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Market Gardening. ANY farmer, who lives near a large town that will furnish him a market, can make market gardening very profitable, if his land is suitable for the raising of vegetables, To be fit for this purpose it must be a dry, warm soil, with an exposure to to the east or south, and sheltered either naturally or artificially on the north. It must also be rich, and if not naturally so, made so by the free application of manure. It may be said that it is difficult to find a limit beyond which it is not profitable to apply manure, and the net profits of the operation will depend largely upon liberality in this respect.
It must be understood that vegetable culture for profit necessarily involves a large outlay, if we reckon the cost of labor, the seed, the cultivation and market. ing. But it must also be considered that most of the items of expense will be very nearly the same for a small as for a very heavy crop. A certain amount of pro. duction, of course, must go to pay the cost, and the profit does not come in till we get beyond this point; but when it is reached, the income assumes the form of profit, unless the cost of manure may be considered as to some extent a permanent investment.
The conditions of success, therefore, must include, besides those named, location, soil, manure, and a certain fitness for the business. It must be the right man in the right place, a live, wide-awake, earnest man, who is able to expend about three hundred dollars a year on every acre he attempts to handle. Such a man will readily see that it pays better, as a rule, to feed the multitude than it does to feed the few; that is, that the production of a few of the coarser vegetables, like cabbages, beets, turnips, cucumbers, sweet corn, tomatoes, &c., that are consumed in immense quantities by the hard manual laborers of the community, pays better than the production of a few rarer plants that require special skill to grow, out of their natural season, to please the palates of those whose appetites are epicurean.
If the location of the land is not virtually all that could be wished, very much can be done by way of shelter by a high board fence on the north, or by belts of evergreens, which practically modify the climate and furnish protection. Another important improvement is thorough drainage. If the soil is already light and deep, and with a sufficient incline to carry of the underground moisture, this expense, perhaps, can be avoided; but if it is a little stiff, or at all inclining to clay, this operation is essential. Of course deep ploughing, or trenching, will be regarded as a matter of necessity also, as it is one of the prime elements of success in the more extensive operations of the farm.
An intimate knowledge of the practical details of the whole range of market gardening and marketing may also be regarded as requisite to success, and if a man is intending to engage in market gardening for profit, it is better, on the whole, to serve an apprenticeship to some one who is already thoroughly posted, than to get this knowledge by long experiment, which will involve more or less loss of time and failure. It is slow work feeling one's way along in such a pursuit as market gardening, where the competition is so great.
The Farm-House. THERE has, without doubt, been a very great improvement in the general appearance of farms and farm-houses in New England within the last few years, and it has done much to give the country a look of thrist and comfort and prosperity. But most farmers can still greatly improve the comfort of their homes, and this they are morally bound to do, not only as a duty they owe to themselves, but to the community in which they live. A farm-house ought to be warm and snug for the winter, and well arranged for ventilation and health at all seasons of the year. It ought to be painted, both as a matter of taste and well-directed economy.
The feeling is quite too common that any kind of a house will do for a farmer. It is all wrong, and no one can properly indulge such a feeling, and if he did he ought not to express it. It wrongs not only the farmer himself, but the neighborhood in which he lives. A farm-house may be trim and neat, and in the highest degree attractive, without being costly. Good taste does not require that it should be costly. If there is any man in the world who can afford to have a good lawn about the house, it is the farmer; and yet how often do we see a new farm-house set directly on the road; with no chance for a lawn in front, or to make the surroundings beautiful, a source of constant delight and reward, and of present and future money value, whether to hold or to sell.
Many farmers seem to think they cannot afford to do anything which has the appearauce of mere ornamentation. They don't see any money in it; but if the farm were coming to the hammer, or to be sold at private sale even, the more attractive the surroundings are, the quicker the sale and the higher the price. All men are influenced by beauty, whether they acknowledge it or not.
Now, it is probably true that there is no other million of people on the face of the earth that have any better conditions for rational enjoyment than the farmers of New England, apd no place where the same number of people represent so many happy homes; but that is no reason for resting satisfied, till we have done all we can to improve upon our present condition, and to bring it by all means in our Concentrated Fertilizers. THE fact has now come to be pretty generally recognized, that however careful we may be in the economy and preparation of the inanures of the farm, something more is needed in the prosecution of a system of high farining best adapted to meet the wants of a civilized community. Artificial or commercial fertilizers, therefore, have got to be a necessity, and their manufacture has greatly extended during the last few years, till it has assumed an importance which it never had before, not only in Europe, but in this country.
