This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Please allow me to suggest to "M.," Lansing, Mich., that a night temperature of 50° to 60° is 15° too warm for Geraniums in winter, and that the fungus which blights the buds is probably the effect of heat and moisture. I have found my geraniums bloom best in a conservatory on the south of my dining-room, with no fire heat except from the dining-room stove, fifteen feet away. The pots near the floor would freeze if I did not drain the cold air into the cellar. I use four and five-inch pots, as near the glass as possible, and water every other day. When the plants have bloomed themselves nearly to death, I shake them out of the dirt, cut back if necessary, re-pot them in the same or one size larger pots, and put them in the moist, warm greenhouse for two or three weeks, when they will be ready again for the conservatory. Carnations will not do well in this conservatory, because the air is too dry, while the greenhouse is too warm and too wet, but I have a bay window in my cellar which just suits them. It is 3 by 12 feet, and about 2 feet deep from the surface before it is filled with soil. A row of winter-blooming stocks is planted next to the cellar, and they are now in their glory. Then come carnations and roses. in pots or planted in the soil.
Deut-zia, Astilbe. Hydrangea and various half hardy shrubs and plants which I keep in this way for spring planting. At one end I raised the bed as near the glass as I could, and planted a square yard of verbenas in the fall, and now I can take one hundred cuttings every ten days for the greenhouse. Along the brick wall which raises this end of the bed I put a row of Double Alys-sum from the garden, and now it covers the wall with a mass of blossoms. Wherever I can find room I put a piece of three-inch drain tile on end, which makes a stand for a saucer of Pansies, Mignonette, Pinks, etc, from the seed, and a swinging bracket at each end, makes a good place for pots of Primroses. For the same amount of glass I have nothing that can compare with this cellar bay window in value. It cannot freeze, because the cold air flows into the cellar and settles to the bottom.
CELLAR BAY WINDOW.