PREPARATION OF SOIL*
After the frost goes out test the ground by
squeezing a handful of it. If it crumbles the soil is ready for spading. If
it packs into a mud ball, the ground is still too wet and should not be
Spade deeply, 8 to 15 inches, unless this latter depth
turns up poor soil and buries the richer soil of the top. Pulverize the dirt
deeply with hoe, spade and rake, breaking all clods on the surface. If a
lawn roller is available it is useful for crushing clods. All vegetable
growth on the surface, such as grass or weeds, should be turned under, to
rot and enrich the soil. This is especially important with ground that has
had a growth of turf.
Fig. 4––Wheel hoe and hand cultivator, to be had with
attachments such as plow, cultivator, teeth, shovels and rake. A simple form
may be made at home.
SELECTION OF CROPS
The home garden campaign for 1919 should be
planned with a view to the production of the largest possible amount of food
with the smallest possible outlay of seed and fertilizer. Authorities agree
that the seed shortage is the worst the country has ever seen. The supply of
fertilizers and natural manures is far below the normal. The demand for
these materials is exceedingly great and war-time efficiency make it vital
that war-time conservation be practised in the use of them. To this end
gardens should be devoted as far as possible to those crops which are most
useful for food and in which the chances of failure are least to be feared.
In the selection of vegetables for the home garden
preference should be given to the staple crops such as potatoes, beans,
tomatoes, corn, onions, and cabbage. Crops of next importance, such as peas,
carrots, parsnips, beets, squash, greens, turnips, cauliflower, radishes and
celery, should be grown if space in the garden permits.
Cauliflower, muskmelons, watermelons, onions
from seed, asparagus and cucumbers are some of the plants that are most
difficult to raise and these are not recommended to the amateur gardener.
Soils vary so much that serious attention should be
given to the crops suited to the individual garden. This is a local
question. Consult your local war garden committee's experts as to the best
crops fro your particular soil. Expert advice will prevent mistakes.
In many communities, last year witnessed an
over-production of some vegetables that had to be used during the growing
season. Many gardeners had larger crops of these than they could possibly
use. Much waste resulted. To prevent this loss in seed, fertilizer, garden
space, labor and foodstuffs every gardener should give especial attention to
the selection of crops. Plant sparingly of those things which must be used
as they mature and plant liberally of those things which may be saved for
winter use by canning, drying or storing.
Fig. 6––Use an envelope for sowing seed. The picture shows
seed already sown in some of the rows.
PROCURE SEED EARLY
Seed shortage was a handicap to many gardeners
last year. In 1919 the planting of gardens will be increased and the demand
for seed even greater than in 1918. It is important, therefore, that the
home gardener wsho9uld procure his supply of seed early––well in advance of
planting time. Be sure to patronize a reliable dealer, as quality is vital.
Use Seed Sparingly
Home gardeners often plant seed thickly to make
sure of a good stand. This is a wasteful method, excepting with such
vegetables as will produce young plants which may be used as greens. The
better way is to plant according to the directions given in the planting
The pronounced seed shortage this year makes it
imperative that no seed be wasted.
A simple test will give useful advance
information of the germinating value of seed. This test is useful as
enabling the gardener to determine whether or not seed have been properly
cured and are otherwise in good condition. Seed which are too old or have
been kept under unfavorable conditions are unsatisfactory.
Fig. 5––Simple seed test, using plates and moist blotting
paper or cloth. This is extremely useful.