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vine, reducing the size of the bulb. But as grass-growing land I cannot say too much of it. It is true, that hardly sufficient time has transpired to give full results; I can only conjecture what might be attained, when I state, that after removing the wheat crop, I drew, late in the fall from four acres, ten large loads of grass and weeds, which were removed to guard the growing plant from injury. It will thus be seen from the figures, that the investment has proved beyond all peradventure, a profitable one, placing the real value of this land far above the estimate affixed to the accompanying statements, and secondly; apart from the question of dollars and cents, other essential objects have been attained. The whole landscape heretofore marred and unsightly, has been rendered pleasing tp the eye, and an object of pleasurable contemplation to the admirers of the beautiful. The surrounding neighborhood has been benefited by additional guarantees to health in the renovation of a fountain of miasma and disease: and lastly, it has furnished employment and snpport to men and families during the usually inactive season of winter, all the labor having been accomplished during that period and early spring.
I submit the following statistics—the cost may appear large, but it must be borne in mind that the entire tract had to be grubbed. The ashes were the product of roots, bushes, &c., gathered and burned upon the ground. I might add much more in detail, but fear I have already transcended my proper limit, and may hereafter take occasion to give further practical results. The valuation of the land in its primitive state is placed at $25 per acre............ $500 00 Total expenses (without fence) during five seasons........................
$2,033 16 To the credit of which place 2,000 bushels ashes, at 10 cents............ $200 00 926 cart loads muck at 25 cents...........
........... $231 50 Less expense of hauling ....................................... 115 50
126 00 25 cords of wood at $4.....
100 00 20 acres land, estimated value $200...
............ 4,000 00
4,426 00 Showing a not gain of .........
......... $2,392 84
PRACTICAL ASPARAGUS CULTURE. -BY DANIEL K. YOUNGS, ESQ., LOCUST VALLEY.
PREMIUM ESSAY. Among the productions of our market gardens, asparagus has obtained a prominent place, not perhaps on account of its value over many other vegetables, but for the certainty of remunerative returns by reason of its singular frecdom from disease, absence of injurious insects, not liable to be affected by peculiarity of season, certainty of produce and ready sale; indeed, until 1860 nothing worthy of notice had, in any manner interfered with it. At that time it was attacked on Long Island by the asparagus beetle, an insect never before observed in this county, but well known in Europe, from whence it was undoubtedly imported, which increased fabulously through the two succeeding years, threatening its entire extermination; but Providence seemed still to favor it, for the myriads of beetles which attacked it in the early part of the present season, began about the first of June gradually to diminish, and before the close of summer became comparatively extinct. There is little question that this was the work of a para
site, but as yet it has not been sufficiently observed to warrant or assure the belief that new beds may be planted without reasonable fear of loss, which is quite the reverse of advice that would have been given by any intelligent gardener who had experienced their ravages and rapid increase since their first appearance, as the report of the Queens county society for 1862 will fully attest.
Soil. The most important preliminary point to determine, and on which success mainly depends, is the adaptation of soil; whilst in my experience of several years, (12) it has been grown without difficulty on a variety of soils, it has not been produced above mediocrity on any but a fine deep sand, all others falling in arrears at least thirty per cent. Next to sand a loose gravel has produced the best (the largest), and considering the small value of this kind of land for any other purpose, it might be advisable to use it where sand is not practicable; what it seems most to require is a soil easily penetrated by the roots to a great depth; and however deficient it may be in the elements of fertility for the growth of other plants, it will produce more and larger asparagus with the same treatment, than that which is close, though for other crops more productive, and this, even, when the latter has the benefit of an occasional overflow of salt water, which is thought to have a salutary influence from the semi-marine character of the plant, and where it produces best in its uncultivated state. But though a naturally unproductive soil is best adapted to it, it by no means follows
that it does not require to be made rich; on the contrary, few growers will · question that the production on any soil is in proportion to the manure applied, and especially to that worked in deep before the roots are set.
Varieties. That imaginary variety, "mammoth,” of which we hear so much and see but little, is rather the result of superior cultivation than any material difference in kind. The two varieties cultivated, and these, except in rare instances mixed, may be distinguished by the color of the young shoots, green and red or purple; the latter produces the most shoots, uniformly large, and is a little earlier; the green gives the very largest, but is less . productive.
