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which we have lately had. One such heap has, therefore, been finished; a good lot of grass in a heating state had been mixed with vegetables, weeds, earth, at different times ; and now all such grass available has been added, and the heap has been covered over with the earthiest matter at command. Inside, the mass is fermenting strongly, and little or no gases are escaping; and, when cut down in winter, such a heap will only be inferior to the best half-decomposed farmyard-manure.
My second kind of rubbish-heap is one that undergoes the fiery process. It consists of prunings, that, either from their spines and thorns, cannot be handled, or are so small and leafy as to be unfit for furnace-lighting; as cuttings of ivy, periwinkles, and all sorts of root-weeds and seed-weeds, such as the white convolvulus and the sow-thisde, whicli would not do to be taken to the above rotheap, as the roots would just be in the best position for extending themselves throughout the mass; and if chickweed, groundsel, thistle, had the flowerbuds formed and opened, there would often be moisture enough in the stems, and heat enough in the heap, to perfect and scatter the seeds, and not enough to destroy them: consequently, up they would come again when taken out to the garden, and placed near enough the surface for sun and air to act upon them. In such cases, the useless spray coines in well for a fire, on which a great heap of such half-rotting weeds is piled: and when fairly heated, and the heat kept in with old-used earth mixed with the weeds and rubbish of prunings, a large heap of burnt earth and ashes is obtained; and such, for surface-dressings and keeping vermin at bay, is little inferior to lime. The smouldering of the heap, when fairly started, tends to char instead of quite burning up much of the vegetable matter. The fire is the best means for reducing all such rubbish into little space, and securing from deleterious materials a good dressing for any, and especially strong loamy and clayey ground.
A third heap, but scarcely a rubbish-heap, consists of larger prunings more free from leaves, dried hollyhock-stems, pea-stakes too rotten for further use and for lighting furnaces, for which purpose they are inferior to fresh dry fagots; in fact, any thing wooden, from small twigs to shoots as thick as the thumb or wrist. These, firmly packed together, may be charred. One of the easiest modes of doing this is to cover the outside with a few inches of large weeds, tree-leaves, or even long grass, or any thing of that kind, and then cover this over with the commonest refuse earth. The rough inside covering prevents the earth falling through into the charring mass, and will be more easily obtained in a garden than a covering of turf, which is next to essential to charring large lumps of wood for kitchen-purposes. To char this twiggy rubbish, much the same process must be gone through as for charring wood for stove-purposes. The charring can only take place when enough of air is admitted to keep up a smouldering combustion without flame. For this purpose, light where you will, the fire will take hold at the top of the heap; and, when it has taken good hold, it must be securely banked up with earth there, to prevent flame issuing forth; and a few holes farther down in the heap must be made to let a little air in, to keep up the smouldering combustion. As the matter there becomes charred, the upper holes are shut up, and others made lower down until you reach the bottom, and the whole is charred, smoke and vapor issuing freely from these holes: but, if ever as much air is admitted as to cause the materials to flare and flame, then the charring is exchanged for burning ; and, instead of valuable charred material, you will have a much less bulky and much less valuable material in the shape of ashes. When charring, therefore, is attempted, the heap must not be long left from the time of lighting the fire to that of removing the charcoal. A slight neglect — the opening of a rent or vent in the covering, so as to create flame inside — will soon, as respects charring, render all the labor abortive. When I practised much of this sort of rubbish-charring, the earth and weeds used in covering were afterwards burned up in the weed-heap.
By these three modes, almost every thing cast out from a garden can be made the most of for useful purposes. — R. Fish, in Cottage Gardener.
Dwarf Banana (Afusa Cavendishii) is the most tractable of the family, as well for fruiting as for growing. Procure a sucker, say in March, as it will then have the summer before it. Supposing the sucker to be three or four inches in height, pot it in a middling-sized pot, say a sixteen or twenty-four, in a compost of peat, loam, and sand, well draining the pot, and potting rather lightly. Do not give much water till the roots have reached the sides of the pot, when the plant should be watered freely. Let it remain in the same pot, and in an ordinary stove temperature, for six or eight weeks; by which time, if all go well, it will be a good strong plant of two or three feet in height, with well-developed foliage.
