grower. Let the professional market gardener be his
own builder, go to the best market for all his stuff,
and erect his own glass, and then he will not only save
fifty per cent, in the cost, but he will be able to fairly
compete with the foreigner.
It is even easy for a man
to fix his own hot-water apparatus, and it is now a very
simple matter for any man to fix his pipes with those
india-rubber rings I have before referred to. A mason
may be required to set the boiler, but all the rest any-
one can do.
THE Eadish as a salad, and for the breakfast-table, is
eagerly sought after, especially in the early season.
The earlier that Eadishes can be had, the more valuable
The Kadish is not a very tender plant, but it will
not stand frost without suffering in some measure. I
have been a grower of early Eadishes for many years,
and have found that when the frost gets at them, it is
a good plan not to remove the coverings till late in the
day if the sun shines ; but in the case of a continued
frost it is more difficult to grow them in the open
ground, because the covering of ferns, straw or hay,
whatever it may be, must be kept on them, which has
the effect of drawing the tops up and turning them
yellow ; so that whenever they are grown in the open
ground they must be covered with five or six inches of
one of the above materials, and then this must be re-
moved once in the course of two days.
The best and surest way, however, to get very early
Eadishes is to build turf pits. These are better than
brick pits, or frames, for either early Potatoes or Ea-
dishes. The Eadish will not bear much top heat, and
these turf pits are conducive to a good bottom tempera-
THE TURFING IRON.
ture, and one warm enough for them 'above, without
The building of these turf pits can be done by any
man. Late in the autumn, say November, cut the
turves from a moist place on a moor, or common where
the sward is old and tough ; cut them with the turfing
iron, a tool well known to gardeners ; but as of late
some new kinds have made their appearance, I give
a sketch below of what I consider the best.
FIG. 32. THE TURFING IRON.
a ; with a section of the turves, lined into three feet by one foot divisions, B.
The crank in this tool brings up the handle to the
knee of the man cutting the turves, and obviates the
necessity of stooping so low as becomes necessary if no
crank is made to it. The operator has more power by
this means, by placing the back of the hand holding
the handle against the knee, and thus giving the power
to drive the tool with ease under the sods ; the blade
should be of the best steel, and seven inches long by
six wide ; the stem from the blade to the crank should
168 THE FORCING GARDEN.
be seven, or not more than eight, inches long ; the
crank should be five inches deep, set not quite at right
angles; the handle must rise from the crank gradually
up to the eye of it.
The turves ought to be cut evenly, and it can be
done with ease with this tool ; both sides of the turf,
i.e. the edge near to the cutter and the further edge,
should be of the same thickness. This may be from
two to three inches.
The building of the pits should be done while the
turves are thoroughly wet. The grass side should be
laid downwards and be well bedded on the one pre-
viously laid, carrying the walls upright to two and a
half feet at the back, and one foot six inches in front.
On the top it will be necessary to lay rough wall plates
on which canvas sashes can be fixed. These canvas
sashes are made with a frame of light scantling halved
and nailed at the corners; on these is tightly
stretched some unbleached calico, and tacked on them
securely. These canvas sashes should be made in the
summer, or at least the material should be dressed over
with linseed oil and sugar of lead in the summer, so as
to get thoroughly dry and hard. The oil will do by
itself, but the sugar of lead dries the oil more quickly
and makes it hard; two coats should be given the
canvas, which will render it as transparent as is re-
quired without the admission of much sun. I have
found that these pits and canvas lights are equal to
brick pits, and are capital things to keep plants in ;
while for early Kadishes they are first-rate, as no other
covering is needed for them.
Eadishes may be sown in these pits at Christmas,
and will then be fit to draw in March, perhaps by the
EARLY RADISHES. 169
beginning, if on a warm border, and I am convinced
that there is nothing which pays better, if so well, as
these things. Plenty of good rotten manure must be
forked into the bed, and an abundance of water given
them as soon as they get from four to six leaves*
ON FORCING ASPARAGUS, SEA-KALE, ETC.
I HAVE often thought what a pity it is that Asparagus
roots should be thrown away, after giving from 108.
to 15s. per hundred for them, and after getting
perhaps about as much, or a trifle more, from them
FIG. 33. SECTION OF A SEVENTY-FIVE-FEET ASPARAGUS FORCING PIT.
