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berries plump' and full. I also send you one small cluster of Delaware, as an evidence that there is an entire missapprehension of its keeping qualities, most fruit growers seeming to think that from its thin skin it would not keep well. They are a good deal shriveled on account of there being but a few clusters in the box in which they were kept. I think grapes will keep longer when not left on the vines until the stem is dry and shriveled.”
These grapes were in fine condition.
JOHN W. CHAMBERS, Secretary.
April 14, 1863.
Mr. Martin E. Thompson, of New York, in the chair.
POPPY SEED. Mr. G. R. Stork, Coventryville, Chenango county, N. Y., offers the Vermont lady who inquired for seed of the opium poppy, enough to plant an acre free, if she sends a prepaid envelope, provided that she will give the result of her experiment to the public through the Farmers' Club, at the close of the first year's trial. “I also send for distribution
the members of the Club, and any others that may desire to plant them, a package of what is called the Opium poppy seed. On suitable soil the growth is rank, and it requires room -rows of three feet apart and eighteen inches in the row, The yield of opium is greater than any other poppy that I have ever seen, and the blossom is the perfection of beauty in the floral department. Sow early, as the frost does not hurt the young plants; and then for fall blossoming sow again from 1st to 15th July."
Mr. Le Roy Whitford, of Harmony, Chautauqua county, N. Y., thinks the Club do well to caution farmers against many humbugs, such as producing two kinds of potatoes from the halves of two different varieties joined together in the hill; or sweet and sour apples by splitting a bud of each sort and joining them together, and many other similar foolish things. He says: “ Every thinking farmer knows that these 'harmless sells, as they are sometimes called, tend directly to make us suspicious of every innovation, and as therefore a strong brake applied to the wheels of progress, while that vehicle is lumbering and miring in the old ruts of timehonored usage. Good by to the days of wooden plows, reaping hooks, and common fruit, for this is the age of steam plows, horse reapers, and grafted potatoes."
MANURE FOR POTATOES. Mr. Josiah Spalding of Janesville, Wisconsin, formerly of New Hampshire, an old farmer, over seventy years of age, sends the following as his experience in potato culture:
Any quantity of plaster of Paris (gypsum) you wish to use, saturated with urine thoroughly, after the urine has become putrid or stale; then add unleached ashes equal to the quantity of plaster; then common sand
or earth sufficient to make convenient to apply. Less than one gill of this mixture to each hill, has about trebled my crop of potatoes when applied.”
Mr. S. O. Cross, Sandy Hill, Washington county, N. Y., recommends sawdust as an excellent manure for potatoes. He says: “ Prepare the ground as usual, drop the potatoes, and cover with sawdust from one-half to a shovel full in a hill, cover them slightly with earth, after which follow your old custom, and I will warrant sound potatoes in every hill so treated.”
Prof. Mapes thinks muck—salt or fresh-would be much better than sawdust, and one of the reasons why it is good, he supposes, is because it contains a large per centage of potash, which in any form will increase the crop of potatoes. Crops of four to five hundred bushels of potatoes have been grown upon the Newark meadow, where the ground is a mass of salt muck. He should doubt the value of sawdust as a manure, though it would be beneficial in clayey soils, to render them more open, so as to receive the benefit of the air. It is well known that potatoes will produce a good crop, if the seed is laid upon the surface of well-prepared ground, and covered with old hay, straw, or any substance that excludes the light. The roots penetrate the soil, and the tubers form upon the surface.
A sensible old Quaker farmer of Salem, N. J., sends us the following as one of his experiments with potatoes: 'Some years ago we hauled out some manure in compost in a grass field. Subsequently we hauled it all away but about two loads. This we suffered to rot until it became very fine; then we spread it around as far as we could throw it with a shovel. We planted with corn the next year, and the next with potatoes, without manure. The field of potatoes was clear of disease except the small spot on which we spread the fine compost manure nearly two years before, and . on that part the potatoes were larger, but we did not find one clear of the disease.”
He also addressed the following interesting letter, upon several other subjects, to the American Institute Farmers' Club.
“A correspondent writing from the West a few weeks ago, recommended growing clover seed on oat ground, as the most certain mode to get the land well set in clover-that the seed will nearly all grow, etc.
