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.
The garden should be cultivated at least once a week and after every rain. There should always be a dust mulch on the top of the ground to retain the moisture.
Several crops are now sprayed for bugs and blight. A hand sprayer is good for a small garden, but for a larger garden a larger sprayer like this must be used. My teammate will tell you how to harvest, grade and market produce from the garden.
How Harvest and Prepare for Market Scout No. 2.
You have heard through my team-mate demonstrator how to plant and raise your garden and now we will try to tell you how to harvest and use the products. The produce should be gathered in the morning when it is cool and they are not so apt to dry up or wither. Another reason for gathering produce in the morning is because then they are firm, and vegetables picked when firm stay firm longer.
In selecting vegetables for home use or market, three things should be considered, quality, kinds in demand by family and market and uniformity or market grade. There is as much difference in the quality of vegetables as in men and women.
To prepare the vegetables for market they should be thoroughly washed, bunched, and graded for size and color, about six to a bunch. The more uniform in size or color, the more attractive they look and the better they will sell.
In disposing of the vegetables the first and most important place is at home. There is great advantage in using the produce at home because it is fresh. The sugar in most vegetables changes to starch when the vegetables are too old or too ripe. Some of the surplus of the garden should be canned and preserved for winter use. Other places for disposing of the vegetables are at the local or roadside markets. First the local market where things are sold fast and cheap. Second, the private or roadside market where the produce is sold slower but with more profit. Third, the parcel market where vegetables are packed and sent to other localities and to special customers by parcel post, express or by truck or freight.
Scout Demonstrator No. 3 will now explain the preparation of seed bed.
Preparation of the Seed Bed
My idea is that the most important part of gardening is preparing the seed bed. For this we need plenty of HUMUS. Humus does four things for the soil.
First, it makes the soil light and airy.
Second, it is like a sponge, and soaks up and holds water for the soil.
Third, it furnishes nitrogen which is a most important plant food.
Fourth, it makes the soil warm in early spring and makes for quicker growth and therefore better crops and prices.
There are three sources of humus. First, well rotted manure from stable. Second, commercial humus-such as sheep manure and peat.
Third, compost, made from leaves, forage crops, grasses and decaying vegetable matter.
Well rotted stable manure from cows and horses is best. Well rotted horse manure is better than cow manure because it is warmer. Stable manure has much humus and should be spread and plowed under in the fall, especially when in green state.
Green manure may consist of clover, rye, alfalfa, oats, forage crops and silage. Clover should be sowed in August or September so it will get a good start for the winter. Clover is a good fertilizer because of the nitrogen nodules, or little bags on the roots which furnish nitrate to the soil. Rye should be sowed from September to November for it does not take long to come up. It should be plowed under in the springtime when thick (about knee high). This is a good fertilizer because it furnishes needed humus to the soil as well as a supply of nitrogen.
Compost consists of weeds, leaves, and sod. For a small garden compost should be gathered and piled in one corner of the garden. Soak it as often as you can with water or slops, or soapy water if you can get it. If lime or wood ashes can be gotten to mix with it there is a lot of potash in wood ashes and soapy water. If it were not for humus you would not be here listening to this demonstration. Humus is the most important single thing for the garden. We would go hungry as a nation without it.
There is one thing we have not spoken of and we have left it until the last because it is the BEST. It is the pleasure we Scouts derive from garden work. Most people would not have a garden if they got no pleasure from it. This garden verse will express our philosophy of gardening.
"O Adam was a gardener
And God who made him sees That half a proper gardener's work
Is done upon his knees. When your work is finished
You may wash your hands and pray That the glory of the garden
Shall not pass away."
For further information on garden work you may go to your Agricultural leader or County Agent, send to the State College of Agriculture or fhe United States Department of Agriculture for bulletins and special help.
Are there any questions to be asked? If there are we will try to answer them. (Questions and Answers.)
We thank you for your kind attention. Go home and plan, prepare, manage and weed your garden.
(The trio of Scouts smile, salute, and give a platform courtesy bow.)
One garden product demonstration which will be new to many people is the use of peelings and culls and small unmarketable potatoes to make potato starch-useful in the home for many things like puddings, salads and milk dishes.
2 clean pans, vats or galvanized tubs.
1 ordinary large pan.
1 cylindrical grater or a sausage grinder.
Wash potatoes thoroughly with plenty of water and a brush. When cleaned place them within reach and begin grating or grinding. Place this pulp in clean container and pour clear water over it. Stir-let stand -stir-let stand over night or several hours-strain peelings from top. Starch granules will settle to the bottom.
Remove water carefully, also extraneous matter, and again put on clean water-stir-let stand. Continue this process until starch is clean and white.
The process can be shortened after first rinsing by straining the pulp starch and water through cheesecloth or other fine mesh cloth.