References a, the bed, permanently planted with four rows of roots ; B, one flow-
and-return three-inch pipe running on the surface of the bed, close to the walls ;
c, the boiler.
than what the roots originally cost. Asparagus forcers
should remember, that it is not bottom heat that is
required to get it early, but a summer heat at the
surface. If you plunge a thermometer into a bed in
the open ground in the month of April, and shade it,
you will find that it will not rise above 40 or 45 ; but
FORCING ASPARAGUS. 171
if you hang one so that it rests on the surface of the
bed, you will find that it will rise to 55, and most
likely to 60 in warm sunny weather, when the Asparagus
is growing. This proves that Asparagus only requires
a surface heat, more or less, to get it early.
I propose the setting or building up of brick walls
round established Asparagus beds, similar to the plan
above, but for the purpose of forcing on this plan the
bed should be arranged so as to face the south, with
something to screen it on the north side. If it is
planted three full years before the forcing is begun, so
much the better. Then the four-and-a-half-feet brick
walls may be built two and a half feet high at the
back, and one and a half feet in front. The width
should be eight feet ; this will allow of four rows of
roots, and the row next to the walls may then be four-
teen inches from them, and the other rows can be a
little less than eighteen inches apart, the plants being
eighteen inches in the rows.
The same preparations which are generally required
in making permanent beds in the open ground are
necessary here. The chief thing in making Asparagus
beds is to dig in as much sea-sand as possible. There
is nothing like an abundance of this, with some sea-
weed buried in the bottom for Asparagus growing, and
as much pig dung as can be well worked into the soil.
The bed should be trenched eighteen inches or two
feet deep. Every October or November, the surface
should be top-dressed with strong manure, which has
had some pounds of salt, or decomposed seaweed,
mixed with it.
The forcing may begin in January, by putting on a
slow fire, just enough to create a slight elevation of
172 THE FORCING GARDEN.
the thermometer, above the outside temperature, for a
fortnight. Keep the sashes close. In the course of a
fortnight the thermometer may rise to 60 and then to
65, at which it may stand, with a rise of 10 during
sunny days. Keep the sashes closed, water with tepid
water, and sow some salt over the bed once or twice.
This will wash in, and help the Asparagus. It will be
necessary to treat the beds in the usual way before
commencing to force, viz. fork the surface over, and
then rake it off fine, so that the heads may come
through freely. It is necessary to stop cutting before
the plants get exhausted ; the cutting must not there-
fore be continued too long, and the heat may be dis-
continued as soon as it is done, air being then admitted.
It will be advisable in frosty weather to cover the
sashes with mats. If the roots are not driven beyond
their strength, the bed will last many years.
A small elliptic boiler of twenty-four inches will
heat a pit of one hundred feet long, costing 21. 3s.
The two hundred feet of three-inch pipe will cost
71. 10s. carriage and all; four elbows, at 2s. 8d. each,
10s. 8d. The fixing of the boiler, bricks, &c. will cost
21. ; the india-rubber rings for fitting the pipes, 5s. per
pound. Here then is a good, simple, and effective
apparatus for sufficiently heating such a pit for a
little more than 10L The cost of the pit, sashes, &c.
may be compared to the Melon pit, frames, &c.
Many methods are adopted to get early Sea-kale,
but I know of none to equal covering up the roots
where they stand. Sea-kale will not bear a great dry
FORCING SEA-KALE. 173
heat. The heat of a forcing house, however moist it is
kept, does not suit Sea-kale; under such circum-
stances it is wanting in crispness and solidity, and the
tops only are nice and tender when cooked. But
when it is forced, by covering it first with pots and
then with fresh-gathered leaves of the same fall of the
year, the Kale is of quite a different quality, being
solid, crisp, and rich, in which case all of it may be
cooked and eaten to the extent of five or six inches in
There is nothing to equal leaves for forcing this
vegetable. Hot and fresh stable dung, if put on of a
thickness sufficient to cover the pots well, will ferment
to a scalding heat, which will last for a week or two
and then decline, and the heat will have all passed off
without the least benefit to the Kale, for it will not
have made the least progress while the manure was hot.
