Manual of Gardening/Reminders
SUGGESTIONS AND REMINDERS: I. FOR THE NORTH
Cabbage plants in frames need free airing whenever the temperature is above the freezing point, or so long as the soil of the bed is not frozen. Snow, in that case, should be removed soon after its fall. As long as the soil is frozen the snow can safely be left on for a number of days. Cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce seed should be sown at intervals to secure plants for extra-early sales or setting. A month later they will be ready to transfer to boxes, which should go to the coldframe and be given protection by mats or shutters.
Coldframes must be well ventilated on warm, sunny days; leave the sashes off as long as is possible without injury to the plants. Keep the soil in a friable condition, and look carefully to any possible places where water can stand and freeze. If the frames seem too cold, bank up around them with coarse manure.
Hotbeds.--Look up and repair the sashes. Save the horse-manure from day to day, rejecting dry litter, and piling up the droppings and urine-soaked bedding in thin layers to prevent violent heating.
Lettuce in frames treat as advised for cabbage plants.
Pruning should now be considered. Perhaps it is best to prune fruit-trees in March or April, but grapes and currants and gooseberries may be pruned now. January and February are good months in which to prune peach trees. Thin out the peach trees well, taking care to remove all the dead wood. If you have much pruning to do in apple, pear, or plum orchards, you will save time by utilizing the warm days now. Study well the different methods of pruning. Never let an itinerant pruner touch your trees until you are satisfied that he understands his business.
Tools should now be inspected and repaired, and any new ones that are needed made or ordered.
Cabbage.--Sow seed of Jersey Wakefield in flats filled with light loamy soil, the last week of this month. Sow thinly, cover lightly, and place the boxes in a gentle hotbed or any warm, sunny situation. When the plants are strong, transplant them into flats 1-1/2 in. apart each way. As growth begins, gradually expose them to the open air on all favorable occasions. Late in March remove them to a coldframe, and properly harden them off before setting them in the open ground.
Celery.--We urgently advise every one who has a garden, large or small, to make a trial of the new celery-culture. You need, first, good plants. Get some seed of White Plume or Golden Self-blanching, and sow it thickly in flats filled with fine loam. Cover by sifting a thin layer of sand or fine soil over it, and firm well. Keep in a moderately warm place, watering as needed, until plants appear. If you have a number of flats, they may be placed on top of one another. At the first sign of plant-growth, bring the flats gradually to the light. When the plants are 1-1/2 or 2 in. high, transplant them into other flats, setting them in rows 2-1/2 in. apart, the plants half an inch apart in the rows. Then set the flats in a coldframe until the plants are large enough to plant out in the open ground.
Hotbeds for raising early plants should be made this month. Always break the manure up fine and tread it down well. Be sure to put enough in the center of beds, so that there will be no sagging. Fresh manure of hard-worked and well-fed horses, free from dry litter, is best. An addition of leaves used for bedding will serve to produce a more moderate but more lasting heat. Sheep-manure may also be added to the horse-manure, should there be a scant supply of the latter on hand.
Onions.--We urgently advise giving the new onion-culture a trial. For seed, buy a packet or an ounce of Prizetaker, Spanish King, White Victoria, or some other large kind of globe onion. Sow the seed in flats, in a hotbed, or in a greenhouse late in the month, and transplant the onions to the open ground as soon as the latter is in working condition. Set the plants in rows 1 ft. apart and about 3 in. apart in the row.
Plums.--Make a thorough inspection of all plum and cherry trees, wild and cultivated, for plum-knot. Cut and burn all the knots found. Remove all "mummy" plums, for they spread the fruit-rot.
Rhubarb.--Give the plants in the garden a heavy dressing of fine old compost. If you wish a few early stalks, place kegs or boxes over some of the plants, and heap over them some heating horse-manure.
Beets.--A few seeds may be sown in the hotbed.
Cabbage, cauliflower, and celery seeds may be sown for the early crop.
Egg-plants.--Seeds should be sown. Take care that the young plants are never stunted.
Grafting may be done in favorable weather. Cherries and plums must be grafted early. Use liquid grafting-wax in cold weather.
Hotbeds may be made at any time, but do not grow impatient about the work, for there will be cold weather yet. Clean, fresh manure is necessary, and a layer 2 ft. thick should be tramped hard. When once started and the seeds sown, do not let the beds get too hot. Give them air on fine days and give the seedlings plenty of water. Use two thermometers--one to test the atmosphere and the other the heat of the soil.
Lettuce should be sown in the hotbed for an early crop.
Onion seed for the new onion-culture may be sown at the close of the month.
Peas.--Sow now, if the ground can be worked.
Peppers may be sown late in the month.
Potatoes kept for seed must not be allowed to sprout. Keep them in a temperature near freezing point. Rub off the sprouts from potatoes kept for eating, and pick out all decayed specimens.
Spinach.--Sow some seeds for an early crop.
Tomato seeds may be sown in the hotbeds.
