Breezy Notes By Woman Gardener
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
"Truckers say that after seed is sown we should either roll, slap, or tramp the ground," says Mrs. Preston Kuntz of Pennsylvania. " I never do that This method should be used only on dry and sandy soil. I gently pat with my hand or the hoe; this is sufficient to settle the ground. If a dashing rain comes I loosen the ground with a rake as soon as fit. A heavy soil should not get even the gentle pat. In setting plants I give the soil only a gentle squeeze. I open chicken eggs at the small end; use the eggs and save the shells. In these I sow watermelons, lima beans, etc. When signs of life are showing, I open the other end of the shell to let out the roots. I set them in old calico bags, made About the size of a 5-cent salt bag. When the weather permits I set them in the garden. The bags soon decay.
" I sow onion seed in rows 2 feet broad and 50 feet long. I do not wait for weeds to sprout in hotbed or garden before sowing. Weeds are a blessing. Millions of them come up, but I soon remove them when they are the size of a pin. This loosens the ground around the onions and encourages quick growth. A man could not do this. He is too clumsy. It requires deft fingers. Methods, like' authorities, are guides. One must use his own judgment and select what is most suitable. Through my hotbed runs a cement walk. Tender plants started in the house in boxes are placed on the walk during the day and kept in a living room at night. After my garden is plowed there is about 2 feet of ground along the fence left unturned.' This I plant to strawberries to save spading. Melons vines are delicate. Flour will kill them, so will a little too much bug poison. All I did last year was to disturb their enemies. I used old cider, also old sauerkraut. To this I added water. It is good, but I had to go over the vines every day for about one week.
I never raise seeds. The space they require I replant and find it pays better. Besides, many different varieties mix when planted close. One should not become wedded to one seed company. Try all new varieties and retain the best. Gifts of seeds should not be allowed ; their worth is spoiled. When people have to pay for anything they appreciate it and will take better care than when they get something for nothing. We once got two mail bags full of seeds from Washington. We had more pack-ages of seeds than we had people to whom to give them. The mice problem was solved when I found part of the government seeds devoured. I occasionally meet people who show me some of these seeds and ask what they are. Many get seeds they don't want or can't plant. Pole beans, cantaloupes, etc., are seldom grown on small lots. They require much space and trouble.. A trucker should know the name of every vegetable he grows. Should also know what the ground contains and what to apply.
GAINING AND RETAINING CUSTOMERS
"Well raised vegetables speak for themselves. A batch of well grown corn suddenly became a little too hard for table use. Wishing to sell, I told the people that the corn was just at the right stage to make the best corn fritters. The corn grates better if it is a little hard. Congratulations are bestowed-on beneficial honesty. A person should be frank and never get angry. My time is precious, and some people are talkative. The best way to handle them is to listen and move quickly before they commence to talk another blue streak. Cheerfulness, with sometimes just a dash of sauce, will help in selling produce. Over-measurement is just as had as under-measurement. People of good sense know that the best can't be raised for nothing.
"Novelties are expensive, but, as I seldom fail, they pay. Pocahontas, a new sugar corn put out by Henderson, is the earliest and best I have ever had. Burpee's New Bush Lima beans are good. Outermont Beauty melon failed, a fault of my own, Silver Self-Blanching celery is beautiful. Besides, these I tried some new nameless varieties. Among them was Burpee's new lettuce, which is fine. Invincible and Cornet asters are the grandest flowers I raise. The cut flowers put in clean water every day will stay fresh for four weeks.
" From 48 hills I sold $7 worth of watermelons and $15 worth of radishes, raised between the melons. From a patch 15 x 40 feet I sold $40 worth of lettuce and took from the same ground a crop of endive. My largest crop was radishes, which. amounted to $77.25. The garden is Too feet broad and about 300 feet long. I cleared $400, including $25 received as first premium for one display of vegetables. About 100 varieties were raised on this plot of ground."