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BY MR. J. MUIR, Marram Abbey, Glamorganshire, ANSWERS TO CORIIESPONI)ENTS. American l'apexs, &c.—"Observer. "Many tbanka for these and your very interesting letter. Heii with Lumps in Throat.—J. W. T.NVI-iat you describe is roup, and will soon afiecb the wliaie. ;.f your stock if nob checked. See reply to William Holland. Woolly Substance on Poplar S. n. Tiiis is not at all uncommon, and the wool or eotton- like matter forma every year after the trees hare tit wered, and drops off in Jum. it, however, more plentiful some seasons thari others, but I notice it, more or less, every year. The Price of Hay.T, C. R.Thore is no great demand for hay at present. Consequently, the present price is not a guide, but, owing to it* scar- city, it will undoubtedly go up in price in the actuir.n and winter. Those who contemplate selling hay oufht to retain it till then. Budding and Grafting Plums, iVc.—"Amaphom."— It is somewhat difficult to explain briefly and with- (Iut illmfcration the system of budding and grafting, That you may be successful, I advise you to buy the book on the matter termed "The Art of Grafting- and H',aldin¡r," price 2s. 6d., published at 7, Stationers' jfa.ii-court, by Messrs. Lockwood and Son. Prim Trees Withering.J. Neale.—It is not good for the foliage to damp it and hare the sunshine on it directly afterwards. This often discolours foliage nf various plants, and I always inform udders that they should ,lamp or syringe their plants in the evening, when they will dry again before the sun is out next day. The soot ought to s-Asist in making the plant deep grem in colour. You wiill find some remarks on pal ins in present issue. Fowls Wanting to Sit.—Mrs. ii thQ time of the year when fowls are most, anxious to sit., nnrt the warm weather encourages this. A good way of putting them off this disposition is to turn a basket or cask upside down, on a bare, cool piece of ground or floor, and put the hen under for two or three dtys, and only let her out once a day to fcivo her food and water. I have known them to be well soaked in wuter to cure them, but this had little effect. Fcod for Blackbird.— 'Brighton."—When in con- finement blackbirds are not difficult to feed. They will eat almost anything—bread and milk, boiled, a little raw meat, fruit, lettuce, cheese, &c., &c. and you can give it all these, but vary them from day to day, and in. the winter time you can give it ordinary bird seed. It must also have clean water daily, and some grit in the bottom of the cage always. I do not deal with the subject of yeur other letter. Send it to the medical depart- ment. Manure for Exhibition Dahlias.—Mr. Placke4t.— The soil in which they are growing should be deep, and well manured to begin with. You should put a i-yer of rich manure round each stem of the plants, and water them on the top of this twice a week in dry weather. Saturate tbcm thoroughly. As a change of food, you might give them a, little guano water once a week. Whore the flower buds appear in clusters of two or three on the same stem remove thm all but one, and that which remains should be the beat, and on the main stem not the side bud. If blocaas promise to open a long time before they show, remove them before they derelope, as it would only exhaust the energies of the plant to bear a lot of flowers before the exhibition ones come Oil, Fowls Dying.—William Holland.—Tou do not say whether your fowls arc in an open grass run or confined vara. I have, therefore, no means of judg- ing whether they are overcrowded or hot, always state to be avoided. To ensure health, houses and runs should always be limewaahcd, so far as pos- sible, and kept very cler.n. Their drinking water, too, should be clean and fresh dally. I think, from what information you give me, that your fowls are badly affected with roup. It is very infectious, aad many die of it. I have frequently described its symptoms and cure in back niunberm. Mr, W. Yale, l'ew Cross, London, S.E., offers pills and ointment its cures for roup in fowls that are very cfBeao:ous, and you should write to him for his little pamphlet on the subject, after which toy the medioiaes. Grapes Falling off Vine.—J. Milner (Ghent).—It is very unusual for grapes to fall off when the size of peas, or at any other time. I think the roots must be in very bad state, and, fIrl the same thing occurred last year, you should overhaul them thoroughly. This should be done in September. Dig a trench round the stem, but at a distance or 4ft. from it, and sufficiently deep to get below the roots. Do not injure any of the rqotB you meet with, but when the. soil is cleared out to a depth of 3ft. put a quantity of drainage in the bottom, and fill up with ne.v soil. Tills should consist of the surface of a pasture field, with a little horse droppings and some crushed bones added. Next summer you will find the vines do much better, and you could extend the new soil the following year. After renewing the toil, keep the house rather close for a few weeks and the iitmosphere moist, to induce fresh growth, which will cause the new roots to take possession of the eoil in the autumn, end be available for action next spring. Wood-lice, Buds Falling,$jr>.