FIELD AND GARDEN VEGETABLES
FULL DESCRIPTIONS OF NEARLY ELEVEN HUNDRED SPECIES AND VARIETIES; WITH DIRECTIONS FOR PROPAGATION, CULTURE, AND USE.
BY FEARING BURR, JR.
BOSTON: CROSBY AND NICHOLS, 117, WASHINGTON STREET. 1863.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, BY FEARING BURR, JR.,
In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
BOSTON: PRINTED BY JOHN WILSON AND SON, 5, WATER STREET
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HON. ALBERT FEARING,
President of the Hingham Agricultural and Horticultural Society,
WHOSE EARNEST LABORS AND LIBERAL CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE CAUSE OF HUMANITY HAVE ENDEARED HIS NAME TO THE AGED POOR AND TO ORPHAN CHILDREN, AND WHOSE ACTIVE SERVICES HAVE EXERTED SO BENEFICIAL AN INFLUENCE ON AGRICULTURAL PURSUITS IN HIS NATIVE TOWN,
This Volume is gratefully and respectfully Dedicated
BY THE AUTHOR.
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Though embracing all the directions necessary for the successful management of a Vegetable Garden, the present volume is offered to the public as a manual or guide to assist in the selection of varieties, rather than as a treatise on cultivation. Through the standard works of American authors, as well as by means of the numerous agricultural and horticultural periodicals of our time, all information of importance relative to the various methods of propagation and culture, now in general practice, can be readily obtained.
But, with regard to the characteristics which distinguish the numerous varieties; their difference in size, form, color, quality, and season of perfection; their hardiness, productiveness, and comparative value for cultivation,—these details, a knowledge of which is important as well to the experienced cultivator as to the beginner, have heretofore been obtained only through sources scattered and fragmentary.
To supply this deficiency in horticultural literature, I have endeavored, in the following pages, to give full descriptions of the vegetables common to the gardens of this country. It is not, however, presumed that the list is complete, as many varieties, perhaps of much excellence, are comparatively local: never having been described, they are, of course, little known. Neither is the expectation indulged, that all the descriptions will be found perfect; though much allowance must be made in this respect for the influence of soil, locality, and climate, as well as for the difference in taste of different individuals.
Much time, labor, and expense have been devoted to secure accuracy of names and synonymes; the seeds of nearly all of the prominent varieties having been imported both from England and France, and planted, in connection with American vegetables of the same name, with reference to this object alone.
The delay and patience required in the preparation of a work like the present may be in some degree appreciated from the fact, that in order to obtain some comparatively unimportant particular with regard to the foliage, flower, fruit, or seed, of some obscure and almost unknown plant, it has been found necessary to import the seed or root; to plant, to till, to watch, and wait an entire season.
Though some vegetables have been included which have proved of little value either for the table or for agricultural purposes, still it is believed such descriptions will be found by no means unimportant; as a timely knowledge of that which is inferior, or absolutely worthless, is often as advantageous as a knowledge of that which is of positive superiority.
That the volume may be acceptable to the agriculturist, seedsman, and to all who may possess, cultivate, or find pleasure in, a garden, is the sincere wish of the author.
F. B., JR.
HINGHAM, March, 1863.
In the preparation of this work, I have received the cheerful co-operation of many esteemed personal friends, to whom I would here express my grateful acknowledgments.
For many valuable suggestions with regard to the culture and general management of the Potato, as well as for much important information respecting nearly all of our American varieties of this vegetable, I am indebted to J. F. C. HYDE, Esq., of Newton, Mass.; whose long experience in the production of seedlings, as well as in the cultivation of established kinds, will give peculiar value to this portion of the volume.
The illustrations, so excellent and truthful, are from the pencil of Mr. ISAAC SPRAGUE, of Cambridge, Mass.; whose fine delineations of animal as well as vegetable life have won for him the reputation of being "the first of living artists."
I am peculiarly indebted to Rev. E. PORTER DYER, of Hingham, for much valuable advice and assistance; and cannot too fully express my obligations for the unvarying kindness and courteous manner in which repeated, and perhaps often unseasonable, requests for aid have been received and granted.
My acknowledgments are also due to Hon. JOSEPH BRECK, author of "Book of Flowers," and late President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society; to CHARLES M. HOVEY, Esq., editor of "The Magazine of Horticulture," and President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society; to P. B. HOVEY, Esq., nurseryman and seedsman, of Cambridge, Mass.; and to DANIEL T. CURTIS, Esq., seedsman and florist, and for many years Chairman of the Committee on Vegetables of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
For information or other very acceptable assistance, I am also indebted to Rev. CALVIN LINCOLN, of Hingham; Rev. JOHN L. RUSSELL, of Salem, Mass.; JOHN A. BUTLER, Esq., of Chelsea, Mass.; EDWARD S. RAND, Jun., Esq., of Boston; Mr. AUSTIN BRONSON, of Enfield, N.H.; GEORGE W. PRATT, Esq., of Boston; JOHN M. IVES, Esq., of Salem, Mass.; Mr. JAMES SCOTT, of Hatfield, Mass.; Mr. ALONZO CRAFTS, of Whately, Mass.; Mr. JOHN C. HOVEY, of Cambridge, Mass.; Mr. ISAAC P. RAND, of Dorchester, Mass.; Mr. GEORGE EVERETT, of Concord, Mass.; and CALEB BATES, of Kingston, Mass.
From a work entitled "Descriptions des Plantes Potageres, par VILMORIN, ANDRIEUX, et CIE., Paris;" from CHARLES M'INTOSH'S excellent "Book of the Garden;" the "Gardener's Assistant," by ROBERT THOMPSON; "Rogers's Vegetable Cultivator;" and "Lawson's Agriculturist's Manual,"—I have made liberal extracts; and lest, in the course of the volume, any omission of authority may occur where it should have been accredited, my indebtedness to the valuable publications above mentioned is here candidly confessed.
In adapting directions for cultivation, prepared for one climate, or section of country, to suit that of another quite dissimilar, so much alteration of the original text has at times been found necessary, that I have not felt at liberty to affix the name of the original writer, but have simply added the usual marks denoting derivation of authority.
ABBREVIATIONS AND AUTHORITIES.
Big.—Plants of Boston and Vicinity. By JACOB BIGELOW, M.D. Boston, 1840.
Bon. Jard.—Le Bon Jardinier pour l'Annee 1859. Par A. BOITEAU et M. VILMORIN.
Corb.—The American Gardener. By WILLIAM CORBETT. Concord, Boston, and New York, 1842.
Cot. Gard.—The Cottage Gardener. By GEORGE W. JOHNSON and ROBERT HOGG. Weekly. London.
Count. Gent.—The Country Gentleman. By LUTHER TUCKER and SON. Weekly. Albany, N.Y.
De Cand.—The Candolle's Systema Naturale. By Prof. DE CANDOLLE. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1818, 1821.
Down.—The Fruit and Fruit-trees of America. By A. J. DOWNING. Revised and corrected by CHARLES DOWNING, 1858.
Gard. Chron.—The Gardener's Chronicle. Weekly. By Prof. LINDLEY. 1844 to the present time.
Gray.—Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States. By Prof. ASA GRAY. New York, 1857.
Hort.—The Horticulturist, and Journal of Art and Rural Taste. Monthly. By P. BARRY and J. JAY SMITH. Philadelphia.
Hov. Mag.—The Magazine of Horticulture, Botany, and Rural Affairs. By C. M. HOVEY. Boston. Monthly. 1834 to the present time.
Law.—The Agriculturist's Manual. By PETER LAWSON and SON. Edinburgh, 1836.
Lind.—A Guide to the Orchard and Kitchen Garden. By GEORGE LINDLEY. London, 1831.
Loud.—Encyclopaedia of Gardening. By J. C. LOUDON. London, 1850.
Loud.—Encyclopaedia of Agriculture. By J. C. LOUDON. London, 1844.
Low.—The Elements of Practical Agriculture. By DAVID LOW. London, 1843.
M'Int.—The Book of the Garden. By CHARLES M'INTOSH. 2 vols. Edinburgh and London, 1855.
Mill.—The Gardener's and Botanist's Dictionary. By PHILIP MILLER. Revised by Prof. MARTYN. London, 1819.
Neill.—Neill's Journal of a Horticultural Tour, &c. 8vo. Edinburgh, 1823.
New Am. Cyclopaedia.—New American Cyclopaedia. D. APPLETON & Co., New York. 16 vols. royal 8vo. 1857 to 1863.
Rog.—The Vegetable Cultivator. By JOHN ROGERS. London, 1851.
Thomp.—The Gardener's Assistant. By ROBERT THOMPSON.
Trans.—The Transactions of the London Horticultural Society. Commenced 1815, and continued at intervals to the present time.
Vil.—Description des Plantes Potageres. Par VILMORIN, ANDRIEUX, et CIE. Paris, 1856.
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CHAP. I.—Esculent Roots.
The Beet. Carrot. Chervil, Turnip-rooted. Chinese Potato, or Japanese Yam. Chufa, or Earth Almond. German Rampion. Jerusalem Artichoke. Kohl Rabi. Oxalis, Tuberous. Oxalis, Deppe's. Parsnip. Potato. Radish. Rampion. Swede or Ruta-baga Turnip. Salsify, or Oyster Plant. Scolymus. Scorzonera. Skirret. Sweet Potato. Tuberous-rooted Chickling Vetch. Tuberous-rooted Tropaeolum. Turnip. 1-121
CHAP. II.—Alliaceous Plants.
The Cive. Garlic. Leek. Onion. Rocambole. Shallot. Welsh Onion. 122-148
CHAP. III.—Asparaginous Plants.
The Artichoke. Asparagus. Cardoon. Hop. Oosung. Phytolacca. 149-169
CHAP. IV.—Cucurbitaceous Plants.
The Cucumber. Egyptian Cucumber. Globe Cucumber. Gourd, or Calabash. The Melon. Musk-melon. Persian Melons. Water-melon. Papanjay, or Sponge Cucumber. Prickly-fruited Gherkin. Pumpkin. Snake Cucumber. Squash. 170-228
CHAP. V.—Brassicaceous Plants.
Borecole, or Kale. Broccoli. Brussels Sprouts. Cabbage. Cauliflower. Colewort. Couve Tronchuda, or Portugal Cabbage. Pak-Choei. Pe-Tsai, or Chinese Cabbage. Savoy. Sea-kale. 229-286
CHAP. VI.—Spinaceous Plants.
