FIGHTING PLANT ENEMIES
Any reliable seed house can be depended upon for good seeds; but even so, there is a great risk in seeds. A seed may to all appearances be all right and yet not have within it vitality enough, or power, to produce a hardy plant.
The devices and enforces applied for fighting against plant enemies are of two forms:
(1) those used to give mechanical protection to the plants;
(2) those used to apply insecticides and fungicides.
The first and the most effective is the covered frame. Normally it consists of a wooden box, around eighteen inches to two feet square and about eight high, covered with glass, protecting fabric, mosquito netting or mosquito wire. The first two coverings have, naturally, the another advantage of retaining heat and protecting from cold, making it possible by their use to plant earlier than is otherwise harmless. They are used extensively in getting an extra early and harmless beginning with cucumbers, melons and the different vine vegetables.
More simplex devices for protecting newly-set plants, such as tomatoes or cabbage, from the cut-worm, are stiff, tin, cardboard or tar paper collars, which are made several inches high and big enough to be put around the stem and penetrate an inch just about into the ground.
As applying poisonous substance, the home gardener should provide himself with a powder gun. If one must be restricted to a single implement, however, it will be finest to get one of the hand-power, compressed-air sprayers. These are used for applying wet sprays, and should be provided with among the several forms of mist-making nozzles, the non-cloggable automatic type being the most suitable. For more voluminous work a barrel pump, mounted on wheels, will be suitable, but one of the above will do a great deal of work in small time. Extension rods for use in spraying trees and vines may be obtained for either. For functionings on a very small scale a good hand-syringe may be used, but as a general-purpose affair it will be best to invest a few dollars more and get a small tank sprayer, because this throws a uninterrupted flow or spray and holds a much larger amount of the spraying solution. Whatever type is procured, get a brass machine it will wear out three or four of those made of cheaper metal, which succumbs very quickly to the, corroding action of the strong poisons and chemicals used in them.
Of implements for harvesting, beside the spade, prong-hoe and spading- fork, very few are used in the small garden, because most of them need not only long courses to be economically used, but horse- power also. The onion reaper adherence for the double wheel hoe, may be used with advantage in loosening onions, beets, turnips, etc., from the soil or for clipping spinach. Carrying the hand- plow close on either side of carrots, parsnips and other deep-growing vegetables will assist materially in getting them out. For fruit plucking, with tall trees, the wire-fingered fruit-picker, fixed to the end of a long handle, will be of great assistance, but with the modern technique of using low-headed trees it will not be needed.
Another class of garden implements are those applied in cutting but where this is attended properly from the beginning, a fine sharp jack-knife and a pair of cropping shears will easily handle all the work of the kind necessary.
However some other kind of garden device is that used for supporting the plants; such as stakes, trellises, wires, etc. Altogether too little attention usually is given these, as with proper care in storing over wintertime they will not only last for a long time, but add greatly to the convenience of cultivation and to the neat appearance of the garden.
As a concluding word to the intending buyer of garden tools, I would say: first thoroughly enquire the different sorts available, and when purchasing, do not forget that a good and effective tool or a well-made machine will be giving you satisfactory use long, long after the price is forgotten, while a poor one is a constant source of discomfort. Get good tools, and take good care of them. And let me restate that a few dollars a year, judiciously spent, for tools afterward well cared for, will soon give you a very complete set, and add to your garden earnings and joy.