Peter Henderson's Gardening Calendar
from Gardening for Profit, 1866
OCTOBER—This month corresponds in part to June of the summer months, being that in which the returns from the second crops come in. Celery, that has been banked or earthed up, now sells freely and in considerable quantities; all the crop should this month be "handled," and as much as possible earthed up. Cauliflower is always scarce and dear in the early part of this month, but unless the fall has been unusually moist, is generally not matured until towards the end of the month. Thyme, Sage, and all Sweet Herbs, should now be sold, from the beginning of the month, cutting out only every alternate row, as it gives the crop time to grow, so that the remaining rows spread sufficiently to fill the space.
The crops planted or sown last month, must now be carefully hoed, and the weeds removed; for, though weeds are not quite so numerous in variety as in summer, Chickweed, now very abundant, is one of the most expensive weeds of the garden to eradicate.
The plants of Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Lettuce, recommended to be sown last month, are now fit to be pricked out in the cold frames.
We use cold frames for preserving Cauliflower, Cabbage and Lettuce plants during the winter, and the forwarding of Lettuce and Cucumbers in spring and summer.
To make the matter as clear as possible, we will suppose that the market gardener, having five or six acres of land, has provided himself with 100 of 3 x 6 feet sashes. The Cauliflower, Cabbage, or Lettuce plants, which they are intended to cover in winter, should be sown in the open garden from the 10th to the 20th of September, and when of sufficient size, which they will be in about a month from the time of sowing, they must be replanted in the boxes or frames, to be covered by the sashes as winter advances.
The boxes or frames we use, are simply two boards, running parallel, and nailed to posts to secure them in line. The one for the back is ten or twelve inches wide, and that for the front seven or eight inches, to give the sashes, when placed upon them pitch enough to carry off rain, and to better catch the sun's rays. The length of the frame or box may be regulated by the position in which it is placed; a convenient length is fifty or sixty feet, requiring eighteen or twenty sashes.
Shelter from the north-west is of great importance, and if the ground is not sheltered naturally, a board fence six feet in height is almost indispensable. The sashes should face south or south-east. Each sash will hold five hundred plants of Cabbage or Cauliflower, and about eight hundred of Lettuce. These numbers will determine the proper distance apart, for those who have not had experience.
It should never be lost sight of, that these plants are almost hardy, and consequently will stand severe freezing without injury; but to insure this condition they must be treated as their nature demands; that is, that in cold weather, and even in clear winter days, when the thermometer marks 15 or 20 degrees in the shade, they must be abundantly aired, either by tilting up the sash at the back, or better still, when the day is mild, by stripping the sash clear off.
By this hardening process, there is no necessity for any other covering but the sash. In our locality, we occasionally have the thermometer from 5° to 10° below zero for a day or two together, yet in all our time we have never used mats, shutters, or any covering except the glass, and I do not think we lose more than two percent of our plants.
Some may think that the raising of plants in this manner must involve considerable trouble, but when they are informed that the Cabbage and Lettuce plants so raised and planted out in March or April, not unfrequently bring a thousand dollars per acre before the middle of July, giving us time to follow up with Celery for a second crop, it will be seen that the practice is not unprofitable.