This treatment will reduce to a minimum the labor of finally preparing
the seed- or plant-bed with the iron rake (or, on large gardens, with
the Meeker harrow). After the finishing touches, the soil should be
left so even and smooth that you
can with difficulty bring yourself to step on it. Get it "like a table"--and then you are ready to begin gardening. Whatever implements are used, do not forget the great importance of making the soil thoroughly fine, not only at the surface, but as far as possible below Even under the necessity of repetition. I want to emphasize this again by stating the four chief benefits, of this thorough pulverization: First, it adds materially in making the plant foods in the soil available for use; secondly, it induces the growing plants to root deeply, and thus to a greater extent to escape the drying influence of the sun; thirdly, it enables the soil to absorb rain evenly, where it falls, which would otherwise either run off and be lost altogether, or collect in the lower parts of the garden; and last, and most important, it enables the soil to retain moisture thus stored, as in a subterranean storage tank, but where the plants can draw upon it, long after carelessly prepared and shallow soils are burning up in the long protracted drouths which we seem to be increasingly certain of getting during the late summer. Prepare your garden deeply, thoroughly, carefully, in addition to making it rich, and you may then turn to those more interesting operations outlined in the succeeding sections, with the well founded assurance that your thought and labor will be rewarded by a garden so remarkably more successful than the average garden is, that all your extra pains-taking will be richly repaid.
Next: STARTING THE PLANTS
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