Archive for the ‘Home & Garden’ Category

Planting Broccoli

by on Thursday, April 17, 2014 19:16 under Home & Garden.

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Broccoli is a hardy, fairly quick-maturing crop which belongs to the Cabbage family.

Broccoli prefers coolness and moisture. In the regions of the country where summer arrives early, it will be most successful if planted as a fall crop. However, certain gardeners contend that it thrives best as a two-season crop for both spring and fall.

In the latter case, seeds are sown in late winter, one-half inch deep in flats and placed in a warm, sunny window or greenhouse. Seedlings can be set out early in spring, as soon as the garden soil can be worked. Later, when most danger of severe frost has passed, more seeds are sown directly in the garden. When stalks are three or four inches tall, thin the plants or transplant them so that they stand 18 to 24 inches apart in the row.

The transplanted broccoli can be harvested throughout the spring and early summer.

Broccoli that is direct-seeded may mature during a cool, early autumn morning. Thus, with a little planning, you can grow fresh-picked garden broccoli throughout growing season.

Broccoli is not a greedy feeder. It does best in a moderately rich soil, provided soil is well drained and easy to work, thrives in soils ranging from sand and clay peat. It is a thirsty vegetable, though, requires plenty of moisture.

The plant form of broccoli consists of thick main stalk, at the end of which develop central cluster of tiny, dark green flower buds.

Stem, buds and leaves are edible, but the leaves are less tender than the stem and buds and usually discarded.

Some watchfulness is necessary to see that the greenish heads are harvested well before the flower buds expand and dry out. After the head has been cut the side shoots will continue to form smaller heads and provide a steady and heavy harvest over a considerate period. All heads should be cut off in such a manner that a fairly long stub of stem mains on the plant.

After the central head of broccoli has been cut for food, a number of small lateral roots will develop in the axils of the remaining leaves. These shoots also produce flower bum which are edible. The welcome harvest of this important, easy-to-grow vegetable will last for several weeks. From four to six cuttings stems and buds may be expected from the stalk.

Planting Aloe Seeds

by on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 18:56 under Home & Garden.

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Grown mainly outdoors in the warmer climates, aloe vera remains among the most popular houseplants. Famous for its medicinal qualities, aloe vera is used to soothe skin irritation, hair care and cosmetics. To grow the plant most persons will start with a ‘pup’ which is a cutting from a mature aloe vera plant. The main reason for this is that they tend to grow a little faster. However, using seeds is also a good option considering that mature plants from seeds do not take considerably longer.

When growing aloe vera from seeds, on average you need aloe vera seed, potting soil, compost, plastic planting tray, 3-inch pots, sand, peat and water. To start, mix peat and sand, then use the moist mixture to fill the plastic planting try. Seeds must be sown on top of the mixture then covered by sprinkling compost over them.

Caring for the Aloe Seed after Planting

The tray must then be placed in a location with temperatures between 70°F and 78°F. Trays must be exposed to sufficient light since this will significantly help the seeds to germinate. Sunlight is essential for germination however, a brown discoloration can result from sunburn so light should be indirect.

Without over watering, ensure that the soil is always moist. It can take anywhere between one to four months for germination to start. Once the seedlings have grown large enough to hold without breaking, the 3-inch pots filled with potting soil should be used to transplant them. Pots are used as the permanent beds for aloe vera because they are often grown for ornamental purposes in and around the home.

When using pots, make sure that the potting soil is well-drained and sandy. Some gardeners prefer to use terracotta (unglazed, clay-based ceramic) pots because they are porous. Making sure that there is a drainage hole can be a good step. Commercial pre-packaged or propagation mixes aid good drainage and are recommended where available. Most will have granite grit or coarse sand as well as extra perlite in them. Succulent and cacti mixes tend to eliminate the guess work as well.

In cold areas or seasons, the pots should be stored indoors (whether in the home or a greenhouse) and kept as warm as possible since they are intolerant of heavy snow and frost. Aloe Vera is resistant to most insects so pest control is relatively easy however, scale insects, aphid species and mealy bugs can damage them.

When watering potted plants, it is important that gardeners allow plants to dry completely before watering them again to avoid sogging which will undermine their health and overall growth. During cold months plants tend to dry out slower than normal so reduce watering.

Watch your aloe vera plants for new shoots when they begin to mature. Once shoots are 3 to 4 inches tall they should be removed to their own pots or they will suck the life from their ‘mother plant’. This is characterized by the mature plant turning bright green and spreading its leaves horizontally instead of upward. Leave newly potted plants for 3 weeks before watering, turning grey or brown shortly after repotting is normal and not a sign that they need water.

Tools and Equipment for Furnishings

by on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 18:47 under Home & Garden.

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The most expensive piece of equipment needed for making soft furnishings is a sewing machine. Although a modem swing-needle machine is preferable because of its zigzag stitching, an ordinary straight stitch machine, either hand or electric, is perfectly adequate. Always work a small piece of practice stitching on a fabric sample before starting a project, adjusting the stitch length and tension as necessary. Fit anew needle whenever necessary; machine needles become blunt very quickly, especially when sewing on synthetic blends, and a blunt needle can cause uneven stitches and puckering. Have the machine serviced by a professional repairer at regular intervals and put it away after each sewing session to prevent it from becoming covered with dust.

A steam iron is also essential. Choose a tidily heavyweight one and keep the sole plate spotlessly clean at all times. Fill the iron with distilled water (available from a pharmacy or motor accessory shop) when using the steam facility to avoid limescale forming inside the water reservoir and clogging the steam jets. A sturdy ironing board with a well-padded surface or slip-on cover is also needed.

Sewing needles come in various shapes and sizes; choose a type of needle which feels comfortable when stitching. As a general guide, betweens are short needles, sharps are slightly longer and used when tacking (basting) or gathering, straws or milliner’s needles are very long and useful when sewing through several layers of fabric.

STORING EQUIPMENT

Try to keep the necessary equipment in good order, clean and tidily stored so it is always easy to find immediately. A plastic tool box with divided trays is useful tor this purpose.

Fabric, threads and trimmings should be stored in a cool, dust-free place. Keep off cuts of fabric in self-seal plastic bags with the appropriate threads and label the bags with the date and the name of the project. This is useful in case the stitching needs to be repaired or a patch needs to be added to conceal a damaged area.

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

There are different types of needle threader available and these can be helpful when using fine, hard-to-thread needles. Whether or not a thimble is used when hand sewing is largely a matter of personal preference, but using one will protect the fingers.