The plant is then ready for the fruiting-pot, the size of which, with me, is throe feet in diameter at the top, and about two feet deep. The pot should be placed where it is intended to grow the plant, and drained with six inches deep of oyster-shells, charcoal, and crushed bones. Placing the young plant upon the drainage without disturbing the ball more than can be avoided, fill in at the sides of the fruiting-pot with strong yellow loam and rotten tan; which compost is most suitable for fruiting. The plant will now be ready to be pushed along, and should receive rather liberal doses of liquid manure twice a week, — say four gallons each time, and the same quantity of clear water in the week as well. This treatment, and a temperature of about 8o°, not shading more than can be avoided, should, by September, produce a plant eight or ten feet in height; and, with its beautiful foliage, it will have a very good appearance in the stove, for which it is an excellent centre plant. By keeping it dry for a week or two at this time, it will throw up its flower-spike, which is a beautiful object; and, as it continues to grow, the rows of fruit will appear overlaying each other. When the first row of fruit is half developed, the watering should be recommenced as freely as ever; and, with ordinary success, there will be by Christmas a bunch of fruit as long as the arm, or thereabouts, and weighing eighteen or twenty-four pounds, which should be ripe about the end of February, or beginning of March, making a very unique addition to the dessert.
Rhubarb Forcing. —A warm, dark cellar will answer admirably for forcing rhubarb. The temperature should be not less than 50°. Put roots there in January, and they will produce long before stools in the open air unheated and uncovered. You may pot the roots in vine-pots, or spread a little soil on the floor; place the roots on it, and then cover them with moist soil There is this advantage in forcing rhubarb where it grows,— the roots are but little injured, and may be forced every other year without any great deterioration; whereas, if they are taken up, and placed in a cellar or elsewhere, they are of little value afterwards, requiring more time to recover than is needed to raise from offsets roots of greater strength, and in every way better for forcing-purposes.
Seedling Gloxinias, Amaryllis, And Achimenes. — Gloxinias and achimenes flower the same year the seed is sown. If sown early, say in February or March, on a hot-bed, and grown on in the bed, with liberal treatment they will flower in autumn, but better in the second year. It usually requires three years to bloom seedling amaryllis, and then the treatment must be such as will encourage growth.
Desfontania Spinosa Culture. — The greatest drawback to blooming this plant is keeping it in too close and warm an atmosphere. It requires a cool, airy situation in a light house, a fair amount of pot-room, and perfect drainage. A compost of good hazel or yellow loam suits this plant, — that from rotted turves is the best material for potting; and it then needs no manure: add, however, one-third of well-reduced leaf-mould, and a free admixture of sharp sand. Drain the pot thoroughly, and pot with the neck or collar rather high in the centre of the pot. Keep the plant well watered whilst growing, and at other times moist. It requires about as much water as a camellia. Age is all that is wanted to make it flower profusely.
Propagating Hardy Ferns From Spores. — Choose a pot which a bellglass will just fit within the rim; place a large crock over the hole; half fill the pot with smaller pieces, and on them place half an inch of moss; then fill the pot to the rim with the following mixture, — viz., sandstone broken in all sizes, from that of a grain to a hazel-nut, sandy fibrous peat, and yellow fibrous loam, of each equal parts, adding to the whole one-sixth of silver sand. Put over the surface a very small quantity of sifted soil, and make it firm by pressing it with the hand. Put on the bell-glass; and, if it fit closely on the soil, it is all right. Remove it, and stand the pot in a pan in a rather shady but not dark part of the greenhouse; for what is wanted is a diffused, though not a strong light. Give a good watering all over the surface through a fine-rosed watering-pot, filling the pan with water. Now take the frond with the spore-cases open; and, holding it over the pot, rub it with the hand on the under side, and a kind of brown or yellow dust will fall on the soil. You may scrape the spore-cases from the back of the fronds; but, if the dust fall so as to make the soil brown or yellow, it is enough. Press the surface gently with the hand, and put on the bell-glass, taking care that it touch the soil all round. Keep the pan or saucer full of water: and give none on the surface except it become dry, which it never ought to do, nor will it if sufficiently shaded, and the saucer be kept full of water. When the surface becomes green, tilt the bell-glass a little on one side at night; and, as the soil becomes greener, tilt it higher, giving a gentle watering now and then to keep the surface from becoming dry. When the plants have made two or three fronds, gradually remove the bell-glass, and pot off the ferns when they can be handled safely. The pots may be placed outside, exposed to frost; but then the vegetation of the spores will not be so speedy and certain as when the pots are placed in the greenhouse.
Plaster For Budding Roses. — Perhaps the following remarks on budding roses may be of use to some of your readers. I have adopted with complete success a plan which has been new to all those to whom I mentioned it, and by which much expenditure of time and trouble is saved, and, I think, a great amount of certainty obtained.
