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BULLETIN No. 72. 310
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
OFFICE OF EXPERIMENT STATIONS,
A. C. TRUE, Director.
FARMERS' READING COURSES.
L. H. BAILEY, M. S.,
Professor of Horticulture, Cornell University.
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGBRI~,ULTU
OFFIcE OF EXPERIMENT STATIONS,
Washington, D. ., Octobr 16, 1899.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith an article by Prof.
L. H. Bailey, M. S., professor of horticulture in Cornell University,
on farmers' reading courses in the United States. Professor iley
is prominently identified with the university extension work in ag
culture connected with the College of Agriculture of Cornell Uni-
versity, one of the most successful features of which is a farmers'
reading course, and has had occasion to study this interesting work in
other States. As an important phase of the general movement among
our agricultural colleges to go outside of their class rooms and pro-
mote the education of our farmers along the lines of their art, the
farmers' reading courses are now attracting widespread attention, and
I feel sure that a bulletin showing the scope and methods of this work
will be cordially welcomed. I therefore recommend the publication
of Professor Bailey's article as Bulletin No. 72 of this Office.
A. C. Taum,
Hon. JAMES WLsoN,
Secretary of Agriculture.
introductory and historical ............................................... 5
Existing reading-course systems.. -......................- ............. 8
Pennsylvania ..--......-...------------ --------.--...--.............. 8
Michigan ---------.....-..--------..----.----------.------.....--------..........---- 10
| New Hampshire....------..-.----....-.-..--...--...-- .--.-----......... 11
SConnecticut. ----.....----------------..-----...---------........---..-...-..---------.... 13
New York---........--.---.--------..----------..... --.............. 16
W est Virginia ...---.-...--. ...-.-. ..-..-.....-...---------- -...------ 18
South Dakota.-....-..-.......- ---..... --- -... --.... -------. -.....-... 19
Other ventures -.....-.---.--.-.-...--........----------.-...--....... 20
efectih oms upon the reading courses- --....-.-.................--..--.--. 21
:Appendix-...---------...----.... ..-.......... --....-...--.-..---...---.. 25
existing reading-course systems .8
''! Pennelvania------------------------------------------------..... 8
i:: M ich ig an ........... ........... ............ ........... ........... 10
N:..i ew Hampshire-------------------------11
Ngew York----------------------------------------................ 16
::.': West Virginia-------------------------............................ 18
FARMERS' READING COURSES.
INTRODUCTORY AND HISTORICAL.
Among the agencies for diffusing knowledge and developing enthu-
siasm among farmers the reading course has come to be an important
factor. In the movement for the education of the people the estab-
lishing df colleges for farmers was important and far-reaching. We
are now feeling, however, that it is not enough that colleges be main-
tained for those who desire to patronize them. Those who can not or
will not come to the college must be reached. Education is seized of
the missionary spirit; and this spirit is that impulse which passes under
the general name of university extension.
No apology is needed for the extension movement; yet there are
those who say that persons who will not make the effort to learn of
their own volition should be left in ignorance. There are certainly
two considerations which make it imperative that such persons shall
be taught-the consideration of altruism, or regard for one's neighbors;
the consideration or the desire that the State shall prosper. If prog-
ress is desirable, then the extension movement must abide. Every
farmer should be awakened.
I suppose that it will never be possible to discover which was the
very first reading-course movement for farmers. One can not read far
in the history of the agricultural colleges without finding germs of the
idea-the desire that farmers be given more and better reading matter.
This idea was expressed before any of the agricultural colleges came
into being. It was thought, however, that the normal work of the
college would spread sufficiently the reading habit. But so many
farmers do not go to college and are not touched by it, and so much
new knowledge has come into the farmer's horizon, that some special
machinery is needed to carry something of the college influence to the
farm. This machinery embraces itinerant lectures and experiment
station bulletins and reading courses.
As early as 1882 President James Mills, of the Agricultural College
of Ontario, outlined a reading course for farmers. The council of
agriculture and arts for the province cooperated in the enterprise.
Certificates were offered to those completing required courses of
reading. These certificates were of first, second, and third class; and
six liberal prizes or scholarships were offered, one for the first class,
two for the second class, three for the third class. A few persons i
took up the reading and passed creditable examinations upon questions
which were submitted to them; but the prizes went mostly to ex-
students of the college, and the number became so small after a time
that the whole enterprise was dropped. Commenting recently upon
this early experiment, President Mills says: "I think that a simpler
course, with some instruction at convenient centers by one or two per-
sons competent to talk on elementary science in its relation to agricul-
ture and on agriculture proper in its various branches, would be more
generally acceptable and-might reach a considerable number." At
present the Canadian provinces do not have farmers' reading courses.
To show the character and scope of this early Canadian venture I
transcribe the "Course of reading for the second-class certificates," as
printed in the report of the college for 1882:
1. The plant.-Relations of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms to each
other; nature and sources of plant food; composition of the most important cuops
grown in Ontario; period of highest nutritive value; chemical changes in the ripen-
ing of fruit, grain, and fodder crops; influence of climate on perfection of growth.
2. The soil.-Physical and chemical properties of soils; classification of soils as
determined by these properties; comparative fertility of different varieties of soil;
active and dormant ingredients of soils; best means of converting dormant into
Chemical and physical conditions affecting the barrenness and fertility of soils;
causes of unproductiveness; power of different soils to hold manures; influence of
frost, aspect, elevation, and climate on the productiveness of soils.
3. Manures.-Production, management, and application of farm-yard manure; con-, .
editions which influence its quality; comparative values of cattle, sheep, and horse
manures; green-crop manuring; composts.
Properties and uses of artificial manures; lime, plaster, salt, bone dust, and min-
eral superphosphates as manures; circumstances under which each should and should
not be used; times and modes of application; how to avoid the waste of such ma-
nures in the soil; their action on seeds and young plants; favorable and unfavorable
action at different stages in the growth of crops; action of nitrates and ammoniacal i
manures on cereals, roots, and grasses; special action of salt when used alone, and i
also in connection with other manures.
Night soil and animal manures; combinations of manures for certain purposes;. ;
manures which impoverish the soil; quantities of manures to be used on various
soils with different crops; general principles regulating the selection of manures.
4. Tillage operalions.-Deep and shallow plowing, fall and spring plowing, subouil-
ing, rolling, fallowing, etc.; advantages and disadvantages of each; preparation of
land for different crops, as fall wheat, spring wheat, barley, oats, peas, and maize;
differences in cultivation of light and heavy soils.
5. Seed and sowing.-Quality of seed; importance of using clean and pure seed;
effect of age on the character of crop, its rapidity of growth, and liability to disease;
quantity of seed per acre; methods and depth of sowing; change of seed, why
6. Roots.-Cultivation of roots and tubers-turnips, mangolds, carrots, beets, and
S7. Green fodders.--Oats and peas, tares, lucern, sainfoin, prickly comfrey, clovers,
ja; their comparative values; the management most appropriate for each; manage-
t of pastures.
8. Rotation of crops.-Crops which each kind of soil is adapted to produce; suc-
e;ison or rotation of crops; importance and necessity of rotation; principles under-
,lying it; rotations suitable to different soils, climates, and systems of farming in
S1Qntario; their effects on the land.
9. Drainage.-Principles of drainage; effects on soil and subsoil; laying out and
Construction of drains.
10. Exhausted lands.-Causes of exhaustion; how avoided; best means of restoring
m iand enriching impoverished land.
11. Breeding of animals.-Principles for guidance in stock breeding; reproductive
powes--how strengthened or weakened; pedigree influence-how intensified or
reduced; loss of size in pedigree stock;' how to control good or bad qualities; main-
Stenance of constitutional vigor; common causes of barrenness in male and in female;
special aptitudes of certain breeds for different conditions of soil and climate; prin-
ciples which regulate special peculiarities, such as early maturity, rapid production
of flesh, production of milk, growth of wool, etc.
Horses.-Most valuable breeds of horses for this province; the leading characteris-
tics of each; type of horse required for farm work; breeding, feeding, and general
management; common diseases and their treatment.
Cattle.-Characteristic points-merits and demerits of Shorthorns, Herefords, Polled
Angus, Ayrshires, Jerseys, Devons, Galloways, and Holsteins; in and" in breeding;
Breeding in the line; results of each system; grade cattle; milch cows-points of a
Good milch cow; general management; economy of good management; conditions
S' affecting quantity and quality of milk. Common diseases and remedies.
Sheep.-Characteristics of different breeds; long-wooled, medium-wooled, and
short-wooled sheep; crosses between different breeds compared; influence of breed,
climate, food, soil and shelter on the quantity and quality of wool-evenness, luster,
yolk, fineness of fiber, felting power, etc.; feeding; winter and summer management;
management of ewes before, during, and after lambing season; rearing of lambs.
Swine.-Characteristics of the most important breeds of pigs; management of sows
and stores; bacon curing, etc.
12. Food and feeding.-Composition and properties of the most important varieties
of feed and fodder available to the Ontario farmer; classification of foods; chemical
results in the use of different foods; heat-producing" and "flesh-forming" ingre-
dients of food; best methods of combining these in feeding, so as to secure desired
results; points to be observed in order to obtain the full value of natural and artificial
foods; increase of value by preparation of food; shelter and warmth as means of
economizing food; chemical changes produced in malting of barley; its action and
value as a feeding material; "good and bad systems of feeding."
13. Diseases of crops.-When plants are most liable to disease; causes of disease;
chlorosis; fungoid diseases, as bunt, smut, rust, and mildew; remedies.
