What is Taste of the Past?

Taste of the Past is where I share my love of traditional cookery. Recipes from the days before TV dinners and microwaves right down the ages to the earliest cook books that I can get my hands on. I hope you enjoy my experiments as much as I do. Please share your own ideas, efforts and feedback in the comments.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Gardening tips from 1823

This post is basically all of he gardening tips taken from Mrs. Mary Eaton's housekeeping advice book.  This is meant to be more for my notes at the moment.  If I try any of it I will let you know. Original text in italics.

Now I have finished copying over all of the gardening advice that I have found I realise just how much there is.  I will be doing similar posts of her other subjects such as house hold management, cleaning, medicines and animal husbandry, but not tonight.

ASPARAGUS. Having carefully scraped the stalks till they appear white, and thrown them into cold water, tie them up in small bundles with tape, and cut the stalks of an equal length. Put them into a stewpan of boiling water a little salted, and take them up as soon as they begin to be tender, or they will lose both their taste and colour. Meanwhile make toasts well browned for the bottom of the dish, moisten them in the asparagus liquor, place them regularly, and pour on some melted butter. Then lay the asparagus on the toasts round the dish, with the heads united at the centre, but pour no butter over them. Serve with melted butter in a sauce tureen, and separate cups, that the company may season with salt and pepper to their taste.—As this vegetable is one of the greatest delicacies which the garden affords, no person should be unacquainted with the means of producing it in constant succession. Toward the end of July, the stalks of the asparagus are to be cut down, and the beds forked up and raked smooth. If the weather be dry, they should be watered with the drain of a dunghill, and left rather hollow in the middle to retain the moisture. In about a fortnight the stalks will[15] begin to appear, and the watering should be continued once a week if the weather be dry. Asparagus may thus be cut till near the end of September, and then by making five or six hot-beds during the winter, a regular succession may be provided for almost every month in the year. To obviate the objection of cutting the same beds twice a year, two or three others may be left uncut in the spring, and additional beds made for the purpose. The seed is cheap, and in most places the dung may be easily procured. There is no need to continue the old beds when they begin to fail; it is better to make new ones, and to force the old roots by applying some rotten dung on the tops of the beds, and to sow seed every year for new plants.

This is a great idea if you have the space!

CATERPILLARS. These noxious insects, sustained by leaves and fruit, have been known in all ages and nations for their depredations on the vegetable world. In August and September they destroy cabbages and turnips in great abundance, and commit their ravages in fields and gardens whenever the easterly winds prevail. Various means have been devised for their destruction, and any of the following which may happen to be the most convenient, may be employed with very good effect. Mix and heat three quarts of water and one quart of vinegar, put in a full pound of soot, and stir it with a whisk till the whole is incorporated. Sprinkle the plants with this preparation, every morning and evening, by dipping in a brush and shedding it over them; and in a few days all the cankers will disappear. Or sow with hemp all the borders where cabbages are planted, so as to enclose them, and not one of these vermin will approach. When gooseberry or currant bushes are attacked, a very simple expedient will suffice. Put pieces of woollen rags in every bush, the caterpillars will take refuge in them during the night, and in the morning quantities of them may thus be taken and destroyed. If this do not succeed, dissolve an ounce of alum in a quart of tobacco liquor; and as soon as the leaves of the plants or bushes appear in the least corroded, sprinkle on the mixture with a brush. If any eggs be deposited, they never come forward after this application; and if changed into worms they will sicken and die, and fall off. Nothing is more effectual than to dust the leaves of plants with sulphur put into a piece of muslin, or thrown upon them with a dredging box: this not only destroys the insects, but materially promotes the health of the plants. When caterpillars attack fruit trees, they may be destroyed by a strong decoction of equal quantities of rue, wormwood, and tobacco, sprinkled on the leaves and branches while the fruit is ripening. Or take a chafing-dish of burning charcoal, place it under the branches of the bush or tree, and throw on it a little brimstone. The vapour of the sulphur, and the suffocating fume arising from the charcoal, will not only destroy all the insects, but prevent the plants from being infested with them any[71] more that season. Black cankers, which commit great devastation among turnips, are best destroyed by turning a quantity of ducks into the field infested by them. Every fourth year these cankers become flies, when they deposit their eggs on the ground, and thus produce maggots. The flies on their first appearance settle on the trees, especially the oak, elm, and maple: in this state they should be shaken down on packsheets, and destroyed. If this were done before they begin to deposit their eggs on the ground, the ravages of the canker would in a great measure be prevented.

FLOWER GARDEN. The pleasures of the garden are ever various, ever new; and in every month of the year some attention is demanded, either in rearing the tender plant, in preparing the soil for its reception, or protecting the parent root from the severity of the winter's blast. Ranunculuses, anemones, tulips, and other bulbous roots, if not taken up, will be in great danger from the frost, and their shoots in the spring will either be[130]impaired, or totally destroyed.——January. Cover the flower beds with wheat straw, to protect them from the cold; but where the shoots begin to appear, place behind them a reed edge, sloping three feet forward. A mat is to be let down from the top in severe weather, and taken up when it is mild. This will preserve them, without making them weak or sickly. The beds and boxes of seedling flowers should also be covered, and the fence removed when the weather is mild. Clean the auricula plants, pick off dead leaves, and scrape away the surface of the mould. Replenish them with some that is fine and fresh, set the pots up to the brim in the mould of a dry bed, and place behind them a reed edging. Cover carnation plants from wet, and defend them from mice and sparrows.——February. Make hotbeds for annual flowers, of the dung reserved for that purpose, and sow them upon a good thickness of mould, laid regularly over the dung. Transplant perennial flowers, and hardy shrubs, Canterbury bells, lilacs, and the like. Break up and new lay the gravel walks. Weed, rake, and clean the borders; and where the box of the edging is decayed, make it up with a fresh plantation. Sow auricula and polyanthus seeds in boxes, made of rough boards six inches deep, with holes at the bottom to run off the water. Fill the boxes with light mould, scatter the seeds thinly over the surface, sift some more mould over them about a quarter of an inch thick, and place them where they may enjoy the morning sun. Plant out carnations into pots for flowering.——March. Watch the beds of tender flowers, and throw mats over them, supported by hoops, in hard weather. Continue transplanting all the perennial fibrous rooted flowers, such as golden-rods, and sweet-williams. Dig up the earth with a shovel about those which were planted in autumn, and clean the ground between them. All the pots of flowering plants must now be dressed. Pick off dead leaves, remove the earth at the top, and put fresh instead; then give them a gentle watering, and set them in their places for flowering. Be careful that the roots are not wounded, and repeat the watering once in three days. The third week in March is the time to sow sweet peas, poppies, catchflies, and all the hardy annual plants. The last week is proper for transplanting evergreens, and a showery day should be chosen for the purpose. Hotbeds should now be made, to receive the seedlings of annual flowers raised in the former bed.——April. Tie up to sticks the stalks of tall flowers, cut the sticks about two feet long, thrust them eight inches into the ground, and hide them among the leaves. Clean and rake the ground between them. Take off the slips of auriculas, and plant them out carefully for an increase. Transplant perennial flowers and evergreens, as in the former months; take up the roots of colchichams, and other autumnal bulbous plants. Sow French honeysuckles, wallflowers, and other hardy plants, upon the natural ground, and the more tender sorts on hotbeds. Transplant those sown last month, into the second hotbed. Sow carnations and pinks on the natural ground, and on open borders.——May. When the leaves of sowbreads are decayed, take up the roots, and lay them by carefully till the time of planting. Take up the hyacinth roots which have done flowering, and lay them sideways in a bed of dry rich mould, leaving the stems and leaves to die away: this will greatly strengthen the roots. Roll the gravel walks carefully and frequently, and keep the grass clean mowed. Clean all the borders from weeds, take off the straggling branches from the large[131] flowering plants, and train them up in a handsome shape. Plant out French and African marigolds from the hotbeds, with other autumnals, the last week of this month, choosing a cloudy warm day. Tie up the stalks of carnations, pot the tender annuals, such as balsams and amaranths, and set them in a hotbed frame, till summer is more advanced for planting them in the open ground.——June. Choose the evening of a mild showery day, and plant out into the open ground, the tender annuals hitherto kept in pots in the hotbed frame. They must be carefully loosened from the sides of the pot, and taken out with all the mould about them; a large hole must be opened for each, to set them upright in it; and when settled in the ground by gentle watering, they must be tied up to sticks. Let pinks, carnations, and sweet-williams, be laid this month for an increase. Let the layers be covered lightly, and gently watered every other day. Spring flowers being now over, and their leaves faded, the roots must be taken up, and laid by for planting again at a proper season. Snow-drops, winter-aconite, and such sorts, are to be thus managed. The hyacinth roots, laid flat in the ground, must now be taken up, and the dead leaves clipped off; and when cleared from the mould, they must be spread upon a mat in an airy room to dry, and laid by for future planting. Tulip roots also must now be taken up, as the leaves decay: anemones and ranunculuses are treated in the same manner. Cut in three or four places, the cups or poles of the carnations that are near blowing, that they may show regularly. At the same time inoculate some of the fine kind of roses.——July. Clip box edgings, cut and trim hedges, look over all the borders, clear them from weeds, and stir up the mould between the plants. Roll the gravel frequently, and mow the grass plats. Inoculate roses and jasmines that require this kind of propagation, and any of the other flowering shrubs. Gather the seeds of flowers intended to be propagated, and lay them upon a shelf in an airy room in the pods. When they are well hardened, tie them up in paper bags, but do not take them out of the pods till they are wanted. Lay pinks and sweet-williams in the earth as formerly, cut down the stalks of those plants which have done flowering, and which are not kept for seed. Tie up with sticks such as are coming into flower, as for the earlier kinds. Sow lupins, larkspurs, and similar sorts, on dry warm borders, to stand the winter, and flower early next year.——August. Dig up a mellow border, and draw lines at five inches distance, lengthways and across. In the centre of these squares, plant the seedling polyanthuses, one in each square. In the same manner plant out the seedling auriculas. Shade them till they have taken root, and water them once a day. See whether the layers of sweet-williams, carnations, and such like, have taken root; transplant such as are rooted, and give frequent gentle waterings to the others in order to promote it. Cut down the stalks of plants that have done flowering, saving the seed that may be wanted, as it ripens, and water the tender annuals every evening. Sow anemones and ranunculuses, tulip, and narcissus seed. Dig up a border for early tulip roots, and others for hyacinths, anemones, and ranunculuses. Sow annuals to stand through the winter, and shift auriculas into fresh pots.——September. During this month, preparation should be made for the next season. Tear up the annuals that have done flowering, and cut down such perennials as are past their beauty. Bring in other perennials[132] from the nursery beds, and plant them with care at regular distances. Take up the box edgings where they have outgrown their proper size, and part and plant them afresh. Plant tulip and other flower roots, slip polyanthuses, and place them in rich shady borders. Sow the seeds of flower de luce and crown imperial, as also of auriculas and polyanthuses, according to the method before recommended. Part off the roots of flower de luce, piony, and others of a similar kind. In the last week transplant hardy flowering shrubs, and they will be strong the next summer.——October. Let all the bulbous roots for spring flowering be put into the ground; narcissus, maragon, tulips, and such ranunculuses and anemones as were not planted sooner. Transplant columbines, monkshood, and all kinds of fibrous rooted perennials. Place under shelter the auriculas and carnations that are in pots. Dig up a dry border, and if not dry enough, dig in some sand, and set in the pots up to the brim. Place the reed fence sloping behind them, and fasten a mat to its top, that may be let down in bad weather. Take off the dead leaves of the auriculas, before they are thus planted. Bring into the garden some fresh flowering shrubs, wherever they may be wanted, and at the end of the month prune some of the hardier kind.——November. Prepare a good heap of pasture ground, with the turf among it, to rot into mould for the borders. Transplant honeysuckles and spireas, with other hardy flowering shrubs. Rake over the beds of seedling flowers, and strew some peas straw over to keep out the frost. Cut down the stems of perennials which have done flowering, pull up annuals that are spent, and rake and clear the ground. Place hoops over the beds of ranunculuses and anemones, and lay mats or cloths in readiness to draw over them, in case of hard rains or frost. Clean up the borders in all parts of the garden, and take care to destroy not only the weeds, but all kinds of moss. Look over the seeds of those flowers which were gathered in summer, to see that they are dry and sweet; and prepare a border or two for the hardier kind, by digging and cleaning.——December. During frost or cold rain, draw the mats and cloths over the ranunculuses; give the anemones a little air in the middle of every tolerable day; and as soon as possible, uncover them all day, but draw on the mats at night. Throw up the earth where flowering shrubs are to be planted in the spring, and turn it once a fortnight. Dig up the borders that are to receive flower roots in the spring, and give them the advantage of a fallow, by throwing up the ground in a ridge. Scatter over it a very little rotten dung from a melon bed, and afterwards turn it twice during the winter. Examine the flowering shrubs, and prune them. Cut away all the dead wood, shorten luxuriant branches, and if any cross each other, take away one. Leave them so that the air may have a free passage between them. Sift a quarter of an inch of good fresh mould over the roots of perennial flowers, whose stalks have been cut down, and then rake over the borders. This will give the whole an air of culture and good management, which is always pleasing.
