Category Archives: Home & Garden


Most people who know little about bees assume that hives have to be kept in the country where there is plenty of open space and much vegetation. While such settings are ideal, bees can be kept in much less likely places as well. Suburban backyards are usually fine (provided local laws permit and neighbors don’t mind), and even some protected small-city rooftops can be suitable for a few beehives.

If you’re interested in learning more about the how-to’s of beekeeping, here’s a short course, but it is suggested that you follow up the subject by pursuing some outside sources.

Cultures as well as many books on the subject offer beginners sound information and advice. There are on-campus and correspondence courses at most state universities, and meeting of local and state beekeepers are good places for beginners to learn some tips. Don’t neglect to visit—and learn from—experienced beekeepers in your own community.

To get started you’ll need some basic equipment, namely, a hive consisting of one or more standard (deep) boxes or supers and possibly one or more shallow supers. Each super holds ten frames, and inside each frame a thin sheet of beeswax, called foundation, on which bees build their comb. You’ll also want to buy a bottom board on which the hive stands and an inner and outer cover. Smokers to calm the bees, a hive tool to pry open the hives and separate the frames, gloves, and a hat to complete the basic equipment.

Other equipment includes bee escapes, which permit bees to exit, but not reenter supers of honey where they are not wanted; a queen excluder, which prevents queens but not worker bees from going from one super to another; a wiring board, used to embed wire in sheets of foundation to give them support; feeders that are used to feed bees honey or syrup when their own supplies run out; an extractor to remove honey from the combs; and a capping knife to slice the top layer of beeswax from the comb and release the honey.

Of course, you’ll also need bees. You can get yours by catching a swarm of wild bees or by buying packaged bees through bee supply houses. For the beginner, packaged bees are easier and safer to handle. They usually come in a three, four, five, or six-pound package that will, in a short time, grow into a bursting, energetic 85,000 bee colony. Packages arrive with a queen inside in her own apartment, and since you must transfer them at once, you need to have ready a large, empty hive in advance. Bees should be ordered in late winter so that they will arrive in early spring and have time to get established before the major honey flow begins in late June or early July.

Although there are many races of bees, the three most popular among American bee-keepers are Italian, Caucasian and Carniola bees. Italian bees are generally recommended for the beginner because they are relatively easy to work and produce good amounts of honey. They don’t produce a great amount of propolis, which can glue up the inside of hives, and seem to withstand cold well. Italians are also relatively resistant to European foulbrood, an infectious disease of bees.

You must decide on whether you want to make section (comb) honey, or extracted honey. If you choose the latter, you will need an extractor and a few additional items of equipment. Extracted honey has many advantages over comb honey. It is easier to store; easier to use in cooking; there is no wax when you eat it; and you reuse the combs in which the bees store honey as only the caps are cutoff and the honey is expelled by the centrifugal force of the extractor.

Guide to Beekeeping

Here is a method of beekeeping that is especially suitable for the small diversified enterprise that may well include gardening, fruit growing, poultry, or any other line of endeavor now practiced by millions of homeowners on relatively small holdings.

The secret is to make two standard full-depth hive bodies the home of the bees the year around. Package bees are first hived in a single full-depth body; as soon as they fill it, the second is added. Two full-depth bodies give the bees abundant room, allow them to store honey enough for their own use so that feeding should never be necessary and help prevent swarming (when a queen leaves the hive with a band of workers to start a new colony). All the complicated manipulation described in some methods is done away with. The beginner may open his hives and study his bees if he wishes, or they will do very well with no more attention than is advised in the description of seasonal operation.

Bees should be checked at midday when it is warm and the sun is bright. At this time there is good flight to and from the colony, most bees are foraging and the beekeeper will find it easier to inspect the colonies.

Light-colored, smooth-finished materials should be worn when inspecting the colonies. Rough materials irritate bees, causing them to sting more readily. The face and ankles most attract bees. A good veil and boots will protect the beekeeper against stings in these areas.

The procedure of seasonal operation, be-ginning in the spring of the year, for established colonies in two full-depth bodies, is as follows:

When settled warm weather arrives, the hives are opened to be sure that each colony has a laying queen, plenty of honey to use and is otherwise in normal condition. If an occasional colony seems short of food, honey is borrowed; that is, combs exchanged with one that has abundance. Bees should never, never be fed honey from a hive in which disease is even suspected, and many beekeepers prefer to feed sugar syrup to obviate against inter-colony spread of diseases.

If a colony has died, as one will once in awhile, the dead bees are brushed from the combs and the whole hive scraped and cleaned. These combs are then given to an extra strong colony, not only to protect the combs from wax moths, but to give the strong colony more room. The exception here is a colony that has been infected by American foulbrood (AFB), a dreaded killer, or another infectious disease. Such combs and frames are best burned and the inside of the hive bodies well scorched with a blowtorch before reusing.

Normal colonies in two full-depth hive bodies will need more room at about the second month of settled warm weather or at the start of some major bloom.

The standard beehive consists of several boxes or supers, each with ten frames on which the workers build their combs. The brood is hatched in the large bottom super while the smaller upper ones are used for storing honey. As the season progresses, more storage supers are added.

States this will be at the outset of clover bloom. For the purpose of easier handling it is best to use shallow supers for this extra room, although more full-depth bodies may be used if you are capable of heavy lifting. When filled with honey the shallow super weighs about 45 to 50 pounds, the full-depth body about 80 pounds.

The rule followed in giving extra room is to add one or more supers at any time that the colony shows signs of being crowded. The term “boiling over with bees” aptly describes a crowded colony, and extra room should be given before this stage becomes acute. If there any question of when extra room is needed, it is better to give it a week early than a week late. At least one of the major causes of swarming is a crowded condition within the hive, and by giving abundant room, swarming is reduced to a minimum. The occasional swarm that does develop may be hived if convenient, but if it does get away, don’t be too concerned.

As fall approaches, the honey gathered (that in the honey supers only—don’t take any from the bottom one or two brood chambers) should be removed and the hives gradually reduced to two full-depth bodies. It is important to remember that in this method honey is never removed from the two lower bodies. The success of the whole thing revolves around having a strong colony of bees in a large self-sustaining hive.

Location of Hives

Hives should be located on hive stands four to eight inches high in a protected area. Thus, bottom boards will not be in contact with the ground when it is damp, and grass growing in the area will not shade the hives. Weeds must be kept low in the vicinity of the hives.

Bees must always have fresh water; they use it to dilute food, feed larvae and cool the hives when too warm. If there is no fresh water source, like a pond, stream or spring, within a two-mile radius of the hives, you will have to supply water for your bees.

In all sections of the country, hives should be located out of prevailing winds. In the North they will usually need some extra protection for winter. If you are located in a section having severe winters, first, determine that the hive has abundant stores. Second, reduce the entrance to prevent mice from entering and to help keep out the cold. Finally, give added protection by first wrapping the hive in a mineral wool blanket and then capping that with tarred building paper.

In the desert areas of the western states it is too warm to place colonies directly in the sunlight. The beekeeper in these areas must construct a shaded area for the hives. It must be remembered that often colonies cannot obtain enough nectar and pollen in deserts and heavily wooded areas of the country to sustain themselves through the year. Mountainous areas do not have large foraging areas, but in certain cases one colony might survive.


Some commercial and hobby beekeepers practice annual requeening and others only requeen hives which have failing queens.