Glass-headed pins are easy to see and handle. If the ordinary type of pin is preferred, choose a brand which is stainless and rustproof to avoid marking the fabric. Store pins in a dry place. A small horseshoe magnet is useful to retrieve pins and needles from the floor after a sewing session.

There are several types of sewing threads for both hand and machine use. Use mercerized cotton thread when sewing pure cotton and linen; core-spun thread (thread with a coating of cotton around a polyester core) for general purpose stitching; spun polyester thread on synthetic fabrics. Use tacking thread for tacking in preference to sewing thread as it breaks easily and tacking can here moved without damaging the fabric.

Good quality scissors are a real investment as they will cut accurately and stay sharp longer than cheaper ones. Drop-forged scissors are heavy, but the blades can be sharpened repeatedly over many years while the lightweight type with plastic handles are very comfortable to use. Buy a large pair with 28 cm/I I in blades for cutting out fabric, a medium-sized pair with 10 to 12.5 cm/4 to 5 in blades for trimming seams and cutting small pieces of fabric and a small pair of needlework scissors for unpicking or snipping thread ends.

Choose a fibreglass tape measure as fabric and plastic tape measures will eventually stretch and become inaccurate. A wooden metre rider or yard stick is also useful. A dressmaker’s pencil is more convenient for marking fabric than tailor’s chalk as it can he sharpened to a fine point. Choose white or yellow for marking dark fabrics and blue for light ones.

The metric and imperial measurements quoted in the following projects are not exact equivalents. Always follow just one set of measures, either centimetres or inches, to ensure perfect results. Note also that contrasting thread has been used for the stitching for clarity only; it is normal to match the colour of the thread with the dominant shade of the furnishing fabric.

Tree Grafting

by on Friday, February 28, 2014 21:57 under Home & Garden.

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This is a method of plant propagation in which a twig of one plant, called the scion, is made to grow on the roots of another plant, called the stock or the under stock. The scion is taken from the plant which is to be reproduced, and because this is an asexual means of reproduction, the resulting plant will be identical with the plant from which the scion was taken if no shoots are allowed to grow on the understock, or below the union of scion and understock.

In the first place, a scion and stock must be “compatible,” that is, they must be of a type that will grow together, make a firm union and continue to grow afterwards. This is found out by experience, and the art of grafting is centuries old. One should not expect a scion of Magnolia soulangiana to grow on apple or elm understock. In fact, it may not grow on all kinds of magnolia seedlings, but experience has shown that it may be expected to grow best on understock of M. kohus or M. tripetala. Sometimes several species in the same genus are equally good as understock, sometimes it has been found that under certain conditions one is better than another. English growers find that Prunus serrula is easily compatible with P. avium understock, while some American growers have better success with P. saigentii understock.

In the grafting operation the theory is to place the living cambium tissue of scion and under-stock in contact with each other. This is simply done by making the proper kind of cut into understock and gently slipping the whittle scion into it. This operation must be done both scion and understock is about ready for active growth. Actually, it is a greenhouse operation where the understock, in a pot, has already been forced into active growth and the scion is yet dormant. Usually Feb. or March is grafting time indoors.

As soon as the scion and stock are slipped together, they are bound tightly in place to prevent movement between them. Flat rubber bands are specially made for this and arc ideal since they can be bound just tight enough to hold the a together, but loose enough so that the rubber will give a little as the new graft increases in circumference. This “tie” remains on for a few months until stock and scion have closely knit, when it is simply cut and left on the union to eventually fall off.

Grafting is also done out of doors at a time just before vigorous growth commences on the understock. This is usually confined to trees that are being “made over” as will be explained below. Grafting small plants out of doors does not result in as much success as doing it inside under controlled temperature and moisture conditions.

Factors other than timing must be right. Air temperature must be in the 70′s or conducive to continued plant growth. Moisture must be present— the graft union must not be allowed to dry out in any way. Disease spores must not get into the union. These are the reasons why grafting is usually carried out in the greenhouse in “grafting cases,” places enclosed by glass or polyethylene with high humidity. This is also the reason why the graft union is covered with wax or polyethylene film as soon as it is made to keep the tender new-forming cells from exposure and possible drying out.

The most difficult time for the new graft is when it is noted that the scion has started into active growth. It must be kept in active growth, yet too high a temperature and too much moisture in the grafting case may cause it to grow too rapidly and fail to make a proper union. Here experience certainly aids the individual in properly regulating moisture and temperature.

The most important decision to make in grafting is to select the right kind of graft cut to make. Actually, if properly done, any one of the methods should result in a successful graft, but experience has shown that certain types of grafting cuts seem to result in better end results on certain species than others. This is not the place to go into this detailed discussion, but one should be familiar with the different types.

Whip Graft

A double matching cut is made in both stock and scion. If this is to be used, the understock and the scion should be about the same dia. (lead-pencil size or slightly larger) and the top of the stock should be completely cut of an inch or so above the place of the proposed union. The whip graft is also ideal to use in root grafting, that is, in grafting a scion on to a piece of root (of the same dia.). If done properly, and it takes experience to make just the right cuts, it can be highly successful because there is so much of the cambium that can be fitted together in this double cut.

Side Graft

Merely making a slanting cut into the stock and inserting a wedge-shaped scion into it. This is often the method chosen when the stock is larger in dia. than the scion. Sometimes the top of the stock is severed just above the graft as soon as it is made. Other times it is left to grow for a week or two and then cut off. It is this method which is frequently used in bonsai culture to supply a new branch at exactly the right place it is needed.

Cleft Graft

This is the type of graft employed in grafting trees in the open. It is frequently employed in grafting apples, where a tree of an old outmoded variety is to be “changed over” to a new and better variety. In this case, all the main limbs are sawed off carefully and “clefts” or splits are made in them with a large grafting tool similar to a butcher’s knife. Two or 3 such openings can be made in a 4-6 in. branch. Then, 3 or more wedge-shaped scions are inserted carefully, so the cambium tissue of stock and scion meet exactly, the entire union is painted with wax and one then awaits developments. Only 1 of the 3 or 4 scions will be allowed to grow eventually, but it is a quick method of making over a tree of bearing size. In fact, the newly made-over tree may grow so well that it may begin producing the new variety of apple in 3 or 4 years. Because the stock is so large, it is not necessary to stick stock and scion together in such a graft, for the properties inherent in the wood of the large branches are enough to hold the scions tightly for all practical purposes.

