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HOEING WHEAT. Mr. A. B. Travis, Brandon, Michigan.-Mr. Chairman: I wish to introduce to your association the importance of hoeing wheat in the spring between the rows, when planted in drills, as soon as the ground is dry enough. I have been trying some experiments a few years past, which have proved very beneficial, and would solicit your attention and urge every farmer to try the experiment. As experience has taught us to cultivate corn fields, gardens and fruit trees, would not the same rule prove equally good in cultivating wheat and other like crops ?
As hoeing wheat by hand would be rather slow for this country and behind the times, "I arranged a cultivator, on wheels of the same width and space of a drill, with small teeth to go between the rows of wheat; and with lever handles I can guide the hoes between the rows to any crook the drill may have made. Thus one man with two horses can hoe as fast as he can drill, say eight or ten acres in a day, at any depth required. The hoe is very simple and durable, easily adjusted; by shifting the teeth it can be used for corn or fallow.
I would advise every farmer to try at least a small spot with a hoe, and watch the result. Where I tried it a difference of full thirty per cent. was gained—the heads were larger, and they often produced an extra row of kernels. On clay and heavy soils hoeing is much more needed than on light.
As winter frosts and spring thaws cause the ground to slack, which will afterwards bake by the heat of the sun, unless mellowed by some hoeing process, thus letting in light and wet, and those gases that advance vegetation, Hoeing also removes all foul weeds that come up promiscuously between the rows; it also strengthens those shoots that are injured by the winter causing them to branch out, and feeble suckers to become large and healthy heads. The cultivator also prepares the ground to receive the seeds.
I have used this cultivator two years in my own wheat field and in my neighbors'. In 1861 the benefit derived from hoeing was from 25 to 30 per cent.; this year full 30 per cent. on the same farms, and some think the wheat on the land hoed was full one-third better than on either side which was not hoed, but otherwise had an equal chance. Yet there were some small strips that I cultivated at different seasons of the year that did not appear to be benefited, owing to the season when done.
I have added an attachment to it, and by shifting the teeth I can plant or cultivate two rows of corn at one time; and if desired, I can use plaster every time I cultivate it.
I will give any information I possess, such as will enable any farmer to have one built, who desires to avail himself of this useful labor-saving machine.
Mr. Wm. S. Carpenter.-I have practiced the same plan upon Indian corn, sown for fodder, with very marked advantage over that sown broadcast.
The Chairman, Prof. Mapes.—Although the “ Louis Weedon system of growing wheat” has been frequently spoken of here, and is familiar to all who read the annual reports of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, it is well to keep it alive before the American farmers of the old States, where
wheat growing has become so precarious that it has generally been given up. That system, so thoroughly tested through many years by the Rev. Mr. Smith, is this: He lays off the ground in strips, two and a half or three feet wide, and plants alternate strips, and cultivates the others just as we cultivate between rows of Indian corn. He finds that a field may be thus continued in wheat sixteen years without manure, and not deteriorate. Indeed, the yield is now much larger than it was at the commencement of the experiment. Then the yield was twenty-three bushels per acre; now it is thirty-eight bushels. The wheat roots spread into the blank spaces,
and receive the advantage of the loosening and aerification of the soil. The rest thus obtained is equivalent to a rotation of crops. I have found great advantage in sowing corn land late in autumn with red-strap turnips, although they may not grow large enough to make them of any value for cattle feed. In a mild winter like this, they continue growing, and although there may not be much of a burden upon the soil to turn under, the land is certainly benefited much more than the cost of seed and sowing.
Mr. Carpenter said that farmers had generally found by experience that it will not answer to sow wheat after wheat, and it should be observed that scarcely any other crop will do as well. I planted cauliflowers last season upon the same soil that grew cauliflowers the year before, and the consequence was that the plants grew club-footed, and with poor
heads. Even Indian corn is best when rotated with other crops; but one thing may be observed, that any land that will produce a good crop of cultivated grass will produce good corn.
Prof. Mapes.- It is useless for us to try to grow wheat after wheat by our system, while by that of Mr. Smith there is no difficulty; and if we can get more wheat from half the surface, why should we plant the whole, or why change from field to field ? It is the practice of the fallowing system in such a way that the growing crop gets the advantage of every summer plowing of the fallow.
Mr. Solon Robinson.—The same system has long been practiced by the growers of Sea Island cotton, and to some extent in growing corn in Virginia and North Carolina.
