Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

time as the cultivation of flowers. Look at the most ordinary and common-place dwellings covered with climbing plants, and the enclosure embellished with flowers, and it immediately becomes a beautiful object to gaze upon, and involuntarily we suppose the occupants to be refined and educated people. Does a writer wish to excite your interest for a cottage scene, he entwines the lattice with eglantine, and wreathes the door with jassamine and roses; and if he goes still further, he places a fair girl in close contact with the flowers. This is not romance; it is sentiment. Those who have had the good fortune to have a mother who had a fondness for flowers, how, even when she is in the grave, the sight of a flower, or the fragrance borne on the wind from some favorite shrub, will recall the lost one, and stir up pleasing recollections. I would thus have thoughts of me, when in the grave, to steal over the senses of my child. I believe in the moral influence this would exercise over a man struggling and battling with this rough world. There is a strong affinity between the cultivation of perennial and immortal plants, which must lead a thinking mind to a deeper interest. The same sun, the same air and water, are all essentials to the physical growth of both, and the prun. ing and training are necessary for the grace and beauty of each. The heat of the sun excites the activity of the plants; it increases the disposition of some of their constituent parts for new attractions and combination to obtain substances as may be requisite and proper for new growth; it likewise causes them to reject such matter as would be hurtful to them. Plants have an independent heat of their own; but all physiologists have found it as difficult to account for the spontaneous production of heat in - the vegetable as in the animal kingdom. Oxygen gas, one of the constituent parts of atmospheric air, is as necessary to the respiration of man as to the plant; the latter consumes nitrogen, but returns the oxygen the use of man. How beautiful the designs of Providence, thus to make the different parts of creation contribute to the support of each! Many plants live and bloom independent of the soil—water, sun, and air having been found sufficient for their growth—as the hyacinth and other bulbous plants. We, as a nation, should adopt a national flower, and not be behind England, Ireland, Scotland, or France, in sentiment. And surely from our world of flowers one could be found suitable.

Respectfully,

MARY B. THROCKMORTON.

for

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

NEAR TRINITY, LA., November 14, 1852. Sır: Having received two of the Patent Office “ Circulars," I cannot but think that it is my duty to give some sort of an answer. I have come to the conclusion that it is not for me to decide, as I was but too wil ling to do, that I could say nothing that would be of any worth; that is especially your province; and without further preface I proceed to contribute my“ mite,” if it should prove even a mite, to the knowledge of the country on the subject of cotton. I shall try to answer a few of your questions—those only about which I believe that I may know some ihing. Judicious cultivators on the bottom lands of Black river, in Louisiana, obtain an average product in a series of years of 2,000 pounds of seed cotton to the acre, about 30 per cent. of which is clean marketable cotton. Its cost of production, according to my calculation, is at least, per pound, 73 cents.

The only crop grown here in rotation with cotton is Indian corn, and we find that it is beneficial.

People here, who have ideas of cleanliness and propriety, get rid of their cotton-seed by speading it on their corn lands; but it is done in a hurry and without method, so that its actual result, though known generally to be favorable, is not precisely ascertained. As a fertilizer, I believe in its great power from experience years back, when I cultivated on the hills where manure was needed for corn. My habit then was to list my corn land with as deep a furrow as I could accomplish very early in January, half fill it with sound cotton-seed, and throw a furrow from each side upon it; afterwards finish the ridges as I had time.

About the 25th of February my corn was planted, opening with a plough not quite down to the cotton-seed, then in a state of decomposition. With such a practice I have produced an average of 60 bushels to the acre; while a neighbor, on land of the same character, has obtained but from 15 to 20 busels. My theory on the subject-and why should not I have a theory, as every body else has in these days?-is, that the carbon evolved in the decomposition (and there are few things that contain more of it than cotton-seed) is, to a great extent, absorbed and retained in the earth. As the season advances, it is gradually extracted, affording a constant supply of necessary food to the plant.

I am confirmed in this view by an experiment on Irish potatoes, which is constantly made here, in consequence of a remark of Liebig's, that humus, from the quantity of carbon which it yielded, was the best manure for potatoes, making them mealy, while stable manure rendered them waxy. The result is always exceedingly well marked, though it must be used very sparingly with potatoes in this warm latitude, too much overwhelming the plant, and producing premature decay, as it does with man here when taken in the form of fat meat and whiskey.

We try to plough here 6 inches deep; and some people say that they always go 7 inches in depth, but with such men the moon is always at full. We do not average much, if anything, over 5 inches. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HUNTINGTON. . To the COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS.

