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Vegetables and Herbs.
191. THE word, VEGETABLES, is not, as was observed in Paragraph 5, quite properly used here. This Chapter treats of the things cultivated in the garden to be eaten at our tables as food; and, they are Vegetables; but, a tree is also a vegetable; and such is an herb, or a flower. Therefore, as a distinctive appellation, the word, vegetables, is not strictly proper. But, it is the word we use to distinguish this class of the products of the earth from others; and, therefore, I use it upon this occasion. HERBS are usually placed as a class separate from Vegetables; but, while some of them are merely medicinal, like Pennyroyal, others are used, not only in medicine and in soups, but also eaten in salads. Therefore, it appeared to be best to bring into this one alphabetical lists, all plants usually grown in a garden, except such as come under the heads of Fruits, and Flowers.
192. ARTICHOKE. — A plant little cultivated in America, but very well worthy of cultivation. In its look it very much resembles a thistle of the big-blossomed kind. It sends up a seed stalk, and it blows, exactly like the thistle that we see in the Arms of Scotland. It is, indeed, a thistle upon a gigantic scale. The parts that are eaten are, the lower end of the thick leaves that envelope the seed, and the bottom out of which those leaves immediately grow. The whole of the head, before the bloom begins to appear, is boiled, the pod leaves are pulled off by the eater, one or two at a time, and dipped in butter, with a little pepper and salt, the mealy part is stripped off by the teeth, and the rest of the leaf put aside, as we do the stem of asparagus. The bottom, when all the leaves are thus disposed of, is eaten with knife and fork. The French, who make salads of almost every garden vegetable, and of not a few of the plants of the field, eat the artichoke in salad. They gather the heads, when not much bigger round than a dollar, and eat the lower ends of the leaves above mentioned raw, dipping them first in oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; and, in this way, they are very good. — Artichokes are propagated from seed, or from offsets. If by the former, sow the seed in rows a foot apart, as soon as the frost is out of the ground. Thin the plants to a foot apart in the row; and, in the fall of the year, put out the plants in clumps of four, in rows, three feet apart, and the rows six feet asunder. They will produce their fruit the next year. When winter approaches, earth the roots well up; and, before the frost sets in, cover all well over with litter from the yard or stable. Open at the breaking up of the frost; dig all the ground well between the rows; level the earth down from the plants. You will find many young ones, or offsets, growing out from the sides. Pull these off, and, if you want a new plantation, put them out, as you did the original plants. They will bear, though later than the old ones, that same year. — As to sorts of this plant, there are two, but they contain no difference of any consequence: one has its head, or fruit pod, round, and the other, rather conical. As to the quantity for a family, one row across one of the plats will be sufficient. — For Jerusalem Artichoke, see Jerusalem.
193. ASPARAGUS. — Were I writing to Nova Scotians, I ought not to omit to give instructions as to which end of the Asparagus the eater ought to use; for, I know a gentleman of that country, who; being at New York, on his first trip from home, began eating at the stem in place of the point. Writing, as I now do, to those, whose country produces, with the least degree of trouble, the finest Asparagus that I ever saw, and probably the finest in the world, no description of the plant, or of its uses, is necessary. But, some remarks on its propagation and cultivation are not wholly unnecessary; for, though it demands less trouble in America than elsewhere, it demands some; and, in proportion as it is valuable and esteemed, it is desirable that the means of procuring it should be well and generally understood. — It is propagated from seed. Gather the seed, when it is dead ripe. Sow it thinly in drills a foot asunder, and two inches deep, three weeks, or about, before the frost sets in. Press the earth well down upon the seed and, as soon as the frost sets in, but not before, cover the ground with muck, or litter, a foot deep, and lay some boards, or poles, to prevent its blowing off. As soon as the frost breaks up in the spring, take off' the litter; and you will have the plants quickly up. (See Paragraph 159.) When the plants are fairly up, thin them to four inches asunder; for, they will be four times as strong at this distance as if they stood close. Keep them clean, and hoe deeply between them all the summer. — To have beds of Asparagus, there are two ways of going to work: first, sowing the seed in the beds, at once; and, second, making the beds, and removing the plants into them. It is desirable lo have the beds about four feet wide, that you may cut the asparagus by going in the paths between them, and not trample the beds. As to the first method, if the soil have a dry bottom, trench in the manner described in Paragraph 20; but, in this case, where there is a root always penetrating downward, do not content yourself with a clean trench two feet deep; but, before you turn your top earth into this trench, put some good manure into it, and dig it into this bottom part; and then you will have manure at two feet and nine inches from the surface. Your ground being ready, lay out your beds, four feet wide, with a path two feet wide between each two beds. In the fall, having made all the ground right strong with manure, draw the earth to six inches deep from the top of the beds into the paths, which will then form high ridges. Then draw your drills a foot apart, and sow your seed, as before directed. When they are up, in spring, thin them to a foot apart. Thus you will have them a foot apart all over the bed. Keep the plants clean all summer; and, when the haulm is yellow in the fall, cut them off near, or close, to the ground; but, let the haulm be quite dead first; yet, do it before the frost actually sets in. When you have cut off the haulm, lay some litter upon the bed till spring, to prevent the frost from being too long coming out of the ground in spring. When the frost breaks up, throw some wood ashes, or, some other manure about an inch deep over the bed, having first loosened the top of the bed with a fork. Upon this manure, throw earth over the bed, out of the paths, three inches thick, and break it very fine at the time. In the fall, cut down the haulm again as before; repeat the winter operation of littering; and, in the spring again fork up, put on ashes or good mould, and the other three inches deep of earth out of the paths. Thus you bring the beds to be an inch or two higher than the paths; and this year, if your work have all been well done, you may have some asparagus to eat. The next fall, and every succeeding fall, cut down the haulm and cover with litter as before; and, in the spring, of this third year, put on ashes again, or other fine manure, and throw over the beds the earth that will come out of the paths dug six inches deep. This will make the paths six inches lower than the beds, and that is a great convenience for weeding, and for cutting the Asparagus. After this, you are to cut down the haulm in the fall, cover with litter during winter, fork up and occasionally manure in the spring, to keep the ground constantly free from weeds, to dig the paths up every fall, and keep them clear from weeds in summer. — The second method of making the beds is, to begin with plants, instead of seed. The plants (raised as above stated) may be planted in the beds at one year old, or older, if it so happen. Plant them at the same depth that is pointed out for depositing the seed. And, in all other respects, proceed as in the case of a bed begun with seed. As to the time of beginning to cut, some say the third year, some the fourth, and some even the fifth. There can be no fixed time; for, so much depends on the soil and treatment. Asparagus, like other things, ought to be used when it comes in perfection, and not before. — All that has here been said proceeds upon the supposition that the soil has a dry bottom. If a wet bottom, sow, or plant, at the top of the ground, and, in all other respects proceed as in the case of a dry bottom; except, that the earth to cover the bed with must, time after time, be dug out of the paths, which will, at last, make the paths into ditches, three feet deep from the tops of the beds. By these means the roots of the plants will be kept some years longer from reaching the cold, sour soil, at the bottom; for, whenever they reach that, the plants, like all others, cease to flourish, and begin to decay. — As to the time that asparagus beds will last, that depends on the soil. Having a dry bottom and good management, they will probably last three generations, and if that be not enough to compensate the trouble of making them, it would be difficult to find a compensation. The general cause of the decay of Asparagus-beds is, negligence; and, particularly, the want of attention to keep them clear of weeds, which, without doubt, are the greatest enemies of the plants. These send their roots down deep; but, they rely also on the ground at the surface. The Lucerne, which will send its roots down thirty feet into a dry bottom, and will live in vigour for an age, if kept clean at top; will, though in the best and most suitable soil in the world, perish in a few years, if grass and weeds be suffered to grow amongst it on the surface. Sea-sand, where it can be had, is as good as ashes, except the beds are very near the sea; and there it is of little use. With regard to sorts, I do not know that there is any difference, except such as climate produces. It is very certain, that, to whatever cause owing, the Asparagus here, though so little care is, in general, taken of it, is far superior to that in England. From our frequently meeting with it at a great distance from all houses, there is reason to suppose, that it is a natural weed of the country; and, therefore, it may differ from the English sort, as the Charlock and some other weeds do. In England the Charlock has a leaf like that of the white turnip; here it has a leaf the colour of that of an early York cabbage; that is to say, of a blue-green colour. There may be a difference between the Asparagus of America and that of Europe: at any rate, I will ascertain the fact; for I will carry some seed to England. As to the space which the beds ought to occupy, that must depend on the size of the family, who are to eat the Asparagus. Plenty, however, is always a blessing when the commodity is a good one. About six beds across one of the Plats will be sufficient for any family. They might be at the west end of Plat, No. 6, that being the warmest. — Asparagus may be had in winter with the greatest facility. There are but few things that are worth the trouble of a hotbed for the purpose of having them to eat in their opposite season; but, Asparagus is worth it. And this is the way to have it for the table, even in February, that month of snow and of north-westers, Sow some seed in the garden, in the manner before described, the rows a foot asunder, and the plants four inches apart in the row. Keep them clean, and manure them the first year. Cut the haulm off in the fall. Do not cover them during winter. In the spring fork up the ground, manure it again; and, in the fall cut off the haulm again. Just be fore the frost sets in, take up as many plants as you will want for your hot-bed. Dig each plant up without tearing it about; and put them all carefully on a cellar floor, cover them over about half a foot thick with fresh ground, and lay some straw upon that to prevent the earth from drying too much. In January prepare dung for a hot-bed; and make the bed in the manner as directed in Paragraphs 69 to 74. When the heat has sufficiently risen, put on earth as in Paragraphs 75 and 76. Upon this earth put your plants, straightening out their roots in every direction. Let the crowns of the roots be about 7 inches apart all over the bed which, being a bed four feet wide and nine feet long, will contain 180 plants. Cover the plants over with fine earth, so that the surface of this earth be six inches above the crowns of the plants Proceed as to air, shelter, and covering, in the same way as directed for the cabbage-plants. In about twelve, or fourteen days, you may begin to cut asparagus for the table; and, if you take proper care, and keep your heat up by a lining (see Paragraph 93,) you may have a regular supply for a month. When the plants have done bearing here, they are of no use, and may be thrown away. Of all the things that are forced in hot-beds, none give so little trouble as Asparagus, and none is so well worth great deal of trouble.
194. BALM is an herb purely medicinal. A very little of it is sufficient in a garden. It is propagated from seed, or from offsets. When once planted, the only care required is to see that it does not extend itself too far.
195. BASIL is a very sweet annual pot-herb. There are two sorts, the dwarf and the tall. It should be sown in very fine earth, and, if convenient, under a hand-glass. The bunches may be dried for winter use.
196. BEAN. — The only species of bean much used in this country, is that which, in England, is called Kidney-Bean, and, in France, Haricot. Of these I shall speak in the next article. The Bean I here mean is, what is called by most persons in America the horse-bean. In England there are some sorts of this bean used for horses and hogs; but there are several sorts used as human food. It is, at best, a coarse and not very wholesome vegetable; yet some people like it. It is very much eaten by the country people, in England, with their bacon, along with which it is boiled. There are several sorts of these garden-beans, the best of which is the large flat-seeded bean, called the Windsor-Bean. The Long-Pod is the next best; and, though there are several others, these are enough to mention here. The bean is difficult to raise here. It does not like dry and hot weather; and it likes moist and stiff land. If attempted to be raised in America, it should be sown in the fall by all means (see Paragraph 159;) but, still it is useless to sow, unless you guard against mice. If sown in the South Border, where it would be shaded and protected from the hot sun, it might do pretty well; and the vegetable is convenient as it follows immediately after the early peas are gone. Ten rows of these beans across the South Border, four feet apart, and the beans four inches apart, will be enough for a family.
