Page images

Seabrook, in 1844, that three parcels of long-stapled cotton seed were, to his knowledge, brought in 1785-86 from the Bahamas to a gentleman in Georgia, it would seem certain that the seed reached our coast from those islands. There it was known as Gossypium barbadense, as coming from the Barbadoes. In the Barbadoes it was called Persian cotton, the seed having been brought from that country. In this manner its descent from the G. arboreum of India is traced.

Be this as it may, Mrs. Kinsey Burden, Burden Island, Colleton County, S. C., obtained some of these seeds from Georgia and planted them. This crop failed to mature, and the first successful crop of long-staple cotton grown in South Carolina was planted in 1790 by William Elliott, on the northwest corner of Hilton Head, on the exact spot where Jean Ribault landed the first colonists and erected a column of stone, claiming the territory for France a century before the English settled on the coast. Mr. Elliott's crop sold for 10 d. per pound. Other planters made use of this seed, but it was not until Kinsey Burden, sr., of Colleton County, began his selections of seed, about the year 1805, that attention was strongly called to the long staple. Mr. Burden sold his crop of that year for 25 cents per pound more than did any of his neighbors. He continued to make selections of seed and to improve his staple, and in 1825 he sold a crop of 60 bales at $1.16 per pound. The year subsequent his crop sold for $1.25, and in 1828 he sold 2 bales of extra fine cotton at $2 per pound, a price not often exceeded since. The legislature was on the point of offering Mr. Burden $200,000 for his method of improving the staple of cotton, and Mr. William Seabrook, of Edisto, was prepared to pay him $50,000 for his secret, when it was discovered that the fine cotton was due wholly to improvements made in the seed by careful and skillful selection. Since then the greatest care has been bestowed upon the selection of the seed, and to such perfection was the staple brought by this means that the crops of some planters were sold not by sample, but by the brand on the bale, as are the finest wines.

During the war of 1861–1865, the cultivation of the finest varieties being abandoned on the islands, the seed removed to the interior greatly deteriorated in quality. So scarce, on this account, was good seed directly after the war that J. T. Dill, a cotton merchant in Charleston, at one time had, in an ordinary letter envelope, the seed from which are derived all the better qualities of long staple now cultivated. Nor have the improvements made by careful selection of the seed ceased in later years. The staple has kept fully up to the best grades of former days, and the proportion of lint to seed cotton has been increased. Formerly 1 pound of lint cotton from 5 pounds of seed cotton of the fine varieties was considered satisfactory. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. E. M. Clark, a cotton has been recently found which yields 1 pound of lint to 31 of seed cotton, preserving at the same time the length, strength, and evenness of fiber characteristic of the best varieties.



ton, and Mrien $200,000 . The le

The history of the derivation of the bean (Vicia sativa, Vicia faba, and Ervum lens) is given by A. de Candolle (see Agr. Sci., Vol. I, p. 58), who shows that its cultivation began in Persia, and that the common white bean, which has been cultivated since prehistoric times

in Europe, has some similarity to a bean cultivated in India since the earliest times. The characteristic peculiarities of the cultivated bean and its uncultivated relatives have probably existed for at least five or six thousand years, and the original stock from which the cultivated bean was derived has long since become extinct.


The derivation and varieties of peppers from all parts of the world (genus Capsicum) are described by E. L. Sturtevant (Agr. Sci., Vol. II, p. 1). The general effect of climate is to diminish the size of the fruit when the seeds are planted in higher latitudes—that is to say, with a diminution of temperature. Similarly, the effect of cold nights is to check the growth, diminish the size, and promote early ripening.


