This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Mignonette is of easy cultivation when once its requirements are understood. Some potfuls are useful and acceptable for decoration at all times, but especially in the spring and early summer; it can then be obtained in greatest perfection. During hot weather Mignonette has a tendency to produce seed so fast, that its beauty is soon lost. It is grown largely and well in the London market garden's, and it is but reasonable to suppose that equally good results should be obtained by winter cultivation away in the country where the atmosphere is much clearer. The earlier the seed is sown in September the better, as the plants then get tolerably strong and are better enabled to withstand the winter. It is best to sow in the pots in which the plants are intended to flower. These should be five inches or six inches in diameter, and be used clean and well drained. A good propor. tion of old mortar mixed with rather heavy loam and some dried cow manure I find to be an excellent compost. This can scarcely be rammed too hard in the pots if used somewhat dry, as the roots when once started will penetrate the hardest of soils.
In filling the pots care must be taken that the whole of the soil forms one mass, for if it be rammed in separate layers, neither the roots nor water pass through it so freely. A little of the same soil should be sifted for covering the seed after it has been sown. The latter, if good, will only require sowing thinly, and the pots may be placed in any cold frame until the end of October. Abundance of air should be admitted after the plants appear, and these should be gradually thinned out to six or eight, according to the size of the pot. It is not advisable to thin too much in the autumn, as some of the plants are liable to die away in the winter. Those selected should be the strongest and most evenly placed over the surface. Mignonette is best kept through the winter in a cool place where all available light can be obtained and air admitted on favorable occasions. It should not be encouraged to grow in mid-winter, as it then becomes so weak, neither should it be exposed to dry fire heat. A position near the glass in a house where Carnations, Bouvardias, and such like plants flower in winter suits it admirably, as the circulation of air admitted by the laps of the glass prevents injury to the Mignonette by the necessary fire heat in severe weather. - Garden.