published: 28th July 1917


people: County Council

locations: Education C-ommittee

organizations: Education Com-

i ALLOTMENT NOTES JI IHINTS FOR SOCIETIES. I By CULTIVATOR. With the passing of midsummer, the pict-holders' main wcrk of cultivation for the year will be finished, and his princi- pal occupation on the plot will be in attending to the standing crops, now growing last, and rapidly approaching maturity. Tho chief matter of importance is to see that whatever requires to be done is dene promptly at the- right time, so that the utmost advantage is taken of the few remaining weeks of growing weather. While the industrious cul tivator is now reaping the reward oi his toil, he will be summing up the results to see how far his efforts at cultivation of the land have been successful, and where his failures are apparent he will naturally enquire into the cause, and whether it arose i through errors in his methods, with a I view to rectifying them next season, or from causes beyond hurr:.a, control. LECTURES BYOPRXPERTS. It is with the first of these causcs that the societies can be of the greatest ser- vice to thedr members, by the arrange- ment of a winter programme of lectures and demonstrations, to be delivered by practical horticulturists of the district, who, I feel sure, if approached, will give lectures or advice on those subjects of which they have special knowledge. In many districts the business of providing lectures is undertaken by the education committep of the County Council. Many of the counties now have a horticultural instructor on the staff of the Education Committee, whose business it is to visit the different districts and give advice on the plot during summer and lectures in- ,doors during winter, and in the counties where these methods have been adopted for several years the standard of cultiva- tion as practised on allotments and cot- tage gardens has reached -a very high level. Gardening as understood by the pro- fessional practitioner is a very wide sub- ject, requiring several years of training in its various branches to become pro-. ficient, but even in its more restricted branch of vegetable culture, as practised on allotments, requires a knowledge which is not acquired without consider- able effort, and many of those who have taken up the cultivation of the land for the first time this year have had to con- fess like Hamlet that "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in-our philosophy." THEORY AND PRACTICE. In drawing up a programme for tho winter the science as well as the practice of the craft should have full recognition. The formation, composition, and cultiva- tion of soils, the science of manuring, the elementary facts of plant growth, .and physiology, fungoid diseases and insects injurious to plant life are all subjects of much importance to those engaged in the cultivation of the land, and if dealt with by those fully conversant with them, cannot fail to be of intense interest. With regard to the practical cide of the subject lectures should be arranged 0Jl the cultivation of the various crops which can be grown on allotments, in addition to the eternal potato, whose importance I do not under-rate, but which can be supple- mnt(, by over 20 other varieties of vege- tables, the explanation of the various manual operations of planting, sowing, etc., the rotation of crops and other sub- jects which have an important bearing on the successful cultivation of the land. HOW AUTHORITIES CAN HELP. Illustrated lectures invariably prove the most attractive, especially when the mem- bers consist mostly of amateurs, and this raises the financial aspect of the question. Before societies can carry out programmes or so comprehensive a character as here suggested it will be necessary for them to have greater financial strength than, I am afraid, most of them at present possess. This could be met by the Education Com- mittee making a grant for the provision of slides to illustrate the lectures and loan- ing them out to the societies when lectures are given on the special subjects. Again, the Education C-ommittee can materially help the work of the societies in allowing them the use of a room in the schools to hold their meetings in in the various dis- tricts where societies exist, and in this way will help considerably to spread the allotment movement which. it is to be hoped, will lave a considerably longer life than the duration of the war. There is also another sphere in which the work of the societies can be made of especial benefit to the individual mem- bers, that is, by the co-operative purchase of seeds and manures. If the societies 'were to make a levy of Is. per week for the next six months, as I believe one or two are already doing, there would be a' the end of that period a gum to the credit of each member for the purchase of seeds or potatoes for planting, the pro- vision of which by easy instalments in advance will be less felt than if the whole had to be provided in .one payment. Not only would this be an advantage, but the society will be better able to buy on advantageous terms by buying a large quantity for ready cash than if each in- dividual member has to buy in the retail shops. This matter is one which requires the close consideration of the societies, and in view of their experience last year in obtaining seed potatoes they will do well to lay their plans well in advance. Also. there is sure to be considerable scarcity in many varieties of seed, and r corresponding advance in prices. Cultivator.