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The Gladiolus
A Practical Treatise on the Culture of the Gladiolus

written by "Crawford, Matthew"
... for several reasons: First, the small bulbs grown from seed or from bulblets do not all ripen at the same time, and if digging is deferred until after some of them have matured, these drop from their stems in handling, and keep one picking them up, which is a great hindrance. If taken up in time, they can be pulled off from the green stalks in handfuls. Second, when the little bulbs mature they change color from white to brown, and if any drop it is not so easy to find them in the brown soil. They may be taken up when no larger than apple seeds, cured, and kept till spring with perfect success. Third, the small bulbs are easily dried and, if taken up early, they may be cured and packed away for the winter, entirely out of the way of the larger stock. It is quite an[Pg 22] advantage to have part of the stock disposed of early. Fourth, it is slow, puttering work to take up small bulbs running from one hundred to three hundred to the foot of row, and it should be done before cold weather. My rule is to take up seedlings first, then the stock grown from the bulblets, then the next size larger, and so on, leaving the largest to the last. This stock is heavy, and men can keep warm handling it, even in quite cool weather, such as we are likely to have late in the season. For convenience in taking up small stock, we use a low seat made like a small sled with wide runners which do not sink into the ground. A burlap sack is folded several thicknesses and tacked on the top for a cushion. This seat, a spading fork, a garden trowel, and a half-bushel basket lined with cloth to keep the bulblets from passing through, are the appliances needed for the work. The row is first loosened, or slightly pried up with the fork. Then the man occupying the seat, with the row in front of him, thrusts his trowel under a few inches of it, and with the other hand grasps the tops and lifts the bunch up, giving it a slight shake. He then holds it over the basket, and pulls the bulbs off from the...

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