Bark Graft

This is done on the cut limbs of trees, merely by slitting the bark a few inches in a straight line from the cut surface, and then inserting the wedge-shaped scion just between the bark and wood of the stock. Three or 4 of these can be inserted, but the whole should be tied tightly to prevent the bark of the branch from curling away or splitting farther and thus exposing the scion to drying out.

Approach Grafting

Consider 5 small plants in pots, one of a very rare type, the other a worthless seedling. The seedling would act as the understock for the rare plant, the whole idea being that one does not risk loss of the rare plant in this method. A cut is made in the side of the understock or some of the bark is very carefully removed just to the cambium. A matching cut is made in the rare plant or a matching part of its bark is carefully removed. Then they are joined together, tied and painted, while the tops of both are allowed to grow. If it is obvious that the union is growing together, the part of the understock above the graft can be removed. When the union is solidly made, the scion material can be partially cut away from the scion plant, and later another deeper cut made so that the severance of the scion from the parent plant takes place over a period of weeks. This is a method used by the experts to graft two plants together that are otherwise difficult.

Marching

Sometimes a plant is growing with the wrong kind of understock and the tree needs a better root system. Young plants are established at the base, a narrow strip of bark removed on the tree to correspond with a similar width of bark removed on the new plants. Several such plants can be stabilized and grafted to one trunk.

Bridge grafting over a jagged cut breaking the bark completely around a tree. The scions are taken from the living branches of the same tree and covered with wax to finish the operation.

The bridge grafts can be nailed or tied in place and the whole exposed wound painted with wax. The idea here is to cut the top and bottom of the scions in such a way that they can be inserted underneath the bark above and below the wound, with the cambium tissues of stock and scion in contact with each other. Hence these shoots will, if they grow, act as bridges over the injured trunk for the upward and downward flow of nutrients and foods. Many a damaged tree has been saved in this way. However, such an operation is best done when the tree is dormant, certainly not when the scions are in leaf. If properly done, these scions will gradually increase in size and may completely heal over the injured trunk by growing solidly together.

Double Grafting

Sometimes this method is used, especially to produce a dwarf plant or when one kind of plant material is not compatible with the under-stock. Grafting is done in the normal way using an “intermediate” scion, that is, a scion from a plant that will be compatible with the understock and the plant to be grafted as well. An example is the grafting of Bartlett Pear on quince roots for dwarfing. These a are not compatible but if a seedling pear is grafted on the quince roots, then the Bartlett Pear grafted on the seedling pear, this results in a good tree. This can be done in different ways. The Bartlett Pear can be grafted on pieces of the seedling pear and the grafted pieces put in moistened peat moss in a cool place for a few weeks until callused, when this piece (with scion and intermediate graft) is grafted onto a dormant quince root. Or, the seedling pear can be budded onto rooted cuttings of the quince one summer, and then the Bartlett Pear can be budded on the seedling pear the next.

So, grafting can be a complicated process but, if done properly, results in fairly good trees. Sometimes, years after the grafting, one notices a large hump at the graft union, showing clearly that the stock has grown much faster than the scion. Sometimes just the reverse is true. Frequently this is not serious but, whenever possible, it is always best to select an understock that grows at the same rate as the plant from which the scion was taken.

Duck Raising

by on Friday, February 28, 2014 9:52 under Home & Garden.

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Ducks are very easy to handle, taking less time and work than other fowl. Also, their housing needs no insulation and requires less heat than chicken housing.

One of the big dividends of duck raising is the manure. It is twice as rich in nitrogen, and contains approximately six times the phosphorus and the same amount of potash as average farm manure.

Breeds

There are egg breeds, meat breeds and ornamental breeds of ducks, and the breed you grow depends on what you expect from your birds. For eggs, the Khaki Campbells and Indian Runners are both good though neither breed produces a good bird, Khaki Campbells have averaged 365 eggs per year, per bird as opposed 260, per year for many chickens.

There are three primary meat breeds. Pekin is the bird raised commercially in the United States for meat production. This is a good quality bird. The birds reach market within eight weeks, and they are white feathered, a big advantage in the marketplace. However ducks are poor sitters and very nervous. Flocks have to be handled with care.

Aburys are popular in England for meat portions and, like the Pekins, mature in eight weeks. Although they are not as nervous, the Abury is less popular because it has feathers.

Muscovies, another meat breed, takes longer to mature, approximately ten weeks, but is larger than the Pekin and tends to be fatter. In addition, Muscovies, though only layers, are good sitters.

Ornamental breeds include Cayugas, tall Mandarins and Blue Swedish.

Starting

It is best to start with day-old ducklings rather than try to incubate fertile eggs. Put the day-old ducklings immediately under the brooder set at 90°F (2.22°C). Reduce the temperature five degrees (F.) a week until they are let out. After a few days, ventilation is vital. Ventilate enough to keep dampness down, but avoid drafts.

A 10-by-12-foot brooder house will accommodate 200 to 300 ducklings, or a temporary pen may be built in a laying house.

During their first two weeks, the ducks should get starter pellets or a starter mash thoroughly wetted; only mix as much mash as the birds will eat, extra mash will sour and the ducklings will not eat it. After two weeks, switch to growing pellets or growing mash with about a 15 percent protein content. You can use the same mixture you’re feeding your chickens. At eight weeks, switch to fattening pellets.

Ample fresh, clean water is a necessity. Running water in shallow, narrow troughs will allow the baby ducks to submerge their bills and eyes without getting their bodies wet.

Ducklings need a constant supply of fine grit. Feed separately from the mash.

If ducks are to be raised entirely in confinement, they will need three square feet per bird by the time they are six weeks old. They will also require deep litter. Straw makes good bedding material. If ranged in warm weather they can be let out after the first three weeks. Ducklings are much hardier than baby chicks. Cool temperatures make them feather out faster and eat better for smooth, plump flesh, but it’s a good idea to harden off the ducklings by admitting increasing amounts of cool air for a week prior to ranging.

On range, tall weeds or trees, or frames covered with boards and building paper, are sufficient protection from the sun and rain.

Move mash hoppers and water fountains frequently to avoid bare spots.

On small farms try to locate duck yards on gently sloping land with light sandy soil. Manure should be scraped up regularly, or a couple of inches of gravel laid down to make the yards self-cleaning when it rains. A yard 50 by 75 feet will hold 100 ducklings.