—"Scotch Rose. You should empty some boiling- water into the holas where the woodliee harbour. This will destroy very many of them. Put eorae sEees of turnip or tne, bailed, on the ground where they run at night, and on looking under them in the morning you will And C'rmnù;, which can be gathered and killed. Another way is to put saucers, containing treacle, down, when tliev will Iwcoine entangled in trying to eat the sticky liq u ill. By persevering with any of these means for a few days you will soon reduce them t) a harmless number. I wish you had told me what plant the buds were dropping off. They rarely do so off a healthy plant with its roots in proper action. Ram the soil at the roote very firm. Be sure the drainage is in good working order. See thit they never sutler from dryness at the root, and moisten them overhead frequently, or keep the atmosphere moist, as eonrl1t.JOILO opposite to these will cause buds to drop. I notice Scotch rosea are not. blooming freely this season. I attribute this to the wood not being very well ripened last year. Water your plants well at the roots at present, and, if the wood is very crowded, thinithe most scraggy shoots out. S0 as to admit plenty of air and sun. shine to the wood that will bear flowers next year. The Weather and Vegetation in June. I believe I am right in saying the majority Df people are disappointed! with the summer in which we are now in the midst. In spite af the tropical heat, the intense cold and long- ooBtinuanee of arctic weather experienced in February and March will still be remem- bered. That was termed an "old-fa shio n<:<l winter," and was coupled 'with the assertion that it would be sure to be succeeded by an "excellent summer." This has besn up to the present correct —>(i far as warmth and bright sun- shine go; bat, as for its being a genial and productive year, I am sorry to say it is exceedingly far from thi»; in fact, the oppo- site. Like others, I was in hopes we really would have an exoellent summer after the severe weather, but I never counted very much on it, as even the most weather wise seem quite unable to predict what the seasons 'will be any time beforehand, or, indeed, from one day to another. Through- out June the temperature was high, sunshine most brilliant; but the absence of moisture rendered futile any benefit derivable from the other conditions, and at the present time the oountry and vegetation are in a, worse plight than when I wrote on the subject a month ago respecting May. Then rain would have been in time to have benefited crops wonderfully, but now it is too late. If hay, for instance, had received rain early in May, or any time during that month, the crop would have been excellent by this time; but, as it is, much of it has been cut to pre- vent it shrinking further by the drought No crop that I have seen or heard of exceeds one-half of what it ought to be to be in any way remunerative, and the majority of it does not yield more than one-fourth of an ordinary crop. This applies alike to seed, clover, and meadow hay. Fortunately, there is a good deal of old hav remaining Ln the country, as the yield this year will really be less than it 'was in 1893, and it was defi- cient enough then. Another great failure in field crops is that of Swedish turnips and mangold's. I know of acres that were sown four and five Veeks ago, and there is no signs of the young plant?. They are ex- pected up still, but they will never be satis- factory. My friend "Yorkshireman," wrote of the failure of the turnip seed a fortnight ago, and suggested sowing again when the weather became suitable, but I fear it is now too late in the year to sow Swe;-1isli turnips. I would now prefer putting in the faster- growing white or yellow sorts. "They would not 00 so useful for keeping as tic v swedes, but they would furnish late autumn and early winter foov, which will be much needed. v I notice corn in ear ajjd I the straw, not a foot high, and the crops have a starved appearance and are incapable of producing either much corn or straw now. The scant crops of hay cut have been secured in excellent condition, and the quality will be of the best. Pastures are in a, bad state no young grass is growing; the surface is quite burned up and