LAKE CITY, FL(
REV. JAS. P. DEPASS, DIRECTOR.
DACOSTA PRINTING AND PUBLISHING HOUSE.
REV. JAS. P. DEPASS .... Director.
DR. J. C. NEAL . ... .Entomologist and Botanist.
DR. J. M. PICKELL ... Chemist.
J. J. EARLE, A. B . .Assistant Chemist.
S 1st Ex --Fodder pulled.....
2d Fodder not pulled
3d Fodder pulled....
4th Fodder not pulled
5th Fodder pulled ..
[O 6th Ex.--odder pulled....
Cotton seed meal.
Crushed cotton seed.'% ton.
Gossypium. 590 lbs.
Blood and bone. "
................I ........ .
20 bu. 10 qts.
26 bu. 20 qts.
21 bu. 4 qts.
27 bu. 20 qts.
Planet Junior No. 2
r l "
The experiments in corn have developed some points which are
worthy of consideration. I suggest a few, and invite the thoughtful
reader to a careful study of the above table.
To insure a good stand, where the seed was planted in the hill,the
fertilizer was placed on each side of it, so as not to injure its germ.
The two plots were prepared by being broken up with a two horse
plow and harrowed with Clark's Cutaway Harrow. On that part
of plot i where the corn was drilled, the fertilizer was sown
broadcast before the soil was broken up and at the last plowing. In the
hill corn in plot i, and also in plot 2, the fertilizer was placed when the
land was laid off after the harrowing. In April and May the crop
was subjected to a drought. The effect of the drought was not per-
ceptible on the fertilized corn, either in checking the growth of stalk
or in firing it, and its color was a dark green. The unfertilized was
not fired either, but its growth was slow and its color light.
Quite a number of old experienced farmers saw the crop during
its growth, and pronounced it the finest corn they had seen grown in
the State, its average height being about, if not iuite, twelve feet.
Their estimate, however, of the probable yield of the fertilized crop
was as far in excess as it was below that of the unfertilized. This
last remark is made in order to show that estimates made by even the
most experienced, based upon what is thought to be good evidence,
is deceiving. The table above shows that the fertilizers used, both as
to quality and quantity, did not increase the yield to that extent as to
justify the farmer in fertilizing this crop.
The opinion that it will pay to fertilize corn has been stated as a
fact, both orally and through the press,until it has become a prevail-
ing opinion. My own experience heretofore has excited doubt in
regard to this, and while I do not pretend to say that the experiments
of this year, or even of another, will amount to a demonstration, still,
it is clear that the excess of corn made thus far does not pay for
the fertilizers. Another year these experiments will be repeated and
others instituted with different fertilizers and selected seed.
The seed used was that which has been commonly planted in the
State for years. No effort was made to select seed. It is more than
likely that the seed had something to do with the yield, since there
was no evidence that the fertilized corn had a larger number of stalks
which had more than one ear to the stalk. The difference was in the
size of the ear. It was noticeable that in each case the ear shot out
much above the middle of the stock, and but few stalks had but two
ears. When the rains began, the fertilized corn was in the silk and
much farther advanced toward maturity than the unfertilized, and that
part of plot i which was drilled began at once to fire.
THE FODDER taken from these plots amounted to 1,317 pounds,
and cost, rating hands at 75 cents per day, within a fraction of 85
cents per 1oo pounds.
It will be seen by reference to the table that when the fodder was
pulled that the lss in corn per acre was very marked. The question,
does it pay to pull fodder? in view of the above facts, is a pertinent
one. Hay, mowed with a scythe, taken from eight acres amounted
to 12,500 pounds. It is safe to say that had a one or two-horse
mower been used the amount would have been nearly doubled, if not
THE CULTIVATORS used were the Terry and Planet Jr. No. 2.
They are very superior tools. The Planet Jr. is lighter and easier
handled,cultivating the crop level. The Terry, while heavy, and not
so easy to handle by the plowman, runs light and throws dirt lightly
to the corn, leaving a valley between the rows. It is a better tool
than the Planet Jr. No. 2 in flat, wet land. or on level land when the
seasons are wet, but on hilly land or land that is level and dry the
Planet Jr. is the best implement. Clark's Cutaway Harrow is a most
useful tool, and excels in breaking clods. The usefulness of this
admirable tool and its general adaptation to farm work will be noticed
in future bulletins.
