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deserving of every attention; and it is hoped that the Farmer will not consider that he is unprofitably employed, if he devotes some time and some pains to impress what is hereinafter stated upon the attention of his people.
Under the general heading of “ Domestic Arrangements,” are included observations on The Garden, On Health, Food, Clothing, Dwellings, Provident Habits, Marriage, and Children: each and all are subjects of great importance, and The Garden is placed first, because we consider it in truth as second to none in its influence upon the condition of the labouring man. The possession of a quarter of an acre of gardenground may, and often will, make to the labourer and to his family the difference between want and sufficiency, between privation and comfort, between a contented mind and a cheerful fulfilment of the duties of his station, and a mind soured, hardened, and dissatisfied, prepared to yield to vicious promptings, and to rush recklessly into breaches of the law.
The garden need not be large ; about a quarter of an acre will perhaps be generally sufficient for the labourer's purposes ; but at any rate it should not be of an extent calculated to interfere with other occupations, nor to occupy time which ought to be devoted to daily labour. It is to be hoped that the time is not distant, when every labouring man, whether Agriculturist or Artizan, will have the benefit of a garden of this description, than which, we are persuaded, nothing can more conduce to the comfort and well-doing of himself and his family, and to the peace and security of the community, of whom the labouring classes form so important a portion.
A productive garden is not only a luxury and source of enjoyment to the rich, but it is also a constant source of amusement, and supplies many of the wants of the poor. No labouring man, whether agriculturist or mechanic, is so unceasingly occupied, that he cannot spare half an hour each day for his garden; and no one confined to in-door employment, ought to be without the exercise and the exertion required for keeping a small garden in good order. His wife and children will be benefited by the light labour of a garden, and the artizan will, by such occasional change from his ordinary employment, secure more constant and vigorous health. The sowing and the planting of his vegetables, the blossoming of his trees, and the gathering of his fruits and flowers, will all afford interest and gratification. It is an amusement to be coveted beyond all others, and leads to nothing but good, to nothing sensual or vicious. It cannot give rise to bad habits, but, on the contrary, will serve to protect a man from the allurements of dissipation and vicious indulgence.
A garden is, in fact, essential to the health and comfort and well-being of the mechanic and the labourer, and a garden may also be said to be essential to the comfort and enjoyment of the farmer of every class.
In the case of the day-labourer, what can be so delightful as half an hour spent in his garden, with his wife and children around him, after his daily toil?The change from laborious exertion, to the lightest of all out-door occupations, must be to him a relief.
To the farmer, how many broken hours will pass unemployed, and without enjoyment, if he has not a garden in which to occupy his time, and in which he may occasionally try experiments on a small scale, or verify the experiments of others, before carrying them into practice on his farm.
Children are frequently led into mischief, in the absence of other means of occupying themselves. How different would it be, if they were taught to turn their attention to the neatness and productiveness of a garden?—They would then be anxious to show their parents, how usefully they could be employed : and what an instructive lesson would it be for them, to find the luxury of flowers and fruit rewarding, in due season, their care and industry ?-How delightful to see them advising and assisting each other to obtain such an
object ?-How peaceful and innocent is such an amusement, and what a contrast does it present to rudeness, quarrelling, and fighting, or idling away their hours in riotous games ?
In selecting the situation of the garden, the soil is of secondary importance, for in this respect it will improve every year, by trenching, draining, manuring, and by bringing good earth to the favourite spot: indeed, some persons choose the poorest soil for the garden, in order to show their skill and perseverance in its improvement, to which nothing more contributes than trenching the ground deep, and throwing it up into rough ridges, for the frost to act upon during the winter, and the sun in summer.
