Preparations for the celery crop is one of the chief matters in this department at this season. No plant, perhaps, requires a richer soil than this, and of all manures, well decayed cow dung is found to be the best. After so many trials with different ways of growing them, those who have their own gardens, - amateurs, for whom we write, - find that the old plan of sinking the plants in shallow pits is about the best. Trenches are dug about six inches deep, and three or four inches of manure then dug in, of which cow manure is the best. They can be watered better this way in dry weather, when in these trenches, and it is so much easier to fill the earth about them for blanching purposes than when grown on the level surface. Salt in moderate doses is usually a wonderful special fertilizer for the celery plant.