Artichokes.--Sow the seeds for next year's crop. A deep, rich, sandy loam is best. Fork in a dressing of well-rotted manure around the old plants.
Asparagus.--Spade in some good manure in the bed, and give the soil a thorough working before the crowns start. Sow seeds in the open ground for young plants for a new bed.
Beans.--Limas may be started on sods in a hotbed or a coldframe towards the last of the month.
Beets.--The ground should be prepared and the seed sown for beets for cattle as soon as the weather will permit. Put them in before planting corn. They will stand considerable cold weather, and should be planted early to get a start of the weeds.
Blackberries should be pruned, the brush drawn off, piled, and burned. If it is necessary, to stake them, try a wire trellis, the same as for grapes, putting on one wire 2-1/2 ft. high. The young plants should be dug before the buds start.
Cabbage seed may be sown in the open ground, in coldframes, or in pans or boxes in the house. Early varieties should be started at once. Cabbages like a rich and heavy loam, with good drainage. Give them all the manure you can get.
Cauliflower seeds may be sown toward the last of the month. They should never have a check from the time the seed is sown until harvested.
Carrot.--Sow the seed of early sorts, like Early Forcing, as soon as the ground can be worked.
Celery.--Plan to grow celery by the new method. Plenty of manure and moisture are required to do this. Sow the seed in light, rich soil in the house, hotbed, coldframe, or open ground. Transplant the plants once before setting them in the field. Page 505.
Cress.--Sow early and every two or three weeks. Watercress should be sown in damp soil or in streams. The outer edges of a hotbed may also be utilized. Cress is often a profitable crop when rightly handled.
Cucumber seeds may be sown on sods in the hotbed.
Egg-plant.--Sow in the hotbed, and transplant when 2 in. high to other beds or pots. They must have good care, for a check in their growth means all the difference between profit and loss.
Lettuce.--Sow the seeds in the hotbed, and in the open ground as soon as it can be worked. Plants sown a month ago should be transplanted.
Leek.--Sow the seeds in the open ground in drills 6 in. apart and 1 in. deep, and when large enough, thin to 1 in. in the row.
Muskmelon.--Plant seeds in sods in the hotbed.
Parsnip.--Dig the roots before they grow and become soft and pithy. Seeds may be sown as soon as the ground is dry enough to work.
Parsley.--Soak the seeds in warm water for a few hours, and sow in the open ground.
Peas.--Sow the seeds as soon as the ground can be worked. They will stand considerable cold and transplanting also. Time may be gained by sowing some seeds in moist sand in a box in the cellar and transplanting when well sprouted. Plant deep in light, dry soil; cover an inch at first, and draw in the earth as the vines grow.
Potatoes.--Plant early on rich soil free from blight and scab. For a very early crop, the potatoes may be sprouted before planting.
Peppers.--Sow the seeds in the hotbed or in the boxes in the house.
Radish seeds may be sown in the open ground or in the hotbed and the crop harvested from there. The small, round varieties are best for this purpose.
Strawberries.--Give a good, thorough cultivation between the rows and then remove the mulch from the plants, placing it in the rows, where it will help to keep the weeds down.
Salsify.--Sow the seeds as soon as the ground can be worked. Give the same care and cultivation as for carrots or parsnips.
Spinach seeds must be sown early, and then every two weeks for a succession. Thin out and use the plants before they send up flower-stalks.
Squashes.--Hubbards and summer squashes may be started on sods in the hotbed.
Tomato.--Sow in the hotbed or in shallow boxes in the house. Try some of the yellow varieties; they are the finest flavored of any.
Beans.--The bush sorts may be planted in the open ground, and limas in pots or sods in a coldframe or spent hotbed. Limas require a long season to mature, and should be started early.
Beets.--Sow for a succession. Transplant those started under glass.
Cabbages always do best on a freshly turned sod, and should be set before the land has had time to dry after plowing. The secret of success in getting a large yield of cabbage is to start with rich land and put on all the manure obtainable. Clean out the hog yard for this purpose.
Cucumbers.--Sow in the open ground toward the last of the month. A few may be started as advised for lima beans.
Lettuce.--Sow for a succession, and thin to 4 in. in the rows. Melons.--Plant in the open ground toward the end of the month. It is useless to plant melons and other cucurbitaceous plants until settled weather has arrived.
Onions.--Finish planting and transplanting, and keep all weeds down, both in the seed-bed and the open field.
Peas.--Sow for a succession.
Squashes.--Plant as advised for melons and cucumbers. They require a rich, well-manured soil.
Strawberries.--Remove the blossoms from newly set plants. Mulch with salt hay or marsh hay or clean straw or leaves those that are to bear. Mulching conserves moisture, keeps the berries clean, and prevents weeds from growing.
Sweet corn.--Plant early and late varieties, and by making two or three plantings of each, at intervals, a succession may be kept up all summer and fall. Sweet corn is delicious, and one can hardly have too much of it.
