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No soil should be ploughed beyond this bottom, or sole, which is the preservative on which the top layer should rest, and by which the manure laid upon the ground is prevented from losing its effect. In fallowing land, therefore, the plough may go as deep as the fertile soil will allow, as also in breaking up land without paring and burning. When land is pared and burnt, it ought to be ploughed in small furrows, and not so deep, as this depth of furrow would hazard the loss of the ashes for the immediate, and indeed for the subsequent crops. Where the sods are burnt in small heaps, and by slow fires, and the land ploughed shallow for the first time, and successively deeper and deeper, poor land will be more effectually benefited from itself than by any other mode; and in proportion as land can be made to maintain or improve itself, the benefit to the farmer is obvious. Instead of ploughing stubble into the land, it is far better to mow the stubble, and even to harrow the land before it is fallowed. In soil of a poor quality, a certain proportion should be observed between the depth of ploughing and the quantity of manure usually spread, which on better soils might be safely disregarded. There are few which it is not requisite to plough to the depth of six inches, and for many the depth of ten is by no means too great. Once in twelve or eighteen months it is highly desirable to plough to the full depth, while in the interval shallower tillage will be preferable to deep working, for wheat particularly, which is best promoted by a firm bottom. A ploughing before harvest is of extreme consequence in fallowing, with respect to which seasonableness is of more consequence than the number of earths given. When fallows are called for, they should be attended with an observant eye, and be kept clean, whatever other business may press upon the husbandman's attention. On a well-managed farm servants and cattle will be kept sufficient for every necessary operation. The practice of fallows, however, is now abandoned in a variety of cases in which they were formerly deemed absolutely indispensable, and the well-informed agriculturist will seldom have recourse to them after his first year. Harrowing is not only necessary for covering the seed, but also for preparing the land for its reception. The same instruments, whatever be their form, cannot answer the different purposes of this operation upon all soils, whether firm or loose, and rough or smooth. For every purpose, however, and of
whatever size, they should be so constructed that no tooth can follow the track of another, and that every one should be constantly kept acting. The practice is best performed by harrowing a square piece of land at once, so that the instrument may be lifted at the corner, and the refuse stuff left there. The following harrows will thus have an opportunity of passing over every part of the land, and it will be completely cleaned from couch grass and all noxious weeds. Till of late years the practice of rolling was but little used, or even known, and it is in many places exercised so slightly, as to be of little service. Its utility, when it is exercised as it ought to be, consists in rendering a loose soil more compact and solid, which, by making the earth adhere to the roots of plants, cherishes their growth. No roller that can be drawn by two, or even by four, horses will carry this effect too far. By rolling, moreover, the moisture of the earth is kept more in, and, in a dry season, this circumstance may reasonably be presumed sometimes to constitute the difference between a good and a bad crop. The common practice of breaking clods by means of mallets may judiciously be superseded by the roller, preceded for a day or two by harrowing. When firm and tough clay clods are to be broken, a large and heavy roller will be re
quired for this purpose, with circles of iron
of the depth of six or seven inches, which will completely reduce the most stubborn clods, and from its decided usefulness must by no means be regarded as a refinement in husbandry, productive of expense, without amply corresponding advantage. With respect to grass lands, the mowing for hay is extremely facilitated by the practice of rolling. The practice of scarifying grass lands is used by a variety of persons, and is directly opposite to that of rolling them in its principle and effect. For this purpose a plough, consisting only of coulters, or narrow teeth, is employed; and it is asserted, that the crops of hay are considerably increased by the loosening of the earth occasioned by this process, the roots acquiring the power of fresh vegetation, while rolling is stated to increase the tenacity of many pastures in which it ought rather to be diminished. Previously to the manuring of grass land it is observed to be particularly beneficial, as whatever it be that is spread over the ground, finds, in consequence of this method, more rapid access to the roots, and a smaller quantity is remarked to answer the end pro
posed than a considerable larger one without this practice. The operation may undoubtedly be beneficial in various instances and soils, and experiments indeed have evinced that it is so. The use of the roller, however, upon grass lands of a certain description will be admitted to be preferable; and with regard to arable land this new process by no means interferes with the application of the roller for all the purposes which have been mentioned.
DRILL HusbAndr Y.
