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Destroy all plants which are diseased. The
compost pile should be built up in alternate layers of vegetable refuse a
foot thick and earth an inch or more thick. The earth helps to rot the
vegetable matter when mixed with it. The top of the pile should be left flat
that the rain may enter and help in the process of decay.
If the pile can be forked over once a month when not
frozen and the contents well mixed together, they will decay quite rapidly
and be in good usable condition in the spring. The compost may be either
spread over hte garden and plowed under or it may be scattered in the rows
before the seed are sown. This is, of course, not as rich as stable manure,
but it is a good substitute.
Compost is also used as a top dressing during the
growing season for hastening growth.
In the cities and towns tons of leaves are burned every
fall. This is a loss which ought to be prevented. These leaves properly
composted with other vegetable waste and earth would be worth hundreds of
dollars to the gardens next spring.
In planning a permanent garden, a space should be
reserved near the hotbed or seed bed, and in this space should be piled, as
soon as pulled, all plants which are free from diseases and insects. This
applies to all vegetables and especially to peas and beans, as these belong
to a group of plants which take nitrogen from the air, during growth, and
and store it in their roots. When these plants are decayed they will return
to the soil not only much of the plant food taken from it during their
growth but additional nitrogen as well. Nitrogen in the soil is necessary
for satisfactory leaf growth. The material so composted should be allowed to
decay throughout the winter, and when needed should be used according to the
instructions given for using compost. The sweepings of pigeon lofts or
chicken coops make valuable fertilizer. When cleaning roosts from day to day
add 1/4 as much acid phosphate as sweepings. When needed apply 1 pound of
this mixture to every 5 square feet of ground, mixing it thoroughly into the
Prepared sheep manure, where
procurable at a reasonable price, is possibly the safest concentrated
fertilizer. It should be used in small quantities rather than spread
broadcast. Scatter it along the row before seed is sown or apply by mixing
it with water in a pail, stirring the mixture to the consistency of thin
mush, and pouring it along the rows of the plants.
Green manure is useful as a fertilizer. It
consists of green plants turned under by plowing or spading. Rye is the most
satisfactory for this purpose. If planted in July or August the crop may be
turned under in the fall if early spring planting is desired. If planted
later, it is usually turned under in the spring. When not turned under until
spring, the growth will prevent the leaching of soluble plant food or the
washing away of rich soil.
In sowing rye for this purpose, use at the rate of 1
pound of seed to a strip of ground 50 feet long and 10 feet wide. If the
ground is rough or hard it should be cultivated just before the seed is
sown, and then cultivated again to cover the seed. Sow the seed between the
rows of crops not yet gathered. Rye is very hardy and will sprout even
though there is frost nearly every night. At a cost of about 5 cents for a
pound of seed a garden of 10 by 50 feet can thus be treated to an
application of green manure. The green rye plants soon decay when turned
under and answer the same purpose as a light dressing of manure.
Green manure, however, should not be relied upon to do
the work of stable manure, as it does not provide phosphorus or potassium.
Land which has long been unused, or land in
lawns, is apt to be sour. To remedy this condition apply evenly 1 pound of
air-slaked lime or 2 pounds of ground limestone to every 30 square feet. The
lime should be applied and raked in to a depth of 2 inches when the seed bed
is being prepared in the spring. Instead of lime 2 pounds of unleached wood
ashes may be used. Do not apply lime at the same time as manure or mixed
fertilizers, as it will cause loss of nitrogen.
As an addition to soil lime is of considerable value.
Besides correcting acidity it changes the physical structure of the sol.
One of the elements of lime is calcium, which is required for plant growth.
Fig. 3––Tools most commonly needed in a small
garden. From left to right, between the balls of cord, they are: Trowel,
weeder, spade, steel toothed rake, hoe, garden fork, watering pot and