in War by E. J. KING, M.A., F.R.H.S.
LAST week I said a good deal about chemical manures. This week I want to say a few words about lime-a necessity in most gardens sooner or later, but not exactly a food in itself. In all gardens, except those of shallow soils closely overlying chalk, lime is advantageous because it sweetens the soil made acid either by water or decaying Organic products and also because it helps to break down clay soils into a much finer tiles. Many slugs are driven off by it. Moreover, certain vegetables, such as the cabbage tribe, are much more free from disease when grown in a soil not lacking in time. Liming releases plant foods, too.
If your garden has not to your knowledge been limed within recent years, dose it generously this year. Lime is cheap, and should be applied as hydrated (slaked) lime in powder form on the surface after you have broken it up moderately well. Lime in this form will not burn the plants in any way, even when freely used. Actually, by the time you want to sow, it will probably have combined with some of the chemicals of the soil and have become chalk, taking away some of the acid in the process. About 56 lbs. of lime (costing 2s. 6d. to 3s., and don't pay more), is a good amount for five to eight rods of clayey soil. It should not be applied at the same time as animal manure (unless the manioc is well below and the lime on top) or at thc same time as soot. If you do, valuable food contents are wasted. It is quite a good idea, however, to give a top dressing of lime now to plots well manured in autumn, Lime harms no crops, though as potatoes and celery do best in a soil slightly acid it is perhaps best to leave their particular patches out this year Heavy liming of potato land is sometimes responsible for corky scab on the tubers; this does not appear to affect their health or taste, but they are better without it.
IF YOU ARE LUCKY There are several excellent vegetables of high food value which can now be sown if you are fortunate enough to have your soils in excellent working condition. Let me say right away that it is, generally speaking, waste of time to do anything in the way of sowing simply because this is the " proper season " for doing it. You should wait until the soil is in good heart, and sowings made then will overtake and outstrip early sowing which had to battle for very life. But if, as I say, your soil is workable, then there is every reason for sowing a row pr two of parsnips now These roots like a long growing season, and can be left in the ground all winter till required without fear of frost damage. They are useful in the dark days at the end of winter, and are good body-fuel. While no roots are as productive as potatoes, still the saving to the individual exchequer is greater where other roots such as parsnips are grown. Potatoes can usually be obtained cheaply enough in the shops. Parsnips should be grown nine inches apart in rows one foot apart.
MEAT, FISH, EGGS These desirable foods are rich in proteins, the fiesh-forrning substances which Make children grow and keep adults in a position to replace the tissues they wear out. But as these same desirable foods are not obtainable in abundance, to say the least of it, it is up to us to get proteins elsewhere. Now all vegetables are rich in some foods, but only peas and beans are really rich in proteins, and particularly are they rich. when they ale ripened off and dried. Make sure of your own by growing them if you can.
The variety of pea officially commended for drying is " Harrison's Glory," a dwarf farm pea which needs no staking and can be sown in rows IS inches apart. You don't need to sow it just yet, but I mention it so that you cart get hold of seed peas. Try a farmers.' seed merchant. The actual drying off of peas is easy. The best haricot beans are " Dutch Brown " and " Comtesse de Chambord."
But now you can actually' sow outdoors broad beans, of easy cultivation. and a vegetable which can be eaten fresh or dried. It will be in season in June, and will be most acceptable then. All the pea and bean tribe like deeply worked and well manured soil which does not get too dry. Clay is no disadvantage. if worked well. Sow the seeds in double rows about six inches wide, there being about eight inches between the seeds in each side of the double row. There should be a space of two feet between each double tow. The shoots wilt soon appear above ground if the weather is mild. This is a good time, too, to plant out frame-germinated bean seedlings either for the replacement of casualties in autumn. sown ranks or to start a new row in a nice warm spot for an early yield, Broad beans, I should mention, need no staking, and will be off the ground to make room for another vegetable (such as winter greens) before the end of July.