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THE KITCHEN GARDEN

Carrots and Parsnips

rpHE sowing of root crops is one of -l the major sowings of early spring.

In some districts carrots, parsnips, and beet are already sown; in temperate climates August is an ideal month for sowing, and in late and cold districts September is preferable. Parsnips like a longer growing period than carrots and beet. Parsnip seed holds its vitality for a shorter period than the other two, and for that reason it is useless to look through the reserve seed held over from last year. Buy new seed and sow it fairly thick. All

three make their most vigorous growth on a wr-m, sandy loam of good depth and useful root crops can be grown in almost any soil with care. Freshly manured ground should hot be chosen; the manure causes forking and misshapen roots. A rioll deeply dug and manured last autumn or last summer will now be mellow and ready for sowing. Falling a deep, well worked soil, the turnip-rooted or stump rooted carrots and parsnips should be chosen. For these unsuitable soils there are Early Shorthorns, Chantenay, and Oxheart (Guerande) carrots, and the variety turnip-rooted parsnip; they do not require deep soil and mature quickly. Seed sown now will be ready for use before Christmas, and the roots will remain in good condition for some months after wards. The ground chosen should be lightly forked, allowed to lie for a few days to settle, then raked to a line surface tilth. Carrots are sown in rows 6 to 10 inches apart; parsnips make stronger top growth, and are sown in rows 18 inches

apart. Following the rule for root crops. j they are sown in straight lines where the plants arc to grow. A gardener's line can be included in the most modest gar den equipment. It is made with some strong twine tied to two stout sticks, the sticks about 12 inches long. The gar dener's line should be placed in position before raking the surface, drawing the line taut so that the action of the rake will not throw it out of position. When raked fine, draw' out a shallow drill, about half an inch deep. Sow enrrot seed thinly and parsnip seed thickly. Carrot seed germinates practically 100 per cent, and If sown too heavily the young seedlings will not have a chance through over crowding. A useful method of sowing parsnip seed is to drop the seeds in threes and fours about live or six inches apart. After sowing draw the soil lightly over (he drill with the back or toothed front of the rake. Place a wooden label at the end of the row with name of variety sown and date of sowing. As soon as carrots and parsnips appear above ground use the hoe along each side of the row to keep down weeds. Lime or soot may be lightly used along the roots to keep down pests. Green aphis i t tacks young carrots If the supervening weather in September and October is dry. A dressing with lime and

pestend mixed, vvlien the young plants are about two inches high, will check or prevent attack, dusting the dry mixture in the proportion of four parts lime and one part pestend well over and under the leaves. As the carrots and parsnips grow they must be thinned. The thinning! among parsnips may be more drastic than ! among carrots. As soon as parsnips and : carrots appear above ground thin the crop

slightly with the hoe to prevent crowding.1 The thinnings in the carrot crop may be : used from an early stage for soups and stews, and the roots of the stump-rooted varieties should ultimately stand four to five inches apart; for long-rooted main crops six to nine Inches. Parsnips require

from 7 to 10 inches apart in the row. A' useful method of sowing carrots and

parsnips in very difficult soil is to use a |

dibbler and, boring holes in the ground , along the rows at the necessary intervals,:

fill the holes with rich, friable, sandy |

loam, sowing them on the prepared

ground. Although organic fertilisers are j

not recommended for use around the;

period of sowing, artificial fertilisers are I valuable. A complete fertiliser can be! worked into the seedbed a few days before sowing at the rate of one part sulphate of ammonia, three parts superphosphate, and one part sulphate of potash. Im mediately after thinning the crop should be watered. If possible, to settle the re maining plants In the ground, and before watering a light dressing of a quick-acting nitrogen fertiliser should be given, using about loa. along a running row of 10 feet. A second dressing may be given about a fortnight later if the crop is not developing rapidly, but may be omitted if the crop is growing well.