brown in colour. Cattle and sheep are in a worse condition than a month ago; the yield of milk has fallen off, and there is not one thing on the farm that has really progressed with June-like velocity. Things in the garden have to contend with the same unfavourable condi- tions. Early potatoes are maturing at half the size they ought to be. The turnip crop from seed sown to produce midsummer bulhs has failed generally. Peas are ceasing to i grow before they are half developed. Winter green crops cannot be transplanted, a ad vegetables that are ready are compara- tively flavourless. Strawberries have been plentiful, but very small and deficient in flavour. Currants and rasperries are at a standstill. Apples and pears swell but little. Peaches delight in such weather, and are good, but iiowers arc unsatisfactory. Roses that are in hud in the morning are full bloom by the evening, and time is 'hardly given them to display their best form or diffuse their sweetest fragrance. The ordinary summer flower-bed plants do not grow much. Carnations and pansies are almost withered up, and all other flowers suffer in much the same way. The only reiiil-dy-and that is only a partial one—is to water them at the roots as much as possible. The most valu- able plants should always receive this atten- tion first, and a thorough watering once a week will give better results than merely moistening them daily, which does not do vany good. Trees that started the spring in good health are in admirable leaf still, but those that were injured by the frost-and they are many—are having a very poor chance of regaining their former vigour this season at least. Thinning Fruit. Very few attempt this in the case of hardy fruits, and it does not receive so much atten- tion as it deserves. The general desire is to see trees carrying as much fruit as possible, and credit is taken for having trees heavily laden; but this is not the way to secure fine fruit. Quality is always more desirable than quantity. Many cannot understand why foreign fruit commands as high a price in the English markets as the home produce. The reason is that the foreign fruit is selected. Take foreign apples or pears, for instance. A cask or box full will be found of uniform size, while a. hamper of English fruit contains a mixture of all sizes—many small, some intermediate, and a few large. Little wonder that such does not command a high price, and it is a waste of cultivation in every form to allow the small fruit to remain on. the tree from the time it is first observed to be of that class. It is an easy matter, too, as if anyone looks over an apple or other fruit tree at the present time. they will observe that the clusters of fruit arc composed of a few large specimens, but amongst them there are many small ones, and such these will remain till the end if allowed to stay on the tree; but it is much better culture to remove them at present. The result would be fewer in number, but a much finer class of fruit, that would command the best price in the market and give the highest satisfaction on the table. There is also another advantage in this thinning. Trees that continue in a ladened state this year will bear verv few, indeed, next year. This is a rule with few exceptions, but by judicious thinrcing a, tree will produce a good crop year after year with great regularity. It is not an easy matter to thin large orchard trees, but there are many small ones in bush form and others against walis that may be thinned with little labour or expense. The idea that it is a waste of fruit to thin them is altogether wrong, and it is impossible for anyone to say a word against thinning exces- sive crops. Frost in June. Extremes in weather appear to 1* common in these days. While extreme heat and drought is being deplflred by many, others complain of frost. "Amapom," writing from near Newcastle-Emlyn, South Wales, says "On the night of June 16 or the morning of June 17 we had hoar frost to such an ex- tent as to cut down both early and late potatoes a.nd other tender vegetables." I am disposed to grumble myself about the exces- sive drought; but, fortunately. I have no complaint to make as to frost in June in this district. Horses at Grasw. "Yorkshireman" writes — "Excessive drought on the farm, as we are now expe- riencing, is against everything—crops and .stock—and it will be found that horses that aro. turned out to the grays are making little progress. In fact, the opposite is the case, as flies and insects are very troublesome to them, and the grass is so dry that it contains very little nourishment. Meadows that are termed wet in ordinary seasons are not very damp now, but they are still cooler than the better-drained' land; and, wherever possible, horses