THE gardener this year is working between two pressing needs; he must make every square foot of his ground produce to the limit, and as seed is scarce he must observe the strictest economy in that. This doesn’t mean that he can afford to take any risks with old seed, though no old seed must be wasted. The Department of Horticulture of Macdonald College warns us that the supply of sweet corn, beet, carrot and onion seed is limited and many late orders will go unfilled. The gardener who has any seed left over from previous years will do well to put it to a germinating test at once as the use of old seed which has been tested and found good may mean that someone else may not go short. Parsnip seed is good for only one year; carrot and celery usually one to two years, but tomato, turnip, cucumber and beet seed should be fairly good for five or six years provided they have not been kept in an extremely dry or very damp place. In buying new seed our best safeguard is to choose a reputable seedsman and pay a fair price and to choose standard varieties or those which have done well with us before—and to order early that we may not be disappointed. It is batter economy for the home gardener who requires comparatively few plants to buy his cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, celery
and egg plants unless he has good facilities of his own for getting them started very early under glass.
When it comes to compiling the list by all means take the women into the conference that provision may be made foi stocking the larder with canned or stored vegetables against the certainty of meatless days next winter.
So much has been said of the waste in many war gardens last year on account of the large amount of lettuce and cress and radishes and other short season crops planted and allowed to go to seed that we are in danger now of going to the other extreme and omitting the greens and salad plants from our gardens almost entirely, and giving the space to storable and “canable” things. This would be rather a serious mistake, as the salad plants and greens, including lettuce, spinach, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and seasoning herbs, while they have little actual nutritive value, contain mineral salts absolutely essential to health and not found in any of our other foods. By adding to these succulent, or flavor, or medicinal plants, call them what you like, such other seasoning herbs as sage, thyme, summer savory and the wholesome onion which is not sufficiently appreciated in our dietaries, we can flavor our stews and soups, dressings
and dishes of more tasteless foods until | meatless days lose their boredom.
When we speak of the more nutritive vegetables, the roots, potatoes, parsnips, beets, carrots, the legumes beans and peas, and the seed plants like corn, we are considering that we have more room than j would be found in the average home gar1 den. Practically every consumer, it is hoped, will have a home garden this year, but in addition most families will have a war-plot large enough to supply themselves with vegetables for the whole year, and the larger proportion of these vege! tables should be the kinds that will help to take the place of the foods we want to save for export.
We might well grow more parsnips and salsify or vegetable oysters. Parsnips are not far behind potatoes in point of nutriment and they are an almost sure crop. The reason that many people believe they do not like parsnips is largely because we do not practise enough appetizing ways of cooking them: parsnips plain boiled are not in the same class as parsnips creamed, or parsnips cooked and mashed, pressed into cakes and fried. The vegetable oyster, too, has a high nutritive value and is a pretty fair rival of the oyster for flavor.
Sweet corn should be sown both for use throughout the whole season and for canning. There should be at least two varieties, an early and a late sort, or several sowings of the Golden Bantam will keep up the supply very well. A very early kind is Peep-o’-day, and two of the most reliable late varieties are Country Gentleman and Stowell’s Evergreen. With peas we must practise several sowings or there will be no surplus for canning and drying after they have satisfied our table use. A good succession is Surprise, Thomas Laxton and Dwarf Telephone. Alaska and Thomas Laxton are good varieties for canning.
A bean specialist has said that beangrowing is a gamble, so many conditions over which we have no control have a hand in it, but because the bean is the best of our vegetable substitutes for meat it is worth taking some ventures with. The string or snap beans are of two kinds, yellow pod and green pod and both have pole or climbing varieties. For small gardens the dwarf or bush kinds are perhaps the most useful, but the green-pod string beans are very bountiful in their yield, very meaty and excellent for canning. Kentucky Wonder and Old Homestead are favorite varieties. Of lima beans it is well to plant both pole and dwarf varieties, King of the Garden being good in the former class and Early Valentine, Buprees’ Stringless, Green-pod or Golden Wax in the latter. For drying for winter use the Navy, red and white Kidney Beans, black beans and green Fiagelot.
There are two distinct types of squashes worthy of our consideration, summer and winter squashes. The summer varieties will make a crop in the shade of a cornfield, while the winter varieties want the ground to themselves and suffer severely from extreme heat and drought. One winter variety and one summer variety should be enough—for the winter squash either the green or golden Hubbard, and for summer the' Early White Bush.
Ú Probably the variety of beets grown more for canning than any other is Detroit Dark Red ; however, Crosby Improved Egyptian and Edmand’s Blood Turnip are good sorts for this purpose. Just as in the case of bean seed, there is a
variation in the beet seed from different seedsmen for some given special attention to the improvement of this crop. In buying seed, growers should take advantage of this work in seed selection. Owing to the fact that most persons wish to do all their canning at one time, it is sometimes advisable not to plant beets until late in the spring. They may, however, be planted any time from May to August. They are ready for use from sixty to eighty-five days after planting, and the date of planting should be governed, therefore, by the time one desires to can the beets.
Spinach is one of the most important crops to grow for greens. For spinach, rich, sandy loams are satisfactory for the early spring crop, and muck soils after being subdued ar-e especially adapted to the early summer or fall crop. Poor soils that dry out can be improved by applications of humus-making material. As this crop is relatively hardy, it can be grown where the temperature falls rather low in the spring. This plant will not grow on a soil that is in a highly acid condition. It is, therefore, very important that lime should be used. Soil for spinach should be plowed deep, harrowed and smoothed until the topsoil to the depth of four inches is in very fine condition and level on the surface. The more thorough the preparation is the better will be the crop.
Crops preceding spinach should be kept free of weeds. Good rotations are spinach followed by late celery the same year, onions and spinach ; or spinach and tomatoes; or peas and spinach. On soils other than muck, manure or clover should play an important part in the rotation, on account of the humus that is derived from them. Some of the best varieties of spinach are Victoria, Long Standing, Giant Thick Leaf, and Savoy Leaf. The seed of spinach is so cheap that very little attention has been given to producing high quality strains.
It is impossible to tell just how much seed will be required by each gardener, but the following table will serve as a general guide. The amount of seed in each case is sufficient to plant a row one hundred feet long.
String beans .....1 pt
Lima beans .....14 pt
Cabbage .........14 oz
Carrot ...........1 oz
Cauliflower ......1 pkt
Celery ..........1 pkt
Squash ..........% oz
Beets ............2 oz
Sweet corn........1 pt
Lettuce .........14 oz
Cucumber .......% oz
Kale or chard.... 14 oz.
Parsley .........1 pkt.
Parsnip .........14 oz.
Salsify ...........1 oz.
Onion sets .......1 qt.
Onion seed........1 oz.
Radish ...........1 oz.
Peas ..........114 Pts.
Spinach ..........1 oz.
Turnip ..........14 oz.
Tomato .........% oz.
The new gardener may be somewhat at a loss to adapt different kinds of vegetables to different soils, or to know what vegetables require especially well-fertilized soil. Among the vegetables that do well on new soil are beans, beets, cabbage, corn, cucumbers, peas, pumpkins, radish, spinach, squash, tomatoes and turnips. Some that require especially well prepared and fertile soil are lima beans, carrots, celery, lettuce, onions, parsnips, salsify and potatoes.
An average maple tree will produce five pounds of sugar in a season. If 200.000 farmers in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces would each tap one hundred trees, Canada would have enough sugar to last three months and the erop would be worth approximately $15,000,000.
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