“We have sown clover on our oat ground many times within the last twenty years for green crops, to turn under for wheat. When the weather has been dry we have rolled the ground after seeding. The seed sown has germinated and grown well until the oats shaded the ground completely, when the young clover died out, so that the stand has been much less at harvest time on the oats than on the wheat field. May not this be fairly attributed to the broader leaves, thicker straw, and more luxuriant growth of the oats? This is an evidence that vegetation needs the direct rays of the sun to sustain life.
TURNING UNDER GREEN CROPS FOR MANURE-SOME KINDS WORTHLESS. “We have plowed under crops of clover for crops of wheat at various times, and always with good results; but have received more benefit from the first crop turned under green, than from both crops turned under when dry. I prefer the green crop of clover to any other dressing for wheat.
" In the summer of 1849 we rolled down and plowed under one acre of oats, when in the milky state, for manure for wheat. On this we sowed two bushels of broom corn seed, and harrowed well. When the broom corn attained an average height of five feet, and as thick on the ground as it could possibly grow to advantage-perhaps ten tons or more to the acrewe plowed them under, too, and sowed wheat. On adjoining land in the same field we cut the oats when ripe, 50 bushels per acre, and hauled all off except the stubble. This we plowed under without manure or fertilizer of any kind, and sowed with wheat at the same time as the other. At harvest time, the land without manure or fertilizers of any kind had more and better wheat on it, and larger straw, than the land with the two green crops turned under. We have tried the oat crop alone with the same result. Since that time there has been no perceptible difference in the crops on the two pieces of land, and both have been treated alike. The land had been covered previously with 400 bushels per acre of soft, friable limestone, containing 75 per cent. carbonate of lime, and intermingled with grains of green sand found on the premises. One week of dry weather followed the plowing under of the oats, which was succeeded by heavy rains and fine growing weather. Many of the oats must have ripened during the week of dry weather, and then remained sound during the six or eight weeks of wet weather which followed, for, when plowing them up, many grew until killed by the frosts of winter.
PLANT LICE. INJURIOUS TO THE OAT CROP. “Soon after our oats headed, last summer, we found, in spots, about our fields, great quantities of plant lice attached to the lower ends of the grains -in many places so numerous as to change the color of the heads to a dirty or dingy red. We found them in all stages of growth on the same grain toward harvest. Early-sown oats and those on higher land fared the best. They remained attached to the grains until the straw was cut, when the cradles and other implements used in gathering them were gummed with the aphides mashed in the operation. The stench rising from our fields in the evening, just before harvest, caused by these aphides, was sickening. Our crop does not weigh over twenty pounds to the bushel. The oldest inhabitant here does not remember the like. Can you give any information of a like occurrence ?
SUBSOILING NO ADVANTAGE TO SOME LANDS. “On the recommendation of scientific farmers, I purchased a subsoil plow in the winter of 1847, and subsoiled, that year, 30 acres for corn, leaving a strip of about one rod in width through the middle not subsoiled. The difference in the crop that year, if any, was in favor of the strip not subsoiled. We have seen no difference in the crops since that time. The subsoil was a stiff, yellow clay. That was the first and last of my subsoiling. On deep plowing, for improving lands for grain and grass crops, permit me to offer the following suggestions: If the natural inclination of the roots of our grain and grass crops is downward into the subsoil, to luxuriate there, away from the warming and vivifying influence of the sun-the dews and gentle rains; and if a soil containing a small per cent. of vegetable matter, because deeper, is preferable to one containing twice
that quantity, and will withstand more dry weather-then deep plowing and subsoiling may be needful, may be scientific. But if, on the other hand, the roots of the grain and grass crops do naturally incline to the surface of the ground, where only the warming and vivifying influence of the sun, and the gases carried down by the dews and gentle rains, can effectually reach them; and if a soil containing a large per cent. of vegetable matter is preferable, and will hold moisture better than one containing a much less per cent—then deep plowing and subsoiling are not needful—are not scientific—unless the subsoil is richer in the elements needed by the plant than the soil itself.
"COTTON-THE NUMBER OF SEEDS AND PLANTS TO THE ACRE. “According to the authorities quoted in the Farmers' and Planters' Encyclopædia, on the cultivation of cotton, one bushel of seed per acre is the usual quantity planted in the cotton States, where seed is plenty and cheap. When they consider the plants out of danger, they thin it with the hoe to from six to twenty-four inches apart. But as no person would recommend leaving the plants closer than a foot in the row where the land is good, and adapted to the plant, and the rows three feet apart--this would require less than 15,000 plants per acre. I have received from the Patent Office several bushels of cotton seed, weighing 26 pounds to the bushel, and, in numbers, 4,000 seed to the pound. If 15,000 plants are all that can grow on an acre to advantage, 20,000 seed, if good, will suffice to plant at acre, or one bushel to five acres will be sufficient, where the seed is scarce.
