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The Florida agriculturist. [volume] (DeLand, Fla.) 1878-1911, March 01, 1909, Image 14

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn96027724/1909-03-01/ed-1/seq-14/

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FRENCH GARDENING
Practical Methods for Amateur Gardening* Showing How
Large Sums Are Realized by Close Culture
By Catherine Mahon *
[ln the mild climate ol Florida much of the
instruction contained in this article are not
hecessar.y but our cultivators may well con
sider the great profits that may be secured by
intensive methods. To our Northern readers
the paper should be invaluable.]
French gardening has come to stay
>vith us, so a few simply written instruc
tions containing information to help the
would-be gardener on French lines, will
no doubt be welcome. First and fore
most let me tell you that a‘very large
French garden is a mistake. So much
care and attention are required that a
large one would not be a success, there
fore these instructions are meant to help
the owners of small gardens and those
having charge of small market gardens.
The main object is to have vegetables
plentifully at out of the way times. Sup
posing the amateur gardener has one or
two glass lights only, and that he wishes
to have some succulent lettuce, radishes,
etc., during the winter. In September
he will order in one load of fresh horse
manure, and he will make this into a
small heap, leaving it until all the rank
steam has evaporated. A fortnight be
fore he wishes to make his French gar
den, that is, about the month of De
cember, he will get another load of fresh
manure in, and will leave it in a heap
for a fortnight until some of the rank
steam escapes.
After this, early in January, he will
mix the load which he had in Septem
ber half and half with the new which
he has just had in. This will give him
two loads of manure in all. He will then
spread this to a depth of 18 inches in the
particular corner of the garden in which
he wishes to make his first attempt at
French gardening. It must be made on
the side of the garden which faces
directly south, or southwest, and where
there will be no trees or fence to over
shadow it.
The secret of a successful French gar
den, however small, is without doubt the
use of compartively large quantities of
horse manure year after year. The re
sult of such an accumulation for ten
years produces a rich black soil which is
entirely composed of decomposed ma
nure, and in this time it will be not less
than 1% feet in thickness. Every bit of
this soil, even in the smallest French
garden, must be religiously kept, as it is
the most fertile soil that lettuces and
early salads can be grown in, even when
grown without any glass lights. Sup
posing the beginner has two glass lights,
made each about four feet square (the
French size), or even if he has two of
the old-fashioned English lights, six feet
by four feet, he can utilize them for his
purpose, but in making his bed he must
not make the mistake of thinking that
high and sloping boxes which are usually
made for the English and American
frames will be of any use for French
gardening.
They must not have the sharp tilt
which these old-fashioned frames have.
They must have only one inch gradient
THE FLORIDA AGRlCtlLTtlttlST.
from back to front.
It would be much better, instead of
ultilizing the old boxes, to get one-inch
boards, 12 feet long and 10 inches wide,
and cut them up to the required lengths
and make new boxes or sides for his
glass lights.
It really does not matter how roughly
these sides are made, and they do not
require to be painted. Each box should
have in each corner a square piece of
quartering about four inches square, to
which to nail the sides so that they are
quite firm.
When the amateur gardener has finish
ed his frame, or adapted his old frame,
as already directed, he will spread his
manure over the ground to a depth of
18 inches. On this he will place his
frame, and will then fill with 6 inches
of rich sifted light soil, leaving a space
of about 4 inches between the top of
the soil and the glass. Over this, in the
first week of January, he will sow very
thinly some early French breakfast rad
ish. It must be the short leaved forcing
variety, otherwise the leaves will get
drawn. At the same time he will sow
some very early carrots, also very thin
ly, and will cover the seed with about
half an inch of very fine soil.
After he has finished doing this he will
plant some strong little cabbage lettuce
plants out in the frame, planting 30
plants to each glass light of the French
size, and 45 of the English or American
size. Then if he likes, he can spend some
more money in buying six to twelve
cloches, which he will put on the end
of the bed he has made. The size of
the cloches which are required for this
purpose are 18 inches in diameter, and
they cost in England fifty cents each.
He must sow the lettuce seed as early in
October as possible. He will make a
small bed in one corner of his garden,
the sunniest, raking the soil nice and
smooth but not using any manure, and
on this he will put his cloches or bell
glasses. He must press them down so
that the rims leave an impression on the
soil, and in the circles impressed he will
sow very thinly lettuce seed, both Cos
and Cabbage, and cover with a little
very fine soil and put on the cloches.
Tn four or five days the seeds will begin
to appear, and as soon as they get their
rough leaf, eight or ten days after, trans
plant them out under one, two or more
cloches according to the quantity of
plants wanted. The plants must on no
account be left to get drawn. If he has
the French size of frame, he will only
want 30 plants for each frame but if he
has the English or American style, he
will want about 45 to each, and there
fore, he will want two cloches with 25
Mtuces pricked out under each, and
these should be left to grow under the
cloches until they are wanted to plant
out in January in the frames, when they
wOl be hardy, sturdy little plants the
size of a silver dollar.
The same precisely must be done with
the cos lettuce as with the cabbage, but
25 would be as many as he would re
quire of the latter. If he has a cloche,
or even half a cloche,, filled with th£
small plarits it would be ample, as he
will only be able to plant one under
each cloche, and one close to the cloche
in the open, so that when the one under
the cloche is cut, he will be able to put
the cloche over the other. He must also
plant four cabbage lettuces under each
cloche, the cos being planted in the
middle.
Lettuce, as all growers are aware, re
quire rich ground to grow in, and also
plenty cf water, a fact the French peo
ple have understood for years. With
one frame and six cloches, anyone with
a very tiny garden will be able to experi
ment and succeed with French Garderl
ing in a small w r ay, and will have the
pleasure of being able to ctit iettufieSj
and pull radishes Out of their dwii ghiS
den m March.
English people owe a deep debt of grat
itude to Mr. Charles D. McKay, F. It.
H. S. London, who introduced the system
of French Gardening into England and
who, after great trouble and expense,
discovered the botanical secrets so long
hidden by the Paris market gardeners.
Although it is only three years since Mr.
McKay got the first practical trial made
in England, authentic accounts h ave
appeared in the London papers from time
to time, showing how last year, from
$2,500 to $4,000 were made off one
acre of land by the French method of
close cultivation. Even the first year
showed splendid results.
It is interesting to know that the
reformatory schools in England are
using the system for purposes of in
struction, and some of the county coun
cils are following their lead. Even the
cottagers in many villages are experi
menting with a frame or two and some
bell glasses.
The Egyptian Cotton Crop.
The general conditions and prospects
of the Egyptian cotton crop for this year
are reported by the Alexandria General
Produce Association as follows:
“In general, the weather in October
was cool and unfavorable to cotton, and
a little more warmth was only reported
in the latter half of the month. This
caused delay in the normal development
of the plant and in the opening of some
of the bolls of the second picking, which
is taking place in general even later than
was thought probable. Both the first and
the second pickings seemed below the
estimates that were hoped for. The con
ditions for the third picking are poor, and
unless the heat continues the result will
probably be indifferent. Ginning outturn
is also very irregular, varying from 1 to
2 pei cent below up to 1 to 2 per cent
above last year. This month’s reports
from Upper Egypt are worse than last
month’s, as the fogs and dews seem to
have caused fresh damage, and our cor
i espondents are unanimous in making a
considerable decrease on their former es
timates. Taking all the reports into con
sideration, the crop seems to be consid
erably below last year’s, and we estimate
our present crop at 6,250,000 to 6,500,000
cantars.”
A cantar is equivalent to 99.05 pounds*

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