q. 37, T _z
W zi 4 4.. -, I'',
ih j 1tz ";:
IV 74 7. il 4L-, N t
:J, h ll. -.9 ; 1. J.
a i j.
vt 'm ot
DIGESTIBLE PROTEIN. DIGESTIBLE CARBOHYDRATES. DIGESTIBLE FAT. ASH. WATER. INDIGESTIBLE RESIDUE.
FERTILIZER VALUE PER TON IN $. R U M I N A N TS. NUTRITIVE RATIO:
3.0 16.7 0.8 2.8 65.0 1.7
GREEN BLUEGRASS' I 16.2
2.4 18.0 1.0 2.5 62.2' 18 9
1.90 GREEN OAT FODDER 1 8.4
2.1 14.0 0.41.8 7 .68 5.1
1.72 GREEN RYE FODDER 1:7.0
1.1 12.0 0.4 1.2 79.3 6.0
1.64 GREEN CORN FODDER 1:11.8
0.6 12.3 0.4 1.1 79.4 8.2
0. 96 GREEN SORGHUM FODDER 3 1:22.0
1.2 15.5 0.9 1.5 74.4 6.5
1.25 CORN SILAGE 4 1:14.6
2.9 I1.6 0.5 2.3 75.3 7.4
1.96 ALFALFA, RED CLOVER, COWPEAS, SOY BEANS (AVERAGE) 1:4.4
9.7 39.2 1.6 7.1 1.4 31.0
8.20 SAME DRY (AVERAGE) .I 4.2
4.8 37.7 2.0 5.6 17.9 32.0
S6.9 TIMOTHY AND CLOVER HAY (EQUAL PARTS) 1:8.8
.4 .30.9 0.8 3.4 40.5 23.0
4.53 CORN STOVER 1:24.0
0.8 37.9 0.5 4.2 9.6 47.0
2.30 WHEAT STRAW 1:49.7
LO 5.3 0.21.0 91.2 1.3
0.96 MANGEL BEETS S 1:5.4
7.0 64.3 .4 15.0 9.0
5.89 CORN MEAL 1:10.2
9.2 48.4 4.2 3.0 11.0 24.2
7.50 OATS 1:6.3
12.0 40.0 T 2.7 5.8 11.9 1: 27.6
12.19 WHEAT BRAN 1:3.8
30.6 38.8 2.9 5.6 9.9 12.2
20.28 NEW PROCESS LINSEED MEAL 1:1.4
q 5 1".95 CLuTEN F'EOE 4 I 3.3
4__ __ 3 4 104 l0 9 0__ie
15.46 GLUTENr r.ItELS I 2.5
,- 12 2 2 B 17
23.95 COTTONSEED MEAl. .2
07 14.6 0 2.1 61.6 HORSE. 20.4
TIMOTHY HAY 1:24.1
9.3 47.5 -3.8 6 f3 I 11.0 25.6
OATS (GRAIN) 1:5.9
8.0 64.9 .3 .5 10.9 11.4
CORN (KERNELS) 1:9.0
.0 7. IfLO l .2.
8.3 6483 2, ,, 1.3 ,.,
CORN (KERNELS) 9 1:8.9
_7.9 _65.3 J. 4 15.0 7.3
CORN MEAL 1:8.7
O1.0 52.0 21 I1.8 18.6
Copyright, 1900 by Band, McNally & Co. WHEAT SHORTS 10o 1:.
FEEDING CHAR T-otes: 1. 6, 7 Myrlck's Kie to Profitable Feeding. i InI..- iI...., average of all varltles;
digestion coefficient, dent corn. 3 (ompositlon. Henry's tables. 4 Average a.. i ir.,I rh.11 M\assachusetts Experiment
Station, 1896. 8 Average of all varieties. 9 Flint corn, digestion coefficients for dent being unavailable, io l)li'estion
coefficient forfat assu! ned from results with ruminants. Excei-t ; i..t1. 1 ..l1 I1. i., -..i.1 1..1 ..i I.,... i 1 ill be
observed that the nutrltlve ratio varies according to digestive p r .. i.i PI: .. P ... i.: A :,. I., 1 '
MAKING THE FARM PAY
MONEY SAVING METHODS
Farming, Gardening, Fruit Growingl also Horse, Cattle, Sheep,
Hog and Poultry Raising
The All Important Subjects of Soil Fertility, Crop Culture. Irrigation
Injurious Insects, Plant Diseases, Pruning, Grafting,
Budding, Spraying, Etc., Etc.
TOGETHER WITH ADVICE ON
Selecting and Feeding Farm Animals for the Greatest
Making Poultry Pay, and Hundreds of Other Priceless
Facts for the Wide-a-wake Farmer
AN EMINENT ARRAY OF SPECIALISTS
Each Having Devoted a Life of Study, Experiment and Practical
Experience to His Special Subject.
OF RAND-MCNALLY & CO.
PUBLISHED EXCLUSIVELY BY
THE S. A. MULLIKIN COMPANY
"The Salvation of Soil Fertility is
the Salvation of Our Country."
1911 Edition published by
The S. A. Mullikin Co.
All rights reserved.
COPYRIGHT, 1902, BY RAND, MCNALLY & CO.
In publishing this book we lay no claim to having exhausted the subject of farming.
It has been found quite possible, however, to give in a single volume so clear an insight into
the essentials of farming under modern conditions as will simplify the farmer's work and
result in a saving of time, labor and money.
"There are three classes of farmers," says Dean Davenport, of the Illinois State College
of Agriculture; "one class studies, experiments, originates; another class emulates thesuc-
cess of the originator, imitates his methods, and in time learns to go to firstsources for
information; a third has little faith in 'book learning,' and, misunderstanding success,
will neither imitate nor learn. The whole tendency of modern times is to make farming so
difficult a calling-so to raise the standard of competition-that the third class will be
crowded to the wall and be forced into the poorest lands."
It is for the class that puts brains into the management of soil, plants and animals that this
volume has been published. It has been the endeavor throughout the text to give the reader
the results of scientific research, coupled with successful experience by the use of only such
expressions as can be readily understood by those who have not had a scientific training
Thus any farmer with ambition to make the most of his labor and realize the greatest
returns for his investment will find in this volume a priceless guide for everyday reference.
The work has been divided into departments, each covering subjects of vital importance,
and each prepared by a specialist in his line, who has devoted his life of thought, study,
experiment and practical experience to his special subject. The list of authors whose names
are familiar to wide-awake farmers will be found on another page in connection with the
subjects covered by each.
It is needless to say that the advantages to be gained from a single practical idea, taken
from any of these departments and put into practice, is worth many times the small expense
incurred in adopting the more approved methods. For example the use of the wrong kind
of fertilizer; failure to use fertilizer when necessary; use of fertilizer when not needed;
planting without proper preparation of soil; planting at wrong time orin wrong way; wrong
methods in cultivation; allowing insects to destroy crops or fruits; allowing valuable stock
or fowls to die from curable diseases, etc., etc., are common occurrences which a better
knowledge of these subjects could easily prevent. It is poor economy indeed to save five
dollars at the expense of a hundred.
The purchaser of this volume who desires to know where to obtain reliable books on
special farming subjects will find a list of such publications, with prices, following each
department throughout this work. Any of these books may be ordered from the publishers
whose names appear at the foot of title page, and the order will be filled promptly on receipt
of list price.
We now send forth this volume on its important mission with implicit faith in the
intelligence of the American farmer to discriminate between gold and brass-wheat and
chaff. The instructions this work contains have been secured from the highest obtainable
authorities and not to be compared with the so-called "Farm Books" scrapped together from
unreliable sources. To the thrifty tillers of the soil, upon whose shoulders to-day rest the
responsibility for the prosperity of out nation; who have earned their honest dollars by
the sweat of their brow, this volume is respectfully dedicated, with the hope that it may
serve well its purpose in the special field of usefulness to which it is assigned.
April 10, 1911. THE PUBLISHERS.
MODERN IDEAS IN SOIL TREATMENT AND TILLAGE . . .... .5-48
ByJoseh J. Edgerton, B.S.A., Instructor in Agricultural Physics, Iowa College of Agriculture.
FIELD CROPS: THEIR ADAPTATIONS AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS, WIH SPECIFIC
CULTURAL DIRECTIONS ... . . . . .. 49-82
By Jose0p J. Edgerton, B.S.A.
VEGETABLE GARDEN AND TRUCKING CROPS. ...... . . .. 83-110
By Arthur T. Erwin, Assistant Professor ofHorticulture, Iowa College of Agriculture.
FRUIT CULTURE AND FORESTRY. 111-136
By L. R. Taft, M.S., Horticulturist, Michigan Agricultural Exferiment Station.
IMPORTANT INJURIOUS INSECTS AND DISEASES AFFECTING FIELD AND GARDEN
CROPS, FRUITS AND SHADE TREES. . . ... .. .. 137-206
By E. S. G. Titus, M S. Field Assistant to the State Entomologist of Illinois.
SELECTING AND FEEDING FARM ANIMALS FOR PROFIT. . . . 207-281
By Herbert W. Munford, B.S., Professor of Animal Husbandry.College of Agriculture, University
of Illinois, and Chief of Animal Husbandry, Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station.
BEEF MAKG ING. ............... .. .. .............. 282-288
By L. H. Kerrick, Bloomington, Ill., President of the American Aberdeen-Augus Brceders'
FEEDING NATIVE CATTLE FOR BEEF . . . .... ..... 289-291
ByJohn P. Stevenson, Practical Farmer, Tarkio, Mo.
FEEDING RANGE CATTLE FOR BEEF ......... ............. 292-296
By David Rankin, Practical Farmer, Tarkio, Mo,
DISEASES OF FARM ANIMALS . . . . . . 207-384
By R. A. Craig, D. VM., Instructorin Veterinary Science, Purdue University, LaFayette, Ind.;
and Assistant State Veterinarian of Indiana.
THE SILO IN MODERN AGRICULTURE. . . . ... ... 385-404
By F. W. Noll, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Chemistry, University of Wisconsin.
MAKING POULTRY PAY .................... .......... 405-437
By P. H.Jacobs, Editor of"The Poultry Keeper," Hammonton, N. J,
HANDY RULES AND USEFUL INFORMATION . . .. . .... 438-452
WHOLESOME COOKING WITHOUT WASTE. . . .. . . 453-482
By Francois Tanty.
INDEX ........ ...... . . ..... . 483-500
FIM. 1. Typical Rambouillet ram, winner of first prize and champion prize, Paris Exposition of 1900: at thirty months weighed 139 kilo-
grams (306 pounds); bred by M. Victor Gilbert, Wideville (near Crespidres) Seine-et-Oise, France. M. Gilbert was the son of the famous
Victor Gilbert, for many years director of the French Government at Rambouillet, near Paris, who contributed more to the development of
this breed than any other breeder in the world, unless it be the late Baron von Hofmeyer. (From a photograph furnished by The American
MAKING THE FARM PAY
MONEY SAVING METHODS
Modern Ideas in Soil Treatment and Tillage
By JOSEPH J. EDGERTON, B. S. A.
Instructor in Agricultural Physics, Iowa College of Agriculture
Modern farming, from the very nature of the case, represents no radical depar-
ture from the best agricultural practice of earlier days. The advance that has been
made is chiefly along the lines of a more thorough understanding of the principles
underlying successful method; of tlie systemization of agricultural research and har-
monizing of results; and of the formulation of a body of flexible rules, more or less
easily adaptable to the solution of individual difficulties. We can not get away from
the necessity for experimentation; for the science is intricate, and the conditions
under which its laws operate are ever varying. But instead of being dependent upon
his own experiments, as formerly, the farmer is now able, through the accumulation
of recorded data of experiments systematically conducted, to profit by the experience
of others. In many cases reference to this fund of accumulated experience will
enable the present-day farmer to project his operations on a sure foundation, where
otherwise he would be compelled to grope his way in the dark and with a great deal
of uncertainty as to the final outcome.
In the modern view, the soil is a laboratory, in which plant food is elaborated,
and in which, under favoring conditions, the physical and chemical processes of
organic growth are carried on. The soil had its origin in the rock masses of the
earth's surface, from which it was broken down into its present form by the action
of rain, snow, wind, changes of temperature, erosion by rivers and glaciers, the
growth and decomposition of vegetation, the burrowing of various forms of animal
life, and other similar agencies. Thus it will be seen that the bulk of the soil is
decomposed rock, the additional material being organic matter-dead plant or
animal tissue, returned to the earth that nourished it, and more or less completely
6 FUNDAMENTAL NOTIONS
broken down into its chemical con-
stituents. This organic matter,
called humus, is one of the most
important factors to be consid-
ered in the study of soil manipu-
Source of Plant Food -
Plants, like animals, require both
food and water for their suste-
nance. The water is obtained
through the roots. Of the food
materials, the carbon and a large
part of the oxygen (which together
constitute a large percentage of the
dry matter of all plants) are, under
the influence of sunlight, taken in
through the leaves in the form of
carbon dioxide,' while the ash or
mineral portion (composed essen-
tially of nitrogen, phosphorus, po-
tassium, calcium, sullphur, iron,
magnesium, and possibly sodium
anid chlorine ) is taken up by the
roots from the soil. These mineral
constituents, with the exception of
nitrogen," are rendered available to
the roots of the plants by the
1 This gas exists in the air as a resultant
product of animal respiration and decotmposi-
tion, and of combustion generally.
