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these vacant lots, and made a market garden, which is more profitable than twenty times its area of wheat and corn in Illinois. We were pointed to one portion of it that had already yielded two crops this season, worth about $700 an acre, and is now set with celery that will produce four or five hundred more. True, it costs labor and manure, and requires skill beyond that requisite to grow potatoes or pumpkins, but it pays a large profit upon all outlays, and leaves a handsome surplus to reward the man of intellect who does or directs the work.
“ A little further on we stopped a few minutes to look at the work of two remarkably skillful English gardeners, father and son, enthusiastic propagators and producers of new plants and rare flowers. Among the curious things in the garden are a thousand thrifty plants of the Lawton blackberry, all propagated from one plant stem last spring, by some secret of their own, which enables them to multiply it almost indefinitely. But the most curious of all things about this garden, where we see everything growing so luxuriantly, is the fact that it is done without manure. They were too poor to buy it, and they cannot afford to grow weeds to make compost, and as the surface had been exhausted by long cropping it in the old style of farming, what were they to do? Go on the same old course of putting nothing on, and taking everything off that the thin surface-soil would produce? No, they could not live by that, and as they would not buy and cart on fertility, they dug for it. They found it two or three feet below the surface, where they put the loose stones, enabling the water to drain off, and roots to run down. Now, when a plant needs fertilizing, a loosening of the surface with a fork lets in the air, and the plant grows again with renewed vigor. Devoted industry and spade labor produce the results we see.
“Next we come to East New York, where waste lots lie all around, with only here and there a house upon a plain miles in extent. Now, getting beyond these we come to fields of most wonderfully rich and rank green Indian corn, great hay-fields, and smaller ones of rye and wheat stubble, with here and there men digging potatoes. There are but few market gardens or fruit farms, though every one has apple and pear trees for his own use. As a general thing, going on towards Jamaica, farming appears to be done now much as it was in the days of the fathers and grandfathers of the present occupants. Here is an exception. Captain Briggs, who for thirty years followed the sea, and has since been engaged in commerce, and even now, at sixty-five years old, goes every day to the city to attend to business, has still found time to plant an orchard covering twentyfive acres, in which he has sixteen hundred pear-trees, now six to eight years old, and very thrifty, and all in bearing condition. A good many are in fruit this year, although it is a season of general failure, and all show a vigor of growth that proves this fact, that although a man may be bred upon the sea, or has been fifty years of his life engaged in commercial pursuits, it does not disqualify him from cultivating the earth with success if he is a man of sense, who never does a thing without knowing why it should be done.
"For instance, he thought when about to plant his appletrees, that they were strong-rooted trees, with heavy tops, and should be planted on the northeast side of the orchard to break the prevailing winds from the slower-growing and weaker pear-trees. In looking about, however, he found that apple-trees, as they are usually planted out, are of slow growth, sometimes dying, and sometimes being blown over by the winds that sweep up this gently inclined plain from the broad Atlantic. So he inquired, why? He soon found why. He saw trees stuck down into holes that were so
small that the few roots not trimmed off, had to be doubled and coiled around the clump root, and trod and jammed into their narrow quarters, and there the tree was expected
". How can it?' said the old sailor.
· These people never reason-I'll have no such work on my farm.'
“ It was difficult to get men to work differently, but he could work himself, with his own strong hands. So he had boles dug eight feet broad and two feet deep, and threw back a foot of the top soil in the bottom of the hole, well mixed with compost manure, all as finely pulverized as a garden bed. Then he went to the nursery and bought large trees—too large to do well,” the nurseryman said, he had better take smaller ones.' No, he wanted trees, not whip-stalks. And these trees he wanted with roots, and by determined perseverance he got them with roots. Great sprawling things,' the man said who dug them, that never could be set out, because nobody was a going to dig holes big enough for that.' He was mistaken, for somebody did dig holes big enough, and somebody got down upon somebody's hands and knees, and with fingers weary and worn' straightened out every little fibrous root, and bedded it nicely in the soft earth, and not a tree failed to grow at once; and now, who ever saw such handsome, large, bearing trees at eight years old ? Every tree in the orchard stands up as straight as the spars of the owner's ship.
“ At Baiseley's Pond we saw men and teams at work digging out the deep bed of muck that for ages has been accumulating, and we said to the man who was digging his potatoes--small potatoes and few in a hill--within a few rods of great piles of this muck, which the contractor had had to buy the privilege of placing on dry land, • Your crop would be better if you had a good lot of that muck, well rotted and mixed with your soil.'
Humph--so I have heard before. “ And that was his answer to our kindly-meant suggestion; and he bent again over his profitless toil, disinclined to talk of what he had heard before. Some of this muck, compressed like brick while moist, and then dried, burns like cannel coal, leaving an ash highly charged with potash. As we walked over the immense pile, extending in a broad belt around the pond, we picked up tuft after tuft as large as a man's hat, so light that we played football with them. They were made up of a knitted mass of fibrous roots, which would burn like dry wood twigs, and afford an equal per cent. of potash. Yet, while they lie here and decay and waste away, the owners of the poor, sandy soil adjoining will send to Vermont or Western New York for leached ashes, for these they have proved are good for the land, while the value of the muck they have only heard tell of before.' They have also heard that it is pizen to the land,' and therefore will not listen and learn how to use it and make it most valuable.
Turning away from this pile of wasted wealth, we drove a mile or two across the plain to visit a successful market-truck farmer;' not a 'garden-trucker,' but one who grows field crops for market. To-day he was digging potatoes—' a very fair crop of Mercers, about 150 bushels per acre.' The tops were still very green, and the farmer thought the tubers would have increased about a quarter, if left to ripen, but then they would not bring as much. The price to-day is $3.25 a barrel. The vines are pulled and tubers shaken off between two rows, and the remainder forked out with a five-pronged, flat-tined fork. Then two men pass along picking all the marketable tubers into a basket that holds about three pecks—three being counted to a barrel-saving, as they go along, all the best in a smaller basket, to top off with the best, of course, always on top. The small potatoes left on the ground are afterwards picked for pig feed, yet sometimes they are sold to the bakers to piece out the superfine flour, and make it carry more water, so as to answer the law that requires bread to be sold by weight. The baskets being filled are loaded upon a wagon that carries forty, with feed and food for a man with two horses, who starts in time to reach the market some time in the night, where he sells his load early the next morning, and returns in time to rest and load up again. This potato ground is sown as soon as cleared of the crop, to wheat and seeded to clover.”
From this copious summary of the condition and capabilities of the neglected lands of Long Island, new wonder will be excited at the fact of any large body of them continuing to be unoccupied. The term “barrens” should now become obsolete--they never have been such. The consumer is at their very door, taking not only all they now produce, but ready to devour all that their uncultivated acres could be made to yield. It would be wise for the producer to plant himself beside this consumer. Every man now looking for a farm should go and examine them.