Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kalendarium Hortense - March

The Kalendarium Hortense was published by John Evelyn in 1683. It contains instructions for what a gardener should do throughout the year. The excerpt below is the list of what is to be done in the "Orchard and Olitory1 Garden" for the month of March.

Yet stercoration2 is seasonable, and you may plant what Trees are left, though it be something of the latest, unless in very backward or moist places.

Now is your chieftest and best time for raising on the Hot-bed Melons, Cucumbers, Gourds, &c. which about the sixth, eighth, or tenth day will be ready for the Seeds; and eight days after prick them forth at distances, according to the Method, &c.

If you will have them later, begin again in ten or twelve days after the first; and so a third time, to make Experiments. Remember to preserve the Hot-bed as much as possible from Rain; for cool him you may easily, if too violent, but not give it a competent heat, if it be spent, without new making.

Graff all this Month, beginning with Pears, and ending with Apples, unless the Spring prove extraordinary forwards.

Now also plant Peaches and Necturines, but cut not off the top roots as you do of other Trees; for 'twill much prejudice them; Prune last years Graffs, and cut off the heads of your budded Stocks. Take off the Litter from your Kernel beds or you may fornear till April.

You may as yet cut Quick-sets and cover such Tree roots as you laid bare in Autumn.

It were profitable now also to top your Rose trees a little with your Knife near a leaf bud, and to prune off the dead and withered branches, keeping them lower than the custom is, and to a single Stem.

Slip, and Set Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyne, &c.

Sow in the beginning Endive, Succory, Leeks, Radish, Beets, Chard-Beet, Scorzonera3, Parsnips, Skirrets4, Parsly, Sorrel, Bugloss, Borage, Chervil, Sellery, Smalladge, Alisanders, &c. Several of which continue many years without renewing, and are most of them to be blanch'd by laying them under Litter and earthing up.

Sow also Lettuce, Onions, Garlick, Orach, Purslain, Turneps, (to have early) monthly Pease, &c. these annually.

Transplant the Beet-chard which you sow'd in August, to have most ample Chards.

Sow also Carrots, Cabbages, Cresses, Fennel, Marjoram, Basil, Tobacco, &c. And transplant any sort of Medicinal Herbs.

Mid-March dress up, and string your Strawberry beds, and uncover your Asparagus, spreading and loosning the Mould about them for their more easie penetrating: Also may you now transplant Asparagus roots to make new Beds.

By this time your Bees sit; keep them close night and morning, if the weather prove ill.

Turn your Fruit in the Room where it lies, but open not yet the windows.

1 - Olitory: of or pertaining to, or produced in, a kitchen garden.

2 - Stercoration: The act of manuring with dung.

3 - Scorzonera: black salsify.

4 - Skirrets: Sium sisarum, a sort of water-parsnip.

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