2 There are other mineral elements found in
the ash of plants, some of which, such as silica,
are present in large quantities. Their presence,
however, is only incidental, owing to their pres-
ence in the soil water. They are not essential to
the welfare of the plant.
3 This element, owing to its great impor-
tance, and the need of a thorough knowledge of
Fio. 2. Photograph of total root of one hill of corn, showing its source and the means by which it may be
depth to which this plant penetrates the soil in its search increased, as well as the conditions under which
for moisture and food. (Prof. F. H. King: Physics of it is lost, will receive especial attention in an-
Agriculture.) other place.
WHAT GOVERNS SOIL FERTILITY?
gradual decomposition of the rock materials, and their subsequent solution in the
Thus physical and chemical action in the soil are constantly transforming poten-
tial into available plant food, and the soil water is transporting the salts thus
prepared to the root hairs of the plant. This food-laden water is passed from cell
to cell of the plant by what is called osmotic pressure,' and the excess of water over
what is required for purposes of growth finally is transpired from the leaves of the
plant, leaving the salts behind to enter into the combination of organized tissue.
This brings us to the consideration of the subject of
Determining Factors Soil fertility is dependent upon natural condi-
tions and upon soil management, and may be defined as the ability of a soil to
produce in response to a given amount of assistance rendered it in the form of culti-
vation. This term is too commonly used as referring only to the amount of the
mineral elements a soil may contain in a soluble form. But in reality the quantity
of salts or mineral plant food a soil may contain is only one of several factors that
determine its fertility. In fact, it is a factor of rather secondary importance,
because the most plentiful supply of plant food will fail to produce a crop in the
absence of sufficient moisture to convey it to and through the plant.
The quantity of soluble salts a soil contains is, nevertheless, of vital importance.
While but a very small percentage of the total plant is made up of these elements,
this little is just as necessary to the life of the plant as though it comprised the
whole. The absence from the soil of any one of these elements will insure as com-
plete a failure of plant growth as though they were all absent. If you plant seeds
in a soil from which one of these essential elements, as potash, has been removed,
there will be but a very feeble growth of two or three leaves to a plant, and this
growth will be accomplished by the aid of the little of this element that nature
has stored in the seed for the purpose of securing its germination and start in life.
Some of these elements need to be present in much larger quantities than others.
Iron, for example, is just as essential for the life of the plant as is any other
element, but only a comparatively small percentage is necessary.
In order for a soil to be fertile, it is necessary not only that these elements all
be present in a soluble form, but that the quantity be many times greater than the
immediate needs of the crop. This is owing to the fact that (a) the root hairs in
1 Osmosis is the term applied to the diffusion of liquids through porous membranes.
penetrating the soil come into contact with a very, very small part of it; that (b)
the capillary moisture is frequently so low that but a small portion of these salts is
taken up thereby and moved into contact with the plant roots; and that (c) the
feeding period of the plant covers but a comparatively short space of time.
It has been found by analyzing plants at various stages of development that, of
the total mineral plant food taken up by a crop (wheat being used as an example),
75 per cent of it is taken up during the first fifty days of the plant's life (or, in the
case of wheat, by the time it has reached the height of eighteen inches). Consider-
ing these facts, it will be readily understood that not only must these materials be
present in great abundance, but they must also be in readiness -for plant use as
early in the season as possible. This early availability will depend, especially as
regards the nitrogen portion, upon the amount of moisture, air, vegetable matter,
and heat there is in the soil.
Alkali Spots -A soil may be unproductive, on the other hand, from con-
taining too large a quantity of some of these essential salts. Thus are produced
what are termed alkali lands, or alkali spots. Through the presence of an excess
of these alkali salts the vegetation is corroded and killed. Such soils are referred
to as alkali soils, and occur mostly in sections having natural or artificial irrigation.
Small alkali patches occur more or less frequently in semi-humid regions where
there is a seepage of water from higher lands. The soluble salts in these higher
lands, being carried down by the seepage water and left behind upon its evaporation,
accumulate to an extent that is injurious to vegetation.
Remedy for Alkali Spots-There are two forms of alkali-the car-
bonate or "black alkali" and the sulphate or white alkali." The latter may be
present in much larger quantities than the former without producing injurious
If the soil is unproductive from too much black alkali, it may often be corrected
in part by the application of gypsum or land plaster, to convert the carbonate into
a sulphate. In irrigated sections it is well to examine the water used, and, if it is
found to contain considerable quantities of carbonate salts, to use land plaster in
the irrigation ditches to correct the condition of these salts before reaching the
In semi-humid climates these spots may often be temporarily remedied by scraping
off the immediate surface after a long-continued drought, when the long-continued
evaporation will have concentrated the greater portion of the excess of salts in the
surface three or four inches of soil. Where the trouble is mild a good application
SOURCES OF SOIL NITROGEN
of a coarse barnyard manure well worked into the soil will often afford temporary
relief. The permanent remedy, however, is underdrainage.
NITROGEN OF THE SOIL
Outside of the elements of plant food contained in water, the nitrogen of the
soil is the only constituent supplied to the plants through their roots, the source of
which does not lie in the rock fragments, and the supply of which can not be
increased by improving the facilities for decomposition.
Source-Its source is the free nitrogen of the air, and the quantity in the
soil may be increased naturally only by drawing upon this bounteous supply.
How Obtained- Our ordinary farm crops cannot use this nitrogen in its
free form, but certain microscopical forms of life that grow upon the roots of
leguminous plants (such as clover, lucerne [alfalfa], peas, beans, etc.), forming
nodules thereon, have the power of taking this free nitrogen and converting it into
organic nitrogen. In the subsequent decomposition of this organic matter the
increased supply is made available for the use of succeeding crops. The amount of
nitrogen that may be added to the soil by the growing of a single crop of some
legume is often relatively very large. When the effect upon future crops or the
commercial value of nitrogen as a fertilizer is considered, this collateral benefit
derived from a leguminous crop is often greater than the food value of the crop
Except in soils well supplied with nitrogen, in the form ordinarily available, the
leguminous plants will not thrive in the absence of these organisms. But if the
organisms are present this family of plants will thrive luxuriantly even on soils con-
taining little nitrogen. It follows that, while these organisms are parasitic in their
nature, they are in reality a benefit to the host on which they grow. This relation
of plants to each other, the growing together for mutual benefit, each obtaining
support from the other, is called symbiosis. Some soils upon which clover ordina-
rily refuses to thrive, after being inoculated with these germs by the addition of a
sprinkling of soil from an old clover field, will produce clover of the finest kind.
Forms of Soil Nitrogen -Nitrogen exists in the soil in several distinct
forms, representing the various stages of transition from the free nitrogen of the air
to that form available for farm crops. It may be present:
1 Crimson clover, when from 5 to 6 inches high, has per acre; in bloom, $37.06 per acre; fully matured, to
been found to contain nitrogen to the value of $21.94 per the value of $43.36 per acre. (Report of the Superin-
acre; from 12 to 14 inches high, to the value of $34.64 tendent of Institutes for Ontario, Can., 1900.)
10 SOIL FERTILITY
(a) As free nitrogen of the soil air, which is seized upon and made fast by the
forms of microscopic life previously described.
(b) As organic or albuminoid nitrogen, the product of these nitrogen-fixing
germs, and likewise present in all undecomposed vegetable and animal tissue. This
is the only form of soil nitrogen that is not soluble in water, and hence readily
leached out and lost from the soil.
(c) As ammonia, nitrous acid, and nitric acid. These are transition stages in
the development of the nitrate or available form from the organic or albuminoid
(d) As nitrates of lime, magnesia, potash, and soda. This is the form in which
nitrogen is used by most farm crops, the nitrates being formed by the union of
nitric acid with one of the bases-lime, magnesia, potash, etc.-found in the soil.
Nitrification -The process of developing nitrates from the decayed and
broken-down albuminoids is termed nttrfication, and involves four distinct stages:
(a) The ammonia stage, in which certain organisms, under the proper conditions of
temperature, moisture, and air, feed upon the organic or albuminoid nitrogen, throw-
ing off ammonia as a waste product. This is a highly volatile product, which, under
improper soil conditions, may escape from the soil and pass off into the air as gas.1
But under the proper conditions the ammonia is absorbed by the soil and the
soil water, and is retained for the use of another class of germs which in the
(b) nitrous-acid stage use it in their life processes, throwing off nitrous acid as a
waste product. Still another class of germs2 take up this nitrous
'.' '. acid and oxidize it into (c) nitric acid, which attacks the bases that
'..: Y: are held in the soil by weaker acids, displacing them and forming
S(d) the various nitrate salts. These nitrates are formed only under
favorable conditions of temperature, moisture, and air; and, on the
other hand, when once formed, they may, under subse-
Squent unfavorable conditions, be changed back into
i, i) i' 1 The pungentodorarisingfromarapidly-
i"' .* i '''. fermenting manure heap is produced by am-
i h ,i .'. monia that is being formed and is escaping
i 'i to the air.
.. i 1 2 These are called nitree germs" or
TL "mother of petre." Some idea of the amount
I f) i-] | l I, of these nitrate salts that may be developed
under proper conditions may be obtained from
FIG. 3. Drawing from photograph showing comparative growth a consideration of the fact that formerly the
of peas, rye, flax, oats, wheat, and buckwheat in soil fertile in nitrate of potash for the manufacture of gun-
all elements of plant food except nitrogen, the peas thriving powder was obtained from the soil. Thereby
in virtue of the presence of nitrogen-fixing bacteria on their was developed what was termed nitre farm-
roots. (Prof. F. H. King: Physics of Agriculture. After ing," in which the soil was manipulated to
P. Wagner.) get the most rapid nitrification possible.
SOIL WATER ESSENTIAL
forms unavailable to crops, or even be lost from the soil. This brings us to the
consideration of another process, called :
Denitrification-This process, as the name implies, is exactly the opposite
of nitrification. The soil is full of micro-organisms that require oxygen for their
existence, and their ability to extract it is such that, if the soil becomes so filled with
water as to exclude the air, they will take away that which is combined in the
nitrates, either partially or wholly deoxidizing them. In the latter case the nitrogen
is set free and may escape entirely from the soil.
Soils Lacking in Nitrogen- A soil that has little nitrogen in the avail-
able form will give indication of the fact in the yellow, slender, unhealthy condition
of the leaves of the vegetation growing upon it.
To the other elements of plant food obtained from the soil, and the best means
of maintaining or increasing their quantity, reference will be made under the head
of "Vegetable Matter as a Factor of Fertility."
SOIL WATER AS AN ELEMENT OF FERTILITY
It has been seen that water is the vehicle whereby food, in solution, is conveyed
to the root hairs and distributed throughout the plants, besides entering largely into
the vegetable structure.1 It is therefore as essential :
an element of fertility as is the mineral plant t.......
Many soils containing a very high percentage of s.Il...1 t
plant food are a barren waste because of lack of .. .
moisture, and it follows, by the same token,
that any addition of commercial fertilizers to (
soils deficient in plant food will prove ineffec- J
tual unless conditions of moisture are .- .
right. 1 '
The great semi-desert regions of ,jIi ,'f ,
our western plains, as well as most, 'l."'',, l.
if not all, similar regions the world ,':-'
over, show the presence, upon chem- I
ical analysis, of a large percentage I 7
of soluble plant food, and numerous Fia. 4. Drawing from photograph showing oats growing
under conditions identical with those illustrated in Fig. 3,
except that the several pots received 1, 2, and 3 grams,
respectively, of Chile saltpetre. Comparison shows the
1 Water comprises from 61 to 91 per centof the immense importance to such plants of nitric nitrogen.
total weight of all green crops, the amount varying (Prof. F. H. King: Ihysics of Agriculture. After P,
with the kind of crop and stage of development. Wagner.)
experiments have demonstrated that all that is necessary to make these waste places
fruitful is simply to supply the needed moisture.
But water, on the other hand, must not be too abundant. It must not fill all the
pores of the soil so as to exclude the air, or the land will be rendered unproductive
while this condition exists. Plants that will thrive in water will not thrive in a soil
saturated with water, because in the water culture the water is free to move, and, the
constant change bringing different parts constantly to the surface and into contact
with the air, a certain amount of this air is absorbed, replacing any that may have
been taken out by the roots; whereas, in a soil saturated with water there is not this
opportunity for the air to enter.
Water in soils is of three kinds hygroscopic, capillary, and free.
The hygroscopic water is present in the form of a film around each soil grain.
Pressure will not expel it. Only heat above the boiling point of water will drive
Capillary water is the outer film around the soil grain, more or less closely filling
the interstices, less firmly held than is the inner hygroscopic film by the molecular
attraction of the soil, and capable of motion in any direction under stress of capil-
Free water is that which lies outside the range of control of the molecular attrac-
tion of the soil grains, and moves under the influence of gravity. This water
practically excludes oxygen from the soil it occupies. Its surface is called the
"water table." The capillary water is the only form of soil moisture that to any
extent can be made use of by the plants.
Water Required by Crops- The amount of water required in the proc-
ess of plant building is very large, the various farm crops requiring to be tran-
spired through their leaves from 300 to 600 tons of water for each ton of dry
According to Prof. F. H. King, the results of 138 trials with various farm
crops show that, to grow an average acre, the product of which was 5.987 tons of
dry matter, required 23.165 inches of water. The crop requiring the most was oats,
the average yield of this crop being 8.89 tons; and water required, 39.53 inches.