14. Orchards.-Planting, cultivation, pruning, grafting, etc.; best varieties of fruit
trees for different soils and climates of Ontario; diseases and insect pests.
: 15. Ibrestry.-Planting and cultivation of forest trees, shade and ornamental
S 16. Entomology.-Common insects injurious to vegetation; their habits and the best
Means of checking and preventing their ravages.
Books of reference.-Hand Book of Agriculture, embracing soils, manures, rotation
of erops and live stock, Wrightson; First Principles of Agriculture, Lawson and
j, Iikaer; Report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission; The Canadian Farmer's
.-lWManual of Agriculture, Whitcombe; New American Farm Book, Allen; Farming for
I. fot, Read; Talks on Manures, Harris; Elements of Agricultural Chemistry and
Geology, Johnston and Cameron; The Chemistry of Common Life, Johnston and
Church; How Crops Feed, Johnson; How Crops Grow, Johnson; Stock Breeding,
Miles; The Complete Grazier, Youatt and Burn; The Live Stock of the Farm, Prin-
gle; Illustrated Stock Doctor and Live Stock Encyclopaedia, Manning; Manual of
Cattle Feeding, Armsby; The Shepherd's Own Book, Youatt, Skinner, and Randall;
American Shepherd, Morrell; The Horse in the Stable and the Field, Stonehenge;
Harris on the Pig; Annual reports of the Entomological Society of Ontario; Harris's
Insects Injurious to Vegetation.
Without making further excursion into the history of the subject,
I take up a review of all the existing farmers' reading courses in North
America, arranging them chronologically. This account is intended
to be complete up to September 1, 1899.
EXISTING READING-COURSE SYSTEMS.
The director of the experiment station, in his report to the presi-
dent of the college in 1891, suggested a reading course as a means of
popularizing station work. In July, 1892, a reading course was estab-
lished in connection with the Pennsylvania State College; and this
course is the most famous single venture of its kind.
The Pennsylvania reading course was modeled upon the Chautauqua
plan. It was first known as the Chautauqua Course of Home Read-
ing in Agriculture." The college provided books, and gave the readers
examinations whenever the participants were ready to take them.
Many of the students found it difficult to read the books understand-
ingly, and a modification of the plan seemed to be desirable.
The next move was to give assistance, through correspondence, to
students who found the books to be difficult. The name of the enter-
prise was changed to the Chautauqua Course of Home Study in
Agriculture." More than 3,000 students were registered in this course.
This plan also had its faults: (1) It was impossible to secure suitable
text-books; (2) it was found to be a very difficult matter for most stu-
dents to pursue the study of books by themselves and to sift out the
essential from the nonessential parts.
The next movement was to send out printed lessons on particular
subjects treated in the books. These lessons were first issued in Novem-
ber, 1897, covering seven text-books. The lessons were designed to
bring the subject-matter of the books up to date, to describe simple
experiments, to illustrate the subject, to suggest the important or
fundamental matters. The experiment was successful, and in the win-
ter of 1898-99 lessons were issued on sixteen books and on farm book-
keeping, making seventeen subjects. In 1898, the name of the enter-
prise became "Correspondence Courses in Agriculture," and this title
it now bears.
The lessons are sent to the reader one at a time. Accompanying
i each lesson is a list of questions to be answered. The replies are sent
:to the superintendent of the reading course at the State college, and
ai another lesson is then mailed to the reader. In this way the superin-
tendent keeps in touch with the student. He can also exercise some
Control over the student by withholding lessons when the questions are
S:ot faithfully answered. Three of the lessons are reprinted in Exhibits
A, B, and C, at the end of this paper.
In 1898-99, the Pennsylvania correspondence courses are five in
number: (1) Crop production; (2) live stock production; (3) horticul-
ture and floriculture; (4) dairying, and (5) domestic economy.
S Each course consists of seven distinct subjects or books, making
thirty-five books in all.
On March 1, 1899, the total enrollment, including the Chautauqua
students, was 3,416, of which number 460 have received instruction by
means of the lessons. To these more than 1,800 lessons have been
sent. Over 1,100 examination papers had been graded during the pre-
ceding fifteen months. During the past college year the time of the
superintendent and others aiding in the work of the courses was so
fully occupied with college work that practically no effort was made
to further increase the membership or to extend the usefulness of the
correspondence courses. Notwithstanding this, many applications for
enrollment are constantly being received, showing that the practical
agriculturists appreciate this method of instruction. There are stu-
dents in most of the States, and there are.some in foreign countries.
A large proportion of the students are men of mature years, the ages
ranging'from 15 to 75, the average of recent enrollments being about
33 years. The course is under the management of George C. Watson,
professor of agriculture, State College, Pennsylvania.
The books which are used in the various courses in Pennsylvania are
1. Crop production.-Plant Life on the Farm, Masters; Soils and
Crops, Morrow and Hunt; Manures and Manuring, Aikman; Fertility
of the Land, Roberts; Tile Drainage, Chamberlain; The Soil, King;
Farm Bookkeeping (no text).
2. Live-stock production.-Stock Breeding, Miles; Horse Breeding,
Sanders; Swine Husbandry, Coburn; The Domestic Sheep, Stewart;
Poultry Culture, Felch; Feeds and Feeding, Henry; A Book on Silage,
3. Horticulture and floriculture.-Propagation of Plants, Fuller;
Principles of Fruit-Growing, Bailey; Plant Life, Masters; Greenhouse
: Management, Taft; Manures and Manuring, Aikman; Insects and
Insecticides, Weed; The Spraying of Plants, Lodeman.
4. Dairying.-Milk and its Products, Wing; Dairy Bacteriology,
: Russell; Milk: Nature and Composition, Aikman; Cheddar Cheese
;i..Making, Decker; Feeds and Feeding, Henry; Testing Milk and Its
: Products, Woll and Farrington; A Book on Silage, Woll.
5. Domestic econmnry.-The House Comfortable, Ormsbee; Disposal
of Household Wastes, Gerhard; Chemistry of Common Life, Johnston;
Chemistry of Cookery, Williams; Boston Cook Book, Mrs. Lincoln;
What to Eat and How to Serve it, Herrick; Gardening for Pleasure,
The following supplementary list is suggested:
Cattle Breeding, Warfield; Capons for Profit, Greiner; Practical
Poultry Keeping, Wright; An Egg Farm, Stoddard; The Horticultur-
ist's Rule-Book, Bailey; Handbook for Farmers and Dairymen, Wolli
Breeds of Live Stock, Sanders; American Standard of Perfection
(Poultry); Land Draining, Miles; Ornamental Gardening, Long;
Farmer's Veterinary Adviser, Law; House Plans for Everybody,
The Michigan Farm Home Reading Circle follows the earlier system
inaugurated in Pennsylvania. It was started in December, 1892. There
are five classes: (1) Soils and crops; (2) live stock; (3) garden and
orchard; (4) woman's course; and (5) political science. Any three of
these classes constitute a course. The readers are regularly enrolled as
members. (See enrollment cards, etc., in Exhibits F to J.) Enroll-
ment is free for Michigan readers, but $1 is charged to nonresidents.
When a member has completed the reading of a book he may send
to the secretary for questions, which have been prepared to aid him in
making a report to the secretary on that book. If the report is satis-
factory, a certificate signed by the president of the college and secretary
of the farm home reading circle will be issued, showing that he has com-
pleted that book. A certificate is sent upon completion of each book, and
also upon the completion of the class. When a member has completed
any three of the classes, and has sent in a satisfactory report on the
same, he is considered to have completed a course and then will receive
a suitable diploma. (Exhibit K.) The reports or examinations, as they
may be called, are not necessary unless the reader desires credit for
his reading, but they help to fix in the mind the most prominent truths
brought out in each book. A large majority of the members take
advantage of this feature of sending reports for examination.
The work is confined mostly to Michigan, but there are members in
several States and provinces. On March 1, 1899, there were 302 mem-
bers. This figure does not represent the total number of readers,
however, since the course is being taken by many granges, farmers'
clubs, and organizations instituted for the particular purpose of under-
taking the reading. In many cases several members of the family are
taking the reading, but only one person may be enrolled as member.
For the first three or four years the reading circle met with only indif-
ferent success, but by persistent advertising and careful attention
Sdio correspondence it has grown steadily, and is now in a prosperous
:condition and is doing much good. The circle is in charge of Prof.
1J. W. Mumford, Agricultural College, Michigan.
I" The books in use in the Michigan Farm Home Reading Circle are as
1 1. Soils and crop8.-First Principles of Agriculture, Voorhees;
.ISoils and Crops, Morrow and Hunt; Fertility of the Land, Roberts;
SThe Silo and Silage, Cook; Tile Drainage, Chamberlain, or The Soil,
2. Live stock.-Principles of Agriculture, Bailey; Horses, Cattle,
I Sheep and Swine, Curtis; Stock Breeding, Miles; Feeds and Feeding,
Henry; American Dairying, Gurler; Cattle Breeding, Warfield; The
SDomestic Sheep, Stewart; Swine Husbandry, Coburn; Horse Breed-
Sing, Sanders; Guide to Successful Poultry Keeping, Sewell and Tilson;
ior Farm News Poultry Book, Purvis.
3. Garden and orchard.-American Fruit Culturist, Thomas;
How to Make the Garden Pay, Greiner; Ornamental Gardening,
Long;.Insects and Insecticides, Weed; Gardening for Pleasure, Hen-
derson; Propagation of Plants, Fuller; Home Floriculture, Rexford;
or Practical Floriculture, Henderson.