A pond or brook will reduce the amount of water hauled to your flock. The ducks don’t need a particularly large or deep pond, just one big enough to clean themselves. It should be shallow and flowing. Some farmers dam a stream and periodically flush out the resulting pond to remove manure. A settling basin is an excellent way to catch the sludge after flushing, which can then be used on your garden. Some farmers provide shallow splash pans of water which they clean frequently. This is particularly necessary during breeding season, when moisture is essential for proper hatching of the eggs.

Breeding Ducks

For a steady supply of ducks throughout the year, a breeding flock is a necessity. Select ducks for breeding carefully. Ducks should come from early hatches, have good weight, conformation and feathering. Allow approximately one drake to six ducks.

Separate your breeders from the rest of the flock, and check for general health and vitality. Ducks need about five square feet of housing space per bird, outdoor exercise in all but the worst winter weather, and swimming water to keep in top condition.

Duck eggs are incubated four weeks before they hatch (Muscovy eggs take five weeks). They require a lot more moisture than hens’ eggs and must be turned three or four times a day. Since ducks lay at night, gather eggs in the morning for best results in the mechanical breeder. Wash carefully. Have eggs at room temperature before incubating. Candle eggs at seven or eight days, and discard those with dead embryos or infertile eggs. Living embryos have the appearance of a spider floating inside the eggs.

When hatched, put the baby ducklings in the brooder as soon as they are dry and fluffy. See that ample food and water are available.

Diseases

Ducks raised in relative and in small numbers suffer little diseases. Muscovies appear to be more resilient than Pekins or Runners. If you have a flock has been suspected to have disease, don’t wait to call a vet.

Slaughtering

Properly grown Pekins weigh between five and six pounds at nine to eleven weeks. After twelve weeks or so, they won’t grow larger without out considerable extra feeding, and the meat is tough and stringy. Muscovies should not be slaughtered after 17 weeks of age for the same reason.

Dry-picking birds is best, although many commercial concerns dip the ducks in boiling water or in wax which, when cooled, peels off quite easily bringing feathers with it. If dry-picked, the birds hold their flavor better. Duck down can also be a valuable by-product for homestead. It should be treated in the same way as goose down.

Duck eggs sometimes find a good market, and duck is a popular entree in many restaurants.

Planting Raspberries

by on Monday, February 24, 2014 20:43 under Home & Garden.

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These shrubs are among the hardiest of the bush fruits and are perfectly at home in the northern United States and southern Canada. The canes are biennial, as in they normally are produced one year, fruit the second year and then die and should be removed in the annual thorough pruning that these shrubs require to keep them in good bearing condition. The new shoots either appear at the base of the plant or as suckers a foot or so removed from the plant.

There are 2 types of red raspberries, those that only fruit once a year, and those sometimes termed “ever-bearing” that fruit early, in the season (July), have a few weeks rest, and then fruit again in Sept. After growing both types, I must admit to liking the “ever-bearing” group better, for in a good growing season it does seem that we have fresh fruit from early summer to frost, with a break of about 2 two weeks. However, some gardeners may not care for raspberries this much or may be away from home in early summer. It also must be admitted that fruits of the “ever-bearing” types may not be quite as large or sweet as the others. So, one has a decision to make concerning the type to plant.

No work is required except seeing to it that all canes are kept within the limits set by the wires. There are other methods, but this works well and, if made of sturdy materials, needs no attention for years.

As noted, pruning is done after fruiting in the late summer, for the crop varieties, or in the fall, winter or early spring for the crop or “ever-bearing” varieties. Canes left may have the tops snipped off at about 41-106 ft. high, depending on variety.
The Black Raspberry (or Blackcap) and the Purple Raspberry are treated in the same manner, except that the shoots tend to be long and trailing and the ends might well be cut off when they have reached their proper manageable height (5-6 ft) which forces lateral growth, especially desirable since these plants only produce 3-12 canes per plant and can get too heavy if the canes are cut off much higher. This heading back should be done as soon as the growth reaches this height.

Propagation is simply by dividing the plants, digging up rooted suckers, or using a sharp spade through the center of a plant from which many canes have developed. The black-caps are reproduced by tip layering, merely selecting a long arching shoot, placing the tip firmly in the ground with just the end showing. This is done in late summer and by the following spring this should be rooted.

Planting can be done in either the fall or the spring, but ether things being equal, early spring is probably best. When properly planted (about 30-45 in. apart in the row for the raspberries and 3-6 ft. apart for the blackcaps) the canes are cut back to about 5 in.

Planting Gourds

by on Monday, February 17, 2014 5:53 under Home & Garden.

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These are members of the Cucumber Family belonging mostly to the genera Cucurbita, Lagenaria, and Luffa. By far the largest numbers of varying ornamental hard-shelled gourds are those originating from Cucurbita pepo ovifera which is the yellow-flowered gourd, easily distinguished from the white-flowered Lagenaria types which take a longer growing season to mature properly. Gourds can be grown in any good soil similar to that in the vegetable garden. They need as long a growing period as possible, especially L. siceraria, the reason why some gardeners in the North just do not have a sufficient number of days of hot sunshine to mature the fruits. On the other hand, Cucurbita pepo ovifera ripens easily in Zones 3 and 4.

Gourd Seeds

One should be certain at the start to obtain good viable seed from a reliable source. Seeds-men are selling gourds in 2 ways. The first is “mixed,” that is, several varieties of differently shaped gourds have been used for seed purposes and one can obtain many interesting gourds from such a package. On the other hand, the unscrupulous person will mix seed from a lot of inferior-shaped types together, and still sell them as “mixed” and be correct in so doing. Other seeds-men who have sources of seed from pure stands of Nest Egg, Striped Pear, Spoon or Miniature Bottle, will sell seeds of these types and the gardener has reasonable assurance they will produce gourds true to name. It really pays to purchase well-grown reliable seeds of this type regardless of whether they are sold as individual varieties or as “Super Hybrids Mixed.” Germination is helped if the seed is soaked in warm water for 12-48 hours before sowing. Seed will keep at least a year, (usually several), if put in a dry cool place.

When to Plant Gourds

Good seed should be sown in hills, 6-8 seeds per hill, after all the dangers of frost are over. It is unwise to sow too early for they simply will not grow until the soil warms up. They can be started in pots in the greenhouse 3 weeks before they are to be set out in the garden, thus gaining a few weeks on the ones planted directly in the soil. However, the roots should not be disturbed in transplanting, but the entire pot full of undisturbed roots and soil set out in one careful operation. Certainly this is the way to plant Lagenaria varieties especially in the North, and even then there may not be sufficient time for the fruit to ripen properly. All gourds should be grown in full sunshine, not in the shade.

