The Botanist's Companion, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 241 pages of information about The Botanist's Companion, Volume II.

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SECTION IX.—­PLANTS USED FOR CULINARY PURPOSES.

“Man’s first great ruling passion is to eat.”

In the following section I have confined myself principally to such as are in cultivation.  There are many of our indigenous plants which, in times of scarcity, and in other cases of necessity, are used as food by the people in the neighbourhood where they grow.  But of these I shall make a separate list.

409.  Artichoke.  Cynara Scolymus.—­We have several varieties of this plant in cultivation; but the most approved are the large green and the globe.  They are propagated by taking off the young suckers from the old roots in May, and planting them in a piece of rich land.  Artichokes have been raised from seed, but they are seldom perfected in this country.

410.  Artichoke, Jerusalem.  Helianthus tuberosus.—­Is cultivated for the sake of its tubers, similar to the potatoe; but they are not generally esteemed.

411.  Asparagus.  Asparagus officinalis.—­A very delicious vegetable in the spring, and well known to all amateurs of gardening.

There is a variety called the Gravesend Asparagus, and another called the Battersea; but it is the richness of the soil and manure that makes the only difference.

412.  Basil, sweet.  Ocymum Basilicum.—­A pot-herb of considerable use for culinary purposes.  It is an annual; and the seeds should be sown in a hot-bed in March, and transplanted into the open ground.  It is usually dried as other pot-herbs.

413.  Beans.  Vicia Faba.—­The varieties of the garden-beans are as follow:—­

The early Mazagan and Longpod are planted in November.  These will usually be fit for use in June.

The Windsor. 
The Toker. 
The Sword Longpod. 
The Green Toker. 
The White-blossomed.

These are sown usually in succession from January to March, and afford a continuance of crop during the season.

414.  Beans, French or kidney.  Phaseolus vulgaris.—­The kidney beans are of two kinds; such as run up sticks and flower on the tops.  Of this description we have in cultivation the following:—­

The Scarlet Runner.  The Dutch Runner.

Both these are much esteemed.

Of dwarf kinds we have many varieties.  The pollen of these plants is very apt to become mixed; and, consequently, hybrid kinds differing in the colour of the seeds are often produced.  The season for sowing these is from April till June.

The Black, or Negro Beans.  The Blue Dwarf.  The Early Yellow.  The Black
Speckled.  The Red Speckled.  The Magpie.  The Canterbury.

All these varieties are good and early beans.  The white Canterbury is the kind most esteemed for pickling; the other sorts being all of them more or less discoloured:  and this kind is the sort generally sold for such purpose in the London markets.

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