SPRING COTTAGE,

Marion County, Mississippi, May 24, 1852. SIR: In view of the value of the Patent Office Report to the agricul. tural community of this county, as also to many other interests, I deem it a duty of those who have been solicited to contribute to the work, to report or submit, from time to time, such observations, experiments, and improvements as may be made; the value of which may be determined by you, and published, or not, as you may decide.

Under this view, I will now submit an experiment upon growing peas with or under corn, not only as a profitable crop, but to renovate land .by a rotation of crops, as stated in my letter of November, 1850, (Report of 1850—'51.) Peas.-I am well satisfied by my own observation and experience,

[ocr errors]

as also by the reports of analyses by scientific men, that the pea vine is as rich in the necessary qualities to improve old lands as anything that the land will produce, and should be preferred under corn for several other reasons: first, that the pea vine more effectually shades the land against the rays of the sun, after the blade is taken off the corn, than anything else would; and secondly, the pea-crop is very important to the farmer for stock, and, if well managed, is equal to half the corn the same land produces. In 1850, I gathered two hundred and forty bushels clean peas (under corn) on twenty acres of land, and did not get near all, as all were not ripe at the time of picking. That was an average of twelve bushels to the acre under corn.

Some farmers complain of peas killing their stock. That is the result of inattention or carelessness; stock should not be let into a pea field hungry. There is danger in letting a hungry horse or ox into a cornfield, or to a trough full of corn, rice, or potatoes; but first feed, salt and water them, and then turn them into the field, and there is no danger, provided water is convenient and that they are frequently salted; they may remain in the pea field until the peas are consumed; then horses should be taken off the field, as they will then eat the dry vine, the bark of which will clog them.

Seed peas may be securely kept, as against the weevil, by putting them up in old pork or other barrels, or boxes that have contained salt shortly before. Peas or any kind of grain may be kept perfectly secure against weevils by setting it in barrels or boxes in the smoke-house. The moth or weevil is driven off by smoke or salt.

There is great complaint by correspondents of the weevil, but no particular course recommended by any as a preventive. I do not know whether they can be entirely avoided in the keeping of large quantities of grain; but the damage may be avoided to a considerable extent, in gathering, putting up, and keeping corn, by pursuing the following course: First, a week or two before housing corn, remove from the barn all remains of the old crop of corn, shucks, cobs, and everything of the kind, some distance from the barn, to some out-house, or other house for the purpose; then throw the windows and doors all open, and sweep it out as clean as possible; then throw cold water over the floors and walls, and let it stand open several days; and, on the day you commence hous. ing new corn, wet the floor and walls with salt water, or smoke the barn thoroughly; and, when done housing corn, sprinkle salt water over the top of bulk. Corn should be put up in the shuck, and the ears that chance to be shucked in gathering from the field should be sorted out and placed where they may be first used. I have pursued this course for the last ten years, and my corn has been very little damaged by the weevil in the round of the year.

Sheep.-In my letter, of Report 1850–'51, I stated that sheep would surely do as well in the pine region (as then designated) as perhaps in any other country. I last summer kept thirty-two head of sheep on a crab-grass pasture; in the fall and early part of the winter in the forest, on the herbs and shrubbery of the forest; and then fed them a little, in the months of January and February, on turnips, cabbage leaves, and peas. I now have sixty-two head of sheep, they having nearly doubled the number by natural increase. About one-third of the ewes brought and raised two lambs. No effort has been made here to grow wool for market as yet, though it could surely be profitably done; the only effort made is to grow wool for family use or consumption, and some mutton for market.

Pasture. It has been very clearly demonstrated by many efforts and experiments, that none of the Northern grasses will flourish in the South. Then the Southern farmer should endeavor to cultivate and improve the native grasses, crop grass, for summer grazing, and preserve reed, cane, and rye, for winter grazing. Nature has furnished the South with all that is necessary to the support in winter and summer of almost innumerable herds of buffalo, deer, and many other kinds of game. We have yet in many parts of the country the same material, that may be preserved and improved by care and attention.

The Crop Grass.-If this be cultivated, manured, and given the same attention South that is given clover and other grasses North, it would be as valuable for hay and grazing South as the clover and other grasses North. This grass is the best that can be cultivated South for summer grazing, beyond doubt. Let those that may doubt it try it with the same care and attention that is given the Northern grasses, and they will be satisfied. Rye constitutes an excellent winter pasture for sheep and calves; but the native cane and reed is invaluable as a winter pasture. No Southerner is aware of its value until he is without it.