Tomatoes.--Set some early plants by the middle of the month or earner, if the ground is warm, and the season early and fair. They may be protected from the cold by covering with hay, straw, cloth, or paper, or even with earth. The main crop should not be set until the 20th or 25th, or until all danger of frost is over. However, tomatoes will stand more chilly weather than is ordinarily supposed.
Asparagus.--Cease cutting and allow the shoots to grow. Keep the weeds down and the soil well stirred. An application of a quick commercial fertilizer or of liquid manure will be beneficial.
Beans.--Sow the wax sorts for succession. As soon as a crop is off, pull out the vines and plant the ground to late cabbage, turnips, or sweet corn.
Beets.--Transplant in rows 1 to 3 ft. apart and 6 in. in the row. Cut off most of the top, water thoroughly, and they will soon start.
Cabbage and cauliflower.--Set plants for the late crop. Rich, newly turned sod and a heavy dressing of well-rotted manure go a long way toward assuring a good crop.
Celery.--Set the main crop, and try the new method of setting the plants 7 in. apart each way, if you have rich land and can irrigate, but not unless these conditions are present. Page 505.
Cucumbers may yet be planted, if done early in the month.
Currants.--Spray with Paris green for the currant worm until the fruit sets. Hellebore is good, but it is difficult to get it of good strength; use it for all late spraying.
Lettuce.--Sow for succession in a moist, cool, and partially shaded spot. The seed does not germinate well in hot weather.
Lima beans should be hoed frequently, and started on the poles if they are contrary.
Melons.--Cultivate often and watch for the bugs. A screen of closely woven wire or mosquito netting may be used to cover the vines, or tobacco dust sifted on thickly.
Onions.--Keep free from weeds and stir the ground frequently and especially after every rain.
Squashes.--Keep the ground well cultivated and look out for bugs. (See Melons.) Layer the vines and cover the joints with fresh soil, to prevent death of the vines from the attacks of the borer.
Strawberries.--Plow up the old bed that has borne two crops, as it will usually not pay to keep it. Set the ground to late cabbage or some other crop. The young bed that has borne the first crop should have a thorough cultivation and the plow run close to the rows to narrow them to the required width. Pull up or hoe out all weeds and keep the ground clean the rest of the season. This applies with equal force to the newly set bed. A bed can be set late next month from young runners. Pinch off the end after the first joint, and allow it to root on a sod or in a small pot set level with the surface.
Tomatoes.--For an early crop train to a trellis, pinch off all side shoots, and allow all the strength to go to the main stalk. They may also be trained to poles, the same as lima beans, and can be set closer if grown in this way. Spray with the bordeaux mixture for the blight, keep the foliage thinned and the vines off the ground.
Turnips.--Sow for an early fall crop.
Beans.--Sow the wax sorts for a succession.
Beets.--Sow Early Egyptian or Eclipse for young beets next fall.
Blackberries.--Head back the young canes to 3 ft., and the laterals also when they get longer. They may be pinched with the thumbnail and finger in a small patch, but this soon makes the fingers sore, and when there are many bushes to go over, it is better to use a pair of shears or a sharp sickle.
Cabbage.--Set plants for the late crop.
Corn.--Plant sweet corn for succession and late use.
Cucumbers.--It is late to plant, but they may be put in for pickles if done before the Fourth. Cultivate those which are up, and keep an eye open for bugs.
Currants.--Cover a few bushes with muslin or burlap before the fruit ripens, and you can eat currants in August. Use hellebore, rather than Paris green, for the last brood of currant worms, and apply it as soon as the worms appear. There is little danger in using it, even if the currants are ripe.
Lettuce seed does not germinate well in hot weather. Sow in a moist, shaded position for a succession.
Lima beans.--Hoe them frequently, and give assistance to get on the poles.
Melons.--Watch for bugs, and apply tobacco dust freely around the plants. Keep them well cultivated. A light application of bone meal will pay.
Peaches, pears, and plums should be thinned to secure fine fruit and to help sustain the vigor of the tree. Ripening the seed is what draws on the tree's vitality, and if the number of seeds can be reduced one-half or two-thirds, part of the strength required to ripen them will go into perfecting the fruit and seeds left, and add greatly to the fine appearance, flavor, and quality of the edible portion.
Radishes.--Sow the early kinds for a succession, and toward the end of the month the winter sorts may be put in.
Raspberries.--Pinch back the canes to 2-1/2 ft., the same way as given for blackberries.
Squashes.--Keep the ground well stirred, and use tobacco dust freely for bugs and beetles. Cover the joints with fresh soil, to guard against injury by the vine-borer.
Beets.--A last sowing of the early table sorts may be made for a succession.
Cabbage.--Harvest the early crop, and give good cultivation to the main crop. Keep down the bugs and worms.
Celery.--The latest crop may yet be set. Earlier set plants should be handled as they attain sufficient size. Common drain tiles are excellent for blanching if one has them, and must be put on when the plants are about half grown. Hoe frequently to keep the plants growing.
Onions.--Harvest as soon as the bulbs are well formed. Let them lie on the ground until cured, then draw to the barn floor or some other airy place and spread thinly. Market when you can get a good price, and the sooner the better.
