previous
no next



  ― 451 ―

The Colonial Garden.

Potatoes.

FOR a general winter crop in field or garden, should be planted from the end of January to the end of February, or even the beginning of March, rather than lose the planting; and they will come into use in winter, when cabbages and other vegetables run to seed. The ground should if possible be prepared a month before the planting, and a preference given by the country gardener to new ground, or dry wheat stubble, where the soil is light. The town gardener should keep his ground in a good state by frequent light manuring.

The sets made choice of should be the produce of the last winter crop; and when planted should have a covering of light manure; without which the ground will be impoverished; but with such assistance be improved.

The best potatoes to preserve for sets are of a middle size, as well for profit as security; for if the largest are made use of, there must be a considerable waste; and those of the dwarf kind should be rejected, from their degeneracy and weakness.

An experienced gardener, who has been a settler here more than twenty years, plants his seed potatoes uncut for the winter crop; his reason for which is, that if they are cut they are likely to perish in the ground, from the rains of March; which will not be the case if put in whole.

In July the ground should be prepared for the summer crop, at which time the winter crop will be fit for digging; in which process every care should be taken


  ― 452 ―
to prevent their being bruised; and if possible they should be dug in cloudy weather, to avoid exposure to the sun, which would rot them; whereas if carefully preserved they will keep sound for a length of time; which will be the more desirable, as at this season vegetables are mostly scarce and dear.

In August the planting should be made, or even in September, if necessary; and at the end of the latter, or in October, they will require to be hilled and earthed, and well cleansed from weeds, which must also now and then be done as weeds make their appearance. In the choice of seed for this crop, a middle sized potatoe should be preferred, without any objection to their being cut, as is the customary mode of planting.

Manure.—Fresh stable dung, and litter, or decayed thatch, answers better for manure than that which is very rotten; but if the ground be fresh and light, they will want no manure, and the potatoes be of a better quality, though probably less plentiful.

In October you may also plant potatoes for a latter crop; and this, though perhaps less abundant than that sown in August or the beginning of September, will nevertheless be sufficiently productive to pay well the expence and labour of planting.

The potatoe is so essential and desirable an article of food, that too much care cannot be bestowed in their culture and preservation; for should other crops fall short, this will afford the grower a certain means of supporting his family.

Carrots and Parsnips

For a general crop, may be best sown in December and January. The ground should be dug deep, and


  ― 453 ―
broke up very fine. If the soil be light, the seed should be sown on a calm day, and trod in.

Carrots and Parsnips may also be planted in July, and also in November. They thrive best in an open situation, or a light sandy soil; and after they come up, should be thinned and set out with a small two inch garden hoe.

Cabbages

For a constant supply may be sown in January, April, May, July, August, October, and early in November, at a time when the ground is in a moist state. The plants sown in April will not run to seed. Care should be taken to set out the plants in a richer and stronger ground than the bed they are taken from; otherwise the crop will be poor. Their first bed should now and then be weeded with the hand, in dry weather, and the freshest and strongest plants removed first. In setting them out, a passage should be allowed between the rows of at least two feet, and in the rows the plants kept eighteen or twenty inches distant from each other, which will allow them a free circulation of air. As they grow up, they should occasionally be earthed up a little, and carefully weeded, as nothing has a more negligent and slovenly appearance than a foul bed of cabbage. In very dry hot weather, their first bed should be watered now and then; after rain they should be set out, but not during its continuance, as it would wash the mould from the roots, and numbers decay without taking root at all in the new bed. Cabbages run to seed in August and September.

A gardener of long experience in the Colony has favored us with the following remarks on the culture of


  ― 454 ―
the cabbage: “Although cabbage seed may be here sown with advantage at several times of the year, yet I have of late years confined myself to two sowings only; namely, in January, and as near the middle of May as I could find the weather most favorable, for two general crops. That sown in January comes well in for a winter supply; but must be taken great care of, or will come to nothing; for as January is one of our hottest months, they will require to be shaded from the sun's excessive heat by boughs, which if closely twined together will continue their shelter even after the leaves are withered; and also, to be watered at least once in every two or three days, until they get pretty strong in the ground. The other crop, sown in May, will come into use early in summer; and do not require any care more than they usually receive.”

Turnips

The ground should be prepared in February; and at the latter end of the month some may be planted; for which purpose gentle showery weather is most favourable.

Turnips for a general crop should be sown early in March, and they will be ready for food for sheep in the beginning of May. During their growth they require hoeing once or twice, to thin and keep them clean, if the land be foul.

Turnips for table use may be sown at any time between March and September, or the beginning of November, when absolutely necessary.

Turnips for Sheep.—The ground should be prepared in January and February, by the plough or hoe, harrowing, manuring, and totally cleansing it from all


  ― 455 ―
weeds whatever, so that it be brought into the best state possible.

The Seed.—To raise turnip seed properly is an object worthy of the strictest attention. To do this, the bed should be examined carefully when the turnips have attained about a third of their size, and the largest, smoothest, and most healthy taken up and transplanted into a richer bed, in rows a foot wide, and about six inches between the plants that are in the same row.—The seed will be fit to cut the latter end of November.

Cauliflower.

The seed may be sown at any time between November and February; but best in December. Some sow about the middle of May for a summer crop, and this practice is found to answer.

Asparagus.

The seed should be sown in October, in drills, four drills in a bed four feet wide, the ground being first well prepared, and richly manured. At the latter end of April, or beginning of May, the haulm should be cut down within two inches of the bed (though some cut it nearly level), and constantly kept from weeds. The ground should be dug with a three pronged fork, and not with a spade, as the latter will cut the crown of the roots, and destroy the plants. A professed gardener of twenty-three years practice in the colony assures us, that he has now a bed of twenty years standing, which constantly yielded a good crop until the year before last, the failure of which he attributed to the ground being worn out, and therefore set out a fresh bed. In this country it requires a cool soil, and


  ― 456 ―
that the beds should not be laid too high, four or five inches being a sufficient height.

Onions.

In March prepare the ground, by breaking it up well, and richly manuring it. At the end of the month, and beginning of April, sow for a light crop of onions for immediate use.

In April prepare for a general crop, which should be sown at the latter end of the month, or beginning of May, to keep them from going to seed. When they grow to a proper size, which will be from the latter end of October to the beginning of November, they should be carefully laid down, so as not to break the tops; for should the tops be broke, and the wet penetrate, the onions will inevitably spoil. When fit to draw, they should be gathered on a fine dry day, and lain under cover, so as not to be at all exposed to the sun.

Pease and Beans of all kinds.

The ground should be prepared in March, by well working and manuring; and at the end of the month, and in April, they may be sown for a spring crop. Some sow from the beginning of March till the middle of June, as occasion may require.

Prepare in August for a latter crop; and

French beans may be as well sown in October as at any other time.

Cucumbers, Pumpkins, and Melons.

The ground should be got ready for these in August, and they should be sown in September.




  ― 457 ―

Radishes.

May be sown when turnips are sown.

Lettuces and Small Sallad

Are sown every month, for a constant supply; but lettuces are best sown in April and November, and small sallads in May, and the latter end of November.

Grass and Clover.

Turnip ground, on which either is intended to be sown, should be cleared, cleaned, and broke up in August, great care being taken to leave no weeds or large clods.

Spinage

Is best sown in March and September.

Brocoli, brown and white

Should be sown the beginning of January, and treated as cabbage sown at that time. Some observe the practice of sowing from November until February, but this is a vague method, and not to be depended on.

Strawberries.

March is the proper season for planting this fruit. The runners and leaves should be all cut close away before they are set, which will strengthen them greatly, and before winter they will have new leaves. If planted in clumps, the fruit will be larger than if suffered to run over the bed; but by the latter method they preserve a more delicate appearance, and are certainly less likely to contract filth.

As soon as planted, a sprinkling of fresh earth


  ― 458 ―
should be thrown over the beds, which should be plentifully watered twice or thrice a week, if the season turn out dry; and as the plants require much air, they should be thinned, in order to preserve a free circulation.

When sown in beds, the following mode of treatment should be observed:—When the bed is well prepared, plant the rows of the large kinds, such as the Chili and Carolina, two feet apart, and allow one foot between each of the plants in the same row. The smaller kinds do not require so much space; eighteen inches between the rows, and eighteen between the plants will be sufficient; but as much greater space may be given as the ground will admit of.

In April all strawberry beds should be well dressed and cleaned, in order to prevent the lodging of insects; and in July they should be gone well over, and have their spring dressing; in doing which the runners must be taken off from the plants, and the weeds cleared away. The ground will then also require to be loosened, and would be much benefited by a layer of fine manure and fresh earth between the rows, as this treatment will strengthen the plants, and produce the largest and finest fruit.

Raspberries

Should also be dressed and cleaned in July.

Grapes.

Begin in April to pinch and prune the vines, which must be cleaned from all cankered and unhealthy leaves or other substances, to preserve them from insects. In July they should also be gone over, and pruned and


  ― 459 ―
nailed, where requisite. All walls and stakes should then be attentively examined, to prevent the harbouring of insects, which will otherwise destroy the young wood and fruit.

Pine Apples.

