Sometimes it is a help to put a little wet Sphagnum moss on the top of the pot under the piece of glass, or the pot may be covered with paper. The great thing to aim at with all seeds, whether large or small, is to try to keep the soil sufficiently moist, without having to water them until they begin to grow. This is difficult, well-nigh impossible, with those seeds which are a long time in the soil before they germinate. Still, this is what should be aimed at. Once they are up, it is necessary to water very gently. A good way is to put a small piece of sponge in the hole at the bottom of a flower-pot, and then fill the pot with water of the same temperature as the greenhouse, and move it about so that the water dribbles gently through. With large seeds it is always a good plan to soak them twenty-four hours in tepid water before sowing them. An excellent way of handling very small seedlings is to take a little bit of bamboo, bend it in two like a pair of tweezers, and lay the seedlings on a piece of paper; it is then quite easy to handle the smallest seedlings without injury.

The three or four weeks of severe frosty weather in March has made us very short of vegetables. I never buy when I have not guests, as feeling the pinch makes one alive to one's deficiencies, and causes one to manage better another year. So I thought I would try and see how I liked the root we grow for the cows. We have plenty left, as the winter has been so mild. It is Sutton's Mangold Wurzel, a yellow kind. We boiled it till tender, whole like a beetroot, and when hot cut it into slices, and ate it with cold butter. It was excellent. In texture it was like a Beetroot; in taste, half like a sweet Potato, half like a Chestnut. When Mangolds are young they mash like Turnips.

Early this month Hops begin to show through the ground. When the shoots are about six or eight inches high, before the leaves develop, they can be picked, tied together in a bundle, and cooked exactly like green Asparagus. They have not much taste, but are pleasant in substance, and are supposed on the Continent to be exceedingly wholesome. A vegetable called 'Good King Henry' is worth growing to eat in the same way, and later the leaves cook like Spinach.

It is also worth knowing that at this time of year, when vegetables are scarce in the country, the fresh green leaves of Rhubarb - generally thrown away - make an excellent vegetable dressed like Spinach, either with or without a little butter.

One of the great difficulties in a light soil is a continuous supply of Spinach, and gardeners never will sow a sufficient succession in dry weather, when it must be watered. It has a great tendency to run to seed. In Sutton's book 'The Culture of Vegetables and Flowers' he faces the difficulty and gives instruction for its remedy very efficiently. No other Spinach approaches in excellence the real one, Spinacia oleracea; but for an extension of the supply two others should be grown in every fair-sized kitchen garden. The New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia cxpansa) flourishes in the hottest weather, and is best started in a box under glass. The perpetual Spinach or Spinach Beet (Beta cicla) is a most valuable plant for its continuous supply of leaves. Sutton says: 'When the leaves are ready for gathering they must be removed, whether wanted or not, to promote continuous growth.' This is the case with a good many vegetables - Garden Cress, Watercress, Chicory, etc. I shall give special attention this year to sowing Spinach in all sorts of places. Aspect and shade make so much difference in the rapidity with which things grow!

Purslane is a vegetable often not sown in English gardens, but it makes a good summer salad, and is useful in soup or dressed as Spinach.

Last year I tried growing several kinds of Potatoes - five or six varieties recommended by Sutton - but I do not think any turned out better than, if as well as, Sutton's 'Magnum Bonum,' which we have grown for years. 'Ring-leader' is the one we grow for the first early Potatoes; and a red waxy Potato, whose name I do not know, is most useful for cooking in some ways. All must find out for themselves what Potatoes suit their soils best, as it is a subject deserving every attention and care.

The small, round button Onions so much used abroad are often omitted in English gardens, though they are merely the result of not thinning out the crop at all. Choose a piece of poor, dry ground; make this fine on the surface; sow in the month of April, thickly but evenly; cover lightly; roll or tread, to give a firm seed-bed. If sown shallow, the bulbs will be round. Besides looking much prettier when braised, this small kind keeps much better through the winter than when made to grow large by thinning.

