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.
Much of the work in the vegetable garden at present will be, carrying out what could not be attended to last month - such as the planting out of Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Celery, Leeks, and many other kinds of vegetables, for supplying the table in autumn, winter, and spring. For autumn use a quick growth is desirable; but crops, especially Broccolis, wliicli are expected to stand a severe winter, are safest when the growth is sturdy and only medium. And ground which is light and rich, and in good condition by having been well worked for other crops, may be cleared off and planted without turning it over. We have seen excellent Kale and Broccoli produced by this treatment. We have often practised this after Winter Spinach with good results; and some plant their Broccoli after Strawberries, only clearing the ground, and some time afterwards the whole surface is forked over, and manure applied if necessary. This is said to be a sure way of escaping "clubbing." But in old heavily-manured gardens we would use every means to keep grubs, etc, in check by using lime-water freely.
While speaking of not breaking up ground at this season, we heard the other day from a nobleman's gardener that he had seen excellent crops of Winter Spinach grown on ground only cleared of weeds and the previous crop, the drills drawn, and the seed sown in the usual way. We recommend this "hint" to many who are never able to secure a crop of Winter Spinach. This vegetable often dies off at the neck, which may sometimes be attributed to rank manure being used immediately before planting. Our system of growing this useful vegetable is to trench deeply a piece of ground after Strawberries or Potatoes, using no manure except a little soot turned into the surface; and we find no difficulty in securing fine crops. We sow three times between the end of July and first week of September. In the south good Pease may be sown from the beginning to the middle of the month. Early kinds are most suitable. Little Gem, or some other early dwarf kind, may be sown on an early spot where it can be protected with hoops and mats in autumn. Early frost, succeeded by cold rains, puts an end to Pease in the midst of their bearing, while dwarf kinds protected may be kept on for some time.
Stake growing crops before they fall over at the necks; and if the ground is poor and light, mulching and good soakings of manure-water should be liberally supplied, otherwise mildew and short supplies of good Pease may be expected. Strong-growing kinds should be topped if growing too freely. Celery which has been planted out for some time will take almost any quantity of water, but thorough soakings at longer intervals are preferable to frequent dribblings. Lettuce, American and Golden Cress, Radish, and Endive seed may be sown for autumn supply. Cool, well-moistened ground suits best, and often prevents the crops going to seed as soon as they come through the ground. Scarlet and French Beans should have the pods picked off before they show the seeds in them. Attention to this and plenty of water will keep up a supply much longer; but frequently sowing a small piece gives the least trouble, only ground cannot be spared in every garden. Now is a good time to sow a late crop in the south; but in more northern districts, where nights are cold at any period of the year, protection as recommended for dwarf Pease is necessary. We seldom ever did much with those sown after June, but have in Wiltshire, Suffolk, Berks, and Middlesex seen good crops from August sowings.
Mild autumns have much to do with this. "We often have a frame sown, so that late gatherings may be had. Turnips may be sown in quantity on firm ground. If the weather should be dry and hot, the drills should be well watered before the seed is cast in, and the whole space may require a soaking (with a rose on the pot) if rain does not fall. Potatoes require to be kept thoroughly clean, and if the young tubers are too near the surface a little earth should be drawn over them; but we have long since lost faith in drawing earth up in sharp ridges to the stems of Potatoes or any other crops, except in wet low-lying localities. Cabbage which have been cut can be left to sprout. It is an old plan to give a good top-dressing of manure and plenty of water, and allow the Cabbage to remain for an autumn supply; but where ground can be spared, planting frequently is most satisfactory. The middle of this month and next is usually considered a good time to sow (in the north) for winter and spring supplies, and those planted out now will come in useful through the autumn. Three weeks or so later (in each case) answers in the south.
We sow from the middle of July to the end of August, which keeps up a supply all the season; and a sowing in March and April will keep up a continued succession of young sweet heads. A sowing of Early Horn Carrots may be made now, if they are required for drawing young. Tomatoes require going over frequently, taking off useless growths. When they are kept dwarf, stopping the shoots above the flowers must be practised, but prevent them from being crowded. When the main shoot can be allowed to run, and the side shoots kept off, abundance of fine fruit can be had. Free quick growth gives the finest produce. Those grown in pots require mulching and manure-water. The flowers should be thinned when they are too thick. To prevent bad setting and deformed fruit, thinning is of great importance.
Attention to fruit-trees must now be given in earnest, especially where the trees are young and not come to the desired size and shape. Stop strong growths, and remove those not required. This is necessary for those on walls and standards both. The more attention given in the early stages of growth, the sooner will the trees be in a bearing state. It is desirable to get Pears, Apples, and Cherries studded with fruit-spurs. We have before hinted that some do nothing to their trees till the end of the season, and success is pretty sure; but in these cases, wherever we have seen such trees, they have exhausted all the soil within their reach, and are at a standstill after having covered a large surface; or when the trees are of a smaller size suitable for gardens, they have been lifted, root-pruned, and otherwise handled to promote fruitfulness, and then summer-pruning is not of so much consequence, except where tidiness is a consideration. We wish we could find time to do all our pruning in summer. Some stunted trees require all the growth they make to keep them in health; in such cases mulching and soakings of manure-water are of great service, or lift them at the proper season and place the roots in healthy soil. Cherries we find more difficult to renovate than any other trees.