Amaranthus. Black Nightshade. Leaf-beet, or Swiss Chard. Malabar Nightshade. Nettle. New-Zealand Spinach. Orach. Patience Dock. Quinoa. Sea-beet. Shepherd's Purse. Sorrel. Spinach. Wild or Perennial Spinach. 287-314
CHAP. VII.—Salad Plants.
Alexanders. Brook-lime. Buckshorn Plantain. Burnet. Caterpillar. Celery. Celeriac, or Turnip-rooted Celery. Chervil. Chiccory, or Succory. Corchorus. Corn Salad. Cress, or Peppergrass. Cuckoo Flower. Dandelion. Endive. Horse-radish. Lettuce. Madras Radish. Mallow, Curled-leaf. Mustard. Nasturtium. Garden Picridium. Purslain. Rape. Roquette, or Rocket. Samphire. Scurvy-grass. Snails. Sweet-scented Chervil, or Sweet Cicely. Tarragon. Valeriana. Water-cress. Winter-cress, or Yellow Rocket. Wood-sorrel. Worms. 315-405
CHAP. VIII.—Oleraceous Plants.
Angelica. Anise. Balm. Basil. Borage. Caraway. Clary. Coriander. Costmary. Cumin. Dill. Fennel. Lavender. Lovage. Marigold. Marjoram. Nigella. Parsley. Peppermint. Rosemary. Sage. Savory. Spearmint. Tansy. Thyme. 406-449
CHAP. IX.—Leguminous Plants.
American Garden-bean. Asparagus-bean. Lima Bean. Scarlet-runner. Sieva. Chick-pea. Chickling Vetch. English Bean. Lentil. Lupine. Pea. Pea-nut. Vetch, or Tare. Winged Pea. 450-560
CHAP. X.—Medicinal Plants.
Bene-plant. Camomile. Coltsfoot. Elecampane. Hoarhound. Hyssop. Licorice. Pennyroyal. Poppy. Palmate-leaved or Turkey Rhubarb. Rue. Saffron. Southernwood. Wormwood. 561-578
CHAP. XI.—Mushrooms, or Esculent Fungi.
Agaricus. Boletus. Clavaria. Morchella, or Morel. Tuber, or Truffle. 579-591
CHAP. XII.—Miscellaneous Vegetables.
Alkekengi, or Ground Cherry. Corn. Egg-plant. Martynia. Oil Radish. Okra, or Gumbo. Pepper. Rhubarb, or Pie-plant. Sunflower. Tobacco. Tomato. 592-652
FIELD AND GARDEN VEGETABLES.
The Beet. Carrot. Chervil, Turnip-rooted. Chinese Potato, or Japanese Yam. Chufa, or Earth Almond. German Rampion. Jerusalem Artichoke. Kohl Rabi. Oxalis, Tuberous. Oxalis, Deppes. Parsnip. Potato. Radish. Rampion. Swede, or Ruta-baga Turnip. Salsify, or Oyster Plant. Scolymus. Scorzonera. Skirret. Sweet Potato. Tuberous-rooted Chickling Vetch. Tuberous-rooted Tropaeolum. Turnip.
The Common Beet, sometimes termed the Red Beet, is a half-hardy biennial plant; and is cultivated for its large, succulent, sweet, and tender roots. These attain their full size during the first year, but will not survive the winter in the open ground. The seed is produced the second year; after the ripening of which, the plant perishes.
When fully developed, the beet-plant rises about four feet in height, with an angular, channelled stem; long, slender branches; and large, oblong, smooth, thick, and fleshy leaves. The flowers are small, green, and are either sessile, or produced on very short peduncles. The calyxes, before maturity, are soft and fleshy; when ripe, hard and wood-like in texture. These calyxes, which are formed in small, united, rounded groups, or clusters, are of a brownish color, and about one-fourth of an inch in diameter; the size, however, as well as depth of color, varying, to some extent, in the different varieties. Each of these clusters of dried calyxes contains from two to four of the true seeds, which are quite small, smooth, kidney-shaped, and of a deep reddish-brown color.
These dried clusters, or groups, are usually recognized as the seeds; about fifteen hundred of which will weigh one ounce. They retain their vitality from seven to ten years.
Soil and Fertilizers.—The soil best adapted to the beet is a deep, light, well-enriched, sandy loam. When grown on thin, gravelly soil, the roots are generally tough and fibrous; and when cultivated in cold, wet, clayey localities, they are often coarse, watery, and insipid, worthless for the table, and comparatively of little value for agricultural purposes.
A well-digested compost, formed of barnyard manure, loam and salt, makes the best fertilizer. Where this is not to be obtained, guano, superphosphate of lime, or bone-dust, may be employed advantageously as a substitute. Wood-ashes, raked or harrowed in just previous to sowing the seed, make an excellent surface-dressing, as they not only prevent the depredations of insects, but give strength and vigor to the young plants. The application of coarse, undigested, strawy manure, tends to the production of forked and misshapen roots, and should be avoided.
Propagation and Culture.—Beets are always raised from seed. For early use, sowings are sometimes made in November; but the general practice is to sow the seed in April, as soon as the frost is out of the ground, or as soon as the soil can be worked. For use in autumn, the seed should be sown about the middle or 20th of May; and, for the winter supply, from the first to the middle of June. Lay out the ground in beds five or six feet in width, and of a length proportionate to the supply required; spade or fork the soil deeply and thoroughly over; rake the surface smooth and even; and draw the drills across the bed, fourteen inches apart, and about an inch and a half in depth. Sow the seeds thickly enough to secure a plant for every two or three inches, and cover to the depth of the drills. Should the weather be warm and wet, the young plants will appear in seven or eight days. When they are two inches in height, they should be thinned to five or six inches apart; extracting the weaker, and filling vacant spaces by transplanting. The surplus plants will be found an excellent substitute for spinach, if cooked and served in like manner. The afterculture consists simply in keeping the plants free from weeds, and the earth in the spaces between the rows loose and open by frequent hoeings.
Mr. Thompson states that "the drills for the smaller varieties should be about sixteen inches apart, and the plants should be thinned out to nine inches apart in the rows. The large sorts may have eighteen inches between the rows, but still not more than nine inches from plant to plant in the row. When large-sized roots are desired, the rows may be eighteen inches or two feet apart, and the plants twelve or fifteen inches distant from each other in the rows. But large roots are not the best for the table; and it is better to have two medium-sized roots, grown at nine inches apart, than one of perhaps double the size from twice the space. As a square foot of ground should afford plenty of nourishment to produce a root large enough for the table, the area for each plant may, therefore, be limited to that extent. If the rows are sixteen inches apart, and the plants thinned to nine inches in the row, each plant will have a space equal to a square foot. Such, of course, would also be the case if the rows were twelve inches apart, and the plants the same distance from each other in the row. But it is preferable to allow a greater space between the rows than between the plants in the row: for, by this arrangement, the leaves have better scope to grow to each side, and the plants so situated grow better than those which have an equal but rather limited space in all directions; whilst the ground can also be more easily stirred, and kept clean."
Taking the Crop.—Roots, from the first sowings, will be ready for use early in July; from which time, until October, the table may be supplied directly from the garden. They should be drawn as fast as they attain a size fit for use; which will allow more time and space for the development of those remaining.
For winter use, the roots must be taken up before the occurrence of heavy frosts, as severe cold not only greatly impairs their quality, but causes them to decay at the crown. Remove the leaves, being careful not to cut or bruise the crown; spread the roots in the sun a few hours to dry; pack them in sand or earth slightly moist; and place in the cellar, out of reach of frost, for the winter.
"The London market-gardeners winter their beets in large sheds, stored in moderately damp mould, and banked up with straw. Mr. Cuthill states that it is a mistake to pack them in dry sand or earth for the winter; and that the same may be said of parsnips, carrots, salsify, scorzonera, and similar roots.
"The object here is, that the moist soil may not draw the natural sap out of the roots so readily as dry sand would do; and hence they retain their fresh, plump appearance, and their tenderness and color are better preserved. In taking up the roots, the greatest care must be exercised that they are neither cut, broken, wounded on the skin, nor any of the fibres removed; and, when the small-leaved varieties are grown, few, if any, of the leaves should be cut off."—M'Int.
If harvested before receiving injury from cold, and properly packed, they will retain, in a good degree, their freshness and sweetness until the new crop is suitable for use.
Seed.—To raise seed, select smooth and well-developed roots having the form, size, and color by which the pure variety is distinguished; and, in April, transplant them eighteen inches or two feet apart, sinking the crowns to a level with the surface of the ground. As the stalks increase in height, tie them to stakes for support. The plants will blossom in June and July, and the seeds will ripen in August.
In harvesting, cut off the plants near the ground, and spread them in a light and airy situation till they are sufficiently dried for threshing, or stripping off the seeds; after which the seeds should be exposed, to evaporate any remaining moisture.
An ounce of seed will sow from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet of drill, according to the size of the variety; and about four pounds will be required for one acre.
Use.—"The roots are the parts generally used, and are boiled, stewed, and also eaten cold, sliced in vinegar and oil. They enter into mixed salads, and are much used for garnishing; and, for all these purposes, the deeper colored they are, the more they are appreciated. Some, however, it ought to be noticed, prefer them of a bright-red color; but all must be of fine quality in fibre, solid, and of uniform color. The roots are also eaten cut into thin slices, and baked in an oven. Dried, roasted, and ground, they are sometimes mixed with coffee, and are also much employed as a pickle. Mixed with dough, they make a wholesome bread; but, for this purpose, the white or yellow rooted sorts are preferred. The roots of all the varieties are better baked than boiled."—M'Int.
The young plants make an excellent substitute for spinach; and the leaves of some of the kinds, boiled when nearly full grown, and served as greens, are tender and well-flavored.
Some of the larger varieties are remarkably productive, and are extensively cultivated for agricultural purposes. From a single acre of land in good condition, thirty or forty tons are frequently harvested; and exceptional crops are recorded of fifty, and even sixty tons. In France, the White Sugar-beet is largely employed for the manufacture of sugar,—the amount produced during one year being estimated to exceed that annually made from the sugar-cane in the State of Louisiana.
For sheep, dairy-stock, and the fattening of cattle, experience has proved the beet to be at once healthful, nutritious, and economical.
