Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris)

641. Culture

Thyme (Figure 105) is a popular herb used for seasoning. It may be propagated by means of seeds, root divisions and layers. The plants should stand about 6 inches apart in the row, the distance between rows depending upon the method of cultivation. It thrives in any good soil. The leaves are picked and sold at once or dried and preserved for winter sales.

Turnip (Brassica Rapa)

661. History And Importance

This cruciferous vegetable originated in Europe or Asia. When planted early in the spring it is an annual, but when grown in the fall the roots must be stored during the winter and replanted the following spring for the production of seed. It is one of the most important of the root crops, grown extensively as a fall crop and to some extent for early summer use.

662. Soil

Like other root crops, the finest specimens are grown in sandy soils, although the crop is produced in a wide range of soil types. To secure large yields and high quality it must be fertile and constant in supply of moisture until the roots have attained a marketable size.

663. Climate

The turnip thrives best in a cool, moist climate. As only 6 to 8 weeks are required from seed sowing till maturity, it may be grown successfully in the most northern cultivated sections. The leaves are hardy and the roots may be left unprotected in the open ground until there is danger of hard freezing weather.

664. Varieties

White-fleshed varieties are in most common use although the yellow-fleshed sorts are preferred by some. In shape the roots are oblate, oval, spherical or conical. Formerly the flat varieties were generally grown, but the markets now prefer the more spherical forms. Some of the most popular varieties in cultivation are White Milan, Red or Purple Top (Strap Leaf), White Flat Dutch (Strap Leaf), Purple Top White Globe, White Egg and Yellow Globe.

665. Seed Sowing

For the early crop, sow the seed as soon as the ground can be prepared; for the late crop, sow in the latter part of July or early in August, depending upon locality. The rows may be 12 to 18 inches apart if a wheel hoe is to be used in cultivating, and 26 to 30 if a horse cultivator is to be employed. The tend-dency is to sow the seed too thickly, and thus necessitate a large amount of labor in thinning. If one good seed is dropped to every inch of furrow the stand should be satisfactory; even then thinning will be required. For the early crop the plants should be about 2« to 3 inches apart, while for the larger late varieties 4 or 5 inches between plants in the row will not be too much space. The seeds should be planted from « to ¾ inches deep. For the late crop the seed is often sown broadcast in well-prepared soil, and then raked in very lightly. This is a favorite plan on general farms, where roots are wanted for stock feeding and also for the home table.

When roots of uniform size and high quality are desired for market, it is much better to sow in drills, so that cultivating, weeding and thinning can be properly attended to.

666. Fertilizing

See notes for beets (323).

667. Harvesting

See notes for beets (325).

668. Enemies

Club root is the most serious disease. See notes on club root of cabbage (367). Maggots are also destructive sometimes. The application of carbolic acid emulsion is the most effective treatment (133). The emulsion is injected into the soil about the roots. This is rather tedious and expensive to practice on a large commercial scale. Turnips should always be grown in rotation with the noncrucifers to avoid losses from the attacks of insects and diseases.

Watermelon (Citrullus Vulgaris)

669. History

The watermelon is native to Africa and has been cultivated since remote antiquity. Although a popular dessert vegetable in many parts of the world, it has met with greatest favor in the United States.

670. Importance

The watermelon is an important crop in every southern state and from some sections of the South it is shipped north in enormous quantities. Arizona and other western states are developing the industry. All of the northern states produce this cucurbit to some extent. It might be grown more largely, however, in the less favorable parts of the country were proper cultural methods adopted.

671. Varieties

Rane (N. H. Sta. Bul. 86, p. 95) prepared a system of classification which should be familiar to students of vegetable gardening. The analytical key contains the following six classes, according to the color or markings of the skin: (1) Light Green Class, (2) Medium Green Class, (3) Dark Green Class, (4) Light Striped Class, (5) Dull Striped Class, and (6) Mottled Green Class. Each class is divided into two or three types. Many distinct varieties are offered by our seedsmen, the following being largely planted:

Kleckley Sweet or Monte Cristo, exceedingly popular in many melon-growing districts, is a large, oval, dark green, somewhat mottled, melon of superior quality.

Kolb Gem is a favorite bright-red fleshed melon highly valued for commercial purposes.

Cuban Queen is a large melon which has been extensively grown for many years.

Halbert Honey is a large, attractive, sweet, tender sort, popular wherever it is known.

Dixie is an early, productive variety of good quality.

Sugar Stick is a large, light-green melon of handsome appearance, fine flavor and of excellent shipping qualities.

Cole and Fordhook are very early varieties and popular in northern districts where climatic conditions are not favorable for melon culture.

672. Climate

The watermelon thrives best in the South, where the seasons are long, the day and night temperatures high, and where frost seldom interferes with the progress of the young plants or the ripening of the fruits. The watermelon is more sensitive to cold than the muskmelon. Most of the varieties require a longer season in which to mature. While this vegetable demands heat, sunshine and a long summer, it may be grown and is produced successfully in the North when proper cultural conditions are provided.