The Vegetable Garden
EVERY amateur gardener likes to grow his own vegetables. In every garden large enough to allow about ten rods for the cultivation of vegetables and salad crops, sufficient supplies could be raised to make the average family of four or five persons independent of the markets all the year round. Unfortunately, however, the majority of home gardens are not large enough for this, and the amateur gardener is faced with two alternatives. In certain districts he may be able to rent or buy an allotment within reasonable distance of the home garden, and to cultivate his vegetables and possibly his fruit there. On the other hand he may have to limit his vegetable growing to those crops which are most worthwhile.
Assuming that he decides to use a part of the home garden, he must first of all plan the position of the vegetable section.
Choosing the Site
The site chosen should preferably be in a sunny position. A slight slope to the south is a distinct advantage. However, any site not overshadowed by trees will do. A few vegetables will grow between small deciduous trees such as young fruit trees, but the drip of trees is ruinous to most crops.
The greater part of the vegetable plot is re-planned every year, but a certain amount is of permanent character. Asparagus and Globe Artichokes are permanent inhabitants of the garden, and the selection of a position for such crops is of first importance.
Another feature of permanence is the herb garden. Some herbs are .grown annually from seed, but a number remain for years in the same position. If a separate herb garden is arrranged, it will probably be put quite near the house, so that it is easily accessible in all weathers. But more often, in the, herbs are grown in a corner of the main vegetable garden. The selection of a sunny position for their cultivation is always more important than for the other kitchen crops, since only in a sunny open position do leaves become fully aromatic. (Mint is one of the few herbs that can be grown in the shade.)
Salads are next in importance to herbs, and the smallest garden should be able to produce emergency supplies of, radish, and and in the hot weather.
Grow Unusual, Expensive Vegetables
The best way to approach the problem of allotting portions of the plot to various crops, is to decide first what are the most profitable things to grow. Peas and beans, fresh salads, and herbs, and the lesser known and more expensive vegetables such as Globe Artichoke I should place first. Root crops such as carrots,, and are so cheaply bought that only in the larger garden is it worthwhile to grow them. Potatoes are definitely for the large garden where all the vegetables are home grown.
Having decided what kind of crops shall be included in the scheme, the next task is to place the permanent inhabitants. If the plot is odd-shaped, a good plan is to mark off a rectangular portion first, in the most convenient position, to be used for annual sowings, which are most conveniently managed in straight parallel lines. Then the remaining odd-shaped portions can be used for beds of mint, thyme, and other herbs, small salads; and possibly one section may be suitable for a nursery bed in whichcan be raised.
The paths dividing the various sections can be simpletracks in some cases, or cinder tracks, or paths of brick or gravel, but not of grass. Grass harbours slugs, soon gets churned up when a heavy wheelbarrow is being used in bad weather, and needs constant trimming.
A brick or tile-edged path is best, as this prevents the soil from the plot encroaching over the path, and keeps the top-dressing of gravel or cinder of the path off the cultivated soil of the plot.