THE preceding chapters deal with the main groups of vegetables that are suitable for school garden plots, yet there are others which may be introduced either to the plot or the nursery bed. For instance, it is obviously impracticable to grow Vegetable Marrows on the individual plot, although the culture of this estimable vegetable may be easily demonstrated on the nursery plot. Thus also Ridge Cucumbers may be grown. On one rod plots, Rhubarb may be placed, but it is quite out of the question in the case of smaller plots. In such circumstances space should be made for a few stools on the nursery bed, or failing that-elsewhere. On the same lines a row of Artichokes may be cultivated. The culture of Tomatoes may also be attempted in the school garden ; one plant can be placed on each plot, or, if local conditions are more favourable, a row of plants may be established beside a warm wall or fence.
This vegetable requires ample space, more than the ordinary school plot can well afford; therefore it should be placed in some corner where a full exposure to the sun is secured. A manure heap is the ideal position, and failing this a suitable station should be selected, and a hole dug to a depth of a foot or a little more. This should be filled with well-rotted manure and covered with light soil. For school gardening purposes the seeds may be placed in the soil in June, or if a hand-light is accessible the sowing may be done in April. When the plant develops the main shoot should be pinched off so that the lateral shoots are stimulated into growth; furthermore, this ensures more rapid development of the fruits, and these should be cut when young and tender. Care must be taken that the runners do not grow over one another. One plant of the Bush Marrow may be accommodated on each plot.
FIG. 48. Vegetable Marrows.
These two important salad plants are very easily and also quickly raised. Cress takes a day or two longer to mature, and hence should be sown before the Mustard. These plants may be raised in boxes, or introduced in the garden plot. They may be quite easily grown along the paths without interfering with the long-standing crops.
The soil must be carefully forked and made quite fine by means of the rake. The seeds may be scattered evenly on the soil and gently patted down by means of a spade. The soil should then be watered.
A border of Parsley along the central path gives the school plots a neat appearance. It is necessary that the sowings should be thinly made, and that the mature plants should be carefully picked over, so that old leaves do not remain. Crowded borders are frequently seen, and dwindled plants of poor quality result. This may appear a mere detail, yet in the economy of the garden, it is an important point. This cultural treatment bears out the teaching of these pages, viz., that each plant shall have ample room for development. There must be in the first case well manured soil, and depth for root growth, and finally there must be leaf room. This can only be secured by careful culture, yet many gardeners fail to recognise this fact. It does not matter what the crops may be, if these principles are observed, viz., rich soil, root depth, and leaf room, then the grower of vegetables is on the road that will finally lead him to success.