THE LAND selected for 'these experiments has been cultivated
twenty years, was level, and average pine land for this section.
The 29th of January I planted cucumbers on the following plan:
A plot five by sixty feet, running east and west, was marked off.
This was excavated a foot, the top soil, to the depth of about four
inches, being thrown on the south and the subsoil on the north
side. The sides were walled with plank two feet above the level of
the ground and eight inches on the south. The ground was then
spaded, and about four inches of green stable manure spread evenly
over it, and covered with the top soil. The seeds were planted three by
three feet, and, to insure a stand, five were placed in a hill. Strips one
by two inches were nailed across as a rest for an awning, which, on cold
nights, was stretched over the inclosure. The awning was made of
two widths of cheese-cloth, costing four cents a yard. The plants
were uninjured when the thermometer was much below the freezing-
The vines began to fruit early and prolifically, and bore through
the summer. On September 3 I ate good fruit from them. A
mistake, I think, was made in allowing the vines to run beyond the
inclosure. Another, possibly, was, that after rains the plants were
not covered with the awning as a protection against the sun. The
estimate yield per acre was near 1,200 bushels of good smooth fruit,
and as much more of culls.
During the dry weather these plants were watered occasionally,
but not copiously.
For a family, this would seem the plan to raise this healthy and
refreshing vegetable. For market it has been tried with varying
ing success, but I am not prepared to recommend it, unless the plants
could be regularly and properly irrigated.
CONSTITUENTS OF MUCK,
Numerous inquiries in regard to muck have been sent to the
Station The following quotations will make plain the nature of these
inquiries: "Send me statement of the properties needed to make it
produce corn, beans, Irish potatoes, onions and such like crops."
"I desire to have the same (samples of muck) analyzed so as to ascer-
tain their value as a fertilizer." I would like to know just what the
muck contains, and to find out its commercial value per ton." "By
sending me the analysis, and also by giving me the most practical plan
for disintegrating it so that it will mix with the soil, you will confer a
great favor on the people of this section, as if it proves of value, it
will soon be extensively used on our fields and groves." "I have a
good young orchard, a good muck bed, but have never used it yet,
not knowing its value." "Please let us know what'it lacks of being
as good as any commercial fertilizer; or what ingredient or chemical
will improve it."
It is the object of this bulletin to furnish data by means of which
each farmer may construct for himself answers to the foregoing and
similar questions. Eighteen or twenty samples of muck from various
parts of the State have been analyzed at this Station. The result of
these analyses are presented here in tabulated form. The fertilizer
which muck resembles most, is barn-yard manure. For purposes of
comparison, analyses of the latter, made by various observers in
different parts of the world, are placed alongside of those of our
The figures 41, 42, 43, etc., at the head of the columns (see
table I) are the numbers by which the specimens are designated at the
41. Sent on by J. H. Ruff, Shell Creek, and called by him salt or
tide-water muck. He says: "Put under cabbage, potatoes, corn,
cane, tomatoes, etc., the results are surprising-equally good as cow-
pen or stable manure. The only preparation we have given it is to
let it lie in a heap for a few months, then apply. In some cases it is
put right on.when wheeled out." This specimen was light-brown in
color, not greatly decomposed, rootlets and fibrous ingredients being
quite apparent to the eye.
42. William Gibbs, Orange City, Fla.-From a saw-grass pond.
No account of its use. Color of muck, dark brown; pretty well
rotted, but fibrous ingredients slightly visible; quite wet.
43 and 44. J. S. Corrigan, San Antonio.- Dark brown; pretty
well decomposed; dripping with moisture.
45. Hicks & Clark, Ft. Mason.-"Compost Humus." Dark
brown, pretty well decomposed; air-dry.
46. Hicks & Clark, Ft. Mason.-"Calcine Humus." Light brown;
well rotted; air-dry. Apparently a mixture of humus and marl.
47. P. Tischler, Jacksonville.-(Specimen No. i), dark brown,
pretty well decomposed, though fibrous matter quite visible; moist.
