This section is from the book "Scouting For Rural Boys. A Manual For Leaders", by Boy scouts of America. See also: Outdoor Adventure Manual: Essential Scouting Skills for the Great Outdoors.
While many farm projects require considerable time for their completion, it is, however, surprising how many of these projects lend themselves to demonstration purposes in connection with exhibits.
As a sample of what can be done, O. H. Benson, National Director of Rural Scouting, submits "A Sample Demonstration in Gardening" to be presented by a team of three Scouts. Such a presentation can be made at a Merit Badge Exposition, at a county or state fair or other community gathering. The sample "speeches" are reproduced here in full. They will "show the way" to adapting many other subjects of farm enterprises to similar demonstrations.
With modern stanchions and life-size cardboard or building-board cut-outs of cows a very interesting demonstration and discussion can be made of the problem of dairying, including feeding, keeping records, sanitary care of the stable, sanitary precautions before and while milking and care of the milk.
With cloth covered models of horses, a number of harness and related leather work projects may be demonstrated in an indoor booth or stage. At some Merit Badge exhibits on "Horsemanship," a good sized ring has been provided and real horses have been brought in for demonstration purposes.
Fellow Scouts: Ladies and Gentlemen:
We are the Scout Gardening Demonstration Team of .......................Council. We are about to demonstrate some practical methods used in home gardening.
My team-mate on right is Scout....................., on my left is Scout............................. I am
...........................We have each met the Merit
Badge requirements in gardening which are: (list). (Here show the M.B. book.) Together we have raised over....... dollars' worth of garden products.
(1) The first step in gardening should be taken during the winter in making out plot and planting plans. The plans are studied and revised. The plan we used is shown on this wall chart showing the intercropping or intensive garden system.
There are several types of garden soil in our locality. Black loam and sandy loam are the best. Clay soil is cold, fine and wet and is best for later crops. It makes a good sub-soil to keep moisture from going down too fast. Sandy loam is warm and easily crumbled and is therefore best for earlier garden crops. When mixed together these soils lack but one thing which all soils need, humus. Humus will be described in a few minutes by one of my fellow demonstrators. When humus is mixed with the sandy soil we get garden soil of good quality. If you squeeze a little soil in your hand when it is in good humus condition for planting, it does not crumble. Clay soils clog and bake unless they have plenty of humus.
(2) Our next step is seed testing. This is to find out if seed is vital or alive and to determine the quantity of seed to plant. One method used is to have two plates, two blotters, some water and the garden seeds. Place a blotter on one of the plates. Put from ten to fifty seeds on it and put the other blotter on top. Wet both blotters thoroughly. Pour off extra water and cover with the other plate. The seeds should germinate 90 or more to the hundred. There are many other methods, among them the rag-doll tester which is very popular. For larger seeds we may use the saw-dust box method. (Show all three testers.)
NEGRO SCOUTS AT WASHINGTON JAMBOREE.
Tools: Necessary garden tools are the trowel, potato fork, measuring rods or board strips, spade, rake, and hoe. When spading or forking, drive deep and turn the soil over in this way, much as you would turn a pancake. The rake is used to pulverize lumps, to make a dust mulch, and to rake off weeds and stones. The hoe probably has the most garden uses. It is used to make furrows, hoe up vegetables, cut weeds, and for hilling plants and making mulch. You can use a twelve-inch rake and a six-inch hoe for measuring instead of a stick or line. A line is useful to make a straight furrow and row.
Planting: We are going to plant three kinds of vegetables: peas, radishes, and potatoes. One row of peas, one row of radishes, another row of peas, and one row of potatoes; each is one foot apart. Peas are planted in furrows about 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep. The seed is sowed in the row about one inch apart. Pack the soil firmly over the seed and put loose soil on top. The seed is packed into the ground to draw the moisture to the seed and the loose soil is put on top to hold the moisture.
Radishes are planted about 1/2-inch deep and the seed is sown very close together. The seed is packed in the ground and covered with loose soil same as with the peas. Most garden seeds are planted too deep-(show how deep for each by use of different seeds in glass jars, spaced on outer parts of jar).
Potatoes for planting should be cut lengthwise in quarters. There should be at least two bud eyes to each piece. They should be planted from 3 to 5 inches deep and the pieces should be planted 12 to 15 inches apart in the row. The soil is packed firmly over the seed to draw the moisture to the seed and the loose soil is put over to keep the moisture in the ground.
We have now planted our garden. To show that we are Scout garden "wizards" we will now make our garden grow. You can now see our real garden. (Here removing cover and show a growing garden prepared in advance.)
Early plants such as tomatoes, cabbage, and peppers, must either be bought or grown in the hothouse. When they are about two inches high they are transplanted. The first step is to soak the plant roots. Next, make the hole and soak it with water. Then carefully put plant in the hole and pack the dirt firmly around the roots of the plant. Don't do it the wrong way as shown on the chart. Lastly, put loose soil around the top to keep the moisture in. (Here show effect of mulching by use of lump sugar and powdered sugar. Place pile of powdered sugar on top of lump and then dip bottom of lump sugar in water which has been colored red. Show how quickly water works up through lump and then suddenly stops when it reaches the powdered sugar at top-thus showing how a fine mulch of soil on top prevents the escape of moisture so much needed by plants.)