Varieties.—The varieties are quite numerous, and vary to a considerable extent in size, form, color, and quality. They are obtained by crossing, or by the intermixture of one kind with another. This often occurs naturally when two or more varieties are allowed to run to seed in close proximity, but is sometimes performed artificially by transferring the pollen from the flower of a particular variety to the stigma of the flower of another.
The kinds now in cultivation are as follows; viz.:—
Root produced entirely within the earth, broadest near the crown, and thence tapering regularly to a point; average specimens measuring four inches in their greatest diameter, and about one foot in depth. Skin dark brown, thick, hard, and wrinkled, or striated, sometimes reticulated or netted, much resembling the bark of some descriptions of trees; whence the name. Flesh very deep purplish-red, circled, and rayed with paler red, fine-grained, sugary, and tender. Leaves numerous, spreading, bright green, slightly stained with red; the leaf-stems and nerves bright purplish-red.
An early and comparatively new French variety, of fine flavor, excellent for summer use, and, if sown as late as the second week in June, equally valuable for the table during winter. Not recommended for field culture.
Sow in rows fourteen inches apart, and thin to six inches apart in the rows.
BARROTT'S NEW CRIMSON. Thomp.
Root similar in form to the Castelnaudary, but somewhat larger; smooth and regular, and not apt to fork. Flesh dark crimson, fine-grained and tender. Leaf-stalks yellow.
Early Flat Bassano. Turnip-rooted Bassano. Rouge Plate de Bassano. Vil.
Bulb flattened; six or seven inches in diameter by three or four inches in depth; not very regular or symmetrical, but often somewhat ribbed, and terminating in a very small, slender tap-root. Skin of fine texture; brown above ground; below the surface, clear rose-red. Flesh white, circled or zoned with bright pink; not very close-grained, but very sugary and well-flavored. Leaves numerous, erect, of a lively green color, forming many separate groups, or tufts, covering the entire top, or crown, of the root. Leaf-stems short, greenish-white, washed or stained with rose.
An Italian variety, generally considered the earliest of garden-beets, being from seven to ten days earlier than the Early Blood Turnip-rooted. The flesh, although much coarser than that of many other sorts, is tender, sweet, and of good quality. Roots from early sowings are, however, not suited for winter use; as, when overgrown, they almost invariably become too tough, coarse, and fibrous for table use. To have them in perfection during winter, the seed should not be sown till near the close of June.
In moist, favorable seasons, it succeeds well in comparatively poor, thin soil.
Cultivate and preserve as directed for the Early Turnip-rooted.
CATTELL'S DWARF BLOOD.
Root small, regularly tapering. Flesh deep blood-red. Leaves small, bright red, spreading, or inclined to grow horizontally. Quality good,—similar to that of the Red Castelnaudary; which variety it much resembles in its general character.
On account of its small size, it requires little space, and may be grown in rows twelve inches apart.
COW-HORN MANGEL WURZEL. Vil.
Serpent-like Beet. Cow-horn Scarcity.
A sub-variety of the Mangel Wurzel, producing its roots almost entirely above ground; only a small portion growing within the earth. Root long and slender, two feet and a half in length, and nearly three inches in diameter at its broadest part; often grooved or furrowed lengthwise, and almost invariably bent and distorted,—the effect either of the wind, or of the weight of its foliage. Flesh greenish white, circled with red at the centre. Leaves of medium size, green, erect; the leaf-stems and nerves pale red or rose color.
It derives its different names from its various contorted forms; sometimes resembling a horn, and often assuming a shape not unlike that of a serpent.
The variety is much esteemed and extensively cultivated in some parts of Europe, although less productive than the White Sugar or Long Red Mangel Wurzel.
EARLY MANGEL WURZEL.
Early Scarcity. Disette Hative. Vil.
Aside from its smaller size, this variety much resembles the Common Red Mangel Wurzel. Root contracted towards the crown, which rises two or three inches above the surface of the soil, and tapering within the earth to a regular cone. Skin purplish rose, deeper colored than that of the last named. Flesh white, circled or zoned with pale red. Leaves spreading, green; the leaf-stems rose-colored.
It is remarkable for the regular and symmetrical form of its roots, which grow rapidly, and, if pulled while young, are tender, very sweet, and well flavored. Planted the last of June, it makes a table-beet of more than average quality for winter use.
When sown early, it attains a comparatively large size, and should have a space of twenty inches between the rows; but, when sown late, fifteen inches between the rows, and six inches between the plants in the rows, will afford ample space for their development.
EARLY BLOOD TURNIP-ROOTED.
Early Turnip Beet.
The roots of this familiar variety are produced almost entirely within the earth, and measure, when of average size, from four inches to four and a half in depth, and about four inches in diameter. Form turbinate, flattened, smooth, and symmetrical. Neck small, tap-root very slender, and regularly tapering. Skin deep purplish-red. Flesh deep blood-red, sometimes circled and rayed with paler red, remarkably sweet and tender. Leaves erect, not very numerous, and of a deep-red color, sometimes inclining to green; but the stems and nerves always of a deep brilliant red.
The Early Blood Turnip Beet succeeds well from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico; and in almost every section of the United States is more esteemed, and more generally cultivated for early use, than any other variety. Among market-gardeners, it is the most popular of the summer beets. It makes a rapid growth, comes early to the table, and, when sown late, keeps well, and is nearly as valuable for use in winter as in summer and autumn.
In common with most of the table sorts, the turnip-rooted beets are much sweeter and more tender if pulled before they are fully grown; and consequently, to have a continued supply in their greatest perfection, sowings should be made from the beginning of April to the last of June, at intervals of two or three weeks.
The roots, especially those intended for seed, should be harvested before severe frosts, as they are liable to decay when frozen at the crown, or even chilled. Sow in drills fourteen inches apart; and, when two inches in height, thin out the plants to six inches apart in the drills. An acre of land in good cultivation will yield from seven to eight hundred bushels.
GERMAN RED MANGEL WURZEL.
Disette d'Allemagne. Vil.
An improved variety of the Long Red Mangel Wurzel, almost regularly cylindrical, and terminating at the lower extremity in an obtuse cone. It grows much out of ground, the neck or crown is comparatively small, it is rarely forked or deformed by small side roots, and is generally much neater and more regular than the Long Red. Size very large; well-developed specimens measuring from eighteen to twenty inches in length, and seven or eight inches in diameter. Flesh white, with red zones or rings; more colored than that of the last named. Leaves erect, green; the stems and nerves washed or stained with rose-red.
For agricultural purposes, this variety is superior to the Long Red, as it is larger, more productive, and more easily harvested.
GERMAN YELLOW MANGEL WURZEL.
Green Mangel Wurzel. Jaune d'Allemagne. Vil.
Root produced half above ground, nearly cylindrical for two-thirds its length, terminating rather bluntly, and often branched or deformed by small side-roots. Size large; when well grown, measuring sixteen or eighteen inches deep, six or seven inches in diameter, and weighing from twelve to fifteen pounds. Skin above ground, greenish-brown; below, yellow. Flesh white, occasionally zoned or marked with yellow. Leaves of medium size, rather numerous, erect, very pale, or yellowish green; the stems and ribs light green.
While young and small, the roots are tender and well-flavored; but this is a field rather than a table beet. In point of productiveness, it differs little from the Common Long Red, and should be cultivated as directed for that variety.
HALF LONG BLOOD.
Dwarf Blood. Fine Dwarf Red. Early Half Long Blood. Rouge Nain. Vil.
Root produced within the earth, of medium size, or rather small; usually measuring about three inches in thickness near the crown, and tapering regularly to a point; the length being ten or twelve inches. Skin smooth, very deep purplish-red. Flesh deep blood-red, circled and rayed with paler red, remarkably fine grained, of firm texture, and very sugary. Leaves small, bright red, blistered on the surface, and spreading horizontally. Leaf-stems short.
An excellent, half-early, garden variety, sweet, and well flavored, a good keeper, and by many considered very superior to the Common Long Blood. When full grown, it is still tender and fine-grained, and much less stringy and fibrous than the last named, at an equally advanced stage of growth. It may be classed as one of the best table-beets, and is well worthy cultivation.
IMPROVED LONG BLOOD.
Long Smooth Blood.
This is an improved variety of the Common Long Blood, attaining a much larger size, and differing in its form, and manner of growth. When matured in good soil, its length is from eighteen inches to two feet; and its diameter, which is retained for more than half its length, is from four to five inches. It is seldom very symmetrical in its form; for, though it has but few straggling side-roots, it is almost invariably bent and distorted. Skin smooth, very deep or blackish purple. Flesh dark blood-red, sweet, tender, and fine grained, while the root is young and small, but liable to be tough and fibrous when full grown. Leaves small, erect-red, and not very numerous. Leaf-stems blood-red.
This beet, like the Common Long Blood, is a popular winter sort, retaining its color well when boiled. It is of larger size than the last named, grows more above the surface of the ground, and has fewer fibrous and accidental small side-roots. While young, it compares favorably with the old variety; but, when full grown, can hardly be said to be much superior. To have the variety in its greatest perfection for winter use, the seed should not be sown before the 10th of June; as the roots of this, as well as those of nearly all the table-varieties, are much more tender and succulent when very rapidly grown, and of about two-thirds their full size.
Sow in drills fifteen inches apart, and thin to eight inches apart in the drills; or sow on ridges eighteen inches apart.
Common Long Blood.
The roots of this familiar variety are long, tapering, and comparatively slender; the size varying according to the depth and richness of the soil. Skin dark purple, sometimes purplish-black. Flesh deep blood-red, very fine grained and sugary, retaining its color well after being boiled. Leaves rather numerous, of medium size, erect, deep purplish-red; the leaf-stems blood-red.
One of the most popular of winter beets; but, for late keeping, the seed should not be sown before the middle of June, as the roots, when large, are frequently tough and fibrous.
The Improved Long Blood is a variety of this, and has, to a considerable extent, superseded it in the vegetable garden; rather, it would seem, on account of its greater size, than from any real superiority as respects its quality or keeping properties.
LONG RED MANGEL WURZEL.
Red Mangel Wurzel. Marbled Field Beet. Law.
Root fusiform, contracted at the crown, which, in the genuine variety, rises six or eight inches above the surface of the ground. Size large, when grown in good soil; often measuring eighteen inches in length, and six or seven inches in diameter. Skin below ground purplish-rose; brownish-red where exposed to the air and light. Leaves green; the stems and nerves washed or stained with rose-red. Flesh white, zoned and clouded with different shades of red.
