« 이전계속 »
No state in the Union possesses better markets than Pennsylvania. The two largest cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburg, require enor mous quantities of vegetables to feed their millions of people. The smaller cities as Harrisburg, Lancaster, Altoona, Johnstown, Reading, Allentown, York, Erie, Greensburg, New Castle, and Uniontown are most excellent markets. Then, there are scores of towns ranging in population from a thousand to ten or more thousand that furnish local markets for a limited supply of produce. The prices are generally satisfactory. There are gluts, of course, which cause low prices for brief periods, but average prices are unquestionably higher than in most states. It is a lamentable fact, however, that the bulk of the vegetables consumed in Pennsylvania is supplied by other states. Thousands of carloads of cabbage, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, asparagus, melons, onions and a long list of vegetables are annually supplied to our markets. Without a tremendous increase in the area of glass, the State could not produce sufficient vegetables for the early spring markets, although there are splendid opportunities for the forcing of greenhouse crops. There can be no doubt about the possibility and desirability of our farmers producing practically all of the vegetables required by our markets so far as climatic conditions will permit.
It is hoped that this bulletin will suggest to many farmers a closer study of their local markets. For example, Where do the onions come from? What prices do they command? Could you grow them successfully on your own farm and would their culture increase your annual profits? A similar investigation might be made of other vegetables for which there is a local demand. There are opportunities in almost every community. It may be the planting of large areas in special crops, or more likely the devoting of small areas to a number of crops. Other lines of farming should not be dropped or reduced until the new lines have been thoroughly tested and found to be more profitable.
If the farm is to be devoted largely or exclusively to market gardening or trucking, too much care cannot be exercised in choosing a location. A number of factors should be taken into account.
Close proximity to a large city has many advantages. Among them may be mentioned the following: (1) Less difficulty in procuring the necessary labor. This is often a serious matter, and yet the problem is readily solved by those operating on a large scale. Special cottages or boarding houses are often provided and the plan, when properly managed, is highly satisfactory. (2) It is a great advantage to be near large supplies of manure. When stables are cleaned regularly by gardeners the manure is often procured without charge and the prices are seldom more than fifty cents per load of from one to three tons. This makes cheap fertility, although the expense of hauling is quite an item. (3) A short haul to market makes a light expense for this work, while it is heavy for gardeners living remote from markets. (4) A short distance from the city enables the gardener to wagon his produce which is a most decided advantage over shipping. It also enables him to place his produce on the market in the most perfect condition. (5) When near the city the producer gets into closer personal touch with the market and is better posted concerning prices.
It is also important to study the character of the market before deciding upon the location. Prices range higher in some markets of this State than in others. The methods of selling also vary. A central wholesale market where all retailers and hucksters gather to procure their supplies-is, doubtless, the most satisfactory plan from the standpoint of the producer.
Good roads are of primary importance to the market gardener. He can well afford to pay considerably more for a farm located on a smooth, hard, well drained road with easy grades.
Irrigation plays a more important part in market gardening every year. Overhead systems of watering are rapidly becoming popular and it is highly desirable to locate near a constant supply of water which can be obtained and supplied at a minimum cost.
If remote from market, good shipping facilities are important. Two lines of railways, operated by different companies, help to secure better service. It is important to have ready access to several towns or cities.
Sandy loams are ideal for garden purposes. They are easily worked and well adapted to a general line of cropping. Southern or southeastern exposures are desirable if earliness is an important factor. Natural windbreaks of hills or trees assist in producing early vegetables.
It was stated in the preceding paragraph that sandy loams are ideal for a general line of gardening. This fact is universally recognized. Such soils are of easy tillage and well adapted to a
great variety of crops. The large percentage of sand makes them early, while at the same time there is usually sufficient body to make them quite retentive of moisture and fertility. Sand is especially important in the growing of root crops. In soils containmuch clay the roots of such crops, as the parsnip and salsify, will be rough, crooked and probably short. The sandy types always produce the smoothest and most uniform beets, turnips, radishes, parsnips and all other root crops.
