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Good, fresh, rich soil, is an element that is indispensable to the growth of healthy, vigorous plants. A plant cannot be thrifty if grown in soil that has become musty and stale with long continued use; it must have fresh soil, at least once a year.

Perhaps the best soil for general potting purposes and the kind most extensively used by florists is a mixture of equal parts of decayed sods and well-rotted stable manure, and occasionally, especially if the sod is clayey, a little sand is added. The sods for this purpose may be obtained from along the roadside, almost anywhere, while good stable manure is always readily obtainable. Select some out-of-the-way place in the lot, or garden, and gather the pods in quantity proportioned to the amount of spotting to be done. Lay down a course of the sods, and on top of this, an equal course of well-rotted manure, and so on, alternately, until the heap is finished; the last layer being sold. This heap should be turned over carefully, two or three times a year, breaking up the sods finely with a spade, or fork. The whole mass will become thoroughly mixed, rotted, and fit for use in a year from the time the heap was made. For those who have a large number of plants, we think it will pay to adopt this method of preparing the soil for them, instead of purchasing it off the florist at twenty-five cents or more per bushel. Some florists sport a great variety of different soils, which are used in the growing of plants of different natures, requiring, as they claim, particular kinds of soil.

Whatever of truth, if any, there is in this view, it has never been demonstrated to our mind. All kinds of plants have a common requirement in respect to soil, and the differences in growth of various species are attributable to climate and other causes than that of soil. At least that has been our experience.


This question is frequently asked! Do you recommend the use of artificial fertilizers for house plants, and does it benefit them? I invariably answer yes, if used judiciously. The use of good special fertilizers will help the growth of some kinds of plants, which, without such aid, would scarcely meet our expectations. The term artificial fertilizers apply to all manurial applications, save those produced by domestic animals.

I have always believed, however, that when any fertilizer is needed, good, well-rotted stable manure should have the preference over all artificial fertilizers. Where this manure cannot be readily obtained or used conveniently, then special fertilizers can be employed as substitutes with good results. In applying manure in the liquid form to plants, use an ounce of guano to every gallon of water, and apply it to those plants that are in a healthy growing condition, about once every two weeks. It is a mistake to try to stimulate growth, by the use of fertilizers, those plants which give every indication of being sickly or stunted; they will make such a plant sicker if they do not kill it outright. If guano is used in potting soil, it should be in the proportion of one pound for every bushel of soil.

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