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The increase of glucose manufactories has brought into the market a new feeding substance known as gluten meal. It is rich in nitrogen and comes in for economic value for feeding purposes between bran or shorts and meal or oil-cake, and compares favorably with bean and pea meal. It is deficient in mineral constituents, and ought to be fed with coarser articles of fodder, and such as are rich in these constituents. It may be mixed with shorts or bran to advantage. It is worth trying, and is cheap enough at the present market prices.
The great mistake that most farmers make in the growth of fruit is the selection of too many varieties. For domestic or family use it is desirable to have a supply extending over the season, some early, medium, and late varieties, and a reasonable assortment of each; but for market a very limited number of the best kinds will be much more profitable than a great variety. Of the pears, when you have the Bartlett, the Seckel, the Hovey, the Sheldon, and the Beurré d'Anjou, you cover the whole season from August to March, and they are all first class. You can hardly have too many of any one of em, as they are all salable.
EVERY farmer ought to grow a liberal supply of apples, and, when he sets about it, a choice selection of a few kinds will be far better than a great variety. For family use a list extending over the season, from early to late, is, of course, admissible; but for market a few of the very best will pay better than a large number of kinds. The Baldwin, of course, is the king of all. That, as everybody knows, is a winter variety. The Gravenstein, the Hubbardston, the Porter, the Williams, the Greening, the Roxbury, or Hunt's Russet ought to be about the limit. They are all good, ripen at different times, and sell readily when they are sorted and put up properly.
THE best peach growers confine their attention to a few sorts. For domestic use or home consumption they want a few that ripen at different times, from the earliest to the latest. Few would be without both the early and the late Crawford. Both are splendid peaches when well grown, and thinned out so as not to overbear. Then comes the Mountain Rose, a superb peach, the Coolidge, and the Old Mixon. There are other fine varieties, but these are among the very best, and no one can go amiss in selecting and cultivating them. Mineral fertilizers, superphosphates, and especially muriate of potash, are better suited to the peach tree than stable manures.
THE strawberry is worthy of universal cultivation. It is not difficult to grow, is always relished in every family, and, with the exception of a few individuals who cannot eat it without injury, it is one of the most healthful of fruits. It is always readily marketable, so much so that many tons of the very poorest sort, like the Wilson's Albany, are thrown upon the market and taken up by those who hardly know what a good strawberry is. The best varieties, all things considered, are the Sharpless, the Charles Downing, the Bidwell, and the Hovey, which ought to be grown alongside a few Bostons, or Brighton Pines. On a suitable soil, the President Wilder is a superb fruit. It is a little more exacting in this respect than some other varieties.
THE raspberry has fewer growers than most other fruits, but it ought to be found in every garden in sufficient quantities for home consumption. It is one of the most healthful, as well as one of the most palatable of fruits, is easily grown, readily salable, and returns a good profit on the cost. A few kinds will give a better result than many, and the old Franconia, the Clark, the Brinkle's Orange, and the Fastollf are among the very best. With these most growers ought to be satisfied. It is better to leave experimenting with a great variety of fruits and with seedlings to the nurseryman, whose business it is to keep all sorts.
The blackberry is not so generally grown as it ought to be. It is about the most healthful of all fruits, and produces abundantly when properly treated. It is worthy of a fair share of space in every garden, and those who make a specialty of it and bring it to perfection find it a profitable market crop. The varieties are not very numerous as compared with some of the other fruits, and we may confine our attention chiefly to the Dorchester, the Schneider, and the Kittatinny. The Lawton was a great favorite a few years ago, but we think it has not quite held its own in competition with others.
No farmhouse can afford to be without an abundant supply of currants. Till a comparatively recent date it was free from insect pests, and grew fairly well in the midst of the most utter neglect, and overrun with grass and weeds. With better care and better methods of cultivation it has been much improved, both in size and quality, while it is pretty universally appreciated, though by no means so universally consumed as it ought to be. Some families think it requires a little too much sugar, and that is expensive, but when it comes to a question of health, and it is found to take the lead of most other fruits in this respect, we might as well say, hang the expense, give us plenty of currants. The only drawback is the attack of the currant worm, but it is a very simple matter to resist it with the use of a powder known as pyrethrum, or Persian insect powder, or a powder recently introduced under the name of Buhach, that is to be applied in the same way, dusted over the leaves when they are wet with dew or rain.
It is very clear that it is for the interest of every wide-awake farmer to improve the quality of the manure of his stables, and to make it as rich as possible. It costs no more to handle and apply a cord or a ton of the best than it does a cord or a ton of the poorest. A pound of nitrogen in rich manure is worth inore than the same weight of nitrogen in a poor and low quality of manure, because it is in a condition more immediately available for plant food. It ought, therefore, to be as much a study to improve the quality as to increase the quantity of stable manures.
ESTIMATING the actual value of manure from the standpoint of the nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash in its composition, which is the conclusion of modern science and practice combined, it has been possible to construct a table of manurial values of the different kinds of cattle foods which go to make up the manures of our barnyards and stables. No doubt they are approximately correct. They show that of all these articles of food the decorticated cotton-seed meal, fed to animals, produced the richest and most valuable manure. Previous analysis had shown it to be richest in the chemical constituents most important for the food of plants, that is, nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash.