The Long Red Mangel Wurzel is hardy, keeps well, grows rapidly, is very productive, and in this country is more generally cultivated for agricultural purposes than any other variety. According to Lawson, the marbled or mixed color of its flesh seems particularly liable to vary: in some specimens, it is almost of a uniform red; while, in others, the red is scarcely, and often not at all, perceptible. These variations in color are, however, of no importance as respects the quality of the roots.
The seed may be sown from the middle of April to the last of May. If sown in drills, they should be at least eighteen inches apart, and the plants should be thinned to ten inches in the drills. If sown on ridges, the sowing should be made in double rows; the ridges being three and a half or four feet apart, and the rows fifteen inches apart. The yield varies with the quality of the soil and the state of cultivation; thirty and thirty-five tons being frequently harvested from an acre.
While young, the roots are tender and well-flavored, and are sometimes employed for table use.
LONG WHITE GREEN-TOP MANGEL WURZEL.
Green-top White Sugar. Long White Mangel Wurzel. Disette Blanche a Collet Verte. Vil.
An improved variety of the White Sugar Beet. Root produced much above ground, and of very large size; if well grown, measuring nearly six inches in diameter, and eighteen inches in depth,—the diameter often retained for nearly two-thirds the length. Skin green, where exposed to light and air; below ground, white. Flesh white. Leaves green, rather large, and not so numerous as those of the White Sugar.
Very productive, and superior to the last named for agricultural purposes; the quality being equally good, and the yield much greater.
LONG YELLOW MANGEL WURZEL.
Jaune Grosse. Vil.
Root somewhat fusiform, contracted towards the crown, which rises six or eight inches above the surface of the ground. Size remarkably large; when grown in deep rich soil, often measuring twenty inches in length, and five or six inches in thickness. Skin yellow, bordering on orange-color. Flesh pale yellow, zoned or circled with white, not close-grained, but sugary. Leaves comparatively large, pale green; the stems and nerves yellow; the nerves paler.
The variety is one of the most productive of the field-beets; but the roots are neither smooth nor symmetrical, a majority being forked or much branched.
In the vicinity of Paris, it is extensively cultivated, and is much esteemed by dairy farmers on account of the rich color which it imparts to milk when fed to dairy-stock. Compared with the German Yellow, the roots of this variety are longer, not so thick, more tapering; and the flesh is of a much deeper color. It has also larger foliage.
PINE-APPLE SHORT-TOP. Hov. Mag.
Root of medium size, fusiform. Skin deep purplish-red. Flesh very deep blood-red, fine-grained, as sweet as the Bassano, tender, and of excellent quality for table use. Leaves very short and few in number, reddish-green; leaf-stems and nerves blood-red.
In its foliage, as well as in the color of the root, it strongly resembles some of the Long Blood varieties; but it is not so large, is much finer in texture, and superior in flavor. It is strictly a garden or table beet, and, whether for fall or winter use, is well deserving of cultivation.
RED CASTELNAUDARY. Trans.
This beet derives its name from a town in the province of Languedoc in France, where the soil is particularly adapted to the growth of these vegetables, and where this variety, which is so much esteemed in France for its nut-like flavor, was originally produced.
The roots grow within the earth. The leaves are thickly clustered around the crown, spreading on the ground. The longest of the leaf-stems do not exceed three inches: these and the veins of the leaves are quite purple, whilst the leaves themselves are green, with only a slight stain of purple. The root is little more than two inches in diameter at the top, tapering gradually to the length of nine inches. The flesh, which is of a deep purple, and exhibits dark rings, preserves its fine color when boiled, is very tender and sweet, and presents a delicate appearance when cut in slices.
Being small in its whole habit, it occupies but little space in the ground, and may be sown closer than other varieties usually are.
Not generally known or much cultivated in this country.
RED GLOBE MANGEL WURZEL.
Betterave Globe Rouge. Vil.
Root nearly spherical, but tapering to pear-shaped at the base; nearly one-third produced above ground. Size large; well-grown specimens measuring seven or eight inches in diameter, and nine or ten inches in depth. Skin smooth, and of a rich purplish rose-color below ground; brown above the surface, where exposed to the sun. Flesh white, rarely circled, with rose-red. Leaves pale green, or yellowish green; the stems and ribs or nerves sometimes veined with red.
This variety is productive, keeps well, and, like the Yellow Globe, is well adapted to hard and shallow soils. It is usually cultivated for agricultural purposes, although the yield is comparatively less than that of the last named.
In moist soils, the Yellow Globe succeeds best; and, as its quality is considered superior, it is now more generally cultivated than the Red.
WHITE GLOBE MANGEL WURZEL.
A sub-variety of the Yellow and Red Globe, which, in form and manner of growth, it much resembles. Skin above ground, green; below, white. Leaves green. Flesh white and sugary; but, like the foregoing sorts, not fine grained, or suited for table use.
Productive, easily harvested, excellent and profitable for farm purposes, and remarkably well adapted for cultivation in hard, shallow soil.
White Silesian. Betterave Blanche. Vil.
Root fusiform, sixteen inches in length, six or seven inches in its greatest diameter, contracted towards the crown, thickest just below the surface of the soil, but nearly retaining its size for half the depth, and thence tapering regularly to a point. Skin white, washed with green or rose-red at the crown. Flesh white, crisp, and very sugary. Leaves green; the leaf-stems clear green, or green stained with light red, according to the variety.
The White Sugar Beet is quite extensively grown in this country, and is employed almost exclusively as feed for stock; although the young roots are sweet, tender, and well flavored, and in all respects superior for the table to many garden varieties. In France, it is largely cultivated for the manufacture of sugar and for distillation.
Of the two sub-varieties, some cultivators prefer the Green-top; others, the Rose-colored or Red-top. The latter is the larger, more productive, and the better keeper; but the former is the more sugary. It is, however, very difficult to preserve the varieties in a pure state; much of the seed usually sown containing, in some degree, a mixture of both.
It is cultivated in all respects as the Long Red Mangel Wurzel, and the yield per acre varies from twenty to thirty tons.
A variety of the Early Turnip-rooted Blood, with green leaves and white flesh; the size and form of the root, and season of maturity, being nearly the same. Quality tender, sweet, and well flavored; but, on account of its color, not so marketable as the last named.
WYATT'S DARK CRIMSON.
Whyte's Dark Crimson. Rouge de Whyte. Vil.
Root sixteen inches long, five inches in diameter, fusiform, and somewhat angular in consequence of broad and shallow longitudinal furrows or depressions. Crown conical, brownish. Skin smooth, slate-black. Flesh very deep purplish-red, circled and rayed with yet deeper shades of red, very fine-grained, and remarkably sugary. Leaves deep red, shaded with brownish-red: those of the centre, erect; those of the outside, spreading or horizontal.
The variety is not early, but of fine quality; keeps remarkably well, and is particularly recommended for cultivation for winter and spring use. Much esteemed in England.
YELLOW CASTELNAUDARY. Trans. Vil.
Root produced within the earth, broadest at the crown, where its diameter is nearly three inches, and tapering gradually to a point; the length being about eight inches. Skin orange-yellow. Flesh clear yellow, with paler zones or rings. Leaves spreading, those on the outside being on stems about four inches in length; the inner ones are shorter, numerous, of a dark-green color, and rather waved on the edges: the leaf-stems are green, rather than yellow.
An excellent table-beet, being tender, yet firm, and very sweet when boiled, although its color is not so agreeable to the eye.
YELLOW GLOBE MANGEL WURZEL.
Betterave Jaune Globe. Vil.
This is a globular-formed beet, measuring about ten inches in diameter, and weighing ten or twelve pounds; about one-half of the root growing above ground. Skin yellow, where it is covered by the soil; and yellowish-brown above the surface, where exposed to light and air. Flesh white, zoned or marked with yellow, close-grained and sugary. Leaves not large or numerous, rather erect, green; the stems and ribs paler, and sometimes yellowish.
The Yellow Globe is one of the most productive of all the varieties; and, though not adapted to table use, is particularly excellent for stock of all descriptions, as the roots are not only remarkably sugary, but contain a considerable portion of albumen. It retains its soundness and freshness till the season has far advanced, does not sprout so early in spring as many others, and is especially adapted for cultivation in hard, shallow soil.
The yield varies from thirty to forty tons per acre, according to soil, season, and culture; although crops are recorded of fifty tons and upwards.
Sow from the last of April to the last of May; but early sowings succeed best. If sown in drills, they should be made twenty inches apart, and the plants should be thinned to ten inches apart in the drills; if sown on ridges, sow in double rows, making the ridges three feet and a half, and the rows sixteen inches apart. On account of its globular form, the crop can be harvested with great facility by the use of a common plough.
A sub-variety of the Blood Turnip-rooted, differing principally in color, but to some extent also in its form, which is less compressed. Leaves large, yellowish-green; the leaf-stems and nerves yellow. Flesh yellow, comparatively close-grained, sweet and tender.
Not much cultivated on account of its color; the red varieties being preferred for table use.
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The Carrot, in its cultivated state, is a half-hardy biennial. It is indigenous to some parts of Great Britain, generally growing in chalky or sandy soil, and to some extent has become naturalized in this country; being found in gravelly pastures and mowing fields, and occasionally by roadsides, in loose places, where the surface has been disturbed or removed. In its native state, the root is small, slender, and fibrous, or woody, of no value, and even of questionable properties as an article of food.
Soil, Sowing, and Culture.—The Carrot flourishes best in a good, light, well-enriched loam. Where there is a choice of situations, heavy and wet soils should be avoided; and, where extremes are alternatives, preference should be given to the light and dry. If possible, the ground should be stirred to the depth of twelve or fifteen inches, incorporating a liberal application of well-digested compost, and well pulverizing the soil in the operation. The surface should next be levelled, cleared as much as possible of stones and hard lumps of earth, and made mellow and friable; in which state, if the ground contains sufficient moisture to color the surface when it is stirred, it will be ready for the seed. This may be sown from the first of April to the 20th of May; but early sowings succeed best. The drills should be made an inch in depth; and for the smaller, garden varieties, about ten inches apart. The larger sorts are grown in drills about fourteen inches apart; the plants in the rows being thinned to five or six inches asunder.
