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.
Less trouble with Chicory is necessary, as the young tops blanched in winter is all that is wanted; we find this one of our most valuable salads in winter, especially if Lettuces and Endive are scarce. Leeks may be planted as soon as they will handle nicely ; a wide trench dug out and well manured as for Celery, say 4 feet wide, and the manure turned in as thickly as possible. Let the Leeks have wide deep holes, leaving them clear in their hearts, and as they grow a little earth can be placed round them. It is the blanched part which is most valued, and the longer the white is the better the produce. Ridges for Leeks and Celery may be together, as they are both winter crops; single rows of Celery may be preferred, which is just throwing the soil (a spade deep and 1 foot wide) right and left, and giving plenty of decayed manure. Kidney Beans may now be sown, and any raised under protection may be planted out; covering at night with large flower-pots may be necessary to protect them from frost. Lettuce may be sown thinly where it is to stand, and the thinnings planted in a cool shady position will give a succession; plenty of manure and deep soil are required if fine crisp Lettuces are wanted.
Onions may be thinned out from 4 to 8 inches in the rows, but where bulbs 15 to 18 inches in circumference are wanted, 1 foot apart is not too much; dustings of guano and soot in showery weather will help their growth. Radishes of sorts, to keep up a supply, should be sown at short intervals ; the Turnip kinds stand the heat best; in hot weather, heavy soakings of water are necessary to grow them crisp and palatable. Small Salads, such as Mustard and Cress, may be sown anywhere, but dryness and scorching sun give toughness and a strong taste to them. Golden and American Land Cress are good substitutes for Water Cress. Spinach will do well sown between bushes, or any vegetable crops which will not cover the space for some time; on dry poor ground Spinach runs very quickly to seed. Turnips may for some time be sown in moderate quantities. Swedes and American Red Stone sown on cool soil at the end of the month will keep up an autumn and winter supply; the Swedes are hardy, and do well for latest. Scarlet Runners, like French Beans, require good rich soil, plenty of water when fruiting, and the pods picked off before they get old, otherwise the plants soon become exhausted; rows topped down, to keep them dwarf, give large supplies all the season through; rows planted and well staked like Peas hide any unsightly portion of the garden, and are very ornamental.
Attention now, and for some weeks to come, will do much to secure well-grown wall fruit-trees, as well as to keep them fruitful, and save the knife in winter, which often proves disastrous to stone-fruit trees. Continue to take off all shoots coming straight out from the main branches, and if any strong watery growths have to be left to fill up space, stop them, and throw one shoot into three or four. The bearing-shoots left for next year on Morello Cherries, Peaches, Plums, and Apricots should be close to the base of present bearing-shoots - one or two are enough, and a top-shoot left to lead up the sap for the fruit this season; a number of natural spurs may be formed, which, when well placed to the walls, are very valuable. A number of the top-shoots may be taken off Apples and Pears; doing a portion every few weeks gives no check, and at winter-pruning the work is made so simple that any one with the least instruction can do it. However, summer-pruning has always to be done according to strength of growth. In ordinary orchards, where trees can grow large and free, the case is quite different to gardens where space and order are objects, as well as plenty of fine fruit.
We like to see trees, when established, form large firm leaves, little wood, and the bark be free from moss and canker: plenty of fibre growing in good healthy soil near the surface always secures this. If insects of any kind show themselves, a handful or two of Pooley's tobacco-powder, placed in a large potful of water and syringed on finely, will do much to keep off vermin. "We have used this powder to some extent dry this season: in the late Peach-house here, about 100 feet long, a man went all over it in a few hours, throwing pinches of the dust over the young shoots, many of which were attacked with aphis, and threatened to be thoroughly infested with the vermin; but no further harm has been done, and the trees are now in full flower. Tobacco-smoke might have done harm, as many plants are in flower and Strawberries in fruit. Gooseberries and Currants may be kept free from caterpillar and "fly" by timely use of tobacco-powder and Clarke's insect-destroyer, if carefully syringed from under side of the bushes.
Many of the fruit-trees planted lately will require a soaking of water and careful mulching - syringing overhead is beneficial in dry weather.
Roses will be making rapid progress. Grubs will be found among some of them, and will eat out the hearts of the flowers if not attended to in time. Syringe when fly appears, as recommended for fruit-bushes. Suckers should be taken clean off as soon as they appear. Plant out Violets in all spare corners - such as the base of walls, by margins of shrubberies, etc. When we place them where soil is bad, a hole is dug out and filled with good loam, then the plants have plenty to support them, and bloom abundantly. Suckers which are rooted answer best; but often when suckers are scarce we divide and replant the old plants, which always bloom abundantly. For forcing, Violets can be placed on a bed of earth above faggots of wood, and a lining of dung placed round in winter, after fitting a shallow glazed frame over the plants. Lifting good plants from borders answers well, but these are not always comeatable by amateurs with small means. Asters, Stocks, and other plants may be kept in reserve to fill up vacancies in borders, etc.; good breadths of them planted out about the middle of the month come in useful for show and cutting.
All bedding-out plants - such as Pelargoniums, Verbenas, etc. - should now have as much air and light as possible, using no protection except to exclude frost; but if newly out of heat or shade of other plants, exposure must be given gradually. After the 20th, planting out may begin with the hardier sorts - such as Calceolarias, Gazanias, Centaurias, and others. Keep plants such as Perilla, Heliotropes, and Dahlias to the last. Slight frosts would ruin them. We are not favourable to planting when ground is very wet, as the earth cannot be placed kindly next the roots. Let the balls of soil be moist when planting is done, and little water may be required; but if it is given, give enough to wet the whole bed, and apply the hoe freely as soon as it can be done properly. Chrysanthemums should be potted on into good turfy loam, and a little sand as soon as the pots get filled with roots. If they become pot-bound, much injury will be done: plunge the pots so that the sun will not burn up the roots. Tulips may now be shaded from sun. If nights are frosty, protection will be necessary. Bedding plants may be turned out of their pots in loose soil, keeping the balls together, and kept growing where protection can be given till beds can be cleared of bulbs, etc.
Balsams and Cockscombs to flower under glass will require potting as the roots reach the sides of the pots; this, however, with Cockscombs, is when the flowers have shown themselves. Air, light, and gentle bottom-heat are necessary till they are ready for flowering, then cooler treatment suits them. Give plenty of liquid manure when they are blooming. It answers well to sow Balsams now for late blooming. All flowering-plants will now be making active growth. They require more water, but allow none to become sodden, and avoid wetting surfaces of pots and allowing the principal roots at bottom to perish from drought. This often happens with Heaths, Azaleas, and other hard-wooded plants. Use tepid water for the more tender things. Window-plants require sprinkling overhead frequently, after dry dusty days. Keep surfaces stirred and free from moss and weeds. M. T.