The system of drill husbandry has been long known to be extremely preferable on sandy soils and dry loams, and in Norfolk particularly it made a rapid and extensive progress upon such lands. It has latterly been introduced on the strong soils of Suffolk. The objects of this husbandry are the promotion of the growth of plants by hoeing, and the saving of seed; objects it will be universally admitted of great importance. It was well known, that in gardens the hoeing and transplantation of vegetables often double their vigour: analogy therefore naturally led to the conclusion, that a similar result would occur from the same management of arable lands, and experience has decided both the practicability and the advantage of it. Land sowed with wheat, however well prepared and finished it may be in the autumn, sinks in winter, so that in the spring it possesses too great tenacity to admit the free extension of the roots for the collection of nourishment, and stands in extreme need of ploughing and hoeing to counteract these effects. Grain sown before winter therefore requires the process of hoeing inexpressibly more than what is sown in the spring; the land in the latter case not having had the same time to harden, nor to produce many weeds by exposure to the winter snow and rain.
As the vigour of the plants upon the drill system is very considerably increased, the land must be sowed much thinner than in the old practice; a circumstance which, in unreflecting minds, has operated as a considerable objection, it appearing at the first view, which on such is not only strong, but often indelibly impressive, that the vacant spots are completely lost or wasted. In the common practice, however, even in the most productive lands, the seeds, though very thickly sown, produce each but one or two ears, whereas two or three are universally produced by each in the latter mode, and sometimes a single one will produce
18 or 20. In the old method, there being by far more plants than nourishment, many must perish without attaining maturity, and many of the remainder can exist only in a languid and drooping state, whereas in the other method all have as much nutriment as they require, and, though comparatively few, being far more vigorous in their vegetation, they afford a larger produce than the numerous but sickly plants cultivated in the ordinary method. For the application of this new mode, however, it is expedient that land should have been brought into good tilth by the old method, which being done, it should be so thinly sown as to leave sufficient room for the plants to extend themselves. It must be divided for this purpose into rows, 30 inches distant from each other, which will give an interval of two feet between the rows, every plant thereby having ample room to extend its roots and collect its food. In such considerable intervals, also, the earth may be hoed round the plants without the hazard of injury to them. The first hoeing should be applied when the wheat is in leaf, before winter, and is designed to draw off the wet and dispose the earth to be mellowed by frost. The second, after the hard frosts are passed, is calculated for making the plants branch freely. The third may be very slight, and should be given when the ears begin to appear. The last should be given when the wheat is in bloom, and is of the greatest importance, as it makes the ears fill at the extremities, and increases the size of the grain. In the middle of the intervals a deep furrow must be traced, and the earth be thrown to the right and left on the foot of the plants. By the careful application of the earth in this manner the plants are supported, and prevented from being laid, and the ground is prepared for the next sowing, in which the seed is to be put in the middle of the ground that formed the intervals. The practice of hoeing may take place at almost any time in light and dry soils; but on strong and clay ones, in which the extremes of wet and dry are particularly inimical to vegetation, the seasons for its exercise are often short and critical. As vigorous plants, such as are produced by this system, require a longer period for attaining maturity, the corn thus cultivated must be sown earlier than in the usual mode. The intervals are usually prepared for sowing again, by placing some well-rotted dung in the deep furrows made in the middle of them, and this dung must be covered by the earth before thrown towards the rows of wheat. This should be performed immediately after harvest, that, before the rows are sowed, there may be time for slightly stirring the land. The intervals of the second year occupy the place taken up by the stubble of the preceding. The banishment of the plough in spring, to as great a degree as possible, has taken place, in consequence of this most useful and happy innovation. All peas and beans, barley and oats, not only may be put in on an autumnal ploughing, but actually are so in many parts of the country (especially in Suffolk); the stiches in this ploughing being carefully thrown to the precise breadth suited to the intention of the farmer, whether to use only one movement of the drill, or what is usually denominated a bout of it; on which subject opinions differ. By the winter frosts a friability is given to the surface of the soil, so great, that very early in the spring, after one scaritying and harrowing, the corn may be drilled, and without a horse foot treading any where but in the stich furrows, where it can do no injury. Instead of losing this admirable gift of the atmosphere (which cannot be renewed), as was done by the former practice of at least two spring ploughings, it is thus completely preserved, and the delay, expense, and vexation occasioned to the farmer by the succession of rains and northeasterly winds, giving the dreadful alternative of mire and clods, are wholly avoided. From a comparative estimate of the profits attending the different modes of husbandry, that of the new is stated, after various experiments, to be very nearly in the proportion of three to two : and making the utmost allowance for the influence by which the sanguine temperament of the partizan will interfere with the dispassionate calculations of philosophy, the advantage on the side of profit is indisputably and greatly with the modern system. It is also to be observed, that most of the accidents attending crops of wheat originate in their being late sown, which on the old plan is unavoidable; whereas in the new method the farmer may plough the furrows for the next crop as soon as ever the first is removed. The ground may be ploughed dry, and may be drilled wet. The seed, moreover, is not planted under the furrows, but at the precisely proper depth. The seed has all the advantage of early sowing, therefore, and the crop is more certain than by any other mode. The land also is much less exhausted by this method, the weeds being
completely destroyed by the hoe, and none of the plants existing to draw nutriment from the ground but what attain their full maturity; whereas in the usual practice seeds are permitted inevitably to impoverish, and three-fourths of the plants themselves, after having derived a certain and a considerable portion of vegetable food from the soil, perish abortively. The state of the land, therefore, must necessarily and obviously be left far better by the new mode than by the old.