Harvesting.—The roots attain their full size by the autumn of the first year; and, as they are not perfectly hardy, should be dug and housed before the ground is frozen. When large quantities are raised for stock, they are generally placed in bulk in the cellar, without packing; but the finer sorts, when intended for the table, are usually packed in earth or sand, in order to retain their freshness and flavor. With ordinary precaution, they will remain sound and fresh until May or June.
Seed.—To raise seed, select good-sized, smooth, and symmetrical roots; and as early in spring as the frost is out of the ground, and the weather settled, transplant to rows three feet apart, and fifteen inches apart in the rows, sinking the crowns just below a level with the surface of the ground. The seed-stalks are from four to six feet in height, with numerous branches. The flowers appear in June and July; are white; and are produced at the extremities of the branches, in umbels, or flat, circular groups or clusters, from two to five inches in diameter. The seed ripens in August; but, as all the heads do not ripen at once, they should be cut off as they successively mature. The stiff, pointed hairs or bristles with which the seeds are thickly covered, and which cause them to adhere together, should be removed either by threshing or by rubbing between the hands; clearing them more or less perfectly, according to the manner of sowing. If sown by a machine, the seeds should not only be free from broken fragments of the stems of the plant, but the surface should be made as smooth as possible. For hand-sowing, the condition of the seed is less essential; though, when clean, it can be distributed in the drill more evenly and with greater facility.
The seeds of the several varieties differ little in size, form, or color, and are not generally distinguishable from each other. They will keep well two years; and if preserved from dampness, and placed in a cool situation, a large percentage will vegetate when three years old.
In the vegetable garden, an ounce of seed is allowed for one hundred and fifty feet of drill; and, for field culture, about two pounds for an acre.
An ounce contains twenty-four thousand seeds.
Use.—Though not relished by all palates, carrots are extensively employed for culinary purposes, and are generally considered healthful and nutritious. They form an important ingredient in soups, stews, and French dishes of various descriptions; and by many are much esteemed, when simply boiled, and served with meats or fish.
"Carrots may be given to every species of stock, and form in all cases a palatable and nourishing food. They are usually given in their raw state, though they may be steamed or boiled in the same manner as other roots.
"Horses and dairy-cows are the live-stock to which they are most frequently given. They are found in an eminent degree to give color and flavor to butter; and, when this is the end desired, no species of green-feeding is better suited to the dairy. To horses they may be given with cut straw and hay; and, thus given, form a food which will sustain them on hard work. They afford excellent feeding for swine, and quickly fatten them. When boiled, they will be eaten by poultry; and, mixed with any farinaceous substance, form an excellent food for them. They are also used for distillation, affording a good spirit."
The varieties are as follow:—
Altringham. Long Red Altringham. Vil.
The Altrincham Carrot measures about fourteen inches in length, by two inches in diameter. It retains its thickness for nearly two-thirds its length: but the surface is seldom regular or smooth; the genuine variety being generally characterized by numerous crosswise elevations, and corresponding depressions. Neck small and conical, rising one or two inches above the surface of the soil. Skin nearly bright-red; the root having a semi-transparent appearance. Flesh bright and lively, crisp and breaking in its texture; and the heart, in proportion to the size of the root, is smaller than that of the Long Orange. Leaves long, but not large or very numerous.
According to Lawson, it is easily distinguished from the Long Orange by the roots growing more above ground, by its more convex or rounded shoulders, and by its tapering more irregularly, and terminating more abruptly. It is, however, exceedingly difficult to procure the variety in its purity, as it is remarkably liable to sport, although the roots grown for seed be selected with the greatest care.
It is a good field-carrot, but less productive than the Long Orange and some others; mild and well flavored for the table, and one of the best sorts for cultivation for market.
Thompson states that "it derives its name from a place called Altrincham, in Cheshire, Eng., where it is supposed to have originated. In seedsmen's lists it is frequently, but erroneously, called the Altringham."
Early Forcing Horn. Earliest Short Forcing Horn. Early Short Scarlet.
Root grooved or furrowed at the crown, roundish, or somewhat globular; rather more than two inches in diameter, nearly the same in depth, and tapering suddenly to a very slender tap-root. Skin red, or reddish-orange; brown or greenish where it comes to the surface of the ground. Foliage small and finely cut or divided, not so large or luxuriant as that of the Early Horn.
The Early Frame is the earliest of all varieties, and is especially adapted for cultivation under glass, both on account of its earliness, and the shortness and small size of its roots. It is also one of the best sorts for the table, being very delicate, fine-grained, mild, and remarkably well flavored.
Where space is limited, it may be grown in rows six inches apart, thinned to three inches apart in the rows; or sown broadcast, and the young plants thinned to three inches apart in each direction.
EARLY HALF-LONG SCARLET.
Half-long Red. Vil.
Root slender and tapering, measuring seven or eight inches in length, and two inches in its greatest diameter. Crown hollow. Skin red below the surface of the ground, green or brown above. Flesh reddish-orange, fine-grained, mild, and well flavored. Foliage similar to that of the Early Frame, but not abundant.
The variety is remarkably productive; in good soil and favorable seasons, often yielding an amount per acre approaching that of the Long Orange. Season intermediate between the early garden and late field sorts.
Early Scarlet Horn. Early Short Dutch. Dutch Horn.
Root six inches in length, two inches and a half in diameter, nearly cylindrical, and tapering abruptly to a very slender tap-root. Skin orange-red, but green or brown where it comes to the surface of the ground. Flesh deep orange-yellow, fine-grained, and of superior flavor and delicacy. The crown of the root is hollow, and the foliage short and small.
The variety is very early, and as a table-carrot much esteemed, both on account of the smallness of its heart and the tenderness of its fibre. As the roots are very short, it is well adapted for shallow soils; and on poor, thin land will often yield a greater product per acre than the Long Orange or the White Belgian, when sown under like circumstances.
Sow in rows one foot apart, and thin to four inches in the rows.
FLANDER'S LARGE PALE SCARLET. Vil.
Flander's Pale Red.
Root produced within the earth, fourteen or fifteen inches long, three or four inches in diameter at the broadest part, fusiform, not very symmetrical, but often quite crooked and angular. The crown is flat, very large, and nearly covered by the insertion of the leaves. Flesh reddish-yellow, and rather coarse-grained. Foliage large and vigorous.
The roots are formed early and with great certainty. It is also very productive, of large size, keeps remarkably well; and, though of coarse texture, one of the best sorts for cultivation for farm-purposes.
It originated in Flanders, and is comparatively an old variety, but is little disseminated, and not grown to any extent, in this country.
Root long, thickest at or near the crown, and tapering regularly to a point. Size very variable, being much affected by soil, season, and cultivation: well-grown specimens measure fifteen inches in length, and three inches in diameter at the crown. Skin smooth, of a reddish-orange color. Flesh comparatively close-grained, succulent, and tender, of a light-reddish vermilion or orange color, the heart lighter, and large in proportion to the size of the root. Foliage not abundant, but healthy and vigorous, and collected into a comparatively small neck. The roots are usually produced entirely within the earth.
If pulled while very young and small, they are mild, fine-grained, and good for table use; but, when full grown, the texture is coarser, and the flavor stronger and less agreeable.
The Long Orange is more cultivated in this country for agricultural purposes than all other varieties. With respect to its value for stock, its great productiveness, and its keeping properties, it is considered the best of all the sorts for field culture. A well-enriched soil will yield from six hundred to eight hundred bushels per acre. The seed is usually sown in drills, about fourteen inches apart, but sometimes on ridges, eighteen or twenty inches apart, formed by turning two furrows together; the ridges yielding the largest roots, and the drills the greatest quantity.
Two pounds of seed are usually allowed to an acre; but, if sown by a well-regulated machine, about one-half this quantity will be sufficient.
LONG RED BELGIAN.
Yellow Belgian. Yellow Green-top Belgian.
Root very long, fusiform, contracted a little towards the crown, but nearly of uniform thickness from the top down half the length. Size large; when grown in deep soil, often measuring twenty inches in length, and nearly three inches in diameter. The crown rises four or five inches above the surface of the ground, and is of a green color; below the surface, the skin is reddish-yellow. Flesh orange-red.
This variety, like the White, originated in Belgium. In Europe it is much esteemed by agriculturists, and is preferred to the White Belgian, as it is not only nearly as productive, but has none of its defects.
Root fusiform, three inches in diameter at the crown, and from, twelve to fourteen inches in depth. Skin pale yellow, or lemon-color, under ground; but greenish on the top, or crown, which rises a little above the surface of the soil. Flesh yellow, the heart paler, and, like that of the Long Orange, of large size. While young, the roots are delicate, mild, and well flavored; but, when full grown, valuable only for stock.
The Long Lemon is easily harvested, and is very productive, yielding nearly the same quantity to the acre as the Long Orange; which variety it much resembles in its general character, and with which it is frequently, to a greater or less extent, intermixed.
Long Red. James's Scarlet.
This variety much resembles the Long Orange: the roots, however, are more slender, the heart is smaller, and the color deeper.
"It is popular in some parts of England, and is extensively grown over the Continent."
Root produced entirely below ground, regularly fusiform, fifteen inches long, by about three inches in its largest diameter. Skin white, stained with russet-brown. Flesh white, and generally considered sweeter than that of the colored varieties.
The Common White has been but little cultivated since the introduction of the White Belgian; a variety much more productive, though perhaps not superior either in flavor, or fineness of texture.
An English variety, comparatively of recent introduction. Root broadest at the crown, and thence tapering very regularly to a point. Size full medium; well-grown specimens measuring nearly three inches in diameter at the broadest part, and about one foot in length. Skin bright orange-red. Flesh orange-yellow, fine-grained, sweet, well flavored, and, while young, excellent for table use.
Very hardy, and also very productive; yielding, according to the best English authority, a greater weight per acre than any other yellow-fleshed variety.
PURPLE OR BLOOD RED.
Root fusiform, and very slender, fourteen inches in length, by two inches and a half in diameter at the top or broadest part. Skin deep purple, varying to some extent in depth of shade, but generally very dark. Flesh purple at the outer part of the root, and yellow at the centre or heart; fine grained, sugary, and comparatively well flavored.
Not much cultivated for the table, on account of the brown color it imparts to soups or other dishes of which it may be an ingredient. It is also inclined to run to seed the year it is sown. It has, however, the reputation of flourishing better in wet, heavy soil, than any other variety.