48 (Specimen No. 2), light brown, decomposition not far advanced,
grass-stalks, roots, etc., abundantly visible; air-dry.
49. C. Jones, for H. F. Davis, Bowling Green.-Very dark,
nearly black; decomposition well advanced; very moist.
50. G. B. Griffin, Windsor, Alachua county.-Light brown; de-
composition not far advanced; air-dry. Specimen taken from near
the surface of a bed 15 feet deep. Large quantities of it used, but no
statement of its effect on crops given.
51. Sent on by W. S. Hart, Hawks Park.-Dry, hard, greyish
cake, to be disintegrated only by use of considerable force as with pestle
and mortar; scarcely any appearance of vegetable origin; from an
island in the Hillsborough River.
52. W. N. Jackson, Lane Park.-Brown; decomposition pretty
well advanced; air-dry. Specimen from a "boy head" (or "bay
head?"). Has fertilized with it considerably, and "believes it a good
thing to use, but not alone."
53. B. .M. Burdett, Killarney.--Specimen from a ditch, light
brown; air dry. Decomposition not far advanced.
54. W. E. Botts, Eldridge.-Light brown. Decomposition not
for advanced, contains much grass and undecomposed vegetable matter;
70. J. C. Phillips, Brooksville, Fla.-Grey; only slightly rotted;
The next column (not numbered) contains the average analyses of
three specimens, taken, two of them, from rather a hill in'open pine
woods, the other from what in wet weather is a pond. Specimens
very dark, well decomposed; air.dry. Sent on by W. B. Knight, Lake
Water at 2120............... ..
Organic aud Volatile Matter ..
Sand and Insoluble Matter ....
Soluble Mineral atter.........
Org. Matter Contains Ammonia
SOLUBLE MINERAL MATTER
Lime ........ ..............
Sulphuric Acid. ..........
Oxides of Iron and Aluminum
VALUE PER Ammonia ....
TUON. Phosphoric Acid
T l... Potash............
T otal ............... .......... .
FLORIDA MUCK.- J. J. T.
29.13 81 72
29.13 ...81 72
8 36 2 28
3 .... .
.76 o .100.00
120 00 100.0 100.00100.00 00 100.t0 100.O 10 0 0 100 O 100 0. 100 00 103 0
.97 1.01 .72 3 30
.05 .38 ...
.06 .85 ...... .....
.12 .13 .
.3 12.13 0
.25 .45 ... ......
1.36 2.77 ...
$1 94 $2 02 $1 44 $5 60
V2 05 $3 21..... ......
.591 3 10
1.40 ..... 1 10 .....
...... 71. ......
...... 30 ...
$2 80 ..... $2 20
--- --- ....
79 62 75 42
13.82 18 53
8 48 53 51...... 2 24
60 45 4 28 .... 1 38
$332 2 13 ..... 2 16 .... $20 93
Q2 vv A...
WHAT THE ANALYSES TEACH.
In studying the foregoing table (I), especial attention should be
directed to the organic or vegetable matter, the ammonia, the phos-
phoric acid and the potash. It will be noted that the organic master
varies from about 12 pounds to about 74 pounds in every 1oo pounds
of muck, in the barnyard manure from about 14 to about 30 per
hundred. The ammonia in the muck ranges from about one-half to
3 pounds per hundred; in the barnyard manure, from about one-half
pound to about i pound. Cotton-seed meal contains about 6 pounds
of ammonia to the hundred. Cotton-seed meal is a highly ammoniated
manure, though not so much so as some guanos, which contain as much
as 15 or more pounds of ammonia per hundred. It will be noted that
the higher the per cent. of organic matter, the higher is the contents
of ammonia. It is the organic matter, mainly, that gives value to
muck ; where that is large in comparison to the quantity of sand, the
muck will be generally found valuable. The phosphoric acid in the
muck ranges from a fraction of an ounce to about three-fourths of a
pound to the hundred; in the barn-yard manure, from one-fifth of a
pound to near one-half pound per hundred; in cotton-seed meal it is
about 2 pounds per hundred. The potash ranges in the muck from
less than an ounce to about eight-tenths of a pound per hundred; in the
manure, from about 5 ounces to seven-tenths of a pound per hundred; in
the cotton seed meal it amounts to about i pounds to the hundred.