Capacity of Soils for Capillary Water--The amount of capillary
water that may be retained in a given quantity of soil will depend upon the fineness
of the soil particles, the amount of vegetable matter present,1 the general physical
1 The effect of vegetable matter upon the capil- I under the head of "Vegetable Matter as a Factor of
lary capacity of soils will be referred to more fully IFertility."
condition, the distance above the water table, and the frequency and amount
of rainfall. Prof. F. H. King has found that under field conditions, and with the
surface only eleven inches above the water table, soils would contain capillary
water as follows:
Clay loam...------......................------..------.......-------...........----------------------32.2 per cent.
Clay.......--.........------...----...................................----------------23.8 to 4.5 per cent.
Clay and sand --...... ................ .........---------------. --.. ----.... --- 2 6 per cent.
Fine sand--......--......--...........----------------...........------------------17.5 per cent.
This, when averaged and reduced to inches, is equal to 21.24 inches of water
distributed through the first five feet of soil.'
Water not all Available to Crops Of this capillary water only from
50 to 75 per cent can be extracted by the crops for their use, owing to the fact that
the roots, while thoroughly permeating the soil, actually come in contact with only
a very small part of it; and to the additional fact that, when the water move-
ment through the plant for the translocation of materials falls below a certain rate,
growth ceases to take place. Long before this point is reached, growth becomes
very slow and imperfect. It frequently happens, in the absence of a properly dis-
tributed rainfall, that this condition is reached just as the crop is ready to form the
seed or grain. The result is an average and sometimes large growth of foliage,
but little grain.
Time of Greatest Need- By far the largest portion of the water used
by a crop is required from the time of blossoming to maturity. This period fre-
quently coincides with one of very limited rainfall.
It follows from what has been said that the artificial application of moisture
may often, even in humid climates, be very beneficial to .crops, and the farmer of
a humid climate, who is so situated that he can at comparatively small expense
maintain a storage supply of water for such use in time of need, will find this a
very profitable investment. In fact, the returns should be greater in proportion to
the amount invested than in arid countries, where all the water must be supplied
in this way. A little additional water applied just at the right time may be pro-
ductive of large results, even in average years.2
1 A 5-foot column of the same soil would contain 'treatment, there were produced only 4 tons of dry mat-
less, because the water table would be much farther ter per acre.
away from part of it than in the above case. In an experiment conducted by the writer during a
2 Prof. F. H. King reports the following result of an year when the distribution of the rainfall was better
experiment conducted with a variety of flint corn: On than the average, an application of water equal to 5
the irrigated soil, 14.5 tons of dry matter were produced; per cent of moisture in the first four feet of soil resulted '
while on the same kind of soil, growing the same kind in increasing the yield of corn from 68 to 91.5 bushels
of corn, not irrigated, but otherwise receiving the same per acre.
The quantity of water required to irrigate a tract of land is seemingly very
large. To cover one acre of land one inch deep will require 3,630 cubic feet of
water; and to carry this depth of water onto 100 acres, in 50 hours, would require
a stream one square foot in cross-section, and flowing at the rate of two feet per
TILLAGE TO CONSERVE MOISTURE
Since the annual rainfall for a given locality, while fairly constant, is irregular
and uncertain as regards its distribution throughout the season, and since irriga-
tion is not generally practicable, it becomes necessary to conserve the soil moisture
and to make the available supply of capillary water as large as possible. These
ends are accomplished by such means as proper tillage, underdrainage, and in-
creasing the supply of humus.
Deep plowing and subsoiling on heavy, close-textured clay soils may loosen
them up and increase their water-holding capacity. This practice is especially
applicable in climates where the frost does not penetrate to loosen up the subsoil.
Frequent stirring of the surface soil cuts off the capillary connection with the
deeper soil water, and thus prevents its coming to the surface and being evaporated,
besides checking the growth of weeds that would absorb moisture needed by the
crop. This frequent stirring to check evaporation is necessary for the reason that
when the surface is allowed to stand for a short time the capillary connection with
the lower ground becomes reestablished. In case of a rain this reestablishment takes
place very quickly; so, to retain the largest possible amount of a given rainfall, it is
necessary to thoroughly stir the surface soil as soon after the rain as it can be done
without puddling.' Tools used for this purpose should be such as will stir all the
surface and pulverize it as thoroughly as possible.
The Harrow -If the surface soil has been previously made very loose, or if
it is somewhat rough as left by the plow, harrowing, thoroughly done, may develop
a very good mulch. If, however, the surface has become somewhat firm, as after a
heavy rain, the harrow may increase the loss by evaporation by simply cutting small
furrows and increasing the amount of surface exposed.
The Disk-The disk-harrow or cultivator, as well as the surface cultivators
1 Veryfine-grained soils have a tendency, owing to moved, all parts of the soil subjected to the pressure of
the close contact of their particles, to contract upon the horses' feet and the tools used will be compressed
themselves at all times. When they become very wet still more, excluding the air and reducing the capillary
this tendency is increased. If stirred at the proper capacity of the soil. These portions, when dry, form
stage, as the excess of moisture is leaving, this tendency hard clods, and this cementing action in soils is termed
is readily overcome. If, however, this cultivation is puddling.
done before a sufficient amount of water has been re-
TILLAGE TO CONSERVE MOISTURE
with blades running horizontally under the surface, form an excellent mulch. The
surface is practically all moved and deposited in a different place and in a finely
pulverized condition, thus cutting off the capillary connection very completely.
Effectiveness of the Soil Mulch-- Professor King found that a 3-inch
soil mulch, as against no mulch, conserved from evaporation during a period of 100
days on a black marsh soil 2.928 inches of water; on sandy loam, 3.009 inches; and
on virgin clay loam, 13.458 inches.
Depth of Mulch The same investigator found that during a 100-day period
a 3-inch mulch conserved 0.181 inches more water than a 2-inch mulch, and the
2-inch mulch conserved 0.11 inches more than a 1-inch mulch when stirred in the
same manner twice a week.
Frequency of Cultivation-Professor King also found that a 3-inch
mulch, when stirred twice a week, conserved 0.323 inches more water than when
stirred once a week, and that stirring once a week conserved 0.586 inches more than
stirring only once in two weeks.
The necessity for frequent cultivation will depend, however, upon the condition
of the weather and the character of the soil. Dry weather immediately following
the stirring makes the mulch more effective and more lasting.
On a close-grained soil, as clay, the particles tend to draw together and reestab-
lish capillary connection much more quickly than on a coarser, looser soil, or a soil
well supplied with vegetable matter. Hence, the former will require more frequent
stirring than the latter in order to maintain an equally good condition of mulch.
Plowing The time and manner of plowing may affect the quantity of mois-
ture available for a given crop. Ground plowed late in the fall and left in the rough
will catch and hold the snows and rains, and will contain a larger amount of moisture
the next spring than similar soil left unplowed. On land that is to be put into a
fall crop, moisture will be conserved for the starting of that crop by plowing as early
as possible after the spring crop has been removed, to save what would otherwise be
evaporated through the growth of weeds and other vegetation. Spring plowing,
for the greatest saving of moisture, should be done as early as the soil is in fit con-
dition. When the frost leaves the ground, capillary connection between the lower
soil and the surface is very complete, and the warm, dry winds that are apt to occur at
this time of year frequently cause a rapid evaporation of moisture. At this season
a loss of 28.2 tons of water per acre per day for seven consecutive days has been
observed. For the same reason, land that has been plowed in the fall should be
gone over with the disk-harrow or other effective tool as early in the spring as the
condition of the soil will permit, for the purpose of developing a mulch. In the
same way, also, evaporation may be checked on unplowed land, where there is more
of it than can be plowed in good season.
For the conservation of moisture, plowing at any time of year except late in
the fall should be followed immediately by thorough harrowing. Ground freshly
plowed, unless very mellow, will allow the air to circulate more or less freely
throughout the greater portion of its depth. Such a condition, owing to the large
amount of surface exposed, affords an opportunity for very rapid evaporation, and
if allowed to go uncorrected, in a dry time, may so reduce the water content of the
plowed portion that seeds can not germinate. The writer knows of one instance
where there was no rain from the time of plowing in the spring until late in the
summer, and land that was plowed and left for some time without harrowing became
so dry that the corn, when planted, did not germinate until the autumn rains;
while other tracts in the same locality which were not allowed to lie over night, or
even during the noon hour, without harrowing, and were kept well cultivated after-
ward, were by this difference in treatment enabled to produce a fair crop of corn.
The Roller-This implement is used mainly for the purpose of firming the
plowed soil, to bring the particles into closer contact. Through this reestablish-
ment of capillary connection with the deeper soil, the water may be drawn up from
the lower levels into the seed-bed, to aid in the germination of the seeds and starting
the young plants. When the roller is used it should be followed by some implement
that will stir the immediate surface into a dry dust mulch, in order to prevent this
water, when drawn'up, from reaching the surface and escaping by evaporation.
Level culture will conserve the moisture better than ridged cultivation, there
being less surface exposed for evaporation. There is quite a prevalent notion that
ridged cultivation will increase the yield of potatoes, but experiments do not bear it
out. Late ridging, after the potatoes are set on, may be of some benefit in protect-
ing the tubers from the sun.
UNDERDRAINING TO CONSERVE MOISTURE
The lowering of the water table by underdrainage, on lands where it remains a
considerable portion of the time nearer to the surface than four feet, will increase
the amount of water available to plants in two ways:
(a) By increasing the supply of capillary water.
(b) By permitting a greater root development.
(a) Capillary Supply--The removal of the free water from a soil removes,
EFFECT OF UNDERDRAINAGE
to a great extent, the tendency of fine-grained soils to
contract into a puddled condition, also allowing the
various aggregations of particles to become broken up
and separated, and the soil to become more free and
open generally. In this way the amount of capillary
water that a cubic foot of the soil will retain is greatly
increased. This more open condition of soil allows
a free passage of water through it in all directions,
and enables a much larger proportion of a dashing
rain to enter it instead of running off the surface. It
also enables the surface to more quickly get in readi-
ness for cultivation after a rain, so that a mulch may
be developed, to prevent that which is taken in from
being lost by evaporation.
(b) Root Development The root sys-
tems of farm crops do not, as many suppose, confine
themselves to the few inches of soil at the surface,
unless compelled to do so by a saturated soil or other
impassable barrier. There are few of our farm crops
but will penetrate to a depth of four feet if the soil is
in proper condition.
Where the soil is free and open to a good depth
there will be a much larger and better developed
root system, with corresponding increase of capacity
for absorbing and carrying moisture to the plant.
This last is a most important factor, as it frequently
happens, where the water table stands high during
the early part of the season, that there is so small a
development of roots that, when the plant reaches
the stage of most rapid development :and most rapid
transpiration of moisture, the roots will not be able
to take in water fast enough to supply the needs of
growth, even with a comparative abundance of water
present in the soil.'
1 It is due to this fact that crops thrive and develop so much better
in a dry summer if preceded by a moderately dry spring than when pre-
ceded by a wet one.
Fro. 5. Photograph showing root de-
velopment of oats. (Prof. F. H.
King: Physics of Agriculture.)
HUMUS AS A CONSERVER OF.MOISTURE
The supply of humus,1 as a factor in controlling the capillary supply of mois-
ture, can not be too highly valued. Its presence (a) produces a more porous con-
dition of soil, (b) prevents the soil particles from drawing together in a puddled
condition, (c) increases the actual capillary capacity, and (d) tends to prevent the
solidifying of the surface, thus serving to check evaporation in the absence of cul
tivation, and making necessary less cultivation to maintain a good mulch.
AIR AS AN ELEMENT OF FERTILITY
As we have seen, air is necessary in the soil to supply oxygen for the develop-
ment of the nitrogenous plant food, and in its absence, though only temporary, this
plant food, once developed, may be reduced into an unavailable form, or even lost
from the soil.
Air is also needed for the processes of decomposition and other chemical action
that develop the various forms of plant food. Without air in the soil, the seeds of
farm crops will not germinate. If after germination the air be excluded, they will
cease to grow, will get yellow and sickly, and, if this condition continues long enough,
will die. A soil may also be too open and admit of a greater circulation of air than
is best. A very coarse, gravelly soil; land into which a large amount of coarse
manure has been plowed; or a piece of poorly plowed land left without any further
treatment, may in this way be subject to a loss of moisture by internal evaporation.
The supply of air in the soil may be modified by (a) tillage, (b) kind of vegeta-
tion grown, (c) underdrainage, and (d) the addition of vegetable matter.
(a) Ventilation by Tillage-Almost all the different processes of tillage
produce a change of air at the time, and also affect the movement of soil air for
some time to come. Plowing a hard, compact soil breaks it up and admits a freer
entrance and circulation of air, whereas, the plowing in of vegetable matter on soils
that are too loose and open will result in a beneficial restraint upon this movement.
Subsoiling will increase the air movement in the deeper soil.
Harrowing may check the entrance and escape of air on fresh-plowed land where
ventilation is excessive, or facilitate the aeration of lands that have lain without
stirring until a crust has formed over the surface. Disking and stirring with the
various forms of cultivators give more thorough aeration to the seed-bed.