4. Woman's course.-Practical Sanitary and Economic Cooking,
Abel; Home Economics, Parloa; The Boston Cooking School Book,
Farmer; Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning, Richards and EUiott;
A Study of Child Nature, Harrison.
5. Political science.-Elements of Political Economy, Ely; Political
Economy, Walker; American Commonwealth (1 vol.) Bryce.
The following "book shelf," a supplementary list, is recommended:
Agriculture and horticulture.-Farmer's Veterinary Adviser, Law;
Grasses of North America, Beal; How the Farm Pays, Henderson
and Crozier; Storer's Agriculture (3 vols.); Plant Life on the Farm,
Masters; Land Drainage, Miles; Facts for Horse Owners, Magner.
Political science.-Jevon's Money and Mechanism of Exchange;
Epochs of American History (3 vols.); Small Talks About Business,
Rice; Farmer's Tariff Manual, Strange; The Sophisms of Free Trade,
Byles; The Sophisms of Protection, Bastiat.
Miscellaneous.-Letters to a Daughter, Starrat; Common Sense in
the Household, Harlan; Amenities of Home; Timothy Titcomb's Let-
ters, Holland; Emerson's Essays (2 vols.); Scott's Poems; The Fair
SMaid of Perth, Scott; Julius Caesar, Shakespeare; Scarlet Letter,
SHawthorne; Longfellow's Poems (complete).
in January, 1894, the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and
&e Mechanic Arts established a nonresident course in agriculture.
e-ourse is designed primarily to meet the needs of those farmers'
I =: == "" .
I ii : :,
sons who are unable to leave home to attend college, but who feel the
need of the fuller knowledge of their work which the college offers.
It has enrolled a considerable number of such students, and also has
attracted many young men in cities who intend to become farmers.
The course is conducted as a correspondence course, books and bulle-
tins being sent the student, who studies them and returns answers to
This nonresident course is free to all, without examination. Stu-
dents may work for a certificate or not. Those who work for a certifi-
cate send answers to examination questions as fast as studies are
completed. Those who do not work for a certificate submit a state-
ment that the requisite reading has been carefully done. The work is
divided into exercises, and an exercise is estimated at ten pages of
reading matter in book or bulletin. The satisfactory completion of
600 exercises entitles the student to a certificate. Under general con-
ditions it is estimated that the completion of these exercises will require
about two years. Each student working for a certificate is required to
take given general studies, and then to select at least three special
studies. The required general studies are soils, tillage, noxious insects,
fungus diseases, meteorology, laws of plant growth, farm and house-
hold chemistry, and fertilizers. Special studies are dairying and stock
feeding, poultry keeping, orchard fruits, small fruits, commercial horti-
culture and market gardening, vegetables, floriculture, plant propaga-
tion, and forestry. Students not working for a certificate may select
any of the above subjects, but it is recommended that they pursue the
prescribed lines of general reading in connection with special subjects.
The course is in charge of Prof. C. W. Burkett, Durham, N. H.
The last circular of instructions was issued December, 1895. The
bulletins and books recommended in that circular are herein tran-
scribed. It will be seen that the New Hampshire course is very rich
in literature. "In addition to the books used for general studies in
the course, the college furnishes free bulletins of its own experiment
station as well as those of some other stations; also, through the courtesy
of the United States Department of Agriculture, the valuable series of
Farmers' Bulletins issued by that Department. Through the courtesy
of the Cornell University Experiment Station this college has been
able to furnish nonresident students with the important bulletins on
horticulture and kindred subjects issued by that station."
1. General studies.-Soils and Crops, Morrow and Hunt; Talks
Afield, Bailey; Fruit Culture, Strong; Agriculture, Wallace; Spraying
Crops, Weed; Fertilizers, Gregory; The Poultry Yard, Burpee; Orna-
mental Gardening, Long; Fungi and Fungicides, Weed; Chemicals
and Clover, Collingwood; Potato Culture, Terry; The Nursery-Book,
Bailey; The Soil, King; Land Draining, Miles; The Beautiful
Flower Garden, Mathews; Insects and Insecticides, Weed.
2. Dairying and stock feeding.-American Dairying, Gurler; Dairy
Science, Woll; Cattle Breeding, Warfield; Cattle Feeding, Stewart;
Root Crops for Stock Feeding, Burpee.
3. Poultry keeping.--Poultry Culture, Felch; The Business Hen,
Collingwood; The Poultry Yard, Burpee; Capons for Profit, Greiner;
Natural and Artificial Duck Culture, Rankin.
4. Commercial horticulture and market gardening.-Gardening for
Profit, Henderson; Success in Market Gardening, Rawson; How to
Grow Mushrooms, Falconer; Selection in Seed Growing, Burpee;
Greenhouse Construction, Taft.
5. Orchardfruits.-Practical Fruit Grower, Maynard; Field Notes
on Apple Culture, Bailey; Fruit Culturist, Thomas; Amateur Fruit
Growing, Green; Pear Culture for Profit, Quinn; Quince Culture,
Meech; Peach Culture, Fulton.
6. Small fruits.-Success with Small Fruits, Roe; A B C of
Strawberry Culture, Terry; Grape Culturist, Fuller; American Grape
7. Vegetables.-How to Grow Squashes, Gregory; Onion Raising
Gregory; Onions for Profit, Greiner; Cabbages and Cauliflowers,
Gregory; How to Grow Cabbages and Cauliflowers, Gregory; Celery
for Profit, Greiner; A Kitchen Garden of One Acre; How to Grow
Melons for Market, Burpee; Potatoes for Profit, Van Ornam; My
Handkerchief Garden, Barnard.
8. flowers. -Practical Floriculture, Henderson; The Rose, Ell-
wanger; All About Sweet Peas, Hutchins; Pansies, Poppies, and
Sweet Peas, Hutchins; Chrysanthemum Culture, Morton; American
Carnation Culture, Lamborn; Bulbs and Tuberous-rooted Plants,
Allen; Window Gardening.
9. Plant propagation.-The Propagation of Plants, Fuller; Cross-
breeding and Hybridizing, Bailey.
10. Forestry.-Forest Planting, Jarchow; Studies in Forestry,
The Storrs Agricultural College inaugurated correspondence instruc-
tion in October, 1896. The work is more nearly a correspondence
school idea than a reading course. It is definite college extension of
the best order. The extension work is a department of Storrs Agri-
cultural College (now called the Connecticut Agricultural College).
A two years' course is given, and the student who completes the
course satisfactorily attends the commencement exercises at Storrs and
Receives a diploma of graduation. The course comprises two parts,
one for men and one for women. The object of the course is to pro-
I vide home study as nearly as possible like that prosecuted at college.
SAny resident of Connecticut may enroll, upon the payment of 25 cents
and agreement to give three hours a week to the prescribed subjects. :
Examinations are conducted through correspondence. The ten stu-
dents who pass the most satisfactory examination on the entire course
of study, are invited to prepare essays. From these essays the best
five are selected to be read by their authors at the commencement
exercises of the extension department at Storrs. At the commence-
ment, certificates or diplomas are awarded to all who have completed
the course, and persons who are unable to attend receive their diplomas
The two years' term of study is divided into four periods in each
year: October and November, December and January, February and
March, April and May. Commencement for extension students occurs
during the regular college commencement week.
Each subject in the course is under the special supervision of one of
the college staff, and this officer prepares syllabuses and questions cov-
ering his subjects and conducts the examinations therein. When any
rural organization has a membership of ten pursuing the course the
college agrees, so far as practicable, to furnish one or more lectures.
Persons who have completed the regular two years' course may
organize. into circles of ten or more and apply for further instruction
in "subject studies." The college places in the hands of the circle a.
library of 50 or 100 volumes. By a system of reference cards several
courses are outlined, sufficient for a year's reading. One examination
paper is forwarded by the department at the end of the year, covering
each subject studied. Courses are provided in general agriculture,
fruit culture, market gardening, poultry raising, floriculture, botany,
agricultural chemistry, veterinary, foods, sanitation, geology, forestry,
English literature, history, and political economy. The first year saw
an enrollment of 216 members, and 561 volumes were circulated. The
work is growing. In June, 1898, 25 persons received certificates. Two
circles of ten or more had completed the course, and to these were sent
the first traveling library. The books are kept one year, and they are
then sent to the circles which complete the work in the following year.
At the present time fully 275 persons are regularly enrolled.
The traveling library idea has been very successful. It is a kind of
post-graduate course. The readers often receive more benefit from
these libraries than from the two years' preliminary reading. The
extension work is in the hands of Prof. A. B. Peebles, Storrs,
The books used in the Connecticut course are as follows:
1. First year.-(a) For women.-Home Floriculture, Rexford; Easi-
est Ways in Housekeeping and Cooking, Campbell; Realm of Nature,
Mill; Story of the Plants, Allen.
(b) For men.-First Principles of Agriculture, Voorhees; Practical
Farm Chemistry, Greiner; Mill and Allen as above.
S 2. Second year.-(a) For women.-Household Economics, Campbell,
Sor The Way We Did at Cooking School, Reed; Hygiene and Physical
iCulture for Women, Galbraith, or Physical Development and Exer-
:i cise for Women, Bissel; Realm of Nature, part 1, Mill; The Story of
Germ Life, Conn.
((b) For men.-The Principles of Fruit-Growing, Bailey, or Milk
and its Products, Wing; The Spraying of Plants, Lodeman, or Farm-
ers' Bulletins of the United States Department of Agriculture on the
Dairy Herd, Feeding, etc.; Mill and Conn as above.
Five Farmers' Bulletins (Nos. 16, 22, 32, 55, and 58), issued by the
United States Department of Agriculture, have been bound in one
volume, and make a serviceable treatise on dairy work and stock feeding.
