« AnteriorContinuar »
or six plants, are placed under hand or bell-glasses, which are to be constantly removed in fine weather, and at other times, according to the vicissitudes of the season, raised on the south side, or supported on bricks, to permit of the needful access of air during the day. These glasses must be closed down during the nights, and also in rigorous weather, when an additional covering, or extra protection of mats or litter, will be required. Finally, at the approach of spring, the weaker plants are removed, more air is given, and at length the plants having grown so as to fill the glasses, are wholly exposed, and being earthed up, are left to mature their heads. One plant only, the finest, should remain, and the earth should be formed into a kind of dish round each stem, to contain water, or rather liquid manure, as the cauliflower is, what is termed, "a foul feeder."
121. Spring sowings.—The first may be made early in March in a moderate hot-bed, or under a frame, or hand-glass; these plants are to be pricked out when their leaves are an inch broad, as directed at No. 110. They are to be finally planted in the open garden early in May, at distances of two and a-half feet asunder; they will produce in August.
The second spring sowing for the late autumn, and winter crop, is to be made about the middle of May. Observe the same rules, and they will produce in October and November.
The soil for cauliflowers should be very rich; "cleanings of streets, stables, cesspools, &C., ought to be liberally supplied during the growth of the plants, when very large heads are desired ;"—but good diggings between the rows once or twice; and I am inclined to believe a slight solution of common soda, in the proportion of about an ounce to a gallon of water, given at twice,—i. e. when the plants begin to show heads, and when the heads approach to maturity, would answer every purpose; and the salt is much to be preferred on account of its perfect freedom from rankness or foul smell; that is, if it be found effectual: in fact, I have tried these weak solutions on many crops, and never witnessed ono instance of mischief; how far it may be really efficient manure, my experience as yet does not absolutely determine.
To save the seed, Mr. Cobbett's directions appear to be the most explicit and practically correct; for effecting this purpose, he says, "no pains that you can take would possibly be too great. First, look over your stock of heads; you will see some of them less compact than the others, more uneven, and more loose. "Now observe, it is the compact, the smooth, the white head, of which you ought to gave the seed, and though it will bear much less seed than a loose head, it will be good—you can rely upon it; and that is more than you can do upon any seed that you purchase, though it come from Italy, whence this fine plant originally came."
When cauliflowers are near maturity, double down two or three leaves over the heads, to protect them from the sun and heavy rains.
Subject 7. Broccoli:—Bras, oler., a sub-variety of the Cauliflower. Botrytes asparagoides of Decandolle.
122. According to Loudon, (3505,) the few varieties that were known in Miller's time, are supposed to have proceeded from the cauliflower, which was originally imported from the island of Cyprus, about the middle of the sixteenth century. Miller mentions the white and purple broccoli as coming from Italy; and it is conjectured that from these two sorts all the subsequent kinds have arisen.
This capital vegetable is superior to the cauliflower in two respects; in early spring it is in season, when no vermin or caterpillar is in existence; and it is comparatively hardy. Loudon enumerates, on the authority of Ronalds, of Brentford, thirteen varieties. These are arranged in the order in which they usually come to perfection. Those marked with an asterisk, are well suited to gardens of moderate dimensions.
•J Purple Cape, autumnal, 8 Tall purple-headed,
2 Green Cape, do. *9 Cream-coloured, or Portsmouth,
3 Grange's early cauliflower, 10 Sulphur-coloured, new,
4 Green close-beaded, winter, 11 Spring white,
•5 Early purple, 12 Late dwarf, close-headed,
"6 Early white, 13 Latest green Siberian, or Danish.
7 Dwarf, brown-headed,
123. Propagation of purple Gape A utumnal broccoli.—It may be sown in drills on light earth, made very rich, the seeds thinly scattered, from the middle of April to the end of June, to procure a supply from August, and throughout the winter. Maher transplants into beds where they are to remain, when the young plants have from eight to ten leaves: the beds are made very rich with manure, and not a weed is suffered to remain in them. He transplants some of the middle sowings, from the seed-beds into pots of the size sixteen, filled with rich compost, placing them in the shade, and watering, till they begin to grow freely. The pots are then plunged in the open ground, two feet asunder, and the rims about three inches below the surface, leaving a hollow, or basin, round each plant, to receive the water, till the autumnal rains come; when the earth is brought close round the stems, and pressed close. When the frost sets in, all the pots are removed under shelter of a frame or shed,
but the plants are permitted to have air, when the weather is milder; thus a succession is secured during the winter.
M'Leod suggests a method of growing Cape broccoli without transplanting. "In the end of May, after having prepared the ground, he treads it firm, and by the line, sows his seeds in rows two feet apart, dropping three or four seeds into holes two feet distance along the row. When the seeds vegetate, he destroys all except the strongest, which are protected from the fly by sprinkling a little soot over the ground; as the plants advance, they are frequently flathoed, till they produce their heads: they are once earthed up. A specimen of the broccoli thus grown, was presented to the Horticultural Society; the head was compact, weighed three pounds, and measured, when divested of its leaves, two feet nine inches in circumference. I have tried this method; I lost two sowings by the fly or slug, but succeeded with the third. I found, however, that the plants were so loose in the ground, that it became needful to open it, and let them down, till the earth reached half way up the stems: some manure was then placed about the roots, the earth was drawn close, and pressed firm, and some water with a little salt was given. Fine heads were produced from the last week in August till the end of October. This succession was partly occasioned by the necessity of making good some vacancies occasioned by the fly or slug; for in the third sowing, one whole drill was sown, and as this drill was finally thinned to two feet distances, the plants removed served to make good the losses occasioned by insects in the other rows, which had been dotted according to M'Leod's directions."— (See Encyc. of Gard,, 3587.)
