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PRACTICAL GARDENING ----

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PRACTICAL GARDENING HOW TO GROW PEAS. Under the auspices of the Lampeter Paxton Society, a second series of lectures and demonstra- tions in horticulture are being given during this week and the next in the schools and gardens of the town by Mr J. L. Pickard, instructor in horti- culture at the University College of Wales. Aber- ystwyth. The following have kindly placed their gardens at Mr Pickard's disposal, and cordially invite all who are interested in practical gardening to attend during the demonstrations: Principal Bebb, Alderman Jones, Professor Walker, Mr F. Lloyd, Mr Whitworth, N. &. P. Bank, Mr George Rees, and Mr Jones the Workhouse master, and others. Lefctures and demonstrations on plant growing have also been arranged to be given to the children of both the schools. Mr Pickard's lectures have awakened quite a new interest in gardening, and the people crowd to hear him wherever he goes. The first lecture of the series at Lampeter took place on Tuesday evening in the lower schoolroom, before a capital attendance, the subject being Peas and their Allies." The lecturer said that before it was possible to cultivate any crop with any reasonable hope of success, it was necessary to know something of that particular crops habits, something of its likes and dislikes, and something of its ordinary requirements. It appears doubtful if a true wild pea has ever been found, but it must have grown amongst tall herbage as it is liberally provided with tendrils to hold it up. This fact implies that the roots of peas have had to struggle rIg in competition with other and probably stronger roots for its food supply, and were it not that bene- licial nature had endowed the roots of this plant with extraordinary powers of obtaining its food, we should no doubt never have known the delicious luxury of a dish of green peas. One of the greatest drawbacks to successful cultivation is the plant's extreme liability to mildew during the hot weather of summer. Two opposite causes are nearly always responsible for the attacks of mildew, excessive dryness, or excessive moisture. In either case the effect is the same, the tender tips are dried or rotted off, the plants come to a standstill until a fresh lot of roots are formed, and during this stationary period the plant* have not the strength and energy to throw the disease off as they would have if growing strongly, and the result is that we are disappointed of the crop to which we have been looking for- ward. It is clearly then our interest to look carefully after the roots, and try to give them the best conditions possible, and induce them to grow as deeply in the soil as possible, provided the soil is in a suitable condition for them. It rarely happens, however, that the roots go down very deeply, with the possible exception of that grand late pea "Autocrat." The roots of peas are fairly strong when actively growing, but they are very tender and very susceptible to cold and moisture when they first emerge from the seed, and if at this time the baby roots find themselves in wet, cold soil they receive a rude shock, and rot off. If our soil is at all wet or clayey we can accommodate it to the pea by putting a half inch layer of sand, or dry soil, or cinder ashes under them. This will give them a good start in life by providing a warm starting place for them in which to commence life. Peas and all its relations have a decided objection to sour soil, so in order to get the sourness out and to get sweetness in it is by far the best practice to ridge all land that is intended for these crops early in the autumn, and as they are exceedingly fond of lime, especially the early varieties, it is a good plan to dust the ridges with lime previous to forking them down early in February, or as soon as the land is sufficiently dry. Lime frequently saves the crop in bad seasons, so it is always wise to apply a little. They also like plenty of potash to form the pods, and plenty of phosphate to fill the pods.. If we neglect the application of phosphate in some readily available form or another we are liable to get the pods badly filled, or filled only with small peas. The family of plants we are now discussing are wonderfully endowed by nature in that, unlike all other plants, they are comparatively independent of the soil for the nitrogen they require. If we were to dig up a root carefully and examine it we should find it studded with little swellings or nodules, and if we could examine these un a microscope we should see an enormous number of bacteria or germs. These are found naturally in soils that are warm, sweet, and open; in fact in just such soils as we ought to chose for growing peas. Bacteriology has given us some of the most marvellous discoveries of the age. Bacteria. are the organisms that cause cholera, diphtheria, consump- tion and influenza. These germs that are named after their respective diseases, work for evil. Others however work for good, and amongst these are the germs that set into the rootlets of peas and beans. They are said to resemble those that cause scarlet fever, but they are quite incapable of doing harm. These swellings usually begin to appear at the end of five or six weeks, and then rapidly grow to the size of a pin's head, and from this period they are able to supply the plants in some mysterious way with all the nitrogen they require. We now see that it would be a waste of material to use farm- yard manure for peas and beans, and not only is it a waste, but it also retards the maturity of the crop, and causes the haulm to grow far taller, necessi- tating the nse of longer and better rods without giving any adequate increase in yield. There is however one stage in the growth of peas when it is highly advisable to use a little nitrogenous stimulant in order to accelerate their growth. Probably, every pea grower has noticed the tendency of peas to suddenly stop growing when they are about three inches ,high. This happens when the tiny plant' has [used up all the store of food contained in the seed, and before the germs have had time to cause the swellings which supply the roots with food, and who has not noticed that just at this time all the male tom-tits. blue-caps, chaffinches and sparrows in the neighbourhood come to fight their love battles on the pea rows. Then those who survive this warfare make the pea rows their courting spot. They warble and chirp, and fluff themselves out, and strut about in their pride, enticing the ladies of their kind to .admire them; and when the latter appears the vain-glorious males snap a few leaves and the tops off the peas to attract special attention to them- selves, and the ladies snap a few more leaves off to show the prospective husband is not unoticed, and then after the wedding a few more are snapped off by each or them in order to seal the ceremony, with the result that our treasured peas are nearly ruined and what few remain are neatly certain to be sampled by all the hungry and ambitious slugs in the garden. If, when the peas are two inches high, we were to apply ounce of nitrate of soda to the running yard of row, and rake it in, it would rush the peas out of this stationary period, and save much of this wanton destruction. Early peas; always do best on ridges, as they are warmer and drier there than when sown in trenches. Sow the seeds on the flat and then draw up a couple of inches of soil to cover them. Before sowing, how- ever, it is advisable to make up a mixture of equal parts of kainit and mineral superphosphate, and apply three ounces of the mixture to the yard of row. Cold winds are bad for peas, it takes all the colour and strength out of them; so in exposed positions it is wise to protect them with evergreen branches or bracken. When peas are sown early in the year there is danger of mice finding them before they are above ground, and these pests often spoil whole rows. There is nothing better to pre- vent this than a few drops of oil and a pinch of red lead applied to the seeds before sowing, or damping the seeds with paraffin If this precaution is neglected a few chopped pieces of gorse scattered along the rows will often keep them clear of mice. When birds are troublesome a simple remedy is to bend a few twigs of willows over the rows, and fasten strands of black thread to them this is invisible, and when their wings touch it they are frightened and scamper off. When the plants come up keep the soil well stirred to the depth of an inch or two to retain the moisture, or, better still, mulch the surface with rotted leaves or strawey manure. Possibly the best early dwarf varieties are "English Wonder" and "William Hurst," and closely following these in maturity would be Oxonian," Gradus and William the First The three latter, being three feet high, will require stakes." For main crop and for exhibition Mr Pickard recommended Duchess," Alderman," and" Sharp's Queen," with "Autocrat," Ne Plus Ultra awl" British Queen for late crops. He also dealt with the cultivation of sweet peas and broad and kidney beans. After questions had been asked and answered, a hearty vote of thanks to the lecturer terminated the meeting.

FOOTBALL --

JL,-DOLGELLEY.

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