The garden ought, however, to have a southern aspect if possible, and it is desirable that it should be within sight of your house. Devote a border to flowers ; and if the garden is of sufficient size, you may have cherry and plum trees nearest the house, summer pears and apples next, and the winter and baking sorts farthest off. Cherries and plums are best kept from birds near the house; and summer fruits when in sight, are in less danger from pilferers, than the winter sorts. Gooseberries, currants, and strawberries will grow between the standard trees, or around the plots of vegetables. If you can bring a small stream of water into the garden, it will be a great convenience for watering, in dry weather; or the well for household use may be situated there. The garden should be fenced in with a stone wall, or a good quickset hedge, to protect it from intruders, which may else break in and do more mischief in half an hour, than can be repaired in months.
If the garden is of good size, and properly attended to, it will afford apples, pears, plums, cherries, gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, and currants, as well as abundance of vegetables for the use of your family, and something also occasionally for your pigs and poultry. In apples and pears, choose those sorts which usually thrive well in the neighbourhood. This is the best rule, for different sorts do best in different soils and situations. In plums, the common Orleans, Damson, and Wellington, are to be preferred. In cherries, the Mayduke, and Morello. People often go to the nurseryman for new sorts of apples, &c., and get bad or unsuitable kinds; whereas it would be better for them to obtain cuttings of suitable sorts for grafts, from the neighbouring orchards or gardens.
Thin out the centre shoots and branches of the fruittrees, and of the currant and gooseberry bushes, that the fruit may be exposed to the sun and air, and it will then be larger and better flavoured. Keep your trees low and spreading, so as to avoid loss of fruit by shaking from high winds; and in gathering the fruit, be careful not to break the branches, or injure the trees. It is a sure sign of carelessness, to see the apple and cherry trees with their top branches broken and torn away.
Attend to the currant and gooseberry bushes as soon as they are in full leaf, and let every caterpillar be picked off. Each bush should be examined twice a week at that time (generally about the middle of June), which will occupy a little boy or girl two or three hours, and you will thereby ensure the protection of your trees: but if neglected at first, the caterpillars will spread, the fruit will be destroyed, and the trees will be much injured. A bunch of common broom stuck in the centre of each bush, will often serve as a protection from caterpillars; but the most certain protection is to pick them off.
Plant the raspberries in rows along the walks, and either tie the heads of the adjoining stems together, so that every two may form a kind of arch; or else tie three or four of the stems to a stake, stuck firmly into the ground, first cutting off the heads of the stems at the height of three to four feet.
One of the most useful vegetables is the early potato; and after taking these up, you may plant cabbages or cauliflowers, which are always valuable as a garden produce. The chief enemies to the cabbage are snails and slugs, and in some situations a white worm at the root. As a preventive for each of these, and at the same time a serviceable manure, water
the soil frequently with strong lime water. Lay a few cabbage leaves on the ground before dusk, as snail and slug traps, and visit them in the morning before it is broad daylight, when you will find them covered with these destructive vermin, which may thus be readily destroyed. A few tiles, or hollow flattish stones, may also be laid about, and lifted in the day-time, and the slugs found under them destroyed. Without such precautions, a whole planting of cabbages or cauliflowers may be lost in a few nights.—For general instructions as to sowing and planting, see page 111.
To raise turnip or cabbage seed, choose a few fine plants, and place them by themselves, out of the reach of other blossoms, to prevent the different kinds getting mixed, which is very apt to happen, unless carfully guarded against.
Onions, are a very useful vegetable. They may be sown on the same ground for a number of years in succession, by preparing it for the purpose, and adding such soils as will constitute a dryish loam. Stimulating manures, such as soot, pig and pigeon dung, lime, &c., are all good for onions, when used with discretion. The best sorts to cultivate are the blood-red and Strasburgh; and they succeed best when sown mixed. Dig the ground well, working it very fine, and sow the seed about the latter end of March, or the first week in April.
Leeks, are also a useful vegetable in a cottager's family; they are hardy and productive, and are managed much in the same way as onions.
Carrots, are very valuable, and grow well in any kind of soil, provided it is dry and deep. The seed should be sown early in April. A little seed mixed with onions, is not a bad practice in a small garden; for if the latter fail you are certain of largesized carrots, and if the onions turn out well, the carrots may be either weeded out, or drawn and eaten