Two traveling libraries are now in circulation, as follows:
Library No 1.-Yearbook, 1897, United States Department of Agri-
culture; Principles of Modern Dairy Practice, Woll; Horticulturist's
Rule-Book, Bailey; Pruning-Book, Bailey; Agriculture (3 volumes),
Storer; How to Make the Garden Pay, Greiner; Domesticated Ani-
mals, Shaler; Faith and Doubt in Poets, Armstrong; American Com-
monwealth, Bryce; Labor Copartnership, Lloyd; Boston Cook Book,
Lincoln; Household Art, Wheeler; According to Season, Dana;
Familiar Flowers, Mathews; Lessons with Plants, Bailey; Ten New
England Blossoms, Weed; Birds of Village and Field, Merriam; Drink-
ing Water and Ice Supplies, Prudden; Charles Darwin, Poulton; Justus
Von Liebig, Shenstone; Eye Spy, Gibson; With Feet to the Earth,
Skinner; Chemistry of Common Life, Johnstone; Sea and Land, Sha-
ler; Feeds and Feeding, Henry; Hero and Homespun, Barton; Light
Side of Science, Wilson; Good Cooking, Rorer; Hugh Wynne (2 vol-
umes), Mitchell; How to Judge a Horse, Bach; Riverby, Burroughs;
American Ideals, Roosevelt; Economic Entomology, Smith; House
Plants, Hillhouse; Story of the Stars, Chambers; Testing Milk and
Products, Farrington and Woll; Beauty of Form, Steele and Adams;
First Crossing of Greenland, Nansen; Customs and Fashions in Old
New England, Earle; Art Out of Doors, Van Rensselaer; History of
Connecticut (2 volumes), Trumbull; The Soil, King; American Liter-
ature, Bates; Modern Dairy Practice, Grotenfelt; Milk, Its Nature
and Composition, Aikman.
Librcwy No. 2.-Yearbook 1897, United States Department of Agri-
culture; Horses and Stables, Fitzwygram; Our Farming, Terry; Pro-
ceedings of First Annual Session, National Congress of Mothers;
IStudio Neighbors, Gibson; American Fruit Culturist, Thomas; Milch
Cows and Dairy Farming, Flint; Stock Breeding, Miles; Boston Cook-
ig School Book, Farmer; How to Know the Wild Flowers, Dana; Out-
lines of Earth's History, Shaler; Window and Parlor Gardening,.Jon-
on; Eating and Drinking, Hoy; The Business Hen, Collingwood;
ultry Culture, Felch; Social Evolution, Kidd; Chemistry of Cook-
i i"m E .!:
ing, Williams; A-Birding on a Broncho, Merriam; Life Histories of
American Insects, Weed; Year in the Fields, Burroughs; Ye Gentle-
woman's Housewifery, Hooker; Insect Life, Comstock; Bulbs and
Tuberous-Rooted Plants, Allen; Woman's Work in America, Meyer;
This Country of Ours, Harrison; Chats with Girls, Chester; Chemitry
of Daily Life, Lassar-Cohn; American Highways, Shaler; Practical
Poultry Keeping, Wright; Insects Injurious to Farm and Garden,
Treat; Philip's Experiments, Trowbridge; The Horse, Flower; Twen-
tieth Century City, Strong; Procession of the Flowers, Higgieson;
Standish of Standish, Austin; Betty Alden, Austin; Fertility of the
Land, Roberts; Rescue of an Old Place, Robbins; Vegetable Garden-
ing, Green; Evolution of Horticulture in New England, Slade; Plant-
Breeding, Bailey; Garden-Making, Bailey; Bird Ways, Miller; Chem-
istry of Dairying, Snyder; Dust and its Dangers, Prudden; Story of
the Solar System, Chambers; Story of the Earth in Past Ages, Seeley;
Citizens in Training, Wells; Flowers: How to Grow Them, Rexford;
Biggle Poultry Book, Biggle.
In connection with its extension work in agriculture, Cornell Uni-
versity made a beginning at a reading course in November, 1896. The
reading was confined to horticultural subjects, because the extension
work was at that time confined to that field, and the reading was to be
a corollary of the itinerant schools of horticulture which were held in
various parts of the State. The motives of the movement were set forth
Most of the reading of farmers is of such a scattered and haphazard character that
the reader is unable to obtain any consecutive or fundamental ideas upon the various
subjects. It is suggested that each local farmers' club, grange, or horticultural
society-or a neighborhood gathering, when other organizations do not exist-take
up a prescribed line of reading and thinking for the coming winter. The company
which desires to take up such a course should be thoroughly organized, and each
reader should secure and owfi the various bulletins and books which are to be read.
At each meeting a prescribed number of pages is laid out to be read before the next
gathering. Upon coming together the leader asks a member to read the first para-
graph of the exercise or lesson, and to give his opinion of the same. Discussion is
then called for. Each paragraph is treated in similar manner. It is obvious that
one of the best subjects to select for the first readings is the soil and its management.
Three or four meetings could be very profitably spent upon this general topic. From
this it would be well to pass to the fertilizing of the land. XAfter this, various special
topics could be taken up, depending upon the interests in the locality.
Books and bulletins were recommended in (1) soils and tillage; (2)
manures and fertilizers; (3) fruits and their cultivation; (4) spraying,
insects, diseases; (5) the making of home grounds; and (6) helps for
The mere recommendation of books and bulletins to be read was
hardly worth the while. A reading course will not go of itself. Some
one must furnish the steam. At this juncture the detail of the work
fell to the hands of John W. Spencer, who is a farmer and not college
bred. He saw the problem as farmers see it, and he took up the work
with tact and enthusiasm. Of the bulletins recommended, two had
been prepared with special reference to use in itinerant schools and
reading courses, although they were founded upon experiments made
at the experiment station. These are "The Texture of the Soil" and
"The Conservation of Moisture" (Nos. 119, 120). These bulletins
were sent to farmers who were likely to be interested in a reading
course, and correspondence was opened on the subjects which they
suggested. As a result of this undertaking, there were 1,500 readers
at the close of the reading season, April, 1897.
In the winter of 1897-98 the effort was continued with the same bul-
letins, and a short essay on the soil was prepared and used as a basis
of study and correspondence. Thus arose the Cornell Reading Lesson,
which is now the basis of the New York Reading Course. This lesson
is a treatise in itself, not a commentary on a book.
At the close of the reading season of 1897-98 the list of actual
readers or members had been increased to nearly 5,000. This increase
was secured wholly by means of the single topic of physical conditions
of soils. In the winter of 1898-99 the same plan was continued, but
five successive topics or lessons were used, and in this season the
actual enrolled readers were increased to 8,605. Of these persons
8,169 reside in New York State, 411 in other States, and 25 in foreign
countries. It is confidently expected that the number will be doubled
in the next reading season.
The gist of the New York plan is to give the farmer a short spe-
cially prepared lesson, and then to quiz him on it. The motive is to
reach the many, not the few. The farmer who can and will read books
can take care of himself, but the one who can not or will not needs
help, whether he wants it or not. The idea is to get the rank and
file to read books by first interesting them in simple, short, and
easily digested matter. When the farmer is once interested it needs
only good administrative machinery to keep him interested and to lead
The operation of the Cornell plan as now prosecuted comprises: (1)
Securing the farmer's name; (2) sending him a lesson, with an inclosure
containing questions (called a quiz); (3) the active organization of
reading clubs; and (4) the sending of special inspectors and lecturers
to these clubs.
There are many ways of securing the farmer's name. The best one
has been the paragraphing of the local newspapers. A paragraph
-calling attention to the reading course has been sent to the country
8087-No. 72- 2
papers of the State. Public-spirited men have been asked to furnish
names. Granges, horticultural societies, and other organizations have
aided. When the farmer receives the lesson he is informed that a con-
tinuance of the favor is conditioned upon his answering the questions.
He is not a member of the reading course until he makes a personal
application therefore. Every inducement is offered to persuade readers
to organize themselves into small clubs, and one of the strongest
inducements is the promise of a speaker from the university to those
clubs which do the best work. In the past winter three farmers were
hired to organize clubs in their respective counties, and the experi-
ment was successful. Small clubs are preferred-those of six to
twelve persons who meet at the homes of the various members. It is
the purpose to send an inspector to the clubs once during the winter,
to see how they are getting on. The New York course is free and is
maintained from a State appropriation for the extension of agricultural
knowledge. The course is in charge of L. H. Bailey, Ithaca, N. Y.
Every effort is made to cause the farmer to get the most out of each
lesson. The work can not be done hastily nor loosely. After having
had a fair trial, the shiftless reader is cut off. In the winter of 1898-99
five illustrated lessons were issued, as follows: (1) The soil, what it is;
(2) tillage and underdrainage, reasons why; (3) fertility of the soil,
what it is; (4) how the plant gets its food from the soil, and (5) how the
plant gets its food from the air. These lessons attempt to state prin-
ciples, not directions for practice. At the end of the reading-course
season a round-up lesson is published, giving answers to all quizzes.
In the coming winter these lessons will be used again for the recruits;
but others will be prepared for the veterans. Books are recommended
for special clubs and special readers. Samples of the lessons are shown
in Exhibits D and E.
Late in the fall of 1897 a "home reading course in agriculture"
was offered to the farmers of West Virginia. At the close of the first
year, June, 1898, 89 students had been enrolled. Although the course
has been in operation little more than a year, 132 readers are enrolled,
most of whom are doing good and enthusiastic work.