We grow two kinds of Sorrel now - one with a small round leaf, and the other the large-leaved ordinary garden kind. It is quite easy, for those who like the vegetable, to lift plants in the spring and grow them on in a frame or greenhouse. It is a thing there is always difficulty about buying, and it is not much liked by English people. It wants to be freshly gathered and well dressed.

There are endless numbers of books on poultry within the reach of everybody; and lately in Ward, Lock & Co.'s collection of penny handbooks, one has been issued on poultry which is quite useful. But, like all modern books, it is a little above the ordinary keeper of cocks and hens for domestic purposes, making the matter appear unnecessarily difficult. Having a good big field for them to run in here, and the soil being dry and light, I have not had disease amongst my poultry. Among the list of horrible diseases given in this penny book we come to the following sentence: 'Egg-eating. - This is rather a vice than a disease, and very troublesome to cure.' The author then gives a cruel account of punishment to be used, in the hopes of disgusting the offender. This is an excellent instance of the trend of modern thought. Egg-eating is, I am sure, solely the result of giving the poor hens an insufficient quantity of the food required by Nature to make their shells hard. Disease among animals is much the same as among people, and is produced often by large quantities of food, but of an improper kind. Diseased poultry means overcrowding, over-feedirig - in fact, the fault lies in the way they are managed. Hereditary vice may, we hope, in hens at any rate, be left out of the question. Another thing the author suggests is that when a fowl is killed the entrails should be given to the pigs. This is absolutely wrong in my opinion, as pigs are essentially vegetarians, and unclean feeding is apt to make them diseased, which is very serious for the eaters of pork.

One is always being asked, Does keeping poultry pay? I never keep strict accounts of what things cost me. Nothing one does at home ever pays, unless one looks into it entirely oneself. I only bring the rules of ordinary common-sense and proportion to bear on the matter.

For early egg-laying it is, I think, desirable to have some of the southern breeds, such as Leghorns, Spanish, etc.

I know very little about my own poultry, as I cannot make pets of things that have to be killed, and they are entirely managed by my gardener and his wife. The following is their account of what they do, and they certainly have been very successful: 'We set the hens as early in January as we can on about nine eggs, as the weather is cold; on thirteen eggs later, being careful that the eggs should not have been frosted. We make the nests of hay in the henhouse, which is a warm one. The early-hatched chicks are best for autumn killing, as they begin to lay about July for a short time, and then stop laying till the next spring. The sitting hens are fed once a day on barley, about a handful to each hen; the little chickens on grits the first day, and then on oatmeal about every three hours. When they are about a fortnight old they have a little barley in the middle of the day. The mother hen is kept cooped up away from the other fowls till the chicks are about six weeks old, when they all run in the field. March- and April-hatched birds we keep for stock, as they make the best fowls and layers about October. We shut up the pullets in a run for laying. We keep no hens older than two years, and have fresh cockerels every year. We feed the stock-fowls twice a day - on soft food in the morning, and barley in the afternoon. The fowl-houses are white-washed every spring, and kept cleaned out twice a week, and the floors dusted with slack lime. The fowls have a good field to run in, so they get plenty of grass. The shut-up pullets require plenty of grit and greenstuff, and they are fond of a Mangold to pick at. Fowls are very fond of bones or scraps, or anything that amuses them. It is very bad for fowls to be dull. When we see a fowl not eating or not looking well, we keep it apart for a day or two, give it a dose of castor oil, and, if not soon better, we kill and bury it;' I am sure this is a better plan than trying to doctor sick birds. I know no more miserable sight than unhealthy poultry. We rear a few ducks every year, but kill them in the summer, as they are great consumers of food.

In October I always buy, as I have said before, three or four young turkeys, and have them fed here for Christmastime. It saves three or four shillings on each bird. Any fowls that are going to be killed ought to be shut up for twelve hours without food. Turkeys and geese require rather longer. Home-grown poultry is much better not plucked or cleaned out till just before cooking. Very young chickens are best eaten quite freshly killed.