Swarming is less of a problem when there is a young queen present in the colony. She produces more of the secretions that maintain social order and has a strong colony that can withstand disease. A young queen also lays more eggs and lays them earlier in the spring and later in the fall. The best time to requeen is in August. September is a satisfactory month, but at this time not all colonies will readily accept a new queen. The common method frequenting is to first find and kill the old queen. Second, place a queen cage with a young queen in the brood nest. In a day or two the young queen will be released by the bees. This method is not recommended for beginners and those not familiar with bee behavior.

The preferred method of requeening is to introduce a young queen into a nucleus colony in mid-July. The nucleus colony should contain one frame of brood and two or three frames of bees. Under these conditions the new queen is almost always accepted. The queen in the old colony can be found and killed around August 1.

Next, the old queen’s brood nest is covered with a single sheet of newspaper. The nucleus colony is placed on top of the sheet. Over this honey supers are placed. If there are too many bees in the supers, shake them out or place a second sheet of newspaper between the nucleus and honey supers. Colony odors will be the same and the young queen will be accepted by the time the sheet is chewed away.

The beekeeper must wait a week or two before placing a queen excluder in the colony. At this time the young queen may be success-fully driven into the lower brood chamber.

Planting Chestnut Trees

As we know, the Chestnut in the United States is a member of the Castanets genus, which is a small group of nut-producing timber trees. C. dentata, the American chestnut, was probably the most valuable timber tree in this country. Certainly it was the dominant tree in the vast hardwood forests. Unfortunately an Asiatic fungus, Endothia parasitica, which gained entrance to N.Y. about 1900, has all but exterminated the American chestnut in this country. Common in the hardwood forests of the eastern half of the United States, only an occasional sucker from the live root system isnow seen from Me. to Mich. and south to the Gulf of Mexico.

Sometimes the suckers become large enough to bear nuts arousing hope that eventually the American Chestnut may acquire resistance to the blight. The U.S. Forest Service, the state forestry departments and others, notably Dr. Richard A. Jaynes, have been crossing American chestnut with the Japanese species, Castaneacrenata and the Chinese species, both of which have resistance to Endothia. Some progress is being made, but hope of producing a timber-type hybrid with sufficient resistance to use in reforesting has not yet been realized.

Although a number of named varieties are available from nurseries, notably ‘Abundance’, ‘Carr’ and ‘Hobson’, because of incompatibility between seedling stock and the scion, many persons have had poor results with them. They are now turning to named selections of the Chinese chestnut which have been made by the USDA. Grafted trees come into bearing in 5 or 6 years. Seedlings often do not bear until 15or more years old. Chinese chestnuts have nuts as sweet as the American and often of larger size. Recommended are ‘Nanking’, ‘ Meiling’ and ‘Ruling’. All 3 produce large nuts of excellent quality. Although the Chinese chestnut is questionably hardy in Zone 3, it does extremely well over most of the country.

Very likely the resistance of both the Chinese chestnut and the Japanese Castanea crenata resulted from living with the disease for several hundred years. On that basis we may hope that eventually the American Chestnut will acquire a degree of resistance some day.

The Japanese Chestnut, C. crenata, is a spreading short-trunked tree that usually re-mains under 30 feet in height. Leaves are oblong, 4 to 7 in. in length with the margin serrated. The burr is about 2 in. in dia. and normally has 2 nuts, which lack the quality of the nuts of either the American or Chinese chestnut. It thrives in much of the country from Zone 4 south.

The Chinese chestnut, C. mollissima, may reach 50 ft. in height. The trunk, however, is short and the crown is broad. The elliptic leaves are coarsely toothed with a white pubescence along the veins. Native to China and Korea, the nuts, 2 normally to a burr, are large and sweet. Hardy from Zone 4 south, several producing orchards in the Midwest and the Middle Atlantic States yield plentiful crops of high quality nuts.

The Spanish chestnut, C. sativa, is a tall tree native to Europe, western Asia and North Africa. It has been in cultivation in Europe for many years. In this country, it is less hardy than either Asiatic species. The nuts are large and well filled when properly grown, but they lack the pleasant flavor of either American Chestnut or the Asiatic species. In recent years chestnut blight has reached Europe and is decimating the orchards of Spanish Chestnut.

The Chinquapin, C. panzila, is a shrubby American tree. Native from N.J. to Fla. and west to Tex. and Okla., its burrs are a little over an inch in dia. and normally contain a single nut. Leaves 3 to 7 in. long are coarsely toothed and have a white felt on the underside.

Interest in the chestnut for landscape use has in recent years been largely concentrated on the Chinese chestnut. It is an attractive spreading tree, both ornamental and equally serviceable as a shade tree. Neither the Asiatic nor the American chestnut is exacting in its soil requirement, but no Chestnut will thrive in soil where drainage is poor. A rocky well-drained hillside with a sandy loam is ideal for chestnuts.

The most serious insect pest is a tiny snout beetle which lays its eggs on the growing burrs in July. The grubs hatch and bore into the enlarging nuts within the burr where they feed on the kernel. These chestnut weevils can be controlled with any one of several pesticides, but it is advisable to inquire of the Extension Service of the State University as to timing and the specific chemical to use. Since this pest pupates in the soil under the tree, control may be had by pesticide treatment of the soil. Other insects are not usually troublesome.

The most serious disease of the Chestnut is the blight, Endothia parasitica, for which there is now no known control. It does not affect the roots which sucker freely. Such suckers sometimes live long enough to produce a few nuts. The U.S. Forest Service has acquired detailed information on several hundred American chestnut trees that have not been killed by Endothia. Records of persisting suckers are also in their hands. It is hoped that a disease-resistant American chestnut may be found to be reproduced vegetatively or to be crossed with a Chinese or Japanese Chestnut, thereby producing a resistant hybrid.

Planting Carrots

The carrot is one of our most common and widely grown vegetables. It grows best at mean temperatures between 600-700° F. Prolonged higher temperatures tend to produce shorter, non-blunt roots, while temperatures below 50° F. tend to make roots longer, more slender and paler in color.

California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico are the important commercial production areas for the winter and spring crop. Most of the northern states have large acreages for summer and fall harvest, used fresh and for processing and freezing.

Carrot Varieties

Seedsmen list a large number of varieties but only a few of these listed sorts are important. Those having long, cylindrical and smooth shape include ‘Imperator’, ‘Gold Pak’, and ‘Nantes Half Long’. Other standard varieties include ‘Red Cored Chantenay’ and ‘Danvers Half Long’.

Carrot Soils

Carrots, like beets, grow best in a deep, loose sandy loam, loam or muck soil that is high infertility and water-holding capacity. Soil preparation and fertilizer recommendations outlined for beets apply equally well for carrots. Note should be made to the effect that strawy manure or raw compost should not be used because its use just prior to planting will tend to produce knobby, misshapen roots with many fibrous side rootlets.

Carrot Planting and Care

Carrot seed is slow to germinate and, there-fore, a few quick germinating radish seeds are frequently scattered in the drill to mark the rows and thus permit earlier cultivation. Sow the seed in drills in. in depth at the rate of oz. per too ft. of row. As soon as the plants reach a height of 2-3 in., thin to a spacing of 11-12 in. Space the rows 12-15 in. apart. The seed may be planted as soon as the ground can be prepared, and for continuous supply make a planting every 3 weeks until Aug. 1. This applies to the northern states. Shallow cultivation is important starting as soon as possible after planting. Commercial growers use a petroleum product Stoddard Solvent to control weeds in carrots. The use of herbicides and chemicals for weed control is, however, not recommended in the small home garden.

