Supposing the ground to be in the condition left by the winter's digging, it will require some preparation before it is fit for sowing seeds. The first caution I would give is not to tread or work it in any way while it is in a wet condition. The object of laying up soil in a rough state in winter is to get it thoroughly pulverised by the action of the weather. But if you commence working it while it is in a wet condition, you not only neutralise all the good effects of the weather, but you will find it dry very slowly. But supposing it to be in fair working order, the best way to begin preparing light and medium soils, which are in good condition for sowing upon, is to level the rough surface with a Dutch-hoe. A majority of amateurs use a rake; but a rake is a very bad tool for the purpose - it makes too fine a surface, thus excluding the drying influence of air and sun, and it fails to stir beneath the surface. If the soil be heavy, or if it be new soil, over which a layer of rotten manure has been spread, to afford food for the seedlings in their first stages, as advised in our last paper, then the use of the fork will be necessary, so as to thoroughly break and mix the soil.

If very stony, the stones should be thrown out in the process, and afterwards carefully raked with a good wide-toothed rake (the new American kind is best), with as little treading of feet as possible, especially at the early season of the year. "Where the soil is very poor, and when no rotten manure is forked into the surface, a sprinkling of guano ought to be given; and if part is thus dressed and part not, the difference will be very marked. Rather delay putting in seeds at all than put them in to an ill-prepared or pasty soil. Seeds sown in soil and battered in generally rot; and when they do grow, they come up weakly and unhealthy. Study the calendars and the weather, especially the latter. Gardeners who have to keep up an unbroken supply of table vegetables have to try many shifts to forward crops, such as sowing seeds while standing on boards placed between the rows, to obviate treading the soil, and afterwards covering in with dry light soil kept in store for the purpose.

Broad Beans may be sown any time now, when the soil is in good condition, without any fear for their safety. Draw drills 2 1/2 or 3 inches deep, and from 2 to 2 1/2 feet asunder, according to kinds, dropping in the seeds at from 3 to 4 inches apart. In finishing off, do not rake too finely unless the soil is naturally very dry - even then it is best to leave a rough but neat surface.


A few may be sown at the end of the month to succeed autumn-sown ones, which may now be transplanted should the weather prove fine.


A few seeds may be sown, but they had better be protected by hand-lights on cold frames.

Brussels Sprouts and Savoys we always sow at this season in boxes placed in cold frames, and afterwards prick them out whenever the first rough leaf is developed, keeping them close to the glass, and well aired in fine weather to prevent drawing.

Leeks may be sown by the end of the month. To grow the great monsters seen at autumn shows in Scotland, sow in heat in pots, prick out when the second leaf shows, and pot on when necessary, hardening off in time to get them planted in very rich soil about the middle of May. Very fine crops can be raised by sowing on a slight hotbed at the end of this month. They will be ready to plant out at the end of May. By this means a small spot of ground, if rich, will raise an astonishing amount of the finest Leeks.


Sow the main crop if the situation be good, and the soil light and in fine working condition, otherwise wait till next month. A sprinkling of wood-ashes and soot will help the crop.


If none has been sown, get in the first as soon as the soil is in good condition for sowing, and a second sowing soon after.


Sow by the end of the month if possible, but wait till the beginning of March if the soil be cold and wet.

Parsley may be sown, and Lettuces, Cress, Mustard, and small saladings generally, may be sown in a warmer corner. If they can be helped with glass coverings the produce will be earlier and finer. Mustard and Cress in shallow boxes can be forwarded very well in the kitchen window.

It may be useful to add that seeds should not be huddled together in heaps, but should be sown so that each plant will be perfectly free of its fellow. Give everything plenty room for development. A foot between rows of Onions, Leeks, Parsley, Lettuce, Mustard, Cress, and suchlike, according to the richness of the soil, will be about an average distance. Amateurs generally sow Peas too close. When sown among other things, allow 3 feet from the roots of Peas to the next row of any other crop. If the south-west winds strike the garden, allow 3 1/2 or 4 feet in the lee side of rows, if they run south and north (as they should), and subtract the extra distance from the windward side. If in breaks by themselves, allow from 6 to 8 feet, according to the kinds, between the rows; but most of the varieties recommended are dwarf-growing, and 6 feet will do. A Villa Gardener.