Seed. The unmixed seed of either kind can only be obtained where but one is grown in the same field, or by allowing the desired variety to run to seed immediately in the spring whilst the other is in cutting; this will give it a sufficient start to prevent mixing in the flower. In any case, it is best to select the seeds from plants producing the largest and best shoots; and to insure this, they should be carefully observed and marked in the cutting season, as that is the only time when the general character and quality of particular plants can be fully determined.
Seed-Bed. Starting with the proposition that roots of only one year's growth should ever be transplanted, as older ones are necessarily liable to get mutilated in digging, and are every way less convenient without any corresponding
advantage, it becomes important to obtain the largest possible growth the first season; for this, a clear sandy soil is almost indispensable, made rich with fine manure well worked in. Rake smooth and fine, and plant in drills fourteen (14) inches apart, two (2) inches between seeds.
To insure an even stand, the seed had better be dropped by hand, as it is difficult to regulate even the best seed-drill to drop one seed at a time at regular intervals; cover an inch deep, and finish with a light gardenroller. As the seed is slow to sprout, early planting is advised to get a start of the weeds; even in a cold, wet spring there is little danger of the seed rotting, and it may be safely planted as soon as the ground can be put in good order. As soon as the rows can be seen, work out and keep clean, for there are few crops that will suffer more from careless culture. Tbe following spring, turn them out with a plow that will cut about a fourteeninch furrow, taking one row at a time, fork over the furrow, throwing the loosened roots to the surface. This should be done before the sprouts have started; and if not convenient to transplant immediately, they may be kept for a few days in a cool cellar without material injury.
. Preparation of Ground and Transplanting. In preparing the beds let the soil be well worked, and manure covered as deep as possible within the reasonable limits, this may all he done with proper plows and at much less expense than by trenching with the spade, Spread the manure evenly over the surface three (3) inches thick, then with an ordinary two horse plow strike a furrow, say six inches deep, follow this in the same furrow, with a large one that will penetrate at least eight (8) inches deeper, and turn the dirt well out, leaving the furrow clear: ' after this, a light one horse plow carefully handled to just turn the manure with an inch or two of the soil in the bottom of the deep furrow, this last is preferable to hauling in the manure with rakes, as it expedites the work, and leaves a clear cut for the next furrow; continue in this way till the whole is finished, then harrow smooth, and mark with a cone marker for rows four feet apart.
Commence on the center mark with the large plow, and trench ten (10) inches deep, driving twice in the same furrow, shovel out the loose dirt to a square, smooth bottom, and throw in manure two (2) inches thick, then trench three more on each side of these and manure as before till all are trenched. By manuring as fast as three rows are trenched, the inconvenience of driving in the furrows will be avoided.
Before it is ready for the roots, cover the manure in the trenches to within five (5) inches of the natural level of the ground; here care must be taken not to fill in too much, as the depth, in the rough state of the ground is very deceptive, and except to a practiced eye, appears much greater than it really is. Mark the trench twenty (20) inches between, and drop one root at each mark; let an experienced man follow to arrange the roots, and cover sufficiently to hold in place; after all are planted, cut down the sides of the trench to fill in, so that the roots have an even covering of not more than two inches. When the plants are a few inches high, fill in slightly around them sufficient to cover any weeds that have started, and continue this at intervals of two or three weeks till the ground is level,
then as occasion requires, use a cultivator or plow, and hoe to keep clean. As soon as the tops are killed by frost, mow off and burn; with a small plow turn a furrow each way from over the row, hoe out the narrow center that is left between the two furrows, leaving a clear, shallow, middle furrow directly over the crowns; put the manure in there, turn a furrow from each side over it and leave for the winter; when the ground becomes settled in the spring, use a light harrow lengthwise of the rows to flatten the ridges, and just before they appear, pass a light hoe over them to smooth the surface, leaving the ridge about two inches above a level, and fully six (6) inches above the crowns.
Cutting. When the shoots have attained a height of six inches, cut with a common round pointed shoe knife, one and a half inches below the surface, which, may be remarked here, is the point of the largest diameter of the shoot, which increases in size from the crown up to near the surface, where it tapers towards the top, and this may properly be given as one reason at least why deep planting is a requisite for a mammoth growth. Insert the knife near the shoot, and use no more motion than is necessary to cut it off, or others that have not appeared above ground may be injured.
