Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Phantom Flowers and Skeleton Leaves

Front CoverToday I just wanted to share an interesting book I just came across a few minutes ago.

Phantom FlowersA Treatise on the Art of Producing Skeleton Leaves 

J.E. Tilton, 1864

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Then comes lettuce." Leads to Odd Illustrations of 19th C. Seed Farm Operation

"There's a host of good early kinds," said Mrs. Chose. 'Tennis Ball,' and ' Early Egg,' and ' White Silesia,' and ' Simpson.' Then for hot weather, 'Malta Drumhead' is good, and 'Neapolitan,' and 'Asiatic,' and the 'Cos' varieties. 'All the Year Round' has a name, but I haven't tried it."

Miss Tiller' Gets Advice: Ideal Seed Selection for a Small Market Garden in 1873

First, I didn't know Cos lettuce is what is sold as romaine nowadays.  Romaine wasn't well known in North America even into the 1890s if a Canadian report I found was accurate.  On the other hand, the Cabbage lettuce below is known to us as an iceberg lettuce.

When looking for illustrations and catalogs selling these varieties I tried a D. M. Ferry catalog from 1875.  Success!...sort of, I'm not being too picky about the exact variety.   And I noticed in a Henderson was still selling Tennis Ball eleven years later in 1884.  Oddly named lettuce, isn't it?

The D. M. Ferry catalog is a fascinating look into their business.  

The first illustration of the 6:45 Roll Call is rather grim I thought, but obviously, to Ferry, it is a fine showing of the size of the company.  I rather like the idea of a roll call compared to a time clock though.  Click on the images to see them full sized so you can enjoy the detail!

 Looks like the ladies got to do the hoeing while the men worked with the horse equipment.

This following print certainly rubs me the wrong way!!
Male overseers standing around making sure the ladies weed correctly.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Old Photos of Gardeners With Their Hoes, plus some Hoe Advice

The photos of the men who proudly stand with
the hoe as if on parade are my favorites, 
but this first photo is wonderful!
 Look at that grape arbor!

I have been tossing photos of gardeners using tools into a folder. Today I noticed that all but one were using a hoe!   It seemed a blog post made in heaven so I found this advice from Samuel Wood to round it out.

The Plain Path to Good Gardening; or, How to grow vegetables, fruits, & flowers successfully by Samuel Wood (gardener.) 1871

Front Cover
HOEING—When And How To Do It.
Shall speak of this in reference to earthing up crops under "The Potato;"—general hoeing should be done carefully and constantly, but never in wet weather, for then few weeds fail to seed; nevertheless let hoeing be done in time,—
'' For one year's seeding
Brings seven years' weeding."
Besides taking the nutriment out of the soil which the crop should have, every inch of weed is destructive of so much of its virtue, and in conjunction with the crop acts like two crops; therefore ply the hoe freely as soon as weeds appear above ground, whether the land is cropped or not.
 Do not draw the hoe too deeply into the soil, for then some weeds only become partly buried with sufficient earth to nourish their growth and seeding, especially some of the grasses, chickweed, &c. 
In hoeing it is important to draw the hoe just under the roots of the weeds, and to hoe every inch of the surface, if the land is foul, but do not hoe six inches and leave three inches untouched, with simply some earth drawn over it, as this is easily and frequently done by mistake.
Cast-steel hoes are the best for light land and among crops. Use short, square, and long-necked hoes for earthing up, the half-moon short-necked for drilling, and for stiff and beaten", old-cropped land, a good, heavy, short-necked, steel faced bean-hoe, as it is called by farmers.
 To handle a hoe well choose a straight and inflexible stick four feet long; and of a size a trifle larger than the ring of the hoe; drive the handle into the hoe, set it up on the end of the handle, and draw the edge of the hoe by one corner on the wall, or a door, making a mark; keep the handle in the same place on the ground, and try the other corner of the hoe; if this come exactly in the same mark the hoe is handled correctly, if not, re-adjust it, otherwise it will not wear equally. The hoe should be kept flat; that is, the whole edge, and not the corners only, of the hoe should be made to do the work.

I'm not sure what this tool is, a scuffle hoe?  I love this lady.

I bet you did not know that Hercule Poirot was a secret gardener.