« ForrigeFortsett »
fault, and trying to impose those burdens, which result from want of foresight and energy, upon the consumer, who is sufficiently oppressed by cares of his own.
“ Productive meadows or grass fields,” as the writer of The Extracts says (page 325), " are such valuable appendages to a farm, that they are rarely broken up for the sake of raising any other kind of crop, which would be equally profitable. But there are many old, worn-out grass fields, which would be vastly improved by being taken under the plough for a few years, and then laid down again."
I am not at all inclined to dispute the facts adduced in support of the author's opinions. There have recently been many able papers written, pro and con, upon the merits and demerits of breaking up old pastures; and I am greatly inclined to favour the ideas of those who argue for the renewal of grass, much in the way described; but I cannot err in producing evidence of what may be done with old grass of very inferior character, namely, the grass of an orchard, by strict attention to certain modes of amelioration, which I myself adopted on a part of the property that I now occupy, and purchased in the year 1830. Close to the dwelling I found a small orchard, much shaded by some old and almost useless apple, pear, and cherry trees. Here and there were patches of tolerable herbage, which, in June, yielded a small cut of hay, fit for sheep and cows; but the greater part of the grass was poor, wiry, and worthless for hay. Some of the trees were, from time to time, cut down, and the roots grubbed up; the holes being filled with loam, the spaces were sown with the seeds of Dutch clover and rye-grass ; these were also thinly scattered over the whole piece. Late every autumn, or early in the spring, a coating of farm-yard manure, or of garden earth, enriched with soot, was given to the surface, stones and litter were duly raked off, and the grass rolled. In 1832, the pasture was so improved, that I recommended cutting in the middle of April for green fodder, and the prodụct was so considerable that, (after the customary allowance of sweeds and other garden produce), a cow could not consume the
grass of the second cutting ; and nearly half of it was made into hay. The extent of the orchard is little more than half an acre, and part of it was sown with lucern. The soil at the top is a good black mould, consisting of stout hazel loam, blackened by reduced vegetable matter. At the depth of a few inches it is a sound loam, over a subsoil of a ferruginous clay earth, abounding with fint stones. The land lies high and dry; but the season was favoured with due alternations of fine showers and warm gleams. Once, I manured with artificial compost, consisting of slaked lime, pearl ashes, and train oil, incorporated with six or eight times their bulk of good earth : on another occasion, twenty bushels of sea-coal ashes were scattered over the grass, and several bushels of night soil. The manuring of every season has been very moderate, but the grass has regularly increased and improved. In 1835 I ceased to cut it for fodder, and had a very fine hay crop : in 1836, the same, and still with improvement. Many ueighbours failed to cut any hay, owing to the droughty spring of 1835; yet my little piece made me twelve or fourteen hundred weight of as fine hay, as was ever cut from orchard land. I beg to say that, with annual coatings of manure in November, sowing in March to the extent of three pounds per acre of Dutch clover, and appropriate bush-harrowing and rolling, pastures in many situations would be not only kept up, but actually renewed to a very great extent. Localities and peculiar circumstances would, of course, produce corresponding exceptions; but as a general fact, I may safely assert that, the view which I have taken is sufficiently correct to warrant a fair trial on a large scale. I must now advert to the subject of lucern, as being relevant to the enquiry concerning pasture land.
Lucern-one of the most valuable and productive of the leguminous tribe, and nearly allied to the trefoils,—is the plant of plants in those calcareous districts, where the surface soil is shallow, and lies upon a subsoil of chalk. It sends its roots deeply, and derives nourishment where other vegetables would wither. But it can be grown perfectly well in good, deep, loams, as I have proved; and the method of raising it, which my experience convinces me to be good, is the following. The first which I sowed was on a small plot of land that had been entirely. neglected ; it was the site of some farm offices; and was covered with rubbish of so bad a description that nothing would grow
I caused it to be trenched three spades deep, and thus found good loam under masses of brick-bats, chalk rubble, and other rubbish. The chalk was in itself good, when once it was fairly incorporated, and favourable to lucern; the inert matters were removed. No manure was employed, other than inverted sods of turf, which were placed at the bottoms of the trenches, and sprinkled with salt. The work being done in the summer, a few turnip-seeds were sown, and the plants grew with far too much luxuriance.
When I sowed the lucern, which was in March or early in April, the surface was moved, and drills drawn about ten inches apart : into these, the seeds were scattered.
The plants grew rapidly, and I cut twice in the same season, if not three times; but writing now from memory, I fear to assert too much; subsequently I have cut for green fodder, four, five, six times ; between the middle of April and the end of October; and yet, late in the year as the last cuttings have been made, I have never once failed to see the verdure of the lines of plants throughout the whole winter.
Another piece of fine, clean loam, was treated in the same way, and has yielded prodigiously. I never suffered the grass or weeds to overpower the plants; and for two or three years had the spaces regularly hoed after each cutting ; but during the two last summers this could not be done, the surface being hardened by the long continuance of dry weather. I now find that, if the spaces between the drills be once thoroughly forked, and cleared of every weed about midsummer, those laborious hoeings may be relinquished. The rows in my last piece are now as true as they were during the first summer : scarcely any manure has been given, and yet, the plant is healthy and strong. In dripping seasons two forkings might be required.
