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planters and potato diggers are not deemed worthy-or at least are not allowed—a similar trial. Paint and varnish are very desirable, but of little service to the practical farmer in aiding him to decide which implement will make him the richer man at the end of the year.
Would it not prove more satisfactory both to exhibitors and the Society, that all articles, which to be judged of correctly require trial, but which for lack of time or opportunity during the brief period of holding the fair cannot be tested, that all such articles should be entered simply for exhition. For instance, if circumstances are such that only plows, harrows and ditching machines can be tested, very well; the exhibitors of other implements will then understand that that they have the privilege of show. ing their grain-drills, cultivators, horse-hoes, etc., in their gayest colors, but let it be known that the New York State Agricultural Society will father no machine until it has seen it work well.
By referring to the premium list, we notice that no dynamometer, ox cart, yoke, hay rigging, farm or road scraper, harnesses, nor wire hurdle fence were exhibited; and last, but far from least, no “rotary machine for pulverizing the soil.” The dream in Talpa* is not yet realized. The plowman still whistles his roundelay; the horse and ox still patiently toil as the plow in its slow travels accurately turns the smooth furrow slice, careful not to disturb the relative position of its particles. No huge mole with long sharp claws has yet begun its scratching. Who will give us a Talpa?
HENRY W. CHIPMAN,
+ " Talpa, or the Chronicles of a Clay Farm;" Danforth, Hawley & Co., Buffalo.
STATISTICS OF Hon. Z. PRATT'S DAIRY AT PRATTSVILLE, GREENE COUNTY, N. Y., FOR THE YEAR 1863.
To B. P. Johnson, Esq.,
Secretary of the New York Agricultural Society: Eighty cows, of what are called Native breed, being the average number kept for the usual season of about eight months.
46,731 Average per cow .......
584 Average per day ........
173 Average per day for each cow ..................
224 7-10 Average per day .............................. 661 Average per day for each cow ..
13 3-10 oze. Averago milk to ono lb. of butter.
20 1-10 lbs. 10 3-10 qts.
571 39 Calves sold.....................................................
16 00 Poultry sold ..................................... ..............
119 94 Deacon skins sold .........
Expenses for working farm over proceeds of samo not enumerated
above, including $700 for interest on investment for farm and stock,
Amount realized for each cow from pork ......................
THE ORIGINATION AND TEST CULTURE OF SEED
(Copyright secured.) 1. This article is based on the assumption, (which I have attempted to prove elsewhere,) that the potato grows old and feeble with time, as do other species of vegetation and animals.
2. In my own experience, and I suppose that of others, a large proportion of efforts to originate yaluable seedlings have been failures. That such a result must have been true, is evident from the very small number of hardy varieties of potatoes now known to be in the hands of the agriculturists of our country.
3. The causes of this failure have been, I suppose, mainly threefold : First, bad bases, that is varieties from which the balls were taken, many Farieties seeming to have little or no capability of yielding either shapely or vigorous seedlings; certainly not without being reproduced from the balls a second or third time. Secondly, many have begun with too few young plants, not having been aware that of many seedling potatoes, like that of many seedling apples, grapes, dahlias, tulips, &c., few will be found possessing the highest qualities. Thirdly, the want of a wise system of culture of the seedling in its early years of test culture, has contributed to the same result.
1. BASES, OR SOURCES WHENCE TO TAKE BALLS. 4. No very definite and strict rule can be laid down to direct in the choice of balls. Neither hardiness, fine shape, early maturity, nor productiveness alone, can be a guide. Balls should usually be taken from a sort not too late, nor deep-eyed, nor knotty, nor long, especially avoid a sort whose tubers are frequently hollow, or whose vines occasionally either curl or dwarf. It is desirable that the balls should be selected from a sort that is quite hardy, although this is not indispensable, since, where you can find all other good qualities in your base, hardiness also may be reached by going through two or three generations—that is, by taking seedlings from your seedlings as soon as they bear good balls. I never like to take balls from a new sort until the third or fourth autumn. I will not stop now to tell why, but only say the plan has not worked well in my hands.
5. The cultivator of seedling potatoes, should know at the outset, that no plant is more likely to sport into many and very diversified varieties than the potato. Thus balls from a blue or purple sort may yield seedlings nearly equally divided between blue, red and white. A white potato, however, does not usually yield seedlings of darker colors. Equally does this disposition to sport, mark the shape of seedlings, as long, short, knotty, deep eyed, &c.
6. Occasionally the seedlings of any one variety will be largely like the parent in most respects. It seems impossible beforehand to know when this will be the case. I may say, however, that my families of seedlings, from imported sorts, have sported much more widely than those derived from the old sorts in cultivation. This seems to be in harmony with the progress of some other valuable plants to their present stereotyped condition.
