The matter of properly applying manure, even on the small garden, is
also of importance. In amount, from fifteen to twenty-five cords, or 60
to 100 cartloads, will not be too much; although if fertilizers are
used to help out, the manure may be decreased in proportion. If
possible, take it from the heap in which it has been rotting, and
spread evenly over the soil immediately before plowing. If actively
fermenting, it will lose by being exposed to wind and sun. If green, or
in cold weather, it may be spread and left until plowing is done. When
plowing, it should be completely covered under, or it will give all
kinds of trouble in sowing and cultivating.
Fertilizers should be applied, where used to supplement manure or in
place of it, at from 500 to 1500 pounds per acre, according to grade
and other conditions. It is sown on broadcast, after plowing, care
being taken to get it evenly distributed. This may be assured by sowing
half while going across the piece, and the other half while going
lengthwise of it. When used as a starter, or for top dressings--as
mentioned in connection with the basic formula--it may be put in the
hill or row at time of planting, or applied on the surface and worked
in during the growth of the plants. In either case, especially with
highly concentrated chemicals, care must be taken to mix them
thoroughly with the soil and to avoid burning the tender roots.
This chapter is longer than I wanted to make it, but the problem of how
best to enrich the soil is the most difficult one in the whole business
of gardening, and the degree of your success in growing vegetables will
be measured pretty much by the extent to which you master it. You
cannot do it at one reading. Re-read this chapter, and when you
understand the several subjects mentioned, in the brief way which
limited space made necessary, pursue them farther in one of the several
comprehensive books on the subject. It will well repay all the time you
spend upon it. Because, from necessity, there has been so much of
theory mixed up with the practical in this chapter, I shall very
briefly recapitulate the directions for just what to do, in order that
the subject of manuring may be left upon the same practical basis
governing the rest of the book.
To make your garden rich enough to grow big crops, buy the most
thoroughly worked over and decomposed manure you can find. If it is
from grain-fed animals, and if pigs have run on it, it will be better
yet. If possible, buy enough to put on at the rate of about twenty
cords to the acre; if not, supplement the manure, which should be
plowed under, with 500 to 1500 pounds of high-grade mixed fertilizer
(analyzing nitrogen four per cent., phosphoric acid eight per cent.,
potash ten per cent.)--the quantity in proportion to the amount of
manure used, and spread on broadcast after plowing and thoroughly
harrowed in. In addition to this general enrichment of the soil,
suitable quantities of nitrate of soda, for nitrogen; bone dust (or
acid phosphate), for phosphoric acid; and sulphate of potash, for
potash, should be bought for later dressings, as suggested in cultural
directions for the various crops.
If the instructions in the above paragraph are followed out you may
rest assured that your vegetables will not want for plant food and
that, if other conditions are favorable, you will have maximum crops.

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