of the best yellow pine, nine feet two inches long, four feet ten inches wide, as high again in the back as in front, to give the top a due slope to the sun and a proper declevity to carry off the wet when covered with glass lights, to move off and on occasionally ; every joint ought to be tongued, the better to prevent the admission of cold air into, or emission of warm air out of the bed, but in such manner as the gardener may think proper. The back and front are to be nailed to corner posts, so as to admit the ends to fit in neatly, which ends are to be made fast to the posts by iron bolts keyed in the inside, for «he greater facility of taking the frame asunder when necessary ; each end must be made one inch and a half higher than the back and front, so as that one half its thickness may be grooved out on the inside, for the sash to rest and slide on, and the other half left for its support on the outside ; when finished give it two or three good coats of paint before you use it, and with a little care and an annual painting, it may last you twenty years.

These frames will take three lights of three feet wide each, each light containing five rows of glass pancs, six inches by four, overlapping one another about half an inch, which of all other sizes is the most preferable, on account of their cheapness in the first place, the closeness of their lap, their general strength and trifling expence of repairs ; however, each person will suit his own convenience as to the dimensions of glass. Where the sashes when laid on the frame meet, a piece of pine about three and a half inches broad and near two thick, should run from back to front morticed into each, for their support, and for them to slide on ; in the centre of which, as well as in the ends of the frame, it will be well to make a groove, five-eighths of an inch wide and near a quarter of an inch deep, rounded at bottom to receive and carry off any wet which may work down between the sashes.

But with respect to particular dimensions of frames, they are different according to the plants they are intended to protect, but generally from nine to twelve feet long, from four feet eight inches to five feet wide, from eighteen inches to three feet six inches high in the back, and from nine to eighteen inches in front, being for the most part twice as high in the back as in front, if not more.

The common kitchen garden frames may be of three different sizes, that is, for one, two and three lights, the latter of which lowever, are the most material, and which are employed for general use : but it is necessary also to have one and two light frames, the former as seedling frames, and the latter as succession or nursery frames, 10 forward the young plants to a due size for the three-light frames, in which they are to fruit.

Early Cucumbers and Nselons,

As it is generally the ambition of most gardeners to excel each other in the production of early cucumbers, &c. all necessary preparations should be made this month for that purpose, by preparing dung for hot-beds, in which to raise the plants ; for they, being of a tender quality, require the aid of artificial heat under shelter of

frames and glasses, until the middle or latter end of May, especially in the middle and eastern states.

But by the aid of hot-beds, defended with frames and glasses, we obtain early cucumbers, in young green fruit, fit to cut or gather in February, March and April, &c. and ripe melons in May and June.

The proper sorts of cucumbers for the early crops are the early short prickly, and long green prickly; of which the first sort comes earliest ; but the latter is considerably the finest fruit, and greatly preferable for general culture.

And if early melons are also required, there are several varieties of the fruit: the Cantaleupe is one of the best for its handsome growth, good size, and superior flavour ; and is in much estimation.

The true Cantaleupe or Armenian warted Melon, is very scarce in the United States; its fruit is large, roundish and deeply ribbed, a little compressed at both ends, the surface full of warted protuberanccs, like some species of squash, the flesh reddish, firm, and of a most delicious rich flavour; of which there are several varieties, differing principally in colour, and commonly called black rock, golden rock, &c.

This variety of melon derives the term Cantaleupe, from a place of that name near Rome, where it was first cultivated in Europe... brought thence from Armenia a country of Asia, in which is situatd the famous Mount Ararat.

But it may also be proper to raise some of the others for variety ; the Romana is a great bearer, comes early, but the fruit much smaller though well flavoured; the Polignac, Nutmeg and Minorca are also fine melons ; but it may also be eligible to raise two, three, or more of the best approved different sorts.

Observe, that in procuring these seeds for immediate sowing, both of cucumbers and melons, it is adviseable to have those of two, three or four years old, if possible, as the plants will generally show fruit sooner, as well as prove more fruitful than those of new seeds, which are apt to run vigorously to vine, osten advancing in considerable length before they show a single fruit; but when seeds of this age cannot be procured, new seeds may be improved by carrying them a few weeks previous to sowing in your waistcoat or breeches pocket.

