(Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Salsify, Turnips, Beet, Kohlrabi, Leek
and Parsnips. )
Any of these can be sown in April, in drills (with the exception
of potatoes) twelve to eighteen inches apart. The soil must be rich
and finely worked, in order that the roots will be even and smooth--in
poor or ill-prepared soil they are likely to be misshapen, or "sprangling."
They must be thinned out to the proper distances, which should be
done if possible on a cloudy day, hand-weeded as often as may be
required, and given clean and frequent cultivation. All, with the
exception of leeks and potatoes, are given level culture. All will
be greatly benefited, when about one-third grown, by a top dressing
of nitrate of soda.
Potatoes - Purchase in late September or October when the
crop is being dug and the price is low.
For an extra early and choice supply for the home garden, start
a bag or so in early March, as follows: Select an early variety,
seed of good size and clean; cut to pieces containing one or two
eyes, and pack closely together on end in flats of coarse sand.
Give these full light and heat, and by the middle to end of April
they will have formed dense masses of roots, and nice, strong, stocky
sprouts, well leaved out. Dig out furrows two and a half feet apart,
and incorporate well rotted manure in the bottom, with the soil
covering this until the furrow is left two to three inches deep.
Set the sprouted tubers, pressing firmly into the soil, about twelve
inches apart, and cover in, leaving them thus three to four inches
below the surface. Keep well cultivated, give a light top dressing
of nitrate of soda--and surprise all your neighbors! This system
has not yet come extensively into use, but is practically certain
of producing excellent results.
For the main crop, if you have room, cut good seed to one or two
eyes, leaving as much of the tuber as possible to each piece, and
plant thirteen inches apart in rows three feet apart. Cultivate
deeply until the plants are eight to ten inches high and then shallow
but frequently. As the vines begin to spread, hill up moderately,
making a broad, low ridge.
While big crops may be grown on heavy soils, the quality will be
very much better on sandy, well drained soils. Planting on well
rotted sod, or after green manuring, such as clover or rye, will
also improve the looks and quality of the crop. Like onions, they
need a high percentage of potash in manures or fertilizers used;
this may be given in sulphate of potash. Avoid planting on ground
enriched with fresh barnyard manure or immediately after a dressing
Carrot - Carrots also like a soil that is rather on the
sandy side, and on account of the depth to which the roots go, it
should be deep and fine. The quality will be better if the soil
is not too rich. A few for extra early use may be grown in the hotbeds
or frame. If radishes and carrots are sown together, in alternating
rows six inches apart, the former will be used by the time the carrots
need the room, and in this way a single 3 x 6 ft. sash will yield
a good supply for the home garden.
The late crop is sometimes sown between rows of onions, skipping
every third row, during June, and left to mature when the onions
are harvested; but unless the ground is exceptionally free from
weeds, the plan is not likely to prove successful.
Onions - Onions for use in the green state are grown from
white "sets," put out early in April, three to four inches
apart in rows twelve inches apart; or from seed sown the previous
fall and protected with rough manure during the winter. These will
be succeeded by the crop from "prickers" or seedlings
started under glass in January or February. As onions are not transplanted
before going to the garden, sow directly in the soil rather than
in flats. It is safest to cover the bed with one-half inch to one
inch of coarse sand, and sow the seed in this. To get stocky plants
trim back twice, taking off the upper half of leaves each time,
and trim back the roots one-half to two- thirds at the time of setting
out, which may be any time after the middle of April. These in turn
will be succeeded by onions coming from the crop sown from seed
in the open.
The above is for onions eaten raw in the green state when less
than half grown. For the main crop for bulbs, the home supply is
best grown from prickers as described above. Prize-taker and Gibraltar
are mostly used for this purpose, growing to the size of the large
Spanish onions sold at grocery stores. For onions to be kept for
late winter and spring use, grow from seed, sowing outdoors as early
No vegetable needs a richer or more perfectly prepared soil than
the onion; and especial care must be taken never to let the weeds
get a start. They are gathered after the tops dry down and wither,
when they should be pulled, put in broad rows for several days in
the sun, and then spread out flat, not more than four inches deep,
under cover with plenty of light and air. Before severe freezing
store in slatted barrels.
Beet - Beets do best in a rather light soil. Those for earliest
use are started under glass (as described previously) and set out
six to seven inches apart in rows a foot apart.
The first outdoor sowing is made as soon as the soil is ready in
spring, and the seed should be put in thick, as not all will come
through if bad weather is encountered. When thinning out, the small
plants that are removed, tops and roots cooked together, make delicious
The late crop, for fall and winter use, sow the last part of June.
this crop the larger varieties are used, and on rich soil will need
to eight inches in the row and fifteen inches between rows.
Kohlrabi - While not truly a "root crop"--the
edible portion being a peculiar globular enlargement of the stem--its
culture is similar, as it may be sown in drills and thinned out.
Frequently, however, it is started in the seed-bed and transplanted,
the main crop (for market) being sown in May or June. A few of these
from time to time will prove very acceptable for the home table.
They should be used when quite young; as small as two inches being
Leek - To attain its best the leek should be started in
the seed-bed, late in April, and transplanted in late June, to the
richest, heaviest soil available. Hill up from time to time to blanch
lower part of stalk; or a few choice specimens may be had by fitting
cardboard collars around the stem and drawing the earth up to these,
not touching the stalk with earth.
Parsnip - Sow as early as possible, in deep rich soil, but
where no water will stand during fall and winter. The seed germinates
very slowly, so the seed-bed should be very finely prepared. They
will be ready for use in the fall, but are much better after the
Salsify - The "vegetable oyster," or salsify,
is to my taste the most delicious root vegetable grown. It is handled
practically in the same way as the parsnip, but needs, if possible,
ground even more carefully prepared, in order to keep the main root
from sprangling. If a fine light soil cannot be had for planting,
it will pay to hoe or hand-plow furrows where the drills are to
be--not many will be needed, and put in specially prepared soil,
in which the seed may get a good start.
Radish - To be of good crisp quality, it is essential with
radishes to grow them just as quickly as possible. The soil should
be rather sandy and not rich in fresh manure or other nitrogenous
fertilizers, as this tends to produce an undesirable amount of leaves
at the expense of the root. If the ground is at all dry give a thorough
wetting after planting, which may be on the surface, as the seeds
germinate so quickly that they will be up before the soil has time
to crust over. Gypsum or land-plaster, sown on white and worked
into the soil, will improve both crop and quality. They are easily
raised under glass, in autumn or spring in frames, requiring only
forty to fifty degrees at night. It is well to plant in the hotbed,
after a crop of lettuce. Or sow as a double crop, as suggested under
_Carrots_. For outside crops, sow every ten days or two weeks.
Turnip - While turnips will thrive well on almost any soil,
the quality--which is somewhat questionable at the best--will be
much better on sandy or even gravelly soil. Avoid fresh manures
as much as possible, as the turnip is especially susceptible to
scab and worms. They are best when quite small and for the home
table a succession of sowing, only a few at a time, will give the