Rolling, by closing up the pores to some extent, usually results in a lessened
1 The influence of humus on moisture will be discussed more in detail under the head of Vegetable Matter
as a Factor of Fertility," page 23.
IMPORTANCE OF SOIL WARMTH
amount of air movement in the soil, and, on soils that are too open, will be beneficial
for this purpose.
(b) Ventilation by Vegetation The growth of any kind of vege-
tation, by drawing the moisture out of the soil, tends to draw air in to take its
place. The decomposition of the roots of deep-feeding plants leaves openings that
admit of a greater aeration of the deeper soil.
(c) Ventilation by Underdrainage Underdrainage modifies the
amount of air in the soil: (1) By removing the free water that would otherwise
exclude the air. (2) By loosening up the soil and giving greater freedom of
movement. (3) The water in passing from the soil into the drain will tend to
draw the air into the soil to fill the space it has occupied.
(d) Ventilation by Addition of Humus-Vegetable matter, added
to the soil in the form of barnyard manure, stubble, weeds, sod, and other green
crops, plowed under, will have the effect of making a close, heavy soil more open,
and of binding together those that are too thoroughly aerated.
TEMPERATURE.AS AFFECTING FERTILITY
A proper soil temperature is an indispensable factor of a high degree of fertility.
No matter how perfect the other conditions, if the temperature is too low germina-
tion and growth will not take place. Corn, for example, requires a soil temperature
of 60' to 65 Fahr. during a portion of the day, for satisfactory germination. If
the soil is so cold as to allow only slow and feeble germination the crop can never
make the growth and development that it would under the same after-conditions,
but with a good, vigorous start.
A certain degree of warmth is required also for the various chemical changes
incident to the decomposition and development of plant food. This is especially
true of the nitrogenous plant food. The nitrifying germs do not thrive below a
temperature of 55 Fahr., and do not attain their most rapid growth and elabora-
tion of nitrates until the soil temperature gets well up toward 1000 Fahr.
The temperature of the soil also affects the rate of plant-feeding. As we have
seen,' the water and plant food of the soil are supplied to the plant by osmotic
pressure, and this, as well as the capillary movement of the soil water, is to a
marked degree affected by the temperature. If the soil temperature falls below a
certain point, this action may become so feeble as to allow the plants to wilt when
there is an abundance of water present in the soil.
1 See page 7, footnote.
Poor Stands of Grain are often caused, not by poor seed, as supposed,
but because the seed was placed in a soil too cold for germination. The above con-
sideration, coupled with the facts that the soil temperatures, under average field
conditions, between latitudes 400 and 450, will not average above 450 Fahr. for the
month of April, or 58 Fahr. for the month of May, and that plants require the bulk
of their nitrogenous food during the early stages of growth,' emphasizes very
strongly the need of increasing the temperature of the soil, especially early in the
Conditions Affecting Soil Temperature--These conditions are as
follows: (a) Color of soil, (b) topography of surface, (c) smoothness and compact-
ness of surface, (d) tilth, (e) wetness of soil, (f) rate of evaporation, and (g) amount
of vegetable matter being decomposed therein.
(a) COLOR OF SOIL -A dark-colored surface will absorb and pass on to the
deeper soil more heat from the sun than will a light-colored one,- the difference
ranging from 10 to 3 Fahr.2
(b) TOPOGRAPHY- A south slope will receive the sun's rays more nearly verti-
cally than will a level field; hence a given cross-section of heat rays will be spread
over less surface of soil than on a level surface, or one sloping away from the sun.
Professor King found that a stiff red clay soil, sloping 180 to the south, had a tem-
perature of 70.3, 68.1, and 66.40 Fahr. for.the first, second, and third feet in
depth, as compared with 67.2, 65.4, and 63.60 for the same kind of soil and the
corresponding depths on a level surface.
(c) SMOOTHNESS AND COMPACTNESS -A rough, uneven surface, owing to the
greater amount of surface exposed, will radiate back into the atmosphere a larger
portion of the heat received than will an even surface. If the roughness is due to
a cloddy condition this loss is aggravated, since the poor connection between the
clods and the underlying soil prevents the heat being conducted downward. A
firm, compact soil will conduct the heat into the deeper soil much more readily
than one that is very loose and open.
(d) TILLAGE-It follows from what has just been said that thorough culti-
vation, especially if deep, hinders the conduction of heat to the deeper soil. But
while the total amount of heat stored in the soil may be lessened on this account,
the temperature of the cultivated portion is very much increased by this concentra-
tion. This is one of the chief advantages to be gained by a thorough and early
I 2 A light-colored soil may be made materially darker
Sby the addition of vegetable matter.
I' See page 9, footnote.
SOIL TEXTURE AND FERTILITY
preparation of the seed-bed. Tillage also favors a more rapid decomposition of the
organic matter in the soil, which action produces heat. Thorough preparation
further increases the temperature of the seed-bed by removing any excess of mois-
ture that may exist, and by checking evaporation from the surface.
(e) WETNESS OF THE SOIL -A wet soil is colder than a similar soil when dry,
for two reasons: (1) The various chemical changes which produce heat are taking
place less rapidly. (2) It requires a greater amount of heat to raise the tempera-
ture of a pound of wet soil through any given number of degrees than to effect an
equal increase of temperature in the same weight of dry soil. The specific heat of
water is much greater than that of soils. To raise the temperature of water a given
number of degrees requires nearly ten times as much heat as for sand, weights
being equal in both cases. The matter of removing all excess of moisture is there-
fore very important, from this standpoint. For the same reason the manner of
removing should be by underdrainage rather than by evaporation.
(f) EVAPORATION- This process has a marked cooling effect upon the soil, as
much heat being required to evaporate a pound of water from the surface of the
soil as would raise through several degrees the temperature of a cubic foot of average
soil. Professor King records a difference in temperature, in favor of drained as
against undrained soil, as great as 12.5' Fahr. on a cloudy day, and states that the
difference is due mainly to difference in rate of evaporation.
(g) EFFECT OF VEGETABLE MAATTER -The decay of vegetable matter in the soil
increases its temperature (1) by making it darker colored, so that more of the sun's
heat will be absorbed, (2) by lessening evaporation of water from the surface, and
(3) by reason of heat produced in the process of decomposition.'
MECHANICAL STRUCTURE AND ITS RELATION TO FERTILITY
The size of the soil particles, and their mechanical relation to one another, is
not the least of the factors that determine the value of a soil for the production of
crops. Soil grains vary in size from the coarse grains of sand down to particles so
fine that they can be seen only by the aid of a powerful microscope. The smaller
the particles, the larger the amount of soil-grain surface in a cubic foot of soil. -A soil
with particles of a given average size contains practically ten times as much surface
as one whose particles are ten times as large. The amount of surface, other things
being equal, determines the rate of solution of the mineral plant food.
1 Everyoneisfamiliarwiththegenerationof heatin proportionally upon the decomposition of all organic
the fermenting manure heap, and with the use of ma- matter everywhere.
nure to develop heat in hotbeds. The same result follows
The amount of surface also affects the amount of moisture that may be held in
the form of a film around the soil grains. The amount of surface also is a measure
of the amount of feeding ground allotted to the plant roots growing in the soil. A
column of soil one foot square and four feet in depth (to which depth the roots of
most of our farm crops penetrate), whose particles have an average diameter of .01
of an inch, would expose a surface of .34 of an acre, while one whose particles aver-
aged .001 of an inch would have a soil-grain surface area of 3.4 acres. The size of
the soil particles very materially affects the amount of pore space in a soil, as well as
the size of the pores. The larger the particles, the larger the pores, but the smaller
the aggregate amount of pore space; and a greatly lessened proportion of this
space will consist of pores small enough to hold water, or to draw it from the deeper
soil by capillary attraction.
It follows from the foregoing that, generally speaking, the finer the soil the
more capillary water it will retain, and the greater will be its power to draw water
from supplies deep down in the earth. It is possible, however, for both water
movement and water capacity to be lessened by an extreme fineness of soil grains.
In the case of an extremely fine clay soil the particles may be so drawn together
by their attraction for each other, rendering the interspaces extremely fine, as to
permit only a comparatively small amount of water to enter these various aggrega-
tions. An extremely fine-grained soil, with its consequent fine pore spaces, is
unfavorable to thorough aeration; neither does it allow the roots proper freedom in
penetrating and exploring the feeding ground. Any tendency toward a puddled
condition in these soils is apt to affect the uniformity of development of the root
systems, and in the case of tuberous crops, as potatoes, or root crops, such as sugar
beets, may materially affect the condition and quality of the crop.
How Certain Physical Defects may be Remedied-(a) Tillage
when the soil is in proper condition will break up the contracted condition and
increase the aeration and capillary capacity of the surface portion of very fine soils.
(b) Freezing expands these soils, forcing the particles apart. Its beneficial
effects on a stiff clay soil can hardly be estimated, especially if not counteracted by
heavy rains after the frost goes out. The thoroughness with which the frost does
this work can not be duplicated by the use of any tool or combination of tools.
(c) Underdrainage, to prevent the free water remaining in the soil, is a great
factor in preventing its contraction.
1 Theamountofpore spacein a cubicfootofsoilthat | from a little more than one-third in the case of a fine
is unoccupied, or occupied only by air or water, varies I gravel to over one-half in some of the finest clay soils.
FOOD REQUIREMENTS OF PLANTS
(d) The growth of grasses whose roots will thoroughly fill the upper soil, and
of the legumes, whose larger roots penetrate the deeper soil, is an important aid in
loosening up and expanding these soils. The decaying roots and other vegetable
matter, if sufficient in quantity, will effectually prevent their contraction into a
puddled condition, will render them con-
stantly more loose and open, will make them
much more easily cultivated, and, in fact,
will improve them in every way. Decaying
vegetable matter also tends to bind together
those soils that are too coarse and whose
pores are too large, increasing their water-
holding capacity and decreasing evaporation
VEGETABLE MATTER AS
A FACTOR OF FERTILITY
Lands continuously cultivated gradually .s :
diminish in productive capacity. The growth
of any kind of vegetation, as we have seen,
takes up a certain amount of various mineral
elements from the soil. The discovery of
this fact, and of the additional one that these
several substances are necessary elements of
plant food, naturally led to the conclusion
that the loss in productive capacity must be
due to the diminished supply of mineral
plant food, and that any successful effort to
maintain or increase the fertility of a soil
must lie in the direction of replacing these
elements by artificial means.'
The table2 on the following page shows
how much of each of the three elements
most readily lost from the soil is removed Fin. 6. Photograph showing root development of
therefrom in the production of various crops. ofedun rct ar (Prof. F. Ar. ing: Peysics
1 In some of the States more than $6,000,000 is ex- 2 Adapted from publications of the United States
pended annually for commercial fertilizers in an effort Department of Agriculture.
to increase the productiveness of the land.
24 SOIL FERTILITY
FERTILIZING CONSTITUENTS REMOVED FROM SOIL BY GIVEN QUANTITIES OF CERTAIN CROPS
KIND OF CROP. Weight of Phos-
KIND OF CROP. Nitrogen. Potash.t .
Pounds. Pounds. Pounds. Pounds.