THE FLOWER GARDEN

The daffodils are opening their beauti- ; ful golden flowers earlier than usual( despite the cold and wet season. Gener- j ally the foliage is long and luxuriant, but i

in very wet soils the bulbs have had tooj much rain and leaf growth has been j

checked. When gathered the blooms

should not be allowed to be out of water!

overlong, and they should be cut when the , blooms are commencing to open, not in full bloom. A loose surface soil and free dom from weeds is all that the daffodils

require at the moment. The choice winter- j flowering Iris stylosa has flowered since j April, and is now finishing. As soon as

flowering is over in late August the old i roots perish and fresh roots are made.:

That is the best time for transplanting or j

dividing. Frequent division is not neces- i sary, but when clumps become over-t grown they should be divided. Few winter ! flowers give a richer return in blooms.;

Camellia, variety "The Czar," one of the finest of the single camellias. Grown by Mr. James Allan, Balwyn (V.). See Horticultural Notes.

The old plants have a strong hold on the! soil, and a pick is a better tool than a i spade for lifting and dividing.

Some of the early flowering fruit trees j have already shed their flower petals andI should be pruned. The flowering almond. Amygdalus Pollardii, flowers only on new wood made in the current season, and the supply of new wood is essential for nest season's flowering. Tlicy may be heavily cut back now to within a few inches of the old wood. Prunus Mume has completed its flowering also. Young plants do not require heavy pruning because the plant blooms on new and old wood. The older plants must not be allowed to become

leggy in growth and yearly pruning isj necessary. It is not too late to plant some | of the flowering fruit trees, and flowering! apples, cherries, plums, and almonds are; all available, but as these arc lifted from; the ground and sold with the roots un

protected, save by hessian and moss, they should be- ordered and planted without delay, otherwise the planting must stand over until next season. Spring flowering annuals are meeting competition from weeds, and the ground around the plants should be stirred. Pansies and violas will benefit from a surface dressing of half intted cow manure. Ranunculus and anemones attacked by pea mite or aphis may have lime and Pestend sprinkled over th" leaves, as recommended to control aphis on carrots. In vacant ground a wide range of hardy perennial plants may be planted and in shrubberies, the winter digging should be finished without any

further delav.

PLANT HOUSES

The displays of tuberous-rooted begonias in public conservatories and glasshouses attract a larger public than any other flower. Their teauty of colour and form is an irresistible attraction. Tubc-rs of named varieties are usually planted in September, October, and November, but seed may be sown in July and August to raise plants which will flower in the autumn. Well-rotted leaf mould and good loam in equal quantities, v 'th plenty of clean sand added to retain the porosity of the soil makes a suitable compost. If the leaf mould is even in quality and decom position there Is no necessity to sieve, and when sieving is necessary, one-eighth of an inch mesh is a useful size. Fill seed pan three-parts full with crocks, place a layer of moss and of the rougher portions of the leaf mould over crocks, then fill to within an inch of the top with the al

ready prepared soil. Sterilise soil and pan by placing in a hot oven for a little wnile to kill quick-growing weed seeds. Make the surface smooth and fairly firm, then immerse pot to within half an inch of the brim in a pail of water or in a trough. Stand aside for a few hours to drain. The seed is very small and requires careful sowing. Its dust-like appearance favours mixing it with a little sand and sowing the two together to obtain evenness. Be care ful also not to open the seed packet in a windy situation, or it may readily be lost. Germination is erratic and seed should be sown thinly to allow for the removal of forward seedlings without disturbing the soil around slower moving seed. Some growers do not use any covering of soil over the seed, and if a little light sand lias been used in sowing, no further cov ering is necessary. An even temperature of from 65 to 70 degrees F. is necessary during germination. Cover seed pans with a sheet of glass and keep shaded until germination has taken place, and as the seedlings appear slowly, lift and pot as soon as two leaves are made, pricking off about half an Inch apart into pots or pans. Keep soil just moist. Any neglect in the early stages will result in the loss of the plants. When seedlings are moving gradually give air to avoid damping off. When they have made sufficient growth transplant singly to 3in. pots and grow

on.

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