Though each fruit requires
somewhat different treatment as to soil and climate,
the ground should be given a general preparation,
so that if each fruit is planted at the right
time, the minimum of attention will be needed
to bring the soil into just the right condition
for maximum crops.
Site and situation are important, for where frosts
are troublesome, those fruits flowering early
should be omitted unless their blossom is frost-tolerant.
These apples are frost-resistant: Annie Elizabeth;
Claygate Pearmain; Monarch; Edward VII; James
Grieve; Pearl; Laxton’s Superb; Howgate
Wonder. (The best of all dessert apples, Cox’s
Orange, is highly susceptible to frost damage.)
Some pears which are frost-resistant are Dr Jules
Guyot; Catillac; Conference; Fertility. These
plums bloom late or are frost-tolerant: Pond’s
Seedling; Belle de Louvain; Czar; Kirke’s
Blue; Severn Cross; Denniston’s Superb.
The following blackcurrants are frost-resistant:
Amos Black; Mendip Cross; Laxton’s Giant.
(Blackcurrants are more susceptible to frost damage
than other soft fruits.) In strawberries, Cambridge
Early Pine and Favourite are more frost-tolerant
than most varieties. In raspberries, plant Malling
Jewel instead of M. Promise where there are frosts
and Glen Clova if the garden is in a frost hollow.
For reliable and heavy crops, select varieties
to suit the district and the soil of your garden.
Blackcurrants and blackberries require a heavy
soil, containing potash. Plums and cherries do
well in a limestone soil if given plenty of nitrogen;
apples and pears do not, for they are often troubled
by chlorosis (caused through iron starvation),
in which the leaves turn yellow and the trees
are stunted in growth.
Chalky soils are usually shallow soils and need
liberal amounts of humus, such as material from
the compost heap, composted straw or decayed manure.
If the latter is in short supply it may be augmented
by some peat or by ‘green’ manuring,
in which rape seed is sown thickly over the surface
in spring and the plants dug in when 7cm (3in)
Liming will not be necessary for chalk soils,
but most town gardens should be given a liberal
dressing before planting, to correct the acidity
caused by deposits of soot and sulphur which may
have fallen on to the soil over a long time. Give
0.5kg (1lb) of hydrated lime to every 6 sq m (6
Heavy clay soil may be broken up by treating it
with caustic (unhydrated) lime obtained from a
builder’s merchant. If applied during the
early winter just before digging the ground, the
action of the lime as it dehydrates will also
break up the clay particles of the soil. Then,
in March, when frost has left the ground, dig
in some peat or popular bark fibre, old mushroom-bed
compost, or decayed manure before any planting
is done at the month's end.
Soft fruits require plenty of moisture to make
growth and for the fruit to swell, so it will
be sweet and juicy. To supply the plant with humus,
dig in whatever materials are available, such
as clearings from ditches, straw composted with
an activator, leaf mould and peat. Shoddy (wool
and cotton waste), used hops (obtainable from
breweries) and farmyard manure have the advantage
over other forms of humus in that they contain
nitrogen, which is necessary for the plants to
make plenty of new growth. Other forms of nitrogenous
manure are bone meal, poultry manure and fish
meal. Chopped seaweed is also valuable.