Alfalfa, dry .---- ....... ------- ------------------------------ 2,000 44.00 34.00 10.60
S green ---............--..---- ---------- 2,000 14.40 11.20 2.60
Barley, grain only ........... ....------------------------- ,000 85.00 12.00 1500
Beans, kernels only...-....................------------ --- 2,000 80.00 24.00 24.00
Beets, red, roots only-........ ............. --...........------- 2,000 4.80 8.80 1.80
yellow fodder, roots only......................... ---.- 2,000 3.80 9.20 1.80
sugar (whole plant, to produce one ton roots) ....--...--- 2,500to 3,060 4.60tol2.00 5.54to17.201.47to4.74
Buckwheat, dry hay ... .. ............................. 2,000 16.70 48.40 12.20
green, in blossom ...-......... ..--- .....------.-------- 2,000 10.20 8.60 2.20
Cabbage ..............................-------- ..-- .----------. 2,000 7.60 8.60 2.20
Carrots----........- ..........- ....-----.--------..-----.. .---- 2,000 3.20 1020 0.20
Clover, Alsike dry.. ..........................------------- -- .... 2,000 4660 40.20 14.00
Sgreen.......... ............................ 2,000 8.80 4.00 2.20
S crimson, dry-..........------ .....--- ..........--------- 2,000 40.00 25.00 7.60
green ........ ....----............... 2,000 8.60 9.80 2.60
S red,dry ---------------........................ 2,000 42.00 40.00 1000
green ........ ........---- ...--.......-- 2,000 10.60 920 2.60
white, dry-.......-- ..............-.....-....------------ 2,000 50.00 30.00 14.00
green ............... ................----- --- 2,000 11.20 4.80 4.00
Corn, field (kernels and cobs) ...... .......... ......------ ------ 2,000 28.20 9.40 11.40
fodder, dry (with ears) ----.... ------- ------... 2,000 86.00 18.00 11.00
sweet (whole plant, to produce one ton husked ears) .......... 5,260 15.20 17.80 5.80
Cotton (to produce 100 lbs. lint) .............. ...........-- ...--- 947 20.71 13.06 8.17
Cow-pea, dry, whole plant .................... ---- 2,000 89.00 29.40 10.60
green ..............-----------------------------..............................---------- 2,000 5.40 6.20 2.00
Flax (to produce 100 lbs. fiber) ....................----- ---- ... 687 12.37 7.29 6.76
Hemp (to produce 100 lbs. clean fiber) .--.......- ...................- 598 6.27 10.13 3.32
Hops,leaves and stems-.. .................. ...-- ----........- 2,000 15.00 17.60 8.00
Kentucky blue grass ........... ..... .......................---- 2,000 23.80 81.40 8.00
Lettuce leaves-- --------............ ......... -----.........------------------- 2,000 4.60 7.40 1.40
Millet, dry ...---...-...-- ........---------- --- ----------------. 2,000 25.60 34.00 10.00
green ............... ........................ 2,000 12.20 8.20 3.80
Oats, hay, in bloom...-...... ..........-------------- ---------------- 2,000 24.00 50.80 13.40
green fodder. ............--- --------. ------------------................. 2,000 9.80 7.60 2.60
grain only ........... ----------------------................................ 2,000 40.00 12.00 16.00
Onions ................ -------------------- ......................................... 2,000 4.00 3.50 2.50
Parsnips............... ............2,000 4.40 12.40 8.80
Peas, dr in bloom ...........................2,000 66.00 34.00 10.20
green ......... .......-------------------------------................................ 2,000 10.00 11.20 3.60
seed only ..............-- ..........---- .----- ---------- 2,000 80.00 20.00 16.00
Potatoes, Irish, tubers ..........--....--------------------........................----------- 2,000 4.20 5.80 1.40
sweet, roots ........... --------.......................---------------- 2,000 4.80 7.40 1.60
Pumpkins, whole fruit. ...... -............ -------------------- 2,000 2.20 1.80 3.20
Rice, unhulled grain only ............ ...........--------------------- 2,000 26.80 5.60 9.40
Rye, grain only ................ ------- ---- --............................ 2,000 85.00 11.00 16.00
Sugar cane, leaves and tops removed ............. .--------... ... 2,000 3.40 2.17 1.48
Timothy hay --.............................................. 2,000 25.20 30.60 9.20
Tobacco (to produce one top leaf) -........................... ,600to ,000 44 to 120.10 70 to 170 11.8 to20.4
Tomatoes, fruit ...............---------------.........................------------------...---- 2,000 3.20 5.40 1.00
Turnips, roots ..........-----------------........ ------------- 2,000 3.60 7.80 2.00
Wheat, winter (to produce one ton grain) .....................--- ..-- 5,000 51.11 28.88 22.22
It is the gravest error, however, as has been previously pointed out, to consider
that the fertility of a soil depends upon its supply of mineral plant food; neither is
it any more correct to consider the supply of soluble mineral plant food in any soil
as a definite amount, like so much horse feed in a barrel, to be drawn upon until
exhausted, with no power in the barrel to renew the supply. As has been shown, all
HUMUS THE PRIME ESSENTIAL
soils have their origin in the rock masses of the earth, and what has been developed
from a given material may continue to be developed therefrom under like condi-
tions; under improved conditions the rate of its development may be accelerated.
If there were no means of replacing these elements from the foundation soil, the
estimates that have so commonly been made as to the number of years a given
soil might be expected to produce a certain crop, based upon the amount of plant
food in the soil as shown by chemical analysis, and the quantity taken up by an
average growth of this crop, would be entirely erroneous.
This method of calculation takes no account of leaching, which in humid or semi-
humid climates is very great, there being leached out of an average soil by the
percolating waters from five to seven pounds of plant food for every pound taken
up by the crop.
It is also a decided error to refer to the sale of so many pounds of plant food,
contained in grain, as the only, or even the greatest, evil resulting from the continued
production of grain crops and their sale from the land. Even if the whole crop
were returned to the soil, there would be replaced only 15 to 20 per cent of the
mineral plant food that has been given up by the soil during the production of
As the rock fragments are decomposed and dissolved, a part is taken up by the
plants, and, as we see, a much larger part is carried away by the percolating waters
to the sea, to be again laid down, to go through the process of rock formation, and
perhaps at some future day to repeat the process now going on.
It may still be asked, what causes the reduction in fertility, if not the reduction
of the amount of soluble plant food?
The answer is, a lessening of that element in the soil which not only affects, but
very largely controls, all the factors of fertility heretofore discussed, namely, humus.
Effect of Humus on Mineral Plant Food-The supply of vege-
table matter in the soil not only improves the mechanical condition thereof as
regards the decay of the rock fragments, but the heat generated by its decom-
position and the humic acid supplied therefrom are among the most potent agents
in rendering soluble the mineral plant food.
The following experiment is given to show the effect of vegetable matter in
decomposing and rendering soluble the inert mineral matters of the soil. It also
illustrates the loss of this soluble plant food from a soil, aside from what is taken
up by the crop, as the soil was kept bare. Two boxes were filled with soil identi-
cally the same, except that to one was added 20 per cent of its weight in cow
manure. These boxes were treated exactly alike for twelve months, the soil
receiving an occasional stirring. At the end of this period an analysis showed an
increase of 30 per cent in the soluble plant food of the soil to which manure was
added, after making allowance for what was contained in the manure, while that
which received no manure showed a loss in soluble plant food of 4.36 per cent.
According to a series of experiments that have been carried on for a number of
years at the Minnesota Experiment Station, continuous grain-cropping where (a) no
manure was applied resulted in the reduction of the humus content of the soil at
the rate of 1,500 to 1,800 pounds an acre per annum. But where (b) a rotation was
practiced that had clover for one of its factors, and had the second-growth clover
plowed under as green manure, there was at the end of the first complete rotation
not only no decrease, but a very decided increase, in the amount of humus in the
soil. The amount of soluble plant food was very greatly reduced in the first case,
while in the latter there was a decided increase. This, too, in spite of the fact
that the rotation lands had in consequence thereof produced larger crops which had
consequently removed more plant food from the soil. The increase in yield was five
bushels of wheat and twenty bushels of corn to the acre.
The more abundant the vegetable matter in the soil, the more rapid will be its
oxidation and reduction. It is found also that the amount of soluble plant food is
reduced much more rapidly than is the humus content, the change in this latter
showing itself very quickly in its effect upon the mechanical condition of a soil, and
consequently upon the decomposition of its particles.
Professor Snyder has done quite extensive work in the way of collecting and ana-
lyzing soils that have been cropped in various ways; also of soils that have not been
cropped at all. He finds that a native prairie soil contains about twice as much
vegetable matter, and three to five times as much of the more important elements of
plant food in a soluble form, as adjacent soils that have been continuously cropped
with grain for fifteen or twenty years, while many farms that have been under culti-
vation for much longer periods, but which have been allowed to produce an occa-
sional crop of timothy and clover (receiving now and then a dressing of manure),
remain in a condition almost equal to that of the native soils. One particular
instance may be cited. Of two adjoining farms, both under cultivation for thirty-
five years, and originally alike, one has received frequent dressings of manure, has
produced wheat, corn, oats and timothy, and clover in rotation, and shows no
apparent decline in fertility. The other has grown grain continuously without
receiving any manure or vegetable matter in any form. During the first few years
HOW HUMUS CONSERVES MOISTURE 27
heavy crops were raised, but during the past few years the yields have been very
low, especially in dry years. It is estimated that the producing power of this piece
of land has been reduced 68 per cent. A neighboring farm that has been under
cultivation for forty-two years, and has received a systematic rotation, with a dress-
ing of manure, every five years, at the rate of ten tons per acre, is in even better
condition than the one first mentioned.
Effect of Humus on Moisture of Soils-It has been found that a
native prairie soil will retain about 20 per cent more moisture than one that has
been continuously grain-cropped for fifteen or twenty years.
Some samples of soil taken in 1899, to a depth of four and one-half feet, showed
the following relation to each other in percentage of moisture and total volatile
matter. The samples were taken on the same day on land that was almost level,
being taken from adjoining plots, which had produced the same kind of a crop,
and had had the same kind of cultivation and treatment throughout the season.
The results are averages for the four and one-half feet in depth.
SAMPL. Vegetable Matter Moisture
SAMPLE. Per Cent. Per Cent.
No. ...-------- ------.-------------------------------- 2.37 11.93
No. 2 ......----..... -----------------.------------ 4.5 21.7
A soil will not yield all its water to plants. In a good average soil, plants can
not reduce the moisture below 6 or 7 per cent. So that soil No. 2 contained at the
time of sampling less than twice as much vegetable matter and more than two and
one-half times as much available moisture as No. 1. In experiments to determine
the effects of manure upon evaporation it has been found that a good application
of well-rotted manure, well worked into the soil, will reduce the evaporation to the
extent of one ton of water per acre per day.
To show the effect upon the moisture capacity of a soil produced by an extreme
amount of vegetable matter, the following example is given: This sample was
taken on a piece of permanent pasture land and to a depth of four feet. The per-
centage of vegetable matter present was 34.66, and the moisture content was
63.13 per cent.
During the extreme drought of 1901 the moisture was so conserved on a plat
very rich in vegetable matter, as to result in a yield of over eighty bushels of corn
to the acre; while a plat a few rods distant, on practically the same level and
-- receiving the same cultivation, but poor in humus,
produced less than twenty bushels per acre. (Figs.
7 and 8.)
SThe loss of vegetable matter produces a decided
effect upon the soil in another way especially notice-
able in wet seasons or after heavy rains. As the
vegetable skeleton is decomposed the soil particles
are allowed to come together more closely and form
greater obstruction to the passage of the excess of
water through them, so that even if well under-
drained a much longer time is required for the sur-
face to get in proper condition for cultivation, and
for the soil to receive a new supply of air for the
use of roots and the various germs. The writer has
known this difference in vegetable content to mean,
on the one hand, the almost continual exclusion of
air from the soil,
With no opportunity '
for cultivation; and,
on the other hand,
fairly good aeration,
FIG. 7 Photograph of corn, showing
moisture-conserving effect of vege- a fair opportunity
table matter in the soil during a dry
season. (Edgerton.) for cultivation, and
a good healthy
growth of crop. (Figs. 9 and 10.)
Effect on Ai3ration--In soils that are at
all compact the problem of improving the aeration
is a very important one, and for this purpose no
treatment or manipulation can be applied that will
duplicate the effect produced by the presence of
decaying vegetable matter. Tillage will open up
the surface portion but can not extend to the deeper
soil. After the soil is stirred, in the absence of a FIn. 8. Photograph of corn grown on
good supporting vegetable skeleton; it tends to soiate ingy ae same elevation and
located only a few rods from that
settle and draw together again, gradually cutting off which produced corn showninig. 7
but which, by reason of long cultiva-
the air movement. In very ne soils a heavy rin, tion, contained a very small amount
the air movement. In very fine soils a heavy rain, of vegetable matter. (Edgerton.)
INCREASING THE HUMUS CONTENT OF SOILS
soon after the stirring takes place, may cause almost an entire suspension of air
movement. The presence of a good supply of vegetable matter will maintain a
constant open condition on any well-drained soil under almost any conditions of
rainfall. The growth and decomposition of somewhat fleshy roots, as of clover
and alfalfa, open up passageways for the air into the deeper soil. On soils that
are too coarse and open, vegetable matter, by increasing the amount of water held
and binding the particles together, also by partially filling some of the larger inter-
spaces, tends to hold in check the excessive air movement of such soils and thus to
lessen internal evaporation.
Influence on Soil Temperature-As we have observed, the temper-
ature of a soil is a very important factor. Vegetable matter affects temperature
(a) by making the soil darker in color, and enabling it to absorb more of the sun's
heat; (b) by lessening evaporation, which ig a cooling process; (c) by enabling the
soil to get rid of its surplus water by percolation, so that the same amount of heat
will raise the temperature of the soil to a higher degree; (d) by its decomposition,
and by furnishing conditions more favorable for the action of the countless germs
in the soil, and for the more rapid decomposition of the mineral matters. Almost
all of these processes of decomposition generate more or less heat.
Methods of Increasing the Humus Content of Soils -As pre-
viously stated, the production of a cultivated crop on an average soil will result in
the loss from that soil of from 1,500 to 1,800 pounds of humus per acre, which in
some manner must be replaced if the fertility of the soil is to be maintained. There
are three ways in which this may be done: (a) By the application of manure, (b)
by proper rotation of crops, and (c) by a combination of the first two.
(a) APPLICATION OF MANURE-From what has been said it is but a logical
deduction that the sale of the roughage from the farm, or the burning of the straw,
is far worse for the fertility of that farm than is the sale of the grain portion of the
crop, inasmuch as the greater portion of the vegetable fiber of a crop is contained
in the fodder portion. If lands are to produce grain or other cultivated crops
continuously, and to be maintained solely by the application of manure, they will
require a dressing of at least fifteen tons of well-rotted manure every five years,
or as may sometimes give better results, a dressing of three tons each year. This
should be thoroughly worked into the soil.
The time of application should be governed by the crop that is to follow. More-
over, unless manure is plowed in soon after being drawn, the condition and topog-
raphy of the surface will have a great deal of influence upon the loss that may
occur. Manure spread and allowed to lie for some time on a stiff clay, with an
unplowed surface, especially if rolling, or on rolling ground when frozen, may be
subjected to heavy loss by the action of rains leaching through it and carrying
portions of it away in the surface drainage.
