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 greenhouse will now begin to look more natural, after having had the stock housed last month. With many plants having probably been taken up out of the open ground, dead leaves will daily appear, requiring frequent removal. Neatness is one of the chief beauties of a greenhouse. Acacias, and Australian plants generally, with hard wood and delicate roots, should be placed at the coolest end of the house, where little water will be required. These plants should not be watered often; but when they are, it should be thorough. Frequent waterings soon render the roots of these plants unhealthy, when it is very difficult to restore them to vigor. Whenever the foliage becomes of sickly yellow hue, the best plan is to plunge the plant in a larger pot, filling the space with moss, - and when the plant requires water, give it only through the moss, unless the plant seems to become so dry as to suffer, when it should receive one thorough watering. Very little fire should be applied to a greenhouse, - just sufficient to keep it at about 45°. Unless very far north, but little fire-heat will be required this month.
Window Plants should not be kept very warm at this season. They should have all the sun and air, and as little of the artificial heat of the room as possible. These remarks apply especially to Mignonette, which is very impatient of in-door confinement. Succulents, such as Cacti, are excellent window plants in this respect, as the dry air does not affect them. To keep the air about the plants moist, is one of the secrets of window culture. Some who have very fine windows well stocked with fine plants, make glazed cases with folding doors of them, by which, when the room is highly heated and very dry, they can be enclosed in an atmosphere of their own. In such cases, Ferns and Mosses can be grown to perfection, and pendant plants in hanging vases give a Brazilian forest appearance to our happy Christmas homes.
Hanging baskets, on the other hand, are generally too dry. Besides the daily waterings, about once a week they should be immersed in a bucket of water.
Plants stored away for the winter in cold pits, require more care for the first month or so than at any other time through the winter season. Many of them have unripened shoots, or shed many of their leaves, and unless they be cut off and removed, gangrene and decay commit distressing havoc. Air should be given at everyop-portunity, and nothing omitted that will, in any way, tend to harden the plants, and send vegetation to rest. No more water should be given than just sufficient to prevent withering, and the temperature should be kept as near 40° as possible, and every chance taken to render the air about the plants dry. When frost actually does come, no further care than protection from its embraces will then be required. Plants so hardened may stay covered up for weeks, without any light or air, and secure from the slightest injury. Mice constitute the most troublesome enemy in a pit closed for any length of time; but we have, as yet, found nothing better than the recommendation given in back volumes, namely, to take Peas and soak them twenty-four hours in water, then roll in arsenic and sow in a pot, as if in the regular way of seed-sowing. A few pots so prepared, should be placed in the pit before permanently closing up.
The mice usually make for these pots at their first entrance to the pits. If placed on the soil, they seem to guess your secret, and will not "bite".
Plants in cellars need much the same care as those in pits. Avoid heat and dampness; frequently however, plants suffer in cellars through getting too dry. They should be looked over, at any rate, once a month, and a little water given, if likely to become entirely dry.