Page images
PDF
EPUB

Kintyre wheat has been sometimes sold in Ayr and in Glasgow, where it fetched the highest price in the market.

Wheat may be fown after a fallow, after clover, or with no trouble after a potato crop, as soon as it is taken up in October. Besides the profit of introducing this crop, as yielding a better return than oats or barley, it will be attended with great advantage in point of convenience, as the labour of the farmer will be more divided, by having crops that are fown and reaped at different seasons, which will give him more leisure to attend to each of them. A variety of crops, regularly succeeding each other, so as to furnish work at every season, without being at any time too much hurried, is a matter which the farmer ought carefully to study, so as to make always the most of time, hands, and horses. A blank in this economy with us at present might easily be fille ed up by a crop of wheat. It is much to be wished it may be fo.

Turnip is a crop to which the foil and climate of this county are well adapted, but which, though cultivated occasionally by some proprietors 20 or 30 years ago, is not yet commonly cultivated by the farmers. Within these few years, however, a number of the farmers in Kintyre, particularly on Lord Stonefield's estate, have made trial of turnips; and the advantage has been found so great, that there is reason to hope that the culture of them will soon become general *.

In a country in which the cattle live in winter on dry straw, it is surprising that this valuable winter food has been so long neglected, especially where there are any enclosures to preserve it.

* The greatest quantity raised yet by any farmer in this county, was by W. Kerr, near Campbelton; who had last year four acres under this crop; :: for which he obtained a premium from the Highland Society.

Besides their value for winter-feeding, turnips answer the same purpose as a fallow, by cleaning and pulverizing the soil, so as to put it in the best condition for giving an excel. lent crop of bear; which ought to recommend it to our farmers, whose great object is to raise as much of that grain as possible. · Turnips thrive best in light, dry, fandy, or gravelly soil, such as we have in abundance. The land is prepared for them in the same manner as for potatoes. It is ploughed first before winter, next in March, and lastly before the feed is sown, with harrowings in the intervals. After the dung is covered (if it was not put on before the last ploughing), and the drill formed, the seed is sown on the top of the drill, over the dung, and slightly covered, by sweeping the earth over it from either side with a bush or broom. Till proper sowing-machines are introduced, the seed may be sown from a white-iron box, with two or three small holes in the lid; or it may be dropt through the pipe of a tea-pot, or through a quill fixed in the cork of a bottle. About two pounds should serve an acre : but as it is liable to be attacked by the fly and slug * for a few days after it gets the leaf, it is best to sow thick, that in case of such an accident there may be enough remaining.

When the plants have got the rough leaf, or at farthest when they are an inch or two long, they are thinned with a five or six inch hoe, leaving two or three plants together till they are a little stronger, when the weakest are picked out by the hand, and the best plant left, 8 or 10 inches distant, or even 12, if the soil be very rich. They are afterwards hoed

* As the fiy which destroys turnip has not yet been known to do any mischief to field turnips in this county, some think that there is something so inimical to it in the soil or climate as to secure us from any harm from ite The Qug, or snail, is more complained of.

and weeded repeatedly, as potatoes; only that the turnip, or bulb, should not be covered. They may be fown about the middle of June ; and may produce, if the crop is good, from 25 to 30 tons per acre. The provender and manure from such a mass must be of great consequence to the farmer. Those crops which, besides food, create manure, are highly deserving of his attention. If turnips get manure, they restore it with interest.

Ruta-baga, or Swedish turnip, has hitherto been cultivated with us only in gardens; but it merits much the attention of the farmer. It is an excellent spring food, calculated to fill up the gap between the time in which turnips begin to shoot and lose their nutritive quality, and the coming in of the grass; for it is later of shooting than the turnip, and, after it is shot, retains most of its nutritive juices and solidity. The root is not so large as that of the field turnip in general; but it is so much heavier in proportion to its size, and so much firmer in its texture, that it is believed an acre of it may contain as much nourishment, and nearly as much weight as one of turnip. Its specific gravity, compared with that of common turnip, is nearly as five to four. Frost does. not hurt it; nor does it rot when part is broken, or scooped out in the ground. Horses too, it is said, will eat it, though they will seldom offer to touch turnip *. The culture of it

* Carrots, however, are reckoned the best root for horses; and are raised for feeding them, in many parts of England, to more advantage than corn They thrive best in good friable loam, or sandy soil. They are sown in April, in drills a foot asunder, and hand-hoed. In the Bath Papers, the produce is estimated at ten tons per acre. Others make it much more. At Parling, ton, in Yorkshire, twenty work horses, four bullocks, and fix milk cows, were fed on the carrots of three acres, from the end of September to the ist of May,and thirty hogs fattened on the refuse. They had no other food but a little hay. Encyclop. Brit. I. 301,

is the same with that of the field turnip, only that it should be sown about a month earlier *.

Cabbages have been raised for winter food by two or three proprietors, but none as yet by any farmer. They make a proper green crop for stiff clay lands, which are not adapted to the cultivation of potatoes or turnips; and on such a foil they never fail to succeed.

Cabbage is a very important article of winter food. It is easily raised, subject to few diseases, resists frost more than turnip, and may be used when turnip is locked up in frost, or covered with snow. It is also palatable to cattle, and soon fills them.

The ground is prepared for it in the same manner as for potatoes or turnip, and the plants set in the drills from 24 to 30 inches distant. An acre will take from 7000 to 8000 plants. The produce will depend much on the soil, manure, and cultivation. In Young's Six Weeks Tour the average produce is stated at 36 tons per acre.

The plants may be raised by the farmer himself in his garden. A pound of feed will, if it thrives well, furnish plants for an acre. Care must be taken to preserve the plants from birds when springing out of the ground. They must be transplanted, when fit for it, into beds ; which will make them lose the tap-root, and shoot out a number of lateral fibres, fit for finding nourishment. It is necessary they shall undergo this change before they are planted in the drill, as it is also before they are planted in gardens. · The time of setting the plants depends on the time in which they are to be used. If for winter, plants from seed fown in the end of July, the preceding year, must be set in the end of March or beginning of April; but if intended for

* See Stat. Acc. XV. 179. and IX. 289.

3

[ocr errors]

feeding in March, April, or May, the plants must be set in the end of June or beginning of July, from seed sown in the beginning of March the same year. This crop makes an im portant link in the chain that connects winter and summer green food. The more usual and surer way, however, is to set in March, when the ground is between wet and dry; a circumstance that should always be attended to in stirring clay foils.

If a line is stretched at right angles across the drills, and the plants regularly fet in that manner, it will give an opportunity of ploughing, or horse-hoeing, not only along the drills, but also across them; which will be of great service to the plants, and of still greater service to the ground. No crop meliorates the ground more than cabbage. It derives most of its nourishment from the air, and manures the ground with its leaves. When it is cut, any leaves that are discoloured should be given to young cattle rather than to milk cows, as they might give a bad flavour to the milk. If the milk or butter should be found to have any such flavour when cows feed on this plant or on turnips, it may be taken away by mixing a little boiling water with the milk when taken from the cow, and mixing a little falt with the cream , when it is skimmed off: or a little nitre, diffolved in water, will have the same effect. .

Green Kail, though yet confined to large gardens, except in very few instances, is much used in Kintyre, both as fummer and winter food for cattle. When planted early, it gives three or four large croppings before the end of August; after which it is allowed to grow till winter, when, and till the end of spring, it proves a valuable article of green food, in a country which as yet has hardly any other. For this crop sea-ware is found to be the best manure ; and it answers equally well for cabbage.,

« PreviousContinue »