(b) PROPER ROTATION--This means not only that various crops shall be
grown, but that the variation shall be such as to allow the ground to be covered a
portion of the time with crops, perennial in their nature, that do not require culti
ovation, so that they may be left to occupy the ground long enough for their roots
to thoroughly ramify the soil. It has been clearly
S" demonstrated that such a system may result, not
only in maintaining the supply of vegetable matter
S in a soil, but in increasing it, while at the same
S time, larger crops are being produced.
As regards the crops adapted for this purpose:
Some of the leguminous plants should be used in
the rotation, as they will not only increase the supply
of nitrogen, but, their roots being large and pene-
Strating deeply, they will open up and add humus to
the deeper soil. Some of the grasses that develop a
good sod, as timothy, blue grass, or orchard grass,
should also have an occasional place in the system, as
their roots permeate all parts of the soil most com-
pletely and greatly improve its mechanical condition,
especially as regards the upper portion, or that which
forms the seed-bed.
(c) COMBINING ROTATION WITH APPLICATIONS
OF MANURE--A combination of the two methods
just described is much better than either one alone.
The application of manure can not well be made
to reach the subsoil with its physical effects, and,
on the other hand, the soil may be improved much
more rapidly by the addition of manure than by
rotation alone. Also, if so desired, a larger per-
centage of grain crops may enter into the rotation
.derdrainage may be rendered inef- without injury to the land, if the rotation is supple-
of hulmus in te oil. sea(sodgon.l mented with an occasional dressing of manure,
of humus in the soil. (Edgeflon.)
BENEFITS OF STOCK-RAISINGC
The surest way to improve the fertility of a piece
of land, or even to maintain it, is to employ such a
mixture of stock and grain-growing that practically
all the grain and roughage that is raised on the farm
will be consumed thereon. If no stock is kept, the
only incentive for rotation is the improvement of the
soil, and consequently it-is too apt to be neglected.
If there is a considerable amount of stock the grow-
ing of grasses and clover has for its additional purpose
the supplying of pasture and hay for the animals.
In the latter case, also, the manure, a large part of
which is sure to be lacking in exclusive grain-grow-
ing, is a consideration of value.
The kind of stock used is of minor importance
so long as it is such a class or combination of classes
as to utilize the "roughness" for either food or bed-
ding. It is very much better to have the straw worked
into manure by utilizing it for bedding than to let it
rot in the stack.
Bedding should be used freely enough with all
animals to absorb all the liquid, as there is often more
plant food voided in the urine than in the solid ex-
crement. Furthermore, the liquid portion of the
excrement is in such condition as to be very readily
transformed into available plant food and thus to give
quick returns for its application.
There is a difference, however, in the concentra-
tion and mechanical division of the excrement from
the different classes of animals which renders the
immediate effects of their application decidedly
different. For example: The application of one
ton of sheep manure will produce much greater im-
mediate results than the same amount of the manure
of cattle, the difference in concentration making it
somewhat richer (it has a considerably less percentage
FIG. 10. Photograph of corn grow-
ing on the same level and only 100
feet from that shown in Fig. 9, on
land having the same underdrain-
age, but with a larger quantity of
vegetable matter in the soil. (Edg-
of water), and the difference in mechanical division making its content of plant
food more readily available and so increasing its immediate effect upon the soil.
Commercial vs. Natural Fertilizers The term "commercial fertil-
izers," as used here, is intended to apply in its entirety only to those fertilizers
made by grinding up various kinds of rock material that contain a high percentage
of one or more of the essential elements of plant food. Those having an animal or
vegetable origin (like tankage from slaughter-houses, the guanos, etc.) have a value,
as heretofore explained, aside from the actual plant food contained.
Owing to the multiplicity of causes that usually combine to produce a given
effect in the agricultural world, it very commonly happens that first conclusions as
to the cause of a given result cover but a small portion of the actual field.
It was but natural, in the present case, that inasmuch as the percentage of
soluble plant food in a soil decreases as the yield of crops decreases, the soil's con-
tent of soluble plant food should at first have been considered the sole controlling
factor in crop production. The logical procedure from such a basis would be an
attempt to maintain or increase the productiveness of the soil by adding to it some
material containing these essential elements in large quantity. Hence, there has
grown up an immense industry, based on this theory, and more or less patronized
by all the older sections of the country. Most of the Eastern States spend annually
millions of dollars in an effort to increase the productiveness of their soils by this
method. That some benefit is often derived from such application there is no
doubt, and in favorable seasons and under certain conditions the effect may even
be very marked. The outcome, however, is very uncertain, owing to the fact that
such an application, as a rule, affects only the one factor of fertility, namely, the sup-
ply of mineral plant food. The moisture capacity, temperature, aOration, etc., are
unaffected thereby. It follows that very often this application produces no increase
in yield, and the total crop is sometimes worth no more than has been expended on
commercial fertilizers for its production.
The mineral plant food contained in these fertilizers is only partially soluble,
and those who have been using them for years have discovered that by mixing them
with manure and maintaining proper conditions for fermentation these materials
will be rendered much more soluble. It is only reasonable to suppose that a similar
action would produce a similar effect when applied to the same materials already
in the soil. This we have seen to be the actual result as evidenced by experi-
Therefore, when we remember that the soil contains an abundance of these
ECONOMY IN FERTILIZING
necessary mineral elements, in one form or another, and that the conditions neces-
sary for their rapid transformation into available form are also the conditions most
favoring the other factors of fertility, we can only conclude that millions of dollars
are annually being wasted. In fact, money spent in this way is very often worse
than wasted, because if the proper methods were pursued, the farmer would not
only save that expense but enjoy a much larger yield of crop and an improved
condition of soil for years to come. When a man buys such fertilizer he is spend-
ing money for a commodity which he already possesses in greater abundance than
he can ever hope to utilize.
In short, it is poor business policy to buy what you can grow or develop yourself
without any expense, especially when by so doing you are increasing your gross
returns and permanently improving the condition of your lands in other ways.
An extensive series of experiments with the various commercial fertilizers and
barnyard manure conducted by the Michigan Agricultural College furnishes a good
illustration.' This report covers nine separate sets of experiments, conducted, one
at the college and one in each of eight different counties.
The 'crops used were corn, potatoes, beans, and sugar beets. A statement of
the condition of the lands used is lacking in most of the cases, but those described
are spoken of as having been severely and injuriously cropped. These results do
not show much benefit to have been derived by the use of commercial fertilizers
over no fertilizers at all, whereas, the increase in yields of plots fertilized with
manure over those fertilized with commercial fertilizer was very marked, and in some
cases almost double. This, too, in the face of the fact that in some cases, at least,
the manure was applied in a coarse and unrotted condition, a procedure that would
not, by any means, give the best possible results for that year.
Many similar cases might be given, but this example is sufficient to show the
immediate effects produced by manure, and it very frequently happens, in the appli-
cation of manure, especially if it is not well rotted before being applied, that much
greater benefits will be derived therefrom in the second and third years after appli-
cation than in the first, and the effect may continue to be noticed for years.
An idea of the immediate benefits that may be derived from the growing of legu-
minous crops upon the land may be obtained from the following examples:
Prof. J. F. Duggar reports an experiment in which the plowing under of a
crop of cow-pea vines, after the peas had been harvested, gave an increase in yield
of 250 per cent of wheat, 300 per cent of oats, and an increase in seed-cotton worth
1 Bulletin 181, Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.
(at 61c.) $16.50 to $17.40 to
I r the acre. In an experiment
SWat the Wyoming Station,
a tract of land of uniform
i condition and quality was
n .e a divided, and one-half seeded
Sto and allowed to remain in
alfalfa for five years. The
other half produced each
year a crop of grain or pota-
toes. At the end of the five
years the whole plot was
plowed, prepared, and each
half planted to the same
crop. The increase in yield
from the alfalfa land over
that from the land that had
been continuously cropped
with cultivated crops, when
figured at the local market
prices, was equal to $16 per
i acre. This was figuring the
'.. crop from the two sections to
FIo. 11. Photograph showing beneficial effects upon the soilof growing be of equal quality, whereas,
leguminous crops, alfalfa being used in this experiment. The two
larger samples of oats and wheat were grown upon alfalfa land, the as a matter of fact, there
two smaller ones upon land that had been continuously in some grain
or cultivated crop. (Prof. B. C. Buffum, Bulletin 44, Wyoming Ex was considerable difference
in quality in favor of the
alfalfa land. Where plants are enabled to go right along with a normal and vigorous
development they can elaborate and store up in their seeds a larger amount of
material, and plumper, heavier seed will result than where the plants are less
thrifty, or where their development is cut off by a sudden shortage in moisture
supply or other cause. In the above case oats from the alfalfa land weighed forty-
three pounds to the bushel.t
1 The legal weight of oats in the various States ranges between 26 pounds (Maryland) and 36 pounds (Oregon
BENEFITS OF ARTIFICIAL DRAINAGE
There may occur, either from improper treatment or from unfavorable natural
conditions, soil conditions that may be greatly ameliorated by the application of
certain mineral ingredients as corrective agents. As we have seen, lands that have
become unproductive through too great an accumulation of carbonate salts (black
alkali) may be greatly improved by an application of gypsum to change these salts
into the sulphate (white alkali) form, which is less injurious. Close, heavy soils,
or even lighter soils, under improper conditions may become sour. In such cases
an application of lime will be found of great value. From twenty to seventy-five
bushels may be applied, according to the severity of the case. A direct application
of lime is sometimes injurious to certain crops, so that the safer plan will be to
make any such applications the fall before the land is to be put into crop. Lime
may also perform a very valuable service in improving the texture of very fine heavy
clays, by flocculating1 the minute particles and thus rendering such soils more free
and open for the entrance of air, the movement of moisture, and the penetration of
WHAT TILE DRAINAGE DOES
In what has gone before, many of the various soil amendments effected by proper
drainage have been indicated in their connection. We may now summarize these
It has been shown that air (the most important components of which are nitro-
gen, oxygen, and a small proportion of carbon dioxide) must be present in the soil,
being essential to the germination of seeds, to the growth of plants, to the activ-
ities of the nitrifying bacteria, to the life of the parasites of the legumens, and to
the chemical changes that set free mineral plant food in the soil. Free water
excludes air, and the mischief, as has been seen, does not end with the simple
cessation of the processes mentioned; for the denitrifying bacteria, deprived by
excess of water of the oxygen they require, extract the needful element from the
nitrates, so locking up or even setting free available nitrogen.
UTnderdrainage AIrates the Soil- (a) By improving soil texture, or
making possible such improvement, so as to admit air to spaces formerly occupied
by free water; (b) by admitting plants to a deeper growth and providing livable
1 This term refers to the gathering together of the fine particles into groups or clusters, and has the effect of
making the soil somewhat coarser.
conditions for earthworms and burrowing animals, all of which aid in ventilation
(c) by permitting the flocculation of the clay subsoil and by lessening its tendency
to contract upon itself; (d) by the agency of the lines of tile themselves, into which
soil air is forced by barometric high pressure or expansion due to rising temper-
ature, and from which the plant roots derive fresh air when barometric low pressure
or fall in temperature produces a partial vacuum in the soil.
Effect on Soil Moisture-We have also observed that plants can not
properly develop without an adequate supply of capillary moisture. In the under-
drained field the reservoir of capillary water has been increased; surface washing
and leaching are both reduced, owing to the greater capacity of this reservoir to
handle the rainfall; a heavier rainfall
may be received without making the
surface soil too wet for proper cultiva"
tion. By no means of least importance
is the fact that the larger root develop-
me)it, that is stimulated by underdrain-
age, enables the plant to absorb a given
amount of water with a much less peri
centage of moisture present in the soil,
Effect on Soil Temperature
A warm soil, as we have learned, i;
also of the greatest importance. Uni
derdrainage aids greatly in the product
tion of a warmer condition of soil: (a)
By removing the surplus moisture b
percolation instead of evaporation; (b)
by decreasing the amount of surplus
water in the soil, and thus enabling a
given amount of heat to warm a larger
amount of soil; (c) by enabling the soil
in the early spring to absorb a larger pro-
portion of the warm rains (such rainfall
containing a very large amount of latent
heat); and (d) by improving the condi-
FIG. 12. Photograph showing shallow rooting of corn in tions for decomposition and various
Sadrained soil. (Prof. F. H. King: Physics of Agricul- chemical actions which produce heat.
ture.) chemical actions which produce heat
PLANNING A DRAINAGE SYSTEM
Effect on Alkali Lands-It has also been pointed out that an excess of
salts (forming alkali lands) may be fatal to the growth of vegetation. Underdrain-
age is the only practical, permanent remedy for such conditions.
WHEN DRAINAGE IS BENEFICIAL
The kind of lands that need underdraining are: (a) Flat lands with basins, or
where surface drainage is very poor; (b) comparatively flat lands, if of large area,
that receive the surface drainage from higher ground; (c) low-lying lands that are
kept too wet by the natural underground seepage from the surrounding higher
lands; (d) flat lands, of considerable extent, having fair surface drainage but
underlaid near the surface with thick beds of close, impervious clay; (e) hillsides
where there is an outcropping of water-bearing strata; (f) lands that are subject to
inundation, especially if of a somewhat fine texture, or if surface drainage is not
first class; (g) lands requiring excessive irrigation for special crops, as rice : and
(h) alkali lands.
All lands in which the surface of the free water remains for any considerable
length of time nearer the surface of the ground than three feet will be benefited
by underdrainage. This may be determined by digging a hole with a spade or post
auger, in which the water will stand on a level with that in the surrounding soil.