7. This disposition to sport seems to be an acquired habit in some plants incident to them when brought out of a state of wildness into cultivation. In the ordinary grains, grasses, and most garden vegetables and flowers, it seems hardly to exist. In the most of our common fruits, and in some flowers, as the tulip and dahlia, it exists in perhaps as great a degree as in the potato. I may be here asked whether I have ever tried to improve the potato by means of the cross-fertilization of its balls ? I answer that I have made some, but no very persistent efforts, and that no valuable results have been reached. Theoretically, the thing is desirable; but as it involves some very delicate operations, which require a good eye and steady hand, the successful accomplishment is not so easy. The potato sports so readily, and my success in getting hardy sorts, especially of late, has been so considerable that I the less regret my failures. I have had spontaneous crosses occur in my fields.
8. In the past fifteen years, (1849-1863,) I have originated nearly 15,000 seedlings, counting the sorts at the first fall digging; nearly one-fourth of these were grown in 1852. In other years I have usually had from three hundred to fifteen hundred new seedlings each year. These 15,000 seedlings have embraced about ninety-three families. Deducting from them 19 cases in which the same variety of balls had been sown a second or third time, leaves seventy-four distinct families. Some of these families were exceedingly unlike; in others, balls were taken from two or more varieties of my own seedlings that were brothers, and that much resembled each other.
9. Of these seventy-four distinct families, very nearly sixty have failed to afford me, after four or five years of test culture, any sorts of decided value. Other families have given a painfully small proportion of good sorts. Thus, the balls of my imported potato, the rough purple Chili, were sown at four different times, in 1852,-3,-4 and 6, producing in these four years 1,700 varieties, from all of which the Garnet Chili was the only sort of high value. Among the families that have produced any good seedlings this is an extreme case. In later years, my own best seedlings, such as the Pale Blush Pink Eye, the Garnet Chili, and the Pink Eye Rusty Coat, have yielded me valuable sorts in very far greater proportions.
10. This record of abortive efforts is sufficiently sad. Whatever it may illustrate of persistent efforts and expensive experiment on my part, it is no proof of wisdom. With my present experience, a large portion of the sixty families, from which nothing valuable was obtained, would not be even attempted, so sure should I now be from the study of the parent, that the balls would be of no value. Of my failure however with some of these families, I know not the reason now-I only know the fact. I am not able to compare this experience with that of any other considerable experimen
ter. If others have been either more wise or more fortunate, I rejoice. From the very small number of valuable recent seedlings now before the public, I infer that my experience has not been peculiar. Those who have attempted to raise new and valuable grapes, apples, plums, &c., from the seed, have not, I apprehend, been proportionately any more fortunate than I have been with potatoes. The truly hardy and valuable seedling grapes are probably not more than from twelve to eighteen in number, and apples not more than one hundred.
II. GATHERING THE BALLS AND SAVING THE SEED.
WHEN BALLS ARE BORNE. 11. Some varieties never flower, while many others never set balls, the flowers either never fully opening, or, if opening, never fertilizing, and soon falling off. In the early history of the potato disease, it was frequently asserted that potatoes had extensively ceased to bear balls. This is true only in a very qualified sense.
Q. In years when disease is connected with sudden cold wet weather, occurring from the middle of July to the middle of August, very few sorts do yield balls, even when strong enough to escape disease.
b. In seasons when disease is connected with hot damp weather, balls are usually borne, and often in great numbers, setting while disease is on the foliage, and often on the very flower-stalk. In this case they often become diseased themselves, either by being covered with mildew or turning brown and hard. In such seasons very feeble sorts often bear balls abundantly, thus showing that there is no necessary connection between ball-bearing and health.
c. Dry windy weather, either hot or cold, almost always prevents the setting of balls however hardy the crop. It seems to dry up the delicate small stems that connect the flower with the main flower-stalk.
d. The true weather for the formation of balls is that which is slightly damp and cool, occurring when the plant is at its prime, say from July 15th to August 15th. In healthful years, where hot dry weather has prevented the formation of balls, a plat of the same sort planted a month later than usual will set balls early in September, if the weather be favorable.
GATHERING THE BALLS. 12. Where the balls of any one sort are few, and highly prized, it is well to mark a cluster whenever found, by setting up a stick. My hardiest seedlings have borne the fewest balls. Thus, I have never seen more than one hundred on the Garnet Chili, and not more than one dozen on the PinkEye Rusty Coat. Such balls have been worth to me their weight in silver, 80 important have they proved as the base of new families of seedlings.
13. The ripeness of balls is usually known by their softness, change to a light color, and frequently, though not always, by their beginning to fall off.
14. Be sure that the balls you gather are from supposed valuable sorts. Where two sorts grow side by side, the vines of one over-topping the other, there is great danger of mistake. If your seed, of each sort, were not planted with especial care, it sometimes becomes necessary to dig into the hill and see the tubers before you take off balls.