The work in the course is founded upon the reading of books. The
course runs in four divisions-crop production, live-stock production,
horticulture and floriculture, and rural economy. A regular course
consists of any two of the four divisions; or the student may elect any
ten books out of the twenty offered. Any student who has completed
a subject will, upon notifying the college, receive an examination
paper on that subject, to which written answers are to be returned,
accompanied with a statement upon honor that the answers are the
unaided work of the person sending them. These answers will be i
graded, and anyone receiving a grade of 75 per cent or more in the
studies of any two divisions will receive a suitable certificate signed by
-the president of the board of regents and the dean of the college. For
this certificate a charge of $1 will be made, which is only sufficient to
cover the actual cost of material and engraving.
SThe course is open to any applicant, without fees. The subjects may
be taken up in any order desired by the reader. The work is in charge
of Prof. T.. C. Atkeson, dean of the College of Agriculture, Morgan-
town, W. Va.
The books used in the West Virginia course are the following:
1. Crop production.-Plant Life on the Farm, Masters; Soils and
Crops, Morrow and Hunt; Manures and Manuring, Aikman; The Soil,
King; Tile Drainage, Chamberlain.
2. Live-stock production.-Manual of Cattle Feeding, Armsby;
Stock Breeding, Miles; Swine Husbandry, Coburn; American Dairy-
ing, Gurler; Poultry Culture, Felch.
3. Horticulture and floriculture.-The Propagation of Plants, Fuller;
The Fruit Garden, Barry; Practical Floriculture, Henderson; Insects
and Insecticides, Weed; Spraying, Lodeman.
4. Rural economy.-Bookkeeping for Farmers, Atkeson; Farm Law,
Bennett; How to Cooperate, Myrick; The House Comfortable, Orms-
bee; Chemistry of Cookery, Williams.
South Dakota uses the Pennsylvania system. The work was founded
on the opening of 1899. Five courses are offered, any or all of which
may be pursued. Each series or course contains five books on related
subjects which are usually so arranged as to develop the subject natu-
rally, leading from simpler to more complex problems. In special
cases options are offered in the supplementary list, thus varying the
course to meet the special needs of the reader. The superintendent
endeavors to arrange such courses to meet special needs.
When beginning a book the student receives from the college a
printed lesson of instruction covering certain parts of the work and
making prominent the most salient points. Upon the completion of
this section the reader fills out answers to questions asked and mails
them to the superintendent, who, upon examination, makes needful
suggestions or corrects erroneous impressions when necessary. When
the work of one section is satisfactorily completed the instructions for
the next section are sent, until the book is completed. The work is in
charge of Prof. Edgar A Burnett, Brookings, S. Dak.
The courses and the books are these:
1. Crop production.-Plant Life on the Farm, Masters; Fertility of
the Land, Roberts; The Soil, King; Manures and Manuring, Aikman;
Irrigation Farming, Wilcox.
2. Live-stock production.-Stock Breeding, Miles; The Domestic
Sheep, Stewart; Feeds and Feeding, Henry; Swine Husbandry, Coburn;
Manual of Veterinary Hygiene, Smith.
3. Horticulture andfloricdlture.-Principles of Plant Culture, Goff;
Amateur Fruit Growing, Green; Vegetable Gardening, Green; Vick's
Home Floriculture, Rexford; Irrigation Farming, Wilcox.
4. Dairying.-Milk and its Products, Wing; Chemistry of Dairy-
ing, Snyder; Feeds and Feeding, Henry; Cattle Breeding; Warfield;
Silos, Ensilage, and Silage, Miles.
5. Domestic economy.-The House Comfortable, Ormsbee; Home
Sanitation, Richards and Talbot; Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning,
Richards and Elliott; Boston Cooking School Book, Farmer; Food
Products of the World, Green.
The following supplementary books are recommended:
Cattle Breeding, Warfield; Horse Breeding, Sanders; American
Dairying, Gurler; Cheddar Cheese Making, Decker; Hand Book for
Farmers and Dairymen, Woll; Farmers' Veterinary Adviser, Law;
Poultry Culture, Felch; American Standard of Perfection (Poultry);
How Crops Grow, Johnson; How Crops Feed,.Johnson; Agriculture
in Some of its Relations with Chemistry, Storer; The Chemistry of
Common Life, Johnson; The Great World's Farm, Gaye; Living Plants
and their Properties, Arthur and McDougal; Garden-Making, Bailey;
Greenhouse Construction, Taft; Greenhouse Management, Taft; The
Nursery-Book, Bailey; Lessons with Plants, Bailey; Principles of Fruit-
Growing, Bailey; Plant-Breeding, Bailey; Cottage Houses, Reed; Barn
Plans and Outbuildings; Testing Milk and Its Products, Farrington
and Woll; Manual of Veterinary Hygiene, Smith.
In some of the other States something has been done toward the
establishing of reading courses for farmers, and these efforts may be
In Indiana a movement was begun six or eight years ago to organ-
ize farmers' reading circles. A few local circles were organized and
did good work for a time, but from lack of funds and help the enter-
prise had to be dropped. The plan was to choose two books that
might be read during the winter, and to urge the readers to organize
themselves into circles which should convene about once in two weeks.
It was desired that one book pertain to general literature or science
and the other specifically to agriculture. One year Bailey's Talks
Afield and Warington's Chemistry of the Farm were used.
In Rhode Island a reading course, or college extension, was estab-
lished in connection with the agricultural college, and thirty or forty
persons were enrolled. After having been in operation four years,
the enterprise is in abeyance, owing to lack of help for pushing it.
The Texas Agricultural College offered a farmers' reading course
for several years, but the announcement has been removed from the
college catalogue because of lack of interest on the part of the farmers.
Three or four courses were provided, based upon individual needs.
In Missouri an effort was made at the State University two or
three years ago to organize reading courses in agriculture, but it met
with insufficient cooperation. However, for the past two years the
students in the short winter courses in agriculture and horticulture
have organized reading courses, and these have stimulated interest
after the students have left college. Through these organizations the
University has been enabled to conduct cooperative experimental work.
In Tennessee the institute officers, take an exhibit illustrating some
of the work of the experiment station. Part of this exhibit is a small
collection of books called a "Model Farmer's Library." Farmers are
asked to look over the books and are encouraged to order them.
In Virginia the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute sends
circulating libraries to a number of the colored public schools of the
State. Each of these libraries contains two or three agricultural
books. Back numbers of agricultural papers are distributed from the
library of the institute to colored farmers.
In Massachusetts catalogues of the best books on subjects connected
with agriculture have been issued from time to time. Some years ago
an offer was made to the farmers to organize reading courses, but so
few availed themselves of the opportunity that the matter was dropped.
REFLECTIONS UPON THE READING COURSES.
Two distinct ideas are represented in the reading courses outlined in
the preceding pages. The older or Chautauqua-Pennsylvania idea is
that of a definite, prescribed, self-limited, technical correspondence
curriculum, the. completion of which is signalized by a certificate or
diploma. The other, or Cornell idea, is that of a flexible, nonlimited,
untechnical reading course in which there is no system of counts, and
which does not lead to certificatory honors. The former is intensive:
it is adapted to the few. The latter is -elementary: it is adapted to
the many. Each is incomplete.
The ideal reading-course system is that which joins the two ideas.
Its general work is to touch and awaken every farmer, particularly
every poor farmer; it searches out the man who has small opportuni-
ties. 'Its special work is to aid the few who are already successful; it
accepts the man of fair or large opportunities. If the primary object
of a reading course is a mission, the Cornell system would seem to be
the better; if the object is technical education, the Pennsylvania or
curriculum system is the better. But since the complete reading
course is both a missionary and a schoolmaster, it is evident that the
Stwo systems should be conjoined.
A given amount of money will reach more persons in the elementary
or Cornell system. If funds are not at hand for the publication of
lessons, existing bulletins may be utilized, or the reader may be asked
to buy the lesson, and the expense of it would be less than the buying
of books. The lessons or the bulletins have more local and personal
application than books do. There is, or should be, less. of detail in
them. But every effort should be made to lead the reader into the
larger horizon of book reading. As fast as persons are ready for
books, supply the lists and suggest graded courses. For those who
go far enough in the reading and study of books a certificate or
diploma may be provided; but this diploma should never carry with
it an academic degree.
Organization of the readers is a prime requisite. This is the expe-
rience of every reading-course movement. The flame of interest is
kept burning if there is more than one person to tend the fire. Small
circles or clubs are relatively more effective than large ones. Twenty
persons is perhaps an outside number for greatest efficiency. If a
grange or other society takes the reading course, and its members are
many, it is well to consider the dividing of the membership into two
or more clubs or subcircles. Several small clubs in a community
engender emulation. In a small circle every member takes a part in
The literature must be distributed promptly at the appointed time.
This is particularly important if independent lessons are used, for the
circle depends upon a lesson for new subject matter at the session.
The reading matter should be promised for a definite time, and with-
held until that time. The circle may devote as many sessions as it
desires to each lesson.
It is of the greatest importance that these reading courses avoid the
discussion of questions of mere practice. They should teach the rea-
sons why-the general or underlying truths. The superintendent of a
reading course can not know the local and personal conditions which
underlie methods of practice, and the greater part of his energies
would be dissipated if he attempted to discuss them. But the members
of the circles or clubs should be encouraged to make applications for
themselves of the principles under discussion. It is far better to eluci-
date a very few underlying principles and to encourage the application
and illustration of them on each farm than to cram the mind with any
amount of mere information and advice. We often attempt to teach
A promise of a visit from some person officially connected with the
reading course acts as a powerful stimulus. Such visit should be
regarded as a premium on efficient work, not as a matter of course.
