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nean plan of throwing out the seeds that floated in the water, but it quickly became apparent that this was no test for them, the difference in specific gravity being so slight and variable that half the seeds that floated in the evening would be at the bottom in the morning, and vice versa. With native seeds the only test that seems worthy of mention is that of size and plumpness, the fuller being the more fertile. With Tahiti seeds, however, the test may be applied with advantage. Put the seeds in water and reject all that float.
Preparatory To Plantig.-as soon as a row of boxes was in place, I sprinkled them lightly to give consistency to the soil for convenience of working. Then I wont over them with an implement which, for lack of a better name, I call— THE
A Stamper.—A board nineteen inches square, perforated with auger holes an inch and a half apart, and a round-headed pin (I used old-fashioned clothes-pins) inserted in each hole. There were one hundred and fourteen pins, and these, when
stamper, which, fitting snugly outside the box, guided the appliance as it was lowered to place.
Inserting The Seeds.—The stamping completed, it was next in order to drop a seed—one only— in each indentation.
Covering.—As soon as a box had received its complement of seeds, a layer of half an inch of the same prepared soil was added, thus covering the seeds securely and evenly. The final leveling of the surface was performed by a striker exactly like the one first named only not
notched so deeply. The soil as finally leveled was an inch below the rim of the box. The final operation was
Wetting—Which was done as soon as. a row of boxes had been planted and leveled. With a fine rose sprinkler attached to the hose, I sprayed the boxes until thesoil was well moistened. My bed of one hundred and sixty boxes contained a little more than eighteen thousand seeds.
A Propagating House.—This was already occupied before it was built. I had "anticipated," as the novelists say; but this was done designedly, because I thought it would be easier to build the house over the boxes after they had been planted and arranged than to move theboxes, after planting, into the house. My propagating house was a very simple affair, though entirely different from the muslin covering usually prescribed in such cases. I built, in fact, a structure quite similar to a chicken coop, roofed over with lath. The house was twenty feet by thirty in ground dimensions and six feet high. This was a little larger than my bed of one hundred and sixty boxes required, but I provided for extra "elbow room." The framework of the house was of two by three redwood stuff, posts six feet apart, and a row of posts standing longitudinally through the middle (planted in the central alley) to sustain the roof. All of the lath work for sides and roof was built in detached panels, the roof panels being merely laid on a framework provided for thai purpose, and the side panels tacked on so that they could all be removed at will. In the winter when my young trees needed all the sunshine they could get, these panels were taken off the south and east sides and the top. Thus I got a good exposure without moving the boxes. Around the sides of the house for the height of two feet there was a base of three inch strips with open spaces of an inch between. These were deisgned to remain permanently as a guard against depredating animals. The movable side panels were fitted above this base. The general appearance of the house is represented in the foregoing cut.
Orjects And Advantages.—The main 'object of this lath structure built over the propagating boxes was to supply a semi-shade for the young plants, ns they could not endure the full glare of the summer sun. The particular advantages which I claim for my propagating house over a muslin covering are its free admission of light and air, its easy accessibility and the excellent protection which it offers from animals. When cloth is used for a shade there is much trouble in removing the covering when one wishes to get at the plants. Then, too, the boxes cannot be grouped so compactly, but need to be strung out in long tiers. But the eld way of propagating does not contemplate boxes at all, the seeds being sown broadcast in a bed and afterwards transplanted. The advantages which I gain from the boxes are these:
1. The seeds being distributed regularly and not too close together, each plant *a.s abundance of room from the outset.
2. No transplanting is necessary until the trees are a year old, when tney can bo placed in the nursery rows at once.
3. In transplanting, the boxes may be
hauled to the nursery and the trees left undisturbed until each, in turn, is set into the ground.
4. By the use of the Widney transplanter, or some similar device, a ball of earth may be taken up with each tree, thus avoiding an exposure of the roots to sun and air and greatly augmenting the chances of life and thrift in the young tree.
Expense.—The items of expense of my seed and planting (native seeds) and propagating house were as follows: One hundred and sixty boxes at nine cents.. $14 40
Making same, twu days at $2.50 0 00
Hauling and preparing soil 3 00
Planting seeds 10 00
Propagating house 35 00
Total $67 40
The items for propagating house and boxes need not be considered an irremediable expense, as the boxes will serve for another season's propagation, if desired, and the house will do for many seasons, or it may be readily converted to other uses. The panels being all detached are immediately serviceable for a fence or chicken coop.
Convenient To Water.—My propagating house was located close to a hydrant, and by attaching a hose and nsing a rose nozzle I could irrigate the entire bed in twenty minutes. I took care at first not to allow the surface of the soil to become dry. It was necessary to irrigate every alternate day.
Mulching.—The retention of moisture was groatly promoted by a mulching of wheat chaff, which I spread over the boxes immediately after planting the seeds. I took care that my chaff was thoroughly freed from wheat before putting it on, as there was no room in the boxes to .raise grain.
