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Home Vegetable Gardening

A Complete & Practical Guide To The Planting & Care Of Vegetables, Fruits & Berries

Part Three: Fruits & Berries  Chapter 19:
A Calendar Of Operations

One of the greatest difficulties in gardening is to get things started ahead at the proper time, and yet upon the thoroughness with which this is done the success of the garden must depend, in large measure.

The reader may remember that in Chapter 4 the importance of accurately planning the work ahead was emphasized I mentioned there the check list used to make sure that everything would be carried out, or started ahead at the proper time as with the sowing of seeds.

The following garden operations, given month by month, will serve not only as a timely reminder of things to be done, but as the basis for such a check list. The importance of the preparations in all matters of gardening, is of course obvious.


Probably one of the good resolutions made with the New Year was a better garden for the coming summer. The psychologists claim that the only hope for resolutions is to nail them down at the start with an action that seems to have more effect in making an actual impression on the brain. So start the good work along by sending at once for several of the leading seed catalogs.

Planting Plan. Make out a list of what you are going to want this year, and then make your Planting Plan. See Chapter 4 The Planting Plan.

Seeds. Order your seed. Do it now while the seed store's stock is full; while he is not rushed; while there is ample time to rectify mistakes if any occur.

Manures. Altogether too few amateur gardeners realize the great importance of procuring early every pound of manures, of any kind, to be had. It often may be had cheaply at this time of year, and by composting, adding phosphate, and several turnings, if you have any place under cover where it can be collected, you can double its value before spring.

Frames. Even at this season of the year do not fail to air the frames well on warm days. Practically no water will be needed, but if the soil does dry out sufficiently to need it, apply early on a bright morning.

Onions. It will not be too early, this month, to sow onions for spring transplanting outside. Get a packet each of Prizetaker, Ailsa Craig, Mammoth Silver-skin, or Gigantic Gibraltar.

Lettuce. Sow lettuce for spring crop under glass or in frames.

Fruit. This is a good month to prune grapes, currants, gooseberries and peach trees, to avoid the rush that will come later.


Hotbeds. A little early for making them until after the 15th, but get all your material ready manure, selected and stacked; lumber ready for any new ones; sash all in good repair.

Starting Seeds. First part of the month, earliest planting of cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce should be made; and two to four weeks later for main early crop. At this time also, beets and earliest celery.

Tools. Overhaul them all now; order repairs. Get new catalogs and study new improvements and kinds you do not possess.

Poles and brush. Whether you use the old-fashioned sort (now harder to obtain than they used to be) or make your "poles" and use wire trellis for peas, attend to it now.

Fruit. Finish up last month's work, if not all done. Also examine plum and cherry trees for black-knot.


Hotbeds. If not made last of February, should be made at once. Some of the seed sown last month will be ready for transplanting and going into the frames; also lettuce sown in January. Radish and carrot (forcing varieties) may be sown in alternating rows. Give much more air; water on bright mornings; be careful not to have them caught by suddenly cold nights after a bright warm day.

Seed-sowing under glass. Last sowing of early cabbage and early summer cabbages (like Succession), lettuce, rhubarb (for seedling plants), cauliflower, radish, spinach, turnip, and early tomatoes; towards last of month, late tomatoes and first of peppers, and egg-plant. Sweet peas often find a place in the vegetable garden; start a few early, to set out later; they will do better than if started outside. Start tomatoes for growing in frames. For early potatoes sprout in sand.

Planting, outside. If an early spring, and the ground is sufficiently dry, sow onions, lettuce, beet, radish, (sweet peas), smooth peas, early carrot, cabbage, leek, celery (main crop), and turnip. Set out new beds of asparagus, rhubarb and sea-kale (be sure to try a few plants of the latter). Manure and fork up old beds of above.

Fruit. Prune now, apple, plum and pear trees.


Now the rush is on! Plan your work, and work your plan. But do not yield to the temptation to plant more than you can look out for later on. Remember it is much easier to sow seeds than to pull out weeds.

The Frames. Air! water! and do not let the green plant-lice or the white-fly get a ghost of a chance to start. Almost every day the glass should be lifted entirely off. Care must be taken never to let the soil or flats become dried out; toward the end of the month, if it is bright and warm, begin watering towards evening instead of in early morning, as you should have been doing through the winter. If proper attention is given to ventilation and moisture, there will not be much danger from the green plant-louse (aphis) and white-fly, but at the first sign of one fight them to a finish. Use kerosene emulsion,  tobacco dust, tobacco preparations, or Aphine.

Seed sowing. Under glass: tomato, egg-plant and peppers. On sod: corn, cucumbers, melons, early squash, lima beans.

Planting, outside. Onions, lettuce, beet, etc., if not put in last month; also parsnip, salsify, parsley, wrinkled peas, endive. Toward the end of this month (or first part of next) second plantings of these. Set out plants of early cabbage (and the cabbage group) lettuce, onion sets, sprouted potatoes, beets, etc.

In the Garden. Cultivate between rows of sowed crops; weed out by hand just as soon as they are up enough to be seen; watch for cut-worms and root-maggots.

Fruit. Thin out all old blackberry canes, dewberry and raspberry canes (if this was not done, as it should have been, directly after the fruiting season last summer). Be ready for first spraying of early-blossoming trees. Set out new strawberry beds, small fruits and fruit trees.


Keep ahead of the weeds. This is the month when those warm,  south, driving rains often keep the ground too wet to work for days at a time, and weeds grow by leaps and bounds. Woe betide the gardener whose rows of sprouting onions, beets, carrots, etc., once become green with wild turnip and other rapid-growing intruders. Clean cultivation and slight hilling of plants set out are also essential.

