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has not yet been noticed. The straw of the Egyptian wheat differs much in texture from that of any species which is now cultivated. I had recently an opportunity to investigate a specimen, and found it, though not absolutely solid, to be nearly filled with a firm, pithy substance, which renders it strong and hard. It may change under culture ; but the straw of the second season, produced by my neighbour, is almost as broad as a small reed, rigid, and applicable, I should think, to many purposes, as thatching, making reed hurdles, and the like ; it might be extremely useful in the farm yard.
In addition to the remarks I offered on the smut in grain, in my last paper, I feel it a duty to allude to a paragraph just published in a county paper, wherein it is stated, that Dean Carter, of Tuam, in Ireland, conceives he has discovered an effectual remedy, which consists in steeping the seed corn in a solution of blue stone (sulphate of copper) and salt. These notices, couched in such general terms, are extremely unsatisfactory; proportions and quantities ought always to be noted; yet persons of discernment may, at times, turn them to good account. Sulphate of copper is extremely active: a weak solution might prove destructive to the eggs of insects, without injuring the grain. It is worthy of a trial ; and, by way of experiment, one ounce of the crystals, previously powdered, might be dissolved in one gallon of soft water.
It occurred to me, in order to bring the merit of the solution to the proof, as far as safety to the grain is concerned, that I ought to test it immediately. I therefore dissolved one drachm of each of the chemical salts in four ounces of rain water, and suffered the solution to stand at rest for a few days. There was, as I expected, no decomposition, and very little sediment. I next immersed a quantity of barley in the fluid during twelve hours, then poured it off, rinced the grain once, and sowed the seeds just below the surface of the mould in three large garden pots, standing in a stove, where the heat seldom exceeded 55 degrees. Of, I should say, one hundred seeds, the greater part vegetated, some in three days, others at different periods ; but I was certain that several failed. This imperfect experiment led to another, which enabled me to obtain correct comparative results. I soaked a few seeds of barley in water only, and the same number in the fluid, rejecting every seed that floated. After twelve hours I sowed the seeds, eleven from the water, and ten from the fluid, one being lost by accident. After the lapse of a week, I find the whole of the former safe and growing finely, three inches high. Six only of the ten medicated seeds have as yet sprouted; some are fine plants; one is very weak. The solution was strong ; far too powerful for seed corn, and we may conclude, that the vital principal of one-third of the immersed grains has been extinguished. But were the fluid more reduced, I question much whether any great loss would be sustained ; and the embryo smut, if any existed, might, in all probability, be destroyed. My trial goes no farther than to ascertain the active power of the chemical agents upon the germinating principle of the seed. Its influence upon infected corn remains to be proved ; and I hope it may be fairly, but rigidly tried, by the agriculturist.
I must not pass over a suggestion made to the British Association, held at Bristol, in the latter end of last August, by Professor Henslow, in consequence of his having observed that some seeds of Cape plants germinated very readily in the open ground, after having been kept in water at the boiling temperature for several minutes.* The facts, it was stated "might lead to beneficial results, by pointing out to agriculturists that they may possibly be able to steep various seeds in water sufficiently heated, to destroy certain fungi or insects known to be destructive to them, without injuring the vital principle in the seed itself.”
“Mr. Hope alluded to a practice common in parts of Spain, of baking corn to a certain extent, by exposing it to a temperature of 150° or upwards, for the purpose of destroying an insect by which it was attacked.”-(Quarterly Journal of Agriculture, vol. xxxv, p. 415.)
To prevent any delusion, or loss, I have tried two experiments with hot water, by selecting, first-a certain number of sound barley seeds, immersing them in water heated to 150o, and keeping the vessel in a situation where that degree, at the least, was retained for more than twenty minutes. I sowed the seeds in a garden pot, in a temperate hot-house, but not one of them germinated, the vital principle being destroyed. Subsequently I took twenty seeds, perfect in quality, and put them into a cup of water heated to 135° ; they sank in a moment to the bottom, and remained in it no longer than till the water became cold.
* Seeds of a species of acacia are named, sent from the Cape. These must not be mistaken for the seeds of the tree called the acacia, in England, (Robinia pseud acacia). They also have been steeped, and the late Mr. Cobbett, upon the authority of ap American, recommended this steeping. I tried this plan in 1831, and that not only with boiling water, but with water at various degrees of heat. I found that the heat of 140 degrees was the most favourable; that boiling water destroyed them ; but that the greatest success resulted from placing dry seeds in a pot of mould, standing over a gentle hot-bed.
Three days after sowing the grains, germination was visible; and thus it appears that, barley will sustain a heat of 135 Other experiments may thus be made to ascertain the degree of heat which all the species of corn-seeds will endure; but it is quite certain that insects of many kinds will live, and appear uninjured, when exposed to a very considerable degree of heat.
Before I quit the consideration of grain generally, it will not be irrelevant to refer to a notice of a new species of wheat, notice of which appeared in the last number of the Quarterly Journal of Agriculture—it is styled Hickling's Prolific Wheat—“Mr. Samuel Hickling, Cawston near Aylsham, in Norfolk, observed in 1830, three heads of wheat remarkable from the rest, apparently from one root, which he plucked, and rubbed out, and found to contain 293 kernels. Having preserved and sown them and their produce for four successive years, the seed in the fourth year covered eighteen acres of ground, and the return was 6} quarters per imperial acre. Hence the name of Hickling's prolific wheat. The properties of this wheat are—straw long, stout at the bottom, and tapering to the head; head short, thick, close, and heavy; kernels four in the row across the ear, and red in colour with the chaff white; in sample the wheat is short, plump, thin skinned, and looks as if it would flour well; colour dark orange-red. It has been tried for two seasons in Scotland, and if it approaches any thing near to what we have heard stated of its produce, namely nine quarters per Scotch acre, it well deserves the appellation of prolific.”
