THE little daylight we are able to make use of now is all too often filled up with routine jobs such as tidying up the herbaceous borders and weeding, not to speak of the important business of digging every available piece of ground in the food garden. This last matter is one of tagency if we are to make the fullest use of frost and mean to get as much of our compost heap dug into the soil as we can before we accumulate a tremendous pile of the many " tops " and waste pieces which normally are so plentiful in winter. If we have room for it in the compost heap, especially at the bottom, it is a very good thing In make use of all the herbaceous waste. chopped up a bit with the spade, to form a sort of foundation for the usual sappy stuff we get in winter. When you have got a good layer, put a sprinkling of lime on it, and an inch or two of earth or compost or animal manure.
If piles of leaves are available, these may either be dug straight into the soil or made to help out the compost. Many kinds have but little manurial value its themselves, and some (such as elm or sycamore leaves) are inclined to rot down into a somewhat sour and soggy mass. But when missed with other refuse they certainly are valuable. because a mixed compost is normally of much better texture than one composed of only one kind. Furthermore, all leaves arc fibrous, and all finally decompose into good humus. Oak and beech leaves are specially good on rough soil.
Plaster rubbish is only too plentiful in some quarters, especially where the doodle-bugs have left their mark. When you have dug the soil for the winter, the finer rubbish can be freely scattered over the rough clods. Rougher stuff is best dug in. It is surprising how it disappears. Four years ago I put several tons on a ten-rod patch. Now it has all disappeared, and the soil is very much better indeed. Frost and soil acids break up quite large pieces.
YOU CAN FORCE THESE Rhubarb roots for forcing should be fairly young and strong ; it is best if they only have one or two large pink buds. It is said to improve the forcing if they arc dug up and left exposed to frost before being taken into a warm place. All you need to do is to have boxes large enough to fit the toots with a little earth. which you keep moist. In a warm cellar or similar place shoots will quickly form.
The variety called Glaskin's Perpetual is still sending our some new stems, and need not be treated like this. As it is still a growing (and not a dormant) plant. treat it as such and avoid a check. Chicory, salsify and scorzonera roots can be forced in darkness in the same way. If kept dry, the roots can be kept dormant for subsequent treatment.