The area of sandy soils in Pennsylvania is limited compared with that of the heavier types. This should cause no special concern, for vegetables of the finest quality are grown in every county of the State. The heavier types are well adapted to many vegetables, as cabbage, cauliflower, sweet corn, tomatoes and peppers, while with proper additions of humus-making material all of the vege tables, if climatic conditions are favorable, may be grown with
The most undesirable types are the stony soils which are difficult to work and the gravelly soils in which crops usually suffer from drouth. If market conditions are especially favorable it may be profitable to spend considerable money in improving the most undesirable soils.
Reclaimed swamps or muck soils are especially desirable for celery, lettuce and onions. There are various areas of muck land in Pennsylvania, as in Tioga county, on which these vegetables are grown on a large scale.
Thorough drainage is a matter of primary importance. No soil, unless well drained naturally or artificially, will yield satisfactory garden crops.
EQUIPMENT FOR RAISING EARLY VEGETABLE PLANTS.
The kitchen window is a favorite place on many farms for starting early vegetables. It may serve the purpose fairly well if a small number of plants are wanted. Ordinarily, however, plants are too much crowded in windows and they are not generally transplanted until drawn, pale and tender, and plants of this character are not satisfactory. Millions of plants are started in hotbeds and this will always be the favorite plan of most growers. Market gardeners, operating on quite an extensive scale, prefer greenhouses, and there are many arguments in favor of them. The kitchen window, hotbed and greenhouse are used to nurse the plants for a period of three to six weeks and cold frames are then employed in caring for the plants until set in the field.
In addition to the above equipment, provision should be made for mats to protect the plant in hotbeds and frames during cold weather unless these structures are heated by steam or hot water. A
large number of flats or plant boxes are used on many farms. Fifty or one hundred feet of hose will probably be needed, besides hose menders, nozzles, watering cans, planting boards, dibbers, straight edges, labels and earthen or paper pots.
Greenhouses are not essential in some lines of gardening. A New Jersey trucker, cultivating nearly one thousand acres of land, succeeds admirably without a greenhouse. He grows a variety of vegetables for mid-season and late market but no attempt is made to grow early crops which require a large amount of glass to start the plants. Glass is not needed in celery or onion culture although often employed in starting plants of both of these vegetables.
Many vegetable growers live too remote from market or operate on too small a scale to justify the erection and maintenance of a greenhouse. On the other hand, a large number of gardeners in this State are shifting along with manure-heated hotbeds when they should have greenhouses to start their crops. It is poor economy to shift along with hotbeds when greenhouses would serve the purpose so much better.
All of the arguments are in favor of the greenhouse when a large amount of glass is required. It is more economical to operate, both in fuel and labor required. It is much more pleasant as well as convenient to work in a greenhouse than to stoop over frames, especially if the weather is disagreeable. The greenhouse gives the grower more perfect control of soil and atmospheric conditions. He is inside of the structure where his eye notices very quickly whether the soil is too dry or too wet. The plants are not endangered by probable drops in temperature, because the boiler may be fred more heavily to furnish the proper heat. Fresh air is admitted at will without cold draughts striking the plants as is likely to occur when hotbed sash are raised for ventilation or watering. The air in hotbeds is likely to become too close and steamy, causing damping off, and weak, spindly plants; while these troubles seldom occur in greenhouses, although less attention is given to ventilation. The greenhouses may also be used in forcing lettuce or other vegetables before the space is needed to start early vegetable plants. This gives employment to the farm hands during stormy weather, and if the houses are properly handled they become a source of revenue when there is no income from crops grown in the open. A greenhouse makes summer the year round on one spot of the farm and this argument, although it relates to sentiment, is well worth considering. Good advice, however, is not to build unless it is plainly evident that a greenhouse is needed.