The Kaledarium Hortense is a classic gardening book by John Evelyn. It takes the gentleman gardener through the year, detailing what he is meant to do in the garden with fruit vegetables and flowers. Much of his advice is straight forward gardening knowledge and logic, and something you may well hear on TV, radio or read within the plethora of magazines. Sometimes Evelyn is scientific, after all he was a founder member of the Royal Society. He talks of planting by the Moon, which is a practical way of judging the different times of the year. Today, such planning has leanings towards folklore. The book is over 330 years old; Evelyn wrote the Kalendarium Hortense in the 1680s.
The weather in late March and early April has been cold and wet this year (2018), so you may well be a bit behind on the advice he gives for the month. It is never too late to plan ahead, so read on.
Hath 30 days long 13h – 23 m
Sun Rises 05h -18m Sets 05h 42m
To be done
In the Orchard and, Olitory Garden
Sow sweet Marjoram, hyssop, Basil, Thyme, Winter Savory, Scurvy-grass, and all fine and tender Seeds that require the Hot-bed.
Note, that Sweet Herbs should be stirred up, and new moulded to make the strike fresh roots.
Sow also Lettuce, Purslan, Cauy-flower, Raddish, Leeks,&c.
One may sow Raddish and Carrots together in the same Bed, so as the first may be drawn, whilst the other is ready. Sow Raddish, Lettuce, Puslan, Sampier, Parseneps, Carrots on the same Ground, gathering each kind in their Seasons, leaving the Parseneps to Winter: But it were good to change the Ground for Carrots and Parsneps now and then.
Remember to weed them when they are about two Inches high, and a little after to thin them with a small Haugh.
Plant Artichoke-slips, &c.
Set French Beans, &c. And sow Turneps to have them early.
You may yet slip Lavendar, Thyme, Peneroyal, Sage, Rosemary, &c. and the oftner you clip and cut them, the more will they thrive. Sage so dressed at the Spring and Autumn, will cause it to continue long, and fair, without replanting.
To have excellent Salleting all Year round, sow Turnep-seed, Raddish, Lettuce, Purslan, Borrage, Tarragon, and all other kinds, in very rich Ground, and in Winter and Spring on the Hotbed, covered, &c. drawing them Root and all as soon as they open a Leaf as broad as a Three-penny Pieve, and so repeat sowing Monthly.
Geld and prune Strawberries: Now also Wall-trees, especially the Peach, should have a second Pruning, shortening the Branches just above the Knit Fruit.
Towards the middle of this Month begin to plant forth your Melons and Cucumbers, and so to the later end, your Ridges well prepared.
Gather up Worms and Snails, after evening Showers; continue this after all Summer-rains.
Soot-ashes, resuse Sweepings of Tobacco-flaks made into a fine Powder or Dust, and strewed half an Inch in thickness at the foot of Tress, and now and then renewed, prevents Pismires and other crawling Insects, from invading the |Fruit, &c.
Weed and Haugh betimes. See July. In Such Bordures as you plant Wall-fruit, or Espaliers (which Bordures should be at the least) plant neither Herbs nor Flowers, that you may be continually stirring the Mould with the Spade, and (as need is) recreating it with Compost. This may be in stead (and far better) of Hand-weeding; only you may be adorn the outward Verge with an Edging of Pink Limon Thyme, Veronica, &c. renewing them when you perceive them to grow sticky, and leave Gaps; and you may sprinkle the rest of the Surface with Lettuce, Raddish, Turnep-seeds for tender Salleting, so you be sure to pull them up Root and all but that time they are an Inch high, and shew a Leaf no broader then a Threepence.
Open now your Bee-hives, for now they hatch; look carefully to them, and prepare your Hives, &c.
Fruits in Prime, or yet lasting.
Pepins, Deux-ans, West-berry Apple, Russeting, Gilli-flowers, flat Reinet, &c.
Later Bon-chreftien, Oak-pear, &c. double Blossom, &c.
A note on the transcription.
On the whole I have simply transcribed the text from the original to a digital medium. There are some letters and words I have changed, such as “f”s to “s”s, but on the whole, have kept original spellings, especially where they make sense, such as “Gard’ners”. I have not kept to the original formatting. Apologies to purists.
Within Evelyn’s book, there is much more advice month by month. You can take a look at an original online here Kaledarium Hortense