This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Much of the success of the fruit grower comes from his ability to forsee consequences. The quick-eyed fellow sees at once when something is going wrong, and does not wait till the tree is dead to find out what is the matter. Perhaps the tree has made but three or four inches of growth when it should have made, as he well knows from experience, six or eight; or as it shows a tendency to mature leaves some weeks before the proper time. He examines the bark and finds it does not grow as freely as it ought to do. Instead of a glossy green, it is brown and dryish. Perhaps he finds that some fungus has partly girdled a branch, or a borer has entered it, - or that some accident has affected the root; and at once he proceeds to well understood rules of remedy. Again there may be a yellow tint not usual in the leaves, and generally this comes from root injuries either from insects or fungoid attacks, or perhaps borers. At any rate, the closest attention is required to look out for possible injuries in time to remedy. As fruits mature, birds will be found an awful pest. -It is little comfort to a fruit grower ta be told that the birds live on insects in early spring, if they take all your summer fruits in return.
In European countries, where birds abound to a greater extent than with us, they find it profitable to cover cherry and other trees with cheap fishing nets. In very large orchards, both there and here, there is little necessity for this, as there is enough to spare for the birds and the orchardist too. Boys are sometimes employed with clackers to make a noise and drive them away; but this would not probably scare an American bird. We once saw this plan tried at Rochester, New York, and noted that while the boy would be stooping to find stones, the robin would cut in, steal the cherries and be off again before the boy could send the stone after him, and seemed rather pleased with the exciting sport.
Peas for a fall crop may be sown. It is, however, useless to try them unless in a deeply trenched soil, and one that is comparatively cool in the hottest weather overhead, or they will certainly mildew and prove worthless. In England where the atmosphere is so much more humid than ours, they nevertheless have great difficulty in getting fall Peas to go through free from mildew; and to obviate these drying and mildew-producing influences, they often plant them in deep trenches, made as for Celery, and are then much more successful with them.
Cabbage and Brocoli may still be set out for fall crops, also requiring an abundance of manure to insure much success. Lettuce, where salads are much in request, may yet be sown. The Curled Indian is a favorite summer kind; but the varieties of Cos, or plain-leaved kinds are good. They take more trouble, having to be tied up to blanch well. Many should not be sown at a time, as they soon run to seed in hot weather.
At the end of June, some Celery may be set out for early crops, though for the main crop a month later will be quite time enough. It was once customary to plant in trenches dug six or more inches below the surface; but the poverty of the soil usually at this depth more than decreases the balance of good points in its favor. Some of our best growers now plant entirely on the surface, and depend on drawing up the soil, or the employment of boards or other artificial methods of blanching.
Beans produce an enormous crop in deeply trenched soils, and are improved as much as any crop by surface manuring. We hope thisjmethod of fertilizing the soil will be extensively adopted for garden crops this season. Those who have not yet tried it will be surprised at the economy and beneficial results of the practice.
Cucumbers for pickling may be sown this month, and endive for fall salad set out. Parsley for winter use may be sown now, in boxes of rich soil, and set in a cool shady place till it germinates.
Asparagus beds should not be cut off after the stalks seem to come up weak, or there will be but a poor crop the next season, and the beds will " run out" in a few years.
Tomatoes, after trying all kinds of trellises recommended, will be found to do best on stakes tied up singly. It is best to plant a strong pole as for Lima Beans, with the plants when first set out, and tie up as they grow. Marketmen generally let them grow as they will, on the ground, which perhaps, although not yielding as much, costs less labor, and may thus be most profitable.
The Swede Turnip or Ruta Baga should be sown about the end of the month. A well enriched piece of ground is essential, as by growing fast they get ahead of the ravages of the fly. Manures abounding in the phosphates - bone-dust, for instance, - are superior for the Turnip.
Sweet Potatoes must be watched, that the vines do not root in the ground as they run, which will weaken the main crop of roots. They should be gone over about once a month, and with a rake or pole, the vines disturbed somewhat from their position.
Herbs for drying for future use, should be cut just about the time they are coming into flower. Dry them in the shade, and after sufficiently dry to put away, tie them in bunches, and hang in a cool shed, or place them loosely between the paper, and stow away in cupboards or drawers, - the last mode is by far the cleanest and most approved plan with the best housekeepers. Some, indeed, powder the leaves at once after drying, and put them away in bags, ready for use.