Tomatoes may be hastened in coloring by being picked just as they begin to color and placed in single layers in a coldframe or hotbed, where they can be covered with sash.
In many parts of the North it is not too late to sow rye, or peas, or corn, to afford winter protection for orchards. As a rule, very late fall plowing for orchards is not advisable. Now is a good time to trim up the fence-rows and to burn the brush piles, in order to destroy the breeding places of rabbits, insects, and weeds. Cuttings of gooseberries and currants may be taken. Use only the wood of the current year's growth, making the cuttings about a foot long. Strip off the leaves, if they have not already fallen, tie the cuttings in large bundles, and bury them in a cold cellar, or in a sandy, well-drained knoll; or if the cutting-bed is well prepared and well drained, they may be planted immediately, the bed being well mulched upon the approach of winter. September and October are good months in which to set orchards, provided the ground is well prepared and well drained, and is not too much exposed to sweeping winds. Wet lands should never be set in the fall; and such lands, however, are not fit for orchards. Strawberries may still be set; also bush fruits.
Seeds of various flowers may now be sown for winter bloom, if one has a conservatory or good window. Petunias, phloxes, and many annuals make good window plants. Quicker results are secured, however, if border plants of petunias and some other things are dug up just before frost and placed in pots or boxes. Keep them cool and shaded for a couple of weeks, cut down the tops, and they will send up a vigorous and floriferous growth. Winter roses should now be in place in the beds or in pots.
There will be odd days when one can go to the woods and fields and collect roots of wild herbs and shrubs for planting in the yard or along the unused borders of the garden.
Asparagus.--Old plantations should now be cleaned off, and the tops removed at once. This is a good time to apply manure to the beds. For young plantations, which may be started now as well as in spring, select a warm soil and sunny exposure, and give each plant plenty of room. We like to set them in rows 5 ft. apart and at least 2 ft. apart in the rows.
Cabbages.--The heads that will winter best are those just fully formed, not the over-ripe ones. For family use, bury an empty barrel in a well-drained spot, and fill it with good heads. Place a lot of dry leaves on top, and cover the barrel so that it will shed rain. Or, pile some cabbages in a corner of the barn floor and cover them with enough straw to prevent solid freezing. Pages 159, 470.
Cabbage-plants, started from seed last month, should be pricked out in cold-frames, putting about 600 to the ordinary sash and setting them quite deep.
Chicory.--Dig what is wanted for salad, and store it in sand in a dry cellar.
Endive.--Blanch by gathering up the leaves and tying them lightly at the tips.
General garden management.--The only planting that can be done in open ground at this time is restricted to rhubarb, asparagus, and perhaps onion-sets. Begin to think about next year's planting, and to make arrangements for the manure that will be needed. Often you can purchase it now to good advantage, and haul it while the roads are yet good. Clean up and plow the ground when the crops are harvested.
Lettuce.--Plants to be wintered over should be set in frames like cabbage-plants.
Onions.--Plant sets of Extra Early Pearl, or some other hardy kind, in the same fashion as in early spring. They are likely to winter well, and will give an early crop of fine bunching onions. For the North, fall sowing of onion-seed cannot be recommended.
Parsley.--Lift some plants and set them in a coldframe 4 or 5 in. apart, or in a box filled with good soil, and place in a light cellar or under a shed.
Pears.--Pick the winter sorts just before there is danger from freezing. Put them in a cool, dark place, where they will neither mold nor shrivel. To hasten ripening, they may be brought into a warm room as wanted.
Rhubarb.--If plants are to be set or replanted this fall, enrich the ground with a superabundance of fine old stable-manure, and give each plant a few feet of space each way. In order to have fresh pie-plant in winter, dig up some of the roots and plant them in good soil in a barrel placed in the cellar.
Sweet-potatoes.--Dig them when ripe after the first frost. Cut off the vines, and turn the potatoes out with a potato-fork or plow. Handle them carefully to prevent bruising. Only sound, well-ripened roots are in proper condition to be wintered over.
Asparagus.--Manure before winter sets in.
Beets.--They keep best in pits. Some may be kept in the cellar for use during winter, but cover them with sand or sods to prevent shriveling.
Blackberries.--Cut away the old wood and mulch the roots. Tender sorts should be laid down and lightly covered with soil at the tips.
Carrots.--Treat as advised for beets.
Celery.--Dig up the stalks, leaving the roots on, and stand them close together in a narrow trench, tops just even with the ground-level. Gradually cover them with boards, earth, and manure. Another way is to set them upright upon the floor of a damp cellar or root-house, keeping the roots moist and the tops dry. Celery can stand some frost, but not exposure to less than 22° F. The stalks intended for use before Christmas may in most localities be left outdoors, to be used as wanted. Should cold weather set in early, they will need covering in some way. Page 475.
Orchard management.--Young trees should have a mound of earth raised around the stem as a support and protection against mice, etc. Small and lately planted trees may have stakes set beside them, and be tied to the stakes with a broad band. Apple and pear trees may yet be planted. Trim superfluous or unhealthy wood out of the old orchards.
