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 Black Oat, Avena sativa, has become a terrible weed in South Australia, which is singular, as the variety, the sterilis, its near relative, is a great blessing to California, over which it has been widely diffused. Schomburgh says, "The Black Oat has the most notorious preeminence of all the introduced weeds, and the effects of this intruder are the most ruinous to the farming community. Thousands of acres of arable land are totally ruined for the purposes of wheat growing by the Black Oat".
The United States Consul at Florence, Italy, gives, in a report to the State Department, an account of the flour made from chestnuts and used in many parts of Southern Europe. The writer says:
The number of trees in Tuscany and Lucca is estimated at several millions, and the nut and wood have done more to maintain the population of some of these districts than any other production. In some places wheat flour and corn meal are entirely superseded by the chestnut flour, which is very nourishing and much cheaper as an article of food.
Mr. Crosby is of opinion, after a careful study of the subject, that this variety of chestnut can be grafted on the native American species, and thus be made a source of wealth and profit in this country, especially in certain mountainous districts, where it is almost impossible to raise cereals, owing to the nature of the soil and the steepness of the mountain sides, and where transportation is so difficult and labor so high and scarce. Outside of this question of using the chestnut for food in the districts where it could be cultivated and grown to advantage in the United States, the present price of the imported Spanish chestnut, which is used for various purposes throughout our country, would, he claims, amply repay any outlay farmers might have to make in importing scions or shoots of this magnificent variety from Italy, for grafting on our own chestnut trees. * * * *
The flour can be preserved for two years. It is used in the same way as wheat flour, and though less nutritious, is much cheaper; and, at the same time, exceedingly agreeable to the taste. He says that, in those regions where the inhabitants live almost entirely on the chestnut, they are of better appearance and more healthy.
The Garden notices a double fragrant Wistaria. Is it known in America?
An ancient Yew tree has been removed at Dover, England, which, with the earth to be moved with it, weighed about fifty tons.
Wax being indestructible by the elements, it is suggested that marble and even the Egyptian obelisks be coated with the white material.
The use of diluted yeast as an insect killer is again recommended.
The Tree Box is the evergreen for cities.
Fairmount Park this year exhibits an emphatic progress and improvement in the way of planting, under the able auspices of the landscape gardener, Mr. Charles H. Miller. We wish he had more facilities.
Mosquitoes and insects are kept aloof by a solution of Quassia made by boiling. Put it on the skin to dry and the result will be as stated.
According to Prof. Church, withered leaves of the usual autumnal colors - yellow, red, or brown can be rendered green again by steeping in water along with a little zinc powder.
The Chloride of Methyl is now used in extracting the odoriferous principles of plants.
A lost ring is making newspaper paragraphs; the favorite story of Sir Walter Scott was about the same topic: A serving man was sent by his employer to a neighboring town to have a diamond ring mended; crossing a brook he dropped it into the stream, ran away to India and returning wealthy after twenty years, went with a friend to make restitution. Coming to the stream, "there" said he, "I lost that terrible ring "; as he spoke he placed his cane in the water, and on withdrawing it, behold the ring was on the ferule at the end of it!