To Accomplish This No Hand Tool Surpasses The Spading Fork

One other method is, however, superior especially when practiced upon

the heavier soils--fall plowing or digging. In practicing this method

care should be taken to plow late when the soil, moistened by autumn

rains, will naturally come up in big lumps. These lumps must be left

undisturbed during the winter for frost to act upon. All that will be

necessary in the spring will be to rake or harrow the ground. The clods

l crumble.

I once had occasion to try this method upon about 25 acres of land which

had been made by pumping mud from a river bottom upon a marsh thus

converted into dry ground by the sedimentation. Three sturdy horses were

needed to do the plowing. The earth turned up in chunks as large as a

man's body. Contrary to my plowman's doubts and predictions, Jack Frost

did a grand milling business that winter! Clods that could hardly be

broken in the autumn with a sledge hammer crumbled down in the spring at

the touch of a garden rake!


Having thoroughly fined the surface of the garden by harrowing and

raking, the seeds may be sown or the plants transplanted as already

noted. From this time forward the surface must be kept loose and open by

surface cultivation every week or 10 days and after every shower that

forms a crust, until the plants cover the whole ground. This frequent

cultivation is not merely for the purpose of keeping the weeds in check;

it is a necessary operation to keep the immediate surface layer powdery,

in which condition it will act as a mulch to prevent the loss of water

from the lower soil layers. When kept in perfect condition by frequent

stirring the immediate surface should be powdery. Yes, powdery! Within

1 inch of the surface, however, the color will be darker from the

presence of moisture. When supplied with such conditions, failures must

be attributed to other causes than lack of water.


When desired, herbs may be used as secondary crops to follow such early

vegetables as early cabbage and peas; or, if likely to be needed still

earlier, after radishes, transplanted lettuce and onions grown from

sets. These primary crops, having reached marketable size, are removed,

the ground stirred and the herb plants transplanted from nursery beds or

cold frames.

Often the principal herbs--sage, savory, marjoram and thyme--are set

close together, both the rows and the plants in them being nearer than

recommended further on. The object of such practice is to get several

crops in the following way: When the plants in the rows commence to

crowd one another each alternate plant is removed and sold or cured.

This may perhaps be done a second time. Then when the rows begin to

crowd, each alternate row is removed and the remainder allowed to

develop more fully. The chief advantages of this practice are not only

that several crops may be gathered, but each plant, being supplied with

plenty of room and light, will have fewer yellow or dead leaves than

when crowded. In the diagram the numbers show which plants are removed

first, second, third and last.


Those readers who delight to delve among pedigrees, genealogies and

family connections, may perhaps be a little disappointed to learn that,

in spite of the odorous nature of the herbs, there are none whose

history reveals a skeleton in the closet. They are all harmless. Now and

then, to be sure, there occur records of a seemingly compromising

nature, such as the effects attributed to the eating or even the

handling of celery; but such accounts, harrowing as they may appear, are

insufficient to warrant a bar sinister. Indeed, not only is the mass of

evidence in favor of the defendant, but it casts a reflection upon the

credibility of the plaintiff, who may usually be shown to have indulged

immoderately, to have been frightened by hallucinations or even to have

arraigned the innocent for his own guilt. Certain it is that there is

not one of the sweet herbs mentioned in this volumes that has not long

enjoyed a more or less honored place in the cuisine of all the

continents, and this in spite of the occasional tootings of some

would-be detractor.

Like those classes of society that cannot move with "the four hundred,"

the herbs are very exclusive, more exclusive indeed, than their

superiors, the other vegetables. Very few members have they admitted

that do not belong to two approved families, and such unrelated ones as

do reach the charmed circles must first prove their worthiness and then

hold their places by intrinsic merit.

These two coteries are known as the Labiatae and the Umbelliferae, the

former including the sages, mints and their connections; the latter the

parsleys and their relatives. With the exception of tarragon, which

belongs to the Compositae, parsley and a few of its relatives which have

deserted their own ranks, all the important leaf herbs belong to the

Labiatae; and without a notable exception all the herbs whose seeds are

used for flavoring belong to the Umbelliferae. Fennel-flower, which

belongs to the natural order Ranunculaceae, or crowfoot family, is a

candidate for admission to the seed sodality; costmary and southernwood

of the Compositae seek membership with the leaf faction; rue of the

Rutaceae and tansy of the Compositae, in spite of suspension for their

boldness and ill-breeding, occasionally force their way back into the

domain of the leaf herbs. Marigold, a composite, forms a clique by

itself, the most exclusive club of all. It has admitted no members! And

there seem to be no candidates.

The important members of the Labiatae are: