1. The sativa, or Common Cucumber, which is reared in this country, at three different seasons of the year: \. On hot-beds, tor early fruit; 2. Beneath bell, or hand-glasses, for the middle crop ; and 3. On the common ground, when designed for a late crop, or for picking. The cucumbers gathered before April are unwholesome, on account of their being raised entirely by the heat of dung, without the aid of the sun : those growing after that month, are more salubrious, and are cultivated in the following manner: Towards the latter end of January, a quantity of fresh horse-dung should be procured, with the litter among it, to which a sma|l portion of sea-coal ashes should be added. In the course of four or five days, the dung begins to heat, when a little of it may be drawn flat on the outside, and covered two inches thick with good earth; over which a bell-glass ought to be placed; and, two days after, when the soil is warm, lite seeds should be sown, covered with fresh mould, one-fourth of an inch thick, and the glass again set over it. This must be screened with a mat during the night, and in tour days the young plants will germinate. As soon as they appear, the rest of the dung must be beaten close together into a bed for one or more lights, which should be three feet thick, and covered three inches deep with fine fresh earth ; the frame is then to be put on; and, during the night, or in bad weather, sheltered with mats. When the soil is hot enough, the young plants must be removed into it, and set at two inches distance, the glasses being occasionally raised, to admit fresh air, and also frequently turned, to prevent the wet steam of the dung from dropping down on the plants. These ought to be watered at stated times, with tepid, or luke-warm water; and, as they increase in size, should be earthed up; an operation which will considerably augment their strength. If the bed be not hot enough, fresh litter should be laid round its sides; but, if it be too warm, they should be perforated with a stake, to give vent to the heat; and, as soon as the bed acquires a proper temperature, the holes are to be closed up with fresh earth. When the plants begin to 6hoot their third, or rough leaf, another bed should be prepared for them, similar to the first; and, when the soil is thoroughly warmed, they should be transplanted into it, in botes about a foot deep, and nine inches broad, filled with light, fine, fresh mould, hid in a hollow, circular form. In each of these holes four plants should be set, and shaded for two or three days from the heat of the sun, that they may strike root; after which time it will be useful to expose them to the sun, and the air, as often as the weather will permit. When they have attained the height of four or five inches, they should be gently fastened down to the soil, in different directions; and the branches afterwards produced, ought to be treated in a similar manner, as it will much contribute to forward their maturity. In the course of a month, the flowers will appear, and, shortly after, the rudiments of the fruit. The glasses should now be carefully covered during the night, and the plants gently sprinkled with water, in the day time. These will produce fruit till Midsummer; and may be succeeded by a second crop, which is to be raised nearly in the same maimer as the earlier cucumbers; with this only difference, that the former should be sown toward the end of March, or the beginning of April, and that it requires less care and attention.
The proper season for sowing cucumbers of the last crop, or those destined for pickling, is towards the latter end of May, when the weather is settled : they should be set to the number of eight or nine, in shallow holes, and filled up with line earth. After appearing above ground, they need only be kept clear from weeds, and occasionally watered. Five plants are to be left, at first, in each hole; and, as soon as they have grown a little larger, the worst of them 4s to be pulled up, so that their number may be reduced to four : this crop will begin to produce fruit in July. .
A very ingenious method (we learn from a Foreign Journal) of propagating cucumbers for several crops in succession, without sowing them, has been lately discovered by Mr. Burton, of Staines-head, Sussex. As soon as there appear several flower-buds on a plant, he bends the second or third joint of a branch below the blos som, fastens it firmly into the ground, and cuts off the capillary point of the plant. The new ve-getabl e speedily takes root, when he separates it from the parent stock. Thus he proceeds with the most vigorous of his plants; and as each root has to supply only a few fruits with nourishment, he saves both room, labour, and time, while this process enables him to procure a constant succession of cucumbers for eight, twelve, and more months, from one sort, which is not so liable to degenerate, as if they were raised from a variety of seeds.
Cucumbers are a salubrious, cooling fruit, and may be safely allowed to consumptive patients ; as they sweeten acrid humours, and at the same time are gently laxative ; but, being in a considerable degree acescent, and sometimes attended with flatulency and diarrhoea, such effects may be prevented, by eating them in great moderation ; or with the addition of vinegar and pepper, which counteract their natural coldness. If properly pickled (without colour-ing them with that poisonous metal, copper; or rendering them too acrid with stimulant spices), they an excellent antiseptic; yet we consider them highly improper, either for children or wet-nurses.
1. The Colocynthis, COLOQUIN or Bitter Apple, which grows in Syria, and also in the island of Crete. It produces a yellow fruit, of the size of an orange, and resembling a gourd, the shell or outside of which contains a very light, white, spongy pulp, interspersed with flatfish seeds. This pulp, when dried and pulverized, is one of the most violent purgatives: and though it is frequently employed for that purpose, we cannot but caution the reader against its use, which is sometimes attended with bloody stools, colics, convulsions, and ulcers in the bowels. As we are possessed of numerous native plants of similar and much milder virtues, there appears to be 110 necessity for employing this exotic.