197. BEAN (KIDNEY.) — Endless is the variety of sorts. Some are dwarfs, some climbers; but, the mode of propagating and cultivating is nearly the same in all, except that the dwarfs require smaller distances than the climbers, and that the latter are grown with poles, which the former are not. In this fine country the seed is so good, the soil and climate so favourable to the plant, the use of the vegetable so general, the propagation and cultivation so easy, and so well understood, that little in detail need be said about them. I prefer sowing the dwarfs in rows to sowing them in bunches or clumps. It is a great object to have them early, and, they may be had much earlier than they usually are with a little pains. It is useless to sow them while the ground is cold; for they will not grow till it be warm; but, there are means to be used to get them forwarder than the natural ground will produce them. If you have a glazed frame, or a hand glass or two, (see Paragraph 94,) use one or the other in this case; but, if not, dig a hole and put in it, well-shaken together, a couple of wheel-barrows full of good hot dung; and lay some good rich mould upon it six inches thick. Then lay on this some c the earliest sort of dwarf-beans. Put them not more than an inch apart, and cover them with two inches of fine rich mould. Bend some rods over the whole, and put the ends of the rods in the ground; and, every evening, cover this sort of roof over with a bit of old carpet or sail-cloth. In default of these, corn-stalks may do. Do this when the winter frost is just got out of the ground, or soon after. The beans will be up in a week's time; and, in about a fortnight afterwards, they will be fit to remove. The place for them is under a wall, a paling, or a hedge, facing the South. Prepare the ground well and make it rich. Take a spade and carry away a part of the beans at a time, and plant them at six inches asunder with as much earth about the roots as you can. Plant them a little deeper than they stood in the bed. They are very juicy, and may have a little water given them as soon as planted. Shade them the first day, if the weather be warm and the sun out; and cover them every night till all frosts be over. This is easily done, if against any sort of fence, by putting boards, one edge upon the ground and the other leaning against the fence; but, if you have no fence, and have to plant in the open ground, it will be best to plant in clumps, and flower-pots put over the clumps will do for a covering. In Long Island a clod or two, or a brick or two, laid by the side of the clumps, will hold up a large horse-foot fish shell, which is an excellent covering. On the first of June, 1817, I saw a farmer at South Hempstead, covering his beans with burr-dock leaves, while there were hundreds of horse-foot shells in his yard. The dock-leaf would wither in the day. A fresh supply must te had for the next night. This circumstance shows, however, how desirous people are to get this vegetable early; and, by the method that I have pointed out, it may be had fifteen days, at least, earlier than it generally is. — As to the main crop, it is by no means advisable to sow very early. If you do, the seed lies long in the ground, which is always injurious to this plant. The plants come up feebly. The cold weather, that occasionally comes, makes them look yellow; and they, then, never produce a fine crop. Of the various sorts of pole-beans one sowing it enough; for, if you gather as the beans become fit for use, they continue bearing all through the summer, especially the Lima-bean, which delights in heat, and for which no weather can be too dry; and which should never be sown till the ground be right warm. The Dwarf sorts may be sown all summer, from the time that the ground becomes warm to within seven weeks of the time that the little frosts begin in the fall; for, they will, at this season, pro duce, for eating green, in six weeks from the day of sowing. I sowed them on the 15th of August, and had several gatherings to eat green before the 2d of October when the first frost came. They were not cut up by the frost till the 17th of October; and they kept bearing till they were. — A row or two sown every fortnight, across one of the Plats (see Paragraph 60) will keep any family, however large, well supplied. And, perhaps twenty rows, across one of the Plats, for pole-beans of all the sorts that are desired, will be more than sufficient. It is best to sow several sorts of these; for some bear early and some later than others. — As to the sorts of Kidney-beans, they are, as I observed before, almost endless in number. I will, however, name a few: the Dun, or Drab-coloured dwarf bean, is the earliest. The same ground will bear and ripen two crops in one year, the last from the seed of the first. The Yellow; the Black; the Speckled; the Painted, white and red: these are all dwarfs; but there are a great many others. Amongst runners, or pole-beans, there are the Scarlet-blossom, the seed of which is red and black and the seed-pod rough There is a White bean precisely like the former, except that the bean and blossom are white. The Case-knife bean, which, in England, is called the Dutch-runner: this is the best bean of all to eat green. Then there is the Cranberry-bean of various colours as to seed. The Lima-bean, which is never eaten green (that is, the pod is never eaten,) and which is sometimes called the butter-bean, has a broad, flat and thin seed of a yellowish-white colour. This bean must never be sown till the ground is right warm. The other sorts will grow and bear well in England; but this sort will not. I raised good and ripe Indian Corn at Botley; but, I never could bring a Lima-bean to perfection, though I put it in the hottest spot I could find, and though cucumbers produced very well in the natural ground at a yard or two from it. — For the raising of dwarf beans on a large scale, see Paragraphs 163 and 164. The pole-beans may be raised in the same way, only with larger spaces (six feet perhaps) between the rows, and without any poles at all. The seed for sale is raised in this way even in England, where the climate is so cold and wet compared to this. The poling is a great plague and expense; and, if large quantities be raised, it may be dispensed with: nay, it may be dispensed with in a garden; for poles look ugly there; they intercept the view; and the addition they make to the crop is not a compensation even for ill look, especially under this bright sun, where the ground is almost constantly dry. — Let it be observed, that every sort of Kidney-bean must have rich ground, to produce a large crop.
198. BEET. — This vegetable, which is little used in England, is here in as common use as carrots are there. It should be sown in the fall (see Paragraph 159;) but, if not, as soon as the ground is free from frost, and is dry, in the spring. The rows a foot apart, and the plants eight inches apart in the rows. In order to hasten the seed up in the spring (if sown then) soak it four days and nights in rain water before you sow it. Put it two inches deep, cover it well, and press the earth hard down upon it. Sow the seed pretty thick all along the drill; and, when the plants come up, thin them to eight inches apart. Hoe between the plants frequently: but, not very deep; because these tap-rooted things are apt to fork if the ground be made loose very low down while they are growing. — There are yellow and white Beets, as well as red; but the red is the true kind: the others are degenerate. There is, however, round or turnip-rooted, red beet, which is equally good with the tap-rooted red-beet. — The ground should be rich, but not fresh dunged. Ashes of wood, or compost mould, is best; and the digging ought to be very deep and all the clods ought to be broken into fine earth; because the clods turn the point of the root aside, and make the tap short, or forked. Fresh dung, which, of course, lies in unequal quantities in the ground, invites the tap root, or some of the side roots to it, and thus causes a short or forked beet, which, for several reasons, is not so good as a long and smooth one. — As to the preserving of beets during the winter, it is well known, that the way is to put them in a dry cellar, with dry sand between them, or indeed, without sand or any thing at all between them. They may, if in large quantities, and not wanted till spring, be preserved out of doors, thus: Take them up three weeks before the hard frost is to come. Cut off their leaves; let them lay two or three days upon straw, or boards, to dry in the sun; then lay a little straw upon the ground, and, on a fine dry day, place ten bushels of beets (picking out all the cut or bruised ones) upon it in a conical form. Put a little straw smoothly over the heap; then cover the whole with six or eight inches of earth; and place a green turf at the top to prevent the earth from being washed, by rain, from the point, before the frost set in. All the whole heap will freeze during the winter; but, the frost will not injure the beets, nor will it injure Carrots, preserved in the same way. — If you have more than ten bushels, make another heap, or other heaps; for fear of heating before the frost comes. When that comes, all is safe till spring; and, it is in the spring, that season of scarcity, for which we ought to provide. How many bushels of beets are flung about and wasted in the fall, the smallest of which would be a treat in the month of May! — As to the quantity to be raised for a family, eighteen rows, planted as above, across one of the Plats (little more than two perches of ground) will produce 812 beets, or nearly four for each day, from the first of November to the last of May; and, if they are of the size that they ought to be, here are much more than enough. Beets may be transplanted, and will, in that way, get to a good size. See Transplanting, Paragraph 169.
199. BROCOLI. — This plant is not much cultivated in America; and, indeed, scarcely at all. In England it is grown in great quantities, especially near London. It is there sown in the spring, and eaten in the fall and during the winter, even until spring. It is of the nature of the Cauliflower which see. One sort has a whitish head, and is like a cauliflower, except that the white is a yellow-white. Another sort has a purple head; and there is another of a greenish hue. It is cultivated, in all respects like a Cabbage (which see;) but, as it is large, it must be placed at wider distances, not less than two feet and a half each way. If raised very early in the spring and planted out in June, and in good ground, as cool as can be got, it will have heads in October; and, if any of the plants have not then perfected their heads, when the hard frost is coming, they may be treated like those of the spring-sown cauliflowers which have not perfected their heads at this season. — Fifty of this plant, for the fall, may be enough; and they ought, to be planted out in the South Border in order to be kept as cool as possible. The white sort is deemed the handsomest; but, the others are more hardy. — To have Brocoli in the spring; that is to say, in May (for New York) is the thing! The thing may be done; for I had some pretty good in May 1818. — Sow in June. Transplant in July; put the plants at 2 1/2 feet apart. Till well between; and earth up the stems of the plants in August. They will be very tall and stout, in good ground, in November; and a sharp frost or two will not hurt them. But, to keep them through the winter is a troublesome thing. Nevertheless, to have them at New York or Boston in May, and at Philadelphia late in April; to have something little short of a cauliflower at that season, is worth some trouble, and even some expense; for, at that very season, the people of New York, are carrying homo wild dock leaves from market, bought at three or four cents a handful! This is the way to go to work to have Brocoli at this season. Five rows, across one of the Plats in the garden, will contain 110 plants. The space they will occupy will be 56 feet long, and 10 1/2 feet wide from out-side row to out-side row. Now, all this space must have a covering, during the time that the ground is completely locked up by the frost. And this is the way to cover it. Before the ground be hard frozen, put some stout stakes in the ground on both out-sides of the out-side rows, and at about a foot from the stems of the plants. Let these stakes be about a foot higher than the tops of the leaves of the plants; and that will make the stakes about four feet high. Let these stakes (which should not be less than three inches through) have a fork at the upper end to lodge a pole upon to go from stake to stake across the plantation. That these poles may not bend in the middle, by-and-by, when the covering is put on, put another row of forked stakes along the middle, or near the middle of the plantation. From out-side row of stakes to out-side row of stakes will be twelve feet and a half. The stakes are to be four feet asunder in the long rows, and they will be about six feet asunder across the plantation. Lay stout poles across, and let each pole rest in the forks of the three stakes. Then tie some stout rods longways upon the poles, at about nine inches from each other. Then some small rods across them at nine inches from each other. Then tie small rods along the sides and at the ends from stake to stake, nine inches apart, and upright rods against these, nine inches apart. Thus you have a sort of net-work over the whole plantation. And, there let it stand, till the rains are over, and until the winter is fairly set in, which, at New York, may be about Christmas. When all is frozen hard up, cover close over the lattice work a foot thick with straw, at the least, and lay on something to prevent the straw from moving. Then set up straw, or corn stalks, against the sides and the ends of the erection. Place the straw or stalks a foot thick at least, and fasten them well up, so as to keep out, not the frost, but all light and all occasional thaws from entering. Thus let the whole remain till the breaking up of the frost: and then take all away. Do not wait till the frost is out of the ground; but, take away as soon as the grand breaking up comes. You will find the plantation as green as it was when you closed it up. This will be about the middle of March (Long Island;) and though there will be many and sharp frosts after this, these will not injure the plants. As soon as the ground is dry at top, hoe deep amongst the plants; hoe again in about ten days; and again in another ten days; and, about the first week in May, or in the second at latest, you will begin to cut Brocoli to eat. The heads will come in one after another; and, recollect, that you have 110 heads, which is nearly 4 a day for a month; and this, you will observe, at a season, when people are glad to buy dock-leaves to eat! When we talk of trouble, what is trouble but labour; and what is labour but a thing to be bought? I am supposing a case where a gardener is kept; and, pray, what has he else to do? But, suppose a man to be hired expressly, would he not go to the wood and get the materials and make the lattice work in a day? Would it take him more than another day to lay on the straw! Here, then, are two dollars; and, supposing the straw and the stakes and poles and rods to be bought, the straw would be nearly as good for litter afterwards, and the poles, stakes and rods would last for many years, if tied up in bundles and laid safely away from winter to winter.