Theoretically gourds should be trained on a trellis, up some chicken wire or over some brush to keep the fruits off the ground. Most of us do not have time for that and are willing to take our chances with a few of the fruits being marred on the ground. Seeds might be planted twice their length deep in good, friable soil. When seedlings are up the hills might be thinned to about 4 plants per hill, the hills being about 8 ft. apart. If the seed was “mixed” remember that the seedlings will show variation and one should not remove all the smallest seedlings, because these might just be the varieties with the smallest and most interesting fruits.

Fertilizers should be applied as for pumpkins and squash. The roots of gourds are very close to the soil surface hence in hoeing one should be careful not to disturb the roots. They need ample water and should be given plenty of it during drought periods.

Gourd Pruning

Pruning the vines can increase the number of fruits borne per vine. The main stem should be allowed to grow until it is to ft. long, when the end can be removed. It is on this part that mostly male flowers are borne. The lateral shoots bear mostly pistillate flowers. If the end bud of the main shoot is snipped off after the shoot is to ft. long, then the first lateral shoots have the main end buds taken off them when each shoot has developed about 4 leaves, this is sufficient for the pruning. Any sub-lateral shoots, developing after this, are allowed to grow at will. This type of pruning can aid in the production of more fruits.

Gourd Harvesting

Gourds must be thoroughly ripened on the vine before they are picked, for if picked when green or immature they will soon rot. For the varieties of Cucurbita pepo ovifera, the stem where the gourd is attached to the vine should be watched. When this starts to shrivel and dry up, then the gourd should be picked. It is best to cut them off the vine with shears, saving a few inches of stem on each gourd, rather than roughly tearing them off the vine, often severing the stem right at the end of the gourd. If roughly done, this can injure the gourd end just enough to allow disease to enter and the fruit will rot.

Ornamental Gourds

The gourds should not be left out in the field, but rather brought in and washed, often with a mild disinfectant, and set aside a few days to dry thoroughly. The idea is to wash off any soil or impurities which may have become attached to the shell. After a few days they can then be carefully waxed with any floor paste wax, and set aside for use as ornaments. Some will undoubtedly rot, but the majority, if picked when fully mature, will harden nicely and can be used for years.

The white gourds of Lagenaria siceraria should be even more carefully watched and picked just before they start to turn yellowish from too much sunshine. In the South these calabash gourds are easy to grow and to mature, but in the North it is very difficult to grow them properly. They include the Bottle, Depressed Bottle, Powder Horn, Dipper and Kettle.

Gourd Grading

Nest and Dolphin types along with many others are 2 species have green fruits with a rind that is not hard, but dry and papery. These can be a foot long and also take a long growing season. The inside pulp can be dried out and then used as a dish cloth.

It is of interest to note that markings can be made on the shells of any of these gourds when they are half ripe and growing on the vines. Thus, initials, characters, rough line sketches made at this time, eventually look as if they had actually grown on the shell. Also wires, strings or even containers can be placed around the developing fruits in such ways as to permanently change and control the shape. Thus, it is possible to have a square gourd (forced to grow within some confining square metal or concrete box). These then are the popular hard-shelled gourds.

Planting Artichokes

by on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 4:06 under Home & Garden.

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Native to the Mediterranean region, the globe artichoke is finding increasing popularity among gardeners in the damp mild coastal regions of this country. Generally three to five feet tall, this coarse, herbaceous perennial has large, lobed leaves to three feet long and good-sized heads that take on a violet shade as they ripen. The base of the scales of the unripe flower head, along with the bottom part of the artichoke, is eaten either cooked or raw.

Artichokes are best planted as started seedlings in trenches eight inches deep, lined with one inch of compost or rotted manure. While it does best in rich sandy loam, the artichoke will grow on any kind of soil, so long as it is trenched, pulverized and well manured. Plant roots five to six inches below the surface, cover with soil and tamp firmly. When plants are six inches tall, mulch heavily to preserve moisture. Cut away all but six of the suckers that develop at the base when plant reaches eight inches and transplant the suckers to make a new row. Plant these singly two feet apart, in rows at least four feet apart, or in groups of three in triangles, at least four feet apart in the row. Protect the young suckers with hot caps, evergreen boughs or some other protecting material. Cut plants back to the ground in fall. In cool areas, protect through the winter with an inverted bushel basket with leaves.

During dry weather furnish artichokes with copious amounts of manure water or compost tea. Deep, thorough watering is best, followed by a liberal mulching of half-rotted manure between the rows.

Crops are produced in spring in warmer areas; in summer farther north. Halfway through the growing season, apply a small handful of fertilizer around the base of each plant, and repeat after harvest. When harvesting, cut with one inch of stem. The preferred method of preparing artichokes is to harvest a head while still green and unopened, when it is about the size of an orange. Heads are placed in a pot of cold water, salted and cooked for 45 minutes after the water has begun to boil. Individual leaves are then picked off and eaten one by one, starting at the outside. The thickened bottom portion of the leaf is dipped in melted butter or basil vinaigrette and its fleshy part stripped between the teeth. When all the leaves have been eaten and the hairy “choke” at the heart removed, the meaty and delicious artichoke heart—the best part of the plant—reveals itself.

The variety most commonly grown in this country is large Green Globe, which normally buds in its second year.

Although it bears a slight resemblance in taste, the globe artichoke is completely unrelated to the Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthustuberosus), a North American sunflower.

Planting Cucumbers

by on Sunday, February 9, 2014 15:44 under Home & Garden.

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A member of the Cucumber family, native to tropical Africa, the watermelon needs a long, dry growing season.

Cucumber Planting and Culture

Soil, for good watermelons, should be light, fertile, deep, and well drained. A pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is preferred. Preparation of the soil should begin the fall before planting. At that time, turn under manure to a depth of six to eight inches. If there is a plentiful supply of manure on hand, dig in an inch layer of it all over the watermelon bed. If the supply is limited, a few forkfuls maybe dug into the hills, and left to decompose during the winter, so that the nutrients have time to leach down into the soil to a depth where the vine’s deepest roots will find them. A handful of phosphate rock and one of greensand or granite dust may be incorporated into the hills at the same time. Lime should not be used unless the pH is below 5.

In cool areas, or where the growing season is short, seed may be started indoors in peat or compressed manure pots and moved to the garden when all danger of frost is past. A greenhouse or hotbed makes it possible to start the seed eight weeks before field-planting time. If they must be started in the home, sow them just six weeks before field planting. Otherwise they will become leggy. Plant three or four seeds in each pot and thin to one vine. Later, when setting out plants, place three pots in each hill. After the vines have made a foot or two of growth, thin each hill to one or two vines.