Few people are, probably, aware of the growth of this branch of manufacture, or of the extent to which commercial fertilizers are used. The State Inspector of Fertilizers of Georgia estimates that the farmers or planters of that State pay on an average over ten millions of dollars a year for artificial fertilizers, by far the larger part of which goes out of the State. The quantity used in the Southern States is, undoubtedly, larger than it is farther north, where the necessity of stall feeding ali kinds of live stock for five or six months of the year enables the farmer to save and economize manures; but it is estimated on the highest authority that more than a half million of dollars' worth of these fertilizers are used every year in the little State of New Hampshire alone, which is, perhaps, proportionally, nearly as much as is used in Georgia. It is probable that the amount used in Massachusetts exceeds a million dollars a year, inany single towns exceeding forty or fifty thousand dollars for purchased fertilizers.
It is very difficult to procure accurate statistics of this manufacture, but we know that large factories have been established in Maine, in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Long Island, Virginia, South Carolina, and elsewhere, some of which produce thirty or forty thousand tons a year or more. A business of such magni. tude ought to be regulated by laws which shall furnish some protection against fraud, for the purchaser, and to secure the requisite degree of contidence on the part of the community, for the benefit of the honest manufacturer.
At the present time this confidence does not exist. The money paid for fertilizers has not generally been returned in the crops produced, and in a vast number of instances the articles have proved to be perfectly worthless, involving not only the loss of the original cost, but the loss of time and labor and crops, to say nothing of the interest on the land. The worst feature of it has been, that articles worthless in themselves have been pressed upon the public by the certificates and recommendations of prominent farmers and agriculturists who are too ready to lend their names and their influence to be used to imposc upon the credulity of the farming community.
The sources of supply of what may be called the raw material used in the manufacture of commercial fertilizers are various, according to the proposed composition. Along the sea-shore the refuse of fish is largely employed in making what is termed tish guano. Bones are sought for the supply of phosphates, both in a fresh state and as bone-black from the sugar refineries; but the Charleston phosphate beds are now relied upon for the chief ingredient. The material is ground up, treated with sulphuric acid to render it soluble, when guano and other materials are added. Nitrate of soda or Chilian saltpetre is extensively used, and recently the potash salts from the Stassfurt mines in Germany have been extensively imported and sold to be used in their normal condition, or to be mixed in with other material and sold again under other names.
Care of Cows. Few farmers, judging by the mode of treatment of their stock, realize the importance of details in the care of dairy cows. Talk about the absolute regularity of feeding, about the importance of cleanliness and daily carding of their cows, about kindness and gentleness and quiet, and they may believe it, but it doesn't appear to change their methods. They appear to regard it as a doctrine applicable to others, but fail to see how it applies to their case.
We hold that during the winter months, when cows are confined to the barn, and wholly under our control, we ought to make their comfort and their gencral wellbeing a special study, and to do whatever can in any way contribute to it, not merely as a matter of duty, but as one affecting our own pecuniary interests. A daily carding is in itself no great matter, perhaps, but it promotes the health and the comfort of the animal. As to harshness of treatment, abuse, loud talking or boisterous noises, while among the cows in milk, there can be no doubt they cause a direct loss to the owner, a loss in dollars and cents which can or ought to be avoided. It ought to be more generally known than it is, that anything that unduly excites a cow, that makes her nervous, frightened or worried, reduces the cream on her milk to an extent that can hardly be credited without a direct trial and careful observation. A cow wliose uniform percentage of cream was 18, reduced that percentage to 6 in less than twelve hours, from no change of food, but simply from excitement and fright. All excitement of any kind will reduce the cream in the milk of a cow. The abuse of a brutal milker reduced the cream on a cow's milk fully one half by actual trial. We cannot abuse our cows, or allow them to be hurried, by dogs or boys, in driving to or from the pasture, without suffering a direct pecuniary loss in the quality of their milk. Every farmer ought to remember this, ånd insist upop uniform kind treatment of cows by his hired men.