FLOWER POTS. As flowers and plants should enjoy a free circulation of air to make them grow well, sitting rooms are not very well adapted to the purpose, unless they could be frequently ventilated by opening the doors and windows. In every severe frost or damp weather, moderate fires should be made in the rooms where the plants are placed, and the shutters closed at night. Placing saucers under the[133] pots, and pouring water continually into them, is highly improper: it should be poured on the mould, that it may filter through it, and thereby refresh the fibres of the plant. Many kinds of annuals, sown in March and the beginning of April, may be transplanted into pots about the end of May, and should be frequently watered till they have taken root. If transplanted in the summer season, the evening is the proper time, and care must be taken not to break the fibres of the root. When the plants are attacked by any kind of crawling insects, the evil may be prevented by keeping the saucers full of water, so as to form a river round the pot, and rubbing some oil round the side. Oil is fatal to most kinds of insects, and but few of them can endure it.
FLOWER SEEDS. When the seeds begin to ripen they should be supported with sticks, to prevent their being scattered by the wind; and in wet weather they should be removed to a dry place, and rubbed out when convenient. August is in general the proper time for gathering flower seeds, but many kinds will ripen much sooner. To ascertain whether the seed be fully ripe, put a little of it into water: if it be come to maturity, it will sink to the bottom, and if not it will swim upon the surface. To preserve them for vegetation, it is only necessary to wrap the seed up in cartridge paper, pasted down and varnished over with gum, or the white of an egg. Some kinds of seeds are best enclosed in sealing wax.
FROST AND BLIGHTS. When a fruit tree is in full blossom, the best way to preserve it from frost and blights is to twine a rope upon its branches, and bring the end of it into a pail of water. If a light frost happen in the night, the tree will not be affected by it; but an ice will be formed on the surface of the water, in which the end of the rope is immersed. This experiment may easily be tried on wall fruit, and has been found to answer. If trees be infected with an easterly blight, the best way is to fumigate them with brimstone strewed on burning charcoal: this will effectually destroy the insects, and preserve the fruit. Afterwards it will be proper to dash them with water, or wash the branches with a woollen cloth, and clear them of all glutinous matter and excrescences of every kind, which would harbour the insects; but the washing should be performed in the early part of a warm day, that the moisture may be exhaled before the cold of the evening approaches.

GARDEN HEDGES. A well trained hawthorn fence is the strongest, but as it is apt to get thin and full of gaps at the bottom, the barberry is to be preferred, especially on high banks with a light soil. It may be raised from the berries as easily as hawthorn, and will grow faster, if the suckers be planted early. The barberry puts up numerous suckers from the roots; it will therefore always grow close at the bottom, and make an impenetrable fence. In trimming any kind of close hedge, care should be taken to slope the sides, and make it pointed at the top: otherwise, the bottom being shaded by the upper part, will make it grow thin and full of gaps. The sides of a young hedge may be trimmed, to make it bush the better; but it should not be topped till it has arrived at a full yard in height, though a few of the points may be taken off. The bottom of hawthorn hedges may be conveniently thickened, by putting in some plants of common sweet briar, or barberry.
GARDEN RHUBARB. To cultivate the common garden rhubarb, it should not only have a depth of good soil, but it should be watered in dry weather, and well covered with straw or dung in the winter season. It will then become solid when taken out of the ground; and if cut into large slices, and hung up in a warm kitchen, it will soon be fit for use. The plants may be taken up when the leaves are decayed, either in spring or in autumn, while the weather is dry; and when the roots are cleared from dirt, without washing, they should be dried in the sun for a few days before they are hung up. The better way would be to wrap them up separately in whited brown paper, and dry them on the hob of a common stove. Lemon and orange peel will dry remarkably well in the same manner.
KITCHEN GARDEN. Here a little attention will be requisite every month in the year, as no garden can be long neglected, without producing weeds which exhaust the soil, as well as give a very slovenly appearance.—January. Throw up a heap of new dung to heat, that it may be ready to make hotbeds for early cucumbers, and raising of annuals for the flower garden. Dig up the[182] ground that is to be sown with the spring crops, that it may lie and mellow. Nurse the cauliflower plants kept under glasses, carefully shut out the frost, but in the middle of milder days let in a little air. Pick up the dead leaves, and gather up the mould about the stalks. Make a slight hotbed in the open ground for young sallads, and place hoops over it, that it may be covered in very cold weather. Sow a few beans and peas, and seek and destroy snails and other vermin.—February. Dig and level beds for sowing radishes, onions, carrots, parsnips, and Dutch lettuce. Leeks and spinage should also be sown in this month, likewise beets, celery, sorrel, and marigolds, with any other of the hardy kinds. The best way with beans and peas, is to sow a new crop every fortnight, that if one succeeds and another fails, as will often be the case, there still may be a constant supply of these useful articles for the table. Plant kidney beans upon a hotbed for an early crop; the dwarf, the white and Battersea beans, are the best sorts. They must have air in the middle of mild days when they are up, and once in two days they should be gently watered. Transplant cabbages, plant out Silesia and Cos lettuce from the beds where they grew in winter, and plant potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes.—March. Sow more carrots, and also some large peas, rouncevals and gray. In better ground sow cabbages, savoys, and parsnips for a second crop; and towards the end of the month, put in a larger quantity of peas and beans. Sow parsley, and plant mint. Sow Cos and imperial lettuce, and transplant the finer kinds. In the beginning of the month, sow Dutch parsley for the roots. The last week take advantage of the time, or the dry days, to make beds for asparagus. Clear up the artichoke roots, slip off the weakest, and plant them out for a new crop, leaving four on each good root to bear, and on such as are weaker two. Dig up a warm border, and sow some French beans; let them have a dry soil, and give them no water till they appear above ground.—April. On a dry warm border, plant a large crop of French beans. Plant cuttings of sage, and other aromatics. Sow marrowfat peas, and plant some beans for a late crop. Sow thyme, sweet marjoram, and savoury. Sow young sallads once in ten days, and some Cos and Silesia lettuces. The seeds of all kinds being now in the ground, look to the growing crops, clear away the weeds every where among them, dig up the earth between the rows of beans, peas, and all other kinds that are distantly planted. This gives them a strong growth, and brings them much sooner to perfection than can be done in any other way. Draw up the mould to the stalks of the cabbage and cauliflower plants, and in cold nights cover the glasses over the early cucumbers and melons.—May. Once in two days water the peas, beans, and other large growing plants. Destroy the weeds in all parts of the ground, dig up the earth between the rows, and about the stems of all large kinds. Sow small sallads once in two days, as in the former month: at the same time choose a warm border, and sow some purslain. Sow also some endive, plant peas and beans for a large crop, and French beans to succeed the others. The principal object with these kinds of vegetables, is to have them fresh and young throughout the season. Choose a moist day, and an hour before sunset plant out some savoys, cabbages, and red cabbages. Draw the earth carefully up to their stems, and give them a few gentle waterings.—June. Transplant the cauliflowers sown in May, give them a rich bed, and frequent waterings. Plant out thyme, and other savoury herbs[183] sown before, and in the same manner shade and water them. Take advantage of cloudy weather to sow turnips; and if there be no showers, water the ground once in two days. Sow brocoli upon a rich warm border, and plant out celery, for blanching. This must be planted in trenches a foot and a half deep, and the plants must be set half a foot asunder in the rows. Endive should also be planted out for blanching, but the plants should be set fifteen inches asunder, and at the same time some endive seed should be sown for a second crop. Pick up snails, and in the damp evenings kill the naked slugs.—July. Sow a crop of French beans to come in late, when they will be very acceptable. Clear all the ground from weeds, dig between the rows of beans and peas, hoe the ground about the artichokes, and every thing of the cabbage kind. Water the crops in dry weather, and the cucumbers more freely. Watch the melons as they ripen, but give them very little water. Clear away the stalks of beans and peas that have done bearing. Spinach seed will now be ready for gathering, as also that of the Welch onion, and some others: take them carefully off, and dry them in the shade. Take up large onions, and spread them upon mats to dry for the winter.—August. Spinach and onions should be sowed on rich borders, prepared for that purpose. These two crops will live through the winter, unless very severe, and be valuable in the spring. The second week in this month sow cabbage seed of the early kind, and in the third week sow cauliflower seed. This will provide plants to be nursed up under bell glasses in the winter. Some of these may also be planted in the open ground in a well defended situation. The last week of this month sow another crop, to supply the place of these in case of accidents; for if the season be very severe, they may be lost; and if very mild, they will run to seed in the spring. These last crops must be defended by a hotbed frame, and they will stand out and supply deficiencies. Sow cabbage lettuces, and the brown Dutch kinds, in a warm and well sheltered border. Take up garlic, and spread it on a mat to harden. In the same manner take up onions and rocambole, and shalots at the latter end of the month.