should be put in such meadows. I know some will try to put their cattle'there, but, in my opinion, the horses are uf the most importance, and ought to be considered first, as, apart from their enjoying the grass better on damp land, it is also much better for their feet. Where the grass is really scarce they should be fed once a, day with a mixture of oats and bran, or chaff and oats. and this I always damp well before giving it to them in dry, hot weather. We all know the advantage of having a shed for stock sheltering in during severe winter weather, and a structure of that sort, with (1, roof nnd plenty of ventilation, is most valuable in hot weather, as stock, especially horfc will enjoy the shads of it o, ;:ow. Melons in Frames. Frames are the structures in which amateurs generally grow their melons. Few have melon-houses, which prevents them from growing them very early or very late in the season but a frame is quite as good a place as a. house for them in the summer time or during June, July, August, and September. Melons do not agree with daily watering at the root. If they received this, they would soon decay at the collar of the plant. This is a common disease that must always be guarded against. On the slightest indication of it, the part should- be dusted 'with dry lime or charcoal dust. When they are watered, do it thoroughly, and allow the nart just round the stem to remain dry. Red spider is one of the most troublesome of all pests on melons. When it affects them the foliage becomes discoloured and the plant assumes an unhealthy appearance. To check it ventilate the frame well during a day to get the foliage quite dry, and fumigate the interior in the evening, and next morning syringe the plant well with water in which a little soft soap is dissolve: In watering the root.s. or syringing, never use water that is likely to chill them. The glass should be shaded a little in bright weather, but not too much, a.s the sunshine gives extra flavour to the fruit. Strong plants may be allowed to carry six or eight fruits, but weak ones only half that number, especially if the fruits are of a large sort. It is of importance that the whole of the fruit form at the same time, as if one takes tlie lead of the rest to any extent theyremain !sr will not swell. Super- fluous shoots should be removed weekly, and if the fruits are much covered with the foliage they should be raised up a. little above iC Water for Fowls in Hot Weather. The hot weather (writes "Henwife") ex- perienced in June has been very trying for fowls. There is little natural food in the way of insects tliey can pick up now, and the green food, sueli as gutss, that grows in the runs is of little use to them, as it is so much dried up. The want of this and the heat cause the fowls to drink more than they would do if green food was abundant; and, if fowls are to be kept in health, extra care will be necessary in attending to their de- mands for drink. It is not sufficient to fill dishes once a day only. Unless they are large the water evaporates so freely that probably bv mid-day they will be empty. Another objection to filling them once a day is that the water becomes very hot, and when they drink it in that state it is very apt to produce illness. Fresh water should be given twice a day—in the morning and again at mid-1 day. The drinking dishes very soon become soiled in hot weather, and I find1 it an excel- lent plan to wash them out twice a week 1 with lime water. It is a great mistake to' allow the water for fowls to be exposed to the sun, but it very often is so. It is alto- gether better to keep it in the shade, where- it will be cool and fresh and more healthy than if warmed by the sun. Superfluous Wood on Currant and G.ooseberries. Although the summer is not a good one for the luxuriant growth of vegetation from which is desired a great bulk of material, some things are growing freely what is really not desired, and amongst these gooseberries and red and white currants are forming a great quantity of wood. Bushes that do this are never the most fertile, as I often receive letters from readers 'wondering why their bushes should be so full of strong wood and yet bear only a very poor crop of fruit. The main cause is that, the bushes being so crowded with wood, the fruit buds cannot ripen sufficiently to bear fruit, and the remedy is to thin these shoots at the present time, so as to admit sunshine ajid air to the centre of the bushes and all parts. The side growths should be generally cut in to two inches, from where they began to grow, but the leading tops may be left. Pruning now saves a great deal of pruning in winter, and is much better for the bushes.




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