The authorities agree that the plant food in muck is much less
readily available than that in barnyard manure-especially is this true
of the nitrogen. In making out an estimate of the commercial value
of muck as compared with barnyard manure and cotton-seed meal,
ammonia is put at o1 cents a pound in the former and 15 cents in the
latter two. The potash and phosphoric acid are estimated at 4y' and
6 cents respectively in all. Applying these figures, it is seen that the
muck is rated at from $2 to about $3 per ton; the barnyard manure
at about the same, whereas the cotton-seed meal is rated at about $21
a ton. But it is well known that estimates of this kind must be taken
with due allowances. The commercial valuation does not always
correspond with its crop-producing value.
The total value of only a few samples-those which were com-
pletely analyzed-is given. The valuation of the ammonia alone
ranges from $i to over $6.
TABLE II.-AVER GES.
P 5,5" o Column A contains
S- .B the average of the
P 4 o Pwhole sixteen samples
P of muck ; B the aver-
? age of the five samples
A B C D E which were completely
------ --- --- analyzed nan ely, Nos.
Moisture at 2120 .......... 5081 3348 72.11 8 4 .49 41, 45, 46 51, and 70.
Organic and volatile matter.. 37 41 29.56 Column C contains the
Sand and insoluble matter.... 14 81 27.11 average of six analyses
Soluble mineral matter .... 3.8 9.24 5.69 of barnyard manure
J (mixtures of horse.cow,
Amrronia ........... 120 0.93 0.7 5.77 2.56 and hog manure), in
(Equivalent to nitrogen)...... 99 0.76 0.58 4.77 2.12 different stages of de-
composition, from 14
Oxides of iron and aluminum 3 88 days to 8 months old
Lime ..................... ........... 2 4 1.7 0.78 (analyses by Voelcker).
Magnesia ...................... 0.4 0 09 1.08 D average of five ana-
Phosphoric acid................... 0 31 0.3 1 87 12.10 lyses of cotton-seed
Sulphuric acid...... ................. 0 83 meal, made at the
Potash..... ... ........... 0 0.7 1.5 3.30 massachusetts Experi-
Soda ............................. 01 m nt Station. E, the
analysis of a standard
(Ammonia. .2 50 $86 $2 1017 31 $ 7 65 commercial fertilizer.
Value I Phosphoric acid .... 3 38 2 24 14 2 These figures repre-
per Potash......... ..... 2 71 1 38 3 00 sent, as do those in all
ton. -- -- the tables,the percent.
Total.. ....... 19 $20 93$25 18 of the different ingred-
o eients; or, to express it
more plainly, the number of pounds cf each ingredient contained in a hundred
pounds of muck, etc. The ammonia is estimated as worth ten cents a piund in the
muck, and fifteen cents in the other fertilizers. The phosphoric acid and potash are
estimated in all at six, and four and one-half cents a pound respectively.
Table II is designed to give a general idea of the relative value of
the manures there described. It will be noted that muck contains
considerably more ammonia than barn-yard manure, considerably less
potash, and about the same amount of phosphoric acid. The phos-
phoric acid was determined in only five samples of our muck. It may
be that if a larger number of determinations were made that the aver-
age would be brought lower. However that may be, it has not hereto-
fore been found that muck contains generally as much phosphoric
acid as barnyard manure. It is generally understood, and our an-
alyses bear out the conclusion except as to phosphoric acid, that muck
contains more ammonia, but less potash and phosphoric acid than
(Ihis table shows what would be the composition of Muck if freed from water).
Organic and Volatile Matter...............
Sand and Insoluble Matter..................
Soluble Mineral Matter..................
Ammonia in Organic Matter..............
SOLUBLE MINERAL MATTER CONTAINS:
Oxides of Iron andAluminum...............
M agnesia ........... .. ...................
Phosphoric Acid. ..................................
Potash........................ .... ....... .... ...
41 42 43
77.98 81.30 75 81
11.80 14.99 19.42
10.22 3.71 4.77
100.00 100.C0 100 CO
111 3.61 3 06
5.53 ... .....
1.76 .... .....
0.18 .. ......
1.06 ....... ....