The germination of Kentucky blue-grass seed (Poa pratensis), as also that of red top and timothy, has been studied by Thomas F. Hunt at the agricultural experiment station, Champaign, Ill. Although the object of the experiment was primarily to determine the relative vitality or honesty of the seeds and samples from different sources, yet the results have some bearing upon the question as to the best temperature for germination and the possibility of acclimatization. Kentucky blue grass, raised in Kentucky, when sown in the Geneva sprouting apparatus, would not germinate in thirteen weeks at temperatures from 70° to 80° F., whereas 80 per cent of meadow fescue and 95 per cent of mammoth red clover sprouted during the first week in June, 1888. Again, in 1889 a specimen of blue grass from the same locality would not sprout in sixty days at an average temperature of 67° F., whereas during the first eight days 98 per cent of both timothy and red clover and 85 per cent of meadow fescue sprouted. Again, a sample from another dealer in Kentucky, tested for thirty days under similar conditions as the last, gave one sprout to a hundred seeds. Another sample was sent from Chicago to Manitoba and thence to Champaign for testing. Out of 500 seeds not one sprouted, but in the best of subsequent samples 7 per cent sprouted.

Finally, samples were obtained from 19 different sources, mostly in Kentucky, and were all tested uniformly in the Geneva apparatus at Champaign, Ill., from July 23 to August 31, 1889. The range of temperature in the apparatus was from 63.5° to 73.5° F. Out of all

the samples the maximum and the minimum percentages of sprouting were as shown in the following table:


Maximum. Minimum. Average

Per cent.

Per cent. Per cent.

Kentucky blue grass...
Red top .......
Timothy .......................... ....................

· These are not likely to be abnormal percentages, since, according to Professor Hunt's calculation, with an ordinary seeding of 30 pounds to the acre, if only 2 per cent germinates there would be 40 plants to the square foot. But the question may still remain as to whether the soil or the temperature were unfavorable or whether the seed of the Kentucky blue grass was in some abnormal condition. (Agr. Sci., Vol. IV, p. 4.)

Chapter XII.



The preceding chapter on phenology has given several illustrations of the influence of the date of planting upon the dates of the resulting phases and on the amounts of the harvest for special plants. The experiments at experiment stations now about to be quoted were undertaken with a view to the further direct elucidation of this relation. From such experiments we obtain definite data by which to decide as to the best date for planting and the probable resulting crop both in normal and abnormal seasons. We see to what extent the seed and plant have acquired habits suitable to the prevailing climate, and furthermore, what climatic influences the plants were not able to withstand when the seeds were planted too early or too late. It is, of course, of prime importance in each case to know where the seeds were grown or to what climate they were acclimatized before being planted at the experiment station.

By measuring the weight and nutritious value of a sample of a crop at various stages of development we are able to form tables showing the relation of the mature ultimate harvest to the immature plant, and this relation is found to be sufficiently constant to justify one in predicting the harvest per acre from its condition on any given day several months before harvesting. Examples of this process have already been given and others now follow.



Briem finds the crops of beets and potatoes that have become acclimatized in Austria-Hungary vary with date of planting, as given in the table following.

a A chapter on “ Forests and climate,” which was originally intended to precede this chapter, is omitted.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Durin has shown that the sugar beet loses the sugar in the root by its consumption in forming stalks and leaves as well as seeds. The roots die when all the sugar is used up, from which I infer that the best time for gathering the beets must be at that period of ripeness in which the formation of leaves ceases, and possibly this formation of leaf and loss of sugar can be checked artificially by cutting the young leaves. (Agr. Sci., Vol. IV, p. 326.)


The changes in the chemical composition of grass and in the nutritious quality of the dried hay have been determined by E. F. Ladd (Agr. Sci., Vol. I, p. 221) by experiments on timothy (Phleum pratense), who concludes as follows:

(1) The amount of water in timothy diminishes rapidly.

(2) There was a large increase in crude fiber in late-cut timothy over that cut at the period of full bloom.

(3) As the grass approached maturity there was a considerable diminution in the percentage of sugar and an increase of the starch.

(4) After the period of full bloom the proportion of albuminoids to the other organic constituents diminished.

(8) Finally, from a chemical point of view, it seems preferable to cut timothy for feeding at the period of full bloom, rather than after the seeds have formed. (Agr. Sci., Vol. I, p. 223.)

The effect of climate on the yield and chemical composition of

« PreviousContinue »