Danger In Too Much Moisture.— The boxes must not be kept too wet. I lost some young plants from what nursey-men call "damping off,"—the roots rotting and the stems and leaves turning yellow and withering. As stated, I sprinkled my bed every alternate day to begin with. This plan was followed well through the summer, when the irrigations were reduced to two a week, then one a week, and finally, when the winter rains set in, discontinued altogether. The loss -of plants from damping off was inconsiderable, and due, I am led to believe, more 'to imperfect drainage in some of the boxes than to an excess of water applied. In Irrigating, however, it should be borne in mind that the earth needs simply a good moistening, not a soaking.
Germination Of The Seeds. — Six weeks after planting, the greenishyellow orange shoots began to appear in the boxes. They came along quite irregularly, but in three months the quota was well filled. Some seeds, lacking vitality, -.cut up weak and spindling shoots; oth
, ers, from an excess of germinative force produced twins. Some of the former died, and the latter I thinned out to one stalk apiece, putting the extra plants in vacant places.
Weeding.—Two thorough weedings, -with a little attention in snipping out irregular interlopers, sufficed to keep the bed clean the year through. Herein, as stated, I experienced the benefits of a clean soil. Had I used manure instead of natural mold there would have been far more of this business on my hands. A covering of green moss, which formed on the surface of the boxes toward the latter part of summer, gave me some apprehension, and I broke it up once by stirring the soil between the young plants and omitting Jin irrigation or two; but it came back during the wintar, and I allowed it to remain as no harm appeared to result. In
'the next planting I obviated this difficulty
by making the covering of clean sand instead of the prepared soil.
Enemies To The Young Plants.—I lost a number of plants through the depredations of a pair of linnets, which seemed to take great delight in nipping off the tender new growth. I succeeded finally in scaring the little fiends away. The next trouble came from a family of toads that attempted to squat on my claim. These I carried out by the hind legs. A rabbit got into the inclosure on one occasion and mowed down some of th e trees. He did not come again. These, with the damping off, were tho only fatalities which overtook my young nursery. But under different circumstances .new enemies might appear. It is advisable for one to keep a sharp lookout continually, for, in the words of the hymn, "Ten thousand foes arise."
Protection From Cold.—During two or three cold spells which occurred in the winter, I kept the young trees covered with gunny sacks and such other old cloths as were available.
The Outcome.—In June, one year after planting the seeds, I was ready to transfer my stock to the nursery rows. From the 18,000 seeds planted there were 10,000 trees, ranging in height from four to twelve inches. Had I chosen to sell them they would have brought me two and one-half cents apiece, or an aggregate of $250, which would have paid fairly for the investment and labor.
PLANTING THE NURSERY.
Location.—Much may be said about locating a nursery, but all the rules prescribed can not obviate the necessity for a study of the special requirements in each case. To a certain extent, every nursery is a law unto itself. There are peculiarities of soil, of situation, of surroundings, of climate, which must he considered jointly and severally. So far as lies in
human prevision, every obstacle ought to be anticipated and forestalled. A failure to do this in some apparently trivial particular may entail endless unnecessary labor, vexations, losses, and perhaps ultimate discouragement and disaster. Some good man has said there arc no little sins; in nursery planting thore arc no little mistakes.
General Requirements. — The requirements of a nursery may be generally stated as follows:
1. Accessibility and convenience to market.
2. A rich, mellow soil.
3. A warm situation.
4. Abundance of water. 6. Convenient irrigation.
Soil.—Provided the elements of strength are there, the looser and more friable the soil the better the trees will flourish. Any ground that bakes hard should be avoided. Bo not plant your nursery on adobe land. Trees cannot flourish with their roots in vulcanized casings. But, in avoiding the extreme of stiff soils, do not run to the other extreme of too sandy ground. A certain proportion of humus and some tenacity in the soil are necessary to retain moisture and to give the trees a good footing. Then, too, bear in mind that, by and by, when it comes to taking up, the trees, you may want to ball the roots. This you cannot do unless the earth has a good deal of coherence. Balling is not a iiiie qua non, as will be explained subsequently, and I would not advise the abandonment of a generally good location for the single objection that the ground is too loose to ball. The chocolate-colored clayey sands or sandy clays, which abound in our foothills, are the happy medium of a nursery soil, being stiff enough to ball, but not inclined to bake, if fairly cultivated.
Well Brained.—It is necessary that the ground for a nursery should be well drained; i. e., there should be no standing water close to the surface, rendering the soil cold and sodden.