Carrots are most tender and sweet if harvested before the roots reach their mature size or for the long types and the shorter chantenay types. Carrots may be harvested in the late fall and stored in the same manner as recommended for beets.

Carrot Insects and Diseases

The carrot caterpillar is green banded with black and yellow markings and up to 2 in. long.

It seldom does much damage. The carrot rust fly is becoming a serious problem in some areas. The yellowish-white, legless and up to in. long larvae tunnels into the outer fleshy root. Control involves the use of a diazinon dust applied at the rate of 2 lbs. per 2 sq. ft. of soil surface. Apply to the soil before planting and then work it thoroughly into the upper 6 in. Leaf blight and carrot yellows are diseases of lesser importance that can cause some damage. Spray with Maneb. Carrot yellows, a virus, is spread by the 6-spotted leaf hopper. To control the hopper use a 4% malathion dust. Three to four applications at 7-10-day intervals starting as soon as the first leaf hoppers appear.

Raising Geese

Many rural families have found that it is worthwhile to include a few geese amongst farm animals since they require little attention, virtually no housing and find their own. Besides, roast goose is a delicious and different Christmas or Thanksgiving treat.


The Toulouse goose has a broad, deep body, is a fair layer, has on average about 25 to 40 or more eggs per year, and is a good market bird. However, its dark pinfeathers make it less attractive market prospect than the Emden.

Emdens grow well, are fairly good layers, producing 35 to 40 or more eggs a year, and fare at the market better than Toulouse geese.

Chinese geese come in white and are better layers, averaging 40 to 60.5 or more eggs. While the Toulouse or Emden weighs 12 to 20 pounds, Chinese geese weight up to 12 pounds. Crosses with the Emdens and Toulouse are also available.

Other varieties of geese include Pit, which have the advantage of being naturally sexed, the adult gander is white and the goose is gray. African geese are attractive gray birds with a brown shade. There are also Canadian geese, the American wild goose; the Buff, Egyptian, and the Sebastapol.


Except in extremely cold weather, mature geese need no shelter and hardly ever use a house. Open shelters shades are provided on range to give protection from the sun. In the North, a barn can be left open for the geese so they can move inside during cold weather.

Starting with Geese

The best way to start is to buy day-old goslings from a hatchery. Goose eggs do not incubate as well as hen’s eggs so it is inadvisable to begin with fertile eggs.

Don’t order goslings until the weather allows for it. If the outside temperatures are low, the eggs must be kept warm. Start them inside a brooder of 90°F (32.22°C.) and gradually reduce the heat over a period of ten days to two weeks, depending on outside temperatures.

Goslings can be fed wetted regular chick whole-grain bread soaked in milk or water, or cooked oatmeal covered with water. Supply tender, chopped greens at all meals to the goslings three to four times a day. After two weeks, reduce the grain supplement to only two- a day and offer more greens. At three weeks of age, cut the geese down to one pound of grain per day and provide greens and other feedings.

Water and fine grit should be available at all times. Provide water in a chick feeder and with pebbles in the trough so that the cannot get their whole bodies into the water.

At four weeks of age the goslings can be outside and will support themselves well on the range. Provide a shelter in case of rain and enclosed on the sides and top within wire. After a few days they can tolerate several hours of freedom a day, and back to their coop at night by a late on feeding of grain. Be sure that litter in the coop is clean and dry. At six weeks they sleep outside at night except during lengthy days of chilling rain, and by eight weeks can take care of themselves.


After goslings are six weeks old they can be raised on pasture alone, but enough growing mash may be provided to keep them steadily growing. Pasture grasses, clover and alfalfa make fine pasture, and an acre of good pasture can support 15 to 25 geese. Poor pasture can be supplemented by cut fresh greens.

Geese may be used to weed strawberry beds until the plants are nearly ripe. Feed a pound of grain per five geese daily, and change location of this feeding and their waterers every few days so the geese range over the en-tire patch. After the strawberries are picked, geese can be turned back into the patch to handle late summer and fall weeding. In the garden, however, geese will supplement their pasture by feeding on your ripening vegetables, even onions. If you have a roaming flock of geese, keep them out of your garden with a heavy wire fence.

Geese need a constant supply of fresh, clean water. A waterer such as a hog fountain is excellent since geese cannot get into the water container. Like all poultry, they need a constant source of oyster shell or other in-soluble grit.

Geese should be fattened before slaughtering. This is best done in cool weather. Geese are ready to fatten when fully feathered or when the long wing feathers reach the tail when folded. They are usually five to six months old and weigh from 11 to 15 pounds, depending on breed.

Feed birds a crumbly mash three times daily, or twice daily with a feeding of whole grain. They should be allowed little exercise and confined or permitted limited range. Unlimited water should be provided, but the geese should not be able to fit into their water dispensers. If confined, plenty of clean, dry bedding should be available.

Geese must be starved for 12 hours before slaughtering, but should have water available.

Breeding geese kept over winter should have grain, laying mash and roughage. Oats Mixed with corn, wheat or barley are a good feed. Geese can be fed whole corn, and should be given clover or alfalfa hay as roughage.


Geese mate permanently in pairs. Breeders should be selected from medium-sized, vigorous and well-developed birds that grow rapidly and have compact, meaty bodies. A gander may be mated with up to five geese, but pair and trio matings are most common. Mature ganders have a longer neck and head than females and have a higher pitched voice; the female is smaller, less coarse and has a deeper cry.

Most breeds lay in the early spring, the Chinese somewhat earlier. Laying mash is fed once a day in December or January to encourage egg production. Farmers with just a few geese can use regular hen laying mashes. Broodiness in geese can be checked by confining the broody goose in sight of but away from the gander. Geese will continue to lay until mid-June if not allowed to set, so collect the eggs regularly to encourage egg production. Geese kept outside can use nesting boxes made of old packing crates inverted on the ground and with a hole cut in one end. Fill the boxes with clean straw.

Eggs for hatching should be collected twice daily until March 1. Geese eggs do not hatch as well as hen’s eggs in an incubator, so you may want to use a hen or a Muscovy duck to set the eggs. Hens must be watched, how-ever, since the goose eggs hatch a week later than hen’s eggs. Eggs should be turned once a day, and should be sprinkled with lukewarm water daily during the last two weeks of hatching.

Newly hatched goslings should be to the geese to mother, if possible, and be to the geese to mother, if possible, and confined indoors until they are two cold. Even at that age, goslings should not be -allowed to get wet-even by walking through wet grass. Goslings are commonly not to swim until they have begun to feather.


Kill geese the same way other poultry is killed. Goose down is a valuable by-product of raising and if down is desired, the bird should be dry-picked. Since geese have tend, be careful not to bruise the bird if you plan to market it. Semi-scalding makes picking easier. Dip the goose into almost-boiling water for two to 21/2 minutes until feathers pull easily. If desired, detergent may be added to the water. After picking, geese should be cooled in water or in the refrigerator, and then packed for shipping or storage, or bagged and frozen.

Feathers can be saved from dry geese. Flesh should be cleaned from any remains after picking and the replaced in a burlap or cheesecloth bag. Wash with soap and warm water and allow to dry in the shade or in a well-ventilated room.

Planting Peach Trees

For more than 200 years the Peach was believed to have originated in Persia and the scientific name, Prunus persica, indicates a Persian origin. However, in tracking down historical references to the Peach, scientists found that at about 1500 B.C. it was unknown in Persia and western India although it is mentioned in Chinese literature more than 500 years earlier. Thus, China is now the accepted origin of the Peach and its move west-ward is traced first to Greece and then to the temperate areas of Europe.

