Seed for celery can be sown in the open ground in mid-April in a small bed where the soil has been finely pulverized and made rich; they should only be covered with a quarter of an inch of earth, which must be well pressed down; the bed must then be watered daily if there is no rain.
When the little plants are well up, thin them out to about three inches apart and keep them free from weeds. About the 15th of July they will be in condition to set out. Make a shallow trench six inches deep and spade some old manure into the earth in the bottom of the trench, cover this with a layer of garden soil and then set the little celery plants about eight inches apart, being careful to set them firmly. They should be transplanted about sunset and well watered; they will do better if partially shaded from the sun for a few days by boards or branches laid over the trenches. The trenches should be three feet apart for the dwarf and medium varieties and four to five feet if the large varieties are used.
As the plants grow the earth on either side of them should be carefully hoed against the plants, and packed around them with the hand. Care must be taken not to break the stalks and not to let the earth get into the center of the celery.
If it is desirable to save celery for Winter use, this can be done in two ways. Early in November dig a trench in the garden somewhat deeper than the height of the plants. In this, place the celery close together; then fill the trench, packing the earth closely, letting the sides of the banked-up celery slope away from the plants so that water will be carried off. Cover the top with a thick layer of litter, straw or leaves, laying boards over all. In this way the celery will blanch and keep perfectly. The other method of storing is to pack the celery in dry earth in barrels or boxes, which should be kept in a cool cellar that does not freeze.
One ounce of seed should raise at least two thousand plants.
Chicory makes so delicious a salad that it is well worth growing. Sow the seed the last of May in drills about eighteen inches apart. Thin out the plants to six inches and the first week in August draw up the leaves and bank up the plants in the same manner as the celery. In this way they will blanch and become crisp and tender. The Witloof is the best variety and one packet of seed will be enough.
Corn Salad is one of the earliest vegetables to mature in the Spring. Sow the seed the last of September, and the middle of November cover with straw or leaves; uncover very early in the Spring and by the middle of April the tender leaves can be gathered for salad. Two packets of seed will be sufficient.
Sweet Corn, when really sweet and tender, is one of the most delicious of the many vegetables that Americans are blessed with.
Who, on returning in early Autumn from a Summer abroad, does not welcome it upon the daily menu with delight!
I remember, when spending a Winter in Berlin, a very grand luncheon where canned corn, an excellent variety, was served as an entree, and how nice it was! The hostess had been in America the year before and learned to know our corn, and had brought over a case of it. It was really funny to see how the high born dames enjoyed it and to hear them exclaim "ausgezeichnet!"
The ground for corn should be rich and cultivated deeply. Hills can be made in rows three feet apart each way. Plant four or five kernels in each hill and hoe the earth against the growing plants once every week until they are well grown. It is best to have three plantings: the first about May 10th, the second the first week in June, and the last about the third week in June. White Cory for the first crop, Crosby for the second, and Evergreen for the third,are as satisfactory as any of the varieties.
Borders and vine covered pergola July fifteenth.
One pint of seed for each planting will raise enough corn to supply a good sized family.
Cucumbers are tender plants which should not be sown in the open ground until May 20th; a second crop can be sown early in July. Make hills three to four feet apart each way and dig some old manure and a little wood ashes into the earth in the middle of each hill and plant four seeds in each.
One-half ounce of seed will plant twenty-five hills. Cucumber vines are apt to be infested with beetles, for which Bordeaux Mixture is the best antidote. In small gardens the easiest way to get rid of the creatures is by hand picking.
Egg Plants are very tender and the young plants must be started in the house or in hot-beds and should not be set out in the garden before the third week in May. They require a rich soil and will yield better if a small trowelful of nitrate of soda with a little bone meal added to it be dug about the plants toward the end of June.
Two packets of seeds should raise enough plants. Egg Plants are somewhat difficult to raise from seed and the beginner might better buy them.
Lettuce for very early crops can be started in the hot-bed or in boxes in sunny windows of the tool-house, and sown in the garden about the middle of April. Or it can be sowed in the open ground as soon as it is in condition to work. Sow the seed very sparsely and when well up thin out the plants to from six to eight inches apart.
Lettuce requires a rich and finely pulverized soil. Sowings can be made every two or three weeks until the middle of June, but if the Summer proves hot and dry it is well to intermit the sowings until August, when the last crop can be put in. Of the many varieties there are none better than Boston Market and Tennis Ball.
One-half ounce of seed will raise more than enough lettuce for a medium sized family.