If the growth is tolerably strong, cut two weeks; if very strong, three; then plow off the ridges and harrow level, always driving lengthwise of the rows, and never at any time allow the team to tread over the crowns, After this, plow to the rows as often as required to keep clean. The produce from this cutting will, of course, be light, its market value not enough to defray the extra expense, and so far as that goes, it had better be left to run up, but then it would seed profusely, which is very injurious, and cutting is about the only practicable remedy; if rest is ever allowed it, let it be rest from seeding, not from cutting; however, lest this remark might lead to an opposite error, it must be remembered that it is essential to give sufficient time after cutting to perfect the seed. The third and following years, work precisely as before, and cut six or seven weeks.
As soon as a sufficient quantity is cut, and before it has time to wilt, it must be carried to the bunching room, which should be cool and supplied with water convenient; a large tub or vat, for washing, and a table so formed that it inclines from all sides to the center, where a tube should be inserted to carry off the water into a vessel placed for that purpose, or the floor will always be wet from the drippings of washed asparagus. Have as many bunching boxes or frames, so constructed as to make a round bunch seven (7) inches long and 54 inches in diameter, weighing about 3} pounds. As there are hands employed, let them be filled compactly, with all the points exactly even, and passed to an experienced person to tie with two strong bands, (palm leaf is good for the purpose,) and with a large sharp knife cut off the butts square. Take from the frame and stand on end in shallow water-tight boxes or tubs, a few hours, not more than twelve, before it is marketed; cover the bottom with about an inch of clean, cool water, which will keep it from shrinking and becoming loose in the bands, but it will impair the flavor. If it is to be transported a distance to market by boats or cars, boxes for packing, that will stow two tiers on the side
and hold thirty-two bunches are convenient, and must always be packed full, to prevent rolling about and breaking.
Produce. The average annual produce of an acre at four (4) to (15) years growth should be about twelve hundred bunches, this may be increased to fifteen hundred by extra care. Indeed, very much more than this has been obtained in this county, by strictly garden culture. The rows being half the distance, a much larger quantity of manure used, and all the work done by hand, and it is fully conceded that this method would pay best where it is practicable to pursue it; but the difficulty or impossibility of procuring the requisite number of hands, except in the immediate vicinity of cities, prevents its adoption on a large scale.
The largest produce may be expected at about the eighth or ninth year. After that the shoots will become numerous and correspondingly small, it will pay well to cut for fixteen or sixteen years, after that, much of it will be too small to market, and it is better to set new beds.
It is a prevalent notion that a liberal use of salt is almost a necessity, but I have seen no beneficial effect from its use on Long Island, except to kill weeds. Perhaps in situations remote from the influence of sea air it may prove of value. Any fine manure is good, especially unadulterated Peruvian guano; but horse stable, is in my judgment, cheapest and best, although it costs here sixty-five cents for fourteen bushels.
Recapitulation. Select a light soil, get good seed, plant none but large and healthy roots' work and manure the ground deep, set the roots not less than five inches below the natural surface, avoid touching the crowns with plow or knife, cut late enough to prevent heavy seeding, keep out the weeds and asparagus, forty-five spears seven inches long for a three and a half pound bunch, and occasionally five shoots that will weigh one pound, at any rate, that is the result of my experience with several acres planted and managed in all respects as above advised.
AGRICULTURAL STATISTIC ABSTRACTS FOR THE YEAR 1862, SUPERINTENDED BY JOHN
HAROLD, HEMPSTEAD. Taken by the Queens County Agricultural Society, in compliance with an act of the Legislature, entitled “An act to provide for the collection of Agricultural Statistics in the several counties of the State," passed April 17th, 1862.
The returns from the towns of Hempstead, Oyster Bay and Newtown were full, only partially from North Hempstead, and no returns at all from Flushing or Jamaica.
Hempstead. Oyster Bay. Newtown. Hay................................... 8,6963
16,289 2,925 tons Winter wheat.........................
7.853 bushels Oats .................................. 44,108 71,505
7,863 do Rye .................................. 29,416 10,235
3,927 do Corn .................................. 123,478 123,730 30,445 do Potatoes ........
118,253 81,562 75,507 do Butter ........
150,368 157,658 42,088 pounds Milk ........
111,800 193,986 849,200 gallons • 4,725 tons of hay from salt meadows not included.