Potatoes should be dug as soon as the haulm decays, allowing them to lie a few hours outside until they are dry. Any diseased haulm must be burnt at once. A cool, dry cellar will be suitable for storage, frost being ex-eluded. If potatoes are to be "clamped " - i.e., laid in ridges, covering first with straw and then with soil from the ridge - this should not be in a too damp place, and if in large quantities, place two or three 4-inch drain-pipes upright on the top of the ridge, covering the tops with a tile.
The fruits of tomatoes will need thinning if too abundant. Side-shoots must be removed', and the leader stopped, but do not mutilate the remaining leaves, as this only weakens the constitution of the plant. Fruits may finish ripening in a greenhouse or sunny window. This practice will help the remaining fruits to swell.
Gathering and storing fruit will be continued this month. After the crop has been taken of Morello cherries, crowded shoots, and those which have borne, will benefit by some thinning. Lifting and root-pruning may begin towards the end of the month, so that the trees may become established before winter.
Autumn raspberries will need protection from birds and wasps. Give a good soaking of liquid manure to help swell the fruits. Gather and preserve blackberries and loganberries as soon as ripe. Alpine and other autumn fruiting strawberries should be gathered early, and new beds prepared when needed. Deep digging and manuring are needed here, as the plants may be expected to go on for three years. Strawberry runners of earlier varieties may still be planted. Thin out the berries of outdoor vines.
Cucumbers and tomatoes should be kept moving on, and top-dressed plentifully. Do not over-crop the plants. Keep a watch for insect pests, and destroy them before they get a firm hold.
Mushrooms. Make up beds for autumn and winter use, covering with hay or straw to maintain the temperature and prevent evaporation.
Economising with the Land - Fertilisers and Tonic Solutions - Seed-buying and Seed-saving Waste Matter - Flowers that Pay
When one is occupying land for profit, whether by the cultivation of flowers, fruit, or vegetables, there must be no wastage. To allow a plot to lie idle is equivalent to paying rent for nothing, which is neither practical nor business-like.
It has been the writer's experience that a plan of one's ground, however rough the drawing may be, is of inestimable help in such matters. Then in the evenings one can study the plan and apportion the crops to particular sections/so that as one comes and goes another may take its place without delay, and also without distressing an adjacent crop. For instance, the land that wallflowers have occupied all the winter may be utilised for shasta daisies in their first season, and when sweet-peas are uprooted their place may be taken by wallflowers. The aim should be to plan this succession of crops scientifically; for just as one fills plots in a vegetable garden with a rotation of crops, so must one avoid growing one variety of flower year after year on the same section.
Another point is to carefully study the nature and habit of the individual flower classes. Where one will succeed on a dry bank facing south, another requires an easterly aspect. Violets, for instance, when not grown in frames, like a somewhat shady place, whilst sweet-williams thrive best in the open in the full sun. Matters like these are not to be studied in cold type, and a knowledge of them comes with experience coupled with clear reasoning. Certainly, the woman who wishes to grow flowers for profit will have to scheme and plan, and actually to find ideas, as much as her sister who is creating fashions or evolving stories. In gardening, as in other vocations, brains play the most important part, and the spadework which follows is, after all, merely mechanical.
It. stands to reason that for land to grow flowers to perfection it must be "in good heart," to use a technical phrase. In other words, it must be rich in those properties that plant life requires, it must be friable, well dug, and under perfect cultivation. The quantity of manure actually used must depend largely upon the crop required, and it is a fact that certain plants thrive better where there is little dung. As an example, the common nasturtium, if grown in highly manured soil, will produce an abundance of foliage but few blooms, whilst if seed be sown in mere rubbish delightful flower's will be the result.
Generally speaking, however, well-manured land is required for the raising of blooms for market, and, in addition, fertilisers must in many cases be provided. Cow manure is the best substance to use when dealing with very light soils, but in the case of the heavier staples there is nothing to better ordinary stable refuse. When one has to deal with a stiff, cold clay, ashes (particularly those from a bonfire), sand, and strawy litter should be employed liberally till they effect a considerable lightening.
Most forms of flowering plants are benefited by nitrate of soda, but the applications must be made very sparingly, as the chemical is exceedingly strong; the best plan is to dissolve a teaspoonful of the nitrate in a gallon of water, and apply in this manner. A pinch of guano acts as a splendid stimulant to plant life, and it may be administered either in water or by being scattered on the ground and lightly hoed in. Then there is lime, which is of the greatest importance, releasing natural gases from the ground, assisting root action, and keeping the soil free and sweet. Lime should be applied sparingly, and dug into the ground as circumstances demand; it should be merely dusted over the surface till the ground assumes a whitish appear ance.