Spinach.--Cover the beds lightly with leaves or litter before winter sets in.
Strawberries.--Soon it will be time to mulch the beds. Provide marsh hay, or other coarse litter, free from weed-seeds, and when the ground has frozen an inch or so, spread it all over the surface thinly and evenly.
Cabbages.--Plants in coldframes should be aired freely and kept cool. Heads intended for winter and spring use, if not yet taken in or protected from severe freezing, must now be cared for. Do not cover them too deeply, nor store them in too warm a place.
Carrots.--Store them in cellars or pits. If in cellars, keep the roots covered with sand or sod, to prevent wilting.
General garden management.--Begin now to make your plans for next season's work. Carefully study up the matter of rotation, also that of feeding your crops in the most effective and economical manner. Repair frames, sashes, and tools. Clear up the garden and premises. Underdrain where needed. Beds for early vegetables should be thrown up in high, narrow ridges, with deep furrows between. This will enable you to plant them several days or weeks earlier than otherwise.
Kale.--In very exposed or northern locations cover it lightly with coarse litter.
Onions.--For winter storage select only well-ripened, perfectly dry bulbs. Store them in a dry, airy place, not in the cellar. They may be spread out thinly on the floor, away from the walls, allowed to freeze solid, and then covered several feet deep with hay or straw.
Parsnips.--Take up some roots for winter use and store them in sand in the cellar.
Strawberry-beds should be given their winter covering of marsh hay, etc., as soon as the ground is frozen solid.
SUGGESTIONS AND REMINDERS: II. FOR THE SOUTH
Annuals.--All kinds of hardy annuals and perennials, such as alyssum, snapdragon, foxglove, hollyhock, phlox, poppy, pansy, lobelia, candytuft, sweet pea, Chinese pink, sweet william, larkspur, foliage cinerarias, centaurea, mignonette, and many others of the same class may be sown. Most of them should be sown thinly and where they are intended to flower, as they transplant poorly in this latitude.
Cannas, caladiums, perennial phloxes, chrysanthemums, and verbenas may be taken up, divided, and replanted.
Roses may be planted in quantities. Let the ground intended for them have a thorough dressing of manure. Occasionally a plant may be taken up and divided. The hybrid varieties may now be layered. This is done as follows: Select a shoot and bend it flat upon the ground; hold it in both hands, having a distance of about 6 in. between them; keep the left hand firm, and with the right give the shoot a sharp twist; now cover it with 4 in. of earth and tie the free end to an upright stake.
Asparagus beds should be liberally manured. New beds should now be made. Set the plants 6 in. deep. Sow seed now.
Beets and all hardy vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi, spinach, lettuce, herbs, etc.) may now be sown, planted, or transplanted.
Cabbage plants should be set out on heavily manured ground. Sow seed of Early Summer for a later supply.
Fruits.--If possible, all planting and transplanting of fruit-trees and grape-vines should be finished this month. Pruning should be completed as soon as possible, and preparation made to protect the blossoms of tender fruits next month. Set out strawberry-plants, and during dry weather run the cultivator through all old beds that are at all weedy. It is a good plan, where practicable, to mulch the beds. Here, pine-straw can be had plentifully for the purpose. Examine peach trees for borers. Raspberries and blackberries should be pruned now if the work is not already done. Cuttings of Le Conte pears, Marianna plums, grape-vines, and pomegranates should be put in at once if they have heretofore been forgotten. Root-grafting should be progressing rapidly; this is the best time for this important work.
Onion seeds.--Sow at once, and plant sets as soon as possible.
Peas.--Sow early and late varieties. The late varieties succeed best if sown at this season.
Seasonable work.--This is a good month to obtain canes for staking peas, tomatoes, and beans, hauling manure, making repairs, and examining tools, etc. As the fall crop is harvested, the land should be prepared for another crop. Tile-draining is now is order. Prepare frames to cover with canvas for use next month.
Sweet-potatoes.--A few may be bedded in a frame from which to obtain "draws" for setting out about March 15.
Tomatoes, egg-plants, and peppers.--Sow now on a slight hotbed. When the plants come up, all the air possible should be given during the day. They can be raised without heat, but at this season this plan would better be attempted only by the skillful.
Asters, cannas, dahlias, heliotropes, lobelias, petunias, pyrethrums, ricinus, salvias, and verbenas are best sown in a coldframe, where they can have some protection from heavy rain.
Cannas should be transplanted now.
Chrysanthemums must be planted in well-manured ground in a position where water can be readily supplied to them.
Dahlias may be taken up and divided as soon as they begin growth.
Gladiolus and tuberose bulbs should be planted now. It is a good plan to extend the planting through March and April.
Pansies.--Plant them out in the beds where they are to flower.
