The quality of leaf vegetables will depend largely upon growing them rapidly. They are all great nitrogen-consumers and therefore take kindly to liberal supplies of garden manure, which is high in nitrogen. For celery the garden manure is best applied to some preceding crop, such as early cabbage. The others will take it “straight.”
Most of these plants are best started under glass or in the seed-bed and transplanted later to permanent positions. They will all be helped greatly by a top-dressing of nitrogen fertilizer, worked into the soil as soon as they have become established.
Broccoli: The broccoli makes a flower head as does the cauliflower. It has the one advantage of being hardier and thus can be grown where the cauliflower is too uncertain to make its culture worthwhile.
Celery: The seed is very fine and the greatest care must be taken to give the best possible treatment. The seed should be pressed into the soil and barely covered with very light soil. In hot, dry weather, shade the beds; never let them dry out.
Lettuce is grown in larger quantities than all the other salad plants put together. By the use of hotbeds it may be had practically the year round.
The cos type is good for summer growing but should be tied up to blanch well. To be at its best, lettuce should be grown very rapidly, and the use of top-dressings of nitrate are particularly beneficial with this crop. The ground should be light, warm, and very rich, and cultivation shallow but frequent.
Spinach: Leaf vegetables for summer and fall are sown in successive plantings from early spring on. Spinach wants a strong and very rich soil, and dressings of nitrate show good results
Cabbage takes up considerable space, it may often be advisable to omit the late sorts from the home garden if space is very limited. The soil should be of the richest and deepest, and well dressed with lime.
Cauliflower: The cauliflower is easily the queen of the cabbage group: also it is the most difficult to raise. It is the most tender and should not be set out quite so early.
For a perfect white cauliflower, the heads must be protected from the sun. This is accomplished by tying up the points of leaves, so as to form a tent, or breaking them (snap the mid-rib only), and folding them down over the flower. Pick them while the head is still solid and firm, before the little flower tips begin to open out.