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Market Nursery Work, Vol. 2

Market Nursery Work, Vol. 2

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Excerpt from Market Nursery Work, Vol. 2: A Series of Six Books, on the Cultivation, of Crops for Market

It would be exceedingly difficult to overrate the importance of the tomato crop to English growers. During many years of practical experience we have been closely identified with the industry, both as growers and in association with specialists. Our first experience of it dates back to a dim past, in the early seventies, when a few plants were grown against a wall in the kitchen garden, and the weekly requirements of a "big house" were half a dozen fruits a week just to flavour soups. Compare this with the demands of to-day and the thousands of tons annually produced and you will get a very fair idea of the stupendous growth of this industry within the lifetime of one generation. If any ocular demonstration is yet needed, we advise a pilgrimage around the northern outskirts of London, Worthing, and Guernsey, and if that does not impress, then we fear that no words of ours can.

In the course of our experiences, we have seen perhaps the best the world can show in tomato culture, and, unfortunately, we have seen some ghastly failures. It is the fervent hope that we may be able to help prevent the latter which influences all we may here have to write.

The native habitat of the tomato is the hot, dry regions of Central America, and this fact ought to be ever in the mind of the grower. We cannot reproduce those conditions here, but we should do our utmost to approximate them. We can produce the heat, we can regulate the moisture, but try as we may we cannot avoid unfavourable days which sometimes lengthen themselves out to weeks.

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