Routine work.--Sodding should now proceed rapidly. If sods cannot be obtained, the ground may be planted with Bermuda grass. Plant small pieces of the grass a foot apart and water them if the weather is dry, and they will grow rapidly. Hedges should be cleared up and put in good shape. All planting of trees and shrubs should be finished this month. All pruning of trees must be done early in the month. Young roses cannot be set too early in February. They thrive best when planted in fall. Roll the drives and repair them when necessary. The lawn will now require constant care, and the mower should be used before the grass becomes 1-1/2 in. high.
Bush-beans may be planted February 14. On alluvial land it is best to plant them on slight rises as a protection against the rains which sometimes occur toward the end of the month. If frost should threaten just as the beans begin to peep out, cover them an inch deep with the plow or hand cultivator. Sow Early Mohawk first, and at the end of the month sow Early Valentine; a week later sow the wax varieties.
Cabbage,--Sow early varieties, such as Early Summer, Early Drumhead, and Early Flat Dutch. Etampes, Extra Early Express, and Winnigstadt sown for small heads in the order named have done very well in southern Louisiana. The earlier sown plants should be transplanted as often as convenient. Should worms cause trouble, dust the plants with a mixture of one part of pyrethrum powder to six of fine dust.
Carrots, celery, beets, endive, kohlrabi, onion sets, parsley, parsnips, radishes and purple-top turnips must now be sown.
Corn.--Plant Extra Early Adams, Yellow Canada, Stowell Evergreen, and White Flint toward the middle of the month. Sow again a week later, and again after another week. If the first two sowings fail, the last one will give the early crop.
Cucumbers.--Sow and protect with small boxes during cold days and nights, or sow in pots or on sods. Protect the seedlings with sashes or canvas, and plant them out late.
Lettuce.--Sow seeds and transplant the plants on hand. This crop requires a soil well supplied with plant-food.
Melons.--Plant seeds in the same manner as advised for cucumbers.
Okra.--Sow seeds on sods and set out the plants next month.
Peas.--Sow seeds of a number of varieties.
Peppers and egg-plants, if not sown last month, should be sown now. Sow them under glazed sashes and keep close. When the plants appear, give some air, and increase it according to the weather. If a large number of plants is required, the sowing may be delayed until next month. Should flea-beetles trouble you, use plenty of bordeaux on egg-plants.
Potatoes, Irish.--The main crop should be planted as early as possible. Standard varieties are Early Rose, Peerless, and Burbank.
Strawberries.--Run the cultivator through them at least once every three weeks; if they are to be mulched, collect the necessary material. Strawberries planted in February seldom yield much of a crop.
Sweet-potatoes, can now be bedded and protected with canvas, or a row or two of whole tubers may be planted for "draws" and vines.
Tomatoes in frames should be given all the air and light possible and plenty of room if protected with canvas, do not allow the plants to crowd.
Beans.--Sow all varieties for a fall crop. As soon as the plants appear, the cultivator must be run through the crop, and kept going as often as necessary.
Corn.--Continue to plant; and we recommend harrowing the patch as soon as the young corn appears. It is generally planted in hills 3 or 4 ft. apart, but better results will be obtained-by planting in drills and leaving one stalk every 12 in.
Cucumbers.--Sow in hills 4 ft. apart, using a liberal quantity of seed to each hill. When the plants come up, thin them to about six in the hill. When the plants begin to get rough leaves, pull out one or two more from each hill. Striped cucumber-beetles are sometimes very numerous, and in order to get a stand of plants it is necessary to go through the patch early every morning and sprinkle all the hills with air-slaked lime.
Egg-plants.--Toward the end of the month the plants growing in frames may be transplanted to their fruiting quarters. Seed may be sown outside after March 15; sooner if a warm and sheltered spot is selected.
Lettuce.--Sow in drills, and when the plants are large enough, thin to a foot apart. If transplanted at this season, they often go to seed.
Okra.--A sowing may be made now, but the main planting would best be deferred until after March 15. Sow in drills 3 ft. apart and thin the plants to 18 in. apart in the drills.
Peas.--Early varieties may be sown; it is now too late to sow tall-growing kinds.
Peppers.--Treat as advised for egg-plants.
Potatoes, Irish.--It is not too late to plant them, but the sooner they are planted the better. The crop planted in February should be harrowed as soon as the shoots begin to come up, and when the rows can be fairly seen, the cultivator must be set to work to keep down weeds and grass.
Squashes.--Plant seed in hills 6 ft. apart. The directions for planting melons may be followed. The same remarks apply to pumpkins and other vegetables of this kind.
Sweet-potatoes.--If slips or vines are at hand, they may be planted late in the month for the earliest tubers. The whole potatoes may be planted on a ridge to yield vines for later planting.
Strawberries.--The mulching of beds or rows should be no longer delayed, if clean and plentiful fruit is wanted.
Tomatoes.--About March 15 the frame plants may go to their fruiting quarters. It is necessary to use some judgment in this matter, as they may be killed or injured by an April frost. Seed may be sown in the open ground for plants for late fruiting. Set the plants 4 ft. apart each way.
Alternantheras should go out now.
Annuals of all kinds may still be sown where they are to flower, as they transplant with difficulty at this season.