124. Culture of broccoli in general.—All the sorts marked * may be finally planted out in distances of two feet, excepting the Portsmouth, which should have a space of three feet between each plant. A sandy loam, well enriched with manure, and finely pulverized, is most favourable. The seeds (of which Abercrombie allows one ounce to a bed four feet wide by ten long), should be sown in April, or early in May. When the plants are six or eight inches high, they may be removed into the beds where they are to remain. Keep down every weed; earth up the plants very high about the stems, at the close of autumn; and when open, dry weather succeeds the frosts of January and February, remove every dead leaf, and dig the ground: this, if done by alternate intervals, as described at No. Ill, will renew the processes of vegetable nutrition; and other circumstances being favourable, a succession of heads will be produced, from the first week in March, during six weeks or two months following. h dry and hot season from May to July, is inimical to broccoli; the best remedy is to open trenches, nine or ten inches wide and deep, and a yard apart. Into the base of each, dig well three inches of decayed leafy manure. Plant the young broccoli, when nearly a foot high, in holes along the trenches, filled with water, and choose the evening for the work. Repeat the watering three successive times after sunset; the plants will grow vigorously, and the earth of the intervening ridges will act as shade during summer. In 1835, when crops were burnt up, broccoli so treated flourished luxuriantly. At the approach of winter, draw the ridge-soil into the trenches, and thus the stems will be protected.
125. To save seeds.—Wood selects the largest and finest heads, taking particular care that no foliage appear on their surface; these he marks, and in April lays them in by the heels, in a compound of cleanings of old ditches, tree-leaves, and dung. When the head begins to expand, he cuts out the centre, leaving only four or five of the outside shoots to come to seed. This method, he considers, saves the seed from degenerating, and produces seed the most genuine of all the others he has tried.
I object to this method; I tried it, as I conceived, fairly, in 1831, on a fine plant placed in a rich compost at the corner of a south-east border. The plant dwindled, and produced nothing. At the same time, another plant was preserved in the spot where it grew, and produced sound and excellent seed. In concluding this article, I remark that all the plants of the Brassica tribe appear to form excellent rotation with potatoes; the exudations from the roots of the one favour the growth of the other. Potatoes and cabbage may, I believe, be made constantly to alternate with one another.
OPERATIONS IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN, FOR THE MONTH
126. Sow—Beans; long-pod, toker, Sandwich, and Windsor, (21,) once or twice during the month.
Peas; Warwick Prussians, dwarf imperials, (24,) and Woodford's marrow, once or twice.
Lettuce; the hardy sorts. Radish; the salmon, short-top, and the red and white turnip; the two former in the first or second week; and the two latter in the third or fourth.
Small salad; every fortnight.
Spinach, or spillage; in the second week for early crops.
Parsley; the curled-leaved, in the second or third week.
Asparagus; the seeds; either in beds to remain, or to be transplanted.
Purslane, chervil, coriander, basil, dill, fennel, and any other sweet herbs;—also nasturtium,—all about the third week.
Beet-root, (73);—carrot, (75);—parsnip, (79); in the third or fourth week, for the main crops.
Cabbage, (109-10) i-- the red, (116) ;—Savoy, (116);—Brussels sprouts, (117);—Borecole, (118);—about the fourth week, if done at all this month;—also,
Turnips; the early stone, and Dutch.
Onions; the white Spanish, in drills, for a full crop.
Sea-kale; either in beds to remain, or to be transplanted.
Plant—Horse-radish, Jerusalem artichokes, and artichokes, in the second or third week;—also,
Cuttings, slips, and roots of balm, mint, thyme, savory; and small plants of sage, rosemary, lavender, and rue, and the roots of garlic, shallots, and chives.
Asparagus; in beds, about the fourth week.
Transplant—early cabbages (111); and autumn-sown lettuce; the former as early in the month as possible.
Earth up—peas, beans, &c, : fork asparagus beds, if the weather be open and dry at the end of the month: destroy young weeds, and remove litter of every kind.
NATURAL HISTORY AND CULTIVATION OF STONE-FRUIT
Subject 2. Nectarine :—Persica Iwvis; var. Nectarina.
127. The Nectarine is considered as merely a variety of the Peach; it is, however, distinguished from it by the smoothness of the fruit, and the firmer texture of the pulp. Loudon observes that the peach and the nectarine are, by the continental gardeners, considered as one fruit; and Forsyth says, "The fruit is called nectarine, from nectar, the poetical drink of the gods." Some botanists, considering it as a distinct species, distinguish it by the trivial name of nuci-persica, from the similitude of the green fruit in smoothness, colour, size, and form, to the walnut (nuz) covered