Page 3, 27th November 1942

27th November 1942
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Page 3, 27th November 1942 — Your Garden is Vital
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Your Garden is Vital

in War by E. J. KING bility of frequent frost WITH the increasing probacause I find my rich, heavy soil easier

we should be baying a very valuable yet inexnensive helper in the

work or breaking up hard land. So if you are still further extending your vegeteble garden, especially upon grassland, get as much vacant land as pos. ell:sic turned up in readiness for winter weather. No other single agency is so valuable. Manure is very short indeed, and as you'il probably not have enough, you should choose the new land as the one to go without it.

New land, especially if at some previous time te has been ploughed, usually has a hard pan " or unworked crust at about nine inches below the surface. This should be well broken up by the process of bastarclorenching or doubledigging. Over the broken sub-soil the sods should be placed, after you have cut them up a hit with your spade, and on to of this the top spit should be turned. The surface should be left as rough and broken as possible. Though some crops can be sown and planted at this season, it should not be done on new land, which always sinks a little.

LIGHT AND HEAVY LAND Other plots should be. dug and

manured as soori as possible. Short days and the various duties of national service shorten the winter considerably. On my soil I find it better to use the compost heap for manuring of the early digging. and to use manure for

the later digging. This is merely be to handle with coarse compost now,

An age-old controversy concerns the merits of spade and fork for digging. Use which ever does thc job best for you, and don't follow any other rule. I have two gardens of my own, one on dry and sandy soil, and another on stiff and Menthe loam; I also Look after another large one of fairly heavy soil with plenty of gravel. For the light land I use the spade always for digging, unless after an operation which has caused 4 to bc trodden to the consistency of, say, turf. But on the heavy land l practically never use the spade except in summer, because it invariably sticks to even the shiniest blade sooner or later. The gravelly soil calls for spades or forks in accordance with the weather.

You are often told, too, that shallots should not be planted in autumn except on dry land. Don't you believe it. If you have ever accidentally left bulb in the plot, you must have seen how vigorously it begins to grow at this season. The healthy green usually endun through the winter; Me strong !Pot formations always do, and don't allow the bulb to be pushed out of the

soil by the. frost. Moreover, if you look at the base of the bulbs in store (after taking off a little of the " paper ") you will normally find a show of embryo roots there. The advantage of early planting is also a finer

and more even crop of sizable bulbs by June next year.

SPRING OR AUTUMN PLANTING

But this doesn't necessarily mean you should plant everything you can in autumn. I have actually seen summersown and autumn-sown onions offered for safe for autumn planting; but this seems wicked to me on any normal soil, for the onion just doesn't have the same growth habits as the shallot, and every attempt should be made at preventing a check at this season.

But there are some subjects—borderline cases—where you'll have to exercise your discretion. Winter is cold; worse than that, it is persistently damp and liable to sudden spasms of muggy warmth. Therefore, if hesitating about some such thing as a herbaceous plant, decide primarily if it likes both moisture and cool conditions. Phloxes, for instance. are quite safe for autumn planting, hut net pinks.

Similarly, follow the known likes and dislikes of food plants. This is a good time for rhubarb division. if you cut the old stool into pieces with a fat, red bud. On my land this is an ideal time, too, for propagating black currant

bushes in the easiest possible way. A well-grown bush has shoots springing right front the soil or below.. These form plenty of roots in the moisture of autumn, and are easily cut from the main plant with a very sharp knife. The pieces, separately transplanted, extend their roots and are fine plants

next summer. •




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