—September. Sow various kinds of lettuces, Silesia, Cos, and Dutch, and when they come up, shelter them carefully. The common practice is to keep them under hand-glasses, but they will thrive better under a reed fence, placed sloping over them. Make up fresh warm beds with the dung that has lain a month in the heap. Plant the spawn in these beds, upon pasture mould, and raise the top of the bed to a ridge, to throw off the wet. Look to the turnip beds and thin them, leaving the plants six inches apart from each other. Weed the spinach, onions, and other new-sown plants. Earth up the celery, and sow young sallads upon warm and well-sheltered borders. Clean asparagus beds, cut down the stalks, pare off the earth from the surface of the alleys, throw it upon the beds half an inch thick, and sprinkle over it a little dung from an old melon bed. Dig up the ground where summer crops have ripened, and lay it in ridges for the winter. The ridges should be disposed east and west, and turned once in two months, to give them the advantage of a fallow. Sow some beans and peas on warm and well-sheltered borders, to stand out the winter.—October. Set out cauliflower plants, where they can be sheltered; and if glasses are used, put two under each, for fear of one failing. Sow another crop of peas, and plant more beans; choose a dry spot for them, where they can be sheltered from the[184] winter's cold. Transplant the lettuces sown last month, where they can be defended by a reed fence, or under a wall. Transplant cabbage plants and coleworts, where they are to remain. Take great care of the cauliflower plants sown early in summer; and as they now begin to show their heads, break in the leaves upon them to keep off the sun and rain; it will both harden and whiten them.—November. Weed the crops of spinach, and others that were sown late, or the wild growth will smother and starve the crop. Dig up a border under a warm wall, and sow some carrots for spring; sow radishes in a similar situation, and let the ground be dug deep for both. Turn the mould that was trenched and laid up for fallowing; this will destroy the weeds, and enrich the soil by exposing it to the air. Prepare some hotbeds for salading, cover them five inches with mould, and sow them with lettuces, mustard, rape, cresses, and radish. Plant another crop of beans, and sow more peas for a succession. Trench the ground between the artichokes, and throw a thick ridge of earth over the roots: this will preserve them from the frost, and prevent their shooting at an improper time. Make a hotbed for asparagus. Take up carrots and parsnips, and put them in sand to be ready for use. Give air occasionally to the plants under hand-glasses and on hotbeds, or they will suffer as much for want of it, as they would have done by an exposure to the cold.—December. Plant cabbages and savoys for seed: this requires to be done carefully. Dig up a dry border, and break the mould well; then take up some of the stoutest cabbage and savoy plants, hang them up by the stalks four or five days, and afterwards plant them half way up the stalks into the ground. Draw up a good quantity of mould about the stalk that is above ground, make it into a kind of hill round each, and leave them to nature. Sow another crop of peas, and plant some more beans, to take their chance for succeeding the other. Make another hotbed for asparagus, to yield a supply when the former is exhausted. Continue to earth up celery, and cover some endive with a good quantity of peas straw, as it is growing, that it may be taken up when wanted, and be preserved from the winter's frost.

ORCHARD. Fruit trees, whether in orchards, or espaliers, or against walls, require attention, in planting, pruning, or other management, almost every month in the year, to render them productive, and to preserve the fruit in a good state.—January. Cut out dead wood and irregular branches, clean the stumps and boughs from the moss with a hollow iron. Repair espaliers by fastening the stakes and poles with nails and wire, and tying the shoots down with twigs of osier. Put down some stakes by all the new-planted trees. Cut grafts to be ready, and lay them in the earth under a warm wall.—February. Most kinds of trees may be pruned this month, though it is generally better to do it in autumn; but whatever was omitted at that season, should be done now. The hardiest kinds are to be pruned first; and such as are more tender, at the latter end of the month, when there will be less danger of their suffering in the wounded part from the frost. Transplant fruit trees to places where they are wanted. Open a large hole, set the earth carefully about the roots, and nail them at once to the wall, or fasten them to strong stakes. Sow the kernels of apples and pears, and the stones of plums for stocks. Endeavour to keep off the birds that eat the buds of fruit trees at this season of the year.—March. The grafts which were cut off early and laid in the ground, are now to be brought into use; the earliest kinds first, and the apples last of all. When this is done, take off the heads of the stocks that were inoculated the preceding year. A hand's breadth of the head should be left, for tying the bud securely to it, and that the sap may rise more freely for its nourishment. The fruit trees that were planted in October should also be headed, and cut down to about four eyes, that the sap may flow more freely.—April. Examine the fruit trees against the walls and espaliers, take off all the shoots that project in front, and train such as rise kindly. Thin apricots upon the trees, for there are usually more than can ripen; and the sooner this is done, the better will the rest succeed.[227] Water new-planted trees, plant the vine cuttings, and inspect the grown ones. Nip off improper shoots; and when two rise from the same eye, take off the weakest of them. Weed strawberry beds, cut off the strings, stir the earth between them, and water them once in two or three days. Dig up the borders near the fruit trees, and never plant any large kind of flowers or vegetables upon them. Any thing planted or sown near the trees, has a tendency to impoverish the fruit.—May. If any fresh shoots have sprouted upon the fruit trees, in espaliers, or against walls, take them off. Train the proper ones to the walls or poles, at due distances, and in a regular manner. Look over vines, and stop every shoot that has fruit upon it, to three eyes beyond the fruit. Then train the branches regularly to the wall, and let such as are designed for the next year's fruiting grow some time longer, as their leaves will afford a suitable shade to the fruit. Water the trees newly planted, keep the borders about the old ones clear, and pick off the snails and other vermin.—June. Renew the operation of removing from wall trees and espaliers, all the shoots that project in front. Train proper branches to their situations, where they are wanted. Once more thin the wall fruit: leave the nectarines four inches apart, and the peaches five, but none nearer: the fruit will be finer, and the next year the tree will be stronger, if this precaution be adopted. Inoculate the apricots, and choose for this purpose a cloudy evening. Water trees lately planted, and pick up snails and vermin.—July. Inoculate peaches and nectarines, and take off all projecting shoots in espaliers and wall fruit-trees. Hang phials of honey and water upon fruit-trees, to protect them from the depredations of insects, and look carefully for snails, which also will destroy the fruit. Keep the borders clear from weeds, and stir the earth about the roots of the trees; this will hasten the ripening of the fruit. Examine the fruit trees that were grafted and budded the last season, to see that there are no shoots from the stocks. Whenever they rise, take them off, or they will deprive the intended growth of its nourishment. Attend to the trees lately planted, and water them often; and whatever good shoots they make, fasten them to the wall or espalier. Repeat the care of the vines, take off improper or irregular shoots, and nail up the loose branches. Let no weeds rise in the ground about them, for they will exhaust the nourishment, and impoverish the fruit.—August. Watch the fruit on the wall trees, and keep off the devourers, of which there will be numberless kinds swarming about them during this month. Send away the birds, pick up snails, and hang bottles of sweet water for flies and wasps. Fasten loose branches, and gather the fruit carefully as it ripens. Examine the vines all round, and remove those trailing branches which are produced so luxuriantly at this season of the year. Suffer not the fruit to be shaded by loose and unprofitable branches, and keep the ground clear of weeds, which otherwise will impoverish the fruit.—September. The fruit must now be gathered carefully every day, and the best time for this purpose is an hour after sun-rise: such as is gathered in the middle of the day is always flabby and inferior. The fruit should afterwards be laid in a cool place till wanted. Grapes as they begin to ripen will be in continual danger from the birds, if not properly watched and guarded. Transplant gooseberries and currants, and plant strawberries and raspberries: they will then be rooted before winter, and flourish the succeeding season.—October. It is a useful practice to prime the peach and[228] nectarine trees, and also the vines, as it invigorates the buds in the spring of the year. Cut grapes for preserving, with a joint of the vine to each bunch. For winter keeping, gather fruits as they ripen. Transplant all garden trees for flowering, prune currant bushes, and preserve the stones of the fruit for sowing.—November. Stake up all trees planted for standards, or the winds will rock them at the bottom, and the frost will be let in and destroy them. Throw a good quantity of peas straw about them, and lay on it some brick bats or pebbles to keep it fast: this will mellow the ground, and keep the frost from the roots. Continue to prune wall fruit-trees, and prune also at this time the apple and pear kinds. Pull off the late fruit of figs, or it will decay the branches.—December. Prepare for planting trees where they will be wanted in the spring, by digging the ground deep and turning it well, in the place intended for planting. Scatter over the borders some fresh mould and rotted dung, and in a mild day dig it in with a three-pronged fork. Look over the orchard trees, and cut away superfluous wood and dead branches. Let the boughs and shoots stand clear of each other, that the air may pass between, and the fruit will be better flavoured. This management is required for old trees: those that are newly planted are to be preserved by covering the ground about their roots.

PEAS CULTIVATED. Instead of sowing peas in straight rows, they should be formed into circles of three or four feet diameter, with a space of two feet between each circle. By this means they will blossom nearer the ground, than when enclosed in long rows, and will ripen much sooner. Or if set in straight rows, a bed of ten or twelve feet wide should be left between, for onions and carrots, or any crops which do not grow tall. The peas will not be drawn up so much, but will grow stronger, and be more productive. Scarlet beans should be treated in the same manner.

PLANTING. In rendering swampy ground useful, nothing is so well adapted as planting it with birch or alder, which grows spontaneously on bogs and swamps, a kind of soil which otherwise would produce nothing but weeds and rushes. The wood of the alder is particularly useful for all kinds of machinery, for pipes, drains, and pump trees, as it possesses the peculiar quality of resisting injury from wet and weather. The bark is also highly valuable to black dyers, who purchase it at a good price; and it is much to be lamented that the properties of this useful tree are not duly appreciated.
PLANTATIONS. Young plantations are liable to great injury, by being barked in the winter season. To prevent this, take a quantity of grease, scent it with a little tar, and mix them well together. Brush it round the stems of young trees, as high at least as hares and rabbits can reach, and it will effectually prevent their being barked by these animals. Tar must not be used alone, for when exposed to the sun and air, it becomes hard and binding, and hinders the growth of the plantation. Grease will not have this effect, and the scent of the tar is highly obnoxious to hares and rabbits
POTATOES. The following is allowed to be a superior method of raising potatoes, and of obtaining a larger and finer growth. Dig the earth twelve inches deep, if the soil will admit, and afterwards open a hole about six inches deep, and twelve wide. Fill it with horse dung, or long litter, about three inches thick, and plant a whole potatoe upon it; shake a little more dung over it, and mould up the earth. In this way the whole plot of ground should be planted, placing the potatoes at least sixteen inches apart. When the young shoots make their appearance, they should have fresh mould drawn round them with a hoe; and if the tender shoots are covered, it will prevent the frost from injuring them. They should again be earthed, when the roots make a second appearance, but not covered, as in all probability the season will be less severe. A plentiful supply of mould should be given them, and the person who performs this business should never tread upon the plant, or the hillock that is raised round it, as the lighter the earth is the more room the potatoe will have to expand. In Holland, the potatoes are strangely cultivated, though there are persons who give the preference to Dutch potatoes, supposing them to be of a finer grain than others. They are generally planted in the fields, in rows, nearly as thick as beans or peas, and are suffered to grow up wild and uncultivated, the object being to raise potatoes as small as possible, while the large ones, if such there happen to be, are thrown out and given to the pigs. The mode of cultivation in Ireland, where potatoes are found in the greatest perfection, is far different, and probably the best of all. The round rough red are generally preferred, and are esteemed the most genuine. These are planted in rows, and only just put in beneath the soil. These rows are divided into beds about six feet wide, a path or trench is left between the beds, and as the plants vegetate the earth is dug out of the trench, and thrown lightly over the potatoes. This practice is continued all the summer, the plants are thus nourished by the repeated accession of fresh soil, and the trench as it deepens serves the purpose of keeping the beds dry, and of carrying off the superfluous water. The potatoes are always rich and mealy, containing an unusual quantity of wholesome flour.
RADISHES. These are raised from seed by different sowings from the end of October till April, or the following month. They should have a light fine mould, and the more early sowings be made on borders, under warm walls, or other similar places, and in frames covered by glasses. The common spindle-rooted, short-topped sorts are mostly made use of in these early sowings, the seed being sown broadcast over the beds after they have been prepared by digging over and raking the surface even, being covered in with a slight raking. Some sow carrots with the early crops of radishes. It is usual to protect the early sown crops in the borders, during frosty nights and bad weather, by mats or dry wheat straw, which should be carefully removed every mild day. By this means they are brought more forward, as well as form better roots. When mats are used, and supported by pegs or hoops, they are readily applied and removed. A second more general sowing should be made in January or February. When the crops have got their rough leaf; they should be thinned out, where they are too thick, to the distance of two inches,[293] as there will be constantly more thinning by the daily drawing of the young radishes. When the weather is dry in March, or the following month, the crops should be occasionally well watered, which not only forwards the growth of the crops, but increases the size of the roots, and renders them more mild and crisp in eating. And the sowings should be continued at the distance of a fortnight, till the latter end of March, when they should be performed every ten days, until the end of April or beginning of the following month. In sowing these later crops, it is the practice of some gardeners to sow coss-lettuces and spinach with them, in order to have the two crops coming forward at the same time; but the practice is not to be much recommended, where there is sufficient room. But in sowing the main general crops in the open quarters, the market-gardeners generally put them in on the same ground where they plant out their main crops of cauliflowers and cabbages, mixing spinach with the radish-seed as above, sowing the seeds first, and raking them in, then planting the cauliflowers or cabbages; the radishes and spinach come in for use before the other plants begin to spread much, and as soon as those crops are all cleared off for use, hoe the ground all over to kill weeds and loosen the soil, drawing earth about the stems of the cauliflowers and cabbages. The turnip radish should not be sown till the beginning of March, the plants being allowed a greater distance than for the common spindle-rooted sort. The seeds of this sort are apt to degenerate, unless they are set at a distance from that kind. The white and black Spanish radishes are usually sown about the middle of July, or a little earlier, and are fit for the table by the end of August, or the beginning of September, continuing good till frost spoils them. These should be thinned to a greater distance than the common sort, as their roots grow as large as turnips, and should not be left nearer than six inches. To have these roots in winter, they should be drawn before hard frost comes on, and laid in dry sand, as practised for carrots, carefully guarding them from wet and frost; as in this way they may be kept till the spring. In regard to the culture of the general crops, they require very little, except occasional thinning, where they are too thick, when the plants are come into the rough leaf, either by hoeing or drawing them out by hand: though for large quantities, small hoeing is the most expeditious mode of thinning, as well as most beneficial to the crop by loosening the ground; in either method thinning the plants to about two or three inches distance, clearing out the weakest, and leaving the strongest to form the crop. In order to save the seed, about the beginning of May some ground should be prepared by digging and levelling; then drawing some of the straightest and best coloured radishes, plant them in rows three feet distant, and two feet asunder in the rows; observing, if the season be dry, to water them until they have taken root: after which they will only require to have the weeds hoed down between them, until they are advanced so high as to overspread the ground. When the seed begins to ripen, it should be carefully guarded against the birds. When it is ripe, the pods will turn brown: then it must be cut, and spread in the sun to dry; after which it must be thrashed, and laid up for use where no mice can come at it. In order to have the roots early, as in January or the following month, the method of raising them in hot-beds is sometimes practised. They should have eighteen inches depth of dung to bring them up, and six or seven inches depth of light rich mould.[294] The seed should be sown moderately thick, covering it in half an inch thick, and putting on the lights: the plants usually come up in a week or less; and when they appear, the lights should be lifted or taken off occasionally, according to the weather; and in a fortnight thin the plants to the distance of an inch and half or two inches, when in six weeks they will be fit to draw. Where there are no frames to spare, the beds may be covered with mats over hoops, and the sides secured by boards and straw-bands. And when in want of dung, if the beds be covered with frames, and the lights put on at night and in bad weather, the plants may be raised for use a fortnight sooner than in the open borders.—To raise them in constant succession, steep the seed in rain water for twenty-four hours, tie it up in a linen bag, and hang it in the sun all day. The seed beginning to shoot, is then to be sown in fresh earth well exposed to the sun, and covered with a tub. In three days the radishes will be produced fit for salad, and much more delicate than those grown in the common way. In the winter the seeds should be steeped in warm water, and the bag put in a place sufficiently hot to make them sprout. Then fill a tub with rich mould, sow the seeds in it, and cover them over closely with another tub, taking care to sprinkle them now and then with warm water. The two tubs closely joined should be set in a warm place, and in about a fortnight some fine salad will be produced. Radishes may be raised in this manner all the year round, and by the quickness of their growth they will be rendered fine and delicate.
RHUBARB. By proper attention in the growth and preparation of this root, it may be obtained here nearly in equal goodness to the foreign. The plants are all increased by seeds, which should be sown in autumn soon after they are ripe, where the plants are designed to remain, as their roots being large and fleshy when they are removed, they do not recover it soon; nor do the roots of such removed plants ever grow so large and fair as those which remain where they were sown. When the plants appear in the spring, the ground should be well hoed over, to cut up the weeds; and where they are too close, some should be cut up, leaving them at the first hoeing six or eight inches asunder; but at the second they may be separated to a foot and a half distance, and more. When any weeds appear, the ground should be scuffled over with a Dutch hoe in dry weather; but after the plants cover the ground with their broad leaves, they keep down the weeds without any farther[308] trouble. The ground should be cleaned in autumn when the leaves decay, and in the spring, before the plants begin to put up their new leaves, be dug well between them. In the second year, many of the strongest plants will produce flowers and seeds, and in the third year most of them. It is advised, that the seeds be carefully gathered when ripe, and not permitted to scatter, lest they grow and injure the old plants. The roots continue many years without decaying, and the old roots of the true rhubarb are much preferable to the young ones. The roots may be generally taken up after four years, but if they remain longer it is so much the better. These plants delight in a rich soil, which is not too dry nor over moist: and where there is depth in such land for their roots to run down, they attain a great size, both in the leaves and roots.

SALADS. Cold salads are proper to be eaten at all seasons of the year, but are particularly to be recommended from the beginning of February to the end of June. They are in greater perfection, and consequently more powerful, during this period, than at any other, in opening obstructions, sweetening and purifying the blood. The habit of eating salad herbs tends considerably to prevent that pernicious and almost general disease the scurvy, and all windy humours which offend the stomach. Also from the middle of September till December, and during the winter, if the weather be mild and open, all green herbs are wholesome, and highly beneficial. It is true that they have not so much vigour in the winter season, nor are they so medicinal as in the spring of the year; yet those which continue fresh and green, will retain a considerable portion of their natural qualities; and being eaten as salads, with proper seasoning, they will operate much in the same way as at other periods of the year. It is a necessary consequence of cold weather, that the heat of the body is driven more inward than in warm weather, as the cold of the atmosphere repels it from the surface. Hence arises an appetite for strong and solid food, and strong drinks, which for want of temperance and care, lays the foundation for diseases that commonly make their appearance in the summer following. Eating freely of salads and other vegetables in the winter, will prevent in a great treasure these ill effects; and if properly seasoned and prepared, they will warm the stomach, and be found exhilarating. The effect produced is in unison with all the operations of the human constitution, while the use of strong stimulants excites to unnatural action, which is soon succeeded by a cold and chilling languor. Green herbs in winter are much more beneficial than is generally imagined; they are particularly salutary to aged persons, and such as are subject to stoppages, or shortness of breath. In this case, instead of an onion, a clove of garlic may be put into the salad, which is a preferable way of eating it. This will open and warm the stomach, and give a general glow to the whole system.—The following are the principal herbs used as salads. Basil, balm, borage, burnet, celery, chervil, colewort, coriander, corn-salad, cresses, endive, French fennel, lettuce, mint, mustard, nasturtiums, nettle-tops, parsley, pennyroyal, radishes, rape, sage, sorrel, spinage, tarragon, and water-cresses. Onions, both young and full grown, shalots, garlic, and chives, are all used as seasoning to salads. Red beet-root, boiled and cold, is often sliced into them. Several of these herbs are very little[329] in use as salads, but there are none of them that may not be recommended as good for the purpose. The usual salads are too much limited to what is specifically called small salading, lettuce, celery, and endive. These are all excellent in their kind, but to prefer them to the exclusion of every thing else, is a mere prejudice. With a wish therefore to counteract it, and to provide a larger assortment of wholesome salads, the following particulars are given, with directions for preparing several different dishes of this description. In general it may be proper to observe, that salads of all kinds should be very fresh; or if not immediately procured in this state, they may be refreshed by being put into cold spring water. They should be very carefully washed and picked, and drained quite dry in a clean cloth. In dressing lettuce, or small herbs, it is best to arrange them, properly picked and cut, in the salad dish; then to mix the sauce in something else, and pour it to the salad down the side of the dish, so as to let it run to the bottom, and not to stir it up till used at table. This preserves the crispness of the salad, which is one of its principal delicacies. With celery and endive the sauce should be poured upon them, and the whole well stirred together to mix it equally. Lettuce, endive, and celery, may be eaten with salt only; and if well chewed, as all salads ought to be, they often agree better than when mixed with seasonings. If mustard in salad sauces occasion sickness, or otherwise disagrees, cayenne pepper will often prove an excellent substitute.—The following salads are remarkably wholesome, and have a cooling and salutary effect upon the bowels. 1. Take spinage, parsley, sorrel, lettuce, and a few onions. Then add oil, vinegar, and salt, to give it a high taste and relish, but let the salt rather predominate above the other ingredients. The wholesomest way of eating salads is with bread only, in preference to bread and butter, bread and cheese, or meat and bread; though any of these may be eaten with it, when the salad is seasoned only with salt and vinegar. It is not advisable to eat butter, cheese, or meat with salads, or any thing in which there is a mixture of oil. All fat substances are heavy of digestion, and to mix such as disagree in their nature, is to encrease this evil to a degree that the stomach can hardly overcome. 2. Prepare some lettuce, spinage tops, pennyroyal, sorrel, a few onions, and some parsley. Then season them with oil, vinegar, and salt. 3. Another salad may be made of lettuce, sorrel, spinage, tops of mint, and onions, seasoned as before. 4. Take spinage, lettuce, tarragon, and parsley, with some leaves of balm. Or sorrel, tarragon, spinage, lettuce, onions, and parsley. Or tops of pennyroyal, mint, lettuce, spinage, sorrel, and parsley. Or lettuce, spinage, onions, pennyroyal, balm, and sorrel. Or sage, lettuce, spinage, sorrel, onions, and parsley; seasoned with salt, oil, and vinegar. 5. Make a salad of pennyroyal, sage, mint, balm, a little lettuce, and sorrel; seasoned with oil, vinegar, and salt. This is an excellent warming salad, though the above are all of an exhilarating tendency. 6. Mix some lettuce, sorrel, endive, celery, spinage, and onions, seasoned as above. 7. Take the fresh tender leaves of cole wort, or cabbage plants, with lettuce, sorrel, parsley, tarragon, nettle tops, mint, and pennyroyal; and season them with salt, oil, and vinegar. If highly seasoned, this is a very warm and relishing salad. 8. For winter salad, take some tender plants of colewort, sorrel, lettuce, endive, celery, parsley, and sliced onions; and season them as before. 9. Another winter salad may be[330] made of lettuce, spinage, endive, celery, and half a clove of garlic. Season it well with oil, vinegar, and salt. This salad is very warming and wholesome. All these aromatic herbs are particularly proper for phlegmatic and weakly persons, as they have the property of warming the stomach, and improving the blood. To supply the want of oil in salads, make some thick melted butter, and use it in the same proportion as oil. Some sweet thick cream is a still better substitute, and will do as well as oil, especially as some persons have an aversion to oil. Cream also looks well in salads. A good salad sauce may be made of two yolks of eggs boiled hard, mixed with a spoonful of Parmesan cheese grated, a little patent mustard, a spoonful of tarragon vinegar, and a larger one of ketchup. When stirred well together, add four spoonfuls of salad oil, and one of elder vinegar, and beat them up very smooth. It is very common in France, amongst all classes of people, to dress cauliflowers and French beans to eat cold, as salads, with a sauce of oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. In some parts of France, raw salads, composed entirely of herbs growing wild in the fields, are in frequent use; and for distinction sake, are called rural salads. The English, who are not so fond of pungent flavours, are in the habit of substituting sugar instead of pepper and salt, where oil is not used, in order to soften the asperity of the vinegar.
SEA-KALE is a highly nutritious and palatable culinary vegetable. It is an early esculent plant, the young shoots of which are used somewhat in the manner of asparagus, and may, it is said, be grown by the method of cultivation which is given hereafter, to a size and of a delicacy of flavour greatly superior to that which is commonly brought to the table. In the cultivation of it in the garden, the improved method which has lately been advised, is that of preparing the ground for it by trenching it two feet and a half deep, about the close of the year or in the beginning of it: when not that depth naturally, and of a light quality, it is to be made so by artificial means, such as the applying of a suitable proportion of fine white sand, and very rotten vegetable mould: if the ground be wet in the winter season, it should be completely drained, that no water may stagnate in it near the bottom of the cultivated mould, as the strength of the plants depends upon the dryness and richness of the bottom soil. After which the ground is to be divided into beds, four feet in width, with alleys of eighteen inches between them; then, at the distance of every two feet each way, five or six seeds are to be sown, in a circle of about four inches diameter, to the depth of two inches. This business should be performed in a strictly regular and exact manner, as the plants are afterwards to be covered by means of pots for blanching them, and the health and beauty of the crops equally depend upon their standing at regular distances. If the seeds which were sown were sound and perfect, they will come up and shew themselves in the last spring or beginning summer months; which as soon as they have made three or four leaves, all but three of the strongest and best plants should be taken away from each circle; planting out those which are pulled up, which, when done by a careful hand, may be performed so as for them to have the whole of their tap-root in a spare bed for extra forcing, or the repairs of accidents. The turnip fly and wire worm are to be carefully guarded against, the latter by picking them by the hand from out of the ground, and the former by the use of lime laid round the young plants in a circle. When the summer months prove dry, the beds should be plentifully watered. As soon as the leaves decay in the autumn they should be cleared away, and the beds be covered with light fresh earth and sand to the thickness of an inch; the compost thus used having laid some time in a heap, and been turned several times, so as to be free from weeds, and the ova of insects as well as grubs. Upon the sandy loam dressing, about six inches in depth of light stable litter is to be applied, which completes the work of the first year. In the spring of the second, when the plants are beginning to push, the[347] stable litter is to be raked off, a little of the most rotten being dug into the alleys, and another inch depth of loam and sand applied. Cutting this year is to be refrained from, notwithstanding some of the plants may rise strong, and the beds managed exactly as before during this winter season. In the third season, a little before the plants begin to stir, the covering laid on for the winter is to be raked off, and an inch in depth of pure dry sand or fine gravel now laid on. Then each circle of plants is to be covered with one of the blanching-pots already alluded to, pressing it firmly into the ground, so as to exclude all light and air, as the colour and flavour of the shoots are greatly injured by exposure to either of them. When the beds are twenty-six feet long, and four wide, they will hold twenty-four blanching-pots, with three plants under each, making seventy-two plants in a bed. They are to be examined from time to time, the young stems being cut, when about three inches above the ground, care being taken not to injure any of the remaining buds below, some of which will immediately begin to swell. In this way a succession of gatherings may be continued for the space of six weeks, after which period the plants are to be uncovered, and their leaves suffered to grow, that they may acquire and return nutriment to the root for the next year's buds. When seeds are not wanted, the flowers should be pinched off by the finger and thumb, as long as they appear. Where the expence of blanching-pots is objected to, the beds must be covered with a large portion of loose gravel and mats; but the saving is trifling, when the time and trouble of removing and replacing the gravel, for the cutting of the crop and securing the plant, are considered. By this mode of management, sea-kale is said to have been cut which measured ten, eleven, and even twelve inches in circumference, and that each blanching-pot on the average afforded a dish of it twice in the season. The blanching-pots for this use are somewhat of the same shape and size as the large bell-glasses commonly employed in market gardens for raising tender vegetable crops, but made of the same materials as the common earthenware, having a handle at the top. They may be about a foot and a half in diameter at the rim where they apply to the ground. Forcing sea-kale.—It is supposed that no vegetable can be so easily and cheaply forced as this, or require so little trouble; as the dung is in the finest state possible for spring hot-beds, after the common crop has been cut and gathered. The principal circumstance necessary in this business, is that of being very attentive and particular in guarding against too great a heat. The temperature under the blanching-pots should constantly be kept as near fifty-five degrees of Fahrenheit's scale as possible, and on no account higher than sixty at any time. In this intention, in either of the two concluding months of the year, as the sea-kale may be wanted more early or late, a suitable quantity of fresh stable dung should be collected and prepared, to cover both the beds and the alleys from two to three feet in height; as in the quantity to be laid on, a great deal must always be left to the judgment of the gardener, as well as to the state of the season as to mildness or severity. It should invariably be well pressed down between the blanching-pots, heat-sticks being placed at proper intervals, by the occasional examination of which the heat below will be readily shewn. When the dung has remained in this situation four or five days, the pots should be examined to see the state of the shoots[348] It not unfrequently happens that worms spring above the surface, and spoil the delicacy of flavour in the young shoots. In order to prevent this, it is best to cover it with dry sea-coal ashes, which have been sifted neither very small nor very large. Salt has also the power of destroying them in an effectual manner, without injuring the sea-kale. The crop, it is said, will be ready to cut and gather in three weeks or a month from the first application of the heat; but as much danger and mischief are the consequence when this is violent, it is advised to begin soon enough, and to force slowly, rather than in too quick a manner. It is likewise necessary to cut the leaves off a fortnight or three weeks before they decay, in those plants which are intended to be forced at a very early period. It is also suggested that the blanching-pots used in forcing should be made in two pieces, the uppermost of which should fit like a cap upon the lower; as the crop might then be examined at all times without disturbing the hot dung. Sea-kale is cooked, and sent to the table in the same manner as asparagus.