One visit each winter will be sufficient to keep up the interest, particu-
larly if it is made rather late in the winter, when enthusiasm usually
begins to lag. The reading course is an excellent supplement to the
farmers' institute. The ideal legacy of an institute is a reading course.
One or two of the speakers might be delegated to organize such courses,
and also to visit and inspect clubs or circles in the neighborhood. The
questions which are left over from the institute may form the basis of
discussions at the clubs, and the clubs may keep the spark of interest
and inquiry alive until the next institute.
Finally, itshould be said again that the reading course must be pushed.
It will not run itself, unless it runs into the ground. It is not enough
to offer the people the privilege. The movement must be kept alive.
It must be made attractive and useful. In justice, every farmers' read-
ing course should be run by a person whose head and heart and hands
are not full of college or experiment-station work; but in every case
so far the fact has been just the reverse, and it will be some years yet,
no doubt, before the movement reaches that influence and standing
which call for specially trained men. The men who have labored with
the reading-course movement are all doing full work without it. They
take it up gladly and hopefully, without remuneration. This spirit is
one of the distinguishing marks of the agricultural colleges and experi-
ment stations, and it is one of the most hopeful things in our agri-
In order to still further exhibit the work and methods of the reading
courses, representative documents used in various States have been
selected and are presented herewith.
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE COLLEGE.
CORRESPONDENCE COURSES IN AGRICULTURE.
Chamberlain's Tile Drainage," Lesson No. 1.
The practice of removing surplus water from the land was practiced at a very early
time, but not until comparatively recent times do we have records of anything like
systematic drainage. The early drainage was undoubtedly for the improvement of
sanitary conditions and for the removal of surface water.
About one hundred years ago systematic drainage was attempted in England for
the removal of both surface water and stagnant water within the soil. This met with
success and general favor, and may be said to mark the beginning of modern drainage.
While many good effects of drainage have been known for a long time, yet many
important results were wholly overlooked by those who may well be called pioneers
in modern drainage. That surplus water should be removed to make the soil mel-
low, to make the soil warm, to make the soil fertile, to lengthen the season of culti-
vation, to enable plants to better withstand drought, are some of the phases of drain-
age that have been studied most in recent times.
A superabundance of water in the soil is detrimental to plant growth for the follow-
(1) It excludes air.
(2) It absorbs heat.
(3) It prevents chemical action from making the plant food available.
(4) It delays cultivation.
(5) It causes winterkilling or heaving of crops.
(6) It increases the ill effects of drought.
(1) A certain amount of water is necessary for the germination of seeds. Seeds in
germination use or absorb oxygen and generate considerable heat. Soil from which
the air is excluded can not furnish the necessary oxygen for germination. (See Plant
Life on the Farm, p. 77.) Roots of plants need air. (See Tile Drainage, pp. 9, 10.)
(2) A wet soil is a cold soil. The only means of warming a wet soil is by applying
heat at the surface. This heat applied at the surface will evaporate water, which, in
turn, is a cooling process. To remove surplus water by evaporation is not only a slow
process, but uses up a vast amount of heat that should be utilized by growing crops.
(See Tile Drainage, pp. 17, 18.)
(3) In nearly all arable soils there is a large amount of plant food that can be made
available by cultivation and the admission of heat and air. Through the agency of
chemical action a considerable portion of this plant food may be made available that
otherwise would lie inert.
(4) A superabundance of water necessarily shortens the period of cultivation.
Soils can not be cultivated profitably while they are wet. The period of cultivation,
then, can not extend through the season of drying. This frequently seriously inter-
feres with the period of growth of ordinary crops.
(5) Each year much damage is done throughout the country by winterkilling, or
"heaving out," of wheat, clover, grass, etc. This can only take place when the soil
contains a considerable amount of moisture. Dry soils do not heave. (See Tile
Drainage, p. 22.)
(6) Land that suffers from excessive moisture during a portion of the year usually
suffers most through drought. Drainage not only prevents the ill effects of excessive
moisture, but also modifies the ill effects of drought. (See Tile Drainage, p. 25.)
In studying drainage, water may be studied under four heads:
(1) Water flowing over the surface.
(2) Hydrostatic water.
(3) Water held by capillarity.
(4) Hygroscopic water.
(1) Flowing water, if in small quantity, should be removed by drainage after pass-
ing slowly through the soil. Streams of water should not be allowed to flow con-
tinually over the soil, except in permanent water courses.
(2) Hydrostatic water, or stagnant water, is that which is held in the soil by
impervious subsoil, and naturally escapes by evaporation. This may be removed by
drainage if a proper outlet be provided. The surface of the stagnant water is spoken
of as the water table. When the soil has an impervious subsoil without artificial
drainage the water table may be at or even above the surface of the soil, .if the
precipitation is greater than the evaporation. In time of drought the water table is
lowered, but that does not fit the land for the growth of crops. Loam or clay soils,
under these conditions, become too compact for plant growth. (See Tile Drainage,
pp. 10, 11.)
(3) Water held by capillarity is that held in a porous soil by virtue of the power
of water to raise itself in small tubes. This action is very similar to the rise of water
in a sponge, blotting paper, or oil in a lampwick. The amount of water held in this
manner is not detrimental to plant growth, and would not be removed by drainage.
(See Tile Drainage, pp. 9, 10.)
It has been found by actual trial that ordinary arable soils have the power of
absorbing by capillarity from 35 to 70 per cent of their weight of water. It is also
well known that thoroughly drained soils have much greater capacity for holding
capillary water than those that are undrained. (See Tile Drainage, p. 25.)
The average of a large number of tests of drained and undrained' soils shows that
drained soils will hold about 12 per cent more water by capillarity. Ordinary soils
weigh from 3,000,000 to 4,500,000 pounds per acre for the first foot. Bearing in
mind that 1 inch of rainfall weighs about 113 tons per acre. some idea of the vast
amount of water stored in the soil by capillarity for the use of the plant may be
The question of supplying water for growing crops is each year receiving more
attention than ever before.
(4) Hygroscopic water is water absorbed by fine, dry soil from the atmosphere,
The moist condition of the dust in the road, or a fine, fallow field in the morning, is
due to this moisture. Plants may use water so absorbed from the atmosphere.
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE COLLEGE.
CORRESPONDENCE COURSES IN AGRICULTURE.
"Tile Drainage," Question Paper No. 1.
Students will discuss freely the following topics, not confining themselves to the
lesson, but use information gained from other sources. Write freely on the questions
as topics for discussion rather than questions to be answered briefly. All answers to
be written without direct aid of the book or the lesson.
Send answers to the superintendent as soon as completed, when other lessons will
be forwarded. In no case will a succeeding lesson be sent until the questions of the
previous lesson are answered.
(1) Discuss the history and development of drainage.
(2) Explain how the removal of surplus water tends to make the soil mellow.
(3) What effect does the removal of the water have on the temperature of the soil?
(4) In what way does the removal of water by drainage furnish growing crops
with water in time of drought ?
(5) How may drainage increase the fertility ?
(6) In what way is an excess of moisture injurious to germination ?
(7) Compare hydrostatic water with that held by capillarity.
(8) Of what use is hygroscopic water?
(9) Of flowing, hydrostatic, hygroscopic water, or water of capillarity, which is of
the greatest importance to field crops ?
(10) How may drainage lessen the ill effects of winterkilling of wheat, clover,
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE COLLEGE.
THE CHAUTAUQUA COURSE OF HOME STUDY IN AGRICULTURE.
Miles' Stock Breeding," Lesson No. 2.-Heredity.
The ability of parents to transmit to their offspring the characteristics of the parents
has for a long time been generally admitted. Although there are many exceptions
to this law, yet facts show that it is not only constant in its action but extends to
every feature of the organization. Within certain limits the progeny always resemble
their parents. If this were not so there would be no constancy of species, and stock
.breeders would have no assurance that the progeny would be adapted to the same
uses as their parents. The young of the sheep might more nearly resemble the dog
than its parents, the pig resemble the lamb, etc.
That the young always resemble their parents, within certain limits, is evident to
everyone, and we need only to recall familiar illustrations to remind us that in cer-
tain classes or breeds the close resemblance of the progeny to the parents is very
marked. Almost any species of wild animal will nicely illustrate this point. Their
characteristics are well fixed and change slowly with changed conditions. The dis-
tinguishing characteristics are transmitted from parent to offspring. While the early
breeders used the old adage "like produces like," modern breeders use the word
heredity to mean essentially the same thing. (See Stock Breeding, pp. 11, 12.)
The law of transmission or heredity is by far the most important law recognized by
stock breeders, and its importance is more likely to be underestimated than to have
too great importance placed upon it. Practical breeders depend upon this law more
than any other, and probably more than all others, for the improvement of their
flocks and herds. The best animals of the best breeds are used for breeding purposes,
however these may have acquired their special excellence. (See Stock Breeding,
Any character, whether good or bad, possessed by an animal, may be transmitted
to its descendants wholly or in part. Not only may those characters inherited from
ancestors be transmitted, but those developing with the individual through a change
of food, climate, habit, or other causes may influence the progeny. (See Stock Breed-
ing, pp. 11, 22, 23.)
Ancestral characters are more likely to be transmitted than those acquired by
the animal due to laws of variation or unusual conditions. (See Stock Breeding,
Chap. II.) Traits and acquired characters may be transmitted with a fair degree of
certainty. Illustrations of this kind are familiar to nearly everyone. The training
horses to trot, dogs trained to hunt a particular kind of game, the increased disposi-
tion of cocks to fight are illustrations of this kind. (See Stock Breeding, pp. 14, 15, 59.)
