Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fruit at the Least Expenditure of Labor

When this is the desire, many growers omit the hotbed and even the pricking out, sowing the seed as early as they judge the plants will be safe from frost, and broadcast, either in cold-frames or in uncovered beds, at the rate of 50 to 150 to the square foot and transplanting directly to the field. Or they may be advantageously sown in broad drills either by the use of the pepper-box arrangement suggested on page 60, or a garden drill adjusted to sow a broad row. In Maryland and the adjoining states, as well as in some places in the West, most of the plants for crops for the canners are grown in this way and at a cost of 40 cents or even less a 1,000.

The seed should be sown so that it will be from ¼ to ½ inch apart and the plants thinned as soon as they are up so that they will be at least ½ inch apart. Where seed is sown early with no provision for protection from the frost it is always well to make other sowings as soon as the last begins to break ground in order to furnish reserve plants, if the earlier sown lots be destroyed by frost. Others even sow the seed in place in the field, thinning out to a single one in a hill when the plants are about 2 inches high. Some of the largest yields I have ever known have been raised in this way, but the fruit is late in maturing and generally the method is not so satisfactory as starting the plants where they can be given some protection, and transplanting them to the field.