Coleuses.--Plant out in the beds now. Cuttings root readily, simply requiring to be stuck in.
Beans of all kinds can be planted, limas especially.
Beets.--Make another sowing.
Cabbage plants obtained from spring sowings should be set out as soon as fit. The ground requires to be very rich to carry this crop.
Cucumbers.--These can be sown anywhere now.
Corn.--Make a sowing to yield roasting ears to come in after that sown last month.
Okra.--Sow in drills 3 or 4 ft. apart.
Peas.--Make a sowing of early varieties for the last time.
Squash (bush) and pumpkin may now be planted.
Tomatoes should be got out to their fruiting quarters as early in the month as possible. Let them be set at least 4 ft. apart each way.
Beans.--Plant a few more bush and pole beans.
Celery may now be started. The bed or box needs plenty of water, and should be shaded from sun.
Lettuce requires careful handling to encourage it to germinate. It is best sown in a box and kept shaded and moist.
Melons, cucumbers, squashes, and pumpkins may be sown.
Radishes.--Sow the yellow and white summer varieties.
Remarks.--It is a constant struggle with weeds throughout this month, and the cultivator and plow are ever going. As the land becomes vacant, sow corn or plant sweet-potatoes--draws or vines. Sow some late Italian cauliflower. Let the orchard have constant and thorough cultivation, and remove all unnecessary growth from the trees as soon as they appear. Be always on the lookout for borers. Keep the strawberries as free of grass and coco, or knob-grass, as possible.
Beans.--All kinds may now be sown.
Cauliflower.--Sow the Italian kinds.
Corn.--Make a planting at the beginning of the month and again at the end.
Cucumbers.--Plant a few more hills. The plants at this season must be given plenty of water.
Endive.--Sow, and attend to the tying up of the plants that are of sufficient size.
Melons.--Sow for a succession a few more water and muskmelons.
Okra may still be sown.
Radishes.--Sow the summer varieties now.
Squashes and pumpkins may yet be sown.
Sweet-potato vines may now be set out in quantities.
Tomatoes.--About the middle of the month sow for the fall crop.
Beans.--Bush and pole beans may be planted towards the end of the month.
Cabbage and cauliflower may now be sown, but the main sowing should be deferred until next month.
Carrots.--A sowing should be made.
Celery.--Sow and transplant what plants there may be on hand.
Cucumbers.--These may be sown now for pickling.
Endive.--Transplant and sow.
Grapes should be kept well tied to trellis, and unnecessary growth removed, so that the wood may have the chance of becoming thoroughly ripened. If the cultivator and plow are not used judiciously, a second growth will be started, which is not desirable.
Lettuce.--The seed requires to be sprouted before being sown, and if the sowing is done on a dry day the drills should be watered.
Radishes.--Sow the summer kinds.
Strawberries.--Keep the beds clean of weeds and grass.
Tomatoes.--Make a sowing early in the month, or, what is much better, take cuttings from plants still in bearing.
Turnips.--Sow a few after a shower towards the end of the month.
Remarks.--Much cannot be done this month, as the weather is hot and dry, but the opportunity should not be lost for killing weeds and preparing for the planting season, which is now rapidly drawing near.
Artichokes.--Seed of the Green Globe may be sown now and large plants obtained by spring. The seed-bed requires to be shaded.
Bush beans, beets, pole beans, carrots, celery, endive, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, Black Spanish and Rose China radishes, parsley, turnips, rutabagas, and salad plants of all kinds may now be sown. The seed should be sown on small ridges, adaptable to the kind of plants, for level culture is not successful in the vegetable garden in this section.
Broccoli should be more grown, for it is hardier than the cauliflower. Many cannot tell the difference between the two. Sow now.
Cabbages must be sown by the middle of the month. Make the ground very rich and shade the seed-bed, keeping it moist during the whole of the time.
Cauliflower should also be sown.
Potatoes, Irish, should be planted by the middle of the month, if possible. Plant only those that have sprouted, and instead of planting on top of the ridge set in the furrow and cover 2 in. deep; as the potatoes grow, work more soil down to them.
Salsify.--Sow now or early next month.
Shallots.--Plant them now.
Squash.--Bush kinds may be planted now at any time.
Sweet-potatoes.--Vines may still be set out, with prospects of harvesting a fair crop.
Tomatoes.--If short of plants, cut off good-sized limbs from bearing plants and plant them deep. Keep them moist, and they will root in a few days. Do this just before it rains.
Annuals of the hardy class may be sown this month: the following list will assist in making a selection: Calliopsis, candytuft, calendulas, canterbury bells, columbine, corn-flower, daisies, forget-me-nots, gaillardia, godetia, larkspur, Limnanthes Douglasii, mignonette, pansies, Phlox Drummondii, primroses, poppies of all kinds, Saponaria Calabrica, Silene pendula, sweet williams, and sweet peas.
Bulbs.--Study the catalogues and make out your wants, for it is nearing planting time.
