SETTING OUT PLANTS
The reader has not forgotten, of course, that plants as well as seeds
must go into the well managed garden. We have already mentioned the
hardening-off process to which they must be subjected before going into
the open ground. The flats should also
be given a copious watering
several hours, or the day before, setting out. All being ready, with
your rows made straight and marked off at the correct distances, lift
out the plants with a trowel or transplanting fork, and tear or cut
them apart with a knife, keeping as much soil as possible with each
ball of roots. Distribute them at their positions, but not so many at a
time that any will dry out before you get them in place. Get down on
your hands and knees, and, straddling the row, proceed to "set." With
the left hand, or a trowel or dibber if the ground is not soft, make a
hole large enough to take the roots and the better part of the stem,
place the plant in position and firm into place by bearing down with
the backs of the knuckles, on either side. Proceed so to the end of the
row, being careful to keep your toes from undoing your good work behind
you, and then finish the job by walking back over the row, still
further firming in each plant by pressing down the soil at either side
of the stem simultaneously with the balls of the feet. When all the
rows are completed, go over the surface with the iron rake, and you
will have a job thoroughly done and neatly finished.
If the weather and soil are exceptionally dry it may be necessary to
take the additional precautions, when planting, of putting a pint or so
of water in each hole (never on the surface) previous to planting; or
of puddling the roots in a thick mixture of rich soil and water. The
large leaves also should be trimmed back one-half. In the case of
plants that are too tall or succulent, this should be done in any case
--better a day or two previous to setting out.
Transplanting should be done whenever possible in dull weather or
before rain--or even during it if you really would deserve the name of
gardener! If it must be done when the sun continues strong, shade the
plants from, say, ten to three o'clock, for a day or two, with half
sheets of old newspapers held in tent-shaped position over the plants
by stones or earth. If it is necessary to give water, do it toward
evening. If the plants have been properly set, however, only extreme
circumstances will render this necessary.
Keep a sharp lookout for cut-worms, maggots or other enemies described
in Chapter XIII.
And above all, CULTIVATE.
Never let the soil become crusted, even if there is not a weed in
sight. Keep the soil loosened up, for that will keep things growing.
Previous: SOWING THE SEED
Next: THE CULTIVATION OF VEGETABLES
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