Peaches were brought to North America the Spanish, French and English settlers. Perhaps the fruit was first brought to Mexico by the Spaniards, who also brought them to Fla. in 1565, while English and French settlers brought the seeds to eastern U.S. The native Indians carried this fruit far inland and it eventually reached the West Coast. Today the Peach is of commercial importance in Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and North America.

Peach Growing in the United States

Peaches are being grown in at least 38 states of the U.S. The areas best suited to peach growing are the West Coast states, the East Coast states from Fla. to Mass., and the area south and east of the Great Lakes. The south-western slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Colo. are an important peach-producing area also.

Since the Peach is not a cold-hardy fruit, its areas of growth are limited by minimum winter temperatures. A temperature drop to —10° F. will usually kill many fruit buds and a temperature of — 50° F. will often kill trees. The amount of damage following cold temperatures is influenced to a great extent by the preceding temperatures. Warm weather for several days preceding a quick drop to below zero causes most cold damage. This is especially true after the tree has completed its rest period. In southern areas the bark of trees can be severely injured when day temperatures of 70° F. are followed by a drop to 18° F. above zero at night.

Like all deciduous plants, peach trees require a rest period between the time when the leaves fall and the flowers appear the following spring. Peach varieties differ considerably in their cold requirements for dormancy, the required time ranging from 600 to 1200 hours of 45° F. or below to complete the rest period. Varieties that require the minimum number of cold hours to complete a rest period have been developed so that peaches may be grown in warmer, near sub-tropical, climates. Such varieties are needed for Fla., south Tex. and southern Calif.

The Peach Tree

The Peach is not as long-lived as the Apple. Although some may live to be 35 years old, most peach trees do not live much beyond 50 years and in some areas to years is the life expectancy. The young tree grows vigorously for the first 3 years. During the first year, a well-grown tree will grow from 500 to 1500 total inches of new growth depending upon weather and general culture. In its second season of growth a few fruits will be produced on the tree, but it is best to remove these fruits and so permit the tree to make vegetative growth and to attain good size for early future production. The Peach produces fruit mainly on terminal, year-old shoots, which, for best fruiting, should be about 12 in. long. Fruit buds develop all along this 12-in. shoot and there may be as many as 30 of these. The peach tree that is growing in its third season may produce 75 to 150 peaches. A simple rule of thumb for production is 1 bushel in the third year, 2 bushels in the fourth year, and so on, increasing production by 1 bushel each year until 6 bushels are produced in the eighth year. More or less may be produced per tree, depending upon weather, culture, variety and tree size.

How the Peach Tree is Produced

Peach pits are planted and seedling trees grow from these pits. During June in southern states these seedling trees are budded to known varieties. This is necessary since seedling trees will not produce fruit similar to the parent variety. Usually the fruit of a seedling tree is much inferior to the parent tree. Buds inserted into the seedling tree during June begin to grow within a few weeks and the seedling growth above the bud is removed. The resulting growth from the inserted bud becomes a tree of a known variety and this tree is ready to plant in the garden that same fall or the following year. In northern areas, budding is done in Aug. but, though union of the bud with the stock or seedling occurs, the bud remains dormant until the spring of the following year.

Peach Tree Size Control

In most home gardens, the standard size peach tree is quite satisfactory. It can be maintained at a height of about 8-10 ft. and a width of 12-15 ft. by careful pruning. A very limited number of peach trees are available on dwarfing rootstocks. The use of dwarfing stocks has not been so successful or as widely used with the Peach as with the Apple and Pear.

There are a few natural dwarf peach varieties. One that has had some success is called ‘Bonanza’. A natural dwarf peach tree is one with shorter nodes and more leaves per length of growth than the standard tree, even though it is growing on standard seedling roots. It is similar to the spur type apple tree where the terminal growth is short and the tree is smaller than standard. The true dwarf peach tree produces some fruit but because of its small size, the peaches are fewer in number.

Peach General Culture

To grow peach trees successfully in the home garden, several cultural procedures must be followed. Beginning with proper planting, trees must be fertilized, cultivated, sprayed for insect and disease control and pruned annually. Fruit thinning and limb propping are often necessary as the tree beings to produce full crops of fruit. During drought seasons and in arid regions, irrigation is necessary.

Peach Tree Planting

Spring planting is best and this should be accomplished before growth begins. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the entire root system without crowding. It should be deep enough to allow the tree to be planted at about the same depth of soil in which it grew in the nursery. While digging, keep the topsoil separate from the subsoil. Place some of the topsoil in the bottom of the hole and spread the roots over it, then sift more topsoil around the roots. If you can get rotted manure or compost, mix it with equal parts of topsoil and fill the hole with the mixture. If the soil is extremely acid, mix 1 or 2 lbs. of limestone with the soil in the hole. Soils along the eastern seaboard are naturally acid. Those in western regions are alkaline and do not require additional limestone. Do not put fertilizer in the hole at planting time. Pack the soil firmly around the roots with your feet.

After planting, thoroughly water the soil around the tree. Keep the soil moist during spring and through the first summer. A slight depression about 2 ft. in dia. left around the base of the tree will help to keep water in the root area. In the fall, mound the soil slightly around the tree to reduce ice accumulation and possible injury to the bark on the trunk.


Full sunshine is essential to good tree growth and production. Trees will grow spindly and fruit production will be slight and of poor quality if grown in a shaded area.


Trees will not tolerate a wet soil. The soil must be sufficiently well drained so that water does not stand on the surface or saturate the root area for days following a heavy rain. Peach trees die quickly from excessive water around the roots.

Peach Tree Fertilization

A nitrogenous material such as ammonium nitrate may be used, or a complete fertilizer; a second application may be needed about 6 weeks later to maintain good vigor. Excessive growth should be avoided because this results in a poor tree framework. An excessively vigorous tree produces an upright growth with narrow, weak crotches where limbs join the trunk.

The amount of fertilizer should be increased each year until the tree receives 1 lb. of actual nitrogen. This may be sufficient to maintain vigor and production, but if the soil is poor, more fertilizer will be needed. On sandy soil, peach trees can utilize 1 lb. of actual nitrogen per year. The growth of the tree and the color of the foliage are good indicators of tree vigor. A bearing tree should make terminal growth that is about 12 in. long and the leaves should have a healthy green color. Light green or yellowish leaves indicate a lack of sufficient nitrogen either because an insufficient amount of fertilizer was applied, because of excessively dry soil or because there is injury to the tree from borers or other trunk or root damage.

Peach Tree Cultivation

Peach trees grow best when the soil beneath the tree is cultivated and kept weed-free. Mulching the soil under the tree is an excellent practice and can be done instead of cultivation. The mulch must be thick enough to prevent weed and grass growth. Straw, wood chips and lawn clippings make excellent mulching materials. An area of about 2 ft. around the trunk should be kept free of mulch to reduce the possibility of mouse injury to the roots and trunk. One should watch for mice runs under the mulch and trap the mice if they are present.

Peach Tree Irrigation

During dry seasons and in arid regions, peach trees must be irrigated. A bearing tree requires about 3 in. of rain per month during the growing season and, if this does not come as rain, an equal amount of water must be applied to the soil. The best method of watering a peach tree in the garden is to place a hose at the base of the tree and to let water trickle slowly for an hour or more. A depression in the soil around the base of the tree will prevent water loss. The period when the tree needs water most critically is during the month prior to fruit ripening. A shortage of water at this time will result in a reduction of fruit size. Drought in early spring will seriously reduce terminal growth and fruit-bud formation for the next year, so water should be applied at any time when the moisture in the soil is low.