Lilies.--If success is required of the St. Joseph's or Virgin lily (L. candidum), it must be planted right away.
Perennials and biennials should be sown early this month. They have two good growing months ahead of them yet to make considerable progress. The seed-bed will require shade during the middle of the day until the young plants come up; frequent weedings will be required, as coco has not yet quit growing, and winter weeds are now putting in an appearance.
Remarks.--All plants used for salad purposes may be sown this month. The ground between the rows of growing crops should be kept in a fine, friable condition. Vegetable seeds of all kinds should always be sown on slight ridges on all but very sandy soils. If the seed is sown on a level bed, as practiced at the North, the ground will become as hard as a turnpike road should a heavy rain occur; and should this shower come along before the plants are up, a crust a quarter of an inch deep will be formed, and the plants will never see daylight. Sown on a ridge they come all right, as the water gradually drains away, leaving the top of the ridge loose and soft.
All spring flower seeds should be sown in boxes or trays in the conservatory, and all spring bulbs should be planted. The hyacinth, narcissus, tulip and anemone, ranunculus and various lily bulbs, will bloom in good season planted at this time. The bedding plants should be carefully watched, so that any attack of aphis may be treated immediately. Sweet peas may be planted the first of this month, although they are commonly sown in September. A rich spot should be selected for them. This is the time to make the new lawn. The soil should be thoroughly stirred and well pulverized, mixing in a good dressing of commercial fertilizer, or, if one prefers it, a mixture which may be made at home, consisting of cotton-seed meal, acid phosphate, and sulfate of potash, at the rate of 1000 lb., 300 lb., and 100 lb. respectively, per acre. A rich, well-rotted compost, as a top dressing, would also be highly beneficial. Roses pruned late in September or early this month will produce fine winter blooms.
In the garden this is a busy month; some of the winter vegetables are growing, and others should be sown. The bud artichokes should be separated and set fully 3 ft. apart. Onions may still be sown in the early part of the month, and shallots should be divided and set. Some beans may be risked, and English peas sown for winter crop. A few cauliflowers may be tried and cucumbers planted in pots for the hotbeds next month. The following vegetables should be sown: Carrots, corn salad, chervil, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets, endive, kohlrabi, kale, lettuce, leeks, mustard, parsley, parsnip, radish, roquette, spinach, Swiss chard, salsify. Some cabbage and a few cauliflowers should be added to the list. Turnips should be sown for succession every two weeks until April or May. The celery should be kept growing and banking up commenced.
This is an excellent time to plant the new strawberry bed. Make the bed rich with well-rotted manure and select good, healthy sets. The Michel's Early and Cloud are probably the most popular varieties for general planting, and should be set in alternating rows.
Flower seeds and bulbs may be planted this month of the same varieties as in October. Cuttings of all the herbaceous plants should be made and potted, for use in the house and for the borders next season. The coldframes should also be put in order. Some of the bulbs for winter forcing should be selected and potted. One of the best Louisiana gardeners recommends the following treatment: Select good, strong bulbs and plant them in rich, light soil, in 5-in. pots, covering them about half an inch. Water well and bury the pots 6 or 8 in. deep in the ground, leaving them there about five weeks, when the bulbs will be found to be well rooted. From this time gradually expose to the light, and they will soon put forth blooms.
The same vegetables may be sown as for October, and the late cabbage seed planted. The Flat Dutch and Drumhead strains are prime favorites. New sowings of peas, turnips, mustard, and radishes should be made, and the hotbeds prepared and set out to cucumbers. Too much care cannot be taken that the manure should be in the best condition possible, so that a good supply of heat may be depended upon. The cucumbers planted last month will be ready now for setting in the hotbeds, and a winter crop forced.
Orchard and vineyard planting.--This is the time to prepare land. That on which a late crop of cowpeas has grown is well suited for the purpose, and should be plowed deeply and well worked over. Towards the last of the month it should be cultivated again, in order to be ready for the trees next month.
Lawns and yards need watching this month, and attention should be paid to the old leaves and fall rubbish, which makes the yard look untidy. A good place for the leaves is the compost heap. Hedges should be put in shape and the surface drains kept open. Shrubs and roses should be pruned for an early supply of flowers. The Camellia Japonicas are now in bloom, and care should be taken that the small branches are not torn off, instead of being cut properly. Many of these most beautiful of southern ornamental trees have been ruined by careless plucking of flowers.
Garden and orchard.--Many of the fall vegetables may be sown this month and others sown for a succession. Peas, spinach, roquette, radishes, lettuce, endive, and some Early York cabbage should also be sown. In the old spent hotbeds, tomatoes, peppers, and egg-plants may be started; there will not be enough heat to hurry them, and good, strong stocky plants will be secured if care is taken. Irish potatoes may be risked, should there be a favorable time for planting during the latter part of the month. Usually they are planted in January. The chances are about equal should they be planted late this month. Nuts of all kinds, both for budding and otherwise, should be planted. Some of the best Louisiana pecans are said to come true from seed, and may be sown where they are intended to grow.