The Frames. These will not need so much attention now, but care must be taken to guard tender plants, such as tomatoes, egg-plant and peppers, against sudden late frosts. The sash may be left off most of the time. Water copiously and often.

Planting, outside. First part of the month: early beans, early corn, okra and late potatoes may be put in; and first tomatoes set out even if a few are lost--they are readily replaced. Finish setting out cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, beets, etc., from frames. Latter part of month, if warm: corn, cucumbers, some of sods from frames and early squash as traps where late crop is to be planted or set.

Fruit. Be on time with first sprayings of late-blossoming fruits apples, etc. Rub off from grape vines the shoots that are not wanted.


Frequent, shallow cultivation!

Firm seeds in dry soil. Plant wax beans, lima beans, pole beams, melons, corn, etc., and successive crops of lettuce, radish, etc.

Top-dress growing crops that need special manure (such as nitrate of soda on onions). Prune tomatoes, and cut out some foliage for extra early tomatoes. Toward end of month set celery and late cabbage. Also sow beans, beets, corn, etc., for early fall crops. Spray where necessary. Allow asparagus to grow to tops.

Fruit. Attend to spraying fruit trees and currants and gooseberries. Make pot-layers of strawberries for July setting.


Maintain frequent, shallow cultivation. Set out late cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks and celery. Sow beans, beets, corn, etc., for late fall crops. Irrigate where needed.

Fruit. Pinch back new canes of blackberry, dewberry and raspberry. Rub off second crop of buds on grapes. Thin out if too many bunches; also on plums, peaches and other fruit too thick, or touching. Pot-layered strawberries may be set out.


Keep the garden clean from late weeds especially purslane, the hot-weather weed pest, which should be always removed from the garden and disposed of or rotted down.

Sow spinach, rutabaga turnip, bush beans and peas for last fall crop. During first part of month, late celery may still be put out. Sow lettuce for early fall crop, in frames. First lot of endive should be tied up for blanching.

Fruit. Strawberries may be set, and pot-layered plants, if wanted to bear a full crop the following season, should be put in.  Thin out and bag grapes.


Frames. Set in lettuce started in August. Sow radishes and successive crop of lettuce. Cooler weather begins to tell on late-planted crops. Give cabbage, cauliflower, etc., deeper cultivation. "Handle" celery wanted for early use.

Harvest and store onions. Get squash under cover before frost. From the15th to 25th sow spinach, onions, borecole for wintering over. Sow down thickly to rye all plots as fast as cleared of summer crops; or plow heavy land in ridges. Attend to draining.

Fruit. Trees may be set. Procure barrels for storing fruit in winter. At harvest time it is often impossible to get them at any price.


Get ready for winter. Blanch rest of endive. Bank celery, to be used before Christmas, where it is. Gather tomatoes, melons, etc., to keep as long as possible. Keep especially clean and well cultivated all crops to be wintered over. Late in the month store cabbage and cauliflower; also beets, carrots, and other root crops. Get boxes, barrels, bins, sand or sphagnum moss ready beforehand, to save  time in packing. Clean the garden; store poles, etc., worth keeping over; burn everything else that will not rot; and compost everything that will.

Fruit. Harvest apples, etc. Pick winter pears just before hard frosts, and store in dry dark place.


Frames. Make deep hotbeds for winter lettuce and radishes.  Construct frames for use next spring. See that vegetables in basement, bins, and sheds are safe from freezing.

Trench or store celery for spring use. Take in balance of all root crops if any remain in the ground, except, of course, parsnip and salsify for spring use. Put rough manure on asparagus and rhubarb beds. Get mulch ready for spinach, etc., to be wintered over, if they occupy exposed locations.

Fruit. Obtain marsh or salt hay for mulching strawberries. Cut out old wood of cane-fruits blackberries, etc., if not done after gathering fruit. Look over fruit trees for borers.


Cover celery stored last month, if trenched out-of-doors. Use only light, loose material at first, gradually covering for winter. Put mulch on spinach, etc.

Fruit. Mulch strawberries. Prune grape-vines; make first application of winter sprays for fruit trees.

And Then

Set about procuring manures of all kinds from every available source.  Remember that anything which will rot will add to the value of your manure pile. Muck, lime, old plastering, sods, weeds (earth and all), street, stable and yard sweepings all these and numerous others will increase your garden successes of next year.

One of the most important elements of success in growing vegetables is planting, or transplanting, each crop at the time or times that are best for the operation in each locality. This calendar can easily be adjusted for you growing area. If you are unsure you can always ask your local seedman (plant nursery) or use any search engine to procure your areas weather zones for planting.


Table of Contents

Part One

1) Introduction

2) Why You Should Garden

3) Requisites Of The Home Vegetable Garden

4) The Planting Plan

5) Implements And Their Uses

6) Manures, Fertilizers And Mulching

7) The Soil And Its Preparation


Part  Two  Vegetables

8) Starting The Plants

9) Sowing And Planting

10) The Cultivation Of Vegetables

11) The Vegetables And Their Special Needs

12) Best Varieties Of The Garden Vegetables

13) Insects And Disease, And Methods Of Fighting Them

14) Harvesting And Storing


Part  Three  Fruits

15) The Varieties Of Pome And Stone Fruits

16) Planting; Cultivation; Filler Crops

17) Pruning, Spraying, Harvesting

18) Berries And Small Fruits

19) A Calendar Of Operations

20) Conclusion

Go To Part 3-20: Conclusion

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