200. BURNET. — is a well known grass, or cattle plant. It is used by some in salads. When bruised, or cut, it smells like cucumber. It is a perennial, and a very poor thing.
201. CABBAGE. — The way to raise Cabbage-Plants in a hot-bed has been given in Paragraphs 77 to 96. — In the open ground you may put your seed rows at six inches distance, and put the seeds thin in the row. As soon as up, thin the plants to three inches in the row. The next thing is transplanting; and I will speak of that before I speak of seasons, sorts, and preserving during winter. Of the preparation and state of the ground, and of the proper weather for transplanting, I have spoken in Paragraphs 169 to 175. Read those paragraphs carefully again, and bear their contents in mind. But, to have fine cabbages, of any sort, the plants must be twice transplanted. First, they should be taken from the seed bed (where they have been sown in drills near to each other,) and put out into fresh-dug, well broken ground, at six inches apart every way. This is called pricking out. By standing here about fifteen or twenty days, they get straight and strong, stand erect, and have a straight and stout stem. Out of this plantation they come nearly all of a size; the roots of all are in the same state; and, they strike quicker into the ground where they are to stand for a crop. But, if you do not, whether from negligence or want of time, prick your plants out, choose the strongest, if you do not want them all; and, at any rate, do not plant strong and weak promiscuously, but put each by themselves. If you do not intend to prick out, leave the plants thinner in the seed bed, and hoe deep between them while they stand there. Besides this you may pass a sharp spade along under the rows, and cut off the top-roots; for they must be shortened when the plants are transplanted. This, if done a week or ten days before transplanting will give the plants a more bushy root; and will, in some measure, supply the place of pricking out. Having the plants ready for transplanting; and having the ground and weather as described in Paragraph 170, you proceed to your work, thus: dig the plants up, that is, loosen the ground under them with a spade, to prevent their being stripped too much of their roots. Put them in rows of course. The setting-stick should be the upper part of a spade or shovel handle. The eye of the spade is the handle of the stick. From the bottom of the eye to the point of the stick should be about nine inches in length. The stick should not be tapering; but nearly of equal thickness all the way down, to within an inch and a half of the point, where it must be tapered off to the point. If the wood be cut away all round, to the thickness of a dollar, and iron put round in its stead, it makes a very complete tool. The iron becomes bright, and the earth does not adhere to it, as it does to wood. Having the plant in one hand, and the stick in the other, make a hole suitable to the root that it is to receive. Put in the root in such way as that the earth, when pressed in, will be on a level with the butt-ends of the lower, or outward, leaves of the plant. Let the plant be rather higher than lower than this; for, care must be taken not to put the plant so low as for the earth to fall, or he washed, into the heart of the plant, nor even into the inside of the bottom leaves. The stem of a cabbage, and stems of all the cabbage kind, send out roots from all the parts of them that are put beneath the surface of the ground. It is good, therefore, to plant as deep as you can without injury to the leaves. — The next consideration is, the fastening of the plant in the ground. I cannot do better than repeat here what I have said in my Year's Residence, Paragraphs 83 and 84. "The hole is made deeper than the length of the roots; but the root should not be bent at the point, if it can be avoided. Then, while one hand holds the plant, with its root in the hole, the other hand applies the setting stick to the earth on one side of the hole, the stick being held in such a way as to form a sharp triangle with the plant. Then, pushing the stick down, so that its point go a little deeper than the point of the root, and giving it a little twist, it presses the earth against the point, or bottom of the root." And thus all is safe, and the plant is sure to grow. The general, and almost universal, fault, is, that the planter, when he has put the root into the hole, draws the earth up against the upper part of the root, and, if he press pretty well there, he thinks that the planting is well done, But, it is the point of the root against which the earth ought to be pressed, for there the fibres are; and, if they do not touch the earth closely, the plant will not thrive. To know, whether you have fastened the plant well in the ground, take the tip of one of the leaves of the plant between your finger and thumb. Give a pull. If the plant resist the pull, as far as for the bit of leaf to come away, the plant is properly fastened in the ground; but, if the pull bring up the plant then you may be sure that the planting is not well done. The point of the stick ought to twist and press the earth up close to the point of the root, so that there be no hollow there. Pressing the earth up against the stem of the plant is of little use. As to distances they must be proportioned to the size which the cabbages usually come to; and the size (difference of soil out of the question) varies with the sort. However, for the very small sorts, the Early Dwarf, and the Early Sea-Green, a foot apart in all directions is enough; for there is no occasion to waste garden ground; and you do not want such things to stand long, and the plants are in plenty as to number. The next size is the Early York, which may have 16 inches every way. The Sugar-loaf may have 20 inches. The Battersea and Savoy two feet and a half. The large sorts, as the Drum-head and others, 3 feet at least. — Now, with regard to tillage, keep the ground clear of weeds. But, whether there be weeds or not, hoe between the plants in ten days after they are planted. The reasons for this are amply stated in Paragraphs 176 to 186. You cannot dig between the plants, which stand at the smallest distances: but you may, and ought, to dig once, if not twice, during their growth, between all the rest. To prevent a sudden check by breaking all the roots at once, in hot weather, dig every other interval, leave the rest, and dig them a week later. All the larger sorts of cabbages should, about the time that their heads are beginning to form, be earthed up; that is, have the earth from the surface draw up against the stern; and, the taller the plants are, the more necessary this is, and the higher should the earth be drawn. After the earth has been thus drawn up from the surface, dig, or hoe deep, the rest of the ground. — Thus the crop will be brought to perfection. — As to sorts, the earliest is the Early Dwarf, (sometimes called the Early Salisbury;) the next is the Early Sea Green; then comes the Early York. Perhaps any one of them may do; but the first will head ten days sooner than the last. The Sugar-loaf, sweetest and richest of all cabbages, if sown and transplanted when Early Yorks are, will head nearly a month later. It is an excellent cabbage to come in in July and August. Some sown three weeks later will carry you through September and October; and some sown in June and transplanted in July, will carry you on till Christmas. For the winter use, there really needs nothing but the Dwarf Green Savoy. When good and true to kind it is very much curled and of a very deep green. It should be sown as soon as the ground is at all warm, and planted out as soon as stout enough. By November it will have large and close heads weighing from 5 to 8 pounds each. This is the best of all winter-cabbages. If you have Drum-heads, or other large cabbages, the time of sowing and that of transplanting are the same as those for the Savoy. But, let me observe here, that the early sorts of cabbage keep, during winter, as well as the large, late sorts. It is an error to suppose, that those cabbages only, which will not come to perfection till the approach of winter, will keep well. The Early York, sown in June, will be right hard in November, and will keep as well as the Drum-head, or any of the coarse and strong-smelling cabbages. The Early Yorks are not so big as the Drum-heads; but, observe, that as the former require but 16 inches distance, and the latter 3 feet, five of the former stand on the ground of one of the latter. So that, perhaps, the Early Yorks will be the largest crop after all. I have tried the keeping of both; and I know that the fine Cabbages keep as well as the coarse ones. The Red Cabbage is raised and cultivated in the same season and same manner as the Green Savoy. — There are many other sorts of cabbage, early as well as late; and they may be tried; but those above-mentioned are certainly sorts enough for any family. — The preserving of cabbages during the winter is all that remains to be treated of under the word cabbage; but, as every reader must know, it is a matter of great importance; for on it depends the supply of cabbages for four months in the year, North of Virginia and South of Boston, and for six months in the year when you get as far North as the Province of New Brunswick. — The cellar is a poor place. The barn is worse. The cabbages get putrid parts about them. If green vegetables be not fed from the earth, and be in an unfrozen state, they will either wither or rot. Nothing is nastier than putrid cabbage; and one rotten cabbage will communicate its offensiveness to a whole parcel. Pits you cannot open in winter. To turn the heads down and cover them with earth while the root stands up in the air, is liable to the same objection. The cabbages are pretty safe; but you cannot get at them during the winter. I have tried all the ways that I ever saw practised, or that I ever heard of; and the following method I found to answer every purpose; it is the surest preservation, and gives the least trouble, whether in the putting together or in the taking away for use. — Lay out a piece of ground, four feet wide, and in length proportioned to your quantity of cabbages to be preserved. Dig, on each side of it, a little trench, a foot deep, and throw the earth up on the four-feet bed. Make the top of the bed level and smooth. Lay some poles, or old rails, at a foot apart, long-ways, upon the bed. Then put some smaller poles, or stout sticks cross ways on the rails or poles, and put these last at five or six inches apart. Upon these lay, corn-stalks, broomcorn stalks, or twigs or brush of trees, not very thick, but sufficiently thick just to cover all over. Make the top flat and smooth. Then, just as the frost is about to lock up the earth, take up the cabbages, knock all dirt out of their roots, take off all dead or yellow looking leaves, and some of the outside leaves besides; put the cabbages, head downwards, upon the bed, with their roots sticking up; and cover them with straw so thick as for the straw to come up nearly to the root of the cabbage. Do not pack them quite close. It is better if they do not touch each other much. Lay some bits of wood or brush-wood, to prevent the straw from blowing off. If the frost catch you, before you have got the cabbages up, cut them off close to the ground, and let the stumps, instead of the roots, stick up through the straw. — Out of this stack you will take your cabbages perfectly green and good in the spring, when the frost breaks up; and to this stack you can, at all times in the winter, go, with the greatest facility, and get your cabbages for use, which you can to no other species of conservatory that I ever saw or heard of. The hollow part below the cabbages takes away all wet that may come from occasional rains or meltings of snow; and the little ditches on the sides of the bed keep the bed itself free from being soaked with wet. Even if deep snows come and lie for months, as in Nova-Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada, it is only removing the snow a little; and here are the cabbages always fresh and good. — Immense quantities, particularly in woody countries, may be stacked and preserved in this way, at a very trifling expense. In fields the side trenches would be made with the plough; poles, in such a case, are of all sizes, always at hand; and, small brush wood might do very well instead of straw, fir-boughs, laurel-boughs, or cedar-boughs, would certainly do better than straw; and where is the spot in America, which has not one of these three? — Cabbage Stumps are also to be preserved; for they are very useful in the spring. You have been cutting cabbages to eat in October and November. You leave the stumps standing, no matter what be the sort. Take them up before the frost sets in; trim off the long roots, and lay the stumps in the ground, in a sloping direction, row behind row, with their heads four or five inches out of ground. When the frost has just set in in earnest, and not before, cover the stumps all over a foot thick or more, with straw, with corn-stalks, or with ever-green boughs of some sort. As soon as the breaking-up comes, take off the covering, and stir the ground (as soon as dry,) by hoeing amongst the stumps. They should be placed in an early spot; in one of the warmest places you have; and they will give you (at New York) an abundance of fine greens towards the end of April, when a handful of wild dock-leaves sells in New York market for sixpence York money, which is rather more than an English three pence. — Lastly, as to the saving of cabbage seed. The cabbage is a biennial. It brings its flower and its seed the second year. To have cabbage seed, therefore, you must preserve the cabbage, head, root and all, throughout the winter; and this must be done, either in a cellar, or under covering of some sort out of doors; for, the root must be kept in the ground all winter. It is possible, and, I think, likely, that seed from the stump is just as good as any; but as one single cabbage will give seed enough for any garden for three, four, or five years, the little pains that the preservation can require is not worth the smallest risk. — As to the quantity of cabbages wanted for a family, it must depend on the size of the family and on their taste.
