« ForrigeFortsett »
Wheat, barley, bear, or bigg, oats, rye, peas and beans, the duty shall be for every quarter, 1s.
Wheat meal, barley meal, oat meal, rye meal, pea meal, and bean meal, the duty shall be for every cwt., 4ld.
On and after the 1st of February, 1849, the duties hereafter named shall be paid, viz :---
Upon all wheat, barley, bear, or bigg, oats, rye, peas, beans, for every quar., 18. Upon all wheat meal and flour, barley meal, oat meal, rye meal and flour, pea meal and bean meal, for every cwt, 41, and in proportion for a less quantity.
WEIGHTS OF PRODUCE, AS ESTABLISHED BY LAW OR CUSTOM IN
bush 60 lbs. Hempseed,
66 56" Castor Beans,
"6 60" Coal,
English Imperial Bushel,
St. Petersburg Tehetwert,
Blue grass seed,
Honey, per gallon,
FOREIGN GRAIN MEASURES.
The following is a correct statement, in American bushels, of the various Eu
ropean measures of grain:`
bush. 44 lbs.
52" 46 "
14/0 33" ** 24 ***
American Bushels. 2
1 62-100 41-100
THE EFFECTS OF FROST ON VEGETATION.
In a climate like that of Missouri, where vegetation is so liable to be injured by frost during the spring season, it is important to inquire whether any method can be devised to guard against this injury. It is known to those who have been in the habit of observing the effects of frost upon vegetation, that the injury produced does not always correspond with the apparent quantity that has been formed upon the tender plants. Sometimes a white frost will pass off with little injury, and again much harm is done when there was but little frost to be observed. By carefully noting the condition of the atmosphere, and the changes of temperature
which take place from sunrise until the frost shall have been melted, the causes why the effects produced are not in accordance with the apparent quantity might be ascertained with some degree of certainty. It has been frequently observed, that if the morning becomes cloudy, so as to prevent the sun from shining on the plants before the frost has melted, it passes off with but little injury. If this fact be well established, it naturally suggests the inquiry whether vegetation can not be preserved from injury by artificial means?
It is established, beyond question, as we believe, that the vitality of a plant is not necessarily destroyed by freezing. Turnips, parsnips, and other plants, freeze in the earth, and still retain their vitality, and vegetate in the spring. This is doubtless owing to the gradual thaw which takes place in the earth; but if a frozen potatoe is exposed to the atmosphere, to thaw, its vitality is destroyed. If the hand, or other part of the body, should freeze, and be suddenly thawed by the fire, the vitality of the part is destroyed, and it mortifies; but if immersed in a vessel of water, just drawn from the well, the thaw will take place slowly, and but little injury will ensue.
From these facts, we are led to conclude, that the injury to plants is induced by the sudden thaw, and not by freezing. Hence, if they should be protected from the rays of the sun, or wet with water from the well or spring, before they are effected by the rays of the sun, they would escape from harm. If these conclusions be correct, fruit and other tender vegetables may be preserved, with but very little labor, at least to an extent sufficient to preserve enough of the former for family purposes, and of the latter, for early use.
The following theory, in regard to the effects produced on frozen plants, by sudden exposure to the rays of the sun, is submitted by Johnson, in his Agricultural Chemistry, and appear to us to be a philosophical explanation of the phe
1o. When the leaf, fruit, or tuber freezes, the fluid portions slightly expand in becoming solid, but the air in the air vessels contracts in at least an equal degree, and thus allows a lateral expression of the sap vessels sufficient to prevent lesion. When the temperature is slightly raised, the air expands but slightly, and ice is melted long before the gaseous substances reach their original bulk.
2o. But if the rays of the sun strike suddenly upon the leaf or fruit, the surface may at once be raised in temperature 300 or 40° F. The air will consequently expand suddenly, and before the sap is thawed may have distended and torn the vessels, and caused sap and air to be mutually intermingled.
3o. But the moment the sun's rays strike upon the green leaf, its chemical functions commence. It begins to absorb and decompose carbonic acid: and as in the frozen part of the leaf the circulation is not, and in consequence of the lesion cannot be, established, the chemical action of the sun's rays must be expended upon the stagnant sap; and hence those changes not only in the sap itself, but even in the solid parts, which are seen to take place in the withered leaf,
4o. Though not in a state of growth, the tuber of the potatoe contains the living principle, and there must be such a circulation going on in its interior as to maintain an approximate equilibrium of temperature throughout its substance. A sudden thawing of the exterior, will, as in the leaf, expand the air before the circulation can be established throughout the frozen mass. The solid, fluid, and æriform substances which nature has separated and set apart from each other, will thus all be intermingled, and from their mutual action, those chemical changes of which we know the starch of the potatoe to be susceptible, will speedily ensue ;-in other words, the potatoe will rot.
We should be much pleased, in case a proper opportunity should occur, if some of our readers would make a practical application of these principles, and advise us of the result. The vegetable should be protected, as much as practicable, from light and air, as well as from the direct rays of the sun; and if water is used, it should be fresh from the spring or well-though cold water might be tried as an experiment.
HISTORY OF THE CULTIVATION OF THE POTATOE.
In an article on the "economy and habits of plants," published in the first number of the Western Journal, we suggested the opinion that the potatoe rot was induced by violence done to the economy of the plant, in propagating it for too long a time from the tubers This article was written perhaps a year ago, at a time when the publication of the WESTERN JOURNAL had not been thought of; and not being designed for publication, we had not examined the history of the cultivated plant farther than our own observation extended in the Southern States.
Desiring to ascertain whether we had been misled by a false theory, we have since inquired into the history of the cultivation of the potatoe, and are happy to find that our views are fully sustained by practical experience.