Blanche des Vosges. Vil.
Root obtusely conical, seven or eight inches long, by about four inches in diameter at the crown, which is large, flat, greenish, and level with the surface of the ground. Skin white, tinted with amber, smooth and fine. Flesh yellowish-white, remarkably solid, and fine in texture; sweet and well flavored. Foliage rather finely divided, and as vigorous as the Long Orange.
The Short White yields well, retains its qualities during winter, and is well adapted for cultivation in soils that are hard and shallow.
Long Red Brunswick.
Root fusiform, very long, and regular; the crown level with the surface of the soil. In good cultivation, the roots attain a length of sixteen inches, and a diameter of nearly two inches. Color bright reddish-orange, like the Altrincham.
An excellent table-carrot, but flourishes well only in deep, mellow soil.
Root very long, fusiform, eighteen to twenty inches in length, and four or five inches in diameter. In the genuine variety, the crown rises five or six inches from the surface of the ground; and, with the exception of a slight contraction towards the top, the full diameter is retained for nearly one-half of the entire length. Skin green above, white below ground. Flesh white, tending to citron-yellow at the centre or heart of the root; somewhat coarse in texture. Foliage rather large and vigorous.
The White Belgian Carrot is remarkable for its productiveness, surpassing in this respect all other varieties, and exceeding that of the Long Orange by nearly one-fourth. It can be harvested with great facility, and gives a good return even on poor soils.
The variety is not considered of any value as a table esculent, and is grown almost exclusively for feeding stock; for which purpose, it is, however, esteemed less valuable than the yellow-fleshed sorts, because less nutritious, and more liable to decay during winter.
Since its introduction, it has somewhat deteriorated; and, as now grown, differs to some extent from the description given above. The roots are smaller, seldom rise more than two or three inches above the soil, and taper directly from the crown to the point. A judicious selection of roots for seed, continued for a few seasons, would undoubtedly restore the variety to its primitive form and dimensions.
The same amount of seed will be required as of the Long Orange: and the general method of culture should be the same; with the exception, that, in thinning out the plants, the White Belgian should have more space.
WHITE BELGIAN HORN.
Transparent White. Vil.
Root seven or eight inches in length, and two inches in its greatest diameter, tapering regularly from the crown to the point. Skin fine, clear white. Flesh very white, and almost transparent, mild, tender, and delicate.
A French variety, remarkable for the peculiar, pure white color of its skin and flesh.
* * * * *
A hardy, biennial plant, from the south of Europe. The root is fusiform, four or five inches long, and nearly an inch and a half in diameter; skin, grayish-black; flesh, white. The leaves are compound, the leaflets very deeply cut, and the divisions of the upper leaves very narrow and slender. The flowers are white, and terminate the top of the plant in umbels, or large, circular, flat, spreading bunches. The seeds are long, pointed, furrowed, concave on one side, of a brownish color, and retain their power of germination but one year. An ounce contains sixty-five hundred seeds.
Soil and Cultivation.—The seeds may be sown in drills, in October or April, in the manner of sowing the seeds of the common carrot: preference to be given to rich, mellow soil. The roots will attain their full size by the following August or September, when they should be harvested. With a little care to prevent sprouting, they may be preserved until April.
Seed.—The roots intended for seed should be set in the open ground in autumn or in spring. The seeds will ripen in August, and should be sown within a month or two of the time of ripening; or, if kept till spring, should be packed in earth or sand: for, when these precautions are neglected, they will often remain dormant in the ground throughout the year.
Use.—The Tuberous-rooted Chervil promises to be a valuable esculent root. M. Vilmorin considered it worthy to be classed with the potato, though not equally productive. On his authority, upwards of six tons have been produced on an acre; an amount which he states may be greatly increased by a judicious selection of the best roots for seed.
The roots, which are eaten boiled, are of a gray color, and nearly of the size and form of an Early Horn Carrot. The flesh is white, farinaceous, and of a flavor intermediate between that of a chestnut and a potato.
* * * * *
CHINESE POTATO, OR JAPANESE YAM.
Stem twelve feet or more in length, of a creeping or climbing habit; leaves heart-shaped, though sometimes halberd-formed; flowers small, in clusters, white. "The root is of a pale russet color, oblong, regularly rounded, club-shaped, exceedingly tender, easily broken, and differs from nearly all vertical roots in being largest at the lower end."
Propagation and Cultivation.—The Chinese Potato requires a very deep, light, rather sandy, and tolerably rich soil; and this should be thoroughly stirred to the depth of at least two feet. No fresh manure should be used, but fine, well-decomposed compost applied, and deeply as well as very thoroughly incorporated with the soil; avoiding however, if possible, its direct contact with the growing roots. It is propagated either by small roots; by the top or neck of the large roots, cut off to the length of five or six inches; or by the small bulbs, or tubers, which the plants produce in considerable numbers on the stem, in the axils of the leaves. These should be planted the last of April, or as soon as the ground is in good working condition. Lay out the land in raised ridges two feet and a half or three feet asunder; and on the summit set the bulbs, or tubers, with the point or shoot upwards, eight or ten inches apart; and cover about an inch deep. Cultivate in the usual manner during the summer; and late in autumn, after the tops are dead, and just before the closing-up of the ground, take up the roots, dry them a short time in the sun, and store them in the cellar for use. The roots are perfectly hardy, and will sustain no injury from the coldest winter, if left unprotected in the open ground. During the second season, the growth of the old root is not continued, but gradually decays as the new roots are formed. A well-grown root will measure about two feet in length, and two inches and a half at its broadest diameter.
Use.—The flesh is remarkably white, and very mucilaginous in its crude state. The roots are eaten either boiled or roasted, and require rather more than half the time for cooking that is usually given to the boiling or roasting of the common potato. When cooked, they possess a rice-like taste and consistency, are quite farinaceous, and unquestionably nutritive and valuable for food.
* * * * *
CHUFA, OR EARTH ALMOND.
EDIBLE CYPERUS. NUT RUSH.
A perennial plant, from the south of Europe. The roots are long and fibrous, and produce at their extremities numerous small, rounded or oblong, jointed, pale-brown tubers, of the size of a filbert. The flesh of these roots, or tubers, is of a yellowish color, tender, and of a pleasant, sweet, and nut-like flavor. The leaves are rush-like, about eighteen inches high, a little rough, and sharply pointed. The flower-stalks are nearly of the same height as the leaves, three-cornered, hard, and leafless, with the exception of five or six leaflike bracts at the top, from the midst of which are produced the spikelets of flowers, which are of a pale-yellow color.
Propagation and Culture.—It is propagated by planting the tubers in April or May, two inches deep, in drills two feet apart, and six inches apart in the drills. They will be ready for harvesting in October. In warm climates, the plant, when once introduced into the garden, spreads with great rapidity, and is exterminated with much difficulty. In the Northern and Middle States, the tubers remaining in the open ground are almost invariably destroyed by the winter.
Use.—It is cultivated for its small, almond-like tubers, which, when dried, have somewhat the taste of the almond, and keep a long period. They are eaten either raw or roasted.
"The plant grows spontaneously in the light, humid soils of Spain; and is cultivated in Germany and the south of France. The tubers are chiefly employed for making an orgeat,—a species of drink much used in Spain, Cuba, and other hot climates where it is known. When mashed to a flour,—which is white, sweet, and very agreeable to the taste,—it imparts to water the color and richness of milk."—Hort.
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TREE PRIMROSE. EVENING PRIMROSE.
The German Rampion, or Evening Primrose, common in this country to gravelly pastures and roadsides, is a hardy biennial plant, and, when in full perfection, measures three or four feet in height, with long, flat, pointed leaves, and large, yellow, fragrant flowers. The seed-pods are oblong, four-sided; the seeds are small, angular, of a brown color, and retain their germinative properties three years.
Sowing and Cultivation.—The seeds should be sown annually, in April, in a rich and shady situation; for if grown in a dry, sunny exposure, and sown very early in the season, the plants are inclined to run to flower during the summer: which renders the roots worthless; for they then become hard and fibrous. Sow in drills an inch deep, and fourteen inches apart; thin to six or eight inches in the rows; cultivate in the usual form; and, in September, the roots will be ready for use. For winter use, take up the roots before freezing weather, and pack in sand. For spring use, they may be taken directly from the ground.
To raise Seed.—Two or three plants, left in the ground through the winter, will yield an abundant supply of seeds the following summer.
Use.—The root is the only part used. This, when full grown, is generally from ten to twelve inches long, fusiform, occasionally with a few strong fibres, whitish on the outside, and white within. The thick, outer covering separates readily, and should be removed when the root is eaten in its crude state. It possesses a nutty flavor; but is inferior to the true Rampion, having a slight pungency. If required as a raw salad, it should be eaten while young. When the roots have attained their full size, they are usually dressed in the manner of Skirret and Scorzonera.
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The Jerusalem Artichoke is a hardy perennial. In its manner of growth and flowering, it much resembles the common sunflower; of which, as its scientific term suggests, it is really a species. Stem six to eight feet high, very rough, and much branched; leaves alternate, large, rough, heart-shaped at the base, pointed at the ends, and indented on the borders; flowers large, yellow,—produced on the top of the plant, at the extremities of the branches.
Soil, Propagation, and Culture.—"It thrives best in a light, mellow soil, made rich by the application of old, decomposed manure; but the roots will flourish well if planted in any corner of the garden less suited for other descriptions of vegetables. To obtain fine roots, however, the soil should be trenched fifteen or eighteen inches in depth.
"It is propagated by planting the small tubers, or offsets: the large tubers may also be cut or divided into several pieces, each having one eye, as practised with the potato. In April, or early in May, lay out the rows three feet apart, drop the tubers one foot apart in the rows, and cover three inches deep. As the plants come up, hoe the ground between the rows from time to time; and draw a little earth around their stems, to support them, and to afford the roots a thicker covering."
Taking the Crop.—The new tubers will be suitable for use in the autumn. In digging, great care should be taken to remove the small as well as the full-grown; for those not taken from the ground will remain fresh and sound during the winter, and send up in the spring new plants, which, in turn, will increase so rapidly, as to encumber the ground, and become troublesome. In localities where the crop has once been cultivated, though no plants be allowed to grow for the production of fresh tubers, yet the young shoots will continue to make their appearance from time to time for many years.
