Soil and its Treatment
Loam is a mixture of clay and sand. Whenthe former predominates it is termed heavy loam, and when the latter
abounds it is called light.
Marl is a compound of chalk and clay, or chalk and loam. Though
suitable for certain fruit-trees and
a few other things, few flowers
will grow in it.
Drainage is one of the most important considerations in the
cultivation of flowers. Should the soil be clayey, and hold water,
make V-shaped drains, 3 ft. below the surface, and let 2-in. pipes
lead to a deep hole made at the lowest part of the garden and filled
with brick rubbish, or other porous substances, through which the
water may drain; otherwise the cold, damp earth will rot the roots of
Trenching is the process of digging deep, so as to loosen and expose
the soil as much as possible to the action of the air. If this is done
in the autumn or early winter to a new garden, it is best to dig it
deep, say about 2 ft, and leave it in large clods to the pulverising
action of the frost, after which it is easily raked level for spring
planting. If the clods are turned over the grass will rot and help to
improve the ground; new land thus treated will not require manuring
the first year. Should the ground be clayey, fine ashes or coarse sand
thrown over the rough clods after trenching will greatly improve it.
Digging should be done when the ground is fairly dry, and about one
spade deep. Avoid treading it down as much as possible.
Hoeing must be constantly attended to, both to prevent the soil
becoming exhausted of its nourishment by the rapid growth of weeds,
and because when the surface becomes hard and cracked the rain runs
through the deep fissures, leaving the surface soil dry and the roots
of the plants unnourished.
Mulching consists in spreading a layer of stable manure, about 3 in.
deep, over the roots of trees and plants in the autumn to keep them
warm and moist. The manure may be forked into the soil in the spring.
Watering the plants carefully is of great consequence. Evening or
early morning is the best time, and one copious application is far
better than little and often. Water may be given to the roots at any
time, but should not be sprinkled over the leaves in a hot sun nor in
cold weather. Plants having a soft or woolly foliage should never be
wetted overhead, but those with hard and shiny leaves may be freely
syringed, especially when in full growth.
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