It is well understood now, even by most practical farmers, that the real value of a manure, whether considered chemically or in the light of actual trial and experience, is, other things being equal, very much in proportion to the nitrogen, the phosphoric acid, and the potash that it contains. It is also true that these constituents in a manure are determined chiefly by the amount of nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash contained in the food of the animals by which the manure is made. If their food is very rich in nitrogen, the manure will be rich in nitrogen. The manure, therefore, made from a ton of early cut and well-cured clover hay will be worth far more than the manure made from a ton of straw or a ton of corn fodder. In reality though the bulk may not be half as great, it is worth as much as that made from the ton of corn fodder and the ton of straw put together.
THE bulk of a manure is not, by any means, a matter of entire indifference. In cold and heavy soils it effects a mechanical change, warms them up, and adds to the amount of humus in their composition, and this is sometimes almost as important as the actual supply of plant food. If the mechanical or physical condition of a soil were perfectly adapted to the growth of a certain class of plants, the supply of food in the form of chemical fertilizers in a concentrated form ought to be as effective as the application of a coarse stable manure sufficient in bulk to contain the same amount of chemical constituents, while the procuring and application of the one would be vastly less expensive and troublesome than the procuring and application of the other. The trouble is the physical condition of most soils is far from perfect; and while this is the case the use of chemical fertilizers in conjunction with coarse stable manures, and as a supplement to them, will be the best economy.
When it is considered that linseed meal, which, when pure, follows closely after cotton-seed meal in respect to manurial value, that is, the value of the manure made from a given quantity properly fed to farm animals, it is strange that American farmers should have allowed it to be exported so extensively to be used for feeding purposes in England. It is a first-class article of cattle food as well as for manure, most animals soon becoming very fond of it, and being greatly improved in appearance from its use. Taking its manurial value in connection with its nutritive value as an article of food, it would seem to be good economy to buy and use it.
THERE is a question with some farmers as to whether to buy and use chemical fertilizers to eke out the short supplies of manure, or to buy and feed concentrated foods, like cotton and linseed meal, shorts or middlings, gluten meal, corn and other grains, and so add to the quantity and quality of home-made manures. We incline to the latter system where it is practicable, that is, where there is barn room, with other facilities for keeping a large stock of cattle. Of course it implies rather more work, but a farm will be more likely to improve in fertility and productiveness than it will to rely on chemical fertilizers alone as a supplement for the ordinary supplies of manure.
CLOVER is a renovating crop, chiefly because it is so very rich in nitrogen, but to renovate and improve any particular farm it must be consumed upon t and not sold to be consumed elsewhere. It may be grown as a green manure to turn under while it is in blossom, to be fed off by cattle or sheep, or to be cut and cured as hay, and fed to stock as such, and the manure made from it returned to the land. It is a good crop either way, and the more we have of it the better.
POULTRY FOR MARKET. Young fowls to be fattened for market ought to be separated from the rest of the flock in September or October, and shut up and fed by themselves. Some will be found to take on flesh and fat much more rapidly than others, and as soon as they are fat enough and no longer show that they gain from day to day they ought to be disposed of at once. After a fowl is well fattened, if still kept, it will soon begin to fall off and will not be likely to be so fat again for several years.
THE house or coop where the fattening fowls are confined ought to be warm and well ventilated, with low roosts to prevent injury from flying down, an inch and a half wide to prevent the denting of the breast, to which they are liable on narrow roosts, and stiff enough to prevent sagging. There should be space enough to go around among the fowls to lift and handle them, to which they soon learn to submit with good grace.
It is the only way to judge of their condition and to pick out those that are fit for market.
The food of young fowls shut up to fatten should be made up of some variety, enough to tempt the appetite, and the last feeding at night should be of some hard grain so that their crops may remain full all night, and lead them to stay longer on the roosts in the morning. The only business of fattening chicks is to eat, drink, and sleep, but if they are hungry early in the morning, and watch for the first dawn of day to be off after food, they will not gain very fast.
IN Europe, where fowls are systematically fattened for market, they are fed on barley and oat meal, rice, Indian meal cooked and wet with milk, and sometimes mixed while hot with beef or mutton tallow. Chopped carrots and parsley roots and leaves, cabbages, celery leaves, etc., are given to them now and then, and regular doses of pepper corns or cayenne pepper to stimulate the appetite. Special pains are taken, by a process of cramming, hasten the fattening, and two or at most three weeks are sufficient for this.
FATTENING fowls ought not to have a large run, but should have a chance to stand in the sunshine, to dust themselves, and to scratch in the ground. Pure water must always be furnished, and pulverized charcoal should be mixed with their soft feed every two or three days, enough to blacken it partially. This charcoal ought to be of all sizes, from that of a kernel of wheat to dust. It is good for the digestion, prevents disease, and indirectly promotes fattening. The difference between a lot of fowls furnished with this charcoal and one deprived of it will be very striking.
* INDIAN meal scalded is one of the best kinds of soft feeding, and it is better with small potatoes boiled and mashed while hot and mixed with it, together with some bran or shorts. Some mutton tallow or other cheap fat will add greatly to its fattening quality. Pork-scrap cake, soaked and pounded up, may be fed with it, but not too freely, not more than a pound to a dozen fowls every two or three days. Green cabbage leaves, beets, etc., are greatly relished.
Fowls put up to feed for market ought to be ready in three or four weeks in the early fall. It will take longer after cold weather sets in. If they are deprived of a free run they must be furnished with gravel every few days. A little salt mixed in the food now and then will improve it. A small quantity of it mixed with the soft food will usually stop any inclination to pluck each other's feathers.
(Prepared Sept., 1881, at the Post Office, Boston.)
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