44 45 4G 47
74.97 61.53 42.33 83.74
21.49 33.14 25.S! 12.66
3.54 5.83 31.78 3.60
ICO.00 100.00 100.00100.C
3.241 2.50 1.93 2.3
...... 3 5 .30 ....
0.13 0.7 .....
.... 0.63 0.861.... .
0.15 1.2 .....
0.131 0.21 .......
48 40 50
88.64 51.93 85.46
10.51 45.78 12.02
0.75 2.2, 2:52
99.90 103.00 ll0.00
4.37 1.65 3.74
.. . .
.......: .. .. .. ..
100.00 100 00
1 03 3.88
53 54 70
63.76 96.9 37.80 65.42
18.08 2.46 51.57 33.23
18.16 0.54 10.63 1.33
100.00 09.96 100.0) 100.0)
........ 44 .............
................ 2.52 .....
......... ....... 1.26 .........
............ 0.72 .....
.. 0.78 .
0 24 ......
Table III presents the same analyses as those in Table I, but here the
water has been eliminated and the percentages calculated on the basis of
water free muck. The farmer never has to deal with water-free muck.
Its power of absorbing and retaining moisture is, indeed, one of its
most valuable properties Still an inspection of this table will empha-
size what a vast saving of labor it would be if muck could be freed
economically of even half of its moisture, before it is hauled from the
muck bed to the compost heap. By properly throwing up the muck
onto rail scaffolding (see Dr. Neal's directions under the head of com-
posting), much of the moisture can be rotten rid of. But there is an
ingredient which, unlike water, is of no value and cannot be gotten
rid of-sand. It will be instructive to compare two mucks, one hav-
ing a large per cent. of sand and one having a large per cent. of mois-
ture. Let the comparison be made between them in the wet and the
dry state. Take for this comparison samples 42 and 51:
42 51 42 51
Water .....................84.72 14.83 none none
Organic Matter........... 12.42 16.27 81.30 19.10
Sand ............ ......... 2.28 56.68 14.99 66.55
Ammonia. ................ 0.t5 0.88 3.61 1.03
The valuable ingredients in 51 in the wet state (organic matter
16.27, ammonia 0.88) are much greater than in 42 (organic matter
12.42, ammonia 0.55). In the dry state, this relation is changed, 42
containing more than three times as much ammonia and four times as
much organic matter as 51. While in the wet state 51 contains more
organic matter than 42, the relative amount of organic matter to the
amount of sand in each is quite different; 42 has about six times more
organic matter than it has of sand, whereas in 51 the contents of sand is
more than three times greater than that of organic matter. In judging
of the value of muck, not merely the amount of organic matter, but the
amount as compared with the amount of sand must be taken into ac-
count. The color of muck is not a criterion of its value, except, per-
haps, in so far as it may indicate a more or less advanced stage of de-
composition; the darker mucks are generally farther advanced in de-
composition than the lighter colored.
These analyses bring out very clearly that muck is exceedingly
variable in quality. This is equally true of barnyard manure, which
varies, as is well known, with the kind of animal producing it,' the age
of the animal, the kind of food he eats, and the care with which the
dung is preserved.
Does it pay to apply muck as a fertilizer? That is a question to
be answered by the circumstances of the case; the points to be consid-
ered in each case are, first of all, the quality of the muck, the distance
it must be hauled, and the labor necessary to put it into condition. In
the case of barnyard manures, some authorities say that seven to ten
tons per acre is a light, twelve to eighteen tons an ample, twenty or
more tons a heavy, and thirty tons a very heavy apphcation. If properly
weathered and mellowed and applied in similarly large quantities, I
cannot see why any of the mucks analyzed here, except possibly 51
and 70, which contain a large per cent. of sand, might not produce
effects similar to barnyard manure. The question, however, is one to
be answered for each muck bed, and by each planter for himself. And
the only way to answer it is by actual experiment in the field. Let
tenth-acre plots, similar in soil, previous fertilization and cultivation,
be measured off. Apply measured quantities of muck to some of them,
barnyard manure to others, no manure whatever to others. Plant all
to the same crop; for purposes of comparison there is, perhaps, noth-
ing better or more convenient than maize or Indian corn. Subject
all the plots to similar cultivation. Don't judge the yield by appear-
ances merely, but measure or weigh the crop of each plot. Keep
a written record of all the operations and results of the experiment.