In order to raise early cucumbers and melons, you must provide a quantity of fresh hot stable-cung, wherewith to make a small hot-bed for a seed-bed, in which to raise the plants to a proper growth for transplanting into larger hot-beds next month to remain to fruit; for this purpose a small bed for a one or two light frame may be sufficient, in which case two cart-load of hot dung will be enough for making a bed of proper dimensions for a one-light box, and so in proportion for a larger.

Agreeably to these intimations, provide the requisite supply of good borse-stable-ulung from the dunghills in stable-yards, &c. consisting of that forined of the moist stable litter and dunging of the horses together, choosing that which is moderately fresh, moist, and full of heat.....always prefering that which is of some lively, warm, steamy quality; and of which take the long and short together as it occurs, in proper quantity as above. And being thus procured, proceed to making the hot-bed, or previously to forming it into a bed, if the dung is rank, it would be proper to prepare it a little to an improved state, more successful for that purpose, by forking the whole up into a heap, mixing it well together; and let it thus remain eight or ten days to ferment equally, and for the rank steam and fierce heat to transpire, or evaporate in some effectual degree; and by which time it will have acquired a proper temperament for making into a hot-bed, by which treatment the heat will be steady and lasting, and not so liable to become violent or burning, as when the dung is not previously prepared.

Choose a place on which to make your hot-bed, in a sheltered dry part of the framing ground,* &c. open to the morning and south sun: and it may be made either wholly on the surface of the ground, or in a shallow trench, of from six to twelve inches deep, and four or five feet wide, according to the frame; but if made entirely on the surface, which is generally the most eligible method at this early season, it affords the opportunity of lining the sides of the bed with fresh hot dung, quite down to the bottom, to augment the heat when it declines, and also prevents wet from settling about the bottom of the bed, as often happens when made in a trench, which chills the dung, and causes the heat soon to decay.

Then according to the size of the frame, mark out the dimensions of the bed, either on the ground, or with four stakes; making an allowance for it to be about four or five inches wider than the frame each way : this done, begin to make the bed accordingly, observing to shake and mix the dung well, as you lay it on the bed, and beat it down with the back of the fork, as you go on : but I would not advise treading it, for a bed which is trodden hard will not work so kindly, and be more liable to burn than that which is suffered to settle gradually of itself: in this manner proceed till the bed has arrived at the height of four feet, which will not be too much; making an allowance for its settling six or eight inches, or more, in a week or fortnight's time ; and as soon as finished, let the frame and glass be put on: keep them close till the heat comes up, then raise the glass behind that the steam may pass away.

The next thing to be observed, is about earthing the bed, in which to sow the seed; and for which occasion, should have a proper supply of rich, light, dry earth, or compost, ready at this season, under some airy dry shed, or lovel, covered at lop to keep out rain, that the earth may be properly dry : for if too moist or wet at this time, it would prove greatly detrimental both to the growth of the seed and young plants, as well as be very apt to cake and burn at bottom next the dung, by the strong heat of the bed : therefore, observing, that for early hot-beds of cucumbers and melons, should generally depo

Framing Ground is a part of the Kitchen Garden, well defended from cutting winds, and well exposed to the sun ; particularly intended for framing of all kinds, and generally enclosed with live or rced hedges, or board fences, the former being the most preferable,

sit a necessary quantity of proper earth, under somc cover as above, either the beginning of winter, or at least a fortnight, or three or four weeks previous to making the hot-bed, in order to have it in the dry mellow state above mentioned, ready for immediate use when wanted.

Three or four days after the bed is made, prepare to earth it; previously observing, if it has settled unequally, to take off the frame and glasses, and level any inequalities; make the surface smooth, put on the frame again, and then lay therein as much of the abovementioned earth as will cover the whole top surface of the bed, about three or four inches thick, then fill two, three, or more middling smallish garden-pots with more of the aforesaid rich earth, place them within the frame on the hot-bed, put on the glass or glasses, and continue them till the earth in the pots is warm ; and when that is effected, sow the seeds in the pots, both of cucumbers and melons, each separately, more or less in each pot, according to the quantity of plants required; but generally considerably more of cucumbers than of melons at this season, covering in the seeds near half an inch deep with the same earth.