Topography.—Opinions are divided as to the comparative advantages of a level piece of ground or one with a gentle slope to the southward. The sloping land has the warmer exposure and is likely to be better drained. The level land is more convenient for irrigation. But whether the ground be flat or sloping, before the trees are planted it should be graded to as near a perfect plane as possible. Leave no basins or hummocks anywhere; they won't do, as you will find at your cost if you attempt to run water over them, through them or around them. Your
graded plane may have a uniform pitch of' a foot in one hundred in the direction you intend to irrigate; half a foot would be better in most localities. If the nursery site is on a hillside sloping to the south, make the pitch for the purposes of irrigation east or west. You cannot, with advantage, run water down any considerable slope.
Preparation Of The Soil. — The ground having been graded, it should be double-plowed and harrowed. This, if it be the kind here recommended, will reduce the soil to the requisite tilth. If not perfectly pulverized with this treatment, it should be reduced still further with harrow or clod-crusher; but the better plan would be to pick out some other locality for your nursery.
Arrangement Of The Nursery, -— When a nursery is planted on level ground, it is considered advisable to run the rows north and south, in order that the sun may have the greatest play upon the ground. On a southern slope the rows should be east and west, the matter of irrigation there assuming paramount importance. Located on more broken or irregular ground—say a series of knolls or hillsides—the contour system is adopted, running the rows in curves and reflexes—keeping always at a certain level practicable for leading water along the rows. The greatest objection to this system is that it makes cultivation difficult, sometimes precluding the use of ho»se power altogether.
Boom For Access And Working.—If your nursery is a large one, divide it into tablones, with drive-ways between and the rows not more than one hundred and fifty feet long. This gives convenient access to all parts of the nursery, and you do not have to carry the trees a great distance in loading them into a wagon. It also allows space for turning, in cultivation.
Laying Off The Ground.—The established way of planting nursery is in square or parallelogram form, with rows four feet apart and trees a fool apart in the rows. This gives 10,800 trees to the acre. The operation of laying off is very simple. The outlines of the nursery or of the tablone being established, stick stakes along two opposite ends to define the rows. Then stretch a rope or chain across the ground from stake to stake, and along this line plant the trees a foot apart.
Various labor-saving methods are in vogue for spacing off the ground along the line, but none more ingenious and practical than that recommended by Mr. Thomas A. Garey in his pioneer work on California orange culture. He says: "For marking the spaces in the row, use a tool made similar to a hand-roller with triangular pieces a few inches long fastened lengthwise and a foot apart. Four feet in circumference, or a small fraction more than fifteen and one-fourth inches in diameter, is a convenient size for the roller. To use this tool, take hold of the handles, place the roller on the tightly-stretched line, and push it forward or draw it after you along the line; the pieces on the roller will mark crosswise of the line at regular distances of a foot. If any other distance be desired, it can be regulated by the diameter of the roller and the distance between the strips. Remove the line to the next proposed row. This leaves a mark lengthwise crossed at regular distances, ready to receive the plants."
This implement is available in planting large nurseries. For a small nursery, of course, the labor of making the roller would be greater than the marking off by some more clumsy method.
Planting.—The accepted time for planting a nursery is in April and May, when damp, cool weather is apt to prevail. But, with proper safeguards, planting may be done in almost any month of the year when there is no danger from frost or very excessive heat. If your trees are propagated as mine were, in boxes, transplanting is simple and sure. The workman carries a box with him along the line and transfers each tree, with its ball of earth inclosing the roots, to a place in the row.
The implement used for this is the-invention of Judge R. M. Widney, of Los Angeles, and known as the Widney transplanter. Not only is it a great labor-saving device, but its use amounts almost to a guaranty of the life of the plant. With it I set a nursery of 4000 trees in the months of June and July. Very hot
weather followed, and the trees were not shaded, yet my loss did not exceed one per cent.
The Widney Transplanter.—The accompanying cut represents the transplanter complete. The cylinder A is fi r s t used to cut a hole, D, in the ground where you wish to set the plant. Next the transplanter is set down.over the plant, so that" t,he stem and' leaves run up
Traxsplantkr «wi~ TMthm theinside Tlete. cylinder B. The
outside cylinder is then passed down intct the ground, giving it a slight rotary motion, until you have cut to the depth de* sired, generally tw6 or four inches. Inn pressing down on the handles care must, be taken to keep the hands off the inside cylinder B, which must be left to movefreely. The rotary motion gives a sharp,. drawing cut.
After cutting down around the plant tothe depth required, lift the transplanter out of the ground. It will bring up the plant with a solid plug of earth, O, inside t h ecylinder. Now pub the transplanter con* taining the plant into the hole in the ground* Z>, first cut. Set it down to the bottom of" the hole, so that the bottom of the plug of earth rests on the bottom of the hole; place Inside Cylinder, the two thumbs on top of the inside cylinder, retaining the hold orr the handles with the fingers, and close the hand, thus drawing up the outside -cylin^ d»r, while the inside cylinder thus holds the plug of dirt in the hole. The plug of" dirt is thus forced out of the transplanter as the wad is forced out of a pop-gun. When this is done, the plant, with a solid plug of earth, Cr will be left in a hole sur^