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manure, and then add the potash in the form of a sulphate, a simple element, which any one can obtain, in the high grades of German potash salts, at a reasonable price. Then you avoid the expense and trouble of applying a great many things that the crop does not want, and will not use if applied.
The next year that land may be devoted to some crop that requires nitrogen or phosphoric acid; and then buy only nitrogen or phosphoric acid, as the case may be. Of course this implies some knowledge of the composition of plants, in order to know what element they require in the largest quantities. But this knowledge is easily obtained: most works on chemistry contain it; and the analysis of all our crops is easily accessible.
Nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash are the only substances that we need to go off the farm to buy. They are the expensive constituents of all commercial fertilizers. The manufacturers of fertilizers buy them at a comparatively low figure, and compound them in various forms, and sell them under various names. 'If we adopt the plan of applying one of these special elements each year, according to the leading want of each crop, we shall have added them all in three years, and we buy only what each crop has needed and used.
Each farmer ought to study and know his own soil as well as the wants of his crops, and to know it better than any dealer in fertilizers can tell him. And when he knows about what his soil and his crop needs, he can supply the want in a cheaper and better form than that of a fertilizer made up of a little of everything
To Clear up old Pastures. The condition of many of the old pastures of New England is not very satisfactory. They are growing up to bushes, and in some cases to forest trees, while the rocks remain as thick and as firm as they ever were. No doubt there are thousands of acres that would be more profitable for timber, lands that ought never to have been taken from the primeval forest, and that ought now to be given back to it. From such lands we would keep the cattle, to allow of the free growth of young wood, and, if need be, we would encourage this growth on them by planting pines, Scotch larches, chestnut, or oak, according to the quality and fitness of the soil and location. In locations accessible to railroads, there is, and always will be, a quick demand for sleepers or “ties,” and the chestnut and the larch are sure of a ready sale. Lands devoted to them will pay a good interest on the investment. Besides, the black-walnut, and most of the nut-trees, are very easily grown here, and make the best of timber.
But there are still many pastures that will be wanted as such for years to come, and these onght to be improved and made more productive. To cut the bushes and shrubs that infest them is evidently the first and most important operation. If then they can be pastured with sheep, the improvement will be more rapid and effectual. For old pastures that have long been cropped with dairy cows, nothing is better than a change to sheep. They are literally the animal “with the golden hoof.”. They destroy the shrubs and wild growths, and cover the ground more evenly and uniformly with manure than any other class of stock. Our farming will never be perfected, never come up to the English method, till we return to the keeping of sheep. Some extra feeding of sheep while at pasture, with cottonseed or linseed meal, will greatly hasten the improvement.
But where it seems to be impracticable to keep sheep, we ought to adopt the plan of systematic top-dressing with some prepared compost, or with some concentrated fertilizer. In some cases a good coating of common plaster is sufficient; but the addition of bone meal, potash salts, or nitrate of soda, will greatly improve it. The application of manures to grass land, both mowing and pastures, will pay better in the end than the same expense applied to tillage lands and cultivated crops. The stimulus given to grass thickens up the sod and accumulates a vast amount of organic matter at the surface. It is the high-road to fertility.
It is a good plan to sow grass-seed along with the top-dressing, and if a harrow can be used, there will be more certainty of its catching. Use June-grass, redtop, and orchard-grass and alsike clover. A brush harrow will give sufficient covering.
In many cases a fresh application of seed is required.
Economy in Farming. THE study of economy in producing farm crops is forced upon every farmer by the very low price of all farm produce.
One of the most important ways in which there is room for improvement in New England, consists in using the most improved tools; and in order to use them to the best advantage, it will be necessary to have smooth land and large fields. For instance: to grow corn and potatoes most economically, it is necessary to use several expensive machines.
First, there is the gang, or sulky plough. This implement allows the driver to ride in a sulky seat, and can be used by a lad or an infirm old man. It cuts eighteen inches wide by two shares working four inches deep, and will plough three to four acres a day with one pair of horses. It will not work on stony or rough land, however.
Then there is the Thomas smoothing harrow, a most important implement. It is made of several pieces of 4x4-inch oak, bolted together so as to form a square frame, by means of iron cross-pieces, which are hinged together in two or three sections. The teeth are of 7-16-inch tempered steel, sharpened, and set six inches apart, at an angle of about 40° from perpendicular, standing backwards. It is drawn by two horses, and sweeps about eight feet wide. It is run over the field every five or six days from the time of ploughing till the potatoes are six inches high, or the corn twelve inches. The small weeds just sprouting are killed; but the deeper-rooted corn and potatoes are scarcely injured at all. After this implement, the cultivator and double-mouldboard plough put an end to the remaining weeds, with very little expense, without hand-hoeing.
Then there are corn-planters, and fertilizer-distributors, potato-planters and potato-diggers; all these machines save a great deal of labor when used on large fields, but it would hardly pay to provide them for small fields. A complete set of these machines cost several hundred dollars, and the repairs, interest, and storage are a considerable item, probably fully 10 per cent. of their cost annually. But these tools are sufficient to work forty acres as well as one; and when the outlay is divided by forty, it will be inconsiderable; while, in case the labor is done by hand, we must multiply the labor for one acre by forty.
Some enterprising farmers in Framingham estimate the cost of labor for planting and tilling their corn by chese tools, up to the time of harvesting, at less than $5.00 per acre; and probably the labor cost of producing potatoes by similar process would not be much larger.
