Calendar of Operations for the Year #
Under ordinary circumstances it would be more convenient to commence a calendar of operations in January. With intensive methods of cultivation, however, it is somewhat different. The month of August is generally recognised as the beginning of the cultural year for the intensive cultivator, hence it is, therefore, more convenient to begin the calendar in this volume at that period.
Under each month in the year—from August in one year to July in the following—the principal operations, as detailed in the preceding pages, have been noted briefly, merely as reminders to the grower what ought to be done in each month. It is important that seeds should be sown, pricked out, or transplanted at the proper time, otherwise the crops may mature too late to be of any particular value, especially to the commercial grower. Although Paris is somewhat farther south than London by about 3 degrees, there is really very little difference in the climatic conditions. As temperature, however, is an all-important point in gardening, and especially when conducted on intensive principles, it has occurred to me that it might be useful to the grower to have some idea of the average temperature of the air and the soil for each month of the year. I have, accordingly, extracted this information from Lindley’s Theory and Practice of Horticulture, the figures given being those taken for ten consecutive years in the Royal Horticultural Society’s late Gardens at Chiswick some years ago. The mean air temperatures at Paris have also been included for the purpose of comparison. It will, of course, be remembered that places farther north or south than London will have different mean temperatures, and it would be well for growers to find them out and place them in a conspicuous place in their gardens for future reference. So far as the rainfall is concerned, there is very little difference between that of Paris and London—the average rainfall in the former being about 23 in., and 25 in. in the latter. Here again, of course, great variation is to be found, as more rain generally falls on the western side of Great Britain than on the eastern.
By the kindness and courtesy of the authorities at the Observatory Department of the National Physical Laboratory at Kew, I am enabled to give below the meteorological averages of Rainfall, Sunshine, and Temperature which have been extracted from the records by permission of the Meteorological Council. These figures may serve for comparison with observations made in other parts of the kingdom.
From these figures it will be seen that the popular expression “February fill dyke” is by no means accurate, as February and March are generally the driest months in the year. At Ealing the average rainfall for forty years has been 25.39 in., although in 1908 there was as much as 27.34 in. And during the past three years, 1906, 1907, 1908, there have been 248, 240, and 242 dry days respectively.
Meteorological Averages at the Kew Observatory #
RAINFALL. Average in inches for 35 years, 1871-1905.
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Mean temperature of Soil at 1 ft. deep, 61°.80. Air, 61°.28 (Paris 65°).
Seeds of “Ox Heart” may be sown on old hot-beds or on borders for succession.
A small sowing of “Early Paris Forcing” may be made on old beds, or on warm borders for winter use.
Sow seeds of “Lenormand” and “Early Erfurt,” afterwards pricking seedlings out under lights. Cauliflowers nearing maturity should be kept growing freely by copious waterings and frequent use of the hoe. Keep a watch on caterpillars.
Corn Salad #
Sow early in the month; afterwards at intervals of three or four weeks till the end of October for succession crops if necessary.
Those planted out at end of June should now be ready for tying up. They require plenty of water during hot weather. The “Green Batavian” Endive should now be planted out.
Cos and Cabbage varieties sown in July should be ready for planting under cloches about the end of the month one Cos lettuce and three Cabbage Lettuces under each cloche.
The “Passion” and “Black Gotte” varieties of Cabbage Lettuces should now be sown for early supplies. The seedlings should be pricked out under lights or cloches when ready.
Winter Spinach should be sown in the open borders early in the month.
Seed should be sown to yield nice roots in October and November.
Manure for these should be prepared and turned over, and old Melon beds should be cleaned up.
Mean temperature of Soil at 1 ft. deep, 57°.54. Air, 56°.14 (Paris 60°).
Sow seeds of “Dwarf Early Erfurt” about the middle of the month, and prick out seedlings in other beds in October when large enough. The plants from these must be wintered in frames, and will be ready for planting amongst Carrots in March next.
sown in May, and transplanted in July, will be ready during this month.
The Cos or Romaine varieties are sown under cloches and will be ready for pricking out in early October.
Another sowing may be made of “Ox Heart.”
Corn Salad, Turnips, Carrots, and Radishes #
may also be sown—the last named on warm sheltered borders.
sown in August will be ready for pricking out preparatory to the final planting in October.
Seeds of “Ruffec” and “Green Batavian” may be sown to be pricked out under cloches in October.
Mean temperature of the Soil at 1 ft. deep, 51°.52. Air, 49°.35 (Paris 48°).
The small kinds, if sown early in the month, will be ready for cutting about February. “Passion” Lettuces sown this month may be pricked out and grown on under cloches or in frames till January, and then planted out.