To preserve and make a good cane pasture, it should be well fenced before the cane is too much broken or exhausted by stock running upon it, winter and summer. After being fenced, all stock should be kept off through the summer months; and if the cane, when fenced, should be old, large, and tall, it should be burned or cut down, and the following winter put on stock enough to feed off the leaf and break down pretty much all the young cane that has shot up. That will make it a bush or shrub cane, from the root of which a new stock springs up every summer.

I have a cane pasture, grown principally from the seed, of about 200 acres. The cane seeded here in the spring of 1929, and the old cane,

. all dried and fell, and the root all rotted and failed to shoot up the rattoon, or mutton cane, as called by some; but the seed, which in every respect resembled the largest kinds of wheat, fell on and literally covered the ground. The season being favorable, it came up as thick as it could stand on the ground; soon after which I fenced it, to prevent the hogs from rooting it up, and destroying it thereby. It was pastured or fed off every winter by horses and cattle, and would grow out again in the spring and summer. At about 1840 it commenced shooting up from the joint of the root, (the rattoon cane,) and was thereby fully reinstated to primitive maturity. This pasture now sustains 100 head of stock (horses, mules, and cattle) for me through the winter yearly. They are fedthat is, horses and mules-once a week with corn, and all given salt once or twice a week, and they come out in the spring in as fine and good condition as my stock that are fed through the winter. I last fall let some of my stock glean the corn-fields after the crop was gathered, and then turned them on the cane until some time in February. I then sent those to the Mobile market, and they sold as well as the best stall-fed cattle-cows at $20 per head, and steers at $40 per head.

As before said, this pasture will sustain, through the winter months, 100 head of stock, and is worth to me annually from $500 to $1,000, (five dollars per acre.) It would surely cost an average of five dollars per

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

head to feed stock through the winter, three months, and keep them in good order. I have been offered ten dollars per head to pasture mules and horses through the winter. There is a very great difference between pasturing stock on cane in the winter only and letting stock run upon it in summer and winter. If stock run upon cane in the summer, they will break it entirely by consuming the rattoon cane as it springs up; (hence the necessity of fencing it;) and if they did not destroy it by feeding it down in summer, they would in summer consume the rattoon, and young, tender, luxuriant growth that they need in winter. Reed' is as valuable for pasture as cane, and very much the same nature in every respect; but reed flourishes only on low, wet swamps, while the cane does best on the highest ranges of river-bottom lands. I have discovered, by observation and experiment, that it requires ten years for cane grown from the seed to attain full maturity in point of size. How long until it will seed again I know not. It has seeded generally here but once since the year 1810. I have known occasional stalks bloom frequently, but to fill and mature well but once.

I have also discovered that the chain root of the cane may be successfully transplanted, and, though it would be somewhat tedious, would pay well in many instances, as it spreads rapidly by shooting up from the joints of the root, and shooting out other chain-roots at the foot of the new stalks, from which the rattoon springs up at each joint as the chain-root extends itself.

All landholders that have cane upon their lands, though it may be sparse or scattering, will do well to fence and preserve it before it is entirely destroyed, as it will soon reinstate itself when there is stubble or roots. In most of the densely-settled portions of the country the cane is now entirely broken; but in sparsely-settled sections, there may yet be valuable pastures preserved by fencing. I have treated thus lengthily of this subject that others may profit by my observations if they choose so to do. Very respectfully submitted :

EBEN'R FORD.

[ocr errors]

a

EDWARDS, MISSISSIPPI,
November 20, 1852.

. Sir: Finding it not possible for me to devote the usual time to the Agricultural Report of your Office which I believe I have uniformly done, yet, desiring to aid in making the Report acceptable, I propose saying all I can in one article on what I hope will be interesting to the Southern planter, viz: hog-raising, and a fault or two in cotton culture.

1st. On Hog-raising :-If the owner will provide grass and green food all the year, with an abundance of water, he may count certain upon raising his own meat, provided he keeps them away from peas and cotton seed, and keeps negroes away from them; yet one who has been raising hogs 30 years,

the China crosses the Byfield, the grazier crosses the white Berkshire, the Berkshire the Woburn, (an English hog imported into this State,) as also a stock called Northumber. land, from Pennsylvania, and a stock from a butcher in Cincinnati, Ohio, asks permission to say a good stock is all-important, and my preference

a

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »