This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Last season, during the prevalence of the unusually hot summer weather, the pear trees in the writer's orchard had the upper half of most of the leaves turn brown as if scorched. The diagnosis of the trouble indicated that the moisture from the leaves was being drawn faster than the roots could supply it. The best remedy seemed to be to keep the trees as cool as possible. When the hand was placed on the trunks it seemed warm. In the normal condition the bark stems cool, even on the warmest day. To coo! this bark the trees were at once lime-washed. This seemed quite cool in comparison with bark not white washed. Though there were many succeeding hot days, there was no more of the leaf browning. It was remarkable how well the trees kept through it all. This season the trees look wonderfully well. The bark of all the trees whitewashed, have a smooth, succulent, healthy look, such as all who know a healthy tree when they see it, love to look upon. This question of coolness enters largely into successful culture.
It is because the injurious effects of high temperature in the soil is checked, which gives one of the great advantages to the grass culture of orchards.
The time when Currants and Gooseberries mildew and drop their foliage is at hand. Some have found a mulch of salt hay to be good against these troubles, but, in fact, anything that cools the surface, and thus helps to keep the atmosphere about the plants, is good. A heavy mulch of old corn-stalks we have found to be excellent help to success in growing these fruits.
In the fruit garden, if trees set out last fall or spring do not show signsof growing freely, cutting back a portion of the branches will make a great difference in their favor. It is a great point with good fruit-growers to have all the branches in a tree of uniform vigor. This can be gained by pinching off the growing points of the stouter ones, leaving the weaker ones to gain strength by the check to the others. Where the branches are likely to be too thick, some may be taken out while green, instead of waiting till winter to do it; not forgetting, however, that a loss of foliage is, in some degree, an injury to the tree; and, that as little of this should be done as is consistent with necessity. Some recommend trees to be pruned in summer, because the wounds heal better then. It is true the wound does heal better, but the loss of so much foliage is an injury not compensated by the healing of the wound. However, where the trees are young, and the branches to be cut away but a small fraction of the foliage, the injury is little, and the summer trimming is thus a gain. Nursery trees are best served in this way. Strawberries, Raspberries and Blackberries are " summer pruned" chiefly by thinning the suckers and runners.
Strawberries are often grown in beds, and the mass of runners suffered to grow together as they will. This is the best way for parties who have little time to give to their gardens. When grown in hills, or with the runners cut off, something is necessary to place between the rows or the plants, in order to keep the fruit from getting gritty after rain. When they are in beds, the fruit keeps cleaner without much difficulty. But with this plan, the runners should be thinned out at this season of the year, leaving them only about three or four inches apart. Of course, we weed these Strawberry-beds ; a large part of the runners should be treated as weeds and taken out at the same time. Raspberries and Blackberries should be served the same way. All the suckers not wanted to bear next year, should be taken out as they appear. If the kind be valuable, the young offsets taken up may be transplanted any time through the season, by well watering and nipping out the young tender tops. About the end of the month it is often the practice to clip off the growing ends of Blackberries and Raspberries. It is said to stiffen the canes, and it renders stakes to support them in a measure unnecessary.
In many amateurs' gardens late Peas are valued. It is essential that they be planted in the coolest part of the ground. The Pea is a cool country plant, and when it has to grow in warm weather, it mildews. The Marrowfat class are usually employed for late crops. They need support. All Peas grow better and produce more when grown to stakes. Bush Beans may be also sown for late crops. A very deep, rich soil is necessary to tender, crisp pods. The Lima Bean will now be growing rapidly. It is time well spent to tie them to the poles as they grow. The poles should not be too high - about eight feet is enough. They commence to bear freely only when the top of the pole is reached.
The Lettuce is another cool country plant. It can only be grown well in hot weather when in very rich and cool soil. For winter use, Beets are occasionally sown now, and also Cucumbers for pickling purposes; but not often; and, at any rate, it must be attended to early in the month. Tomatoes trained to stakes give the sweetest fruit, and remain in bearing the longest; but many cultivators, who grow for size and quantity only, believe they nave the best results when growing them on the level ground. Celery is the chief crop requiring attention. The great point is to get short, thick-growing varieties, as the long kinds require so much more labor to blanch. The Boston market variety is, therefore, popular, and is really a very crisp and nutty-flavored variety. After so many trials with different ways of growing them, those who have their own gardens - amateurs, for whom we write - find that the old plan of sinking the plants in shallow pits is about the best. Trenches are dug about six inches deep, and three or four inches of manure then dug in, of which cow-manure is the best. They can be watered better this way in dry weather, when in these trenches, and it is so much easier to fill the earth about them for blanching purposes than when grown on the level surface.
Soap-suds, as well as salt in moderate doses, is usually a wonderful special fertilizer for the Celery plant.
Late Cabbage is often planted in gardens between rows of Potatoes, where it is an object to save space. Some fancy that the Cabbage is better preserved in this way from the Cabbage-fly, which, they say, prefers the Potato , but on this point we are not sure. We do not think the Cabbbge does quite as well as when it has the whole ground to itself; but of course a double crop could not be expected to be quite so fine.
Among the new troubles in vegetable-growing is the appearance of the Asparagus beetle, Crio-seris asparagi. As in the case of the Potato beetle, it is the larvae which does the most injury.__________