16 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 15

Mistaken Crops

Everyone is telling us what to grow in the garden for in- creasing the national food supply, and this urgency is good ; but there are some things better omitted. One of them—at least on harsher soils—is the out-of-door winter lettuce. It is perhaps the greatest encourager of the aphis or green-fly. The tribe finds an early home in this lettuce, and thereafter spreads to the rest of the garden. Last spring these lettuces were so thickly inhabited that commercial growers found them unsaleable in the markets. The most valuable vegetable to grow is undoubtedly the onion, which we import in immense quantity ; but the onion needs very careful cultivation in good soil. I remember a Canadian farmer saying to me: " Only Indian gardeners know how to grow onions." The

shallot is a good alternative. It is very easily grown, and, though of little use as a separate vegetable, is pretty well as good as the onion in stews or as a flavouring. A cottage neighbour said to me the other day, " I always plant a hundred shallots in case the onions fail." He is a very wise gardener.