382. Its Location, Shape, and Shelter

The site chosen for the house and its surroundings largely determines the position of the vegetable and small-fruit garden. In Fig. 83 the garden is north of the bouse, but this may vary with the frontage to the road and the character of the land and its slope. The garden soil should not be stiff clay, nor with too great a per cent of sand. But where possible soil that will work well should be selected, with porous subsoil that will permit the ascent of moisture from below (96. Selection of Soil and Subsoil). But if Nature has not provided the desired soil conditions it may often be improved by tiling and manuring. When possible, the slope should be to the south or southeast. On even a slight southerly slope, with shelter at the north, the soil can be worked earlier in the spring and the growth will be more rapid than on even a very slight northern inclination. If the soil is a trifle sandy, is well manured, and has the needed slope and shelter on the north, the conditions will favor early crops of vegetables, including such subtropical ones as tomatoes, egg-plant, beans, corn, and melons. If in addition an irrigating reservoir (401. Reservoirs with Puddled Bottoms) is made on the north side to provide water in time of need, the late crops will be favored, and sometimes, in the humid States, the early ones. A retentive clay loam will not prove so easy to work as the sandy loam, but it will stand drought better, and will soon be much improved by repeated application of well composted manure. The form of an oblong parallelogram is adopted for the ordinary farm or suburban garden to permit longer rows for horse culture. Even in ordinary village lots, where a family horse is kept, it pays richly to use the one-. horse cultivator in the garden.

In Fig. 83 the shelter on the north is given by the orchard. Where this is not possible a near-by shelter can be provided to protect from low wind-sweep. Market-gardeners often erect tight board fences to take the place of evergreens or trees until the latter can be grown. Garden vegetables, strawberries, and raspberries protected from the northerly winds of the early part of the season will not only make quicker and healthier growth on account of lessened evaporation and more heat, but they will be less troubled by mildew and other fungous troubles.

It must be kept in mind in home development that the properly managed kitchen-garden is the most profitable part of the farm or the suburban-residence lots. It will soon show the superiority of home-grown vegetables and small fruits over the stale products of the market, and that the free use of garden products will do more towards preserving the health of the family than the specifics of the drug-store or the visits of the doctor.