Such are the editor's observations, and to those readers who have not seen the notice, or heard of the variety, they are very worthy of investigation ; for nothing can so permanently avail the farmer, and prove a source of benefit to him and the consumer, as enlarged rotation, and increased prolificity.
I quitted the review of “ The Extracts, &c.,” at page 427, with remarks on the sowing and harvesting of wheat ; and now resume it, by the article « Winter Tares," p. 323, which, the author observes, are commonly sown upon the wheat stubble. They are, as every one knows, or ought to know, a legume of the pulse tribe ; and constitute a truly prolific green fodder. When not consumed on the farm, tares also become a valuable article of sale to many ; particularly in the vicinity of London, where, they are hawked about in carts, and frequently are sold at the rate of one shilling per rod or pole. Winter tares, vicia sativa, must not be confounded with the Ervum lens—the lentil tare. It is a true vetch, and is cultivated as the “ summer" as well as winter-tare. The most experienced practical agricul
turist, though he may not require any instruction on the cultivation of this legume, will not find the following quotation irrelevant to the object of establishing a correct rotation.
“Some consider the winter variety as a distinct species; but Professor Martyn proved, by cultivating both, that they were not even distinct varieties. The winter variety is sown in September and October, and the summer at any period from February to June, for successional cuttings. The soil requires to be in good heart, otherwise they will produce but a poor crop of herbage: on good soil they will yield ten or twelve tons, which is found excellent for milch cows, and working stock. The crop is seldom left to ripen its seeds, but when seeds are wanted, the only use made of them being for sowing, or feeding pigeons.”- Encyclopedia of Plants.
Tares thrive well on rich and strong loam, where chalk abounds, but is not too near to the surface; but the farmer should bear in mind that, the plant is closely allied to the pea-family, and therefore ought not to follow or rotate with the pea : of this more will be said hereafter.
It is my object to show, while I take that portion of “ The Extracts, 8c.," already published, as the basis of these remarks —that it is the interest of the farmer to extend his rotation ; to multiply his crops ; and to enlarge the circle of his pursuit as much as possible; I therefore propose the general introduction of the scarlet or crimson trifolium, in the order of the courses. Something has already appeared from the pens of various writers in the pages of this Magazine, on the merits, culture, and habits of this plant; but it remains comparatively little known, and still less seen. Its utility cannot be doubted ; and I have
my eye at this moment on a fact communicated to me by one of the most extensive coach masters on the western road; from which I collected that, in the spring of 1825, he found it productive of green fodder for his horses, to an extent that was without precedent. It must be allowed that cases of failure occur ; and the year 1836 proved fatal to many anticipated large crops of the plant. But it appears to be, on the whole, a very prolific vegetable, extremely liked by the animals, and when cut for hay, far superior to every other leguminous plant, if we except the French grass, or sainfoin. The mention of that, reminds me of lucern also, which is not only capable of yielding four complete good cuttings for fodder ; but, if duly treated, will last for seven years. Now, then, we have four distinct, most profitable crops, all applicable to chalky lands, very nutritious to live stoek; and which will also succeed on good loainy soils. Two of them,--the tare-vetch, and the trifolium, -are annuals, meliorators of the texture of the soil, and, I believe, of its quality, in a like degree; and the two others, -though they may tax the land severely,- lucern particularly, by its deeply penetrating roots--are perennials of tried excellence, which, in chalky districts, form the staple commodity upon which the farmer depends, indeed, chiefly for green food in every dry season ; because natural grass affords no adequate supply whatever.
It has been asserted, and I think upon good grounds, that the breeding and fatting of cattle is not sufficiently attended to by farmers in general. The soil and climate of Britain qualify it for a grazing country; its peculiar verdure is the admiration of foreigners, who can compete with us in the production of the finest wheat, but by no means in that of green, vegetable food. The pastures of England and Ireland are without rival ; why, then, should they not be multiplied and rendered available to the utmost?
These are merely general facts, I admit; they are subject to many considerations ; localities, difference of soil, of situation; all requiring modification of treatment; but general as they are, they may lead to particular adaptations; and it cannot admit of doubt that, whatever tends to equalize the supply and demand, must promote the welfare of the community. If corn be grown in superabundance, the price of it must fall, in consequence of a glut. If animal food superabounds, a depreciation must take place in its relative value. Now, it is certain that, for a long period, the price of butcher's meat had been too high, when compared with that of grain ; this circumstance, therefore, argued a paucity in the supply of that commodity. But there is another, and very cogent reason, in support of increased grazing; and that is the production of a proportionately large quantity of manure. Putrescent manures are the life and soul of good husbandry; they promote and excite the stimulus of vegetable life; they attract the roots of all plants, and at the moment while they, by their decomposition, supply the vegetable with appropriate aliment, the staple of the soil is renewed and maintained.
Thus cause and effect go hand in hand ; and fertility is promoted, while the land itself is kept in sound heart.
If man knew his powers ; if his mind were freed from the prejudices and weaknesses of routine; he would soon discover that the earth might be made to teem with trebly multiplied abundance. But he is tied down, and bound with the fetters of old customs; and labours on, ever murmuring, ever finding
NEW SERIES, VOL, I, NO, I.