Turning Cows to Grass, THE best food for a dairy cow is grass. There can be no doubt about that. It is as plain as the nose on å face. Now, the old custom in New England was to turn out to grass about the twentieth of May. It was rather Jate, to be sure; but the idea was not to turn out till there was a full bite, as we say, that is, not till there was grass enough to satisfy the appetite of the number of cattle in the pasture, - and that time does not come, as a rule, till well into the month of May.
Now, every dairyman knows that if he lets the different kinds of grasses grow till they get to a considerable height before they are cut or cropped, they will not be touched by his cows, but will go to seed and will never be eaten. "If these same grasses bad been cropped when they were still young and tender, they will continue to grow, and will be eaten through the summer. It follows, therefore, that a pasture to be cropped early will carry more stock through the summer, because there will be a larger quantity of grass that is fit to furnish food for stock, and fewer varieties that are refused grow up to seed.
If that plain and apparently self-evident proposition is admitted, it follows that we ought to turn out the cow early, just as soon as the weather and the land are in a suitable condition, that is, when it bocomes dry and hard enough on the surface not to poach or cut up in travelling over it. It follows, also, that cows on a pasture fed thus early, will yield more milk through the summer than they will to be yarded till the middle or the twentieth of May. In fact, it is a question whether it doesn't amount to a case of cruelty to animals to keep them confined in the yard till the middle of May, waiting for a full bite on the pastures, The reason for this
long delay has been, that the pasture was injured by too early cropping, and that when the cow once got to grass, she would refuse hay, and so be thrown off her feed, partially, at least, till the grasses grow to meet her wants. But if what I have said is true, the pasture will be all the better for the early cropping. How about the cow ? No one will deny that the cow ought to be got to the ground as early in the spring as possible. It is her natural source of supply, and it is vastly more healthful for her than to be confined in the barn, or even the yard. No farmer who advocates turning out late in the season, or waits till the grasses are well grown, will deny that. We take that proposition to be as self-evident as the others. Then what is there left for our custom to stand on?
The fact is, that turning out to grass does not necessarily destroy the taste for hay. If you wait till there is a full bite in the pasture, and give her as much grass as she will eat, it will do it. But turn her out as soon as the grass starts under the walls and sheltered places in spring, and keep up her regular feed in the barn, as you did in the winter, with hay and roots as long as she will eat them, and the change from hay to grass becomes gradual, so that the cow is not affected by it. Let her out a few hours a day to begin with, and the little grass she gets, however tender and succulent it may be, will not cause her to scour. It is scarcely more than a natural and necessary aperient, and the hay, the roots, and grass together, make about as perfect a food as you can ever expect to provide for your stock.
It is not too much, therefore, to say that it is better for the cow, as well as for the pasture, to turn her out just as soon as the weather is fit and the land is dry enough. Let us experiment a little, and see if this new way will not prove to be a great deal better than the old. The rule is, to prove all things and hold fast that which is good.
Soiling Cattle. A GREAT many farmers are beginning to think that they can feed their stock with greater economy, all things considered, by cutting green fodder for them and keeping them in the barn, than by letting them run at pasture. This mode of cattle-feeding is called soiling, and it depends very much upon circumstances whether it is the best system to adopt. It is the best method of economizing manure, and the cattle are kept more completely in hand and under our immediate control. Though in remote districts, where pasturage is plenty and cheap, it could not be made to pay, as compared with pasturing, it is often a matter of necessity in villages and the neighborhood of cities.
To adopt the soiling system it is necessary to provide a succession of succulent green crops, and the first that is relied upon is most commonly winter rye. A piece of that on a good soil, near the barn, will furnish a very early supply of green forage, but it inust be cut before it heads out. It very soon becomes unpalatable to cattle, and then it is comparatively worthless for that particular purpose. Then an early growth of red clover comes in well, and, if the soil is deep and rich and well adapted to it, the yield of green food is very large.
