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tain. Different varieties are adapted to each season. While resistance to the effects of cold is the chief requisite of the first, ability to withstand the heat is a necessity for the spring crop. The “Algiers,” the variety grown so extensively in the French African colony for the winter supply of Europe (whence its name), is a good sort for the winter crop. It makes an enormous plant, and forms a large, massive, fine white head. The seed is sown, like that of cabbages, from May to September; but, owing to the greater susceptibility of cauliflower to heat, it is even
Fig. 35.—LENORMAND CAULIFLowRR.
more difficult to grow the plants. Another drawback in this latitude is the liability to have the crop killed out by freezing about the time it commences to mature. An amount of cold several degrees above that injurious to cabbage will kill cauliflower plants outright. The distance apart for the Algiers and other bulky varieties is two by four feet. This variety is recommended to Florida growers for a winter crop, to be marketed in February, the seeds being sown early in September. For the main, or shipping, spring crop, the early dwarf varieties, which may be expected to mature before May, that is, before the weather becomes dry and hot, are the kinds to be selected. The “Very Early Dwarf Erfurt,” the “Shortstemmed Lenormand,” and “Early Paris,” in the order named, are the choice varieties. The plants should, like cabbage and other plants, be put out dripping wet, about, or soon after, the first of January, so as to escape the severest cold, which, in the latitude of Savannah, may generally be looked for in the latter part of December. The seed should therefore be sown under glass in cold frames, from November 15th to December 1st. In Florida, of course, it may be sown earlier, and the plants be put out sooner, as there is little danger to be anticipated from winter killing.
The varieties are of such dwarfish habit (particularly is this so with the Erfurt), that it is not advisable to sow earlier in the open air, and to prick out under glass. When of a sufficient age to “curd,” if growth is retarded, they may in the seed-bed form heads no larger than marbles. It is, therefore, important with this vegetable, that the plants suffer no hindrance or stunting in growth, but be pushed forward from the start, without, however, allowing them to become spindling or too delicate. From eighteen to twenty-one inches in the rows, and these three and a half feet apart (seven thousand one hundred and eleven to eight thousand two hundred and ninetyseven plants to the acre) is sufficient distance for the early varieties. The manure, the depth and kind of preparation of the soil, and the cultivation of the cauliflower, are identical with that of cabbage, with the only difference, that the former perhaps requires a little more care, and will certainly reward extra attention.
, Bright sunshine tans or tarnishes the snowy whiteness of the “curd,” deteriorating its quality. As soon, therefore, as the head commences to be visible, it should be protected from the light, either by tying up all the large leaves over the head, or by pinning two of them together by a little stick. Protection is given more expeditiously and the light excluded by using one of the larger leaves, torn from the plant to cover the “curd” closely, tucking it between the head and surrounding leaves. If there are any caterpillars of the cabbage-butterfly on the plant, they are likely to be found on the lower surfaces of the covering. When the cutting of the crop has been commenced, leaves for covering are to be taken from plants already cut. If the protecting leaf has been carefully adjusted, the operation need rarely be done more than once, as the heads mature three or four days after they become plainly visible. The several lobes forming the head should not be allowed to separate, or the head to become loose and expanded, before cutting for market; solidity being one of the requisites of good quality.
CUTTING AND PACKING.
When the “curd ” is mature, the leaves will be seen to spread out. The proper instrument for cutting is a strong sharp knife, or small hatchet. A couple only of the larger leaves are left, which are folded over the head for protection against bruising in the packages. Heads less than four inches in diameter, those tanned by the sun, or of an “off color” from any other cause, or blemished by crickets, cut-worms, or cabbage-worms, or too much expanded, should be classed as culls, and packed separately. If white and compact, a small size is less objectionable than bad appearance. Each “curd,” at least of the first quality, should be covered by a piece of smooth, soft, but tough white paper, which will admit of being tucked between the head and the leaves without tearing. The heads should be packed evenly and snugly in layers in barrels or crates, as the case may be. Each layer may be separated from the other by a piece of brown paper; if a barrel is used, the package should be thoroughly ventilated. During cool weather, cauliflower may be safely shipped in barrels or barrel crates; but as soon as the weather becomes warm, the usual bushel crate is better, as affording a smaller mass of material to engender heat. In New York and Philadelphia, cauliflower is sold by the package, and in Boston by the dozen.
Insects infest the cauliflower and cabbage alike, and the remedies are the same in each case.
THE CUCUMBER (Cucumis sativus.)
Coucombre, French; Gurke, German; Komkommer, Dutch; Citrinolo, Italian ; Popino or Cohombro, Spanish.
The Cucumber is one of the earliest known vegetables. Moses mentions it as abundant in Egypt. “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.”—Numbers xi:5.
A native of the East Indies, it was introduced into England in 1573. By means of thin plates of talc or mica (specularia—plates of lapis specularis), Pliny tells
us, the Roman emperor Tiberius, who was fond of cucumbers, had them throughout the year. The forcing consisted in growing the cucumbers in boxes or baskets of earth, protected in coid weather by these plates. The cucumber is a vegetable that is very easily grown, and is so productive when properly manured and cultivated; it is so universally popular at the North, and is consumed so largely, that when the season permits the marketing of the greater part of the produce, it is one of the best paying crops. One of the drawbacks of truckfarming is, that whether the entire product of a crop is harvested or not, as soon as the same vegetable matures at a point farther North, it comes into market in a condition fresher and more acceptable to the trade, and, therefore, excludes from profitable sale all shipments of the article from the more southern and distant points. Thus, when the Savannah cucumbers are in, those from Florida will be thrust out of the market; and the same fate awaits those from Georgia, as soon as the Norfolk crop matures. The season of 1882 was a fortunate one for the Savannah growers, nearly the entire yield of cucumbers having been marketed. While from two hundred to three hundred crates may be considered a fair crop; one farmer gathered one thousand three hundred and fifty crates from about an acre and a half, or nine hundred crates per acre, on very richly manured ground.
The only variety grown for shipment is the “Improved White Spine.” In cucumber cultivation, seeds of home growth may be used. Seeds of more than one year old will be more productive, and run less to vine, than fresh seeds. They may be sown in the vicinity of Savannah according to season, about March 1st to the 15th, and earlier or later, respectively, south or north of that lati