SHALOT. As the habits of growth in roots of this nature differ greatly in the different sorts, some requiring to be nearly or quite on the surface of the ground, while others stand in need of being a considerable depth below it, which has not been well attended to in the garden culture of such roots; it may be readily supposed that these have considerable influence and effect on the growth of such root crops. In consequence of finding that crops of this root generally became mouldy and perished, and that they were usually planted, from the directions of garden cultivators, at the depth of two or three inches from the surface; the injury, failure, and destruction of such crops, were naturally ascribed to this cause. A few bulbs or bunches of this root were consequently divided, as far as possible, into single buds or bulbs, and planted upon or rather above the surface of the ground, some very rich soil being placed underneath them, and the mould on each side raised to support them, until they became firmly rooted. This mould was then removed by means of a hoe, and the use of the watering-pot, and the bulbs of course left wholly out of the ground. The growth of the plants had now so near a resemblance to that of the common onion, as not readily to be distinguished from it, until their irregularity of form, the consequence of the numerous germs within each bulb, became evident. The forms of the bulbs, however, continued constantly different from all those raised in the ordinary method, being much more broad, but of less length. The crop was a great deal better in quality, and at the same time much more abundant in quantity. It may consequently[351] not be unworthy of the gardener's attention.—Garlic, rocambole, and shalot are chiefly used in ragouts and sauces which require to be highly flavoured, unless a separate sauce is made of them only; and indeed, the mixing of animal juices in preparations of vegetables is by no means to be recommended, where the health is to be consulted. The substitution of butter and flour, yolks of eggs and cream, mushroom or walnut ketchup, is greatly to be preferred to rich gravies, in dressing of vegetables.
SLUGS. These reptiles do great damage in fields and gardens, especially to crops of lettuces, cabbages, or turnips. Their track is perceived by the shining and slimy substance which they leave behind them. There are several kinds of these little animals. The white and brown leathery kind often even destroy the strong stems of young cabbage, and other similar plants. The destruction of them has been suggested to be effected by the use of tar-water, sprinkled over the ground; and also by having recourse to lime, in the preparation of the land for such crops. They conceal themselves in the holes and crevices, only making their appearance early in mornings and late in the evenings. The white slug or snail is likewise very destructive to young turnip crops, by rising out of the holes of the soils, on wet and dewy mornings and evenings. Rolling the ground with a heavy implement, before the sun rises, has been advised as a means of destroying them in these cases. Slugs of this sort are likewise very destructive, in some districts, to the roots of corn crops, during the day-time, in the early spring months, while they lie concealed in the ground, by eating and devouring them; and by coming out in the evenings, and during the night-time, to commit ravages on the blades, and other parts above the ground. Numbers of them are sometimes met with upon the same plant, and they may easily be extirpated and removed from the land by the above practice, while they are at work, especially in moon-light seasons, and any further injury to the crops be guarded against. Warm moist weather is always a great encouragement to their coming out of their hiding-places; and advantage should constantly be taken of it for their extermination, as they suddenly retire under ground during the time of cold. The strong lands of other places are occasionally much infested with them in the pea, bean, and rye crops and stubbles, as well as clover roots, when a wheat crop is put in upon them. The slugs, in some cases, are of about half an inch in length, having their backs of a blueish cast in the skin part, and their under parts wholly of a white appearance. A mixture of sulphur and lime, made so as to be conveniently applied, has been found to be highly destructive of them in general.—The use of lime-water has lately been advised as an excellent and cheap mode of destroying slugs in gardens, as well as fields, in the second volume of the Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London. It is found to be far preferable, in this intention, to quicklime, which is liable to become too soon saturated with moisture, and rendered ineffectual. The manner of employing the water is after it has been newly made from stone lime, by means of hot water poured upon it, to pour it through the fine rose of a watering-pot over the slugs, which have been collected by means of pea-haulm, or some other similar substance, laid down on the ground in portions, at the distance of about a pole from each other. In proper weather, the slugs soon collect in this way, in great numbers, for shelter as well as to get food. When a boy takes up the substance, and by a gentle shake leaves the whole of the slugs on the ground, another person then pours a small quantity of lime-water on them, and the boy removes the haulmy material to some intermediate place,[362] in order that the same practice may be repeated. By persevering in this method for a little while, the whole of the slugs may be destroyed, as the least drop of the water speedily kills them. This practice, it is supposed, will be found highly beneficial in the flower-garden, as by watering the edgings of box, thrift, or other kinds, the slugs will be killed with certainty, even when the weather is moist. The application is considered simple, the effect certain, and the expence trifling, whether in the garden or the field; a few pots only being required, in the latter case, to the acre, which can be made with a very small quantity of lime. And the labour is not of any material consequence, so that the whole charge will not, it is imagined, exceed five shillings the acre.—To prevent slugs from getting into fruit trees. If the trees are standards, tie a coarse horse-hair rope about them, two or three feet from the ground. If they are against the wall, nail a narrow slip of coarse horse-hair cloth against the wall, about half a foot from the ground, and they will never get over it, for if they attempt it, it will kill them, as their bellies are soft, and the horse-hair will wound them.
SNAILS. These are a species of slugs covered with shell, and which are very destructive to wall fruit. To prevent their ascending the standard trees, tie a coarse horse-hair rope about them, two or three feet from the ground; and to secure the wall trees, nail a narrow slip of horse-hair cloth against the wall, about half an inch from the ground, underneath the branches of the tree. In the winter time the snails may be found in the holes of walls, under thorns, behind old trees or close hedges, and might be taken and destroyed. When they attack vegetables, a few sliced turnips laid on the borders will attract them in the evening, when they may easily be gathered up. Lime and ashes strewed on the ground, will also prevent their depredations.
STRAWBERRIES. Sir Joseph Banks, from a variety of experiments, and the experience of many years, recommends a general revival of the now almost obsolete practice of laying straw under strawberry plants, when the fruit begins to swell; by which means the roots are shaded from the sun, the waste of moisture by evaporation prevented, the leaning fruit kept from damage, by resting on the ground, particularly in wet weather, and much labour in watering saved. Twenty trusses of long straw are sufficient for 1800 feet of plants. On the management of strawberries in June and July, the future prosperity of them greatly depends; and if each plant has not been kept separate, by cutting off the runners, they will be in a state of
[415] confusion, and you will find three different sorts of plants. 1. Old plants, whose roots are turned black, hard, and woody. 2. Young plants, not strong enough to flower. 3. Flowering plants, which ought only to be there, and perhaps not many of them. Before the time of flowering is quite over, examine them, and pull up every old plant which has not flowered; for, if once they have omitted to flower you may depend upon it they will never produce any after, being too old, and past bearing; but to be fully convinced, leave two or three, set a stick to them, and observe them next year. If the young plants, runners of last year, be too thick, take some of them away, and do not leave them nearer than a foot of the scarlet, alpines, and wood, and fifteen or sixteen inches of all the larger sorts; and in the first rainy weather in July or August, take them all up, and make a fresh plantation with them, and they will be very strong plants for flowering next year. Old beds, even if the plants be kept single at their proper distance, examine, and pull all the old plants which have not flowered. When the fruit is nearly all gathered examine them again, and cut off the runners; but if you want to make a fresh plantation, leave some of the two first, and cut off all the rest. Then stir up the ground with a trowel, or three-pronged fork, and in August they will be fit to transplant. If you have omitted in July do not fail in August, that the runners may make good roots to be transplanted in September, for, if later, the worms will draw them out of the ground, and the frost afterwards will prevent them from striking root; the consequence of which is, their not flowering the next spring; and you will lose a year.