If the soil' is mellow, warm, and deep, there iş, probably, no better soiling crop than lucern. That is a kind of clover; but it is perennial, and when once well set or rooted, it lasts in the soil many years. It grows with amazing rapidity, and will make more than a hundred inches a year on land that is well adapted to it. After cutting a second crop, we have seen it grow cight to ten inches high in a week. If the ground is thickly set with it, any one can see what an astonishing burden it will bear, and how often it may be cut. Why not experiment a little, and Pasture Grasses. We have a grass which grows quite commonly in our pastures and along the road-rides, that is known among us as June grass, because it grows and blossoms 80 early. It is the same that is known in the West as Kentucky blue grass, and in Pennsylvania as green grass. Its botanical name is Poa pratensis. It is, without doubt, the best pasture grase we have, - the foundation of the dairy, and the basis of the great beef-producing industry of the Western States, and of the butter and cheese of the Middle and Eastern States.
In the rich limestone soils of Kentucky it grows with greater vigor than it does with us, but still it is sufficiently common to be regarded as the most important part of the turf of our northern latitudes. It stands our droughts better than most other grasses, makes two distinct growths in a year, starts among the earliest and flourishes among the latest of our cultivated grasses. True, no one species of grass can be regarded as sufficient for our wants. A great mixture is essential to our prosperity, since we want grasses that start early, that start at different times, and that vary in their habits of growth. We want grasses that grow rapidly after being nipped off by cattle. The larger the mixture, the better -- as a rule - will be the turf. But if we could select any one as more valuable than all the rest, it would be the June grass.
A great many farmers have been apt to think that our common and modest little white clover was the best grass they had, and they rejoice when it comes very freely into their pastures, and when it does they call it a clover year. It is not a grass at all, - that is, it does not belong to the botanical family of grasses; and if it did, it is not probable that it could compare with June grass in value to the farmer. Mr. Lewis, a highly successful and practical dairyman of Herkimer County, N. Y., says that
the poorest pasture grass we have; that it will shrink the milk of any herd of cows, when it gets up so as to give them a full bite; and that his cows, when taken from a rich clover pasture and put on the shorter June grass, will come up in milk at once. This is worth looking into. If it is so (and we have no reason to doubt it, especially as it comes from such good authority), is it not better for us to take more pains to cultivate June grass, and leave the white clover to work its own way into the soil ? We never sow timothy on a pasture lot. It never pays. Sow June grass, orchard grass, perennial rye grass, red-top, and tall oat grass.
Curing Hay. The old practice with us New England farmers has been to let our grass stand till after the Fourth of July, when the boys get over their frolic, and then pitch in. The result was, that a large part of the grasses got overripened, many of them half made, before they were cut. That was inevitable when the haying was put off so late. When we had only the scythe to depend upon, the matter was still worse than it is now with the mowing-machine, because the length of the haying was such that whole fields would often get too far advanced before they could be reached,
Now, it is a perfectly well established fact that cattle, cows especially, will do better to be wintered on dried grass than they will on even cured hay. Grass is their best, as it is their natural food. The nearest we can come to preserving the grass in its green and succulent state, the better shall we suit the cow, and the more shall we consult our true interests. A cow ought to be wintered as well as summered on grass. To be able to do this we must cut the crop when it is still grass, and cure it so as not to take all the “heart” out of it. If we wait we get little more than woody fibre.
Besides the fact that hay too much cured or too fully ripe is less palatable and less nutritious than properly dried grass, there is less danger in turning cows into fresh pasture in the spring, when they have been wintered on this dried grass, than when they have had old hay. The change from this woody hay to grass is too sudden and too radical. It is apt to cause scouring, and trouble with the udder, and is more liable to bring on garget. Take a cow off from nothing but dry hay and put her all at once to grass, and if the ill effects do not appear immediately they will be likely to in the course of a few months, and when you cannot always trace the connection between cause and effect. The sudden change to grass overtaxes the milk-secreting organs, and the result of this will sooner or later appear.
We say, therefore, that grass ought to be cut early, and that we ought to take care not to cure it too mucli. But if cut early, - say in June,- it will, of course, take longer to cure it properly than if we let it stand till July. After the Fourth of July it is generally safe to put it into the barn the same day it is cut; but before that, two days will be required, as a general rule, to cure it enough.
Treatment of Stock. THE law of kindness is to be observed in the treatment of all animals, but it is of special importance in the management and care of cows in milk. We ought to make them feel that we are their friends, that we are doing all we can to promote their comfort, and secure their confidence.