202. CALABASH. An annual. Cultivated like the cucumber, which see.
203. CALE. — This is of the cabbage kind. There are several sorts of it: and, it is, in all respects, propagated and cultivated like the Green Savoy, which see under Cabbage. — The Cale does not head, or loave, but sends forth a loose, open top. which in England, is used after the frost has pinched it, and then it sends out side-shoots from its tall stem, which it continues to do, if kept cropped, till May. In mild winter climates it is very useful and pleasant. It does not get rotted by the successive freezings and thawing?, as cabbages do. It is always green and fresh. Backward-planted savoys, may, perhaps, be as good; but the Cale is very good too. It will, I dare say, stand throughout some winters as far North as Philadelphia. It is worth trying; for greens are very pleasant in winter. — The Curled Cale is the best. — Its seed is saved like that of the cabbage. — There is a sort of Cale called Boorcole, and a whole list of things of somewhat the same kind, but to name them would be of no use.
204. CALE (Sea.) — This is a capital article. Inferior in point of quality to no vegetable but the Asparagus, superior to that in the merit of earliness; and, though of the easiest possible propagation and cultivation, I have never seen any of it in America. — It is propagated by seed, and also by offsets. The seeds may be sown, or the young plants (at a year old) planted, or the offsets (for little shoots from the sides of the stems) planted, on the spot where the crop is to be produced. — The mode of cultivation is in beds, precisely the same in all respects as Asparagus; except, that the Cale may be begun upon the second year. Cover the beds thick with litter in winter; so that the frost may not enter very deep; and, in April (Long Island) you will have plenty. — The moment it peeps out, cut it, and you have a white stalk seven or eight inches long, which is cooked just as asparagus is, and is all eaten from top to bottom. This plant is a native of the sea beach; and is as hardy as any weed that grows. Instead of earth you may, if convenient, lay sand (and especially sea sand) for it to shoot up through. It may be moved at any age of the plant. Any old stump of it will grow. After you leave off cutting it in the spring, it goes shooting on, and, during the summer it bears seed. In the fall the stalks are cut down, and you proceed with the beds as with those of Asparagus. — Two beds across any one of the plats are enough for any family. — This is, unquestionably, (after the Asparagus,) the very best garden vegetable that grows. Sea Cale may be had at any time in winter, as easily as Asparagus (which see,) and with less care. The roots may be dug up in the fall and thrown under any shed with litter, or straw, over them, till you want them. The earth in the hot-bed must be deeper than for Asparagus: that is all the difference. — The seed is saved as easily as that of Asparagus.
205. CAMOMILE is a medicinal herb of great use. It is a perennial, and, though it may be propagated from seed, it is easiest propagated by parting the roots. One little bit of root will soon make a bed sufficient for a garden. The flowers are used in medicine. They should be gathered before they begin to fade: and be dried in a gentle sun, or in shade; and then put by, in paper bags, in a dry place.
206. CAPSICUM (or Peppers.) — An annual plant, sown early in fine earth, in drills a foot apart, and at six inches apart in the drills. It is handsome as a flower, and its pods are used as a pickle.
207. CARAWAY. — The seeds are used in cakes. The plant is an annual. Sow in the spring, in tine rich ground, and leave the plants eight inches apart each way.
208. CARROT. — Read the Article BEET; for, the same season, same soil, same manure, same preparation for sowing, same distances, same intercultivation, same time of taking up, and mode of preserving the crop, all belong to the Carrot. — About the same quantity also is enough for a large family. — Some fine roots may be carefully preserved to plant out for seed in the spring; and the seed should be taken only from the centre seed-stalks of the carrots; for that is the finest. — The mark of a good kind of seed, is, deep-red colour of the tap. The paler ones are degenerate; and the yellow ones are fast going back to the wild carrot. Some people consider that there are two sorts: I never could discover any difference in the plants coming from seed of what has been called the two sorts. A Cow will nearly double her milk, if taken from common pasture in October, and fed well on carrot-greens, or tops; and they may, at this season, be cut off for that purpose. They will shoot a little again before the time for taking the carrots up; but, that is of no consequence. These shoots can be cut off before the carrots be put away for winter. Carrots will transplant like Beets; but, they grow still more forked than the Beet in this case. They do, however, grow large and heavy in this way. I have had some weigh more than three pounds.
209. CAULIFLOWER. — It is not without some difficulty, that this plant is brought to perfection in any country, where the frost is severe in winter, and especially where the summers are as hot as they are in every part of the United States. Still it may be brought to perfection. — It is a cabbage, and the French call it the flower-cabbage. Its head is a lump of rich pulp, instead of being, as a cabbage-head is, a parcel of leaves folding in towards a centre, and lapping over each other. The Cauliflower is an annual plant. It blows, and ripens its seed, during the year that it is sown; and, in fact, the part which is eaten is not, as in the cabbage, a lump of leaves, but the seed stalks, pods, and blossoms, in their embryo and compact state, before they expand. — It is the same with Brocoli. — Cauliflowers maybe had to eat in the fall, or in the spring. The last is the most difficult to accomplish; and I will, therefore, treat first of the means of accomplishing that. — To have Cauliflowers to eat in the spring, that is to say, in June, you must sow them in the fall; for, they will have a certain age before their heads will come. Yet, they are very tender. They will not endure a South of England winter without a covering, occasionally at least, of some sort; and the covering is, almost always glass, either on frames or in a hand-light. So that, to keep them through an American winter there must not only be glass, but that glass (except where you have a green-house to be kept warm by fire) must have a covering in severe weather. They require age, and yet, you must not sow them too early in the fall; for, if you do, they will have little heads about the size of a dollar, and go off to seed at once without coming to a large head at all. If you be too backward in sowing, the heads do not begin before the great heat comes; and, in that case, they will not head till the fall. — All these circumstances make the raising of them for spring use very difficult. — Sow (Long Island) first week, or second week, in September, in the same manner that you sow cabbages. When the plants have eight leaves, put them in a warm place, in the natural ground, and do not put much dung in the ground. The back part of the Hot-bed ground would be the place. Plant them six inches asunder upon a piece of ground that your frame will cover; but do not put on the frame, till sharpish frosts begin to come. Then put it on, and, whenever you expect a frost, put over the lights at night. If there be much rain, keep the lights on, but give plenty of air. Take the lights off whenever you can. When the hard frost comes, put long dung from the stable very thick all round the frame up to the very top of it, and extending a yard wide; and, in severe weather, cover the glass with a mat, or old carpet first; then put straw upon the mat; and then cover the straw with another mat. But, mind, they must be kept in the dark as little as possible. When the sun is out, they must have it; and, in mild days, they must have a great deal of air. When there is an occasional thawing day, take the lights off; and hoe and stir the ground; for, they want strength as well as protection; and they must have all the air you can, with safety to their lives, give them. — Thus you go on till within about three weeks of the general Indian-Corn planting season. By this time you may leave the lights off day and night. Ten days before Corn-planting get your ground ready, deeply dug and full of rich manure. Make holes with a spade; remove each plant with a ball of earth about the roots; fix the plants well in the holes at two feet asunder; leave a little dish round each; water them with water that runs out of a yard where cattle are kept. They love moisture, especially under a hot sun. Give them this sort of water, or muddy, stagnant water, every three days in hot weather; hoe and dig between them also; and, you will have Cauliflowers in June. — If you have a Green-house, the trouble is little. Sow as before. Put about four plants in a flower-pot a foot diameter at top, instead of putting under a frame. They will live in the Green-house like other plants; and will be ready to put out as above-mentioned. Fifty plants are enough. They are very fine vegetables; but they come not earlier than green peas. — To have Cauliflowers to eat in the fall is a much easier matter, and then they are, in my opinion more valuable than in the spring. Sow at the same time and in the same manner as you sow early cabbages. Treat the plants in the same way; put them at two feet and a half distance; you need not now water them; they will begin to come early in October; and, if any of them have not perfected their heads when the sharp frosts come, take them up by the root, hang them up by the heels in a warm part of a barn, or in a cellar; they will get tolerably good heads; and you will have some of those heads to eat at Christmas. — The seed, on account of the heat, is extremely difficult to save in America; but, if a fall Cauliflower were kept in a Green-house during winter, and put out three weeks before corn-planting time, I am persuaded, it would bring good seed in June. — The quantity of this plant must depend upon the taste for it; but it is so much better than the very best of cabbages, that it is worth some trouble to get it.