Peach Thinning

A bearing peach tree usually produces more blossoms and “sets” more peaches than it can grow to large size and good dessert quality, so the removal of some fruit is necessary. Killing of buds by winter cold or by spring frosts can reduce the crop so that little or no thinning is necessary. A mature peach tree may have 25,000 or more blossoms. This same tree can ripen to good size and quality about 1200 large peaches (6 bushels). Thus, between the time of blossoming and the harvest of the mature fruit, about 95% of the blossoms and young fruit must either drop or be removed by hand. Many of the blossoms drop soon after the petals fall, either because they were not pollinated or because the tree could not supply the tiny fruits with water and nutrients. For this reason, also, a great many more tiny fruits will fall about 2 weeks after bloom.

About a month after bloom, another natural drop of fruit occurs and this is a final attempt by the tree to reduce the load of fruit. The tree will carry most of the remaining peaches to maturity. If there are more than 1500 peaches on the average-sized mature tree, some must be removed by hand or they will be small and of inferior dessert quality. To determine how much fruit to remove, one can take a small section of the tree and count the peaches. This count will provide a rough estimate of the total number of peaches and will indicate whether further reduction is necessary. Usually if peaches are removed so that those remaining are 6-8 in apart, the thinning is sufficient.

The main reason for thinning is to reduce the number of fruits per leaves. It has been shown through research that about 35 leaves are required to ripen 1 large peach of good dessert quality.

Thinning should be completed as soon as the last natural drop of fruit occurs for those varieties ripening in midseason and later. For early ripening varieties, the thinning should be completed before the last natural drop, or about 3 weeks before ripening. This is sometimes difficult because the fruit is quite small and one is not quite sure as to how much fruit will still drop naturally. It is absolutely necessary to thin early ripening varieties early to attain peaches of good size. A peach that is 2 in. in dia. is quite acceptable and there are about 300 in a bushel. A 2.1 in. peach will average about 200 in a bushel.

Peach Harvesting

Peaches ripen rapidly when temperatures are above 80-85° F. As they begin to ripen, they should be harvested every 2 or 3 days, depending upon the temperature. High night temperatures speed the ripening. Of the early varieties, the first few fruits to ripen will have a split pit. This is a normal characteristic. Often mold will be present on the seed. This is also normal and the peach flesh is healthy and good to eat even though the pit is molded. Peaches can be ripened fully on the tree and eaten immediately, or they may be harvested in a firm-ripe condition and held at room temperature for about 3 days. They will then have ripened to excellent dessert quality. Peaches harvested when green and immature may soften, but the dessert quality will be very poor.

Peach Storage

Peaches can be held in commercial cold storage at 31°-32° F. for a month or slightly longer. In the home refrigerator, which is maintained at about 40° F., they will hold for a few days in excellent condition if they are ripe or firm-ripe when placed in the refrigerator. Prolonged holding at 40°-50° F. results in internal breakdown and poor flavor. Firm-ripe peaches will soften and ripen slowly while in the refrigerator, but will require about a day or two at room temperature to develop good quality. Ripening proceeds half as fast at 60° F. as at 70-80° F, and only half as fast at 50° as at 60° F.

Peach Tree Pruning

The year-old peach tree will arrive from the nursery as a branched whip. It should be cutback to about 30-36 in. above the ground. Usually the side branches are weak and too small for framework branches. Cut these branches back to spurs, leaving 2-3 buds on each.

After the tree’s first season, remove all side branches that form a narrow angle with the trunk (less than 45°). Remove 1 of any 2 limbs of equal size that tend to divide the tree into a “V.” Remove suckers or strong branches that fill and shade the center of the tree. To keep the tree well balanced, cut back the stronger frame-work branches slightly. A central leader similar to that of an apple tree may be developed, but an open-center tree with 3 main framework branches is preferred.

After the second season, prune to develop an open-center, spreading, bowl-shaped tree. Remove any large limb that tends to grow up through the center, or across the center. Remove large suckers growing straight up in the center. Retain most of the other growth through-out the tree. As with the 1-year tree, remove limbs with narrow angles and branches of equal size that form a weak crotch.

A peach tree grown well for 2 years will have a trunk 4-6 in. in circumference and a good supply of fruit buds. Moderate and careful pruning at the end of the second season can result in production of as much as a bushel of peaches during the third summer. Severe pruning at the end of the second season will reduce, and may eliminate, the third summer crop.

After the third year, the peach tree should produce annual crops of fruit. Pruning is much the same throughout the first 4-5 years. After that time, somewhat more severe pruning may be desirable to keep the tree within bounds and maintain plenty of strong, healthy, fruiting wood.

Peaches are produced on wood that grew the previous season. The open-center or bowl-shaped tree with a well-rounded base and a wide-spreading top is recommended and generally grown throughout the country. Trees of this type have a larger bearing surface near the ground than do other types. They also have good fruiting wood throughout the center. The height of the tree should be kept to a maximum of 10 ft., the exact height depending on variety, soil, and general culture. It is possible, by careful pruning, to hold the peach tree to a height of about 7 ft. and still maintain good production.

Peach Tree Pollination

There is no serious problem in regard to cross-pollination with the Peach because most varieties are self-fruitful. There are a few varieties that are not, and if these are selected, one must provide another self-fruitful variety for pollination. The ‘J. H. Hale’ is one of the self-unfruitful varieties.

Peach Pest Control

The control of major insects and diseases by spraying and general sanitation is necessary to produce fine fruit and to maintain vigorous trees. Spray schedules are available for home trees and single-package mixtures containing insecticides and fungicides make the job quite simple and safe. To be successful in pest control, the proper materials must be used, applied at the correct time, and the tree must be thoroughly covered.

During the first 2 years in the life of the tree the spray program is not a complete one because there is no fruit. Leaf-chewing insects and borers are the main problems. After fruit production begins, one must follow a full spray program. Some of the most common insects of the peach fruit are plum curculio and oriental fruit worm. The most destructive disease attacking the fruit is fungus and brown rot. Borers can be a very serious threat to the vigor and life of the peach tree. The base of the trunk area should be checked several times annually for signs of borers. A jellylike substance will appear at the soil level if borers are present and they must be destroyed. A soft piece of wire forced into the holes will kill them.

In addition to spraying, certain sanitary practices will help, especially in the reduction and control of diseases. All dropped fruit should be gathered and removed from the area because this is a source of brown rot. Peaches that become infested with brown rot sometimes hang on the tree to shrivel and dry. These are also a source of infection and should be removed during the pruning.

Storage Shelving

Wall-mounted shelving is either fixed or adjustable. With fixed shelving, each shelf is supported independently using 2 or more shelf brackets, which are fixed both to the wall and to the underside of the shelf. With adjustable shelving, the shelves are carried on brackets, studs or tongues which are slotted or clipped into vertical support strips screwed to the wall.

Shelves can he made of natural wood or manufactured boards. Ready-made shelves are usually made of veneered or plastic-coated chipboard (particleboard). The latter traditionally have either a white or imitation wood-grain finish, but pastel shades and bold colours are now more widely available. Otherwise, you can cut shelves from full-sited hoards: chipboard, plywood, (medium-density fibreboard) and blockboard are all suitable.

