Searching for some inspiration for a story idea, I ran across this e-book which was originally published in 1915. The publication is called The Craftsman: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine in the Interest of Better Art, Better Work, and a Better and More Reasonable Way of Living, Volume 28, United Crafts, 1915. It seems to cover a wide array of subjects, but one that seemed timely was how do you know when is the right time to plant your garden?

I found these practical tips worth considering.

When choosing a time to start planting in the Spring the soil should be dry, so that when you grab a handful, it slowly falls apart after being released. Heavy soils and clay should not be worked when wet. After these conditions are met, the upper 3 inches of soil should be worked and made fine by using a steel-tooth rake or hoe. All stone and debris should be cleared away, making an even surface that is sufficiently compact and level.

When soil is clay or stiff clay loam and in an area where severe freezing occurs, it’s best to give the area a heavy layer of decomposed manure in the autumn. Before winter, spade and turn the manure under, leaving the soil in a rough condition to get the benefit of the digestive action from winter freezes in reducing the soil. If you live in northern regions, repeat annually.

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For light and sandy soil, a mulch of manure can be laid down and spread out in the fall, delaying the spading until spring.

For those lucky enough to live in areas where the soil doesn’t freeze, the manure can be put down in the autumn and the soil spaded repeatedly during the winter when the soil is dry enough to be turned over.

The benefits of freezing in the north can be somewhat simulated by repeated spadings in the south. One word of caution is to never stir wet soil.

Here’s to happy gardening!

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