This done, place the pots towards the middle of the bed, plunging the bottom part a little into the earth, drawing some of the same up round each pot at the same time; or in two or three days after, may sow a few seeds in the earth of the bed, to have a chance both ways; but by sowing in pots, if the bed should heat too violently, as is sometimes unavoidably the case, the pots can be readily drawn up more or less, out of danger of burning the earth, &c. therein; and thus, the sowing in pots in a new made hot-bed in full heat may prove of greater advantage than sowing in the earth of the bed, with regard to more probable safety from burning.

After sowing the seeds, put on the lights or glasses close ; but when the steam from the heat of the bed rises copiously, give it vent by raising one corner of the upper ends of the lights, half an inch or an inch, which is also necessary in order to prevent any burning tendency from the great heat of the bed in its early state.

Continue now to cover the glasses of the hot-bed every evening, about an hour before sun-setting if inild weather, but earlier in proportion to its severity, with garden mats; and uncover them every morning, not sooner than between eight and nine o'clock, at this season ; and observc, in covering up in the evening, that as the bed will at first have a strong heat and steam within the frame, it may be adviseable to cover only a single mat thick for the first three or four nights, as a thicker covering in the carly state of the bed might be apt to occasion a too violent internal heat and steam of a burning nature ; but as the great heat decreases, augment the covering, being careful not to suffer the ends of the mats to hang down considerably below the frame, over the sides of the bed, excepu in severe weather, which would draw up a hurtful strong steam from the dung, as well as confine the steam and heat too much, and keep the bed too stiflingly close from the external air, which would weaken the germination or sprouting of the seed, and the plants would come up weak and of a sickly yellowish hue : obscrve, therefore, these

and the following precautions, in order both to prevent too great a heat in the bed, and that the plants may rise with a proper degree of strength and healthful growth.

Likewise observe, on the above considerations, that in corering up, or applying the night covering of mats over the glasses, during the time the strong heat and stean continue in the bed, it would be proper when the mats are put on in the afternoon, to raise the upper ends of the glass or glasses, a quarter of an inch or a little more or less, occasionally, both to gire vent to the internal rank steam, and to adınit a moderate degree of fresh air; and in which may fasten one of the covering mats to hang down a little over the part where the lights are occasionally opened to prevent the cutting external air from rushing immediately into the frame, especially after the plants are advancing; but this, necessary as it is, cannot be done with safety in very severe weather.

Great care is requisite that the earth in the pots have not too much heat, for the bed is yet very hot, and therefore let the degree of internal heat in the bed be daily examined ; and, if any thing of burning should appear, you can conveniently raise the pots farther from the dung, from which the danger proceeds, without disturbing the seeds or plants, and thereby prevent all injury from too much heat, provided you examine the bed every day, and give proper vent to the rank steam within the frame, while of a burning quality.

In two, thrce, or four days after the seed is sown, you may expect the plants to appear ; when it will be proper to admit fresh air 10 them, by raising the upper end of the glass a little every day : and if the earth in the pots appears dry, refresh it moderately with a little water that has stood in the bed all night, just to take off the cold chill ; applying it about eleven or tweive o'clock of the day, and principally only to the carth, about the roots, not over thc tops of the plants; which done, shut down the glasses close for about half an hour or an hour, then opened again a little, and shut close towards the evening ; when continue to cover the glass every night with garden mats. And at this time also, if the heat of the bed is strong and the weather not very severe, raise the glass a little behind with a prop, when you cover up in the evening, to give vent to the steam ; and nail a mat to hang down over the ends of the glass that is raised, to break off the sharp edge of the external cold night air from the plants ; but when the heat is more moderate, the glasses may be shut close every night, observing to uncover in proper time every morning, to admit the essential benefit of day-light, sun, and air, to the plants ; being careful to continue the admission of fresh air at all proper opportunities in the day-time, to promote strength in the plants, otherwise they would run weak, and very long and feebleshanked ; raising the glass as before observed, and if windy or very sharp air, to hang a mat before the place as above.

On the day that the plants appear, sow a little more seed in the same bed, in the manner before mentioned; for these tender plants being liable to suffer by different causes at this season, it is proper, therefore, to sow a little seed at three or four different times in the

« ForrigeFortsett »