Sea-kale will not force, to be fit for anything, under
six or eight weeks from the time that the dung is
put on the roots. I have tried it, and therefore
can vouch for what I say. But leaves act differently
if they are put on the covers, filling up the spaces
as well, and forming a bed over the whole of the
It is much the best and most economical to make
Sea-kale plantations consisting of not less than three
rows, i.e. three rows three feet apart and three feet
from plant to plant. It is far better to make the plan-
tation in a square of three rows than to plant one row
only through a quarter ; for then, when the fermenting
material is put on the pots containing the roots, it
forms a solid bed, which makes the best of the heat.
The leaves will maintain an equal heat for many weeks
174 THE FORCING GARDEN.
in succession if, when they are put on, they are trodden
well among the pots, filling up all the spaces, and if
the leaves are wet they will work in very close and
form a lasting heat for the whole of the time required
for the Kale. I have found that it is considerably the
better when forced by leaves than by stable manure.
Leaves can be raked up during November, and put on
It is better, in my opinion, to plant but one of the
kind, if strong, for a smaller pot, than to plant three
crowns in one place for a large pot. Or three crowns
may be placed quite close together, instead of five or
six inches apart, in an angle, as is more usual. I have
found that when they are so planted the crowns in-
variably get beyond the limits of the large-sized pots,
and generally come outside it, or just under the rim.
One good strong root is enough for a pot, and some
sea-sand should be dug into the soil when a plantation
is made, and the whole space in which the pots are
should be covered with three inches of sea-sand, com-
pletely covering the crown of the plant. This will keep
Some preparation is necessary before forcing time
comes on. In the course of the summer go over the
crowns and thin them out, leaving no more than three,
which should be the strongest. If this is not done
there will be a crowd of spray crowns, which will give
poor Kale, pithy and small stuff. Good bold crowns,
are what is wanted to produce a fine vegetable ; three
of such crowns to each pot are enough. There is no
doubt but that the very best Sea-kale may be pro-
duced under such circumstances, and that the poor,
pithy, and insipid kind which we see at times is grown
FORCING RHUBARB. 175
under different conditions ; that is, from housed and
small roots, with too much dry heat, &c.
The same plan may be adopted in forcing Ehu-
barb, for this, like Sea-kale, will not bear a very
strong and dry heat ; covering it precisely in the same
manner as for Sea-kale will be found to answer best.
The roots should be three- or four-year-old well-esta-
blished plants. Before covering up the pots contain-
ing the crown, give the whole of the ground a soaking
with guano and soot ; put, say, two pounds of guano in
a tub holding twenty gallons of water, and add five or
six pounds of soot, then stir it well, and water the
ground where the roots are. This will induce the
crowns to break very strong. About the beginning of
the month of December, Ehubarb may be set to work.
It is a plant of hardy constitution, and may be handled
roughly, but good roots are often sacrificed by driving
them too sharp when they are subjected to a strong
If Ehubarb is forced in the same way as Sea-kale,
much finer stuff will be had, and no sacrifice made as
regards the roots. When it is forced otherwise they
should be strong, for only poor thin stuff is got from
small roots. Ehubarb should be taken up and re-
planted every four or five years, for if you want to
prevent it from running to seed, the roots must be re-
planted about those periods. The best time to do this
is in the month of October. Turn out the whole root,
divide it into single crowns, trim off the lacerated
roots to a solid part, and then replant them.
176 THE FORCING GARDEN.
Frequently Khubarb, although always required
early and good, is planted in some out-of-the-way
corner, and very often close under a hedge. This is a
mistake. Plant the roots in as warm a spot as you
can find, for the sake of getting early growth, but
never put it near hedges, trees, or strong-feeding
shrubs. One season it may be moderately fine, but
after that it will get less and less, till, in the end, it
will not produce stuff larger than the finger.
ON FORCING THE CARROT AND FRENCH BEANS.
EARLY and young Carrots are sought for and are
thought much of, and deservedly so ; for, let old Carrots
be what they may, they have lost that delicious and
fine flavour which they had when as large as the finger,
as well as the fine texture they then possessed. To
get very early Carrots, some means must be devised
beyond that of a warm border in the open ground.
The same class of frame as I recommend for early Peas
(fig. 30) may be used, but some preparation of rather
a different kind must be resorted to.
A moderate-sized bed must be made with leaves,
tan, or cocoa-nut refuse fibre. Leaves raked up in
November are as good as anything for forcing Carrots.
The next best material is tan, which suits the Carrot
well, and a bed made with it, two feet and a half thick,
well trodden down as you proceed, will last in a nice
heat as long as it may be required. The bed may be
made in December, but before sowing the seed some
four or five inches of fine light soil must be put over
it, in which the seed should be sown. It will be a good
plan to put five or six inches of old tan over the new
tan first, and then the fine earth, for I find that new
178 THE FORCING GARDEN.
tan is very liable to produce a most destructive fungus,
which I have mentioned before. If, therefore, some
old tan is first put upon the new bed, and then the
earth, no fungus will get through to the surface of it.
It is as well to let the heat rise before sowing the
seed, as it is best for Carrot seed to be stimulated to
cause quick germination. The surface soil should be
fine and half dry, and should it get quite dry, a light
sprinkling may be done in the morning with a fine rose
waterpot. As soon as the seed is well up, which will be
in the course of a fortnight, admit a little air by day.
If cold nights come on, lay mats on the sashes, and if
sharp frosts ensue, first cover the sashes with dry hay
and then a mat. The Short-horn and James's Inter-
mediate Carrot will be the best sorts for this purpose.
When the Carrots are drawn, some soot and salt
may be sown over the bed, in the proportion of one
pound of salt to three or four pounds of soot well
mixed for each perch of ground, and well worked into
the soil for five or six inches deep, and the Carrot seed
sown a second time. This will probably be about
March when young Carrots will be obtained a second
time from the same bed, long before any can be had
from the open ground. Soot and salt are no doubt the
best manure that can be had for Carrots, and for the
open ground two pounds of salt to the same quantity of
soot may be used.
DWARF FEENCH BEANS.
To get this desirable vegetable early whenever it
can be accomplished is no doubt the great wish of
most persons. The term ' forcing ' may be classed into
DWARF FRENCH BEANS. 179
two or three divisions. There is what we call driving
things this class of forcing is not always within the
reach of many. Then there is a medium kind of forc-
ing by which all who possess glass may have early
Beans. And there is also another way to get early
Beans in frames and pits without fire heat. To force
dwarf Beans in the first manner, a good brisk heat is
necessary, such as is applied to early vineries. The
second class of forcing consists in sowing Beans in pots
and placing them in a warm greenhouse ; and as I
have said early Beans may also be had by sowing them
in the ground in a frame.
It is astonishing with what rapidity Beans come on
under glass, nor is there a vegetable that pays better
to force. I am convinced that every respectable family
which can command a little ordinary glass will not
only be gratified by the experiment, but also satisfied
that a frame devoted to early dwarf Beans is not lost ;
an ordinary close common-made frame with sashes will
do well for this purpose ; such a one as I have described
and illustrated for Peas (see fig. 30) will be a good
one for these; and if you want them very early the
Asparagus pit (fig. 33) is just the thing. This last
will be found fit for anyone who wants to get very
early Beans ; the advantages of this heated pit will
soon be seen. The Beans are sown in the bed, which
should be of a good rich and light nature, consisting of
common garden soil well manured, and if not light
enough, it should be made so by the addition of some
leaf-mould. The soil of the bed should be manured
and forked up some time before sowing, so that the
surface may be made fine and light. Sow the seed in
drills across the bed one foot six inches apart, or
180 THE FORCING GARDEN.
perhaps one foot three inches will do if some of the
dwarfer sorts are wanted. Zion House and Fulmer Early
are the best free-bearing and dwarf sorts to grow for
any class of forcing.
For high-class forcing the Beans should be sown
three in an eight-inch pot of old hot-bed manure and
maiden loam of equal parts, giving a good drainage to
the pots. They should be placed in a Cucumber house
or early vinery, but it is necessary in order to be really
successful, to get as much light as possible to them in
the early season, so as to get an abundance of large
Bean pods, and for this purpose a good house is neces-
sary for them where a brisk and lively heat can be kept
up, and where the pots can be placed near the glass.
