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.
In an article on page 162, of the June number of the Gardener's Monthly, regarding market gardening by Peter Henderson, the natural inference would be that the difference in the cost of products in London and New York was attributable to the difference in the mode of cultivation. He says John Bull has not learned in 1872 that the plough and harrow will pulverize the soil better than the spade. I have no defence for the spade, as I never did like it, and have not done much with it since my apprenticeship. I think by a few facts I can throw a little light upon the subject. On page 337, he makes some statements with which I fully concur. He says he found it was the rule rather than the ex-cepiion, in districts away from London, that the plough was the implement used. When Mr. Henderson was at Edgeware road, if he had gone about four miles to the south, or to Rainham, Essex county, he would have found the produce being carried to market by highway locomotives, and the ground ploughed by steam ploughs. I have seen at that place a field of ten acres ploughed, planted, and the field left in fine condition, in one day. That the spade and fork are used in some small market gardens is true, but the spade gardeners do not fix or control the price of produce.
I think there are other reasons than the mode of cultivation for produce being cheaper in New York than in London. I am impressed with the belief that the difference in rent has an important bearing upon the matter. I know of one man at Ashford, Middlesex county, fourteen miles from London, who holds one hundred acres, and for each acre he pays £7 per year. He is a spade gardener, the only one that I know of in that vicinity, and I have formerly known many. This man was amassing a fortune; his land was set with fruit trees in rows about twenty-five feet apart, and between cropped with beans, beets, lettuce, parsley, violets and strawberries. I have endeavored to show that our cousins across the water are not so much behind us in their adoption of improvements as many would suppose. But there is ample chance for improvements, both in England and this country, and probably always will be.