The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening Science - the Vegetable Kingdom
Chapter: Chapter 8: Origins of Vegetable Culture

Growing vegetables of large magnitude

Previous - Next

1131. To increase the number, improve the quality, and increase the magnitude of particular parts of vegetables, it is necessary to remove such parts of the vegetable as are not wanted, such as the blooms of bulbous or tuberous rooted plants, when the under ground part is to be increased, and the contrary; the over-luxuriant wood-shoots and leaf-buds of fruit-trees ; the flower-stems of tobacco ; the male flowers and barren runners of the cucumber tribe, &c. Hence the important operations of pruning, ringing, cutting off large roots, and other practices for improving fruits, and throwing trees into a bearing state. At first sight these practices do not appear to be copied from nature; but, independently of accidents by fire, already mentioned, which both prune and manure, and of fruit-bearing trees which, when partially torn up by the roots by high winds, or washed put of the soil by torrents, always bear better afterwards, why may not the necessity that man was under, in a primitive state of society, of cutting or breaking off the branches of trees, to form huts, fences, or fires, and the consequent vigorous shoots produced from the parts where the amputation took place, or the larger fruit on that part of the tree which remained, have given the first idea of pruning, cutting off roots, &c. ? It may be said that this is not nature, but art; but man, though an improving animal, is still in a state of nature, and all his practices, in every stage of civilisation, are as natural to him as those of the other animals are to them. Cottages and palaces are as much natural objects as the nests of birds, or the burrows of quadrupeds ; and all the laws and institutions by which social man is guided in his morals and politics are no more artificial than the instinct which congregates sheep and cattle in flocks and herds, and guides them in their choice of pasturage and shelter.