210. CELERY. — The qualities of this plant are universally known. There are three or four sorts. The white, the red, the hollow, and the solid. The hollow white is the best; but the propagation and cultivation of all are the same. The whole of that part of the year, during which the frost is out of the ground, is not a bit too long for the getting of fine Celery. The seed, sown in the cold ground, in April, will lie six weeks before it come up. A wheel-barrow full of hot dung, put in a hole in the ground against a wall, or any fence, facing the south, and covered with rich and fine mould, will bring the seed up in two weeks. If you have a hot-bed frame, or a hand-light, the thing is easy. A large flower-pot will bring up out of ground, plants enough for any family. As soon as the plants are three inches high, and it scarcely matters how thick they stand, make a nice little bed in open free air; make the ground rich and the earth very fine. Here prick out the plants at 4 inches apart; and, of course, 9 in a square foot. They are so very small, that this must be carefully done; and they should be gently watered once, and shaded 2 days. A bed 10 feet long and 4 wide will contain 360 plants: and, if they be well cultivated, they are more than any common-sized family can want from November till May. — In this bed the plants stand till the middle of July, or thereabouts, when they are to go out into trenches. Make the trenches a foot deep and a foot wide, and put them not less than five feet asunder. The ground that you make the trenches in should not be fresh-dug; but be in a solid state, which very conveniently maybe; for Celery comes on just as the Peas and early Cabbages and Cauliflowers have gone off. Lay the earth that you take out in the middle of the space between the trenches, so that it may not be washed into them by the heavy rains; for it will, in such case, cover the hearts of the plants, and will go very nearly to destroy them. — When you have made your trench, put along it some good, rich compost manure, partly consisting of wood ashes. Not dung; or, at least, not dung fresh from the yard; for, if you use that, the celery will be rank and pipy, and will not keep nearly so long or so well. — Dig this manure in, and break all the earth very fine as you go. — Then take up your plants, and trim off the long roots. You will find, that every plant has offsets to it, coming up by the side of the main stem. Pull all these off, and leave only the single stem. Cut the leaves off so as to leave the whole plant about six inches long. — Plant them, six inches apart, and fix them in the manner so minutely dwelt on under the article, Cabbage, keeping, as you are at work, your feet close to the outside edges of the trench. Do not water the plants; and, if you plant in fresh-dug ground, and fix your plants well, none of the troublesome and cumbrous business of shading is at all necessary; for the plant is naturally hardy, and, fit has heat to wither it above, it has also that heat beneath to cause its roots to strike out almost instantly. — When the plants begin to grow, which they quickly will do, hoe on each side and between them with a small hoe. As they grow up, earth their stems; that is, put the earth up to them, but not too much at a time; and let the earth that you put up be finely broken, and not at all cloddy. While you do this, keep the stalks of the outside loaves close up to prevent the earth from getting between the stems of the outside leaves and the inner ones; for, if it get there it checks the plant and makes the celery bad. — When you begin the earthing take first the edges of the trenches; and do not go into the middle of the intervals for the earth that you took out of the trenches. Keep working backwards, time after time, that is earthing after earthing, till you come to the earth that you dug out of the trenches; and, by this time the earth against the plants will be above the level of the land. Then you take the earth out of the middle, till, at last the earth against the plants form a ridge and the middle of each interval a sort of gutter. Earth up very often, and not put much at a time. Every week a little earth to be put up. — Thus, in October, you will have four ridges of Celery across one of the Plats, each containing 168 plants. I shall suppose one of these ridges to be wanted for use before the frost sets in for good. Leave another ridge to be lock up by the frost, a much safer guardian than your cellar or barn-door. But, you must cover this ridge over in such a way that the wet will not get down into the hearts of the celery. Two boards, a foot wide each, their edges on one side laid upon the earth of the ridge, formed into a roof over the point of the ridge, the upper edge of one board going an inch over the upper edge of the other, and the boards fastened well with pegs, will do the business completely; for it is not the frost, but the occasional thaws that you have to fear, and the wet and rot that they produce. — For the celery that is to serve from the setting in to the breaking up of the frost, you must have a bed of sand, or light earth, in a warm part of a barn, or in a cellar; and there you must lay it in, row after row, not covering the points of the leaves. — To have seed, take one plant, in spring, out of the ridge left in the garden. Plant it in an open place, and you will have seed enough to serve a whole township For soup, the seed bruised is as good as the plant itself. For the number of years that the seed will keep good, see Paragraph 150.
211. CHERVIL is an annual plant. Its leaves are a good deal like those of double parsley. They are used in salads. A small patch, sown in rows, like parsley, is enough.
212. CIVES, a little sort of onion, which is perennial. The greens only are used. A small quantity is sufficient for a garden. This plant may be propagated from seed, or from offsets.
213. CORIANDER is an annual plant that some persons use in soups and salads. It is sown in spring. The seed is also used as a medicine. A small patch, probably two square yards, will be enough.
214. CORN (Indian) To have some early, the early sorts must be got. A dozen or two of plants may be easily raised in pots, as directed for Cucumbers. See Cucumber.
215. CORN-SALAD. — This is a little insignificant annual plant that some persons use in salads, though it can hardly be of any real use, where lettuce seed is to be had. It is a mere weed.
216. CRESS (or Pepper-Grass) is very good in salads along with lettuces, white mustard, or rape. It should be sown in little drills, very thick (as should the white mustard and the rape) and cut before it comes into rough leaf. A small quantity, in the salad-season, should be sown every six days. This salad, as well as the mustard and the rape, may be very conveniently raised in a corner of a hot-bed made for radishes or cabbage-plants.
217. CUCUMBER. — To give minute rules for the propagation and cultivation of this plant, in a country like this, would be waste of time. However, if you wish to have them a month earlier than the natural ground will bring them, do this. Make a hole, and put into it a little hot dung; let the hole be under a warm fence. Put 6 inches deep of fine rich earth on the dung. Sow a parcel of seeds, in this earth; and cover at night with a bit of carpet, or sail cloth, having first fixed some hoops over this little bed. — Before the plants show the rough leaf, plant two into a little flower pot, and fill as many pots in this way as you please. — Have a larger bed ready to put the pots into, and covered with earth so that the pots may be plunged in the earth up to their tops. Cover this bed like the last. — When the plants have got two rough leaves out, they will begin to make a shoot in the middle. Pinch that short off. — Let them stand in this bed, till your cucumbers sown in the natural ground come up; then make some little holes in good rich land, and taking a pot at a time, turn out the ball and fix it in the hole. These plants will bear a month sooner than those sown in the natural ground; and a square yard will contain 36 pots, and will of course, furnish plants for 36 hills of cucumbers, which, if well managed, will keep on bearing till September. — Those who have hot-bed frames, or hand lights, will do this matter very easily. — The cucumber plant is very tender and juicy; and, therefore, when the seedlings are put into the pots, they should be watered, and shaded for a day or two; when the balls are turned into the ground, they should be watered, and shaded with a bough for one day. That will be enough. — I have one observation to make upon the cultivation of cucumbers, melons of all sorts, and that of all the pumpkin and squash tribe; and that is, that it is a great error to sow them too thick. One plant in a hill is enough; and I would put two into a pot, merely as a bar against accidents. One will bring more weight of fruit than two (if standing near each other,) two more than three, and so on, till you come to fifty in a square foot; and then you will have no fruit at all! Let any one make the experiment, and he will find this observation mathematically true. When cucumbers are left eight or ten plants in a hill, they never shoot strongly. Their vines are poor and weak, the leaves become yellow, and, if they bear at all, it is poor tasteless fruit that they produce. Their bearing is over in a few weeks. Whereas, a single plant, in the same space, will send its fine green vines all around it to a great distance, and, if no fruit be left to ripen, will keep bearing till the white frosts come in the fall. — The roots of a cucumber will go ten feet, in fine earth, in every direction. Judge, then, how ten plants, standing close to one another, must produce mutual starvation! — If you save a cucumber for weed, let it be the first fine fruit that appears on the plant. The plant will cease to bear much after this fruit becomes yellowish. — I have said enough, under the head of Saving Seeds, (Paragraphs, 139 to 146) to make you take care, that nothing of the melon, pumpkin or squash kind grow near a seed-bearing cucumber plant; and that all cucumbers of a different sort from that bearing the seed be kept at a great distance. — There are many sorts of cucumbers: the Long-Prickly, the Short-Prickly, the Cluster, and many others; but, the propagation and cultivation of all the sorts are the same.
218. DANDELION. — This is a well-known and most wicked garden weed, in this country as well as in England; and I am half afraid to speak of using it as food, lest I should encourage laziness. But there may be people without gardens, and without the means of purchasing greens in the spring; and to them what I am about to say may be of use. The Dandelion is as early as the earliest of grass; and, it is one of the very best of greens, when it is young. It is a sort of wild Endive. The French, who call it (from the shape of its leave) Dent de lion, or Lion's tooth, use it, bleached, as salad, and, if fine, large and well bleached, it is better than Endive, much more tender, and of a better flavour, it is very common in rich pasture land in England; and cattle and sheep, particularly the former, prefer it, as far as my observation has gone, to every other plant in the pastures. It is full of milk-coloured juice, and fuller of it than either the Endive or the Lettuce. In the spring (June) 1817, when I came to Long Island, and when nothing in the shape of greens was to be had for love or money, Dandelions were our resource; and I have always, since that time, looked at this weed with a more friendly eye.
219. DOCK. — I have frequently mentioned the leaves of this weed as being sold in the market at New York. This weed and the Dandelion are the gardener's two vegetable devils. Nothing but absolute burning, or a sun that will reduce them to powder, will kill their roots, any little bit of which will grow, and that, too, whether lying on, or in, the ground. Both bear seed in prodigious quantities. — The Dock (which is the wild Rhubarb) puts forth its leaves very quickly after the Dandelion; and hence it is that it is resorted to as greens in the spring. This is, however, a coarse green compared with the Dandelion. However, it is better than no greens at all after five months of winter, which has left nothing green upon the face of the earth. If a rod or two of ground, on the south side of a wood, were trenched and made rich, and planted with Docks, or Dandelions, the owner, even though he had no garden, would not be in want of early greens; and, it would be better to do this than to have to go upon the hunt after these vegetables, which, though weeds, are not, in every place, to be found in any considerable quantity; or, at least, not without spending a good deal of time in the pursuit. — The Dock-leaf is very wholesome, as is also that of the Dandelion. They do not produce gripings as the greater part of the cabbage kinds are apt to do. — See Rhubarb.
220. ENDIVE. — This is a salad-plant, though, like the Dandelion, it may be eaten as greens. — There are two sorts, the curled and the plain, just as there are of the Dandelion, which, as I observed before, is a sort of Endive. — The curled is prettiest, and is, therefore, generally preferred; but, the plain is the best. — Sow Endive in drills a foot apart; when the plants come up, thin them to a foot apart in the row, if they be not to be removed by transplantation; keep the ground clean, and hoe deep and frequently between the plants. When they get to a good size, they are to be bleached before they can be used as salad; for, while green, they are bitter and not very crisp. In order to bleach them, you must take them when quite dry; gather all the leaves carefully up with your hands; draw them into a conical form, and tie them round with matting or soft string, or little splinters of white oak. When they have remained in this state for about a fortnight, they will be bleached and fit for use. — The time of sowing may be as early as the weather will permit in the spring, and there maybe another sowing for summer; but, it is for winter and spring use that Endive is most wanted; so that, the late sowings are of the most importance. Sow about the end of July, in fine rich ground. If you do not transplant, leave the plants at the distances before-mentioned; if you do, transplant at the same distances (a foot every way;) do it when the plants have ten leaves, and tip off both leaves and roots when you transplant. Fix the roots well as directed in the case of cabbage; and, as the plant is very juicy, and the weather hot, plant in the evening, or early in the morning, water a little, and lay some bows over to shade for two days, but take the bows off at night. — The best place for Endive would be the shady border. The plants will come in for use in October, November, and December. Some sown a little later must be preserved for winter use. Before the frost sets in, they must be tied up in a conical form, as before directed, and all dead, or yellow, leaves must be taken off. Then dig them up, with a ball of earth to each, and put them into light earth in a cellar or some warm building. Put only the roots into the earth; do not suffer the plants to touch each other; and pour a little water round the roots after you have put them in the earth. If they be perfectly dry when tied up, they will keep well till spring. — To have them as early as possible in the spring, sow in the third week of August, and do not transplant. When the hard frost is come, cover the whole of the ground over with straw six inches deep, and throw (if at hand) some leaves of trees over the straw, and some sticks to keep the leaves from blowing away. But, the best covering of all, in this case is, boughs of cedar, or of fir, or laurel; though these boughs must be, for this purpose, cut up into small parts, so that they will lie close and compact and keep out the light. Some ever-green boughs, and some leaves of trees thrown over them, form, perhaps, the best covering in the world for plants of this description. But, observe; you must let the frost come. The ground must be right hard when you put the covering on; or else, the plants will rot. They must see the sun no more till spring. When the frost breaks up, take off the covering; hoe the ground as soon as dry, and proceed to perfect the plants in the manner before described. One of these plants will produce seed enough to last you for five years. — There need not be many of these plants. Lettuces are their rivals, and are a great deal better. — I have mentioned matting in this article, as a thing to tie with. This matting is nothing more than the threads of those large things, in which foreign goods sometimes come packed up. These things are in England called Mats, and the threads of which they are composed, are by gardeners, called matting. The gardeners use this for ties to Espalier trees; they tie on their grafts with it; they tie up their flowers with it; and, in short, it is the string of the gardeners. The Mats, thousands of bales of which are imported into England from Russia, are used to cover the hot-beds with, and for various other purposes. — But, matting is to be had, and with very little trouble, without sending to Russia for it. Any one who has a spare tree may have plenty of matting. When I came to Long Island, I cut down a chestnut, of about a foot diameter, and that furnished me with a store of matting ties. The tree was cut in June; the outer bark taken off; and then the inner-bark came off in long flakes, some broad and some narrow, the whole length of the clear trunk, which was about 15 feet. I just hung this up to dry; and that was matting, to be cut into any length, and ready to use for any tie, where much strength was not required. The only precautions are: keep the matting in the dry, and when you use it dip it in water first for a few minutes, and take it out of the water as you use it. If you have put more into the water than you want for that time, take it out and hang it up in the dry again; and it will receive no injury.