In the management of Pinery, should gentlemen incline their attention thitherward, the following observances will be useful. In May let them be unplunged, and lain down on their sides, till all their leaves be free from water. Take off all yellow leaves, and suckers, and let these suckers be plunged into fresh pots of earth, and in a fresh bed of heat, by means whereof the Pinery will always be kept full. The spider is their chief enemy, and therefore should not be permitted to harbour near them, as the smallest of the tribe will kill the crown, and destroy the fruit.

Trees of all Kinds

In JANUARY and FEBRUARY should be BUDDED. A competent judge will best inform himself of the proper time for this operation by the ripe appearance of the buds themselves. For this use the practical gardener chooses a small instrument which may be made of bone, with wrappers of worsted, which being elastic, is better than bark, or any other substitute. The tops of the budded stocks are by some left uncut until the August or September following; but a gardener of much experience in the Colony makes it a rule to cut his tops off immediately, as the buds strike much sooner with this practice.

PEACHES and PLUMS are best budded upon their own stocks.




  ― 460 ―

APRICOTS may be budded upon peach stocks.

The ENGLISH MULBERRY upon the cherry; or Cape; and ORANGES will succeed best upon lemons; and all tender trees are better to be budded in summer than in spring.

It may be here proper to observe, for the better information of those who have not given themselves the trouble of dividing the year into seasons, and which it would indeed be difficult to do by a comparison with those to which in Europe we were accustomed, that the spring months are, September, October, and November; the summer months, December, January, and February; the autumn months, March, April, and May; and the winter months, June, July, and August. Hence it is observable, that our wheat harvesting begins in the last of the spring months, November, and is entirely over before the end of summer.

In March, all fruit trees should be examined, and the broken or decayed limbs taken off.

In May, all fruit trees should be pruned, except evergreens, and such branches as are necessary to be taken off cut close to the tree, that the wound may heal the sooner, and thus prevent the tree from injury by rain or dew.

In May, orange trees may be safely transplanted, as well as in

June; which is the general season for transplanting fruit trees: in doing which, the roots should be carefully taken up, and planted as near to the surface as possible, taking care at the same time that the whole be covered, being first spread out like an open hand; after which the covering may be thickened with a little rich manure; and when the hole is filled, the


  ― 461 ―
earth about the root should be trodden gently, so as to fix the position of the plant.

June is also the best time for making layers, and planting cuttings from hardy trees.

In July, such fruit trees as were not transplanted in June should be removed, and stocks to bud and graft upon transplanted.

In August, evergreens may be transplanted, in which great care must be observed, as they are very tender; and as their roots will not bear exposure to the sun, they must be so carefully dug round as to admit their being taken up with as large a ball of earth clinging to the root as can be done, in which exact state they always should be fresh planted.

In August, also, the nursery will require to be well gone over and cleaned, and young trees prepared for grafting. Wall fruit and shrubs must be now particularly attended to, in divesting them of every foul or decayed substance.

In this month, also, all gardens should be cleaned and dressed. The gardener ought to be particularly attentive in keeping off weeds and insects, as grubs frequently make their appearance at this time, which very much injure all vegetable productions.

This month also the nursery wants cleaning, and the young trees must be prepared for grafting: the weeds preparatory to which, must be cut down and destroyed, or they will afterwards give much trouble. Decayed branches should likewise be taken from fruit trees; and such trees as appear stunted should have the ground opened about the roots.

SEPTEMBER is a good month for grafting fruit trees, the scions intended for grafts being cut off a fortnight


  ― 462 ―
or three weeks before, and the ends which are cut stuck in the ground until wanted for use.

Trees budded at the beginning of the year must now be cut down within about two inches of the bud; this space above the bud being left to tie the young shoots to, to prevent their being broken off by the wind. No shoots should be suffered to grow but the eye that was budded, and all others should be rubbed off as soon as they appear.

OCTOBER.—Young trees that were grafted in September should now be examined, and all the young shoots broken off, but one or two, both from the grafts and stocks:—The clay must be taken off, and the bandages loosened. The ground between the rows of all young trees should also be kept clear of weeds, or they will deprive the trees of a great part of their nourishment.

Apricot and peach trees should be examined this month, and where the fruit appears to be set too thick, which will be mostly the case in prolific seasons, they must be reduced to a moderate quantity. This must nevertheless be done with care, and only such of the fruit as is proper to remain left upon the tree.

In this month the garden should be cleaned all through, and walls and fruit trees well examined, to prevent insects from lodging.

In NOVEMBER such trees as were inoculated the previous summer will want the young shoots tying, either to the top of the stock, or to have a stake driven in near them to tie the shoot to, that they may not be broken off by the wind. All budded and grafted trees will in November want constant attention. All shoots that do not grow from the eye of the bud, or from the


  ― 463 ―
graft, must be taken off, that the graft or bud may receive all the nourishment the stock can afford.