SUCKERS. The season for taking up or transplanting suckers of trees and shrubs, is almost any time, in open weather, from October till March, being careful to dig them up from the mother-plant with as much and many root-fibres as possible, and trimming them ready for planting, by shortening the long straggling fibres, and cutting off any thick-nobbed part of the old root that may adhere to the bottom, leaving only the fibres arising from the young wood; though it is probable some will appear with hardly any fibres; but as the bottom part, having been under ground, and contiguous to the root of the main plant, is naturally disposed to send forth fibres for rooting; preparatory to planting them out, the stems of the shrub and tree-suckers should likewise be trimmed occasionally, by cutting off all lower laterals; and any having long, slender, and weak tops, or such as are intended to assume a more dwarfish or bushy growth, may be shortened at top in proportion, to form about half a foot to one or two feet in length, according to their nature or strength; and others that are more strong, or that are designed to run up with taller stems, may have their tops left entire, or shortened but little: when thus taken up and trimmed, they should be planted out in rows in the nursery; the weak suckers separately in close rows; and also the shortened and stronger plants, each separately in wider rows; so that the rows may be from one to two feet asunder, in proportion to the size and strength of the suckers: and after being thus planted out, they should have the common nursery-culture of cleaning from weeds in summer, and digging the ground between the rows in winter, &c. and in from one to two or three years they will be of a proper size for planting out where they are to remain: and some kinds of trees, large shrubs, &c. produce suckers strong enough in one season to be fit for planting where they are to remain; as well as some sorts of roses, and numerous other flowering shrubs; also some plants of the strong shooting gooseberries, currants, raspberries, and others of similar kinds. It may generally be observed of such trees and shrubs as are naturally disposed to send up many suckers, that by whatsoever method they are propagated, whether by seeds, suckers, layers, cuttings, &c. they commonly still continue their natural tendency in this respect. When it is, therefore, required to have any sorts to produce as few suckers as possible, not to over-run the ground, or disfigure the plants, it is proper, both at the time of separating the suckers, or planting them off from the main plants, and at the time of their final removal from the nursery, to observe if at the bottom part they shew any tendency to emit suckers, by the appearance of prominent buds, which, if the case, should all be rubbed off as close as possible: as, however, many sorts of trees and shrubs are liable to throw out considerably more than may be wanted, they should always be cleared away annually[421] at least, and in such as are not wanted for increase, it is proper to eradicate them constantly, as they are produced in the spring and summer seasons. Also numerous herbaceous and succulent plants are productive of bottom offset suckers from the roots, by which they may be increased. In slipping and planting these sorts of offset suckers, the smaller ones should be planted in nursery beds, pots, &c. according to the nature of growth and temperature of the different sorts, to have the advantage of one summer's advanced growth; and the larger ones be set at once, where they are to remain, in beds, borders, pots, &c. according to the different sorts or descriptions of them. The suckers of many of the finer kinds of flower-plants, as in the auricula and others, may be separated or taken off from the parent plants any time between the month of February and that of August, as they may become of a proper size, or be wanted for increase; but if they be not wanted for this use, they should never be suffered to remain. They can often be slipped off by the fingers, or a sharp piece of wood, without removing much earth, or the plants from the pots; but when they are large, and cannot be thus separated with a sufficient number of fibres to their bottom parts, they may be taken out of the pots, and be removed by the knife without danger, which is perhaps the best way, as affording most fibres. The suckers of such old flower-plants, when they are wanted to blow strong, should always be taken off without disturbing the plants in the pots, especially when they are few. The suckers, in all cases of this sort, should constantly be planted as soon as possible after they are slipped, in proper small upright pots, giving a slight watering at the time, with suitable temporary shade. They should be placed in proper situations out of the droppings of trees. They thus soon become rooted. The suckers of such flower-plants must, however, never be removed after the latter of the above periods, as they have then done shooting, and are become inactive, and as the winter immediately succeeds, seldom do well, especially without great care and trouble.
THYME. These plants may be easily raised from seed, by slipping the roots and branches, and by cuttings; but the seed method is seldom practised, except with the second sort, or garden thyme. The seed should be sown in the early spring on light, rich, dry ground, which should be properly dug over, and the surface be made moderately smooth with the spade. As the seed is small, it should not be sown too thick, or be covered too deep: the seed is best sown while the ground is fresh stirred, either broad-cast on the surface, raking it in lightly, or in flat shallow drills, earthed over thinly: the plants appear in two or three weeks. It is necessary to be careful to keep them well weeded, giving occasional light waterings in dry weather; and by June they will require thinning, especially if the plants are to grow stocky, and with bushy full heads; in which case they should be set out to six or eight inches distance; when those thinned out may be planted in another place, in rows six or eight inches asunder, giving water till fresh rooted, keeping the whole clean from weeds by occasional hoeing between them in dry days, which will also stir the surface of the earth, and much improve the growth of the plants: they will be in perfection for use in summer, or early in autumn. Some think the common thyme best cultivated for kitchen use in beds or borders, in rows at least half a foot apart, employing for the purpose either the young seedling plants, which are fit to set out, or the root slips of old plants, each of which soon increase into plants of bushy growths proper for being cropped for the above use. It may also often be well cultivated as an edging to herbary and other compartments; in both of which methods the plants multiply exceedingly fast by offsets, and are abiding, furnishing the means of great future increase. Some should, however, always be annually raised from seed in the above manner, as such plants possess a stronger aromatic quality than those from old ones. When it is intended to increase any particular varieties, and continue them the same with certainty, it can only be effected by slips and cuttings. In respect to the offsets and slips, all the sorts multiply by offsets of the root and slips of the branches: the rooted slips are the most expeditious method, as the old plants increase into many offset stems rising from the root, each furnished with fibres; and by taking up the old plants in the spring, &c. and slipping or dividing them into separate parts, not too small, with roots to each, and planting them in beds of good earth, in rows half a foot asunder, giving water directly, and repeating it occasionally in dry weather till they have taken root, and begin to shoot at top; they soon grow freely, and form good bushy plants in two or three months. The strong slips of the branches without roots, succeed when planted any time in the early spring season in a shady border, in rows four or five inches distant, giving due waterings; and become good plants by autumn, when they may be planted out where they are to remain. The cuttings of the young branches grow readily, the same as the slips, when planted at the same season in a shady place, and well watered. The common thyme is in universal use as a pot-herb for various culinary purposes; it may also be employed in assemblage with other small plants, to embellish the fronts of flower-borders, shrubbery clumps,[438] small and sloping banks, &c. placing the plants detached or singly, to form little bushy tufts, and in which the variegated sorts, and the silver thyme and lemon thyme particularly, form a very agreeable variety. The lemon thyme is also in much estimation for its peculiar odoriferous smell. Some of each of these sorts may also be potted, in order to be moved occasionally to any particular places as may be required, and under occasional shelter in severe winters, to preserve the plants more effectually in a lively state; likewise some of the mastick thyme. Spanish and Portugal thymes are also sometimes potted for the same purpose, and to place under the protection of a garden frame or greenhouse in winter, to continue them in a more fresh and lively growth; and sometimes some of the smaller thymes are sown or planted for edgings to particular beds or borders for variety, such as the lemon thyme, silver-leaved and variegated sorts; also occasionally the common thyme; and all kept low, close and regular, by clipping them at the sides and tops annually in the summer season. All the several sorts and varieties possess an aromatic quality, which principally resides in the leaves, whence it is imparted and affords a line agreeable fragrance. But the first three kinds are much the most noted and valued in kitchen gardens, and more especially the common thyme, which is so very useful as a culinary herb
TREES. Several different methods have been proposed of preventing the bark being eaten off by hares and rabbits in the winter season; such as twisting straw-ropes round the trees; driving in small flat stakes all about them; and the use of strong-scented oils. But better and neater modes have lately been suggested; as with hog's lard, and as much whale-oil as will work it up into a thin paste or paint, with which the stems of the trees are to be gently rubbed upwards, at the time of the fall of the leaf. It may be done once in two years, and will, it is said, effectually prevent such animals from touching them. Another and still neater method, is to take three pints of melted tallow to one pint of tar, mixing them well together over a gentle fire. Then, in the month of November, to take a small brush and go over the rind or bark of the trees with the composition in a milk-warm state, as thin as it can be laid on with the brush. It is found that such a coating does not hinder the juices or sap from expanding in the smallest degree; and the efficacy of the plan is proved, in preventing the attacks of the animals, by applying the liquid composition to one tree and missing another, when it was found that the former was left, while the latter was attacked. Its efficacy has been shewn by the experience of five years. The trees that were gone over the first two years have not been touched since; and none of them have been injured by the hares.—The Mossing of trees is their becoming much affected and covered with the moss-plant or mossy substance. It is found to prevail in fruit-grounds of the apple kind, and in other situations, when they are in low, close, confined places, where the damp or moisture of the trees is not readily removed. It is thought to be an indication of weakness in the growth, or of a diseased state of the trees, and to require nice attention in preventing or eradicating it. The modes of removing it have usually been those of scraping, rubbing, and washing, but they are obviously calculated for trees only on a small scale. How far the use of powdery matters, such as lime, chalk, and others, which are capable of readily absorbing and taking up the wetness[451] that may hang about the branches, and other parts of the trees, by being well dusted over them, may be beneficial, is not known, but they would seem to promise success by the taking away the nourishment and support of the moss, when employed at proper seasons. And they are known to answer in destroying moss in some other cases, when laid about the stems of the plants, as in thorn-hedges, &c. The mossing in all sorts of trees is injurious to their growth by depriving them of a portion of their nourishment, but more particularly hurtful to those of the fruit-tree kind, as preventing them from bearing full good crops of fruit by rendering them in a weak and unhealthy state.