ON THE CARE OF YARDS AND GARDENS.
Too Long; Didn't ReadThe authorities consulted in the preparation of this and kindred chapters, are, Loudon's Encyclopædia of Gardening, Bridgeman's Young Gardener, Hovey's Magazine of Horticulture, the writings of Judge Buel,[T] and Downing's Landscape Gardening.
On the Preparation of Soil.
If the garden soil be clayey, and adhesive, put on a covering of sand, three inches thick, and the same depth of well-rotted manure. Spade it in, as deep as possible, and mix it well. If the soil be sandy and loose, spade in clay and ashes. Ashes are good for all kinds of soil, as they loosen those which are close, hold moisture in those which are sandy, and destroy insects. The best kind of soil, is that, which will hold water the longest, without becoming hard, when dry.
To prepare Soil for Pot-plants, take one fourth part of common soil, one fourth part of well-decayed manure, and one half of vegetable mould, from the woods, or from a chip-yard. Break up the manure, fine, and sift it through a lime-screen, (or coarse wire sieve.) These materials must be thoroughly mixed. When the common soil which is used, is adhesive, and, indeed, in most other cases, it is necessary to add sand, the proportion of which, must depend on the nature of the soil.
On the Preparation of a Hot Bed. Dig a pit, six feet long, five feet wide, and thirty inches deep. Make a frame, of the same size, with the back two feet high, the front fifteen inches, and the sides sloped from the back to the front. Make two sashes, each three feet [Pg 332]by five, with the panes of glass lapping like shingles, instead of having cross bars. Set the frame over the pit, which should then be filled with fresh horse-dung, which has not lain long, nor been sodden by water. Tread it down, hard, then put into the frame, light, and very rich soil, ten or twelve inches deep, and cover it with the sashes, for two or three days. Then stir the soil, and sow the seeds in shallow drills, placing sticks by them, to mark the different kinds. Keep the frame covered with the glass, whenever it is cold enough to chill the plants; but at all other times, admit fresh air, which is indispensable to their health. When the sun is quite warm, raise the glasses, enough to admit air, and cover them with matting or blankets, or else the sun may kill the young plants. Water the bed at evening, with water which has stood all day, or, if it be fresh drawn, add a little warm water. If there be too much heat in the bed, so as to scorch or wither the plants, make deep holes, with stakes, and fill them up when the heat is reduced. In very cold nights, cover the box with straw.