Author of " The Farmers' Friend" " The Family Gardener" etc.
The appliances necessary for a small hold-ing naturally depend upon its area and the class of crops it is proposed to raise thereon. As the writer has already suggested, it will be more economical for the woman market gardener to engage outside labour for the purpose of ploughing, harrowing, or horse-rolling, should the land be of such extent as to warrant these operations; from ten shillings to fifteen shillings per day should be the inclusive charge for this work, and horse and man can get over considerable ground in a day's honest labour.
There are, however, an array of hand tools to be provided for the efficient working of one's market garden. As with everything else, it is false economy to buy second-rate tools and implements, but the professional gardener who buys in comparatively large quantities should receive a liberal discount on the customary retail charges. Spades should have wide, deep blades, ash handles, D-shaped for preference, and the metal strapping should be continued well up the haft of the tool for strength and durability. About four shillings is a fair price to pay for a spade of good quality. The digging-forks should be wide and deep in the tine, and large, round-tined forks should be purchased for use with manure. The former would cost 4s. each and the latter sixpence less.
Then there should be a goodly company of hoes for various uses. Hand-forged hoes are the more expensive, but in the long run the cheaper to buy, and they should be fitted to ash handles of good length. A six-inch hoe will be invaluable for earthing potatoes, ridging-up peas and beans and such tasks, and will cost eighteen-pence without the handle; four-inch hoes will be found
A two wheeled drill. used for sowing seed in a market garden. A brush and movable partition regulate the supply of seed passing through the coulter. Such drills cost about 15s. exceedingly useful, and with the smaller hoes those of the "swan-neck" pattern will be the most serviceable.
The gardener should have a three-cornered "draw" hoe, which, as its name implies, is for drawing drills for seed-sowing; also Dutch hoes, which are used with a pushing movement, are most useful. The latter tools are of service in breaking up the surface of land to prevent " caking."
Rakes should be of cast steel, for those with riveted teeth are a constant trouble. One good twelve-inch rake, or two at the most, should be sufficient, for this tool is not in great request in a market garden. Stout, roomy shovels, costing three shillings apiece, are necessary; a garden line and reel, at a couple of shillings complete; and one or two iron-shod dibbers, costing eightpence each, should also be provided.
A tool that is now in great favour with market gardeners is the wheel hoe and cultivator. It is a device with one large wheel and a long handle of suitable length. By affixing various tools at. the rear of the wheel, this implement can be utilised for hoeing, raking, opening drills, and also for ridging-up, and with soil in good tilth it is not so heavy that a woman would be exhausted by using it. The cost of these appliances varies with the number of attachments required. In its simplest form it will cost as little as fifteen shillings.
As every gardener knows, tools do not wear out, as a rule, but fall into disuse through sheer neglect. On a small holding, where profits depend largely upon economy, it must be the standing rule that tools and implements shall be put away clean and dry. This rule should be impressed upon any men one employs, and there should be a fixed place for every article, where it should always be found when not in use.
Strong wheelbarrows are necessary on a small holding; the iron ones are the cheaper buy, and will wear well, and are not so heavy to propel as the wooden articles. A supply of baskets, crates, sacks, and such materials should be laid in as required.
As for sheds and storage places, they are absolutely essential. Those of corrugated iron are quite serviceable, but round most homesteads there will usually be grouped a sufficiency of these buildings, either in the form of barns or stables or mere outhouses. One, at least, of them should be capable of being made frost-proof, for seed tubers of potatoes and other crops, to say nothing of fruit-trees waiting to be planted, will call for a structure of this nature.
Manure plays a most important part in the conduct of a market garden. For the majority of soils there is nothing to surpass stable refuse. The matter from cow-byres is excellent for very light soils, but pig manure is apt to encourage pests, and needs to be kept for a considerable time before use. Fowls' droppings should also be used sparingly, and then only when dry. Farmyard "muck"-to use the accepted term-is a good all round substance, but the fact remains that stable manure is the best. The short stuff is used for digging in, and matter containing a larger proportion of straw for the purpose of mulching, a practice that is followed with strawberries, rhubarb, and other crops.
Owing to the advent of so much motor traction, stable manure is more difficult to purchase than formerly, but in the neighbourhood of our great towns it is easily obtainable either by road, rail, or barge, the usual charge being three shillings per ton, to which must be added the final cartage charges. Under the most adverse circumstances the ultimate cost should not exceed six shillings per ton.