LECTURE UPON INSECTS. By invitation of the Club, Dr. Trimble, of Newark, will give a brief lecture upon insects, and exhibit a set of beautiful illustrations, which he has had prepared at considerable expense, at the meeting of the Club Jan. 27.
CHICCORY_How IS IT GROWN ? Mr. John G. Bergen.—I want some information about growing chiccory and preparing it for use; and I have no doubt that a great many others would be glad to know how to grow an article that is so extensively used both in this country and Europe as a substitute for coffee. In my family I must say that coffee and chiccory mixed is preferred to pure coffee, and I want to know whether I can grow it easily.
Mr. Solon Robinson.—Just as easily as you can grow parsneps or salsify, which chiccory very much resembles. I have quite a plot of it now upon my farm. I bought the seed last spring at Thorburn's, in John street, and it was planted in drills, side by side with carrots, and treated in the same way, and will yield probably half as much per acre. The roots may be dug, as parsneps are, in autumn or spring, and when once in the ground are about as difficult to eradicate as horse-radish. We dug some of the roots this winter, washed, and sliced, and dried them, and then browned and added to the coffee as much bulk as there was coffee, and find the beverage not deteriorated in value, so far as the taste, smell and pleasant flavor are concerned. Where chiccory is grown as a crop it is dried upon a kiln, such as the hop growers use. It may be dried in any way that fruit, roots or herbs are dried, and it may be kept as well as any of those articles. As to its value for family use, I have no idea that it is any more deleterious than coffee, and certainly not as much as tobacco. Its value, commercially, I cannot give, but believe that it can be grown and sold in a green state at the price of potatoes. There is no market for the roots in a green state, but the dried article is salable, and is largely imported. It is a pity that all that is used in this country could not be grown here.
Dr, Trimble.--I hope this Club will not recommend the cultivation of chiccory, because its use is deleterious to health; its effect is intoxicating.
Mr. Solon Robinson.--I do not recommend its cultivation or use; nor do I recommend tobacco, rum or coffee; nor do I refuse to tell others how to grow corn, because it may be converted into whisky. We are constantly recommending the cultivation of grapes, and telling how to make wine. I think that we should give information to people who desire to grow chiccory, and I am glad to hear Mr. Pardee offer to procure such information.
Mr. John G. Bergen.-If the Club decide not to give any information or encouragement to the growers of chiccory, in a moral point of view, let us also refuse information about hops, and barley, and tobacco. As to the price of chiccory, I find that a short time since it was worth ten cents per pound; now, twenty cents, in a dried state, ready for use; and I believe at this price it is better for the country to grow it, than import it.
FLAX GROWING IN IOWA. Mr. Solon Robinson read a letter from Tipton, Cedar county, Iowa, asking information about machinery to clean flax,
The writer thinks that if Iowa farmers had some way of converting the flax straw into a salable product, many of them would grow flax instead of wheat, which fails about half the time to make a remunerating crop, while flax almost uniformly produces a good crop.
The Secretary.-The Club appointed a committee last year to examine and report upon Messrs Sanford & Mallory's flax dressing machine; and the managers awarded it a gold medal.
“ Winter Care of Manure” was decided to be the subject for discussion at the next meeting. Adjourned.
JOHN W. CHAMBERS, Secretary.
January 20, 1863. Mr. George Carpenter in the chair.
RODGERS' HYBRID GRAPES. Dr. S. J. Parker, Ithaca, N. Y.-Mr. Edward S. Rodgers and his brother, residing at Salem, Mass., have originated a large number of hybrid grapes. Having eaten four varieties of these grapes, I am more favorably impressed with their value than I expected to be. The following is my opinion of them:
No. 1. This grape will ripen wherever the Isabella ripens well. It is a large white grape, with colored cheek; very showy; flavor good; promises to be a good white grape.
No. 3. Is an amber or red grape. Bunch large; also the berry. Is every way an excellent grape; is earlier than the Isabella or Diana; sweet and pleasant; like all these hybrids, showy; and a fine market fruit.
No. 4. Has a large compact bunch, with large berries; resembles the Ontario as to size and color: black, sweet and pleasant; is as good looking as Wilmot's Hamburg; also a fine market grape.
No. 15. This grape has the largest bunch of all I have seen; berry large, red or Diana colored, sweet, but has a little native or foxy flavor. The fine appearance of this grape will make it salable everywhere.
These are all I have seen of these hybrids, which are forty in number. It has been objected that they are rough and foxy, with a little pulp, and too hard to be agreeable; but it must be recollected that the fruit shown has been grown near Boston, and, let our Boston friends say what they may, grapes of any variety grown in that vicinity are harsher than in good grape regions. I hope they will have a fair trial by American vineyardists.
GRAPES THAT PROMISE WELL. Dr. S. J. Parker.--I have named the Rogers' hybrids as worthy of trial. The following are also meritorious: Cynthiana, or Texas Red river; there is also a Red river grape from Arkansas; both are vigorous growers, and ripen their wood well at the north, as far as the middle of the State of New York. The Cynthiana has bunches large, berries loose, medium size, blue color, a good table grape. Mr. Huntsman, of Massachusetts, says it is one of the best reliable native grapes.
Albino, a seedling raised by Mr. J. B. Garber, of Columbia, Pa., thirtyfive years since. Bunches small; berries medium; color, greenish white, transparent; honey sweetness if perfectly ripe. In cold regions it needs to be laid down in winter.
Creveling, also called Cattawissa, Columbian, and Bloom, originated in Columbia county, Pa. This grape is similar to the Isabella, but earlier and superior in flavor, and was found wild. It is a little rough, but esteemed by many.
Mary Ann. This grape was raised from seed received from North Carolina more than thirty years ago, by Mr. J. B. Garber, of Columbia, Pa., and named after his daughter. Bunches and berries medium; color black; juice red; ripens early, about first of September; very hardy; fully equal to the Isabella; valuable for being so early.
A grape known here as the White Clinton, or White Delaware, is of a greenish white color; thin skinned; medium flavor; small bunch and berry; grows on a wild looking vine, with thin green leaves, or leaves with a down on the under side, easily torn. This grape is esteemed by many.
Rocky Mountain Seedling No. 2. This grape was grown from seed brought from near Salt Lake by the Rev. S. Parker. It is similar in leaf and wood to the Delaware, and in size and color of bunch and berry very much resembles it, but its skin is thicker; has a high flavor, which is very peculiar, and makes a fine aroma for wine, and keeps well.
Ontario. This grape has a very large bunch and berry, very compact, although the flavor is not of the first quality. Could a hybrid of this and the Delaware be made, it would be a great acquisition. The vine grows well, and is perfectly hardy; color of fruit, blue black; same pulp, with clear juice. This will make a good market grape. If cultivation would improve its sweetness and flavor, it would command unusual attention.
Mr. W. S. Carpenter.—The Rodgers hybrid grapes, mentioned by our Ithaca friend, I have seen, and was very much pleased with them, but I do not think they are equal to some seedlings already introduced, although some of them are very superior. Great credit is due to Mr. Rodgers for the trouble taken by him in producing these new varieties.
Mr. Pardee.--I am familiar with a great number of seedling grapes that have been introduced within the last ten years. If I was to make a selection for a vineyard, I should place, first, the Delaware, then the Diana, Concord and Hartford Prolific; a vineyard would not be complete without a few Isabellas. The lona is a new seedling, which promises well. The Adirondac grape, introduced to our notice during the past year, is a good grape for northern New York; the skin is thin, but the pulp is rather watery, and lacks flavor.
Mr. Carpenter.— I would like Mr. Pardee's opinion of Allan's hybrid in comparison with the Anną.
Mr. Pardee.—The Allan hybrid, I think, is equal to the Anna. We shall have a great number of new seedlings during the next few years, but I would confine myself to the cultivation of a few of the best kinds. I have noticed that the Concord only produces about half the quantity of fruit as the Isabella.
Mr. Carpenter. - Is not that an advantage? The Concord generally produces all it can ripen. We know the Isabella is a profuse bearer, and sometimes does not ripen the fruit. Dr. Underhill thinks that at least fourfifths of the fruit of the Isabella should be taken off—the labor of doing so is very tedious and expensive.
I know a gentleman who cultivates great quantities of the Concord grape, from which he makes excellent brandy, which sells at eight dollars per gallon, eight gallons of the juice make one gallon of brandy, which is equal to one dollar per gallon for the juice. There is vacant land enough in Texas for immense vineyards.
Mr. Oliver, of Fordham, N. Y.-The Isabella does not ripen well with me; I have visited a number of vineyards and find that the general complaint. We have now 3,500 vines of the Concord grape, and intend to have a vineyard of 17 acres; the vines are very thrifty and we find no diffi