This will take time and trouble, but I know of no other way of arriv-
ing at a reliable knowledge of the question involved. The crop pro-
duced will, perhaps, more than pay for the labor expended, and the
knowledge gained will serve as a guide for the more extensive opera-
tions of the farm.
Dr. J. C. Neal, who has had a large experience with Florida
muck, has kindly prepared an article on the composting of muck,
which see in this bulletin.
The following Table IV of analyses of different kinds of barnyard
manure were made by various analysts and are copied from Storer.
They will be of help to thoughtful planters.
J. M. PICKELL.
(These analyses with explanatory notes are taken from Storer's Agriculture).
Dry Matter .....................
Ash ingredients ..................
Potash ................ .......
Lim e........... .......... ....
Maglsia. ............... .......
Phosphoric Acid. ...... ...
2 04 4.71
X XI XII
69.30 67.28 72.13
24.82 32.72 27.67
5.05 6.49 3.37
0.63 0.22 0.59
0.74 0.17 0.41
0.29 0.20 0.17
0.67 0.35 0.12
0.69 0 47 0.67
"I. Fresh cow manure from animals fed on as much hay as
they would eat, with daily additions of four quarts of wheat bran
and four quarts of mangolds. A cubic foot of this manure weighed
63 lbs. (S. W. Johnson.)
II. and III. Taken in February from the centre of dung-heaps
at two different cow stables in Germany. (Schmid.)
"IV. Four-weeks-old manure from a cow stable where the
fodder consisted of a mixture of 100 lbs. of green cut clover and 5
Ibs. of rye straw. (R. Hoffman.)
"V. Cow manure. (Bretschneider.)
"VI. Average composition of fresh cow manure with litter.
"IX. Fresh horse manure from stables in New York city. The
material contained no long straw, and weighed 35 lbs. to the cubic
foot, i. e., 4,535 lbs. to the cord. (S.W. Johnson, Conn. Agric. Rep.,
1873, P- 348.)
"X. Sample from a cargo of horse manure from New York
city. (S. W. Johnson, Rep. Conn. Agric. Ex. Station, i880, p. 43.)
"XI. Fresh horse dung collected from an animal fed daily on
14 lbs. of timothy hay and four quarts of oats, mixed with cracked
corn. The dung was collected in dry winter weather, a few hours
after it had been dropped. A sample of fresh dung was found to con-
tain 73.86 per cent. of water. (R. F. Kedzie, in laboratory of the
the Bussey Institution.)
"XII. Horse manure. (Bretschneider.)
"XIII. Average composition of fresh horse manure with litter.
SHEEP AND SWINE MANURE.
"XV. Sheep manure. (Bretschneider.)
"XVI. Average composition of fresh sheep manure with litter.
XVII. Average composition of fresh hog manure with litter.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTIC OF MUCK.
The great differences in the composition of some of the above
samples of muck, result from their mode of formation, being
either formed by the gradual decay of the fallen leaves and branches
of deciduous trees, or by the accumulation of grasses and undergrowth
in marshy places. In the latter case the muck will have more vege-
table matter and less sand, and will consequently be richer, as its
value depends largely upon the amount of vegetable matter contained.
Peat or muck should never be applied to the soil immediately
after being dug, for in many cases harmful results will follow. Most
peats possess a certain antiseptic or germicide quality (acidity) when
freshly dug, whichwould be likely to hinder nitrification as well as the
other forms offer mentation and decay." Most of our peats which are
formed in marshy places, often contain iron sulphide (Fe S 2) which, on
being exposed to the air, is rapidly oxidized to copperas or soluble
sulphate of iron (Fe So 4). This salt of iron is very poisonous to plants,
and for this reason muck should always be well weathered or seasoned
before being applied to the soil. In many cases the above harmful
results would not follow by applying the freshly dug peat, yet it would
do the land little or no good for some time to come, and it is a well-
known fact that seasoned muck is far superior to the freshly dug.
Muck is of value to the soil both on account of its power of
absorbing and retaining moisture and in improving the general tilth of
the soil, which makes it especially adapted to our light sandy soils,
and on account of the elements of plant food which it contains.
