In the first year of their marriage, mum gave dad a gardening book, ‘Practical Gardening and Food Production’ and the title says it all. I’m not sure when they moved into the flat which was our home for the first fourteen years of my life, so maybe she gave the book by Richard Sudell as a birthday present while they were still living in a rather grotty couple of rooms, in hope that they would find a home with a garden. The garden would not be just a place to relax in and for any children to play in, it would be an essential part of providing food for us all… which it did.
The gardening book was written some time in the 1930’s, I haven’t been able to find its exact date but it has absolutely everything anyone could ever need to grow fruit, vegetables, flowers, lawns, keep animals for the table and includes advice on every aspect of garden work, including a section of month by month tasks and plans.
- Weather: showers, with a good prospect of sunshine and mild open spells. In a favourable April all work of seed sowing for the summer crops and summer flowers can be completed. Beware of too much haste in setting out plants that are not quite hardy.
- Work: Sowing – almost every flower and vegetable grown for summer use can be sown now in the open – and planting out can occupy the main part of the gardener’s time this month.
Delicate evergreens can be moved where their sites are needed for the food crops. If showers do not occur frequently afterwards, an overhead spray with the hose morning and evening will help them to recover the shock of removal.
Grafting and spraying, the taking of cuttings from started dahlia and other plants, and the first steps against active pests are among the month’s tasks. As warm days come, green flies, slugs, caterpillars and all sorts of troubles will come too, and only the gardener prepared with remedies in advance can hope to combat them.
Look over the stock of insecticides without delay.
The April chapter – just two pages continues with food plots, fruit garden, flower patch and under glass. It’s elegantly and concisely written and I am sure even today, nearly ninety years after it was first published it’s a useful and handy book!