Use.—"The roots, or tubers, are the parts of the plant eaten. These are boiled in water till they become tender; when, after being peeled, and stewed with butter and a little wine, they will be as pleasant as the real Artichoke, which they nearly resemble both in taste and flavor."
M'Intosh says that the tubers may be used in every way as the potato; and are suited to persons in delicate health, when debarred from the use of most other vegetables.
Varieties.—For a long period, there was but a single variety cultivated, or even known. Recent experiments in the use of seeds as a means of propagation have developed new kinds, varying greatly in their size, form, and color, possessing little of the watery and insipid character of the heretofore grown Jerusalem Artichoke, and nearly or quite equalling the potato in flavor and excellence.
Tubers large, and often irregular in form; skin and flesh white; quality watery, and somewhat insipid. It is unfit for boiling, but is sometimes served baked or roasted. It makes a very crisp and well-flavored pickle.
A French variety, produced from seed. Tubers purplish rose-color; flesh dryer when cooked, and finer flavored, than that of the foregoing.
Like the Purple-skinned, produced from seed. Skin red. Between this and the last named there are various intermediate sorts, differing in shades of color, as well as in size, form, and quality.
The tubers of this variety are of a yellowish color, and are generally smaller, and even more irregularly shaped, than those of the Common White. They are, however, superior in quality, and of a more agreeable taste when cooked.
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The Kohl Rabi is a vegetable intermediate between the cabbage and the turnip. The stem, just above the surface of the ground, swells into a round, fleshy bulb, in form not unlike a turnip. On the top and about the surface of this bulb are put forth its leaves, which are similar to those of the Swede turnips; being either lobed or entire on the borders, according to the variety. The seeds are produced the second year; after the ripening of which, the bulb perishes.
Sowing and Cultivation.—Mr. Thompson's directions are as follows: "Kohl Rabi may be sown thinly, broadcast, or in drills four inches apart, in April, May, or June. When the young plants are an inch or two in height, they may be transplanted into any good, well-enriched piece of ground, planting them eight inches apart, in rows fifteen inches asunder, and not deeper in the ground than they were in the seed-bed. Water should be given till they take fresh root, and subsequently in dry weather as required; for though the plants suffer little from droughts, yet the tenderness of the produce is greatly impaired by an insufficient supply of moisture. With the exception of stirring the ground and weeding, no further culture is required. The crop will be fit for use when the bulbs are of the size of an early Dutch turnip: when allowed to grow much larger, they are only fit for cattle. Of field varieties, the bulbs sometimes attain an immense size; weighing, in some cases, fourteen pounds."
Seed.—Take up a few plants entire in autumn; preserve them during winter in the manner of cabbages or turnips; and transplant to the open ground in April, two feet apart in each direction. The seeds are not distinguishable from those of the Swede or Ruta-baga Turnip, and retain their vitality from five to seven years.
Use.—The part chiefly used is the turnip-looking bulb, formed by the swelling of the stem. This is dressed and eaten with sauce or with meat, as turnips usually are. While young, the flesh is tender and delicate, possessing the combined flavor of the cabbage and turnip.
They are said to keep better than any other bulb, and to be sweeter and more nutritious than the cabbage or white turnip. "In the north of France, they are extensively grown for feeding cattle,—a purpose for which they seem admirably adapted, as, from having a taste similar to the leaves of others of the species, they are found not to impart any of that peculiar, disagreeable taste to the milk, which it acquires when cows are fed on turnips."
Varieties.—These are as follow:—
ARTICHOKE-LEAVED. Thomp. Vil.
Of German origin, deriving its name from the resemblance of the leaves to those of the Artichoke. Bulb small, and not smooth or symmetrical. The leaves are beautifully cut, and are very ornamental; but the bulb is comparatively of little value. Not much cultivated.
EARLY DWARF WHITE. Vil.
Bulb white, smaller than that of the Common White, and supported close to the ground. The leaves are also smaller, and less numerous.
It is earlier, and finer in texture, than the last named; and, while young, excellent for the table.
Transplant in rows fifteen inches apart, and ten inches asunder in the rows.
EARLY PURPLE VIENNA. Thomp. Vil.
This corresponds with the Early White Vienna, except in color, which, in this variety, is a beautiful purple, with a fine glaucous bloom. The leaf-stems are very slender, and the leaves smooth, and few in number.
These two Vienna sorts are by far the best for table use. When taken young, and properly dressed, they form an excellent substitute for turnips, especially in dry seasons, when a crop of the latter may fail or become of inferior quality.
EARLY WHITE VIENNA. Thomp.
Dwarf, small, early; bulb handsome, firm, glossy, white, or very pale-green. The leaves are few, small, with slender stems, the bases of which are dilated, and thin where they spring from different parts on the surface of the bulb. The flesh is white, tender, and succulent, whilst the bulb is young, or till it attains the size of an early white Dutch turnip; and at or under this size it should be used.
Set the plants in rows fifteen inches apart, and ten inches from plant to plant in the lines.
Similar to, if not identical with, the Common White. The bulbs are pale-green, attain a very large size, and the variety is hardy and productive. Not suited to garden culture, but chiefly grown for farm-purposes.
PURPLE. Thomp. Vil.
This variety differs little from the White, except in color; the bulb being purple, and the leaf-stems and nerves also tinged with purple. Like the White, it attains a large size, and is only adapted for field culture; the flesh being too coarse and strong-flavored for table use.
WHITE. Thomp. Vil.
Bulb large,—when full grown, measuring seven or eight inches in diameter, and weighing from eight to ten pounds; leaves rather large and numerous; skin very pale, or whitish-green; stem about six inches high. Hardy, very late, and chiefly employed for farm-purposes.
The variety should be cultivated in rows eighteen inches apart, and the plants should stand one foot apart in the rows.
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Tuberous-rooted Wood-sorrel. Oca. Oxalis crenata.
Of the Tuberous-rooted Oxalis, there are two varieties, as follow:—
Stem two feet in length, branching, prostrate or trailing, the ends of the shoots erect; leaves trifoliate, yellowish-green, the leaflets inversely heart-shaped; flowers rather large, yellow,—the petals crenate or notched on the borders, and striped at their base with purple. The seeds are matured only in long and very favorable seasons. In its native state, the plant is perennial; but is cultivated and treated, like the common potato, as an annual.
Cultivation.—The tubers should be started in a hot-bed in March, and transplanted to the open ground in May, or as soon as the occurrence of settled warm weather. They thrive best in dry, light, and medium fertile soils, in warm situations; and should be planted in hills two feet and a half apart, or in drills two feet and a half apart, setting the plants or tubers an inch and a half deep, and fifteen or eighteen inches apart in the drills; treating, in all respects, as potatoes.
The tubers form late in the season; are white, roundish, or oblong, pointed at the union with the plant, and vary in size according to soil, locality, and season; seldom, however, exceeding an inch in diameter, or weighing above four ounces. The yield is comparatively small.
Use.—The tubers are used as potatoes. When cooked, the flesh is yellow, very dry and mealy, of the flavor of the potato, with a very slight acidity. The tender, succulent stalks and foliage are used as salad.
OXALIS, RED TUBEROUS-ROOTED.
Plant similar in habit to the White Tuberous-rooted; but the branches, as well as the under surface of the leaves, are more or less stained with red. Tubers larger than those of the last named, roundish, tapering towards the connection with the plant, and furnished with numerous eyes in the manner of the common potato; skin smooth, purplish-red; flesh often three-colored,—the outer portion of the tuber carmine-red, the central part marbled, and the intermediate portion yellow,—the colors, when the root is divided transversely, appearing in concentric zones, or rings. The flesh contains but little farinaceous matter, and possesses a certain degree of acidity, which, to many palates, is not agreeable.
Propagated, and in all respects cultivated, like the White. Either of the varieties may also be grown from cuttings, which root readily.
According to a statement from the London Horticultural Society's Journal, the acidity may be converted into a sugary flavor by exposing the tubers to the action of the sun for eight or ten days,—a phenomenon which is analogous to what takes place in the ripening of most fruits. When treated in this form, the tubers lose all trace of acidity, and become as floury as the best descriptions of potatoes. If the action of the sun is continued for a long period, the tubers become of the consistence and sweet taste of figs. Mr. Thompson states that the disagreeable acid taste may also be removed by changing the water when they are three-quarters boiled.
The plants are tender, and are generally destroyed early in autumn by frost. The tubers must be taken up before freezing weather, packed in sand, and placed in a dry, warm cellar for the winter.
DEPPE'S OXALIS. Thomp. Vil.
A perennial plant from Mexico, very distinct from the tuberous-rooted species before described. Stalk about one foot in height, smooth and branching; leaves four together, the leaflets wedge-shaped, pale yellowish-green, the upper surface marked by two brownish lines or stains in the form of two sides of a triangle; flowers terminal, of a carmine-rose or pink-red color, stained with green at the base of the petals. "The roots are fleshy, tapering, white, and semi-transparent, and furnished on the top of the crown with a mass of scaly bulbs, sometimes amounting to fifty in number, by means of which the plant can be easily propagated. When well grown, the roots are about four inches in length, and from one inch to one inch and a half in thickness."—Thomp.
Soil and Culture.—"This Oxalis requires a light, rich soil, mixed with decayed vegetable matter; and it prefers a southern aspect, provided the soil is not too dry.
"It may be raised from seed; but is generally propagated by planting the bulbs, which should be set the last of April or beginning of May, or when all danger of frost is over, six inches apart, in rows one foot asunder. The bulbs should be only just covered with soil; for thus they occupy a position, with regard to the surface, similar to that in which they are produced: and this seems indispensable, if fine roots are to be obtained.
"The stems have been observed to spring up from a considerable depth; but, in this case, tap-roots were not formed. During summer, the soil must be kept moist in dry weather; otherwise, when rain falls abundantly, the sudden accession of water to the roots occasions their splitting. The plants should be allowed to grow as long as there is no danger from frost; but, previous to this occurring, they should either be taken up or protected. If protected from frost by frames or otherwise, the roots will continue to increase in size till near November. When taken up, the roots should be divested of the numerous bulbs formed on their crowns, and then stored up for use in a cool, dry place, but secure from frost. A similar situation will be proper for the small bulbs; or they may be kept in dry sand till the season of planting."—Thomp.
The plant has been cultivated with the most complete success, with no especial preparation of the soil; merely planting the bulbs in shallow drills, the ground being dug and manured as for other kitchen-garden crops.