It is best to fill the pots about two-thirds with a com-
post (making it moderately firm), and then to place
the Beans in an angle on it, covering them one and a
half inches with half dry, light and fine soil leaf-
mould two parts and maiden loam one part. Give no
water till the seed is up, and not much then. As the
plants get strength and grow above the pots, fill them
up among the Beans with half-dry compost ; be careful
of watering too much till the plants get strong and
begin to show fruit, when more may be given, and as
soon as the pods begin to come on freely, give some
weak liquid manure for a few times.
Beans are liable to the attacks of the red spider,
when the atmosphere is too hot and dry; so that frequent
syringing must be resorted to to prevent them, and
while the Beans are growing freely fumigation will
prevent the attacks of this pest.
ON FORCING THE MUSHROOM.
IN some localities the chief difficulty in getting Mush-
rooms by artificial means is the liability of this fine
sauce vegetable to be attacked by that insidious enemy
the woodlouse ( Oniscus). This enemy of the Mushroom
FIG. 34. END SECTIONS OP MUSHROOM HOUSE AND OUT-DOOR MUSHROOM BEDS.
References. Fig. 1: a a a, outer walls and ceiling of house; c, the ventilator;
ODD, the framework of the beds; EEEE, the beds; /, bed of cold water for
vapour, and to prevent the woodlouse and beetles getting to the mushrooms ; G,
one flow-and-returii three-inch pipe, for heating the house; h, the pathway.
Fig. 2 : Lean-to out-door bed. Fig. 3 : Span-roof out-door bed for summer work.
grower is hard to avoid in wooded, rocky, and dry
districts. It is most remarkably fond of the Mushroom,
and commits its depredations while the gardener is
asleep. To get Mushrooms in such places more than
ordinary means must be resorted to-; but old cellars and
182 THE FORCING GARDEN.
Mushroom houses at the back of hothouses in locali-
ties infested by this pest will always prove futile for
complete success, unless some additional provision is
made to keep off these marauders. It is much better
in such localities to go to the expense of building a
Mushroom house quite independent and detached from
all other buildings, so that in extreme cases there may
be no harbour to encourage these pests more than can
be well avoided. They will, I know, find their way if
possible, to any rendezvous where they can get the
warmth, seclusion, and food that they like ; but they
are rather careful not to expose themselves too much,
lest they may get picked up by an enemy and be eaten.
And here let me give a little of what I think timely
and valuable advice. In such localities as I refer to
where the woodlouse naturally abounds, let intending
Mushroom growers get as many hedgehogs and guinea
pigs as they can and keep them about the place.
Hedgehogs ! say some : how are you going to keep
hedgehogs ? Why, keep them in the Mushroom house,
to be sure, where they will destroy every beetle and
woodlouse, and the guinea pigs will do the same work
The Mushroom house should be so constructed as
to prevent the intrusion of the woodlouse. In the
first place the outside walls must be proof against the
ingress of all such pests ; and secondly, no beds should
be made on the immediate ground floor, but should be
raised about a foot, so that a trough of water may run
round the floor, as seen in the above plan ; this will
prevent them from climbing the walls and the stays of
the beds above. The woodlouse will not enter water.
The troughs of water will give off a congenial vapour
THE MUSHKOOM HOUSE. 183
favourable to Mushroom culture, and prevent that
poisonous and dry atmosphere which generally attends
these houses. It is a recognised fact that the species
Agaricus campestris becomes poisonous, more or less,
according to the state of its surroundings. Let any
one get Mushrooms fresh gathered from our rich open
pastures, and some also from a dry Mushroom house,
and cook both lots separately ; serve them up, and have
the unprejudiced opinion of those who taste them ; and
I know that the most decided favour will be given to
those gathered from the pasture. It would be quite
impossible to get a Mushroom to retain that purity and
richness at the size to which they grow in the meadows
from an ordinary Mushroom house. Why is this ? Not
solely on account of the soil, for generally a made bed con-
tains considerably more manure than a meadow. No,
it is chiefly on account of the dewy state of the atmo-
sphere which prevails at night during the Mushroom
growing months, September and October. It is this
which gives purity and richness of flavour to the Mush-
room. The water troughs on the floor of the house
will answer two most important purposes, viz. prevent