A ith the exception of the small amount of mineral matter, the
nitrogen is the only element of plant food in muck. This exists,
however, in such an inert form and in such small quantities
(about 17 pounds in a ton) that if muck be applied directly
to the soil, the decomposition would be so slow that its value
would be hardly felt. In order for the nitrogen to be rendered
immediately 'available, the muck must be first composted. Too
much stress cannot be laid upon the composting of muck. Professor
Storer says that "if some kinds of peat be mixed with fresh stable
manure in the proportion of two or three loads of muck to one of
table manure, and the mixture is allowed to ferment, there will be
sormed a compound as efficient, load for load, for many fertilizing pur-
poses as pure stable manure." J. J. EARLE.
It takes but little study of the foregoing analyses, to note some
gratifying and surprising facts. They show the average peats of
Florida to be superior to those found in northern States, and that with
but little expense or trouble they can be composted to be but slightly
inferior to a good grade of stable manure.
The reasons for these immense areas of merely pure vegetable
matter in all parts of Florida are obvious. The .heavy rains sweep
the constantly decaying vegetation into shallow depressions, edges of
ponds and sinks, almost free from sand or clay, there to form bay-
heads and muck beds only needing careful development to become
of immense value to our farming interests. There are a few drawbacks
and deficiencies, easily and cheaply remedied. Mucks like No. 41,
with 649 pounds sand and water, and but 261 pounds available solu-
ble substances in a ton, or No. 43, with 1,731 pounds sand and water to
the ton, are hardly worth the digging. Water is detrimental if the muck
is to be hauled any great distance, and most of the analyses emphasize
the utility of drying as far as possible the peat before composting.
Deducting the sand, water, ammonia and soluble minerals from, say
No. 41, leaves 1,090 pounds in a ton, of organic material, dark colored
and of little value as a manure-applied to land it is a help, however,
lightening the soil, thus enabling tender rootlets to penetrate every
direction, and its deep color aids in retaining heat, but by far its best
value is the great power it has of absorbing moisture and ammonia
when composted with rapidly decaying organic materials like cotton
seed, manure, ground fish, etc. A pile of air-dry muck should be kept
for use in absorbing the slops, urine, liquid fecal matter and refuse of
the house and barn. In this way there is a saving of dangerous mate-
rial to health of man and beast, and-its conversion into a highly valua-
ble fertilizer, .utilizing a very common and tremendous waste.
In Florida, the months of February, May and October are usually
very drouthy, and this fact can be utilized in digging the peat, which
should be piled on rail or board platforms to become air-dry. Speci-
mens like Nos. 42, 44, 47, 49, 52, and 53, contain from 1,200 to 1,700
pounds water in the ton, which, if air-dry, would average only from 300
to 600 pounds water in the ton The saving in hauling is very ob-
It is best to make a pen of rails or boards, conveniently, with strong
posts at the corners, and from eight to ten feet square. Beginning
with at least six inches of finely pulverized and dry muck (and the
pulverizing is a point upon which too much stress cannot be laid), then
three inches of the cotton seed, or manure; thoroughly wetting it, if
possible with a solution of kainit, or ashes, then six inches more muck,
and so on till the heap is complete, then cover with dry muck-let this
stand a month, note if it dries out, and supply water freely to promote
decomposition and prevent waste of ammonia.
Cotton-seed meal, onesinch in depth, can be used instead of the
whole seed, and if chemicals are available, as kainit, ashes, krugit,
muriate and sulphate potash, acid phosphate and floats, sprinkle them
over the layers of muck, and use water freely to assist solution.
At the end of a month, I have found it advisable to turn over the
heap, remoisten and repile. This should be done monthly, until there
is evidently complete decomposition, and if chemicals are used, that
none are perceptible in the mass.
When one has the time to allow it, a preparatory compost with
freshly slacked lime is an excellent thing. An acid muck, or one
containing an excess ofiron, as Nos. 41 and 51, is greatly benefitted.
Six inches muck, then one inch lime, then muck, and so on, allowed
to remain a few months tor the compost to decompose, the acids to be
neutralized, and the iron to be rendered insoluble, this composted
with' other materials is especially valuable.
