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HINTS FOR ALLOTMENT HOLDERS.

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HINTS FOR ALLOTMENT HOLDERS. By SPADE-WORKER. FRESH WINTER VEGETABLES. There are probably not many allotment- holders who grow seakale and rhubarb for the purpose of obtaining an early crop of produce. Yet, providing one has the roots, there is nothing it all difficult in the mat- ter, for both these crops can be induced to make fresh growth with little trouble. Need- less to say, they make au exceptionally pleasant change from greens and such root crops as carrot and parsr.ip. The simplest way to obtain early rhubarb is to lift a few roots and plant them in about lOin. of soil at the bottom of a barrel or deep box, the latter being placed on bricks and put in the warmest corner available. The top of the barrel is then covered with a piece of packing, board, or ether material to darken j the interior, and fresh stable manure is heaped up all round and on top of the barrel. Leaves may be used instead of manure, but ia that case the produce will not be ready so soon. Seakale !may be treated similarly. Both rhubarb hnd sea- kale can be forced into growth wllere t'iiey are planted, simply by placing the box or barrel over the roots and using manure or leaves as directed. LEEKS. A good deal may be done to assist this invaluable winter vegetable by attending carefully to the final earthing up. The soil should be banked up well, almost to the tips of the plants, and the ridge ought to fall steeply on each side. If thus earthed up the finest produce may be expected, and the pro- tection thus given will be especially bene- ficial. PRIZEWINNING HINTS. Onions do not appear to have kept well this season, if one may judge by the letters received from various correspondents. Our readers therefore will, no doubt, be in- terested in the following note and illustra- tion from Mr. W. H. Wells, to whom a ?rize of "The Garden: How to Make It ay is awarded. I have tried several ■ways of storing onions, but I find the fol- lowing to be by far best. When the onions are dry the roots are trimmed, the green tops well shortened, and string is tied to the bulbs, as shown in Fig. 1. I Awlr& OL "G z Storing Onions. Thus bending down the "neck" prevents the bulb sprouting. A piece of rope 30in. long is procured, the first onion being tied at the bottom. The others are then fastened similarly, and they fall naturally into posi- tion (Fig 2). When an onion is wanted it can be cut off without disturbing the others. It is necfcscarv to store in a cool place. THE PROFITABLE RASPBERRY. There is no more profitable fruit than the raspberry, and few are better suited to planting on the allotment. The raspberry thrives in ordinary, well-dug soil, and rarely fails to yield a good crop. Progress is slow for the first year, but afterwards the diffi- culty generally is to keep the plants within reasonable bounds. One important point is that the soil must not be allowed to get dry in summer and for this reason if/is wise to choose a partially-shaded position if possible, and to apply a mulch of manarel of leaves on the soil in spring. Plant the raspberries as soon as possible at about 2ft. apart, and cut down the canes in February to within 6in. of the ground. In subsequent years cut out the canes which have fruited and leave six or eight fresh ones at each clump. Excellent varieties are Superlative and The Devon. THE USEFUL ASPARAGUS KALE. In regard to winter greens, you will have a few rows of asparagus kale. Although asparagus kale has, in many cases, attained a large size now, there is not the slightest neeti to gather any of it, especially when plenty of other greenstuff is about, because it is very hardy. The more frost it experi- ences the better flavoured it becomes; at least, that is my opinion. One needs to be equally economical with other hardy kales, such as purple sprouting broccoli, curly kale. Ragged Jack, and cottager's kale. PROTECTING CELERY. Rows of celery on exposed allotments really need some protection against severe frost, yet it is rarely afforded. It is, after all, rather amusing to note that the profes- sional gardener, working inside lovely gar- den walls, deems it necessary to protect his crop even under such sheltered circum- stances, whilst tlhfci plot holder in nine cases out of ten deliberately ruins all 'his hard work of the summer by leaving celery un- protected. There can be no doubt that a week'a hard frost on the exposed plants causes the stems to rot to a considerable ex- tent directly the thaw sets in. PRUNING BLACK CURRANTS. When this work is taken in hand it is well to remember that it is of the utmost benefit to cut out as much of the old fruiting wood as possible, allowing young growth from the I base to remain at full length. These young shoots produce by far the finest fruits, and produce them along their entire length, whereas the old wood only produces inferior fruit in patches. Some may argue that if they cut out the old wood there will be no bush left because there is no young growth froim the base to take its place. Such des- perate cases prove that the bushes have not been properly pruned in previous seasons, and need desperate remedies. I would cut all such worthless specimens right down, knowing well that plenty of young basal growth would spring up in the course of a year or so. PRIZE COMPETITION FOR ALLOT- MENT HOLDERS. Every week two prizes are offered for the best allotment hint or recipe. Tho prizes consist of usefuf gardening books. All en- tries for this competition must be addressed "Spadeworker," care of Editor of this paper. ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. Amateur.-The sooner you get the fruit bushes in the better, though there is no advantage in planting when the soil is is sodden!^ It is net advisable to plant straw- berries now; wait until February. Doubtful.—You cannot do better than apply basic slag now at the rate of 6oz. per square yard In spring, a week or two be- fore planting or sowing, use superphosphate of lime 5 parts, sulphate of ammonia 3 parts, and apply at the rate of 2oz. per square yard. E. K. S.—Coloured potatoes are very scarce this season, and few growers have I seed tubers to sell, except, of course, such varieties as King Edward. "Spadeworker" is open to give practical advice, free of charge, to readers of this paper. Replies will be sent bv post if a stamped addressed envelope is enclosed. Address your inquiries to Spadeworker," l'are of Editor.

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