In November evergreens may be propagated by layers, from the young shoots of the summer's growth.

In December the same observance is to be attended to with respect to evergreens; and peach trees should now be thinned of their fruit, where it appears too thick.

Observations on some particular Fruit Trees.

The Orange.

In pruning, the knife should be as little used as possible, if you wish them to bear. The southerly winds are very unfavorable to their growth, and parts opened by the knife admit the air, and kill the bloom. This tree is perhaps more infested by ants than any other; and the black contracted appearance of the leaves is much attributed to this insect. From this persuasion, which is pretty general, various methods have been tried to keep them off. Human ordure laid round the boll of the tree will prevent their appearing so long as it retains moisture, but not longer; tar has been applied round both the trunk and branches, and only answered while moist; yet a cure, if the ant be really inimical, is certain to be found, with little trouble, and without expence, in common suds from a wash tub, in which ley has been used. This wash should be laid well about the roots in the evening, when the ants have left the tree, which will be mostly the case, and in wet weather always so, and there need be little apprehension of their return next morning; a woollen bandage, dipped in oil, will also be found a preventative to their ascending the tree. This application, whenever ants appear, will have the desired effect; but whether


  ― 464 ―
these insects are injurious to the tree or not, is to be doubted upon this principle, namely, that the ant, being excessively carnivorous, is instinctively led to the orange tree in quest of the eggs, exuviæ, larvæ, &c. of some very minute insect, whose eggs are attached to the leaves by a glutinous substance, emitted by themselves in such quantity as to discolour the leaf, the pores of which being thus stopped, it becomes hard and tusky, and gradually closes. It seems impossible that this change should be produced by the ant: for if it even attacked or destroyed the blossom, this would not affect the leaves when the tree is not in bloom; and therefore it is rational to conclude that their changed appearance proceeds from some other cause, perhaps from some other insect, perhaps from the assaults of the weather, or some peculiarity in its soil or situation, or from a combination of these and other causes; in exemplification whereof it is worthy to be remarked, that a gardener in the Brickfields planted a number of seed sixteen years ago, all from the same tree; of which forty-four came up, and were all treated with equal care. None shewed fruit until about seven years since; when one produced about two-hundred oranges, and four or five others had from thirty down to ten or a dozen each. The following year the same trees were full; and afterwards others began to bear. This very great disparity in their time of bearing, keeping in mind at the same time that the seeds were from the same tree, all sown at once, and all equally well attended to, would be sufficient to excite astonishment, were we not to make allowance for the various causes that might have tended to accelerate or retard their growth.

The gardener himself says, that the chief of the defaulters


  ― 465 ―
were a good deal shaded from the sun by a range of peach trees, which depriving them of a great proportion of the warmth necessary to a fruit which thrives best in the hottest climates, he considers sufficient to occasion all the difference spoken of.

The Apple

Has a great enemy in a minute insect called the Cochineal, owing more, perhaps, to its being nearly of the same colour, than from any resemblance to the Spanish insect of that name. A gentleman who had eight trees that had for several years borne a delicious apple, had the mortification to find the whole of his trees at once infested by those insects in excessive number; after which they left off bearing, and after failing in many experiments to relieve them, he came unwillingly to the resolution of cutting down the trees. These insects are of a dark red, approaching to a purple, and combine in such numbers on the roots as well as branches, as to shew in protuberated clusters, exhibiting a downy whiteness on the surface. A gardener of the colony, who has attended a good deal to this matter, affirms that a weed called the Churnwort presents a perfect remedy to the disaster; with this weed, the roots, cleared of the earth, and the branches also, he advises to be thoroughly well rubbed.




  ― 466 ―

Victualling one Mess of five Men.

                     
Beef.  Pork.  Flour.  Plumbs.  Pease.  Suet. 
Ps.  Ps.  lbs.  lbs.  quarts  lbs. 
Sunday  2½  ½  0½ 
Monday 
Tuesday  ½  0½ 
Wednesday  2½  ½  0½ 
Thursday 
Friday  2½  ½  0½ 
Saturday 
12½ 
Say 26 Weeks  78  78  325  52  78  52 

                             
£  s d
78 Pieces of Beef, at £8 per 42 pieces, is  14  16 
78 do. do. Pork, at £9 per 53 do.  13  10 
325 lbs. Flour, at 
52 lbs. Plumbs, at  10 
78 quarts Pease, at 
52 lbs. Suet, at 
38 
2½ Tons water butts at 60s.  10 
5)45  16 
Say a ship of 500 tons to carry 200 men  200 
£1831  13 
Say 500 tons freight at £6 out  3000 
£4831  13 

200 men at £4831 13s. 4d. is equal to £24 3s. 2d. per man.

previous
no next