HOW TO DRAIN LAND
Location of Ditches The getting of a proper outlet is of course the first
consideration in locating a tile drain. The outlet should be as free and unob-
structed as possible; any obstruction at the mouth will tend to fill up the drain
farther back, for the water is carrying more or less sediment almost all the time,
and if the flow is checked the sediment will be deposited. It must be so located
that there will be a continuous rise in the line of tile from this point to the source,
else there will be a stoppage from the same cause.
In draining level land that is not affected by seepage from higher lands the
drain should in a general way follow the lower land. The exceptions occur where
there is so little difference in altitude between the outlet and some of the lower
portions of the field to be drained that the tile can not be placed far enough below
the surface in the lower portion to insure its remaining undisturbed ; or where, to
reach some low point in the field at a given altitude, it becomes necessary to cut
across and shorten the distance of the main line as much as possible.
Wet sloughs or draws that have a fair slope of surface are usually wet because
of seepage water from the higher ground on either side, and will be dry ground if
this is cut off. So, in a wide draw, the best plan is to run a line of tile up either
side to catch this water as it comes from the higher ground. Where the draw is
narrow, one line up the center will usually answer every purpose.
In draining any piece of land the conditions should be carefully studied, and the
actual source of the water that is causing the trouble should be determined. Level
lands that are wet because of seepage from higher ground will usually be more
thoroughly dried by running one line of tile along the outcrop (several feet, it
may be, above the main body of wet land), to catch this water as it comes out
and prevent it getting into the other soil, than by a whole network of underdrains
distributed through the level land to remove the water after it once gets in. The
same principle applies to boggy hillsides and all lands made wet from the outcrop
of a water-bearing stratum.1 The mistake has very frequently been made, in
attempting to drain such places, of putting the tile on the lower side to catch the
water after it has passed through the other soil and has done more or less damage,
instead of on the upper side, to catch it before it gets into the adjoining terri-.
In determining the location of a system of tile drains on level land a level
should be used, as the eye, measuring as it does by comparison with surrounding
objects, can not be depended upon to tell which are the lowest and highest points.
Depth of Drain--Except where the outlet is such as to necessitate a
shallower ditch in order to maintain a proper fall, tile should always be placed four
feet below the surface, and for the following reasons:
(a) To obtain, as we have seen, a large reservoir for capillary water and a larger
field for root development.
(b) To enable a given line of tile to drain a larger area.'
(c) To enable the excess of water to get away more quickly after a heavy rain.
It is a mistaken idea that a shallow-laid tile will carry off the surplus water more
quickly after a rain than a deeper one. Aside from the fact that the deeper-laid
tile develops a larger reservoir, into which this surplus water can sink many
hundred times as fast as it can get into any tile, the water will find its way through
the soil to the deeper tile faster than to the shallower one, by reason of the steeper
incline of the surface of the free water that may be developed. The water reaching
1 This water-bearing stratum may be a layer of attraction of the soit particles, which hinder its flow, it
sand or gravel, or any other porous substance, with a recedes on an incline so that a tile 4 feet in depth will
layer of clay or other less porous substance beneath, draw the water from a distance at least one-third
2 The surface of the free water does not extend greater than one 3 feet in depth.
from the tile on a level, but owing to the friction and the
CUTTING THE DITOIC
the tile may also be forced into the deeper tile faster than into the shallower one,
by reason of the greater pressure developed by the greater depth, or head of water.
Establishing the Grade and Cutting the Ditch-In some sec-
tions tiling consists largely in the drainage of sloughs or other lands that have a
good fall all the way from source to outlet. In such districts a careful man of
good judgment may do a good job without using a level; especially if he have run-
ning water for a guide. Such cases are, however, comparatively rare. The first step
in establishing the grade is to determine the distance between the source and the
outlet, and the difference in altitude between the outlet and the bottom of the pro-
spective ditch at the source. The amount of this difference in altitude, divided by
the number of hundred feet in length of ditch, will give the amount of fall for each
hundred feet of ditch. The fall or grade should be made uniform all the way, unless
the conditions are such as to bring the steeper grade at the lower end of the drain.
If the steeper grade be at the upper end of the line, sediment will be deposited
in the lower portion of the drain, where the water runs less swiftly. If the topog-
raphy of the area to be drained is such as to necessitate a steeper grade in the
upper portion, then a silt basin should be constructed at the point where the
change in grade is to be made, for the purpose of collecting the sediment brought
down by the swift-running water and preventing its getting into the lower portion.
This basin should extend two or three feet below the line of tile, and should be
occasionally cleaned, as the sediment gathers.
A fall of two inches for every one hundred feet should be secured where possible.
In the draining of flat lands this will very often be impossible, and in such cases the
greatest care must be taken to have the line of tile true to a line of uniform grade.
It is sometimes necessary to lay drains on such lands with a fall of less than one-half
inch to the hundred feet. In such cases a little inaccuracy in the workmanship,
that would leave the bottom of the ditch a half-inch too high at any point, would
leave no fall for a hundred feet, would reduce the capacity of the tile, and might in
time cause a complete stoppage. For the laying of drains under these conditions
an experienced and careful man or crew should be secured, and even then the work
should be carefully supervised and inspected. The bottom of the ditch should be
scraped to an exact grade, as bringing the tile to grade by filling under loose dirt in
the low places will cause the tile to get out of shape through the settling of the loose
dirt. Perhaps the best method of obtaining an accurate grade to the bottom of the
ditch is by means of a line stretched above and attached to stakes set every 50 or
100 feet along the line of ditch. Care must be taken that the line is parallel with
the desired grade; then, that the measuring rod be set
j'q accurately at the point indicating the depth of ditch
'; below the line, and the ditch carefully measured all
The ditch should not be made wider than will just
give room to work conveniently. Anything more is a
waste of energy in removing the dirt and in filling the
ditch. The ditch should be narrowed down with the
last spading so that at the bottom it is little wider than
the tile. The bottom should be left rounded by the
use of a cleaning scoop of convexity similar to that of
the tile, to aid in keeping the tile in its proper place.
A ditch unnecessarily wide at the bottom is liable to
S cause the tile to be misplaced in the filling.
Laterals should enter the main at a higher level
than the bottom of the main, unless the same sized
tile is used for both and there is good fall. They
may be brought in on top of the main, or at the side,
above the bottom. Many tile makers now make con-
nections for joining mains and laterals. If these are
S used the difference in altitude of lateral and main
ditch should equal one-half the difference in diameter
4 of tile used. For example, in joining a 3-inch lateral
..to a 5-inch main, the bottom of lateral ditch should
be one inch above bottom of main.
FG. 13. Photograph showing willow Laying of Tile The first thing to look to in
whchthe hacompetaellogged this connection is the character of the tile. They
(Edgerton.) should be smooth, strong, well shaped, and with good,
well-fitting ends. A porous tile is not essential, as but little water enters the drain
in this way. They should also be well and uniformly burned so as to be of uniform
diameter and thickness of rim. If they are not uniform in this respect they may
be sorted, putting the hard-burned ones together and at the upper end of the sys-
tem, or using them for laterals, as they-are smaller. The tile should be laid in
perfect alignment, crowded up as tightly and made to fit as snugly as possible, to
prevent sediment entering at the joints. The laying is usually done by means of a
tile hook on the end of a long pole.
COST OV TIitj IITAINAGE
Filling the Ditch--After the line of tile has been carefully inspected a
few inches of dirt (clay, if possible) should be carefully filled in by hand to hold the
tile in place, after which the remainder of the filling may be done with horses
attached to a plow by means of a long doubletree, that will enable one horse to walk
on either side of the ditch.
Frequency of Drains -The distance apart that drains should be placed
on level land will depend upon : (a) The character of the subsoil through which
the water must pass in order to reach the tile, whether fine and close or open; (b)
the depth of the tile below the surface, the deeper drain drawing water from a greater
distance than the shallower one; (c) the frequency of overflow or of rains sufficiently
heavy to produce percolation. It is seldom necessary to place drains nearer than
100 feet, and in open, alluvial soils, 200 feet will usually suffice if the tile is laid four
feet deep. On such lands a system may be put in in such a way that other laterals
may be inserted later, if those first put in are found too far apart. This will avoid
the possibility of needless expense in putting in more lines than are needed.
Size of Tile -A tile should be sufficiently large to carry away the surplus
water as fast as it can get to and into it. But any size greater than is necessary to
do this is not only an unnecessary expense, but in many cases does not make so good
a drain. The theory held by some that a large tile is less liable than a small one
to become filled with sediment, is not correct. With a given amount of water pass-
ing, the larger the tile the more readily will the sediment be deposited, because the
water, being spread out over a greater surface, will be more shallow and run much
more slowly. After this deposition has once begun the tendency is greatly increased.
A 3-inch tile is the best size for laterals or any single lines of not more than.half a
mile in length and having a good fall. The fall is, of course, a large factor in
determining the amount of water a tile will carry. Larger sizes should be used for
the main drain, varying according to the amount drained into it. An 8-inch tile,
with a fall of two or more inches for every 100 feet is sufficient to carry the surplus
water from 80 acres of land. The carrying capacity of a tile varies according to the
square of its diameter, except for the influence of friction which is proportionately
greater in the smaller sizes.
Keep Clear of Tree Roots--Any living trees should be avoided with
lines of tile, or else the trees killed at once, lest they enter the tile and choke it up.
Such trees as the willow, poplar, elm, and soft maple should never be left nearer
than 75 feet.
Cost of Tiling -This is a question that can be determined for each case
ROADS AND ROAD MAKING
only by the conditions affecting the same. The cost of digging the ditch will
depend upon the average depth, the size of the tile to be laid, the character of the
soil,1 and by the amount of fall, making a greater or less amount of care necessary
in getting the line of tile true and even.
The cost of tile will also vary somewhat with different seasons and with the
distance to a good tile factory. The writer has paid all the way from $9 to $13
a thousand for 3-inch tile, and from 20 to 35 cents per rod for cutting a 4-foot
ditch, laying the tile and filling in sufficient dirt to hold the tile securely in place.
Most modern tile are made 12 inches in length and sixteen of them will lay one rod.
ROADS AND ROAD MAKING
The condition of the roadways of any locality, whether in city or country,
largely determines the value of its property. A good road is essential, not only for
pleasurable driving, but also for the marketing of the various products of the farm.
In sections having very poor roads it frequently happens that the farmers are
unable to take advantage of the favorable changes in the market, owing to inability
to haul their crops whenever they desire.
The cost of moving farm products and supplies averages,2 on all our country
roads, twenty-five cents per ton per mile, while in the "good-roads" districts the
average is only about eight cents a difference which in the aggregate amounts to
more than the entire annual expenditures of the National Government. Whereas,
one-twelfth of the farm value of the agricultural products of the United States
would be sufficient to pay for hauling over good roads to shipping points, the cost
of hauling over roads as they are is equal to one-quarter of the farm value. The
destruction of perishable products for want of access to markets, the failure to
reach markets when prices are at a maximum, and the enforced idleness of men
and draft animals during seasons of impassable roads, constitute a "bad-road tax"
upon the industry of the nation generally and upon that of the farmer directly.
There are various systems of road construction, but for many years to come the
greater portion of the roads in many parts of the country will continue to be con-
structed entirely of earth, owing to the difficulty of obtaining other material. The
1 Whether friable and easy to dig, or hard and 2 According to calculations made by the United
stony; also whether or not there are saud patches that States Department of Agriculture.
are liable to give trouble by caving.
EARTH ROAD CONSTRUCTION
earth road, however, by the use of proper methods of construction and of mainte-
nance afterward, may be made into a very passable road for all seasons of the year.
As the construction should be the same whether an all-earth road is the end sought,
or whether it is to be finished by surfacing a part or all of it with stone or gravel,
the construction of the "dirt road will be first considered.
Drainage The first essential of a good road, regardless of the surfacing material used, is
thorough surface and underdrainage, either natural or artificial. No stone surface will keep its
place for any length of time if it has a soft, spongy foundation.
There should be surface drains where necessary, to carry off the surface water quickly and
not allow it to stand and soak into the road.
If there is not good natural underdrainage, tile should be laid. This should have a free outlet
and as much fall as possible.
In most cases one line under the center of the road will be more effective than two lines run
on either side of the road, as the former gives a greater depth of drained soil where it is most
Where possible, the tile should be laid four feet below the natural level of the ground, regard-
less of the amount of grading that has been done.
If the road passes through a springy place in such a way that the water comes in from both
sides, it is usually best to put a line of tile on each side of the road
If it is on a hillside and water comes out directly under the roadbed, these lines, or branches
therefrom, should be carried under the road in such a manner as to catch this seepage.
If the road passes such a place on the lower side, so that water tends to enter the roadbed only
from one side, the tile should be placed on that side in such manner as to catch the water before it
enters the road, instead of, as sometimes placed, on the lower side to catch it after it has passed
through the road and done the mischief.
A 3-inch tile with a good fall will be large enough to carry the water for a half-mile of road,
except in very wet places or where the surface drainage is not good. Where it is necessary to put
in longer lines larger sizes of tile will be necessary in the lower part of the course.