The potato-planters now give general satisfaction: they cut and drop the seed, and are drawn by a horse. The diggers have not given so good satisfaction; but they will probably soon be so improved as to come into general use. They are drawn by two horses, and act on the plan of a double-mouldboard plough, the mouldboards of which are made of steel wire, to allow the earth to sift away from the potatoes.
The objections to using these machines arise chiefly from the difficulty of finding large tracts of smooth land free from stones or fences, and the difficulty of procuring enough manure.
There are some lands, not very rough or stony, which will pay for clearing up. There are many more wet lands, quite level, which would well repay the cost of draining. There are many partition walls and fences, the relic of a past age of husbandry, which should at once be cleared away, to give chance for the improved machinery of the day.
The question of supply of manure is practically answered as long as there is profit in using the manufactured chemical fertilizers. Men of good practical sense think corn can be produced, by the use of these, at a cost of 40 cents per bushel where stover is valued at $8.00 per ton. The fertilizers needed to produce 200 bushels of potatoes cost less than $20.00, or less than 10 cents per bushel.
The saving to be made by machinery in the handling of hay and grain crops is better understood and more generally acted upon. One of the most recent implements in this line is a reaper which binds the sheaves with a wire band and is drawn by four horses. The need of smooth land, in large fields, for using these machines, is equally imperative; in fact, our rough lands should be pastured or planted with forest trees, and no longer tilled.
Work Together. The farmer's life is, in the nature of things, a little more isolated than that of some other classes of people. Hence it is more important to associate together, and to work with others in clubs, granges, agricultural societies, &c. Some farmers, we know, claim that they read and study, and so improve by themselves, and that they do not need the advantages of co-operative effort. But it is still true that most of us require some stimulus from outside, some spur which comes from associating with others, to lead us to make any great individual progress. We are social beings, made to live with others, and the principle of mutual dependence runs all through society, and through every nation on the face of the earth. It would be just as rational to claim that each man could govern himself, and so abolish all state and national governments; or that each could educate himself and his children, and so do without schools. The experience of mankind has shown that it is by united associated effort that all progress has been made and great good accomplished. Let us try to work in harmony with others, and do what we can to aid in the progress of the community.
The Small Fruits. THE farmer, of all men, ought to have a plentiful supply of all the choice small fruits for family use. They are easily raised; they are most healthful; and they are regarded as among the necessities, rather than the luxuries of life. There seems to be no excuse but sheer negligence for not raising an abundance of currants, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, and cherries; and
there is not one of them that is not readily marketable; and if they are produced in sufficient quantities, they are among the most profitable of farm or garden crops.
We often hear farmers object to raising cherries because the birds trouble them so. But the tree, apart from its fruit, is decidedly ornamental, as much so, nearly, as the maple; and, if the birds like them, why not have enough for the children and the birds too? It requires but little land and but little time to grow a great variety of the small fruits; and we hope to see marked improyement in this direction, for we are confident that increased cultivation will promote the public health.
The following table contains the approximate difference between the time of High Water at Boston and several other places. The reader is warned that this table will not always give the exact time of the tide, as the difference varies from day to day. It is hoped, however, it will be near enough to be useful.
The difference, if preceded by +, is to be added to, or if preceded by subtracted from, the time as given in the Calendar pages.
Baltimore, Md.......... +7 30 Key West, Fla.
- 1 59 Point Judith, R. I....... - 3 57 Bath, Me.... +044 Nantucket, Mass. +0 55 Portland, Me
0 12 Beaufort, N. C.
- 4 03 Newburyport, Mass......-007 Portsmouth, N. H. ....... 0 06 Bridgeport, Conn. 0 18 Newcastle, Del... +0 29 Salem, Mass.
0 16 Cape Henry, Va.
3 34 New Haven, Conn....... - 0 13 Sandy Hook, N. Y....... 3 58 Cape May, N. J.
3 10 New London, Conn.... 2 06 Savannah, Ga., Dry Dock 3 16 Charleston, S. C. 4 05 Newport, R. I. 3 44 St. Augustine, Fla...
3 08 City Point, Va.... +3 08 New Rochelle, N. Y. 0 07 Stonington, Conn.... 2 22 Culd Spring, N. J. - 3 57 New York, Gov. Island.. 3 22 Washington, D. C., Navy Eastport, Me... -0.21 Norfolk, Va..
2 16 Yard.
+8 41 Edgartown, Mass. .... +047 Philadelphia, Pa.........+2 15 West Point, N. Y........-027 Holmes Hole, Mass. ..... +0.14 | Plymouth, Mass... ....-0 10 | Wilmington, Del......... - 2 23
CARRIAGE FARES IN BOSTON. For one adult, from one place to another within the city proper (except as hereinafter provided), 50 cents. Each additional adult, 50 cents.
For one adult, from any place in the city proper, south of Dover Street and west of Berkeley Street, to any place north of State, Court, and Cambridge Streets, or from any place north of State, Court, and Cambridge Streets, to any place south of Dover Street and West of Berkeley Street, One Dollar. For two or more adults, 50 cents each,
Children under four years, with an adult, no charge.
From twelve at night to six in the morning, the fare for one adult is double the preceding rates, and 50 cents for each additional adult.
Bruil. En ciao Buenos Ayres at inada. Ver Bruce hina, except Hous
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