There are many types of adjustable shelving on the market, with uprights and brackets usually made of metal but occasionally of wood. All operate on broadly the same principle. Start by deciding on the position and spacing of the uprights; this will depend on what sort of shelf material you are using and what load it will carry. Hang the uprights on the wall, making sure that they are perfectly vertical and level with each other. Finally, clip in the brackets and fir the shelves.

You may also want adjustable shelves inside a storage unit. There are 2options. The first involves drilling a series of aligned holes in each side of the unit, then inserting small shelf-support studs. The second uses book-case strip — a metal moulding with slots into which small pegs or tongues are fitted to support the shelves. You will need 2 strips at each side of the unit.


1. Select the correct bracket spacing, and then attach the shorter arm of each bracket to the underside of the shelf, so that it is flush with the rear edge.

2. Fix the shelf to the wail with a Screw driven through one bracket, check that it is horizontal and mark the remaining screw positions. Let the shelf swing downwards 011the first screw, then drill the other holes.

3. Insert plugs for masonry wall fixings if needed. Swing the shelf hack up and drive in the remaining fixing screws. Tighten them fully so that the screw heads pull the brackets against the wall.


1. Decide where to posit ion the shelves, then fix the first upright to the wall by driving a screw through the topmost hole. Do not tighten it fully.

2. Pivot the upright until it is vertical. Mark the position of all the other fixing holes. Swing the upright aside, drill the rest of the holes and drive in the screws.

3. Use a spirit level to make a mark on the wall, level with the top of the first upright and at the required distance front it. Fix the second upright there.

4. Mark the upright positions on the rear edge of each shelf. Align the back of each bracket with the edge of the shelf and with the mark, and screw it on.

5. If the shelves are to fit flush against the wall, cut notches at the upright positions to fit around them and then attach the brackets as shown.

6. Position the shelf brackets by inserting their tongues into the slots in the uprights. The weight of the shelf will lock them in place. Adjust the shelf spacings as wished.


1. Mark the positions of the top ends of the strips to ensure that they are level, then mark the screw posit anis to a true vertical and screw on the strips.

2. Insert pairs of pegs into the strips at each shelf position, checking that their lugs are properly engaged in the slots. Lift the shelf into place.


1. Use at simple pre-drilled jig to make the holes for the shelf supports in the sides of the unit. A depth snip will prevent you from drilling too deep.

2. Drill 2 sets of holes in each side of the unit, with the top of the jig held against the top of the unit to guarantee alignment. Insert the supports.


Think of how to make best use of your new storage area. It is a good idea to make a rough sketch initially, in order to take account of factors such as the height of books or record sleeves, or the clearance that ornaments or photographs will require. Aim to keep everyday items within easy reach— in practice, between about 75 cm/2 ft 6 in and 1.5 in/5 ft above the floor. Position deep shelves near the bottom so that it is easy to see and reach the back. Allow 2.5-5 cm/l-2 in of clearance on top of the height of objects to be stored, so that they are easy to rake down and put back.

Think about weight, too. If the shelves will store heavy objects, you must choose the shelving material with care — thin shelves will sag if heavily laden unless they are well-supported. With 12 mm/1/2 in clipboard (particleboard) and ready-made veneered or melamine-faced shelves, space brackets at 45 cm/18 in for heavy loads or 60 cm/2 ft far light loads. With 20 mm/1/4 in chipboard or 12 MM/V2 in plywood, increase the spacing to60 cm/2 in and 75 cm/2 in respectively. For 20 mm/1/4 in plywood, MDF (medium-density fibreboard) or natural wood, the bracket spacing can be 75 cm/2 ft6 in for heavy loads, or 90 cm/3 ft for light ones.

Planning Your Garden

Simply moving a few plants is rarely enough to transform an uninspiring garden into something special. It is worth having a goal, a plan to work to, even if you have to compromise along the way. Bear in mind that you may be able to stagger the work and cost over several seasons, but having a well thought out design ensures the garden evolves in a structured way.

Use the checklist to clarify your needs, then decide in your own mind the style of garden you want. Make a note of mundane and practical considerations, like where to dry the clothes and put the refuse, plus objects that need to be screened, such as a compost area, or an unpleasant view.

Labour-saving tips

To minimize cost and labour, retain as many paths and areas of paving as possible, but only if they don’t compromise the design.

If you want to enlarge an area of paving, or improve its appearance, it may be possible to pave over the top and thus avoid the arduous task of removing the original.

Modifying the shape of your lawn is easier than digging it up and relaying a new one.

Garden styles

The garden styles outlined here are not exhaustive, and probably none of them will be exactly right for your own garden, but they will help you to clarify your thoughts.


Parterres and knot gardens: Shaped beds and compartments originally designed to be viewed from above. Knot herb gardens, such as ones based on intricate Elizabethan designs, can be stunning but are expensive to create, slow to establish and labour intensive.

Formal herb gardens: Easier to create than knot gardens. Seek inspiration from illustrated herb garden books -both old and new. It is easier to create one if based on a theme.

Formal rose gardens: Easy to create and can look good in first season. For year-round interest under plant with spring bulbs and edge beds with seasonal flowers.

Paved gardens: Particularly suitable for small gardens. Plant in open areas left in paving, up walls and in raised beds and containers.

Courtyard gardens: Floor tiles and white walls (to reflect light), together with some lush green foliage, an architectural’ tree or large shrub and the sound of running water will transform a backyard into a delightful courtyard garden.

A modern interpretation of an Elizabethan knot garden, with gravel and brick paving to keep weeding to a minimum

Traditional designs: A small formal garden, with rectangular lawn, straight herbaceous border plus rose and flowerbeds is a popular choice for growing a variety of summer bedding and other favourites.


Cottage gardens: The juxtaposition of old-fashioned’ plants and vegetables creates a casual but colourful look. Place brick paths or stepping stones through the beds.

Wildlife gardens: Even a tiny plot can attract small animals and insects. Planting must provide shelter and food, while a water feature will encourage aquatic wildlife.

Woodland gardens: Shrubs and small deciduous trees suit a long narrow garden and are effective for screening and dividing up the garden. Under-plant with naturalized bulbs, woodland spring flowers and ferns.

Meandering meadows: Where there is an attractive view, a sweep of grass between curved borders can merge with an unobstructed boundary. If the view is unappealing, curve the border round so that the lawn finishes beyond the point of view.

Decorative features



Borders, for herbaceous Borders, for shrubs Borders, mixed


Bright beds and borders: If plants are more important than design, use sweeping beds and borders with lots of shrubs and herbaceous plants to give shape. Use focal points such as ornaments, garden seats or birdbaths to create a strong sense of design.

Distant influences

Japanese gardens: Raked sand and grouped stones translate well to a small space, making a confined area appear larger. Plants can be kept to a minimum. Stone and gravel gardens: These materials can be used to create a dry-river bed feel. Minimal maintenance if you select drought-tolerant plants.

Functional features

Compost area


Tool shed


Children’s play area Climbing frame

Clothes drying area Dustbin (trash can) area Sandpit


In most cities and urban environments, back gardens are small and shady, but these factors need not restrict the garden’s potential, as these great splashes of colour show.

Choosing a style

The most comfortable and visually pleasing gardens are usually the result of careful planning, even those with an informal feel to them. Formal gardens appeal to those who delight in crisp, neat edges, straight lines and a sense of order. Many traditional suburban gardens are formal in outline, with rectangular lawns flanked by straight flower borders, and perhaps rectangular or circular flower beds cut into them. Such rigid designs are often dictated by the drive for the car and straight paths laid by the house builder.