If seeds are to be started directly in the garden, space hills six to 12 feet apart, depending upon the variety planted and the fertility of the soil. On rich soil with high summer temperatures, the plants will grow and fruit rapidly. In the South, practically all are started in the open. Seeds are planted ten to 14 days before the last expected frost, so that the seedlings will come up as soon as possible after the frost. If there is any danger that frost may overtake the seedlings, make two plantings in each hill a week apart, putting in half the seeds each time. A total of eight to ten seeds should be planted in each hill in a circle that is 13 inches in diameter. Cover the seeds with an inch of soil. After the first true leaves appear on the young plants, reduce the number plants to four or five per hill. Gradually thin them as they grow larger, until only one or two long vines are left.

Cucumber Mulching

Watermelon vines should be mulched to keep down the weeds, but the mulch should not be applied until the soil is thoroughly warm. In the meantime, keep the area clean with hay or chopped leaves. Spread them in over the entire watermelon mulch and draw the mulch up to the base. This should be done before fruits begin to form, because the small fruits may be damaged by handling. The best time to apply mulch is after a rain.

Cucumber Thinning

Commercial growers often thin on the vines in order to produce larger, more uniform melons and to speed ripening when no more than two melons are left on each plant. In the home garden, the vines may be premixed to set more fruit, but late-set fruit should be removed. When too few hot days are left for maturing fruit, all blossoms should be removed from the plants before they begin to develop. The sooner these are removed, the more plant energy will be diverted the development of the early-set fruit.

Cucumber Harvesting

Melons are most flavorful when permitted to ripen on the vine. Experience is the best judge of ripeness and none of the many ways advanced to choose a ripe melon is infallible. According to Mark Twain, a green melon says “pink” or “pank” when thumped with the knuckles; a ripe one says punk.” A less subjective way to determine ripeness is to take a look at the melon and vines. The fruit is apt to be ripe when the underside turns from white to yellow and at least three tendrils on each side of the melon are dead.

Cucumber Varieties

Charleston Gray adapts to climates throughout the United States. It has an 85-day maturation period, and is fiber-free and disease resistant. Dixie Queen is wilt resistant and requires 90 warm days to reach maturity. Fordhook Hybrid bears small-seeded fruits and is hardy in the North. Also recommended for the North are Crimson Sweet, New Hampshire Midget, Golden Midget, and Sugar Baby. They are well adapted to cool climates and have growing periods of 65 to 90 days.

How to Make a Rock Garden

by on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 14:02 under Home & Garden.

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When rock garden was introduced to the United States from England in the Iwo’s, it soon became a craze. Those early rock gardens were developed in the English tradition, with emphasis on the beauty of composition of both rocks and plants, but after a while many of these man-made gardens became an ugly con-glomeration of rocks and stones. Soon, they were overdone, followed by a decline, but after World War II, a fresh approach was introduced in the Japanese style, with stress on openness and simplicity.

A rock garden may be defined as an out-cropping of rocks—natural or devised—where alpine plants from the mountainous regions of the world are grown. Usually it is on a slope, and although the plants chosen generally come from rocky places, usually at high elevations, many are simply low-growing perennials, annuals, bulbs, and shrubs that fit into the category.

Many gardeners are fortunate in having natural rock gardens, where their choice treasures are brought in and arranged in an artistic manner. In other instances, they are constructed with rocks—and boulders—that have been hauled in. This requires great skill, and the best are the result of the skillful execution of outstanding landscape architects and plantsmen. Unless well done, a rock garden can be an eyesore, nothing more than a mere pile of rocks among which plants are set and often allowed to grow rampant.

The natural rock garden is characterized by light, poor, gravelly, well-drained soil. In the constructed garden, this kind of soil is essential. It provides the kind of medium in which most of these plants survive. A heavy soil in winter becomes water logged. By remaining too damp, plants tend to rot, especially where winter rains are heavy. A too-rich soil promotes lush, soft growth that likewise is inclined to become winter-killed.

The artificial rock garden should be constructed with the proper growing conditions in order to display plants that generally cannot be grown elsewhere. It is intended for alpine plants, which are found growing wild on mountains between the tree line and the lower limits of snow. The rocks not only show off the plants to best advantage, but perform other important functions. They help to keep the soil cool and to conduct moisture to the plant roots. Excessive moisture through evaporation is prevented, and the soil is held by them in place. Even when all these conditions are provided, the rock garden may not fare well, but for another reason. It has to do with the length of the growing season, usually varying with that of the natural habitat of the plants.

The well-designed rock garden, especially if large, will be represented by many different kinds of topographical areas. It may have a rocky hillside and a steep slope. It may display a low plain, a hidden valley, a bog, a brook or stream, and a quiet pool, as commonly found in nature. At some point, it may even possess a high and windy mountain peak where few plants grow.

In extensive stretches, larger, bolder plants maybe used. The smaller the rock garden, the smaller the plants should be. Most rock plants are under a foot in height when full grown, but dwarf shrubs, may be up to 3 feet. Although alpine and rock plants are usually selected, others qualify if their size and height are right. They may be mat-forming or spreading and may come from meadows, woods, prairies or bogs. Many that are typical rock plants are often grown in borders with other flowers, among them Arabis, Aubrieta, Gold-dust, Cerastium, Hardy randy-tuft, Dwarf Iris, Ground Phlox, and Epimedium. These can be added to a wide variety of small bulbs and low annuals, like Sweet Alyssum, Lobelia and dwarf French marigolds.

The classical rock garden, with its need for hand and knee labor by skilled gardeners has become a thing of the past. It was intended to copy nature and to display many interesting and unusual plants, some of them rare. Today’s rock gardens have changed to meet the needs of the times. Simplicity and ease of maintenance is the keynote. Yet there are many lovely compositions that have resulted from this new concept which have combined the best and most practical elements of the British and the Japanese, the styles that have helped to mold the contemporary rock garden of today.

As with other forms of gardening, certain basic principles apply—scale, proportion, balance and good design, which includes a pleasing arrangement of the various parts into a harmonious whole. Most of all, it is originality and imagination that count.

Rock Garden Location

The site of the rock garden is of prime importance. If there is a natural outcropping of rocks, such as found in New England, the Appalachians, the Rockies and other mountainous areas of the country, and then select it, since there is nothing more beautiful than an arrangement of rocks placed in position by the forces of nature.