Use.—In a communication to the "Gardener's Chronicle," Prof. Morren gives the uses of the plant as follow:—
"The uses of the Oxalis are many. The young leaves are dressed like sorrel in soup, or as a vegetable. They have a fresh and agreeable acid, especially in spring. The flowers are excellent in salad, alone, or mixed with corn salad, endive of both kinds, red cabbage, beet-root, and even with the petals of the dahlia, which are delicious when thus employed. When served at table, the flowers, with their pink corolla, green calyx, yellow stripes, and small stamens, produce a fine effect. The roots are gently boiled with salt and water, after having been washed and slightly peeled. They are then eaten like asparagus in the Flemish fashion, with melted butter and the yolk of eggs. They are also served up like scorzonera and endive, with white sauce; and form, in whatever way they are dressed, a tender, succulent dish, easy to digest, agreeing with the most delicate stomach. The analogy of the root with salep indicates that its effect should be excellent on all constitutions."
"The bright rose-colored flowers being very ornamental, the plant is sometimes employed as an edging for walks."—Thomp.
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The Parsnip is a hardy biennial, indigenous to Great Britain and some parts of the south of Europe, and, to a considerable extent, naturalized in this country. In its native state, the root is small and fibrous, and possesses little of the fineness of texture, and delicacy of flavor, which characterize the Parsnip in its cultivated state.
The roots are fusiform, often much elongated, sometimes turbinate, and attain their full size during the first year. The flowers and seeds are produced the second year; the plant then measuring five or six feet in height, with a grooved or furrowed, hollow, branching stem. The flowers are yellow, in large spreading umbels five or six inches in diameter. The seeds ripen in July and August; are nearly circular; about one-fourth of an inch in diameter; flat, thin, very light, membranous on the borders, and of a pale yellowish-brown or yellowish-green color. They vary but little in size, form, or color, in the different varieties; and retain their vitality but two years. About six thousand seeds are contained in one ounce.
Propagation, Soil, and Cultivation.—It is always propagated from seed sown annually.
Soil.—The soil should be mellow, deep, and of a rich vegetable texture. "If in moderate condition by the manuring of the previous crop, it will be better than applying manure at sowing. Should it be necessary to do so, let the manure be in the most thorough state of decomposition; or, if otherwise, incorporate it with the soil, as far from the surface as possible. The Parsnip will grow in a stronger soil than the Carrot; and succeeds comparatively well when grown in sand, or even in peat, if well manured."
Preparation of the Ground, and Sowing.—"The seed should be sown as early in spring as the ground is in good working condition. As most of the varieties have long fusiform roots, ordinary ploughing will not stir the soil to a sufficient depth for their greatest perfection; and, as the amount of the crop mainly depends on the length of the roots, it is of the first importance to provide for this fact by making the ground fine and friable above and below, to the depth of at least fifteen inches: eighteen or twenty would be better. When the soil has thus been thoroughly pulverized, level off the surface, and rake it fine and smooth, and sow the seed in drills fourteen inches apart and an inch and a half deep; allowing half an ounce of seed for one hundred feet of drill, and from five to six pounds to the acre. When the young plants are two or three inches high, thin them out to about six inches in the rows; and, as they transplant readily, any vacant space can be filled by resetting the surplus plants. Keep the earth between the rows loose, and free from weeds, and also the spaces in the rows, until the leaves cover the ground; after which, little further care will be required. The roots will attain a good size by the middle of September, from which time a few may be drawn for present use; but the Parsnip is far best at full maturity, which is indicated by the decay of the leaf in October."
Harvesting.—The Parsnip sustains no injury when left in the open ground during winter; and it is a common practice to take up in the fall a certain quantity of roots to meet a limited demand in the winter months, allowing the rest to remain in the ground until spring. The roots thus treated are considered to have a finer flavor; that is to say, are better when recently taken from the ground.
In taking up the crop in autumn, which should be done just previous to the closing-up of the ground, be careful to remove the soil to a sufficient depth, so as not to injure the roots. The thrust of the spade that easily lifts a Carrot without essential injury, will, if applied to the Parsnip, break the roots of nine in ten at scarcely half their length from the surface of the ground. As the roots keep much fresher, and retain their flavor much better, when taken up entire, the best method is to throw out a trench beside the rows, to the depth of the roots, when they can be easily, as well as perfectly, removed. They should be dug in pleasant weather, and laid on the ground exposed to the sun for a few hours to dry; "and when all the earth is rubbed off them, and their leaves cut off to within an inch of their crowns, they may be stowed away in sand, dry earth, or in any dry, light material most convenient." When thus packed, they will keep well in almost any location, either in the cellar or storehouse.
If the roots which have remained in the ground during winter be taken up in spring, and the tops removed as before directed, they may be packed in sand or earth, and will remain fresh and in good condition for use until May or June.
To raise Seed.—In April, thin out the roots, that have been in the ground during the winter, to about eighteen inches apart; or, at the same season, select a few good-sized and symmetrical roots from those harvested in the fall, and set them eighteen inches apart, with the crowns just below the surface of the ground. They will send up a stalk to the height and in the manner before described, and the seeds will ripen in August. The central umbel of seeds is always the largest, and is considered much the best.
Use.—"The Parsnip is considered as a wholesome and nutritious article of food, and is served at table in various styles in connection with salted meats and fish. The roots, aside from this manner of using, form what may be called an excellent side-dish; when, after being boiled, not too soft, they are dipped in thin batter of flour and butter or the white of eggs, and afterwards fried brown."
They contain a considerable portion of sugar, and are considered more nutritive than carrots or turnips. The roots form a common ingredient in soups; and are sometimes used for making bread, and also a kind of wine said to resemble Malmsey of Madeira.
Aside from the value of the Parsnip as a table vegetable, it is one of the most economical roots for cultivation for farm purposes, as it not only produces an abundant and almost certain crop, but furnishes very nourishing food particularly adapted to and relished by dairy-stock.
Varieties.—The varieties, which are not numerous, are as follow:—
COMMON, OR DUTCH. Trans.
Swelling Parsnip. Long Smooth Dutch.
The leaves of this kind are strong and numerous; generally about two feet long or high. The roots are from twenty to thirty inches in length, and from three to four inches in diameter at the shoulder, regularly tapering to the end, occasionally producing a few strong fangs. The crown is short and narrow, elevated, and contracting gradually from the shoulder, which is generally below the surface of the ground.
Seeds from America, Holland, and Germany, sown in the garden of the London Horticultural Society, all proved alike; though some were superior to others in the size of their roots, owing, it was thought, both to a careful selection of seed-roots and to the age of the seeds. It was found that new seeds uniformly produced the largest roots.
EARLY SHORT-HORN. M'Int.
A recently introduced variety, similar to the Turnip-rooted, but shorter. Very delicate and fine-flavored.
Panais Long, of the French.
The leaves of this kind grow much stronger and somewhat taller than those of the Common Parsnip. The leaflets are also broader. The only distinguishable difference in the roots is, that those of the Guernsey Parsnip are the larger and more perfect, being sometimes three feet long. Roots produced from seed obtained from Guernsey were evidently much superior to those which were grown from seed raised in other localities: from which it would appear that the Guernsey Parsnip is only an improved variety of the Common, arising from soil and cultivation in that island. Dr. M'Culloch states that, in Guernsey, its roots grow to the length of four feet. In its flavor, it differs little from the Common Dutch Parsnip.
Long Jersey. Hollow-crowned Guernsey. Hollow-headed.
In this variety, the leaves are shorter and not so numerous as those of the Common Parsnip. The roots are oblong, about eighteen inches in length, and four inches in diameter at the shoulder, more swollen at the top, and not tapering gradually, but ending somewhat abruptly with a small tap-root. The crown is short, and quite sunk into the shoulder, so as to form a hollow ring around the insertion of the stalks of the leaves; and grows mostly below the surface of the ground.
It is a good sort for general cultivation, especially as it does not require so deep a soil as either the Common, or Guernsey. There is little difference in the flavor or general qualities of the three varieties.
SIAM, OR YELLOW. Thomp.
Panais de Siam.
This is said to be more tender and richer in flavor than any of the other varieties. It is mentioned by Dr. Neill in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," and is described by M. Noisette as being yellowish in color, and in form intermediate between the Guernsey and Turnip-rooted Parsnips. He also states that it is the most esteemed. It does not, however, appear to be known at the present day in this country.
Panais Rond, of the French.
The leaves of this sort are few, and do not exceed twelve to sixteen inches in length. The roots are from four to six inches in diameter, tunnel-shaped, tapering very abruptly, with a strong tap-root; the whole being from twelve to fifteen inches in length. The rind is rougher than either of the other sorts; the shoulder very broad, growing above the surface of the soil; convex, with a small, short crown. It is much the earliest of the parsnips; and, if left in the ground, is liable to rot in the crown. The leaves also decay much sooner than those of most other sorts.
It is particularly adapted to hard and shallow soils; and, from its coming into use much earlier than any other kind, very desirable. In flavor, it is mild and pleasant, though less sugary than the long-rooted kinds. The flesh, when dressed, is more yellow than that of any other variety.
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The Potato is a native of Central or Tropical America. In its wild or natural state, as found growing on the mountains of Mexico or South America, the tubers rarely exceed an inch in diameter, and are comparatively unpalatable. During the last half-century, its cultivation within the United States has greatly increased; and it is now considered the most important of all esculent roots, and next to the cereals in value as an article of human subsistence.
Soil.—The soils best suited to the Potato are of the dryer and lighter descriptions; pasture lands, or new land, with the turf freshly turned, producing the most abundant as well as the most certain crops. On land of a stiff, clayey texture, or in wet soils, they are not only extremely liable to disease, but the quality is usually very inferior. "On soils which have been long cropped and heavily manured, they rarely succeed well; and hence garden ground, in most cases, does not produce tubers of so good quality as those obtained from the fields."
Fertilizers.—"In good garden soil, the less manure that is used, the better flavored will be the produce; and it will also be much less affected by the disease. Therefore, whilst the malady prevails, or symptoms of it still remain, it is not advisable to apply much manure.
"Amongst the fertilizers that are employed, may be enumerated, in addition to barnyard and stable manure, leaves, leaf-mould, peat-charcoal, and other carbonaceous substances, lime, gypsum, or plaster, and bone-dust.