221. FENNEL. — Fennel is a perennial plant; propagated from seed, or from offsets; and sown, or planted, either in spring or fall. The plants should stand about a foot asunder. It is a tall plant with hairy leaves. Its leaves are used in salads, are chopped up fine to put in melted butter eaten with fish; they are boiled with fish to give the fish a flavour, and, they are tied round mackerel, particularly, when these are broiled. The French, who excel in the cooking of fish, always do this. The leaves, thus broiled, become crisp; and, they are then of a very fine flavour. In winter, the seed, bruised, gives fish the same flavour as the leaves do in summer; and, to my taste, butter, seasoned with Fennel, is better than any of the fish sauces, bought at the shops. — It is a very hardy plant. Two yards square will contain enough for any family; and, once in the ground, it will stand there for an age, or ten ages, as far as I know.
222. GARLICK. — Almost all nations except the English, the Americans, and the French, make great and constant use of Garlick; and, even the French use it, frequently, to an extent that would drive us from the table. — It is propagated from seed, or from offsets: and is sown, or planted, either in spring or fall. For winter-use, the roots are taken up and kept in the dry, as onions are.
223. GOURD. — I do not know any use that it is of. See Pumpkin.
224. HOP. — To range the Hop amongst Vegetables may appear odd; but, it is a garden-plant in America, and does give you, if you like to have it, a very good dish for the table. It is wanted to produce its fruit for the making of yeast, or beer, or both; and, to get good hops, there should be some cultivation. Any bit of a root will grow and become a plant. The young plants should be planted in the fall, three or four together in a clump, or hill, and the hills should be from seven to ten feet apart. The first year of planting, put four rods, or little poles, to each hill, and let two vines go up each pole, treading the rest of the vines down to creep about the ground. In a month after the vines begin to mount the poles, cut off all the creeping vines; and draw up a hill of earth against the poles all round, and cover all the crowns of the plants. In short, make a hill a foot high with a flattish top, and then fork up the ground between the hills and break it fine. When weeds begin to appear, hoe the ground clean; and, at the end of another month draw some more earth up, and make the hill bigger and higher. — When the fall comes, cut off the vines that have gone up the pole a foot from the ground; take down the poles; dig down the hills, and, with a corn-hoe, open the ground all round the crowns of the plants; and, before winter sets in, cut all close down to the very crowns, and then cover the crowns over with earth three or four inches thick. Through this earth the hop-shoots will start in the spring. You will want but eight of them to go up your four poles; and the rest, when three inches long, you may cut, and eat as asparagus; cook them in the same manner, and you will find them a very delightful vegetable. — This year you put poles 20 feet long to your hops. Proceed the same as before, only make the hills larger; and this year you will have plenty of hops to gather for use. — The next, and every succeeding year, you may put poles 40 or 50 feet long; but they must not be too large at bottom. Be sure to open the ground every fall, and to cut all off close down to the crown of the plants, which, when pared off with a sharp knife, will look like a piece of cork. — In England, where there are more hops used than in all the rest of the world, it requires four or five years to bring a hop hill to perfection. Even then, a pole from 15 to 20 feet long is generally long enough; and the crop of thirty hills is, upon an average, not more than equal to that of one hill in the hop-plantations on the Susquehannah; notwithstanding that, on the Susquehannah, they merely plough the ground in spring; never open the crowns and pare them down, leave the loose creeping vines together with the weeds and grass to be eaten, in summer, by sheep, which also eat the leaves of the mounting vines as far as they, by putting their fore feet against the poles, can reach up; and yet, in England, the Hop-lands are called hop-gardens, and are cultivated and kept in a garden state. — But, hops are to be preserved. They are fit to gather, when you see, upon opening the leaves of the hop, a good deal of yellow dust, and when the seeds, which you will find at the sockets of the leaves of the hop, begin to be plump. — Gather them nicely, and let no leaves or stalks be amongst them; and lay them out on a cloth to dry in the sun, taking care that no rain fall upon them, and that they be not out in the dew. — When perfectly dry, put them, very hardly and closely pressed, into a new bag, made of thick Russia linen, such as they make strong trowsers of. And, in this state, they will, if necessary, keep good and fit for use (if kept in a dry place) for twenty years, or, perhaps, three times twenty. I have used hops, for brewing, at ten years old, and found them just as efficient as new hops of the same original quality. However, people say that the fresh hops have a more lively flavour; and, as any stick will, in America, carry enough to supply a family with hops for the making of yeast-cakes, it must be shocking laziness not to put a few by every year.
225. HORSE-RADISH. — Like every other plant, this bears seed; but it is best propagated by cutting bits of its roots into lengths of two inches, and putting them, spring or fall, into the ground about a foot deep with a setting stick. They will find their way up the first year; and the second they will be fine large roots, if the ground be trenched deeply and made pretty good. Half a square perch of ground, planted at a foot apart every way, will, if kept clear of weeds, produce enough for a family that eats roast-beef every day of their lives. You must take care that the Horse-radish roots do not spread, and that bits of them be not flung about the ground; for, when once in, no tillage will get them out. They must be, like the Dock and Dandelion roots, absolutely burnt by fire, or by a sun that will reduce them to a state of a dry stick; or must be taken up and carried away from the spot. Though a very valuable and wholesome article of diet, it is a most pernicious weed.
226. HYSSOP is a sort of shrub, the flower-spikes of which are used, fresh or dried, for medicinal purposes. It is propagated from seed, or from offsets. A very little of it is enough for any garden.
227. JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE. — This plant bears at the root, like a potatoe, which, to the great degradation of many of the human race, is every where well known. But, this Artichoke, which is also dug up and cooked like a potatoe, has, at any rate, the merit of giving no trouble either in the propagation or the cultivation. A handful of the bits of its fruit, or even of its roots, flung about a piece of ground of any sort, will keep bearing for ever, in spite of grass and of weeds; the difficulty being, not to get it to grow, but to get the ground free from it, when once it has taken to growing. It is a very poor, insipid vegetable; but, if you wish to have it, now and then, the best way is to keep it out of the garden; and to dig up the corner of some field, and throw some seed or some roots into it.
228. LAVENDER. — A beautiful little well-known shrub of uses equally well known. Hundreds of acres are cultivated in England for the flowers to be used in distillation. It may be propagated from seed; but is easiest propagated from slips, taken off in the spring, and planted in good moist ground in the shade. When planted out it should be in rows three feet apart and two feet apart in the rows. If the flowers be to be preserved, the flower-stalks should be cut off before the blossoms begin to fade at all.
229. LEEK. — There are two sorts; the narrow-leaved, and the flag-leek, the latter of which is by much the best. — Some people like leeks better than onions; and they are better in soup. — Sow in the fall, or, as early in the spring as you can. — About four yards square is enough. Put the rows eight inches asunder, and thin the plants to three inches apart in the row. — Hoe deeply and frequently between the plants till the middle of July, and then take the plants up, cut their roots off to an inch long, and cut off the leaves also a good way down. Make trenches, like those for Celery (which see,) only not more than half as deep, and half as wide apart. Manure the trenches with rotten dung, or other rich manure. Put in the plants as you do the Celery plants, and plant about five inches asunder. As the Leeks grow, earth them up by degrees like Celery; and, at last, you will have Leeks 18 inches long under ground, and as thick as your wrist. One of these is worth a dozen of poor little hard things. If you have a row across one of the Plats it will be plenty, perhaps. Such row will contain about a hundred and sixty. One third may be used, perhaps, before the winter sets in; another third taken up and put by for winter, in precisely the same way that Celery is; the other third, covered in the same way that Celery is, will be ready for spring use. — See Celery. — Three Leeks planted out for seed, will ripen their seed in August, and will give you seed enough for the next year, and some to give to five or six neighbours.
230. LETTUCE. — This great article of the garden is milky, refreshing, and pleasanter to a majority of tastes than any other plant, the Asparagus hardly excepted. So necessary is it as the principal ingredient of a good salad, that it is, both in France and England, called "salad" by great numbers of people. It is good in stews; good boiled with green-peas; and, even as a dish boiled as cabbage is, it is an excellent vegetable. Yet, I never saw a really fine Lettuce in America. The obstacles are, the complete impossibility of preserving plants of the fine sorts in the natural ground during the winter; and the great heat, which will not suffer those sorts to loave, if they be sowed in the natural ground in the spring. — The hardy sorts are the green cabbage-lettuce (or hardy green,) and the brown-cabbage. These are flat plants. Their outside leaves spread forth upon the ground, and they curl into a sort of loaf in the centre. The plants of these may be preserved through the winter in the natural ground, in the manner directed for Endive plants, (which see under Endive) and may be sowed at the same time for that purpose. But these are very poor things. They have, though bleached at the heart, a slimy feel in the mouth; and are not crisp and refreshing. There are, I believe, twenty sorts, two of which only it will be enough to mention, green-coss and white-coss, the former of which is of a darker green than the latter, is rather hardier, and not quite so good. These, when true to their kind and in a proper situation, rise up, and fold in their leaves to a solid loaf, like a sugar-loaf cabbage, and, in rich land, with good management, they will become nearly as large. When you cut one of these from the stem, and pull off its outside leaves, you have a large lump of white enough for a salad for ten people, unless they be French, and, then you must have a lettuce to every person. Every body knows how to sow lettuce-seed along a drill, in the spring, to let the plants stand as thick as grass, and to cut it along with a knife, and gather it up by handfuls. But, this is not lettuce. It is herbaage, and really fit only for pigs and cows. It is a raw, green, Dandelion, and is not quite so good. — The plants of these fine sorts may, indeed, be kept through the winter in the same manner, and with the same care, as Cauliflower plants (which see in Paragraph 209;) but, if this be not done, you must raise them in the spring in precisely the same way as the very earliest cabbage-plants, for which see Paragraph from 77 to 94. — Put the plants out into the natural ground, about a fortnight before the general Corn-planting time. Do not put them in a place full to the sun; but in the east borders, or in the west border. Make the ground rich, right strong, break it well, and, in transplanting, keep as much earth as you can about the roots, and give a little water; and transplant in the evening. — These plants will loave about the time of the early cabbages, and some of them will not go off to seed for six weeks after they are loaved. So that, about two square feet of a hot-bed will give you a great quantity of real lettuces. — Let one plant (a very fine one) stand for seed; and it will give you plenty of seed for a year or two. — Whenever you transplant Lettuces, give them a little water, and, if it be a small bed, shade them a little. If you sow in the natural ground in the spring, be sure to transplant into the shady borders. And be sure always to make the ground rich for these fine Lettuces.
