This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Where attention has been given to close cropping, every part of the vegetable garden will be well filled up, and the produce in great abundance. While we advocate "profusion," we have no sympathy with "confusion." It is necessary that space for winter Spinach, Onions, and Cabbage should be left, or provided by lifting Potatoes or trenching down Strawberries which are done with. Open, deep ground, free from rank manure, suits Spinach well: it often dies off at the necks when manure is fresh and near the surface. When sowing is to be done, the ground should be well watered beforehand if necessary, and the seeds not allowed to lie exposed long in the sun before they are covered up. Lettuce should be sown to stand the winter from the beginning to the third week of the month. The further north the position the earlier should be the sowing. Brown Coss Hardy Hammersmith, and Brown Dutch are suitable for winter work. Lettuce (fit for use) should be in abundance now; and to do justice to that delicious vegetable, plenty of manure-water should be given. Shading is practised by some to get them crisp and sweet; but when wanted for culinary purposes, less attention is necessary. Sow and plant Endive; it requires blanching by tying up or placing flower-pots over the plants.
Turnips for late work may still be sown in quantities in the south. They will not grow to much in the north after this time, but they should be tried. Cauliflower for protecting may be sown from the beginning to the third week of the month. Any seedlings which are to stand the winter should be made sturdy by being pricked out of the seed-rows before they become drawn up weakly. Globe Artichokes should have flowering stalks taken off as soon as they are unfit for use, and weakly plants may be helped by manure-water. Beans and Peas may be saved for seed if they cannot be used up; but if not wanted, they should be cleared off at once. Scarlet Runners and French Beans should have the pods taken off before they show fruit, otherwise they will soon be brought to an end. Leeks and Celery will be greatly benefited by plenty of manure-water. They both may be earthed up to blanch them, keeping their hearts clear. Onions well forward may have their necks twisted to ripen them. Strip outer leaves of Parsley and pull out coarse plants, and endeavour to secure a large supply to stand the winter. A quantity placed where protection can be given may be valuable when ground is frozen or covered with snow.
Radish and other salads may be sown for some time to come, but still in small quantities and well watered; to keep these plentiful and good, much attention is required. Cucumbers and Melons require attention as formerly advised, keeping decaying leaves off and preventing the shoots from becoming matted. Dungbeds (if getting cold and weather unfavourable) may have a good lining placed round them. Melons ripening their fruit should have plenty of air and be kept dry.
Let all necessary nailing and tying of fruit-trees be attended to at once. Air and sun kept out at this season is much against the ripening of the wood; healthy clean foliage is of great importance. Fruits not netted are in great danger from the attacks of birds. Pick the fruit before it is over-ripe; go over it frequently so that none be lost. Bottles, in which is placed a little beer and sugar, will trap wasps and flies: hang them about the trees by their necks. Hexagon netting is very good for protection, as it lets in air and keeps out insects. Plant fresh plots of Strawberries; strong growing kinds on good deep ground require plenty of space apart. When the foliage becomes matted there is little chance of good supplies of fruit. Some kinds we find are not too close when planted 2 1/2 feet apart. Two or three years is long enough for the plants to bear fruit. We plant a piece and destroy a brake annually, which keeps the stock young and prepares the ground well for other crops. Runners not wanted should now be cleared off and the surface well cleaned.
If young plants cannot be had for planting, the best of the crowns of old plants reduced and planted on well-prepared soil will fruit well next season; ground and labour will be saved by this practice; but young plants are preferable for planting.
In the ornamental garden all will be gay and orderly, and to keep all neat and clean frequent attention is necessary. To leave the garden till it becomes rough and untidy requires more work to bring it right, besides never having the same appearance as when attended to often. Walks kept smooth and hard, grass well mown, and plants kept within bounds, is of much more importance to keeping than continued raking. The hoe should be kept going as long as it can be done, and drought will do little harm. Roses should be gone over frequently, and all decaying flowers taken off. Suckers require to be looked after sharply, on weakly growers especially. Cuttings of all sorts of bedding plants will require attention shortly. The young tops of healthy plants make the finest stock for keeping through the winter. A frame with sound lights answers well for most things, but free-growing Pelargoniums do well when planted in an open border full in the sun. When rooted they may be lifted and potted, or placed in their pots at once, and well attended to with water. Boxes or pans well drained, and some soil (sandy loam) placed firmly in them, is as easy a method as any of securing stock to be kept through the winter: Heliotropes and other tender things may be put in first.
Pelargoniums of the scarce kinds may also be seen to early. Pansies and Violets may be propagated behind a wall; handlights placed over them for a time will help them much. Chrysanthemums will now require attention with manure-water, especially those with their roots confined in pots. Carnations and Picotees to be layered should be finished at once. Pinks which are rooted may be planted out. Dahlias and Hollyhocks on poor ground require plenty of manure-water. All soft-wood plants in frames require frequent attention to keep them free from insects; keep the drainage clear, the surfaces clean, and if nights become cold give water in the morning. M. T.