The following paper from H. A. Parsons, of Buffalo, published in the Cultivator, of March, 1848, we think will be found interesting and profitable to every farmer.
We have appended the advertisement of N. S. Smith, of Buffalo, who offers many varieties of seedling potatoes for sale. In this advertisement will also be found an interesting account of his mode of producing them.
While the subject is before us, we will use the occasion to briefly notice a paper recently read before the St. Louis Horticultural Society, by Emil Mallinckrodt, from which we are happy to find that he sustains our opinion, that the potatoe is a native of the tropics. We must admit, however, that we were somewhat startled at the quotation from Preston's History of the civillzation of the Incas, in the beginning of the article; but we think friend Mallinckrodt has most trium
phantly confuted Preston's statement, that "wild specimens of this vegetable might be seen springing up spontaneously amidst the stunted shrubs that clothe the lofty sides of the Cordilleras, till these gradually subsided into the masses around the base of the mighty cones, that ran far into the regions of eternal silence, covered with the snows of centuries." This is evidently a fancy sketch. Our friend has attempted to prove that it was impossible for the potatoe to perpetuate its species in so cold a region. He says: "If nature had placed the potatoe in the northern parts of North America, it would never have reproduced itself there, for the tuber would have been destroyed by frost every winter, and the proper seed of the plant would have reproduced itself but once, as it requires three years before its tubers become mature enough to reproduce seed. To preserve the plant, therefore, wise mother Nature placed it within a more temperate climate, where winters are unknown."
We leave Mr Preston and Mr. Mallinckrodt to settle these points, however, as they best may-while we refer our readers to the advertisement of Mr. Smith, of Buffalo, in which he offers for sale seed gathered in September last, from balls produced from seed sown in the preceding April. Nor are we prepared to admit that if nature had placed the potatoe in the frigid zone, that its tubers would have necessarily been destroyed by the frost, for we have high authority for saying that the vital principle is not always destroyed by frost if the tuber remains in the earth and thaws with it.
Our main object in noticing this article is to correct the error into which Mr. Mallinckrodt has fallen, in stating that it requires three years to produce flower seed from the seedling potatoe. This error is important, because it is calculated to discourage farmers from sowing seed, instead of cultivating worn out varieties; and we think this error the more likely to do injury, from the fact that it has gone forth to the world under the sanction of the St. Louis Horticultural Society.
RUNNING OUT OF VARIETIES-CHANGE OF SEED."
MESSRS. EDITORS:- Under the above caption, in the last December number of the Cultivator, you express the belief, that plants and vegetables do not degenerate and that to propagate and continue them in perfection, a change of seed is not necessary. On the contrary, I had supposed that the science of botany and vegetable physiology had established the fact beyond controversy, that "any plant continually reproduced from the same seed on the same soil, will continually degenerate till it becomes extinct." And this important truth, in its application particularly to the potatoe, has been supported, if I mistake not, by the decided opinion of naturalists who have at all investigated the subject, and by the concurrent testimony of history for the last hundred and fifty years. If you will permit a little discussion of the subject, I trust, in case we do not come to the same conclusion, we shall amicably agree to differ; and as it is one that has an important practical bearing, an exhibition of some of the facts within our reach may do some good. It is to be deeply regretted, that in our agricultural literature,
we have no full history of the potatoe. There are many facts regarding it recorded in the treatises of Humboldt and Sir Joseph Banks; in the Edinburgh Encyclopædia, and in many English works of the last century; but such a history as the importance of the subject demands, tracing its propagation, changes, diseases, failures, and reproduction in different countries, is yet a desideratum; and he would be a public benefactor who should prepare it.
I would premise, that an occasional instance of success or failure proves nothing; it may be only an exception to the general rule. So if Mr. Cooper's case, upon which you comment, varies from the general law of nature, it affords but one fact against thousands on the other side. But Mr. Cooper fully admits that potatoes do degenerate, and attributes it to the use of poor seed; and describes one way in which farmers may obtain good seed. That farmers, as he asserts, generally plant their poorest potatoes, I do not believe to be true; in an intercourse among them of more than forty years, accompanied with much observation, I have found such cases to be the rare exception to their general practice. And yet a number of varieties have run out within the last fifty years, and several others, recently in high repute, are fast failing, and have nearly ceased to produce balls. The present disease in the potatoe was generally first noticed in this country in 1843. Soon after that, the agricultural census of this State was taken, which showed that the average product of the potatoe was only ninety bushels per acre-not half what it was twenty-five years ago; and that there had been a falling off of the potatoe crop in the State, of upwards of six millions of bushels, since 1840. See Cultivator, 1846, page 179. A similar decrease was shown in Massachuseetts and in Maine, where the average crop had formerly been two hundred bushels per acre. How is this to be accounted for, but by supposing a general degeneracy of the varieties now in use? A corresponding decrease in the crop is exhibited in the history of the plant in other countries and at other times. In a report made to the Royal Society of Agriculture in France, in 1819, by M. Le Comte de Neufchateau, Minister of the Interior, respecting the labors of Oberlin in the Ban de la Roche, a district of highlands in the east of France, it is stated that the petotoe had been introduced after the terrible scarcity of 1709." But in 1757, "the original plant of the potatoe had degenerated to such a point as to yield scarcely any increase." To remedy this defect, recourse was had not only to the seed balls, but M. Oberlin « imported from different countries a store of potatoes, which replaced those degenerated; and these new productions continue in great demand at Strasburg market, on account of their excellent quality."
The potatoe appears to have been introduced from America into England first by Sir John Hawkins in 1545. Others were carried there in 1573 by Sir Francis Drake; and others again by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1586, who, in 1610, sent some to be planted on his estates in Ireland. They were first cultivated as a field crop in Lancashire in 1684, before which time they were confined to gardens,