231. MANGEL-WURZEL. — This may be called Cattle-beet. Some persons plant it in gardens. It is a coarse Beet, and is cultivated and preserved as the Beet is.
232. MARJORAM. — One sort is annual and one perennial. The former is called summer and the latter winter. The first sown as early as possible in the spring; and, the latter propagated by offsets; that is, by parting the roots. The plants may stand pretty close. As the winter sort cannot be got at in winter, some of both ought to be preserved by drying. Cut it just before it comes out into bloom, hang it up in little bunches to dry, first, for a day, in the sun; then in the shade; and, when quite dry, put it in paper bags, tied up, and the bags hung up in a dry place.
233. MARIGOLD. — An ANNUAL plant. Sow the seed, spring or fall; when the bloom is at full, gather the flowers; pull the leaves of the flower out of their sockets; lay them on paper to dry, in the shade. When dry put them into paper bags. They are excellent in broths and soups and stews. Two square yards planted with Marigolds will be sufficient. It is the single Marigold that ought to be cultivated for culinary purposes. The double one is an ornamental flower, and a very mean one indeed.
234. MELON. — There are, all the world knows, two distinct tribes: the Musk, and the Water. Of the former the sorts are endless, and, indeed, of the latter also. Some of both tribes are globular and others oblong; and, in both tribes there are different colours, as well with regard to flesh as to rind. — In this fine country, where they all come to perfection in the natural ground, no distinction is made as to earliness, or lateness in sorts; and, in other respects, some like one sort best and some another. Amongst the Musk melons, the Citron is, according to my taste, the finest by far; and the finest Water melons that I have ever tasted were raised from seed that came out of melons grown in Georgia. — As to the manner of propagating, cultivating, and sowing the seed of melons, see Cucumber, and only observe, that all that is there said applies to melons as well as to cucumbers. To have melons a month earlier than the natural ground sowings will produce them is an object of much greater importance than to have cucumbers so much earlier; and, to accomplish that object, you have only to use the same means, in every respect, that I have described for the getting of early cucumbers. The soil should be rich for melons; but it ought not to be freshly dunged; for that is apt to rot the plants, especially in a wet year. They like a light and rather sandy soil, and, any where near the sea, wood ashes, or sopers' ashes, is, probably, the best manure, and especially in dry-bottomed land; for ashes attract and retain the moisture of the atmosphere. It is a great mistake to suppose, that ashes are of a burning quality. They always produce the most and best effect in dry bottomed land. — Melons should be cultivated well. You should leave but one plant in a hill; and should till the ground between the plants, while they are growing, until it be covered by the vines. If the plants stand too close, the vines will be weak, and fruit small, thick-rinded, and poor as to flavour.
235. MINT. — There are two sorts; one is of a darker green than the other: the former is called pepper-mint, and is generally used for distilling to make mint water: the latter, which is called spear-mint, is used for the table, in many ways. The French snip a little into their salads; we boil a bunch amongst green peas, to which it gives a pleasant flavour; chopped up small, and put, along with sugar, into vinegar, we use it as sauce for roasted lamb; and a very pleasant sauce it is. — Mint may be propagated from seed; but a few bits of its roots will spread into a bed in a year. — To have it in winter, preserve it precisely like Marjoram (which see,) and, instead of chopping it for sauce, crumble it between your fingers.
236. MUSTARD. — There is a white seeded sort and a brown seeded. The white mustard is used in salads along with the Cress, or Pepper-Grass, and is sown and cultivated in the same way. (See Cress.) The black is that which table-mustard is made of. — It is sown in rows, two feet apart, early in the spring. The plants ought to be thinned to four or five inches apart. Good tillage between the rows. The seed will be ripe in July, and then the stalks should be cut off, and, when quite dry, the seed threshed out, and put by for use. — Why should any man that has a garden buy mustard? Why should he want the English to send him out, in a bottle, and sell him for a quarter of a dollar, less and worse mustard than he can raise in his garden for a penny? The English mustard is, in general, a thing fabricated, and is as false as the glazed and pasted goods, sent out by the fraudulent fabricators of Manchester. It is a composition of baked bones reduced to powder, some wheat flour, some colouring, and a drug of some sort that gives the pungent taste. Whoever uses that mustard freely will find a burning in his inside long after he has swallowed the mustard. Why should any man, who has a garden, buy this poisonous stuff? The mustard-seed ground in a little mustard mill is what he ought to use. He will have bran and all; and his mustard will not look yellow like the English composition; but, we do not object to Rye-bread on account of its colour! Ten pounds of seed will grow upon a perch of ground; and ten pounds of mustard is more than any man can want in a year. The plants do not occupy the ground more than fourteen weeks, and may be followed by another crop of any plant, and even of mustard if you like. This, therefore, is a very useful plant, and ought to be cultivated by every farmer, and every man who has a garden.
237. NASTURTIUM. — An annual plant, with a half-red half-yellow flower, which has an offensive smell; but, it bears a seed enveloped in a fleshy pod, and that pod, taken before the seed becomes ripe, is used as a thing to pickle. — The seeds should be sown in the fall, or very early in the spring. The plants should have pretty long bushy sticks put to them; and four or five of them will bear a great quantity of pods. — They will grow in almost any ground; but, the better the ground the fewer of them are necessary.
238. ONION. — This is one of the main vegetables. Its uses are many, and they are all well known. The modes of cultivation for crop are various. Three I shall mention, and by either a good crop may be raised. — Sow in the fall (See Paragraph 159,) or early in the Spring. Let the ground be rich, but not from fresh dung. Make the ground very fine; make the rows a foot apart, and scatter the seed thinly along a drill two inches deep. Then fill in the drills; and then press the earth down upon the seed by treading the ground all over. Then give the ground a very slight smoothing over with a rake. — When the plants get to be three inches high, thin them to four inches, or to eight inches if you wish to have very large onions. — Keep the ground clear of weeds by hoeing, but, do not hoe deep, nor raise earth about the plants; for these make them run to neck and not to bulk. — When the tips of the leaves begin to be brown, bend down the necks, so that the leaves lie flat with the ground. When the leaves are nearly dead, pull up the onions, and lay them to dry, in order to be put away for winter use. — Some persons, instead of sowing the onions all along the drill drop four or five seeds at every six or seven inches distance; and leave the onions to grow thus, in clumps; and this is not a bad way; for, they will squeeze each other out. They will not be large; but, they will be ripe earlier, and will not run to neck. — The third mode of cultivation is as follows: sow the onions any time between April and the middle of June, in drills six inches apart, and put the seed very thick along the drills. Let all the plants stand, and they will get to be about as big round as the top of your little finger. Then the leaves will get yellow, and, when that is the case, pull up the onions and lay them on a board, till the sun have withered up the leaves. Then take these diminutive onions, put them in a bag, and hang them up in a dry place till spring. As soon as the frost is gone, and the ground dry, plant out these onions in good and fine ground, in rows a foot apart. Make, not drills, but little marks along the ground: and put the onions at six or eight inches apart. Do not cover them with the earth; but just press them down upon the mark with your thumb and forefinger. The ground ought to be trodden and slightly raked again before you make the marks; for no earth should rise up about the plants. — Proceed after this as with sown onions; only observe, that, if any should be running up to seed, you must twist down the neck as soon as you perceive it. But, observe this: the shorter the time that these onions have been in the ground the year before, the less likely will they be to run to seed. Preserving onions is an easy matter. Frost never hurts them, unless you move them during the time that they are frozen. Any dry, airy place, will, therefore, do. They should not be kept in a warm place; for they heat and grow. The neatest way is to tie them up in ropes; that is to say, to tie them round sticks, or straight straw, with matting (See Endive.) — For seed, pick out the finest onions, and plant them out in rich land, in the spring. — To grow this seed upon a large scale, plough the land into four feet ridges, lay plenty of dung along the furrows, plough the ground back over the dung, flatten the top of the ridge a little, and put along, on the top of the ridge two rows of onions, the rows seven inches apart, and the onions seven inches apart in the rows. When the weeds come, hoe the tops of the ridges with a small hoe, and plough first from and then to the ridges, two or three times, at the distance of two or three weeks, as in the case of Ruta Baga, cultivated in the field. — When the seed is ripe, cut off the heads and collect them in such a way as not to scatter the seed. Lay them on cloths, in the sun, till dry as dust; and then thresh out the seed, winnow it, and put it away. The seed will be dead ripe in August, and transplanted Ruta Baga, or Early York Cabbages, or even Kidney dwarf beans, or, perhaps, Buckwheat, may follow upon the same ground, the same year. — In a garden there always ought to be a crop to succeed seed-onions the same summer.
239. PARSLEY. — Known to every human being to bear its seed the second year, and, after that, to die away. It may be sown at any season when the frost is out of the ground. The best way is to sow it in spring, and in very clean ground; because the seed lies long in the ground, and, if the ground be foul, the weeds choak the plants at their coming up. — A bed of six feet long and four wide, the seed sown in drills at eight inches apart, is enough for any family in the world. — But, every body likes parsley, and where the winter is so long and so sharp as it is in this country, the main thing is to be able to keep parsley through the winter. It cannot be preserved dry, with success, like Mint, Marjoram, and the rest of the pot-herbs. It is possible to preserve it green, because I have done it; but, it loses its smell and flavour. Therefore, to have Parsley in winter, you must keep it alive. If you have a Green-house (or you may do it even in any of the window seats of a house) half a dozen flowerpots, planted with stout plants in September, and taken into the house in November, will be sufficient. As soon as winter breaks up, put them out in the natural ground; and thus you have plenty of Parsley all the year round. However, Parsley may, be preserved in the natural ground. You have only to put straw, or leaves of trees, or long litter, six inches thick on the bed, and to lay on something to prevent the covering from being blown off. (See Endive.) This will preserve its leaves from being destroyed; and, when you go to get it, you must lift up the covering, of a part of the bed, and put it down again.
240. PARSNIP. — As to season of sowing, sort of land, preparation of ground, distances, and cultivation and tillage, precisely the same as the Carrot, which see, Paragraph 208. But, as to preservation during winter, and for spring use, the Parsnip stands all frost without injury, and even with benefit. So that, all you want is to put up for winter as many as you want during the hard frost; and these you may put up in the same manner as directed for Carrots and Beets. — The greens of Parsnips are as good for cow feed as those of Carrots; but, if the Parsnips be to stand out in the ground all the winter, the greens should not be cut off in the fall.