The informality of the cottage garden and the ‘wilderness’ atmosphere of a wild garden are difficult to achieve in a small space, especially in a town. However, with fences well clothed with plants so that modern buildings do not intrude, an informal garden can work even here.

Professional garden designers are frequently influenced by classic styles from other countries, especially Japan, but amateurs are often nervous of trying such designs themselves. Provided you start with the clear premise that what pleases you is the only real criterion of whether something works, creating a particular foreign style can be great fun. Adapt the chosen style to suit climate, landscape and the availability of suitable plants and materials.


Before you draw up your design, make a list of requirements for your ideal garden. You will almost certainly have to abandon or defer some of them, but at least you will realize which features are most important to you.

Use this checklist of suggested features at the rough plan stage, when decisions have to be made… and it is easy to change your mind!

Herb garden

Lawn (mainly for decoration)Lawn (mainly for recreation)Ornaments

Patio/terrace Pergola


Raised beds

Summer house


Vegetable plot

Cow Raising

With feed costs as high as they are today, keeping a cow may not save you much, if any, hard cash. But, if you like cows, are willing to spend a few hours each day feeding, watering and milking one and processing its fresh milk, then the animal will indeed reward you, with plenty of dairy products.

Proper housing is of key importance, but generally an existing outbuilding can be converted to a suitable cow barn.

Unless the cow is to be kept in a stanchion, the minimum floor area for a stable is 200 or more square feet. In northern areas, the cow stable should be wind-tight; all winter ventilation should be under control. An economical job can be done, when necessary, by nailing unslated roofing paper over the sides. A cow can stand more cold than generally realized.

The cow may be confined by some stanchion or allowed the freedom of a stall. The box stall is recommended.  Some cows can keep warmer by moving occasionally on very cold nights. Milk production has been found to increase about 10 percent when cows are kept in a stall as opposed to a stanchion.

A calf pen is required. This preferably can be a duplicate of the cow stall

Buying a Cow

A cow that is four or five years old and has had her second or third calf is generally a good choice. She will be young enough to have years of production ahead of her, and old to have shown her milk-producing. There is no reason to pay the high asked-for heavy milk producers. For a cow, the criteria should be gentleness, ease of milking and general good health.

A family milk cow will generally yield about 12 quarts daily for from eight to 12 months, consuming about 18 pounds of hay daily. Jerseys and Guernseys are most often chosen for family cows because they are smaller and do not require as much feed or give as much milk as some of the larger breeds, such as Holstein or Brown Swiss. A Jersey heifer is fit to breed from 15 to 17 months; Guernseys from 17 to 18 months; and the heavier breeds at up to 25 months. After freshening, a cow will reach maximum production during the amend month. She will then decline in production at the rate of 6 to 7 percent a month. A cow that freshens in the fall or early winter usually yield an average of 10 percent more milk and fat than one that freshens in spring or summer.

Ideally, the cow should have about two acres of pasture for summer grazing: Permanent pastures of bluegrass or mixtures of grassdrop in production in the summer and may have to be supplemented to provide a uniform feed supply. The vegetable garden can furnished with a bit of the animal’s summer feed. Cows will eat pea vines, sweet corn stalks, cabbage leaves, and sweet potato vines.

The family cow’s winter feed consists of hay and a mixture of concentrates. Alfalfa, soybean, alsike clover, or early-cut grass hay are satisfactory. A Jersey or Guernsey cow will need at least ten pounds of hay a day, and a pound of grain for each two to four pounds of milk she produces.

A mixture of ground corn and wheat bran is a good concentrate to feed with hay. Some soybean oil meal or linseed oil meal may be added to the diet of hay and grain for extra protein.

Provide a block of trace mineralized salt in a sheltered box for the cow, or add loose salt to her concentrate mix at the rate of one pound to every 100 pounds of feed.

Give the cow water at least twice daily in winter and more often in summer.

Planting Apple Trees

Cultivated in Europe for more than 2,000 years, the apple was introduced to this country soon after the Europeans first arrived. Today, Washington, New York, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are the leading producers of apples. The number of trees has dropped since early in this century, but yields have remained about the same thanks to superior sites, soils and better orchard management. Per capita consumption of apples has suffered as better transportation has made citrus fruit more available. The most popular varieties are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Rome Beauty, Jonathan, and York. Such old standbys as Baldwin, Grimes, Northern Spy, and Wealthy are losing popularity.

Apples will grow in almost any soil, but do best in a clay loam. A general rule is that they thrive in soils suited to common cereals and potatoes. A sloped site promotes air drain-age, thus minimizing frost damage, but also encourages soil erosion. Such steep sites can be grown to alfalfa sod, and the growth cut two or three times a season.

Trees must be provided with plenty of organic matter, such as a heavy mulch of alfalfa or grass clippings. Sweet clover, seeded late in July, makes an excellent winter ground cover. Leave it standing through the following summer or turn it under in spring. If the surface soil is low in fertility, rye will do better than clover but must be turned under before it develops fully, as it tends to grow woody when mature and could threaten young trees.

Mulches should be deep enough to smother the weeds beneath the branches. Increase the depth of the mulches as the years pass: a five-year-old tree can use 100 pounds of straw; trees two to four years old will need proportionately less.

Natural forms of nitrogen can be applied in the fall after the foliage has dropped. Use 21/4 pounds of dried blood or 41/2 pounds of cottonseed meal per tree. If too much nitrogen reaches a tree late in the season, the resultant growth may be susceptible to winter injury.

Young trees have shallow root systems, and are therefore more vulnerable to shortages of water and nutrients than well-established trees. Larger trees also can rely on food re-serves in the bark and wood in hard times.

To protect trees from field mice and other small animals, place fine-mesh wire screens or wrap two thicknesses of aluminum foil around the base in the fall. Also, staking a new tree may be necessary where wind or heavy snow might cause it to grow crooked. Placing a four-inch barrier of one to two-inch crushed rock on the bottom, sides and top of the planting hole is also effective.

In late winter or early spring, while trees are dormant and before their buds begin to swell, a dormant oil spray should be applied. This mixture of 3 percent miscible oil and water smothers many insect eggs before hatching.

Planting Apples

Buy healthy one or two-year-old trees about three to five feet tall and plant them after the leaves have fallen, from late October into early November. Freshly dug trees can also be planted early in spring, but in spring land dries slowly and the growing season maybe well advanced by the time the orchard is planted. Young apple trees withstand the shock of transplanting best when they are dormant, another good reason for fall planting. By planting your trees before the ground freezes, some new growth of the roots will take place at once and the trees will have a good start on the sea-son when spring comes.

Set the trees 40 feet apart in and between the rows. Make the holes for them just large enough to accommodate the root development of each tree. Set the trees an inch lower in the ground than they stood in the nursery; a young apple tree will not root any deeper by deep planting, and may suffer for it.

Trees of at least two varieties should be planted within 50 feet of one another, because pollination of one variety by the pollen from another is usually required for the trees to bear.

Apple Nutrition

If your soil is very acid, broadcast one pound of lime and 1/2 pound of phosphate rock per tree over the entire orchard before planting. One-half this amount may well be sufficient for young trees grown in a cover crop that is mowed for mulch. If apple trees are grown in sod and mulched with non-legume hay, add dried blood or other nitrogenous fertilizer. Increase the amount with each recurring season, reaching a maximum application of two pounds of nitrogen for seven or eight-year-old trees. Apply nitrogenous material in a circle about three feet wide under the outer extremities of the branch spread.

