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.
A practical nurserymen or gardener can estimate the value of Peter Henderson's persistent teachings in regard to firming the earth about seeds and plants, and no one without practical knowledge or experience can detract from the utility of such teaching by slurs or ridicule. For ten years I have tried to impress this one lesson on the minds of those who have bought trees or plants. Make the soil as firm about them in transplanting as it was when they were growing. And yet the loss from the neglect of this rule by those who have bought trees and plants, and even on my own grounds, has been greater than from all other sources combined. A warm dry wind will penetrate the loose soil, and within a few hours wilt a plantation of strawberries or cabbages. To save them by watering would be out of the question. The remedy is to make the earth solid, and the surest and quickest way is to step the ball of the foot directly on each plant if they are badly wilted, or in ordinary cases on each side of the plant. If the transplanting is done in wet weather, the firming should be deferred until it is dry enough to need it.
One day in passing a front yard I saw a neat looking mound a foot high, with a border of sods, and in it were a dozen verbenas, which I had sold the day before, wilted almost beyond recovery. I did not wait for an invitation, but went inside and stamped that bed down to six inches, and went on my way. Every plant lived, and afterward I had the sods removed and the bed enlarged so as to slope down to the .natural sod, and it was the admiration of the whole neighborhood. "Why will ladies persist in sowing their flower seeds in those little mounds surrounded with sods, and then lug water and fight grass all summer?