I have a high opinion of the value of unleached ashes, and in
combination with muck I have had fine results, both with trees and
Containing, as good ashes do, all the constituents of plant food,
they seem to render mucks more speedily available than most chemi-
cals, and in use, cause an extremely solid growth of plants and trees.
Muck will require the addition of 1I lbs. potash to each ton, to
render it equivalent to well-rotted manure, granting that the phosphoric
acid and ammonia were as available as in the manure. This is, how-
ever, not the fact, and in practice it is preferable to use an excess of
chemicals far above the analyses.
I give a few formulas that I hope will meet almost every case,
and answer the many queries that are constantly sent the Experiment
(i) i ton stable manure,
2 tons muck,
200 lbs. kainit,
100 Ibs. acid phosphate. This will analyze 16 Ibs. potash, 9 lbs.
phosphoric acid, and 17 Ibs. ammonia to the ton. Almost
exactly as stable manure.
(2) 7,500 lbs. muck,
400 lbs. kainit,
1oo lbs. acid phosphate. Analyzes 17 lbs. potash, 13 Ibs. phos-
phoric acid, 17 lbs. ammonia in a ton. Very good for slow
growth crops or bearing fruit trees.
(3) 2 tons long staple cotton seed.
2 tons muck,
50 lbs. muriate or sulphate potash. 19 lbs. potash, 18 lbs. phos-
phoric acid, 35 lbs. ammonia in a ton. Valuable for peach
or orange trees.
(4) 2 tons cotton-seed meal,
4 tons muck,
2 ton kainit,
2 ton acid phosphate. This has 23 lbs. potash, 29 lbs. phos-
phoric acid, 43 lbs. ammonia per ton. Very stimulating
for early gardens.
(5) 5,800 lbs. muck,
200 lbs. kainit,
2,000 lbs. cotton-seed meal. In a ton of this compost are 24 lbs.
potash, 13 lbs. phosphoric acid, and 44 lbs. ammonia. Equiv-
alent to double the amount of stable manure.
(6) 1 ton ashes,
4 ton muck,
I ton cotton-seed meal. Gives 30 lbs. potash, 15 lbs. phosphoric
acid, and 31 lbs. ammonia per ton. Fine for peach and
(7) i,ooo lbs. cotton seed,
2,000 lbs muck,
1,000 lbs. manure,
500 lbs. kainit,
500 lbs. acid phosphate. This is about the same as the Furman
or Georgia Formula, giving 31 lbs. potash, 29 lbs. phosphoric
acid, and 16 lbs. ammonia to the ton. Very good for cotton,
corn, and other long-growing crops.
(8) I ton ashes.
2 ton muck. Gives 48 lbs. potash, 15 lbs. phosphoric acid, and
12 lbs. ammonia to the ton, and is a good fertilizer.
(9) I ton each cotton-seed meal, kainit, muck, and acid phosphate,
well composted, would give a quickly acting fertilizer for use
in the hill, or late in the season; having 72 lbs. potash, 61
lbs. phosphoric acid, and 34 lbs. ammonia to the ton.
(1o) i ton cotton seed,
i ton kainit,
i ton acid phosphate,
4 tons stable manure,
4 tons muck. Makes an exceedingly rich compost, with 91 lbs.
potash, 70 lbs. phosphoric acid, and 47 Ibs. ammonia to the
ton. This is very stimulating and lasting, invaluable for
tobacco or early vegetables.
(i ) i ton stable manure,
3-tons muck. This, used in large quantities, often gives fine
effects, but the muck should be well dried before composting,
and often turned over. It will analyze 7 lbs. potash, 6 Ibs.
phosphoric acid, and 14 lbs. ammonia to the ton, and should
be applied in from 6 to 8 tons to the acre.
In all these cases, the fineness of the compost increases its value
A ton to the acre, ahd in the hill, will give about a pound to each
plant, though less can be used of formula 4 and io, and more for
formulas 5 and 8.
Mucks vary greatly in weight, as No. 50, 14 lbs. to the cubic
foot, and No. 49, 66 lbs. to the cubic foot, but an ordinary compost
will average 65 lbs. to the cubic foot, which will be a guide to the
weights of compost heaps. J. C. NEAL.
The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
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site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
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