Irish Gardening, Vol. 13 (Classic Reprint)

Irish Gardening, Vol. 13 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Irish Gardening, Vol. 13

Never in all its long history was gardening so important as at the present time. in practically every civilized country cultivation is going on with an intensiveness hitherto undreamt of. Farming, which produces most of the bulkier foodstuffs, is being extended and pursued vigorously everywhere in all continents where food of any kind can be produced. Gardeners, with their intensive methods of cultivation, have during the past year produced enormous quantities of good food, and have by precept and example encouraged thousands of others to do likewise. The year 1917 might well go down to posterity as the allotment year, for it has been distinguished by the immense enthusiasm of the allotment holders in Great Britain and Ireland; and, judging from signs and portents now apparent, the New Year bids fair to equal if not eclipse its predecessor. Thousands still clamour for allotments, and they must be satisfied. There may be acute scarcity of food, but it must be mitigated as far as possible, and one of the easiest means of eliminating the danger is to provide plots for all who require them, and who are willing to cultivate them.

It should be the aim of everyone to help forward the allotment movement to the utmost. At the present moment how many are enjoying a sufficiency of potatoes who would otherwise be buying against each other in the shops! An enormous amount of work remains to be done in spreading a knowledge of the best methods of growing garden crops. From all parts of the country we heard of the magnificent work done during 1917. Allotments obtained late in the spring, the ground in appalling condition, yet by midsummer the crops were growing as best as they could. The fine early work was too often marred by subsequent errors in sowing and planting. Frequently two or three times the number of potatoes were planted that need have been, and all sorts of seeds were invariably sown too thickly and insufficiently thinned out. The old pernicious lazy-bed system of growing potatoes should be got rid of, and planting in drills or on the level substituted. Expert advice tactfully proffered is greatly wanted, and trained gardeners should do their utmost to help and encourage food production. In our February number last year we ventured to appeal to the trained gardeners of Ireland to let no opportunity pass of helping in the great national work of food production, and we again urge them to place themselves at the service of the nation. We would be glad to see the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland taking up the allotment movement and lending its powerful assistance in procuring additional land and in supplying expert advice wherever required. The New Year opens under dark war clouds, but we must find the silver lining.

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