(By HORTTJS.) IHortus 'a willing to answer any queries. Correspondents must give' their real names and addresses, though not for publication, j HINTS. Strawberry plantations, as soon, as they have finished fruiting, if to remain for fruiting next year, must have all litter, Tunners, and dead leaves removed; then the ground surface between them should be hoed, preparatory to giving them a mulching of short manure. If sundry plantations are not required for future fruiting, the ground should be promptly prepared by digging or trenching, and heavily manuring for the successional crop that is to occupy the ground. Fallow grounds cannot be too promptly manured and turned over. The soil should be turned lightly, so as to roughly expose its lower strata. Of course, there must not be any attempt to chop down the surface, in view of making it look level and smooth, as novitiates> are prone to do. In this matter of surface exposure ridge-dug ground excels. Instead of turning over the ground roughly to a uniform height throughout, the soil is placed in parallel ridges in the following form—AAAA. When to Gather fruit.—lt is difficult to state the proper time to gather the different varieties of fruit, for it is different conditions which must guide the grower in these matters, and these conditions will vary with the seasons, even in the same locality. It is only experience and observation which will probably teach anyone to be sueessful. The general conditions to be observed are these: A few of the earliest will begin to mature and drop off. This is a sign that some of the fruit is ready for picking. The fruit, if ripe, will then readily part from the tree. Perhaps there is no surer method of determinating maturity than the free parting of the fruit stem from the branch. If the fruit is not matured, the stem will break; better to leave it for come time longer. In picking fruit, care ought always to be, taken that it receives no bruises. If wanted for keeping, when it receives the slightest bruise rapid decomposition sets in. Every bruise bursts some of the divisional cells containing the juice, and this juice speedily passes from the stage of spirituous fermentation to that of putrefaction. Propagating Carnations. —For the perpetuation of various outdoor varieties layering is the method most easily adopted, most successful, and, therefore, most generally followed. Shoots which are not convenient for layering may be cut off just below a joint and trimmed for planting. For layering, make a heap of soil to bend the layer into, and peg down, or put a stone on top to keep in position. Layering is a tedious and not always successful operation. Taking cuttings is much less trouble, and, with care, gives excellent results. * Take the cutting from the main plant, choosing a shoot not bearing a ilower bud, and cut from the parent plant just below a joint. Take olf the lower leaves, split the stem with a knife, and between the two pieces place a email twig to keep them apart. Water freely, and shade from hot sun. Theee operations may be done novr. Artificial waterings for all subjects, especially such as are grown in old, worn-out town gardens, are very necessary at this season. But when waterings are given, they should be applied towards evening, and so copious as to thoroughly moisten the ground to tut least the depth roots penetrate. Though there can be no 'Objection to watering and cleansing the leaves of all plants, occasionally, frequent surface soil sloppinge, insufficient in bulk, do more harm than good. Mulchings of manure applied around plants over the roots cannot bo too highly appraised, as they keep the moisture from evaporating too quickly, the ground cool, and enrich the soil subsequently, limiting the necessity for -too frequent waterings, which^~"impoverish the soil. Flavour in'vegetables of same kind varies considerably, the deterioration being usually attributed to them having been gathered too long. As every grower of vegetables knows-, there is no comparison in the quality between those fresh cut and others that have been hawked about tile streets for several days. The former are crisp and wholesome, and in the other they are flahby and positively unwholesome. But there is another cause for the bad flavour, which is perhaps not so well known, and in many cases is entirely ignored. This refers to the practice of manuring the land too heavily for the purpose of increasing the size of the individual specimens or yield generally. Whilst manure is essential to promote' free growth, it entirely destroys the quality when used in too excessive quantities." The only way to obtain really good vegetables of high quality is to grow them as quickly as possible in a well-con-ditioned soil that is not too ricE in nitrogenous manure. Keeping Pears. —Pears are delicate fruit to handle. If picked too early they shrink, become tough, and almost tasteless as far as flavour is concerned. If permitted to remain on the tree till ripe, the sun will evaporate part of the aroma, thus lessening its flavour as well as its juiciness. It therefore wants careful picking and handling from the time it leaves the tree till it is used. Pears which are slightly bruised -will not keep long; decomposition is rapid. After picking it should never be kept long in the light, as the evaporation will be' too rapid. To ripen pears properly they should be in a cool, dark place—neither too damp nor too dry, and where the air is quite pure. Pears readily absorb impurities from the air, etc. Perfectly pure air, darkness and coolness, so that they may slowly ripen without evaporation, is what is wanted. I have known some growers take the pears and place them on a blanket on the floor a slight distance apart, then cover them with another blanket. TTie air, in passing through the blanket, is filtered of a portion of its impurities. The spraying or syringing of pot plants during warm, diy, sunny periods is not attended to as regularly as it deserves to be. All not in flower are greatly benefited if syringed each morning before sudshine becomes too powerful, and also late in the afternoon. Besides freeing the foliage from dust, syringing is a powerful preventive of insect pests. If the leaf surfaces are moistened, that suffices; but the floors, walls and internal surfaces of glass structures may be freely da.mped, I because they dry so quickly. Similar syringings are quite as desirable for greenhouse or other pot plants placed out of doors, and the ground beneath and around them should be damped.
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