GRAPES. “ Of ten leading varieties of grapes, fruited here last year, they all blighted more or less, except the Delaware and Rebecca, which ripened their fruit perfectly. They and the Diana were very superior. The Elsin. borough (not Elsinborg, as the fruit-growers have it) is considered here, where it originated, by some, as good as any other grape. Downing's description of it is good, but he calls it Elsinborg, and says it originated in a village of that name in Salem county. I resided in Elsinborough township above forty years ago, near by where the grape originated, and can say there is no such village there, and never has been. It was for. merly called the Smart grape here, after the originator, but as the original vine and the family have been gone many years, it is now universally called here the Elsinborough grape.
“Prince says positively in the late pomological discussions: 'In California, naturally, there is no good grape.' Barry speaks of the large black grape of Sonora, but says: It now proves to be quite identical with the Zinfindael. What that grape is, he does not inform us--does not describe it.
“What do you know of the El Dorado grape, brought here from California ? Is it identical with the last named, with bunches over a foot long, and weighing several pounds to the bunch here—many of them without seeds, skin thin, grapes pronounced good by those who have tasted them ?"
Prof. Mapes.-Upon the subject of subsoiling mentioned by this correspondent, his statement shows that he did not give the experiment a fair trial. There are many situations where the surface soil is light and productive of surface crops which are not benefited at first by deepening the soil down into a stiff clay, especially if it contains iron. Some persons also think they have subsoiled their land when they have only run the subsoil plow along the bottom of a turned furrow, stirring the earth a few inches deeper. When subsoiling is properly done, the share of the subsoil plow runs 12 to 16 inches deeper than the furrow of the turning plow, making a channel through the hard earth without disturbing the surface. I have never seen any land that was not permanently benefited by such an operation, though it often fails to show any improvement in the crops the
How FARMERS CAN DISSOLVE BONES. Mr. Henry Cope of Chester county, Pa., wants to know "whether the water and acid should be mixed, and then the bones added, or the bones first wet and left to soak the acid afterward. The bones are ground fine without steaming or heating."
Prof. Mapes replied that where bones have been neither boiled nor burned the acid should be diluted with twenty pounds of water to one of acid, and it matters very little whether the bones are put into the liquid or put into a tub, and the acidulated water poured upon them. Of course the bones are acted upon more readily when bruken fine, and they are more completely dissolved, when the acid is sufficiently diluted than when it is too strong. If used too strong, the acid dissolves the outer coating of the bone, and also appears to form a compound with the gelatin and oil, which prevents the action of the acid upon the interior. Burnt bones may be treated with acid diluted one to ten.
Josiah Spalding, the old farmer alluded to above, gives the following as his experience in dissolving bones: “I procured 150 pounds of sulphuric acid, 500 pounds of bones, breaking them on a boulder in a box, with a stone hammer, to a size less than my finger. I put the water into a half hogshead tub, and added the acid, and then commenced putting in the bones. This was an error, as the shoveling and weighing occupied some minutes. The bones should have been in such a state of readiness that they could have been added immediately after the mixture of the liquid, that they might all have the benefit of the whole operation, because the intense heat is the main power in dissolving the bones, as a few bones added after the heat had abated were not affected. The bones dissolve rapidly; in two hours, I think there were not 25 pounds not completely dissolved, and those were mostly teeth, the enamel of which had not been broken. The heat was intense, boiling furiously, and in a few minutes the tub, which was of oak, with staves an inch thick, was so hot I could hard
upon the outside, yet it was not injured for future use." Prof. Mapes:-He is mistaken in supposing the heat to be the main cause of the quick dissolution of the bones. The mixture would have produced the same effect if allowed to become cool before adding the bones. When the acid is used so strong as Mr. Spalding made it, the first bones put in are affected quickly and take up the strength of the acid, as shown by the result. It is more economical to use it in a more diluted form and wait its slower action, unless time is very important. Mr. Solon Robinson said that he thought it a better plan to put the bones [Am. Ins.]
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