The practice of drill-husbandry has been justly remarked to be the management of the garden brought into the field; and the grand question relating to it is, whether the extraordinary expense of this finer cultivation be compensated by the superior quality or abundance of its crop 2 which the most sagacious and experienced judges have determined in the affirmative.
Even admitting, for a moment, after all, that the practice is not, on the whole, superior, or equal, to the old mode, its introduction has at least been highly serviceable in correcting and refining the old method of cultivation, and some of the reputation of the new one, may undoubtedly be allowed to have arisen from a comparison with slovenly and defective methods upon the old plan.
With regard to white crops, there are many practitioners of liberality and sense who reject this practice, although with respect to potatoes, cabbages, beans, and often turnips also, it is admitted by them to be unexceptionable. On a soil, however, in which the drill-machine can move with freedom, there appears no reason, and it may be almost said, no excuse, for the rejection of the modern system, which indeed, however recently it may have been introduced into this country, is practised in every part of China, and is used also by the inhabitants of the Carnatic, and, from the decided aversion of these nations to innovation, may naturally be supposed to have been their practice for a vast succession of ages. Tobacco, cottom, and the castor-oil plant are cultivated by it, as well as every species of grain.
The CULTURE OF GRAIN AND ROots.
Of the various plants raised for the nonrishment of man, wheat is of the chief importance. To prevent the disease so fatal to this vegetable, called the smut, steeping its seed for from twelve to twenty-four hours in a ley of wood ashes, in lime water, and in a solution of arsenic, is completely efficacious, even although it should have been extremely affected by the disease. A less time is insufficient. On cold, wet, and backward soils the best season for putting this grain into the earth is September, particularly if the weather be rainy, as wheat should never be sown in a dry season. On dry and warm soils the sowing may be best postponed till October. In proportion to the earliness of the sowing a less quantity of seed is sufficient. The best preparation for it is by beans. Clover forms also an excellent preparation for it: and on a farm dry enough for turnips, and rich enough for wheat, the Norfolk practice of turnips, barley, clover, and wheat, is perhaps the most eligible that can be adopted. By the dibbling of wheat, for a fortnight before which the land must be ploughed and rolled down with a heavy roller, the seed is deposited in the centre of the flag, and the regular treading which the land receives presses down the furrows, and gives it a most valuable degree of firmness. The chief attention required in dibbling is to make the holes deep enough, and to see that the children drop the seed equally, without scattering. After this dropping is completed, bush-harrowing follows. The quantity of seed should be about six pecks in two rows in a flag. If the drill-machine be used, the preparation of the land by ploughing, harrowing, and rolling must be extremely accurate, whether for one stroke of the machine, or for a bout of it, and the quantity of seed should be the same as that used in dibbling. In February, slight dressings are with great advantage spread over the green crop of this grain; and if the farmer has his choice for this purpose, he can never hesitate about taking them from dung; as dungs of all sorts are excellent, and no other manures, like these, are universally applicable. In the drill-husbandry the practice of hoeing is of the first importance, and has been already mentioned. If horse-hoeing be not employed, the handhoe may be used to great advantage, and should be performed first early in March, and the second time in the beginning of April. A scarifier is by many employed instead of the hoe, with the same object and effect. Whatever the operation, employed with this view, may be, the bottom should, with respect to wheat, be left firm and untouched. This is of particular insportance. A mild and open winter is far from being favourable to this grain, pushing it forward
with too rapid vegetation, and also cheristiing those weeds which become its most injurious enemies. No weather is so injurious to wheat in the ground as wet. If, however, it have a good blooming time, though the rest of the summer, both before and after this period, may be unkindly, little apprehension for the crop need be entertained from any state of the weather. If wheat be attacked by mildew, which is most likely to occur in the month of July, the only effectual application is the sickle, which ought not to be delayed for a moment, though the ear be perfectly green. Barley requires a mellow soil, and when sown upon clay, therefore, extraordinary care is required to stir the land immediately after the removal of the previous crop; and with this view the practice of rib-ploughing, which exposes the greatest possible quantity of surface to the air and frost, has been employed by "many. This object should, at all events, be gained, whichever method be adopted for it, of the many which have been suggested, and are indeed practised. Scarification, with Mr. Cooke's machine for this purpose, instead of ploughing, is found to be an excellent method. ..In proportion to the tenaciousness of the soil must be the extent of this operation, which is easily dispatched, even when repeated, leaving the lands, or stiches, in excellent order for the drill-machine to advance and perfect its work. The proper season for getting barley into the ground is March. The most useful preparation