Friday, April 11, 2014

Gardening In April

From The Kitchen and Fruit Gardener 1847


This is the month in which most seeds are sown, and garden operations performed in the climate of Philadelphia. The weather has usually become, by the first fortnight in April, comparatively settled; severe frost may no longer be expected; therefore, if the earth be sufficiently dry, and the weather mild, the various branches of cropping should be attended to with diligence. No time should be lost in committing to the soil the requisite seeds and roots of plants.

In light dry soils, it will be an advantage to sow and plant early, whereby the plants will gain sufficient strength to resist the droughts of summer, but in such as are cold, wet, and late, the state of the weather must determine the time of sowing. It is always better to wait until the ground be in a fit state to receive the seed, than to sow too early, as many of the less hardy seeds will not vegetate freely, indeed, scarcely at all, if sown at this early period of the year, when the ground is wet. Rough dig all ground not immediately required.

The gravel walks should now be put in order for the season.

Plant beans of any kind, for all sorts succeed well from this time of planting. Now plant full supplies of the best sorts for principal crops. The Windsor and long podded beans may still be planted, if not previously done.

Sow marrowfat or other late peas, once a fortnight, or three weeks at farthest, particularly some dwarf green imperial marrowfats. All the sorts should now be sown in open situations, not under low spreading trees. Cover the peas that are a little above ground to within an inch of their whole height with light mould. If the weather be dry, give a little water to settle the mould about them; if frosty, protect them for a few nights with branches, or any other slight covering.

Remove the cauliflower plants which have been in frames, or in warm borders, during the winter. Raise some earth to the stems of the plants, which are under bell or hand glasses: it will strengthen them, and assist their growth.

The glasses may still be kept over the plants, but must be continually raised at least a hand's breadth high, or in fine days, the glasses may be taken off, and let the plants have the benefit of warm showers of rain.

The New Zealand spinach should be sown in a slight hot bed; it will spread, and afford an abundant supply.

It will be early enough, towards the middle or the end of the month, to sow broccoli; for if sown earlier, the plants are apt to start or button. The "purple cape" succeeds best in this climate.

Both red and white celery seed should be sown. If the seed be sown in rich vegetable mould, and kept rather moist, it will thrive the better. Water the bed frequently in dry weather.

Drumhead, Flat Dutch, and Savoy Cabbage seed, for the principal winter crop, should be sown about the middle or towards the latter end of the month, in an open situation.

Transplant cabbage plants of all kinds into the places where they are to remain to cabbage. It may be done the beginning or middle of this month, but if the plants be strong, the sooner it is now done, the better. Sow the seeds of cabbages of any kind for autumn and winter use. Red cabbage seed should also be sown towards the latter end of this month, to raise some plants for winter use.

Sow radishes, both the earlier sorts and the yellow turnip rooted, for a succession.

Continue to protect mushroom beds from frost and rain, either of which would destroy the spawn.

Onions should be sown for a general crop.

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