——The following are substances destructive of insects infesting fruit shrubs and trees in gardening, or of preventing their injurious ravages and effects on trees. Many different kinds of substances have been recommended for the purpose, at different times; but nothing perhaps has yet been found fully effectual in this intention, in all cases. The substances and modes directed below have lately been advised as useful in this way. As preventives against gooseberry caterpillars, which so greatly infest and injure shrubs of that kind, the substances mentioned below have been found very simple and efficacious. In the autumnal season, let a quantity of cow-urine be provided, and let a little be poured around the stem of each bush or shrub, just as much as merely suffices to moisten the ground about them. This simple expedient is stated to have succeeded in an admirable manner, and that its preventive virtues have appeared to extend to two successive seasons or years. The bushes which were treated in this manner remained free from caterpillars, while those which were neglected, or intentionally passed by, in the same compartment, were wholly destroyed by the depredations of the insects. Another mode of prevention is proposed, which, it is said, is equally simple and effectual; but the good effects of which only extend to the season immediately succeeding to that of the application. This is, in situations near the sea, to collect as much drift or sea-weed from the beach, when occasion serves, as will be sufficient to cover the whole of the gooseberry compartment to the depth of four or five inches. It should be laid on in the autumn, and the whole covering remain untouched during the winter and early spring months; but as the fruiting season advances, be dug in. This method, it is said, has answered the most sanguine expectations; no caterpillars ever infesting the compartments which are treated in this manner. Another method, which is said to have been found successful, in preventing or destroying caterpillars on the above sort of fruit shrubs, is this: as the black currant and elder bushes, growing quite close to those of the gooseberry kind, were not attacked by this sort of vermin, it was conceived that an infusion of their leaves might be serviceable, especially when prepared with a little quick-lime, in the manner directed below. Six pounds each of the two first sorts of leaves are to be boiled in twelve gallons of soft water; then fourteen pounds of hot lime are to be put into twelve gallons of water, and, after being well incorporated with it, they are both to be mixed well together. With this mixture the infested gooseberry bushes by fruit trees are to be well washed or the hand garden-engine; after which a little hot lime is to be taken and laid about the root of each bush or tree so washed, which completes the work. Thus the caterpillars will be completely destroyed, without hurting the foliage of the bushes or trees in any way. A dull day is to be preferred for performing the work of washing, &c. As soon as all the[452] foliage is dropped off from the bushes or trees, they are to be again washed over with the hand-engine, in order to clean them of all decayed leaves, and other matters; for which purpose any sort of water will answer. The surface of the earth, all about the roots of the bushes and trees, is then to be well stirred, and a little hot lime again laid about them, to destroy the ova or eggs of the insects. This mode of management has never failed of success, in the course of six years' practice. It is noticed, that the above quantity of prepared liquid will be sufficient for about two acres of ground in this sort of plantation, and cost but little in providing. The use of about a gallon of a mixture of equal proportions of lime-water, chamber-ley, and soap-suds, with as much soot as will give it the colour and consistence of dunghill drainings, to each bush in the rows, applied by means of the rose of a watering-pot, immediately as the ground between them is dug over, and left as rough as possible, the whole being gone over in this way without treading or poaching the land, has also been found highly successful by others. The whole is then left in the above state until the winter frosts are fairly past, when the ground between the rows and bushes are levelled, and raked over in an even manner. By this means of practice, the bushes have been constantly kept healthy, fruitful, and free from the annoyance of insects. The bushes are to be first pruned, and dung used where necessary. A solution of soft soap, mixed with an infusion of tobacco, has likewise been applied with great use in destroying caterpillars, by squirting it by the hand-syringe upon the bushes, while a little warm, twice in the day. But some think that the only safety is in picking them off the bushes, as they first appear, together with the lower leaves which are eaten into holes: also, the paring, digging over, and clearing the foul ground between the bushes, and treading and forcing such foul surface parts into the bottoms of the trenches. Watering cherry-trees with water prepared from quick-lime new burnt, and common soda used in washing, in the proportion of a peck of the former and half a pound of the latter to a hogshead of water, has been found successful in destroying the green fly and the black vermin which infest such trees. The water should stand upon the lime for twenty-four hours, and be then drawn off by a cock placed in the cask, ten or twelve inches from the bottom, when the soda is to be put to it, being careful not to exceed the above proportion, as, from its acridity, it would otherwise be liable to destroy the foliage. Two or three times watering with this liquor, by means of a garden engine, will destroy and remove the vermin. The application of clay-paint, too, has been found of great utility in destroying the different insects, such as the coccus, thrips, and fly, which infest peach, nectarine, and other fine fruit trees, on walls, and in hot-houses. This paint is prepared by taking a quantity of the most tenacious brown clay, and diffusing it in as much soft water as will bring it to the consistence of a thick cream or paint, passing it through a fine sieve or hair-searce, so as that it may be rendered perfectly smooth, unctuous, and free from gritty particles. As soon as the trees are pruned and nailed in, they are all to be carefully gone over with a painter's brush dipped in the above paint, especially the stems and large branches, as well as the young shoots, which leaves a coat or layer, that, when it becomes dry, forms a hard crust over the whole tree, which, by closely enveloping the insects, completely destroys them, without doing any injury to either the bark or buds. And by covering the trees with mats or canvas[453] in wet seasons, it may be preserved on them as long as necessary. Where one dressing is not effectual, it may be repeated; and the second coating will mostly be sufficient. Where peach and nectarine trees are managed with this paint, they are very rarely either hide-bound or attacked by insects. This sort of paint is also useful in removing the mildew, with which these kinds of trees are often affected; as well as, with the use of the dew-syringe, in promoting the equal breaking of the eyes of vines, trained on the rafters of pine stoves. Watering the peach tree borders with the urine of cattle, in the beginning of winter, and again in the early spring, has likewise been thought beneficial in destroying the insects which produce the above disease. Careful and proper cleaning and washing these trees, walls, and other places in contact with them, has, too, been found of great utility in preventing insects from accumulating on them.
VEGETABLES. There is nothing in which the difference between an elegant and an ordinary table is more visible, than in the dressing of vegetables, especially greens. They may be equally as fine at first, at one place as at another, but their look and taste afterwards are very different, owing entirely to the careless manner in which they have been prepared. Their appearance at table however is not all that should be considered; for though it is certainly desirable that they should be pleasing to the eye, it is of still greater consequence that their best qualities should be carefully preserved. Vegetables are generally a wholesome diet, but become very prejudicial if not properly dressed. Cauliflowers, and others of the same species, are often boiled only crisp, to preserve their beauty. For the look alone, they had better not be boiled at all, and almost as well for the purpose of food, as in such a crude state they are scarcely digestible by the strongest stomach. On the other hand, when overboiled they become vapid, and in a state similar to decay, in which they afford no sweet purifying juices to the stomach, but load it with a mass of mere feculent matter. The same may be said of many other vegetables, their utility being too often sacrificed to appearance, and sent to table in a state not fit to be eaten. A contrary error often prevails respecting potatoes, as if they could never be done too much. Hence they are popped into the saucepan or steamer, just when it happens to suit, and are left doing, not for the time they require, but till it is convenient to take them up; when perhaps their nutricious qualities are all boiled away, and they taste of nothing but water. Ideas of nicety and beauty in this case ought all to be subservient to utility; for what is beauty in vegetables growing in the garden is not so at table, from the change of circumstances. They are brought to be eaten, and if not adapted properly to the occasion, they are deformities on the dish instead of ornaments. The true criterion of beauty is their suitableness to the purposes intended. Let them be carefully adapted to this, by being neither under nor over done, and they will not fail to please both a correct eye and taste, while they constitute a wholesome species of diet. A most pernicious method of dressing vegetables is often adopted, by putting copper into the saucepan with them in the form of halfpence. This is a dangerous experiment, as the green colour imparted by the copperas, renders them in the highest degree unwholesome, and even poisonous. Besides, it is perfectly unnecessary, for if put into boiling[468] water with a little salt, and boiled up directly, they will be as beautifully green as the most fastidious person can require. A little pearlash might safely be used on such an occasion, and with equal effect, its alkaline properties tending to correct the acidity. Many vegetables are more wholesome, and more agreeable to the taste, when stewed a good while, only care must be taken that they stew merely, without being suffered to boil. Boiling produces a sudden effect, stewing a slower effect, and both have their appropriate advantages. But if preparations which ought only to stew, are permitted to boil, the process is destroyed, and a premature effect produced, that cannot be corrected by any future stewing. In order to have vegetables in the best state for the table, they should be gathered in their proper season, when they are in the greatest perfection, and that is when they are most plentiful. Forced vegetables seldom attain their true flavour, as is evident from very early asparagus, which is altogether inferior to that which is matured by nature and common culture, or the mere operation of the sun and climate. Peas and Potatoes are seldom worth eating before midsummer; unripe vegetables being as insipid and unwholesome as unripe fruit, and are liable to the same objections as when they are destroyed by bad cooking. Vegetables are too commonly treated with a sort of cold distrust, as if they were natural enemies. They are seldom admitted freely at our tables, and are often tolerated only upon a sideboard in small quantities, as if of very inferior consideration. The effect of this is like that of all indiscriminate reserve, that we may negatively be said to lose friends, because we have not the confidence to make them. From the same distrust or prejudice, there are many vegetables never used at all, which are nevertheless both wholesome and palatable, particularly amongst those best known under the denomination of herbs. The freer use of vegetable diet would be attended with a double advantage, that of improving our health, and lessening the expense of the table. Attention should however be paid to their size and quality, in order to enjoy them in their highest degree of perfection. The middle size are generally to be preferred to the largest or the smallest; they are more tender, and full of flavour, just before they are quite full grown. Freshness is their chief value and excellence, and the eye easily discovers whether they have been kept too long, as in that case they lose all their verdure and beauty. Roots, greens, salads, and the various productions of the garden, when first gathered, are plump and firm, and have a fragrant freshness which no art can restore, when they have lost it by long keeping, though it will impart a little freshness to put them into cold spring water for some time before they are dressed. They should neither be so young as not to have acquired their good qualities, nor so old as to be on the point of losing them. To boil them in soft water will best preserve the colour of such as are green; or if only hard water be at hand, a tea-spoonful of potash should be added. Great care should be taken to pick and cleanse them thoroughly from dust, dirt, and insects, and nicely to trim off the outside leaves. If allowed to soak awhile in water a little salted, it will materially assist in cleansing them from insects. All the utensils employed in dressing vegetables should be extremely clean and nice; and if any copper vessel is ever used for the purpose, the greatest attention must be paid to its being well tinned. The scum which arises from vegetables as they boil should be carefully removed, as cleanliness is essential both to their looking and[469] eating well. The lid of the saucepan should always be taken off when they boil, to give access to the air, even if it is not otherwise thought necessary. Put in the vegetables when the water boils, with a little salt, and let them boil quickly; when they sink to the bottom, they are generally done enough. Take them up immediately, or they will lose their colour and goodness. Drain the water from them thoroughly, before they are sent to table. When greens are quite fresh gathered, they will not require so much boiling by at least a third of the time, as when they have been gathered a day or two and brought to the public market. The following table shows when the various kinds of vegetables are in season, or the time of their earliest natural growth, and when they are most plentiful, or in their highest perfection.
Artichokes, July, September,
---- Jerusalem ditto, Sept. November,
Angelica stalks, May, June,
Asparagus, April, June,
Beet roots, Dec. January,
Boricole, November, January
Cabbage, May, July,
---- Red ditto, July, August,
---- White ditto, October,
Cardoons, Nov. December,
Carrots, May, August,
Cauliflowers, June, August,
Celery, Sept. November,
Chervil, March, May,
Corn Salad, May, June,
Cucumbers, July, September,
Endive, June, October,
Kidney Beans, July, August,
Leeks, Sept. December,
Lettuce, April, July,
Onions, August, November,
Parsley, February, March,
Parsnips, July, October,
Peas, June, August,
Potatoes, June, November,
Radishes, March, June,
---- Spanish ditto, August, September,
Scarlet Beans, July, August,
Small Salad, May, June,
Salsify, July, August,
Scorzonera, July, August,
Sea Kale, April, May,
Shalots, August, October,
Savory Cabbage, Sept. November,
Sorrel, June, July,
Spinage, March, July,
---- Winter ditto, Oct. November,
Turnips, May, July,
Turnip tops, April, May,
Windsor Beans, June, August.