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- The Home Acre - 28/28 -


heart than is found between long coarse stalks of the tall sorts. Dwarf celery requires less labor also, for it can be set on the surface and much closer together, the rows three feet apart, and the plants six inches in the row. Dig all the ground thoroughly, then, beginning on one side of the plot, stretch a line along it, and fork under a foot-wide strip of three or four inches of compost, not raw manure. By this course the soil where the row is to be is made very rich and mellow. Set out the plants at once while the ground is fresh and moist. If the row is ten feet long, you will want twenty plants; if fifteen, thirty plants; or two plants to every foot of row. Having set out one row, move the line forward three feet, and prepare and set out another row in precisely the same manner. Continue this process until the plot selected is occupied. If the plants have been grown in your own garden, much is gained by SOAKING the ground round them in the evening, and removing them to the rows in the cool of the morning. This abundant moisture will cause the soil to cling to the roots if handled gently, and the plants will scarcely know that they have been moved. When setting I usually trim off the greater part of the foliage. When all the leaves are left, the roots, not established, cannot keep pace with the evaporation. Always keep the roots moist and unshrivelled, and the heart intact, and the plants are safe. If no rain follows setting immediately, water the plants thoroughly--don't be satisfied with a mere sprinkling of the surface--and shade from the hot sun until the plants start to grow. One of the chief requisites in putting out a celery plant, and indeed almost any plant, is to press the soil FIRMLY ROUND, AGAINST, AND OVER THE ROOTS. This excludes the air, and the new rootlets form rapidly. Neither bury the heart nor leave any part of the root exposed.

Do not be discouraged at the rather slow growth during the hot days of July and early August. You have only to keep the ground clean and mellow by frequent hoeings until the nights grow cooler and longer, and rains thoroughly moisten the soil. About the middle of August the plants should be thrifty and spreading, and now require the first operation, which will make them crisp and white or golden for the table. Gather up the stalks and foliage of each plant closely in the left hand, and with the right draw up the earth round it. Let no soil tumble in on the heart to soil or cause decay. Press the soil firmly, so as to keep all the leaves in an upright position. Then with a hoe draw up more soil, until the banking process is begun. During September and October the plants will grow rapidly, and in order to blanch them they must be earthed up from time to time, always keeping the stalks close and compact, with no soil falling in on the developing part. By the end of October the growth is practically made, and only the deep green leaves rest on the high embankments. The celery now should be fit for use, and time for winter storing is near. In our region it is not safe to leave celery unprotected after the tenth of November, for although it is a very hardy plant, it will not endure a frost which produces a strong crust of frozen soil. I once lost a fine crop early in November. The frost in one night penetrated the soil deeply, and when it thawed out, the celery never revived. NEVER HANDLE CELERY WHEN IT IS FROZEN. My method of preserving this vegetable for winter use is simply this. During some mild, clear day in early November I have a trench ten inches wide dug nearly as deep as the celery is tall. This trench is dug on a warm dry slope, so that by no possibility can water gather in it. Then the plants are taken up carefully and stored in the trench, the roots on the bottom, the plants upright as they grew, and pressed closely together so as to occupy all the space in the excavation. The foliage rises a little above the surface, which is earthed up about four inches, so that water will be shed on either side. Still enough of the leaves are left in the light to permit all the breathing necessary; for plants breathe as truly as we do. As long as the weather keeps mild, this is all that is needed; but there is no certainty now. A hard black frost may come any night. I advise that an abundance of leaves or straw be gathered near. When a bleak November day promises a black frost at night, scatter the leaves, etc., thickly over the trenched celery, and do not take them off until the mercury rises above freezing-point. If a warm spell sets in, expose the foliage to the air again. But watch your treasure vigilantly. Winter is near, and soon you must have enough covering over your trench to keep out the frost--a foot or more of leaves, straw, or some clean litter. There is nothing better than leaves, which cost only the gathering. From now till April, when you want a head or more of celery, open the trench at the lower end, and take out the crisp white or golden heads, and thank the kindly Providence that planted a garden as the best place in which to put man, and woman also.

GARNISHING AND POT HERBS

"There's fennel for you; there's rue for you." Strange and involuntary is the law of association! I can never see the garnishing and seasoning herbs of the garden without thinking of the mad words of distraught Ophelia. I fancy, however, that we are all practical enough to remember the savory soups and dishes rendered far more appetizing than they could otherwise have been by these aromatic and pungent flavors. I will mention only a few of the popular sorts.

The seeds of fennel may be sown in April about three-quarters of an inch deep, and the plants thinned to fifteen inches apart. Cut off the seed-stalks to increase the growth of foliage.

Parsley, like celery seed, germinates slowly, and is sometimes about a month in making its appearance. The soil should therefore be made very rich and fine, and the seed sown half an inch deep, as early in spring as possible. When the plants are three inches high, thin them to eight inches apart.

Sweet-basil may be sown in early May, and the plants thinned to one foot apart. The seeds of sweet-marjoram are very minute, and must be covered very thinly with soil finely pulverized; sow in April or May, when the ground is in the best condition. Sage is easily raised from seeds gown an inch deep the latter part of April; let the soil be warm and rich; let the plants stand about one foot apart in the row. Thyme and summer-savory require about the same treatment as sage. I find that some of the mountain mints growing wild are quite as aromatic and appetizing as many of these garden herbs.

THE END


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