In any case, allow for full sun for at least part of the day. Yet charming rock gardens can be established on natural outcroppings where large trees, too precious to cut down, exist on the property. In such instances, the rock garden will not be gay and colorful in spring and early summer, but it can impart simple charm and a feeling of coolness. In summer, bits of color can be added with Coleus, Patient Plant, tuberous begonias, Madagascar periwinkle, fancy-leaved caladiums and Thunbergii. In early spring, before trees drop their leaves, miniature bulbs and species daffodils and tulips will unfold their pretty flowers.

Rock Garden Design

Before starting to build, whether you will plant around existing rocks or start from the beginning, make sketches on paper. A rock garden, like any other type of garden, is based on principles of design. If it is large, it will need paths and walks, or at least stepping stones and the paths should be of a winding, informal nature. Straight, rigid lines are not appropriate. Paths not only make delightful wandering, but make it possible to reach the plants in order to care for them. Unless comprised of stones, they should be covered with natural material, like pine needles, tanbark, shredded tree bark, or stone chips or pebbles. Be certain that these paths blend in with the surrounding plants.

If working with a steep slope, it will be necessary to make several terraces to hold back the soil. Areas can be leveled off every 2 feet before rocks are arranged on them. In many cases, this can add to the appeal of the rock garden, adding interest because of the level variations.

It is also a good idea to jot down on paper the positions of several plants. At this point, it is advisable to get to know their growth habits.

Rock Garden

A rock garden can be built on level ground, although it takes far greater ingenuity to make it look as if it has always been there. Some of the great rock gardens of the world, often found in botanic gardens, are made, and are so artfully executed that they have every feeling of being natural.

When choosing the location, look for a spot that receives abundant sunshine, away from the shade of large trees which cut out the sunlight and rob plants of precious nourishment and needed moisture. When dealing with a slope, this is not always possible, but sometimes, there is a choice. Keep away from artificial surroundings, since a rock garden is essentially a casual, informal type of garden expression that should harmonize with its immediate surroundings. Avoid as backgrounds high, austere wails, porches or the facades of houses, driveways and sidewalks, and a strictly formal garden, with clipped hedges and plants arranged in geometric patterns.

Exposure should also be taken into consideration. Rock garden and alpine plants are sun loving, although this does not mean full exposure to the all-day sun in some instances, especially if the shone faces south, this can be harmful in the case of winter sun and winds. One that faces east is considered ideal, but northeast, west and northwest are also excellent. When dealing with alpines from high mountaintops, north exposure, open to the sky, without any interference from trees, is recommended. This is because these small plants are covered, in their native haunts, by a thick blanket of snow all winter, and are not exposed to the sun or biting winds.

Southern exposures, particularly in the case of more rampant plants such as Ground Phlox, Aubrieta, Arabis, Gold-dust, and Dwarf Iris, are not to be neglected altogether. Many out-standing rock garden specialists have thriving sides of reeks where they present a glorious sight when in full flower. Less vigorous kinds, like small alpines, should be placed in narrow crevices where they will not be overpowered.

When designing the rock garden, avoid pockets where water collects, since good drainage is essential for success. Secure rocks well by placing them deeply. Any that are loose can cause damage when accidentally walked on. Look for rocks that are native to the region. Weathered rocks of any kind are good, but obtain stones that are irregular and asymmetrical and dark in coloring. Rounded stones are bad because they do not look natural.

Select rocks of different sizes, but avoid the use of too many. A rock garden is not a collection of rocks, but a collection of plants arranged around carefully selected and placed rocks and stones. Few types of gardening are easier to overdo than this. A mountain of rocks presents a jarring note that not even a healthy grouping of flowering plants can ameliorate.

Soiling Rock Garden

In a way, soil and construction go hand in hand. If soil is not the right kind, it can be especially prepared to meet the needs of the plants. In the case of existing rocks, poor soil will have to be scooped out and replaced with the proper mixture.

Most rock garden plants are not fussy about soil, and will grow in almost any kind, provided there is good drainage. Some plants require an acid soil; others prefer one that is alkaline. Yet most thrive in soil that ranges between pH6 and pH8. A thin, porous one is best, more so in sections of the country where rainfall is heavy.

Where droughts prevail during the growing season, the soil should be heavier and more moisture retentive to meet the needs of plants. In this case, it should be prepared beforehand with humus. Other aids consist of using mulches of fine gravel or stone chips to hold in the moisture. These will also help to prevent weeds from taking over.

A simple preparation consists of equal parts soil, coarse sand, and peat moss, leaf mold or compost. Another combines equal parts loam, leaf mold, peat moss, sand and fine gravel. Since most rock garden plants are lime-loving, add agricultural lime. Unless soil is very acid, a heavy sprinkling will do. Bone meal or superphosphate, slow-acting phosphoric fertilizers, can be added at the recommended amounts. Some rock plants do not need it, but others like Dianthus and campanulas appreciate it.

If scooping out soil in pockets and between crevices in natural rock outcroppings, dig to a depth of about a foot, where this is possible. Place a layer of stones, pebbles, or pieces of broken bricks at the bottom. Then add a layer of coarse sand or gravel before placing the soil on top. Wash each layer with the hose to make it settle firmly and eliminate air pockets.

Constructing Rock Garden

Constructing the rock garden is not the easiest task. It is advisable to do considerable reading beforehand and, where possible, employ the services of a qualified landscape architect. In either instance, observe and study rock formations in nature. The idea is not to copy them, but to receive inspiration and understand how they comprise a harmonious whole. Small rock can be lifted easily, but with larger ones you will need suitable tools. One or two crowbars will be among the handiest.

If proceeding on your own, first bring together the rocks to be used. Unless you have mastered your design so it is clearly in your mind, keep the plan sketched on a piece of paper close at hand.

Start to work at the lowest point. After placing a layer of drainage material at the bottom, add prepared soil in that particular spot, leaving the rest to spread around the rocks when in their final position. Generally speaking, keep the largest rocks for the base. In some instances, existing soil will have to be removed to make room for these boulders. Place them on their broadest bases, making certain they are secure. When completed, more than half of each rock should be under the surface of the ground. Arrange each so it leans toward the soil in order to catch rain water. Most of the rocks will have to be concentrated in steep places to hold back the soil. Use fewer where the grade is less abrupt, and allow for large levels where quantities of vigorous rock plants will be permitted to spill over the sides. Here and there small rocks can be used to give the impression that they have tumbled down. The key of the successful rock garden is to make it look as natural as possible, rather than man-made.