Change of the Climate. THERE seems to be great doubt in the minds of farmers whether the climate, 80 far as it affects the agricultural productions of New England, has undergone any essential change or not since the settlement of the country by civilized men. Some maintain that climatic changes have taken place, while others are inclined to deny that the seasons have materially varied, when the general average is considered.
It must be admitted that it is a question somewhat difficult to settle positively, for the reason that accurate meteorological observations are of comparatively recent origin. Opinions and vague conjectures are not satisfactory. They are not like established facts, which must form the basis of all knowledge. It is the accumulation of such facts that will enable us to settle the question of climatic changes beyond all dispute, but as yet they are not sufficient.
At the same time, it must be said that we know enough already to assert that climates are constantly modified by natural causes that are operating over the whole surface of our globe, because the physical phenomena which to a great extent govern the distribution of temperature are themselves undergoing constant changes. We know, for instance, that great mountain chains, that arrest the winds and so cause clouds to form that vanish in snow or rain, are slowly but surely lessened in height; that their mass is decreased little by little, it may be, by the removal of material from natural causes, or by denudation by the hand of man. Many other causes might be mentioned 'which gradually modify the climates of particular localities.
A great number of instances might be given to illustrate the effects of climatic changes. Eastern Greenland and Iceland have grown very much colder within the last five hundred years. In the latter country the immense trees that used to grow, and of which there is abundant evidence still remaining, are no longer found; while many valleys on the eastern coast of Greenland, that were once inhabited, have become inaccessible and completely blockaded with ice. The mean temperature of England has increased by two degrees within thc last hundred years, and the average temperature of the month of January has increased by thrée degrees, and the climate of France has become milder in the same time.
Among the Alps might be found numerous instances to prove a similar climatic change, and that within the limits of historic times; for according to the botanists the limits of high pine forests have sunk on the sides of the mountains more than three hundred feet in vertical elevation within two or three hundred years, as the remains of dead trunks and dried-up roots of large trees clearly indicate. In other countries changes in the opposite direction are equally well established.
But on the other hand, Arago, a distinguished French philosopher, maintained that for thirty centuries Palestine has had å temperature of seventy or seventy-one degrees, and that now, just as in the days of Jewish history, the northern limit, wliere dates ripen, and the southern limits of the vine coincide, on the banks of the Jordan, though he did not deny thac the temperature of Western Europe has greatly changed, or that the northern limits of the vine in France had moved to the south. There was a time when grapes ripened and wines were produced on the shores of the Bristol Channel and in Flanders and in Brittany, but they no longer ripen in those countries, or if they ever do, only as an exception.
We inust conclude, therefore, that climates are constantly undergoing change, though the laws which govern their modifications may not yet be discovered.
Partial Soiling. WHEN a farmer sows fodder-corn to cut up green, or sows Hungarian grass, or uses clover to eke out feed enough for his cattle in the dry weather of July and August, hc adopts a partial soiling system, and that might be adopted very generally and with great advantage, - that is, the regular feeding of cattle with green food in the barn in addition to the pasturage; and if a farmer should stock heavy and feed his cattle in that way more or less all through the scason, he could make a very large amount of manure to keep up and improve the quality of his land. It is a question whether it is not more economical, on the whole, to buy and feed grain, linseed meal, and cotton-secd meal, and economize the manure produced, than to purchase coinmercial fertilizers. The farmer then knows what he has to rely upon, and that he cannot often know when he goes into the market to buy any concentrated fertilizer. That very confidence is worth a great deal. The system of partial soiling offers the highest conditions of success, especially if purchased feeding substances, like Indian or linsced meal, are added to the green crops that can be cut fresh and used as food for stock. A small amount of mcal can be fed daily through the summer to cows in milk to great advantage and with economy. It keeps up the condition, adds to the production of milk, and rapidly improves a farm. It is becoming more and more clear that we must adopt a system of higher farming in New England if we are to maintain our position as an agricultural community, and the basis of any such system is the production and application of the largest quantity of manure. The production of this manure will depend upon the adoption of the partial soiling system and the resort to the culture of annual for. age crops as the best means of increasing the supplies of winter food for stock.