Lettuces sown in August will be ready for planting early this month, if not at end of September, on raised sloping beds under cloches.
About the middle of the month, Lettuces (Cos and Cabbage varieties) may be sown for early forced crops. The kinds for this sowing should be “Black Gotte,” “Passion,” and “Blonde Paresseuse.”
“Ox Heart.” Seedlings will now be ready early in October for pricking out, so as to be ready for planting on warm sheltered borders by the middle of November.
planted out in open-air beds in July will be ready this month. Plants from the September sowing should be pricked out under cloches.
Corn Salad #
may be sown in the open air.
Crowns two or three years old should be taken up before the frost, and placed on hot-beds for forcing (see p. 76).
may be sown on warm sheltered borders early in the month. In the event of frost it would be well to cover with lights or protect with straw or litter.
Mean temperature of the Soil at 1 ft. deep, 46°.01. Air, 42°.89 (Paris 44°).
“Small Black Gotte.” The young plants from seeds sown in August will be ready for planting on hot-beds by the middle of this month. Others will be ready for pricking out under cloches.
About the middle of the month young plants of “Ox Heart” sown in August will be ready for planting out 18 in. apart on warm borders, having been already pricked out of seed-beds early in October.
grown under cloches or lights should be protected with mats at night in case of frost.
should be protected against frost with litter or bracken.
“Grelot” or “Early Forcing Horn” may be sown about the end of the month on hot-beds, and amongst them thirty or thirty-six Cabbage Lettuces (“Black Gotte”) may be planted under each light.
are often sown in these lights after planting the Lettuces. They grow quickly and are gathered before they interfere with either the Lettuces or the Cabbages.
should be sown about the middle of the month under lights. The “Flanders” variety will resist the cold well.
The cloches and lights under which “Passion” Lettuces are grown must be ventilated as freely as possible to prevent the leaves decaying.
Mean temperature of Soil at 1 ft. deep, 41°.13. Air, 38°.14 (Paris 41°).
At end of month the beds which have carried “Black Gotte” Lettuces are turned over, and some fresh manure is added previous to making up for another crop.
The ground for “Passion” Lettuces in the open should be deeply dug, and after levelling and raking may be covered with a layer of old manure. The Lettuces should be planted about the end of January.
Seedlings that have not been pricked out will be left in beds until February, but should be protected against hard frosts with a little straw, litter, or bracken when necessary.
may be sown on all hot-beds in which Cos Lettuces or Cabbage Lettuces are to be planted.
At this season one Cos Lettuce (grise maraîchère) and three Cabbage Lettuces (“Black Gotte”) may be grown under each glass on the hot-beds.
may also be thinly sown just after planting the Lettuces.
The old manure which is to be used for covering the beds next season should be got into ridges about 3 ft. high and 10 ft. apart, and fresh manure may be wheeled in between them for the formation of the beds.
Mean temperature of the Soil at 1 ft. deep, 40°.07. Air, 38°.21 (Paris 41°).
Seeds may be sown on hot-beds about the middle of the month. Crowns two or three years old may be forced in the way described at p. 76.
Any young plants that have been frosted should be covered with straw or litter to prevent quick thawing, which often does great harm to the plants.
Sow “Early Forcing Horn” with Radishes on beds that are to be planted with Lettuces.
Seeds of “Lenormand” or “Second Early Paris” may be sown to produce plants for putting between the Cos Lettuces later on.
Sow seeds about the end of the month.
The white-leaved “Passion” raised from seeds sown in October should be ready for planting in the open air in mild weather about the end of the month, or sooner, to be ready in April or May. Before planting, seeds of “French Breakfast Radishes” may be sown on the same soil. “Black Gottes” may be planted on the top of beds in which Radishes and Carrots are sown.
Any Lettuces attacked with mildew should be removed and burned. Clean healthy plants should fill the vacant places and have a little flowers of sulphur strewed round them.
Seeds of the “Cantaloup” varieties should be sown about the end of the month, to have fruits in May and June.
Seeds of “French Breakfast” kinds and “Early Forcing Horn” Carrots may be sown in beds on which “Gotte” Lettuces are to be planted.
An early supply may be obtained by sowing on hot-beds during the month.
Seeds may be sown to produce plants for putting under cloches in May.
Frames and cloches must be protected from frost with mats at night, and fresh manure must be added if necessary to keep up the temperature.
Mean temperature of the Soil at 1 ft. deep, 39°.74. Air, 38°.42 (Paris 38°).
Look over the plants in frames and remove old or decaying leaves regularly. Others may be planted under cloches one Cos Lettuce in the centre of three Cabbage Lettuces. The bed holds nine rows (see p. 162).
Seeds of “Cantaloup Prescott fond blanc” may be sown again. When large enough transfer each seedling to a 3-in. pot in nice rich loam.
Sow the “Rouen” variety about the middle of the month on a hot-bed, afterwards pricking out the little plants in another bed, and eventually transferring to cold frames or cloches when ready early in April. “Paris Green Curled” (or La Parisienne) is another good variety for sowing at this season.
About middle of month make a sowing on hot-bed to have young plants to put under cloches in March.
Seeds may be sown on hot-beds in the latter half of the month to produce plants in succession to those sown in August or September. Plants from the autumn sowing should be planted out after the middle of the month.
Sow early in the month on old Lettuce beds that have been re-made. The half-long or “Marteau” variety is recommended at this season by French growers, but “Early Snowball” or other English varieties would probably yield excellent results.
Sow again on beds carrying Lettuces or Carrots. Sow also in the open air in warm sheltered spots.
Sow at intervals of two or three weeks from the middle of the month in the open air.
Celery and Celeriac #
Sow seeds at end of month or early in March.
In January, February, and March, when the mats are taken off the lights or cloches in the morning, they should be stood on edge and spread out against walls and fences to drain and dry if they have been soaked with rain during the night.
Mean temperature of Soil at 1 ft. deep, 40°.96. Air, 40°.49 (Paris 42°).
Cos varieties may be planted in the hot-beds. In beds sown with Radishes, Lettuces, and Carrots in January, the Radishes will have been all gathered by this time, leaving only the Lettuces and Carrots. “Passion” Lettuces in frames must be well ventilated both day and night.
Young plants will be ready for planting in frames at end of this month, and should have the main shoot stopped beyond the second leaf as early as possible.
Sow seeds of “Lenormand” for growing in old hot-beds in the open during the summer months. Cauliflowers from seeds raised about the middle of last September, and pricked out in October, should now be planted on the hot-beds containing Carrots. They may also be planted in beds with Cabbage Lettuces and Spinach or Radishes.
Mats must be placed over cloches and frames at night when frost is anticipated. They should not be removed in morning until after the thaw has set in.
Seeds of long green varieties may be sown between the middle of March and middle of April, to be ready for final planting about the end of May.
The last sowing of “Half-long” varieties on hot-beds is made early this month, also under cloches, and in the open borders. Radishes may be sown at same time amongst those on hot-beds.
Sow in open air (see p. 141).
Sowings may be made between other crops such as Lettuces (Cos and Cabbage), Endives, Cabbages, etc., or in separate beds.
may be sown during the spring and summer to keep up a supply of leaves.
Sow for summer and autumn crops in the open air, and hoe between the Ox-Heart varieties in the open air.
Early in the month seedlings that were not disturbed in the beds should be planted out.
The lights should be taken off these on all fine days and even at night if no frosts are feared. Mats should be handy for covering in case of sudden frosts.
Seeds may be sown now and at intervals until June to produce plants for autumn and winter salads.
Mean temperature of the Soil at 1 ft, deep, 46°.47. Air, 46°.57 (Paris 48°).
After the first batch of Lettuces under cloches have been cleared, and the glasses have been moved over the other rows (as explained at p. 163), Cauliflowers may be planted in the places left vacant by the Cos Lettuces.
Cauliflowers from seeds sown in September may be planted in the open air about 2 to 2½ ft. apart (see p. 113).
By the end of this month the “Ox Heart” varieties sown last August will now be ready for cutting. Those sown in February will be ready for planting out about the middle of the month.
The “Passion” variety, planted in January, will now be nearing maturity, and the space between each plant may be filled with a Cauliflower. The frames and lights may be taken away altogether from these crops, if necessary, about the end of the month, and used for a second crop of Melons.
Those already in frames require careful ventilation each day when the weather is fine. Seeds should be sown each week to have plants ready later on for the beds as they become vacant.
Make a sowing early in April, and prick out 3 in. apart in May on an old hot-bed. These are to follow Cauliflowers. Young Celery plants may now be placed in frames, from which Turnips, Radishes, and Carrots have been gathered.
The Cos varieties grown on hot-beds will require attention. As the earlier plants are nearing maturity, the cloches covering them should be removed to cover the plants next in order of ripening, as explained at p. 163.
During this month attention must be given to weeding and thinning out, as the plants grow quickly. If necessary, the frames may be raised 2 or 3 in. by placing bricks or blocks of wood at corners, but manure should be previously banked up round frames to prevent soil from falling down afterwards.
The young plants from seeds sown at end of February or early in March will be ready for pricking out on south borders or on an old hot-bed.
Mean temperature of Soil at 1 ft. deep, 53°.11. Air, 53°.54 (Paris 58°).
The last of the plants placed under cloches in February will be ready this month. The first crop will be ready for pulling.
“Passion” Lettuces grown in cold frames or on warm borders will be ready for cutting.
If the weather is mild and moist, Endives may be planted in the open; and another sowing of “Rouen” may be made on a hot-bed.
These may be planted on the edges of old beds that have borne a crop of Cos Lettuces. Cauliflowers in frames with Carrots must be ventilated both day and night, to harden them off. They must be regularly watered. Early in the month the frames and lights over these should be removed for Melons, if the weather is fine.
may be planted out under cloches this month (see p. 61).
Prepare trenches 2 ft. wide and 1 ft. deep, and fill with two-thirds dry and one-third fresh manure for making Melon beds. These are covered with soil from trench in next bed. When Melons are planted, the lights are placed on frames and kept close and shaded for a few days (see p. 172). Early in the month a final sowing of “Cantaloup Prescott” and “Kroumir” may be made.
This is an important operation. Abundance must be given to Melons well set in fruit, and also to Cauliflowers showing heads.
Make a sowing of “Long Winter Paris” to be planted out in July in beds where Carrots and Cauliflowers have been grown. Water freely and hoe regularly.
Cornichons or Prickly Cucumbers #
may be sown on old hot-beds early in the month (see p. 129).
Seeds of the “Blond” variety may be sown early in May for autumn use.
may still be sown in vacant places on beds or in the open air.
About the third week in May sowings of the fine-leaved and broad-leaved varieties may be sown in the open, afterwards intercropping with Lettuces. Others maturing should be tied (see p. 139).
The final planting should be done this month.
Mean temperature of Soil at 1 ft. deep, 60°.02. Air, 60°.45 (Paris 64°).
The “Rouen” variety should be planted out at end of month on old manure beds. Earlier crops will need tying up, and will be ready during the month.
The variety called “Ruffec” and “Green Batavian” may now be sown on old hot-beds to give a supply in autumn.
Carrots and Cauliflowers #
will be ready about the third or fourth week, and the beds on which they are grown may be used for Melons sown in May; or the beds may be planted with Endive or Celery.
Each morning the Cauliflowers should be examined, and those developing heads rapidly should have some of the lower leaves detached and placed over them, to keep them pure white, otherwise they become browned and are not so valuable (see p. 114).
Cauliflowers and Melons #
A sowing of “Lenormand” Cauliflowers early in May will produce young plants that will be ready for planting among the Melons at the end of June about four plants to each light.
The last of the Cos Lettuces grown in frames or under cloches will now be disposed of.
must be well watered this month, and have plenty of air, even at night-time in fine weather. Fruits from first crop will be ready by end of month.
Catch Crops #
The beds that have borne Carrots and Cauliflowers, and have been prepared for Endive or Celery, may have catch crops of Spinach or Breakfast Radishes sown on them after the Endive or Celery has been planted.
About the middle of June seeds of Winter Cabbages and Savoys may be sown on old beds, the seedlings being ready for planting out at the end of July if they have been well watered and not sown too thickly.
Mean temperature of Soil at 1 ft. deep, 62°.85. Air, 63°.40 (Paris 67°).
raised from seeds sown in January will be ready for planting out about the middle of July. The best plants only should be chosen.
Carrots, early, and Spinach #
may be sown as catch-crops on beds of other crops, and must be well watered, to be ready in October.
sown in June may now be planted in the open-air beds, and will be ready by October. “Ruffec” and “Green Batavian” are the best at this period.
may be planted in the Endive beds, one between every two.
When the Cauliflowers that were planted in the Carrot beds in March have been cleared, their place may be taken by the Celery plants raised in March.
must now be watched regularly for the ripening of the fruits, and lights may be removed altogether if weather is fine.
Cos and Cabbage varieties may be sown in open beds for planting at the end of August.
During this month stable manure must be obtained in large quantities and stacked into heaps (see p. 19).
Plan of a French Garden #
Although no two gardens devoted to intensive cultivation are exactly alike in shape, size, or system of cropping, the diagram overleaf may serve to give a fairly good idea as to the lines upon which a French garden is generally laid down. In actual practice various modifications would naturally be made according to the site and aspect; and entrances and exits would appear at the most convenient spots in the fences or hedges.
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