Before setting each rock in its permanent position, stand back to see how it looks. Turn it around a few times, and you will discover that, what was previously the bottom, may well be on the top. At this stage, it is easier to make changes.

When completed, and before you start to plant, let the rock garden rest for a few days. Up to this point, you have been too close to it and need to get away from it. You will have the opportunity to stand back and see the rock garden from several different angles at various times of the day, under divergent condition of sunlight and shadows. Strive for unity, harmony, with pot grown plants, as is often the case nowadays, you can do the work any time during the growing season, if water is available. Set out plants when soil is moist and crumbly. Avoid a very wet soil, which tends to cake and pack the roots, cutting down on the air supply.

When planting, firm the soil around the roots. You will have to take special precaution to get rid of air between rock crevices. Work slowly, ramming the soil as you proceed. Where space permits, use 3 or more specimens of the same kind in order to produce a broad splash of foliage and color. In small crevices and nooks use small alpines. They look more endearing, and are protected from vociferous neighbors by surrounding rocks. Dwarf types, as saxifrages, primulas, aubrietas, and small achilles, can be spaced 6-8 in. apart. More spreading thymes and Ground Phlox will need at least a foot.

Always strive for informality in the rock garden. A formal rock garden does not exist in nature. Plant singly or in clumps, but never in rows. Allow an occasional plant to stray here and there. Tuck one in a sheltered crevice, another in a narrow opening between stones. Always permit some to cascade, for they impart a special charm. Bring together beguiling foliage textures and patterns, not so difficult if you put your imagination to play.

Maintaining Rock Garden

On the whole, the rock garden requires little care, no hoeing or cultivating and very little weeding, once weeds are pulled up and thick mulches are applied. A minimum of feeding is needed, since a too-rich diet will promote lush growth that tends to rot or winterkill.

Even so, like any other form of gardening, general upkeep must be practiced if the rock garden is to look its best. It can quickly become an eyesore.

In the early spring, after winter covers are removed, gradually, according to the dictates of the weather, check plants to see if they need to be firmed back. Winter thawing and heaving will loosen them, but with the hands or feet this is easily done when soil is moist, but not wet. Some plants may require replanting if they have been pushed out of the soil too much.

A light scattering of a high phosphoric fertilizer, such as 5-to-5, can be spread on the surface of the soil and scratched in with a weeder where this is permissible, if it does not interfere with plant roots. Top dress the rock garden, using a mixture of 3 parts garden soil, 1 part leaf mold or peat moss, and 1 part coarse sand. To this add a 6-in. pot of bone meal to each wheelbarrow of prepared soil.

Planting in Rock Garden

Planting the rock garden requires a special kind of skill. First, become acquainted with the different kinds of plants. Some are shy, others are vigorous. Some are very hardy, others will need winter protection. It is important to know the forms and growth habits of each, as they vary to include the prostrate, rounded, spreading and upright forms.

As a beginner, start with some of the easier kinds, but this does not imply a limited variety. In fact, much of the interest in the rock garden stems from its varied number of plants. As you become familiar with these easy kinds, brine in the more difficult. They call for more specialized attention, but they offer keener pleasure.

A harmonious composition between rocks and plants is the aim of every rock garden, be it large or small. In a way, it is no different from other forms of gardening. Colors of many rock garden plants and alpines are bright and vivid—magentas, rose-pinks, golden yellows, orange-reds. Yet this does not mean they cannot be brought together into a harmonious unit. Where colors tend to clash if placed side by side, break them up through the use of white, the “peacemaker.” Also in the unobstructed sun-shine, where rock gardens are located, bright colors go together more easily, as is often seen in tropical gardens.

Early spring is a good time to plant, but better still is late summer or early fall when most rock plants are dormant. In spring, they are making rapid growth to come into bloom.

Wall Garden

The wall garden is more difficult to construct than the rock garden, but the same principles of design are involved. In it are gown small plants that abound in crevices and on cliffs, some that are tufted, some that droop, some that cling. The early spring is the best time to build and plant the wall garden which allows enough time for roots to become firmly established before the ground freezes.

A wall garden is usually placed in front of a bank to hold back the soil behind it. To do this properly, it should be solidly built, able to with-stand the pressure exerted by freezing soil behind it. Properly made, it can be as much as 55 ft. high.

As with the rock garden, the largest rocks should be used at the bottom, and the smallest at the top. Since no mortar will be used, it is the weight of the stones, one on top of the other, that will keep the wall firm and make it last for years. It is preferable to use local stone, although exotic vines can be brought in. The kind of stone to be used will depend, in the end, on the desired effect and the overall surroundings.

The wall garden inclines backward, so that it is lower at the back than in the front. The individual stone also tilts the same way toward the bank. This way the wall is held more firmly in position and the sloping angle permits rain to seep through the crevices to reach the roots the plants as they stretch out to the soil beyond.

When gathering stones, avoid those that are rounded, and select those that are flat any narrow. The largest, that will form the foundation, need not be below the frost line, but they should be secured firmly. Place them in a sloping position that is toward the soil, to about an in. deep, which is sufficient to provide a firm hold and prevent them from moving after heavy rains or cold winter weather. The width of the base should be about one-third of the height of the wall.

The larger the wall, the larger should be the stones. First place a row of the heaviest at the base, each leaning backward. Then add a few inches of soil, and it is well to use the specially prepared mixture recommenced for rock gardens. Always place about 6 in. of this soil in back of each rock or stone. Pack is in firmly to avoid air pockets, which dry out quickly and usually result in poor growth.

The next layer of rocks will require careful placement. Do not rest a rock on top of another but between two, so that its weight is borne by the rocks and not the soil. Continue in this manner all the way to the top. Always place each rock in a horizontal position. When completed, the weight will be carried by the rocks, and there will be no vertical crevices in the dry wall. The ideal way to plant is as you go along. After the rocks arc laid and 2 or 3 in. of soil is placed over them, rest plants in position and spread out the roots, covering them with 2 or 3 in. of the soil preparation. Plant layer at a time, and be certain to tamp the soil carefully.

In many instances, it is not possible to plant as you build. When the construction is completed, scoop out 1 or 2 trowel full of soil from a crevice, insert the roots of the plant, and replace as much of the soil as possible, pressing it firmly. Use smaller plants than you would by the other method, but also be prepared to expect some losses. Water and keep moist until plants are established.

Seeds can be sown in the wail garden in the spring. Mix the seed with moist sandy loam and press into the openings and crevices. A small piece of moss placed on the soil will help to prevent excessive drying out.