Increasing Your Garden Productivity
• By E. J. KING THE war and the troubles it
brought upon us have taught us the need for increased production with the same effort and the same resources (or even with fewer resources). This need is felt in the garden. and has Made it necessary to use up-to-date methods of cultivation. Gardeners are commonly thought to be con
servative ; but in fact they just cannot afford to be behind the times, as anyone can see who visits the establishment of a commercial grower. Good growers love the soil and regard it as a precious investment, just like the old-time gardener O n a country estate; but they see above all the need for early and reliable crops of .the highest quality. Consequently they select their seed from strains carefully chosen for their purpose. they prepare the ground thoroughly in advance with good manure or compost, and they exploit all the material assistance of glass in the form of lights, greenhouses and cloches,
PERMANENT GARDEN STRUCTURES
There are several good books and pamphlets on the use of permanent glass structures, at least one of them put out by the Ministry of
Agriculture recently. But market gardeners are increasingly preferring movable lights and cloches. These have several advantages which appeal to our own experience, If we cultivate our gardens intensively as most of us must, we find that towards the end of winter we arc clearing crops away in strips rather than in large blocks. These strips should not he left idle, but could be brought into readiness for another crop. Cloches enable us to do this out of season. After initial preparation, the glass is put over the strip in readiness for sowing so that the ground can warm up, and we shall be able to start our crops growing in safety. The glass can be trans ferred elsewhere at a later date when the crops are harvested or even earlier if they are able to look after themselves;
There is another advantage besides mobility. We all know that some crops such as peas and beans and celery will wolf all the manure we can give them. whereas others (like the carrot) prefer to draw on the residual humus left by some hungrier crop. In the small garden we often find that the very gradual removal of successional crops gives us only strips of suitable rnanured soil: even if we have got a nice rectangular patch. the manuring has been done in strips. Here again. it is possible with cloches to exploit the manurial advantage of our garden. We can grow good crops out of their usual season hut in ideal soil.
CONTROL OVER WEATHER
Above all, the advantage a movable cloches lies in the con trol they give us over the weather. In .Britain we have the most encouraging and discouraging weather in the world. With a slight levelling-out of the troughs of temperature in which frosts and sharp winds occur. it is possible to grow a great range cif crops throughout the winter in complete safety. Flimsy though clothes may appear. their open structure gives that ventilation which you have often read about without admitting the severity of frost and wind. In spring they are veritable suntraps which nevertheless do not parch the , plants in them. They are easily watered without being removed, and in soil rich in humus they do not dry out.
Cloches are most useful in the winter months from October to the beginning of April; but in late spring and even in midsummer they can be used to good advantage over many tender plants such as tomatoes. melons, peppers and so on. For plants of different shapes there are special cloches, 'although the standard models can be simply adapted by the use of foolproof equipment. Recently types have been introduced with underground cables for heating, rather like small frames which admit all the light, and there are other specialised models. It will certainly be to the advantage of the smallest garden to have some movable cloches especially of the "low barn" type--a good all-round utility pattern. Though seemingly expensive, cloches soon pay for themselves. I once paid for a good set with lettoces alone in one year.
The Person ond the Common Good by Jacques Maritain (Bles, 55.) Acquaintance with St. Thomas is helpful, but not essential, towards understanding this book. in which Jacques Maritain sets forth '' a social philosophy centred in the dignity of the human person." Is the ultimate good of the person opposed to that of society (in which he must live to find his fulfilment)? There is a permanent tension, but it goes near to being resolved in the Christian scheme. Other philosophies present a sharp conflict. The Christian solution rests on the distinction between personality and individuality. and Monsieur Maritain shows clearly wherein this distinction lies. This is a stimulating and