Practical Gardening and Food Production, written in the early 1940’s, was reprinted right through to the 1960’s, and I’m sure there are many copies on bookshelves and in sheds, used even now! The copy I have was given by my mum to my dad on his birthday in the first year they were married.
The book covers everything you need, and although the photos are in black and white they are very clear and no doubt were very useful. It covers everything you might need as a novice gardener, or even an experienced gardener trying new things; garden construction, cultivation and maintenance pests and diseases, propagation and looking after lawns, eight chapters on flowers, herbs, rock, kitchen, fruit and herb gardens, greenhouses, allotments, storing and preserving… It also has two chapters not so many people might want these days, Why Not Keep Poultry? including instructions on how to kill the birds, and Rabbits For Your Table… There is a chapter in the edition I have which may not have always been included ‘How to Adapt Your Garden in Wartime‘.
There is also a section which goes through the months, with the different tasks which need to be undertaken, the general work, jobs for the veg patch, the fruit garden, the flower beds and ‘under glass’. There is a nice little line drawing at the head of each month’s page, and then a little introduction. The jobs for October include putting grease bands into position, dressing old lawns, clearing away old hotbeds, pricking out cauliflowers, and forcing rhubarb ‘if desired‘!
Weather – night frosts become almost inevitable, and plant growth slows down. leaves begin to fall. Tops die back in the herbaceous borders. Fully grown plants mature, fruits ripen, but the development of seedlings is very slow. Nature is settling down to rest.
Isn’t that a nice way to describe it, ‘nature is settling down to rest.’