A deficiency of nitrogen will show up as small, yellowish leaves. If the foliage rolls and scorches that indicates a lack of potassium in the soil. A liberal mulch of manure (or clover mulch to which lime has been added) mixed with the right amount of potash rock to the acre, will adjust the potassium deficiency.

Falling Apples

The fall of apples, if not in excess, is a natural phenomenon, nature’s way of removing improperly pollinated fruit. This also removes fruit that the tree could not normally bring to maturity without exhausting its nutrient supply. Two abscission periods generally occur. The “first drop” begins shortly after petal fall and lasts for two or three weeks. The so-called “June drop,” which begins a few days after the completion of the first drop, is somewhat of a misnomer since it normally spans two to four weeks anywhere from late May to early June. Excessive drop may be caused by a deficiency of boron or magnesium, or by too little moisture, and heavy applications of nitrogen may encourage drop.

Apple Scab

Apple scab spends the winter on dead fruit and dead leaves on or under the tree. It can be prevented largely by carefully removing all dead leaves and fruit to the compost heap and mulching under the tree. A dormant oil spray will also help.

Old Apple Trees

Apple trees may bear crops for 30 to 50 years. If the trunk or branches are badly rotted or about a quarter of the top is dead through disease or winter injury, it is not ordinarily worthwhile to attempt salvage. However, here’s some general advice when trying to bring new life into old neglected trees:

Cut out old wood and prune heavily to strong, new growth; remove all suckers not necessary to replace the top; prune out inter-lacing branches to open the trees to light and the circulation of air; break up the soil around the tree, working in a great deal of compost, manure and organic materials; apply organic nitrogen such as dried blood, cottonseed meal or nitrogen-rich sludge, about 25 to 35 pounds per tree; mulch heavily. Do this regularly for several seasons.

Vitamin C Content of Apples

Apples are an important source of vitamin C, although the varieties differ greatly in their level of this vitamin. While five Delicious apples provide a minimum amount of vitamin C, one could get the same amount from two Wine saps or one Baldwin. Yellow Newton and Northern Spy are other good sources. McIntosh, Jonathan and York Imperial rate low in vitamin C.

Baldwin is widely grown in the eastern United States. It is sensitive to the climatic extremes existing west of Lake Michigan, how-ever. Northern Spy, another high-C apple, is also adaptable to the midcontinent and eastern region. Northern Spy is an excellent dessert or eating apple, but is not too useful for cooking. Baldwin is just the reverse. It is good for making pies and applesauce, but not too good for eating fresh. So by planting both of those trees you will get good supplies of both cooking and eating apples that are rich in vitamin C.

Tests have shown that most of the vitamin C in apples is right in or under the skin, and the skin can contain five times as much of the vitamin as the flesh. It is interesting that small apples are richer in vitamin C than large apples; small apples have more area of skin per pound of fruit, and this greater percentage of skin is probably the cause of the higher vitamin C content. It is fortunate that apples lose very little of their vitamin C in storage. If stored at 36°F. (2.22°C.), Baldwin apples will lose no vitamin C over a period of five or six months. However, if the storage temperature gets up to 45° F (7.22° C), some of the vitamin content will be lost.

Selecting a Location for an Apple Tree

Each variety does best in certain regions of the country. In the Northeast, the Great Lakes keep the growing season cool and summer rainfall is usually dependable. Growers in the central Atlantic region worry more about rainfall. Warmer temperatures dictate that most orchards be placed at fairly high elevations in the Appalachians. Warm temperatures in the Ohio Basin region cause more importance to be placed on a sufficient rainfall; droughts tend to be quite serious. Soils that can hold water well to a depth of three to four feet will minimize the threat of damage. In the north central states, cold winters are the grower’s main concern. Cold-resistant varieties have been developed, and include Haralson, Honeygold, Red Baron, Joan, Secor, Anoka, and Regent. Sunny summers and relative freedom from spring frost damage make the West Coast an excellent apple-growing area, although large orchards often must be irrigated.

In general, the primary consideration determining what variety can be grown is temperature. Talk with growers in the immediate area and extension service agents about the dangers of spring frost, in particular, and the suitability of temperature the rest of the year.

A persistent heavy wind may render a site unsuitable, making spraying difficult and affecting fruit set. The best sites are elevated rolling or sloping fields; low-lying areas tend to collect cold air.

Although they cost a bit more initially, dwarf apple trees offer several advantages to the home orchardist. Most standard apple varieties take five to ten years to bear fruit; dwarf trees bear from one to three years after planting. A dwarf produces an average of one to three bushels (50 to 150 pounds) of fruit per season—plenty for the average family—and the fruit is as large as or larger than that of the standard tree. Because they grow only six to eight feet high – 15 feet in the case of semidwarfs – dwarfs are easy to spray and pick from. They also require much less space; you can plant six dwarfs in the amount of space required for one standard tree.

Gardeners interested in growing some of the colorful old apple varieties of yesteryear, either for their superior regional adaptability or exceptional taste, should consider grafting scions of old varieties like American Beauty, Rhode Island Greening and Cox Orange. Individuals and groups who raise these old favorites can often be traced through local nurseries, horticultural societies or county agricultural extension offices. Other old-time varieties that once flourished in backyards and small orchards include Ben Davis, Black Gilliflower, Blue Pearmain, Esopus Spitzenburg, Maiden’s Flush, Pound Sweet, Twenty Ounce, and Fameuse.

Planting Ginger

Ginger is a biennial or perennial herb to the tropics and cultivated in tropicales in both hemispheres. The plant flowers and produces fruit. The rhizomes underground stem has a characteristic, pungent taste, to some extent in medicine, but its principal commercial use is in flavoring foods, confections and carbonated beverages.

Ginger is believed to be native to the warmer parts of Asia, where it has been cultivated from early times. The plant rapidly spread to the West Indies, South America, Australia, and Africa. Ginger has been recognized as a spice for thousands of years. Ancient Greeks and Romans welcomed the flavoring agent from southern Arabia, by way of the Red Sea. It has also been savored through history in India. Long ago, this herb was considered medicinally valuable in treatment of digestive disorders, although most growers value it to-day for its use as a condiment.

Ginger is an exhaustive crop and requires fertile soil with good drainage. The rhizomes are likely to rot in poorly drained soil, and the plant will not thrive in gravel or sand. For maximum growth, much rain and high temperatures during the growing season are required, and it is therefore best grown in tropical and subtropical regions.

The rhizomes are harvested early in winter, and the crop should not be replanted until early in spring. Ginger is readily propagated from small divisions of the rhizomes, each division containing at least one bud or “eye.” In Florida, these may be planted in February or early March about three inches deep and about 16 inches apart in rows two feet apart. The plants come up slowly and in the early stage of growth are much benefited by some protection from the sun. Cultivation and hoeing sufficient to control weeds are necessary. As the season advances and the rhizomes enlarge, the plant develops numerous leaf-stalks, followed in fall by flower stalks.

In Florida the roots may be harvested early in December. This is readily accomplished with a garden fork. The soil is shaken off, the top cut off close to the rhizomes and the fibrous roots removed. To facilitate removal of the soil, it is advisable to break the rhizomes into several branches, or “hands.”

Ginger grows well in a greenhouse with a 75° F. (23.89° C.) temperature. It needs a large pot and a lot of water and responds well to applications of liquid compost or manure.

The rhizomes, collected when young and green are washed and scraped before being preserved in syrup or as a tasty preserve which is exported mainly from the West Indies and China. Ginger candy, made from sliced sections of ginger preserved in sugar, is a favorite among children and adults alike.