Mutilations are rarely transmitted, but with more frequency when the mutilated
part becomes diseased. Docking lambs and cutting off the tails of pigs for many
generations has not produced tailless or short-tailed breeds. However, many authen-
tic cases are on record where blemishes or defects caused by mutilation have been
transmitted. (See Stock Breeding, pp. 58, 60, 61.)
Certain diseases become hereditary and present characteristics that may be sum-
marized as follows:
(1) They are transmitted by the male as well as the female parent, and are doubly
severe in the offspring if both parents are affected by the same disease.
(2) They may be developed in immediate progeny and in subsequent generations
as well. (See Stock Breeding, pp. 32, 71.)
(3) They may not appear in the same form in each generation, but in analogous
diseases. (See Stock Breeding, pp. 25, 26.)
(4) Hereditary diseases appear to a certain extent to be independent of external
conditions and the causes that tend to produce nonhereditary diseases. (See Stock
Breeding, pp. 26, 27.)
(5) They develop most readily at critical periods of life and under circumstances
conducive to impaired health or when the vital powers are unusually low. (See
Stock Breeding, pp. 23, 26.)
(6) As a rule they are less effectually treated by ordinary remedies than other
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE COLLEGE.
CHAUTAUQUA COURSE OF HOME STUDY IN AGRICULTURE.
"Stock Breeding," Question Paper No. 2.
Students will discuss freely the following topics, not confining themselves to the
lesson sheet, but use information gained from other sources. Write freely on the ques-
tions as topics for discussion rather than questions to be answered briefly.
Send answers to the superintendent as soon as completed, when other lesson sheets
will be forwarded. In no case will a succeeding lesson sheet be sent until the ques-
tions of the previous lesson are answered.
(1) Explain how constancy of species depends on heredity.
(2) Why is the law of heredity of more importance to the stock breeder than
(3) Give illustrations of acquired characters that have been transmitted, and dis-
cuss the way in which this change has been brought about.
(4) Discuss fully the law governing the transmission of mutilations. Give
(5) Why do certain diseases tend to become hereditary more than others?
(6) Explain why hereditary diseases develop most readily at critical periods of life.
(7) How may characters produced by food be transmitted ? Give illustrations.
(8) Give illustrations of heredity appearing in succeeding generations in analo-
(9) Explain why ancestral characters are more likely to be transmitted than
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE COLLEGE.
CORRESPONDENCE COURSES IN AGRICULTURE.
Ormsbee's The House Comfortable," Question Paper No. 3.
Students will discuss freely the following topics, not confining themselves to the
lessons, but use information gained from other sources. Write freely on the questions
as topics for discussion rather than questions to be answered briefly. All answers to
be written without direct aid of the book or the lesson.
Send answers to the superintendent as soon as completed, when other lessons will
be forwarded. In no case will a succeeding lesson be sent until the questions of the
previous lessons are answered.
(1) Give size of convenient kitchen for farmhouse. Discuss advantages and dis-
(2) If the floor is painted, give a good preparation to use, and describe method of
(3) How can dishwashing be made easiest ? If the dishes are drained by any device
for the purpose, give a plan of the drainer and describe subsequent treatment.
(4) Give the best method of keeping the kitchen range black and clean.
(5) How would you have the walls and ceiling of your kitchen finished, if you
could choose ? Give reasons.
(6) What schemes have you for making the work of your kitchen easier?
(7) How do you keep your kitchen free from flies in summer?
(8) Discuss means for removing the odor from cooking from the kitchen.
CORNELL READING COURSE FOR FARMERS.
READING LESSON No. 1, NOVEMBER, 1898, BY L. H. BAILEY.
The Soil: What it is.
1. The basis of soil is fragments of rock.-As the earth cooled, the surface solidified
Into rock. The processes of nature have been constantly at work in breaking up this
rock and making it into soil.
S 2. Weathering is the great agency in making rocks into soil.-Rain, snow, ice, frost have
worn away the mountains and deposited the fragments as soil. Probably as much
material has been worn away from the Alps as still remains, and this material now
forms much of the soil of Italy, Germany, France, and Holland. Our own mountains
and hills have worn away in like manner.
3. Weathering is still active.-All exposed rocks are wearing away. Stones are grow-
ing smaller. The soil is pulverized by fall plowing.
4. The particles of soil are worn and transported by water.-Every stream carries away
great quantities-of soil and deposits it in the shallows and the bays. After every
rain the streams and ponds are muddy or roily. Observe the sediment or fine
mud which remains when a mud puddle" dries up. The rivulet may carry away
tons of earth every year and this is deposited somewhere, and some time it may,
perhaps, come into use again for the growing of plants. Many of our best and
richest farm lands are the deposits of former streams and lakes. Such lands are frne
and siltlike. Most lowlands belong to this category, and even some of our higher
lands are formed from deposits from water. The mixed and varied character of soils
is largely due to the fact that they are the results of transportation from different
Observe the flat lands about lakes. These flats are formed by the deposition of
material from the surrounding highlands; but they are often exposed before their
natural time by the lowering of the water level in the lake. All lakes and ponds
are filling up. Nearly every stream makes a delta at its mouth; but if the stream
into which it empties is swift, the delta may be carried away.
Observe, also, the broad, rounded hillocks and knolls in valleys and ravines. Many
of them have attained their present form from the action of moving water.
Every farmer knows that overflowed lands are rich. He has heard of the won-
derful fertility of the Nile. He should explain these facts.
5. All productive soils also contain organic matter.-Organic matter is the remains of
plants and animals. As found in soils in a decaying condition, it is called humus.
It is the humus which gives the soil its dark or rich look. It also tends to make
soils loose, warm, and mellow. It holds moisture. The addition of humus makes
soils loamy. A sandy loam may be defined as a soil of which the original mineral
matter is sand, and a clayey loam is one of which the basis is clay. Soils which
have no humus are hard, dead and unproductive.
6. Humus is supplied by means of roots and stubble, green crops, and barn manures.-If
the farmer practices a rotation of which meadow and pasture are a part, the supply
of humus will be maintained. In such cases, green manuring is unnecessary except
now and then upon lands which are very hard or poor. The roots and the stubble,
with the droppings of the animals on the pasture, and manure applied with one of
the crops in the rotation, keep the land well supplied with vegetable matter. When-
ever possible, it is better to feed the crop to stock and return the manure to the land
than to plow the crop under, for one will get back the greater part of the fertilizing
value of the crops and maintain the animal at the same time. In western New York,
there are hundreds o& acres of refuse cabbage lands, and at this day'there are thou-
sands of tons of herbage on the ground and no stock to eat it. It is wasteful.
Many soils which are said to be worn out are robbed of their humus rather than
of their plant food; others have been injured in their texture by careless or faulty
management. In supplying humus, it is better to add small quantities often. Lands
which are under constant tillage, in corn, wheat, oats, potatoes, may be supplied
with humus if catch crops are sown with the crop, now and then, late in the season.
Rye, Canada peas, crimson clover, and the like may be used for this purpose. Plow
them under as soon as the land is ready in the spring, even if the plants are not
Observe how the forest supplies its humus. Year by year the leaves add to the soil
cover, which slowly passes into vegetable mold or humus. The trunks finally decay
and pass into the soil. The work is effectively done, but it consumes time, and man ::;
is in a hurry. When the forest is removed the land is very productive. It is called
"virgin soil," notwithstanding the fact that an enormous crop of trees has just been
taken from it, and that it may have grown hundreds of such crops. The real virgin
soil is the barren soil. But however rich this forest soil may be when the timber is
first removed, it generally soon loses its exuberant fertility. The pigmy crops of the
farmer seem to be harder on the soil than the gigantic crops of nature. Some of this
loss of productivity is due to the loss of humus.
A rotation prevents the exhaustion of plant-food, supplies nitrogen in leguminous
crops, one crop leaves the land in better condition for another, the roots and stubble
improve the texture of the soil, it keeps weeds in check, provides for continuous
labor because stock is kept.
The rotation should differ with the kind of soil and general style of farming. The
Cornell rotation is:
Clover and timothy, one year.
A good rotation for weed-infested land is:
Sod, one year.
Potatoes, or some other tilled crop.
Oats or barley.
On fruit farms rotations are not so practicable as on grain farms, but the fields
which are not in fruit can often be worked in rotation to great advantage. The gen-
eral tendency of fruit farmers is to keep too little stock. If stock can not be kept, the
humus can be maintained by catch crops and cover crops.
7. The fertility of the land is its power to produce crops. It is determined by three things-
the texture of the soil, its richness in plant food, and its available moisture. -The texture of
the soil is its physical condition, as to whether it is mellow, loose, leachy, cloddy,
hard, and the like. A rock or a board will not raise corn, and yet it may contain an
abundance of plant food. The plant can not get a foothold, and it would do no good
to apply fertilizers. Spreading potash on a lump of clay is not farming; it is the
wasting of potash. A cow will not appreciate the fanciest ration if she is uncomfor-
table; neither will a plant. It is only on land which is in good tilth that fertilizers
pay. The better the farming the more it will pay, as a rule, to buy plant food, but
poor farming can not make it pay.