Instead of either bast or worsted, I use some common adhesive plaster. With this I can bud three roses in the same time that I can bud one with bast. The plaster adheres at once exactly where it is required. No tying is necessary; and the operation can be performed with great neatness and exactness, as well as rapidity. The plaster I used was some common white adhesive plaster, bought at the chemist's (called diachylon), and cut into narrow strips. I do not know whether my plan is absolutely new, but it has been so to all those to whom I have mentioned it; and I feel sure that your readers who try it will find it thoroughly successful.
Another plan, which was shown to me by a lady, has proved so useful to me, and is so little practised, that I think it worth while to mention it also. It is that of budding any convenient branch of a brier, either in a hedge or elsewhere, and, when the bud has taken, cutting off the branch, and planting it with the bud on, like any ordinary rose-cutting. In this way, shapely plants, especially suited for pots, may be obtained; and the plan is very useful if you happen not to have sufficient stocks ready for your buds. I now seldom bud a stock without inserting some additional buds higher up on the branches, which I can afterwards cut off, and plant as cuttings. — Amateur, in English Journal of Horticulture.
Lilacs In Pots. — After the leaves have fallen, choose the most dwarf and best furnished plants having a number of flower-buds, which may be distinguished by their being larger and more prominent than the wood-buds. Take the plants up with good balls of earth, and place them in pots of sufficient size to contain them, but not larger than is necessary to admit a tolerable ball. A pot twelve or fifteen inches in diameter will, in most cases, be sufficient. The pots should be efficiently drained; and the soil may be any moderately light, rich loam. After potting, give a good watering, and plunge the pots in coal-ashes in a warm, sheltered situation. The plants may be placed in the greenhouse shorily after Christmas ; and, if well exposed to the light, they will flower in due season: but, if wanted to bloom early, they may, in the middle of November, be placed for a fortnight in a house with a temperature of from 45° to 50°, and then transfer them to a heat of 55°. If sprinkled overhead morning and evening, and properly supplied with water, they will come into fine bloom in about six weeks.
Pelargonium And Geranium. — The genus Geranium has been divided into three genera,—geranium, pelargonium, and erodium; but geranium is such an old-established name, that every one is liable to apply it indiscriminately to geraniums and pelargoniums. They all belong to the natural order Geraniaceae. Pelargonium is characterized by having usually seven stamens, and unequal-sized petals; geranium having ten stamens, and equal-sized petals; and erodium having five fertile anthers usually.
Raphanus Caudatus, Or Long-tailed Radish. — It is a native of Java, and is much used in some parts of India in salads; and, being perfectly hardy here, it is likely, I think, to prove very useful. It appears to be one of the radish tribe ; but, unlike that esculent, the seed-pods, not the root, are eaten: these are very curious, attaining an immense size in a wonderfully short space of time, sometimes growing five or six inches in twenty-four hours. The pods are usually from two to three feet long when full grown,—some being straight, others curled into the most fantastic shapes. They are of a most agreeable flavor, and, when half grown, can be eaten in the same way as a radish; which root they greatly resemble in taste, though their flavor is more delicate. It is, however, when the long pods are boiled that they are most delicious, tasting then much like asparagus, with a slight green-pea flavor. They should be served on toast, and will form a most agreeable addition and novelty for the table.
The plant is easily cultivated. The seed should be sown in slight heat about the middle of May, and the young plants, when fairly up, planted out in the open air in good rich soil. No further attention is needed, except to keep the soil well watered in dry weather, and to keep the ground clear of weeds. In two months from the time of sowing, the plants will begin to produce most freely their long pods, which must be gathered young, i.e. half grown, if required for eating raw or for salad. For boiling and pickling, they should be suffered to attain their natural size.
It is called Mougri in Java; and the specific name, "tailed," refers to an appendage of the pods.
Roses, Raising From Seed. — Take some pots or pans about nine inches in depth, drain them well, and fill to within three-quarters of an inch of the rim with rich sandy loam two-thirds, adding one-third of sandy fibry peat. The hips should be broken, and distributed over the surface from half an inch to an inch apart, and covered with half an inch of soil. The pots or pans may be placed in a warm, open situation in the open ground, plunged to the rim in coal-ashes. Water should likewise be given in dry weather. Some of the plants will, in all probability, make their appearance in May, if the seeds are sown in March ; but very often the seed does not germinate until the following spring. When the plants have made three or four rough leaves in addition to the seed-leaves, take them up carefully with the haft of a budding-knife or some such implement, pot them singly in small pots, and place in a cold frame for a few days, or in a shady situation. In three weeks or a month, they may be planted out in good rich soil; and by August they will have grown strong, some of them of sufficient strength