This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Grape-vine at this season will require attention, to see that the leaves are all retained healthy till thoroughly ripened. It is not a sign of healthiness for a vine to grow late; on the contrary, such late growth generally gets killed in the winter - but the leaves should all stay on to insure the greatest health of the vine, until the frost comes, when they should all be so mature as to fall together. The leaves of Grapevines are very much subject to the attacks of the leaf-hopper which destroys them before their time. In large vineyards there is no help for it; but amateurs with a few vines can remedy this by syringing. A garden engine of some power ought to be in every well ordered garden. Grapes sometimes suffer when maturing from mauraud-ing bees. Where these are very bad the only way is to put the best fruit in bags. There is besides other profit in the practice, as the fruit of the grape is generally sweeter in our climate when matured in a little shade.
Although they require more care than spring set plants August and September are favorite months to plant out Strawberries, with those who desire a crop of fruit the next season. In making a strawberry-bed a warm, dry spot of ground should be chosen, with, if possible, a good loamv or clayey subsoil. A moist wet situation is very unfavorable. It is best to subsoil at least eighteen inches deep, and if the soil is poor, let it be moderately enriched with well decayed stable manure. In setting out, take care that the plants do not become dry from the time they are taken up till they are replanted, and see that they do no not wither afterwards. Many persons cut off the leaves, if they are afraid of their wilting under hot suns, but a much better plan is to shade. Inverted 4-inch flower-pots are excellent for this purpose; they may be taken off at night. The dews will so invigorate them, that the shade will only be required for a few days. Sometimes in September they may need a good watering; but this should never be attempted unless a thorough saturation of the bed be given; and in a few days after, the hoe and rake should be employed to loosen and level the surface, which the heavy watering will, in all probability, have caused to bake and become very crusty.
When pot-raised plants can be had, as heretofore recommended, fall planting strawberries is very successful.
A little trimming is useful to most trees at this season. The Blackberry and Raspberry may have their tops shortened so as to leave the canes about four feet. Some do this earlier in the season; but the buds are apt to burst if done too soon. In like manner, pear and apple trees that grow well, but produce no fruit, are benefited by having, say half of some of the young growth cut back. The buds then left are very likely to form flower buds, in place of growth buds for next season. Many take out the old shoots of raspberry and blackberry after they have done bearing, and we have in times past recommended it ourselves; but on further observation, we see very little good, if not positive injury. The partial shade the old stems make, seems rather beneficial than otherwise under our hot suns.
As soon as your vegetable crops are past kitchen use, clear them out. Never suffer them to seed. In the first place, a seed crop exhausts the soil more than two crops taken off in an eatable condition; in the next place, the refuse of the kitchen is likely to produce degenerate stocks. Good seed saving is a special art by itself, always claiming the earliest and best to ensure a perfect stock.
Celery will require earthing up as it grows, to get it to blanch well. It is not well, however to commence too early, as earthing up tends, in a slight degree, to weaken the growth of the plants. Take care, also, not to let the soil get into the heart in earthing, or the crown is apt to rot.
As fast as Endive is desired for Salad, it should be blanched. Matting thrown over is the best for this purpose, as the plants are not so liable to rot as when pots or boards are employed.
In cold or mountainous regions, Melons are hastened in the ripening process, and improved in flavor, by a piece of tile being placed under the fruit.
Keep weeds from your compost heaps, as they exhaust the soil, and bear seeds for future brow-sweatings.
Sow Lettuce for Fall crop, thinly, and in deep and very rich ground.
Early Valentine Beans may still be sown early in the month, - the soil for a late crop should be well trenched, or, if the Fall be dry, they will be stringy and tough.
Cucumbers, Squash, and other similar plants, often suffer from drought at this season. Cold water does not help them much, but a mulching of half rotten leaves strengthens them considerably.
Cut down straggling herbs, and they will make new heads for next season.
Towards the end of the month, a sowing of Spinach may be made in rich soil, which will come in for use before Winter. That desired for Winter and early Spring use, is usually sown in September in this region. A few Turnips may also be sown for an early crop, but will be hot and stringy unless the soil is very rich.
Corn Salad is often sowed at the end of this month. It does not do so well in damp soil or low situation.