8. Nature secures good texture in soil by growing plants in it.-Roots make the soil
finer, and plants supply it with humus. Plants break down the soil by sending their
roots into the crevices of the particles, and the root acids dissolve some of it. Observe
nature working at this problem. First the "moss" or lichen attacks the rock, the
weather cracks it and wears it away, a little soil is gathered here and there in the
hollows, a fern or some other lowly plant gains a foothold, year by year and century
Sby century the pocket of soil grows deeper and larger, and finally the rock is worn
away and crumbled and is ready to support potatoes and smartweed. Or the rock
may be hard and bare and you can not see any such process going on; yet, even
then, every rain washes something away from it, and the soil beneath it is constantly
receiving additions. Some soils may be said to be completed; the rock is all broken
down and fined. Other soils are still in process of manufacture; they are full of
stones and pebbles which are slowly disintegrating and adding their substance to the
soil. Did you ever see a rotten stone?"
The longer plants are grown on any soil'and returned to it the richer the soil
becomes. But nature has centuries at her disposal; man'has but a few short years
and must work rapidly, and he can not afford to make mistakes.
9. The texture of the soil may be improved (1) by underdraining, (2) by tilling, (3) by
adding vegetable matter, (4) by adding certain materials, as lime, which tend to change t :ie
size of the soil particles.-The reader will say that nature does not practice tile-drain- I
ing. Perhaps not; but then she has more kinds of crops to grow than the farmer has,
and if she can not raise oaks on a certain piece of land she can put in water lilies.
We shall have an entire lesson devoted to drainage and tillage, and also one to manures
and fertilizers. It is enough for the present to say that the roots which are left in
the ground after the crop is harvested are very valuable in improving the soil. This
is particularly true if they are tap roots-if they run deep into the soil. Clover
bores holes into the soil, letting in air, draining it, warming it, and bringing up its
plant food. Roberts reports (Fertility of the Land, p. 345) that a second growth of
clover, two years from seeding, gave a yield of air-dried tops of 5,417 pounds per
acre, and of air-dried roots, 2,368 pounds in the first 8 inches of soil. Add to this
latter figure the weight of roots below 8 inches and the stubble and waste, and it is
seen that the amount of herbage left on the clover field is not greatly less than that
taken off. In this instance the roots contained a greater percentage of nitrogen and
phosphoric acid than the tops, and about the same percentage of potash.
Make an estimate of what proportion of the plant growth you raise is actually
taken off the field. Figure up, as accurately as you can, the part left in roots,
stubble, leaves, and refuse. Even of maize, you do not remove all from the field.
This calculation will bring up the whole question of the kind of root system which
each sort of plant has. Have you ever made a close examination of the roots of
potatoes, maize, wheat, clover, cabbages, buckwheat, strawberries, Canada thistles,
or other crops? From what part of the soil do these plants secure their nourish-
ment? What power have they of going deep for water? What proportion of them
is root? Because the roots are hidden, we have neglected to examine them.
10. The soil is plant food, but this food becomes usable or available slowly.-Roberts
has compiled the analyses of 49 representative soils made by American chemists, and
the following is the result: "The tables reveal the fact that even the poorer soils
have an abundance of plant food for several crops, while the richer soils in some
cases have sufficient for 200 to 300 crops of wheat or maize. The average of 34
analyses gives to each acre of land, 8 inches deep, 3,217 pounds of nitrogen, 3,936
pounds of phosphoric acid, and 17,597 pounds of potash, and this does not include
that which is contained in the stones, gravel, and sand of the soil which will not
pass through meshes of one-fiftieth of an inch, which, by weathering and tillage,
slowly give up their valuable constituents." (Roberts, Fertility of the Land, p. 16.)
Fortunately, this great store of plant food is locked up, else it would have leached
from the soil or have been used up long ago. By careful husbandry a little of it is
made usable year by year, and the better the management of the land the more of this
food is available to the plant. When the farmer has done his best to get out of the
land all that it will give him, then he may add fertilizers for larger results.
Plant food is available when it is in such condition that the plant can use it. It
must be both soluble and in such chemical form that the plant likes it. Plant food
which is not soluble in rain water may still be soluble in soil water (which contains
acids derived from the humus), and the acid excretions from the roots may render it
soluble. But solubility is not necessarily availability, for, as we have said, the mate-
rials must be in such combination that the plant will take them. Thus, nitrate of
soda (NaNO3) is available because it is both soluble and in the form in which the
plant wants it. But nitrite of soda (NaNO2) is not available, although it is soluble-
the plant does not like nitrites.
11. Nitrogen must probably be in the form of nitrates before it can be used by most
plants.-Nitrogen is abundant. It is approximately four-fifths of the atmosphere and
it is an important content' of every plant and animal; yet, it is the element which is
most difficult to secure and to keep and the most expensive to buy. This is because
the greater part uf it is not in a form to be available and because, when it is available,
it tends to leach from the soil. It is available when it is in the form of a nitrate-
one part of nitrogen, three parts of oxygen, united with one part of some other ele-
ment (NaNO3, nitrate of soda; KNO3, nitrate of potash or saltpeter; IINO,, nitric
acid, etc.). The process of changing nitrogen into nitrates is called nitrification. This
process is the work of germs or microbes in the soil, and these germs work most effi-
ciently when the soil is not water-logged and when it is well tilled. The farmer
should make his available nitrogen supply as he goes along; and he makes it with
tile-drains, plows, harrows, and cultivators.
But there are some plants which have the power of using the nitrogen which is in
the air in the soil. These are legumninous plants-clovers, peas, beans, vetch, alfalfa.
SIf, therefore, the farmer can not secure sufficient nitrogen by other means, he may
use these plants as green manures. If his system of farming will not allow him to
use these plants, or if lie does not secure sufficient nitrogen when he does use them,
then be can go to the warehouse and buy nitrogen.
12. The soil is wnt a mere inert ihas.s; it is a scene of life and activity.-This is the new
and true teaching. Soil which is wholly inactive is unproductive. Movements of
air and water, actions of heat and evaporation, life rounds of countless microscopic
organisms, decay and disintegration of plants and soil particles-these are some of
the activities of the fertile soil. If our ears were delicate enough we could hear the
shuffle of the workers, the beating of the hammers, and the roll of the tiny machin-
ery. All things begin with the soil and at last all things come back to it. The soil
is the cemetery of all the ages and the resurrection of all life. If the soil is not idle,
neither should the farmer be.
NoTE.-Persons who desire to pursue this subject further should procure King's
book The Soil, and Roberts's Fertility of the Land.
CORNELL READING COURSE FOR FARMERS.
Quiz ON READING LESSON NO. 1, NOVEMBER, 1898, BY JOHN W. SI'ENCER.
These questions constitute a supplement to reading lesson No. 1 (The soil; What
it is). Its purpose is to induce the reader to think carefully about what he reads.
Answer the questions as best you can and return this sheet to us (2 cents postage).
We want these answers in order that we may know what interest you are taking in
the reading course and how much good you are getting from it; and we want to help
you when you dp not understand the problems involved. We are after results, and
do not care about the handwriting nor the grammar. These answers are for our own
examination and are not to be made public.
We should be glad of any comments on these lessons.
It is hoped that readers will form themselves into little clubs, to meet once or twice
a month, to discuss the problems raised by the lessons.
Those who answer the questions will receive future lessons.
Have you ever observed the influence of weather upon soft, slaty rock jutting out
on embankments and railroad cuts?
Have you ever taken a glass of muddy water from a flowing stream and allowed it
to stand until the sediment had settled? What is this sediment?
Imagine a branch of this stream bringing rotted slate rock and another bringing
fine sand. When mixed in the main stream and deposited on some bar or over-
flowed field, what kind of soil would the mixture make?
What is inorganic matter?
What is organic matter?
Why are soils from which a thrifty forest growth has been removed capable at onceJ-
of producing good farm crops ?
Have you ever observed lichen (sometimes called moss ") growing on bare rock ii
or on a tombstone ?
If any great amount of lichen should become mixed with the disintegrated rock,
would it be humus and form a weak soil that might produce an order of plants a little.
larger and stronger than lichen ?
As the higher order of plants come in-and die down and mix with the soil, would
the process increase the productive power of the soil?
In instances in which soil has been removed by grading, could a new soil be well
made by adding commercial fertilizer alone? What would you apply first to such
If humus in soil under cultivation is perishable, ought it not to be the farmer's
first care to keep good the quantity first found in the virgin soil?
In addition to the humus returned to the soil in manure, from forage fed to stock,
and by plowing under stubble and roots, do you think it a good plan to sow some
cover crop in corn rows at last cultivation, and on oat and wheat stubble as soon as
the crop is off, for plowing under the following spring;?
What are good crops for this purpose?
Which of these are leguminous plants? Name all the kinds of leguminous plants
Why is it advised to plow under the green crops as soon as the land can be worked
in the spring?
Do you think a rotation of crops helps the soil to bear the strain of successive
cropping? If so, why?
Are you aware that plant food exists in the soil in both available and unavailable
forms, and that when plants have used up most S.TThe available part we call the
soil worn out ?
Is it true that your soil is capable of being made an active laboratory in which
changes will take place and some of this unavailable plant food be made usable?
Are you aware that when the texture of your soil is poor, or, in other words, when
your laboratory is out of order, the best commercial fertilizers or stable manures will-..
not give the best results?
Do you know that heat and air are. important agencies in the changes going on in
the soil, as they also are in the changes in a barrel of cider or in the yeast in a pan
Does standing water on soil have a detrimental or beneficial effect on the heat and -
How can you make the soil laboratory do the best work?
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[Size, 5t by 3' inches.]
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[Size, 6 by 41 inches. Space on the back for filing entries.]
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Know all men by these presents:
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President Michigan Agricultural College.
Secretary Farm Home Reading Circle.
AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE, 189-.
[Size, 8 by 10 inches, with ample margin. It has an underprint, in green scroll,
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