241. PEA. — This is one of those vegetables which all men most like. Its culture is universal, where people have the means of growing it. The sorts of peas are very numerous; and I will mention a few of them presently. — The soil should be good, and fresh dung is good manure for them. Ashes, and compost, very good; but peas, like Indian Corn, will bear to be actually sown upon dung. Never were finer peas grown than there are grown in the United States; and, as we shall presently see, they may be had, in the open ground, in Long Island, from first of June till the sharp frosts set in. — The sorts are numerous, one class is of a small size and the other large. The latter grow taller, and are longer in coming to perfection, than the former. The earliest of all is the little white pea, called, in Long Island, the May-Pea, and, in England, the early frame-pea. Then come the early Charleton, the Hotspur, the Blue Pea, the Dwarf and Tall Marrowfats; and several others, especially the Knight Pea, the seed of which is rough, uneven shaped and shrivelled, and the plant of which grows very tall. — All the sorts may be grown in America, without sticks, and even better than with. I have this year (1819) the finest peas I ever saw, and the crop the most abundant. And this is the manner, in which I have sown and cultivated them. I ploughed the ground into ridges, the tops of which (for the dwarf sorts) were four feet apart. I then put a good parcel of yard-dung into the furrows; and ploughed the earth back upon the dung. I then levelled the top of the ridge a little, and drew two drills along upon it at six inches distant from each other. In these I sowed the peas. When the peas were about three inches high, I hoed the ground deep and well between the rows and on each outside of them. I then ploughed the ground from them, and to them again, in the same way as in the case of Swedish Turnips. In a week or two afterwards they had another ploughing; and soon after this they fell, and lay down the sides of the ridges. This was the way in which I managed all the sorts, only in the case of the Knight Pea I put the ridges at six feet asunder. — This was, of every sort, the very finest crop of peas I ever saw in my life. When not sticked, and sown upon level ground, peas fall about irregularly, and, in case of much wet, the under pods rot; but, from the ridges they fall regularly, and the wet does not lodge about them. You walk up the furrows to gather the peas; and nothing can be more beautiful, or more convenient. The culture in the garden may be the same, except that the work which is done with the plough in the field, must, in the garden, be done with the spade. — As to seasons, the early pea may be sown in the fall. See Paragraph 159. But, in this case, care must be taken to guard against mice. Sow about four inches deep, and tread the ground well down. When the frost sets in, all is safe till winter breaks up. These peas will be earlier by ten or fifteen days than any that you can sow in the spring. — If you sow in the spring, do it as soon as the ground is dry enough to go upon. Sow the May Pea, some Charletons, some Hotspurs, some Blue Peas, some Marrowfats, and some Knight Pea, all at the same time, and they will come one after another, so as to give you green peas till nearly August. In June (about the middle) sow some early pea again and also some Marrowfats and Knight Pea; and these will give you peas till September. Sow some of each sort middle of August, and they will give you green peas till the hardish frosts come. — But, these two last sowings (June and August) ought to be under the South fence, so as to get as much coolness as possible.
242. PENNYROYAL. — A medicinal herb. It is perennial. A little patch, a foot square, is enough.
243. PEPPER. See Capsicum.
244. PEPPER GRASS. See Cress.
245. POTATOE. — Every body knows how to cultivate this plant; and, as to its preservation during winter, if you can ascertain the degree of warmth necessary to keep a baby from perishing, you know precisely the precautions required to preserve a potatoe. — As to sorts, they are as numerous as the stones of a pavement in a large city; but, there is one sort earlier than all others. It is a small, round, white potatoe, that has no blossom, and the leaf of which is of a pale green, very thin, very smooth, and nearly of the shape and size of the inside of a lemon cut asunder longways. This potatoe, if planted with other sorts in the spring, will be ripe six weeks sooner than any other sort. I have had two crops of this potatoe ripen on the same ground in the same year, in England, the second crop from potatoes of the first. Two crops could be raised in America with the greatest facility. — But, if you once get this sort, and wish to keep it, you must take care that no other sort grow with it, or near it; for, potatoes of this kind mix the breed more readily than any thing else, though they have no bloom! If some plants of this blossomless kind grow with or near the other kinds, they will produce plants with a rough leaf, some of them will even blow, and they will lose their quality of earliness. This is quite enough to prove the fallacy of the doctrine of a communication of the farina of the flowers of plants.
246. POTATOE (Sweet.) — This plant is cultivated in much the same way as the last. Heat is what it chiefly wants; and great care indeed must be taken to preserve it in winter.
247. PUMPKIN. — See Cucumber. The cultivation is the same, and every body knows the different qualities of the different sorts, and how to preserve and use them all.
248. PURSLANE. — A mischievous weed that Frenchmen and pigs eat when they can get nothing else. Both use it in salad, that is to say, raw.
249. RADISH. — A great variety of sorts. Sown thin in little drills six inches asunder. Sown as early as possible in the spring, and a little bed every three weeks all summer long. The early scarlet is the best. Radishes may be raised early in a hot-bed precisely as cabbage-plants are.
250. RAMPION. — This is the smallest seed of which we have any knowledge. A thimble full, properly distributed, would sow an acre of land. It is sown in the spring, in very fine earth. Its roots are used in soups and salads. Its leaves are also used in salads. A yard square is enough for any garden.
251. RAPE. — This is a field-plant for sheep; but it is very good to sow like White Mustard, to use as salad, and it is sown and raised in the same way.
252. RHUBARB. — This is one of the capital articles of the garden, though I have never seen it in America. The Dock is the wild Rhubarb, and if you look at, and taste, the root, you will see the proof of it. The Rhubarb plant has leaves as broad and long as those of the burr-dock. Its comes forth, like the dock, very early in the spring. When its leaves are pretty large, you cut them off close to the stem, and, if the plant be fine, the stalk of the leaf will be from eight inches to a foot long. You peel the outside skin from these stalks, and then cut the stalks up into bits about as big as the first joint of a lady's third finger. You put these into puddings, pies, tarts, just as you would green gooseberries and green currants, and some people think they are better than either: at any rate, they are full six weeks earlier. — The plant, like the dock, is hardy, is raised from seed, from the roots, will grow in any ground, though best in rich ground; and the same plants will last for an age. It is a very valuable plant, and no garden ought to be without it. I should think, that a hundred wagon-loads of the stalks are yearly sold in London. A bunch which you can clasp with your two hands sells for a shilling or two in the very early part of the season; and that is nearly half a dollar. This circumstance sufficiently speaks its praise.
253. ROSEMARY is a beautiful little shrub. One of them may be enough in a garden. It is propagated from slips, taken off in the spring and planted in a cool place.
254. RUE. — Still more beautiful. Propagated in the same manner. One plant of the kind is enough.
255. RUTABAGA. — (See Turnip.)
256. SAGE is raised from seed, or from slips. To have it at hand for winter it is necessary to dry it; and it ought to be cut, for this purpose, before it comes out into bloom, as, indeed, is the case with all other herbs.
257. SALSAFY, called, by some, oyster plant, is good in soups, or to eat like the parsnip. It is cultivated like the parsnip, and, like it, stands out the whole of an American winter.
258. SAMPHIRE is propagated from seed, of from offsets. It is perennial, and is sometimes used as a pickle, or in salads.
259. SAVORY. — Two sorts, summer and winter. The former is annual, and the latter perennial
260. SAVOY. — See Cabbage, Paragraph 201.
261. SCORZENERA. — This is only another kind of SALSAFY. It is cultivated and used in the same manner as Salsafy is.
262. SHALOT. — A little sort of Onion, which is taken up in the fall and kept for winter use. Each plant multiplies itself in the summer by adding offsets all round it. One of them is a plant to put out in the spring to produce other offsets for use and for planting out again. They should be planted in rows six inches apart, and four inches apart in the rows. The ground should not be wet at bottom, and should be kept very clean during the summer.
263. SKIRRET is cultivated for its root, which is used in soups. It may be raised from seed, or from offsets. It is perennial, and a very small patch may suffice.
264. SORREL. — This is no other than the wild sorrel cultivated. It is propagated from seed, or from offsets. It is perennial. The French make large messes of it; but a foot square may suffice for an American garden.
265. SPINACH. — Every one knows how good and useful a plant this is. It is certainly preferable to any of the cabbage kind in point of wholesomeness, and it is of very easy cultivation. There is, in fact, but one sort, that I know any thing of, though the seed is sometimes more prickly than at other times. To have spinach very early in the spring, sow (Long Island) on or about the first week of September, in drills a foot apart, and, when the plants are well up, thin them to six inches. They will be fine and strong by the time that the winter sets in; and, as soon as that time comes, cover them over well with straw, and keep the straw on till the breaking up of the frost. — Sow more as soon as the frost is out of the ground; and this will be in perfection in June. — You may sow again in May; but the plants will go off to seed before they attain to much size. — If you save seed, save it from plants that have stood the winter.
266. SQUASH is, in all its varieties, cultivated like the Cucumber, which see.
267. TANSY, a perennial culinary and medicinal herb, propagated from seed, or offsets. One root in a garden is enough.
268. TARRAGON is a very hot, peppery herb. It is used in soup and salads. It is perennial, and may be propagated from seed, or from offsets, or slips, put out in spring. Its young and tender tops only are used. It is eaten with beef-steaks in company with minced shalots. A man may live very well without it; but, an Englishman once told me, that he and six others once eat some beef-steaks with Shalots and Tarragon, and that "they voted unanimously, that beef-steaks never were so eaten!" It must be dried, like mint, for winter use.
269. THYME. — There are two distinct sorts. Both are perennial, and both may be propagated either from seed, or from offsets.
270. TOMATUM. — This plant comes from the countries bordering on the Mediterranean. In England it requires to be raised in artificial heat, and to be planted out against warm walls. Here it would require neither. It climbs up very high, and would require bushy sticks. It bears a sort of apple about as big as a black walnut with its green husk on. This fruit is used to thicken stews and soups, and great quantities are sold in London. It is raised from seed only, being an annual; and the seed should be sown at a great distance, seeing that the plants occupy a good deal of room.
271. TURNIP. — It is useless to attempt to raise them by sowing in the spring: they are never good till the fall. The sorts of Turnips are numerous, but, for a garden, it is quite sufficient to notice three; the early white, the flat yellow, and the Swedish, or Rutabaga, which last is a very different plant indeed from the other two. — The two former sorts should be sown about the end of July, in rows (in a garden) two feet apart, and thinned out to a foot distance in the rows. Good and deep hoeing and one digging should take place during their growth; for, a large turnip of the same age is better, weight for weight, than a small one, just as the largest apples, or peaches, growing upon the same tree, are better than the small ones growing on it the same year. — The Swedish turnip, so generally preferred for table use here, and so seldom used for the table in England, ought to be sown early in June, in rows at a foot apart and thinned to three inches in the rows. About the middle of July they ought to be transplanted upon ridges three feet apart (in a garden,) and during their growth, ought to be kept clean, and to be dug between twice at least, as deep as a good spade can be made to go. As to the preserving of turnips during the winter, follow precisely the directions given for the preserving of Beets. See Beet. — But the Swedish Turnip is of further use as producing most excellent greens in the spring, and at a very early season. To draw this benefit from them, the best way is, to leave a row or two in the ground, and, when the winter is about to set in, cover them all over with straw or cedar boughs. Take these off when the winter breaks up, and you will have very early and most excellent greens; and, when you have done with the greens, the Turnips are very good to eat.
272. WORMWOOD is an herb purely medicinal. It may be propagated from seed, from slips, or from offsets. It ought not to occupy a space of more than a foot square. It must be dried and put by in bags for winter use.