for it is by turnips. To have the land dry for sowing, is of more consequence for this grain, than it is for almost any other. It should always follow either an ameliorating crop or a fallow, and in many cases it should be followed by clover. The quantity of seed barley should be increased as the season advances, as early sown crops have more time to tiller than later ones: and in the same proportion the importance of the drill husbandry with regard to this article increases; as, if sown in the latter end of February in the broadcast method, it would get the start of weeds, which, if it be sown early in April, would extremely annoy it, according to the old mode, but by the hoeing practice may be easily removed. Oats should never be sown after other corn crops (as the land is by this practice too much exhausted), and should receive the same preparation as barley; a circumstance often not sufficiently attended to. Warm, forward sands yield as great a quantity of barley as of oats, and should, therefore, be applied to the culture of the former, as generally yielding a better price. Upon various other soils, however, the produce of oats will be in considerably greater proportion than that of barley, and by superior quantity more than compensate for being sold at the smaller price. To relieve the business of the succeeding months, oats may sometimes be sown in January ; without this view, however, February is preferable. The land should have been ploughed in October. Six bushels per acre may be sown in broadcast, and on poor soils even eight to great advantage: the crop being by thick sowing several days sooner ripe, and the idea of saving seed with respect to this grain not being an object worth any particular attention. In the drill husbandry five bushels per acre are sufficient, and they should be horse-hoed early in the month of May. Peas are extremely ameliorating to the soil, and may therefore, with very great advantage be substituted in tillage for white corn, a succession of which is peculiarly impoverishing. They should, however, not be sown on lands negligently prepared, as is too commonly done; and indeed the maxim cannot be too much attended to, with respect to grain, that none should be sown but on lands in really good order, with respect to heart, cleanness from weeds, and well-finished tilth. The uncertainty generally ascribed to this crop is to be attributed in a great degree to a neglect of these circumstances. At the same time, however, it is not meant to be asserted, that for all grain the preparation should be equally high and finished. The earlier peas are sown, the better they will thrive, and the more easily they will be moved off the ground in due time for turnips, a circumstance of particular importance. February is the proper month for their being sown. Early peas will seldom prove beneficial upon wet soils, and should be cultivated only on dry ones, upon sands, dry sandy loams, gravels, and chalks. The broadcast method should be most clearly rejected in relation to them. The only question is between drilling and dibbling them. On a ley, the latter practice cannot be too decidedly adopted. Put in on a layer, they do not want manure, which will often make them run to long straw, a circumstance unfavourable to podding, and likewise encourages weeds, which, in the infant stage of the growth of
peas, cannot be extirpated without danger. If the land be in good heart, therefore, as it ought to be, dung may be applied with much more advantage to other crops; and being an article for which the farmer has, perhaps in all cases, a greater demand than he can supply, should be used with economy, and only where it is sure to answer best. The proper quantity of seeds to be applied in the drill-husbandry, in equally distant rows about one foot asunder, is seven pecks per acre. It is a judicious and valuable observation, the result of long experience, that peas should not be sown above once in about ten years, being not found to succeed if sown oftener. Beans, where the land is proper for them, deserve from the farmer every attention, constituting one of the surest funds of profit. He is enabled by them to lessen, if not absolutely explode, the practice of fallowing. When cultivated, however, with a view of substituting them in the room of fallow, drilling or dibbling must be uniformly employed, so as to admit the plough between their rows, as no hand-work will sufficiently pulverize the lands for the purpose, without extreme expense. Dibbling, when well performed, with respect to beans, is an admirable method. The difficulty, however, of procuring it to be well done must be considered as no trifling objection to it. Beans are too often imperfectly delivered by the various drill-machines employed. On the other hand, however, the practice is less expensive than dibbling, and the seed is more surely put in to the desired depth, so that, on the whole, the drilling method seems preferable to that by dibbling. It is a point on which differ. ent circumstances will safely and judiciously lead to different conclusions, and soil, season, dependence upon servants, together with other considerations, will be resorted to, previously to the decision upon either of these methods. The common little horsebean has the advantage of being more marketable than any other. Beans thrive upon light loams better than has been generally imagined. The soils, however, generally applied to their culture, are all the strong and heavy ones. Wherever they can be cultivated, the farmer ought to have them. They do not exhaust the soil. Wheat is prepared for by them, perhaps, better than by any other mode. They preserve their upright attitude to the latest period, admitting of horse-hoeing to the very last. The ground is well shaded by them from the sun : and,