Press Bulletin No. 12.
November 15, 19oi.
Horticulture and Botany.
Seed-beds and Their Management.
[BY JOHN H. JEFFERIES, GARDENER HORTICULTURAL DEPT.]
Seed-beds may be made of any shape or size desired,
depending upon the number of plants the trucker wishes
The most convenient small seed-bed is a table fur-
nished with end and side boards six inches deep. Cracks
I of an inch wide should be left between the bottom
boards to give drainage. A movable cover should be
erected to shield the bed from heavy rains and the hot
sun. This seed bed is a .very desirable one for raising
young lettuce plants. If ants are in the neighborhood,
they will carry off large numbers of the seeds, and it is
almost impossible to keep them out of an ordinary seed-
They may be kept off the table seed-bed just de-
scribed by using a teaspoonful of corrosive sublimate
mixed with two tablespoonsful of lard. This mixture is
spread upon pieces of cloth, which are then tacked about
the legs. It should be remembered that corrosive subli-
mate is a deadly poison.
In the bottom of the bed place about three inches of
well decomposed stable manure, then fill to within half
an inch of the top with hammock soil or leaf mold. Wet
the bed down thoroughly and allow it to stand a day or
two before planting. It is preferable to have the soil suf-
.ficiently moist so that it will not be necessary to water
again until the seeds germinate.
For larger plantings an ordinary coldframe makes a
very desirable seed-bed. This may be of ony length, six
feet wide, three feet high at the back and sloping to one
foot at the front. It should be placed facing south or
slightly southeast. Strengthening braces should be mor-
ticed into the back and front, placing one every six feet.
The frame should be located upon a piece of thoroughly
drained ground. If protection can be given by placing it
so that it is sheltered on the north and northwest by a
piece of woodland so much the better.
The covering for the seed-bed may be made of heavy
cotton cloth (bleachtng or drilling.) This should be
attached to a roller and placed at the back of tne frame.
When desired it may be rolled down to protect against
cold or to give shade. In-this frame six inches of well
rotted stable manure should be placed and on top of this
three or four inches of leaf mold or hammock soil. The
manure should be thoroughly decomposed; but if it should
happen that it should heat, no seed should be placed in
the bed until the manure has rotted.
Lettuce and celery seed should be sowed about one-
fourth inch deep and twenty or thirty seeds to the inch,
Cabbage and cauliflower should he sowed a little deeper
and eight or ton seeds to. the inch.
When the seedlings are large enough to handle, they
may be transplanted. Several .methods have been tried,
but we have found that the best is to use a board as wide
as the space between the rows. The board should be
placed on the soil and a furrow made alongside with a
small stick or garden label. Lay the plants in the fur-
row, pressing them against the straight side, pour in a
little water and replace the soil, gently tamping it down
with the edge of the board. Lettuce should be set 2 x4
inches, and cabbage, cauliflower and celery 8 x 4 inches.
The damping-off fungus is the most serious enemy to
seedling plants. It can be held in check by keeping the
surface dry and well worked, and if an application of
Bordeaux mixture is given every week, it will be found
of great assistance in combating the disease.
When the plants are ready for the field, they should
be hardened off, by withholding water, and then, just
previous to removing them, the ground should be thor-
oughly watered. It is sometimes desirable to preserve the
whole root system. This may be accomplished by taking
an ordinary table knife and cutting a-line three or four
inches deep between the rows. The plants may then be
lifted with a sharp spade by cutting down between them
in the row. This entails considerable labor, but it will
pay in the end.
ir' State papers pl ease copy.