When lucern is manured, chalk, or slaked lime, mixed with new earth and coal ashes, ought to be used ; but where chalk naturally abounds, earth, ashes, and perhaps, soot, might fully suffice ; they should be applied after the first forking in the spring, to supply the bulk of soil which will, of necessity, be taken away with the grass roots. But a top dressing of farmyard manure after October, cannot fail to be beneficial. The weeds and grass taken away should be placed in a heap, adding a gallon of salt to every two or three barrows, and also about a sixth or eighth part of the whole of fine coal ashes, if they can be obtained. The earth that adheres to the roots will convert the vegetable matters very rapidly to soil of its own quality, which
will, however, be altered and meliorated by the salts, and mineral matters of the ashes added with the mass. Thus the pains taken to keep the lucern clean and luxuriant will be amply compensated by the manure which the decomposition of the weeds, &c., will provide.
I ought to caution the grower of lucern against two errors which may attend inexperience. Persons have been prejudiced against it, because they are told that it requires unintermitting labour : it is true that grass will continually spring up, and if suffered to gain complete possession, will stifle the plant, cause it to become patchy, and at length, to disappear; but if it be
sown in drills, with intervening spaces to admit a potato threeprong fork, one thorough cleaning per year, will secure it from destruction; and the endless hoeings need not be practised : the fork also is less liable than the hoe to injure the roots; but neither fork nor hoe ought to be used except during the season of growth ; for I found that by cleaning the drills during winter, I injured my first plot. Let the winter be a season of total quiet, and the earlier a coating of manure is applied between the rows, the better : rains and worms will convey it to the roots of the plants; and the few weeds which may occupy the ground during the winter, will prove beneficial. Thus it may safely be asserted—first, that lucern does not require extraordinary labour, and again, that it ought never to be disturbed between October and April, by the operation of any implement.
Peas form the last item, which will now require notice. It is observed at page 324 that, they “are a precarious crop : that they delight in a fresh soil which contains calcareous matter, without which they rarely arrive at perfection :” finally—that “ they only recur once in nine years.
I have written already on the peculiar concomitants of pea culture, and beg to refer to p. 307 of the tenth volume ; therefore need not repeat the facts there detailed. I resided in Thanet more than two years, and witnessed the sudden destruction of rows of peas, which had germinated and grown, for a time, healthily and vigorously. I then also was told of the opinions entertained by those who had noticed the results of over. peaing.” Peas however may be grown in perfect health, if due rotation be observed ; and the cabbage tribe appears to furnish the most effective purifiers of the soil after this excreting legume. A grain crop may succeed to cabbage, in which term I include the turnip, or turnip-rooted cabbage; and the early white Warwick pea is so speedily off the ground that, any of the brassica tribe may be transplanted from seed-beds to the land which had been occupied by peas.
The nature of the land, combined with the climate, must course, in a degree, govern the order and quality of the rotation; but foresight, diligence, and a determination to procure the highest degree of fertility, will not fail to effect that which now may be considered impossible.
MR. TAYLOR IN REPLY TO MR. DONBAVAND.
In much that Mr. Donbavand has said on the mental cramming of infants, I cordially agree; being as heartily opposed to the manufacture of little Newtons and Lockes, as he or any man can be ; but, what has that to do with infant schools Nothing at all. His observations on, and objections to, the schools so generally established by Mr. Wilderspin and others, are, therefore, wholly inapplicable ; because they are levelled at another, and a very different object-an object which, as I before stated, I heartily join him in reprobating, viz. : the folly of prodigymaking by certain parents. He objects to the premature book educating of children;"—so do I; and, if he will take the trouble to examine for himself, he will find very few books used at infant schools ; none, certainly, to force the infant mind, or prematurely to call into activity the organ by which the mind
All his extracts from Brigham, and very excellent they are in their way, go only to prove the abuse, not to impugn the use, of such establishments; and the sentiments they develope will be cheerfully responded to by the warmest advocates of “ Brougham's grannie schools," of which Mr.D., in his elegant phraseology, has thought proper to express such a “perfect horror."
Mr. Donbavand has given ys his quotations; I will now, in my turn, give mine; which I hope will at least have the merit of bearing upon the point at issue between us. Mr, Archibald Prentice, of Manchester, whose experience renders him no mean authority on such a subject, especially with those who know and esteem him as I do, has, in a little work published by him a few years ago, entitled “ Remarks on Instruction in Schools for Infants,” the following passages, the plain good sense and kind feeling of which will, I am sure, amply justify me in laying them before
“ The object of the infant school system is to cultivate the affections, and prepare the mind, by its gentle discipline, not merely for the elementary schools, and their mental exercises, but for the busines of life. It commences its instruction as soon as the infant leaves its mother's arms. Of the capacity of a child to receive instruction at so early a period no one doubt, who has observed, as any one may observe, how much