Owing to the difficulty of securing outlets in many localities it may often be of mutual advan-
tage for the road supervisors to join with the farmers and drain the road and adjacent farm lands in
Establishing the Grades-The steeper grades in the road should be lessened as much
as maybe. The extent to which this should be carried, from an economical standpoint, will depend
upon the quality of the roadbed.- It will be of no special advantage to be able to haul very large
loads over the main portion of the road if there are a few places over which these loads can not be
Forming the Roadbed-The roadbed should be made of medium width; 16 or 18 feet.
with a strip of grass 3 feet wide on each side, making 22 to 24 feet between the surface drains, is
The surface should be graded to a proper convexity by the use of a road machine, or by other
means where a road machine can not be used. The surface should have sufficient slope to carry off
ROADS AND ROAD MAKING
the water quickly, but not enough to cause washing, or to cause vehicles to slide or cut deep ruts
on the lower side by reason of the weight of the load being thrown largely on that side. A road of
the width mentioned should be about 6 inches higher in the center than at the margins.
The surface should be thoroughly harrowed to get it even and smooth and then well rolled with
a heavy roller. This will put the surface in shape not only for convenient traveling but also for
quick surface drainage, preventing the water from entering the road to soften it up.
Surfacing--In some localities where the soil is a gravelly loam, excellent roads may be
maintained without the use of any other material. In most sections, however, they may be very
greatly improved by surfacing with rock or gravel.
Where a road is required to support a large amount of heavy traffic the surfacing
should be done on the macadam plan, which is as follows:
Prepare the roadbed a year in advance, if possible, to allow it to become thoroughly settled.
On each side of the portion of road that is to be surfaced, is left a shoulder of earth, of a height
equal to the desired thickness of the made surface, to hold it in place.
Over the roadbed is then spread a 3 or 4-inch layer of crushed rock of as nearly uniform size as
possible. This layer is thoroughly rolled and then evenly covered with enough finely crushed rock
to fill the interspaces between the larger rock, into which it is worked by thorough wetting and
Then another layer is applied in like manner, making a very solid road surface, 8 or 9 inches
The layer of rock should be evenly spread, so there will be no tendency to bunches and hollows.
The roller used should be heavy and of sufficient diameter so that it will not push the stone in front
of it in the least. The rolling should begin at the outer edges and continue toward the center, and
should be repeated until the surface is thoroughly hard and smooth.
COMBINATION EARTH AND STONE ROAD
Where there is less heavy traffic a much cheaper form of construction than the
all-stone road, and one that gives very good satisfaction, is that which employs stone
for one-half and earth for the other. The one track is sufficient for the heavy
loads, and may, in times when the dirt surface is soft, carry all the traffic.
In many sections there are beds of gravel that may be used with very good
results for the surfacing of roads where traffic is not heavy. The best results are
obtained by screening the gravel and using the same methods in its application as
in the construction of the stone road.
Crushing the gravel will very much increase its value for this work, as it is usually
BOOKS ON SOIL TREATMENT 40
so rounded as not to bind nearly so well as the more angular forms. The thickness
of the application may depend somewhat upon the amount of traffic.
A sandy country sometimes presents a difficult problem in roadmaking, owing
to the almost complete absence of binding properties in the sand when dry and to
the readiness with which it parts with its moisture.
Sand, when containing the necessary amount of moisture to bind it together,
forms a very good road, and with this principle in mind it may be readily under-
stood that the most practical treatment of such roads will be along the line of
increasing their water-holding capacity.
Clay, where it can be obtained, if applied to the surface in proper quantity,
will supply this deficiency in the best and most permanent form. Straw, sawdust,
and any other form of vegetable matter will increase the moisture-holding capacity
of such roads, but the rapid decay of these substances renders their frequent renewal
PUBLICATIONS ON TILLAGE AND GENERAL AGRICULTURE
AGRICULTURE AND CHEMISTRY. By F. H. Storer. Three volumes. Charles Scribner's
Sons, N. Y.. ... ......... ...... $$5.00
An exhaustive treatise on the chemistry of soils, manures, and all farm products. Espe-
cially adapted to the classroom, or to use by the student of agriculture who has already done
AGRICULTURE, M1ANUAL OF. By Emerson and Flint. Orange Judd Co,, N.Y. .. 1.00
AORICULTURE, PHYSICS OF. By Franklin H. King. F. H. King, Madison, Wis. (1901) 1.75
A plain and comprehensive treatise on the origin, structure, and treatment of soils. Com-
paratively free from technicalities, and well adapted to the use of the general reader. Contains
chapters on the principles underlying the construction of farm buildings, and discusses in detail
the operations of farm drainage, roadmaking, and the general application of mechanical prin-
ciples to farm operations.
AGRICULTURE, PRINCIPLES OF. By L. H. Bailey. The Macmillan Co., N. Y. (1902). 1.25
A book well adapted to first reading, covering, in concise and simple form, the various
operations of farm management.
ALFALFA AND THE SOIL. Farmers' Bulletin 81. United States Department of Agriculture
Confined to a consideration of the beneficial effects upon the soil produced by the growth
46 BOOKS ON SOIL TREATMENT
ALKALI LANDS. Farmers' Bulletin 88. United States Department of Agriculture -
BARNYARD MANURE. Farmers' Bulletin 21. United States Department of Agriculture -
Dwells on the importance of conserving the natural manurial products of the farm, and
passes in review the various means of making economical use of this element of wealth.
CHEMISTRY, ELEMENTARY. By Ira J. Remsen, Henry HIolt & Co., N.Y ... $0.80
A textbook giving a clear presentation of the fundamentals of chemistry.
CHEMISTRY OF SOILS AND FERTILIZERS. By Harry Snyder. Chemical Publishing Co.,
Easton, Pa. .. ..... ....... 1.50
CHEMISTRY OF THE FARnM. By R. Warrington. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. 1 75
A practical treatise in plain language on the composition of the various farm crops and
the modes in which the various elements of fertility are absorbed and converted into plant
COMPOSITION AND USE OF FERTILIZERS. By L. L. Van Slyke. Bulletin 55. Pennsyl-
vania Department ofAgriculture, Harrisburg, Pa. (1899) .
A systematic discussion of the natural and artificial sources of fertility, with directions for
home mixture of fertilizers, and specific formulas for application to various crops.
DRAINING FOR PROFIT AND HEALTH By George E. Waring Orange Judd Co., N. Y. 1.00
An exhaustive treatise on sanitary and commercial drainage.
EMBANKING LANDS FROM RIVER FLOODS, PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF. By William
Hewson. D. Van Nostrand Co., N Y. .... .. 2.01
Considers the subject as applied to the levees of the Mississippi River.
EXPERIMENT STATION WORK. I. Phosphates, Barnyard Manure, Potato Scab. Farmers'
Bulletin 56. United States Department of Agriculture .
SAME. II Lime, Ashes, Mixing Fertilizers, etc. Farmers' Bulletin 65. United States
Department ofAgriculture --
SAME. IV. Loss of Fertility, Availability of Fertilizers. Farmers' Bulletin 73. United
States Department of Agriculture .
SAME. V. Humus. Farmers' Bulletin 78. United States Department of Agriculture .
SAME. VII Home-Mixing of Fertilizers. Farmers' Bulletin 84. United States Depart-
ment (f Agriculture .. .. .....
SAME. XVI. Fertilizers for Market Garden Crops. Farmers' Bulletin 124. United States
Department of Agriculture .
EXPERIMENT STATION WORK. XIX. Winter Orchard Irrigation. Farmers' Bulletin 144.
United States Department of Agricultre .
FARM BUILDINGS, PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FOR. Farmers' Bulletin 126. United States
Department of Agriculture ... -
FARM DRAINAGE. By French. Orange Judd C,,., N. Y 1.00
This work gives a thorough discussion of the principles of drainage, explaining how to lay
out a drainage system, and the various steps necessary to the proper laying of tile in face of
FARM DRAINAGE. Farmers' Bulletin 40. United States Department of Agriculture
A condensed discussion of the subject of drainage.
BOOKS ON SOIL TREATMENT
FERTILITY OF THE LAND. By I. P Roberts. The Macmillan Co, N. Y. (1899) $ 1.25
A valuable work for either the classroom or the man who drives the plow, covering not only
the subjects of soils and soil treatment, but irrigation and drainage as well. A practical treatise
free from technicalities difficult to understand.
FERTILIZERS. By E. B. Voorhees. The Macmillan Co., N Y (1902) .. 1.00
An extensive, detailed discussion of the natural fertility of soils and of the various artificial
fertilizers-their use in general and for specific crops.
FIRST PRINCIPLES OF AGRICULTURE. By E. B. Voorhees. Silver, Burdette & Co.,
Boston ...................... 1.00
This work treats of agriculture in a general way, but contains chapters on soils, their com-
position and improvement, treated in a less exhaustive manner than in the treatise on fertilizers.
A good book for first reading.
FORAGE CROPS. By Thomas Shaw. Orange Judd Co, N. Y. ... . 1 00
GEOLOGY, FIRST BOOK IN. By N. S. Shaler. D. C. Heath & Co., N. Y .. 1 10
Includes a discussion of the origin of soils.
How CROPS FEED. By S. W. Johnson. Orange Judd Co., N. . 1.50
A detailed discussion of the chemical composition of the soil and atmosphere and the part
each plays in plant development. Especially adapted to the classroom, but is largely free from
How CROPS GROW. By S. W. Johnson. Orange Judd Co., N. Y ...... .. 1.50
Goes thoroughly into the chemical processes of plant life. A valuable work for one who
wishes to carry his studies to the very foundation.
How THE FARM PAYS. By Henderson and Crozier. Peter Henderson, N. Y. 2.00
A treatise by two practical farmers on the details of farm practice. Contains abundance
of suggestion, but is general in scope.
How TO DRAIN A HOUSE. By Geo. E. Waring. D. Van Nostrand Co., N. Y. 1 25
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE. By F. H. King. The Macmillan Co., N. Y .. 1 50
An exhaustive work designed to meet the needs of the classroom and of everyone having
to drain or irrigate land. Deals largely with the problems and practices of arid-land irriga-
tion, treats practically the subject of farm drainage, and gives directions easily followed.
IRRIGATION DITCHES, How TO BUILD SMALL. Farmers' Bulletin 158. United States
Department of Agriculture .. .
IRRIGATION FARMING. By L. M. Wilcox. Orange Judd Co., N, Y. 2.00
A discussion of the methods of irrigation and the benefits to be derived therefrom, together
with notes on the principles of common law involved.
IRRIGATION FOR THE FARM, GARDEN, AND ORCHARD. By Henry Stewart. Orange Judd
Co., N. ........ .............. 1.00
IRRIGATION IN CONNECTICUT AND NEW JERSEY. Bulletin 36, Office of Experiment Sta-
tions. United States Department of Agriculture. . .. .05
Deals particularly with garden irrigation, showing how by irrigation the yields of vege-
tables may be largely increased, and their quality improved.
IRRIGATION IN FIELD AND GARDEN. Farmers' Bulletin 188. United States Department of
Agriculture ....................... -
IRRIGATION IN FRUIT GROWING. Farmers' Bulletin 116. United States Department of
Gives results of experiments in irrigating various kinds of fruits, discussing methods of
applying water, amount to use, and other kindred topics.
48 BOOKS ON SOIL TREATMENT
IRRIGATION IN HUMID CLIMATES. Farmers' Bulletin 40. United States Department of
Agriculture . . . .
IRRIGATION ON TIE GREAT PLAINS. Reprint 81. United States Department of Agri-
culture . . .. . ..
IRRIGATION, PRACTICAL. Reprint 201. United States Department of Agriculture -
IRRIGATION, RISE AND FUTURE OF. Reprint 181. United States Department of Agriculture.
LAND DRAINING. By Manley Miles. Orange Judd Co., N. Y . .$ 1.00
Treats thoroughly the subject of drainage, discussing advantages, general principles, and
methods to be followed in specific cases.
LEGUMINOUS PLANTS FOR GREEN MANURING. Farmers' Bulletin 16. United States De-
partment of Agriculture . . .
LIMING OF SOILS. Farmers' Bulletin 77. United States Department of Agriculture -
MANURES AND MANURING. By C. M. Aikman. D. Van Nostrand Co., N. Y. 2.00
MANURES: How TO MAKE AND USE. By Frank W. Sempers. W. A. Burpee, Phila-
delphia ..... .... .......... ... ....40
MANURES: THE PHILOSOPHY OF MANURING. By A. B. Griffiths. D. Van Nostrand Co.,
N. Y . . . .. 3.00
PRINCIPLES OF PLANT CULTURE. By E. S. Goff. E. S. Goff, Madison, Wis. 1.10
A discussion of fundamentals..
SEWAGE DISPOSAL ON THE FARM. Farmers' Bulletin 43. United States Department of
Agriculture . . . -
A highly valuable discussion of sanitary measures necessary for the preservation of health
on the farm.
SOIL, THE. By F. H. King. The Macmillan Co., N. Y. (1895) . .75
About 300 pages of Professor King's larger work, PHYSICS OF AGRICULTURE, are devoted to
the topics which are the exclusive subject of this book.
SOIL OF TIE FARM, THE. By Scott and Morton. The Macmillan Co., N. Y. 1.00
SOILS AND CROPS. By Morrow and Hunt. OrangeJudd Co., N.Y. .. ... .. 1.00
SUGGESTIONS TO SOUTHERN FARMERS. Farmers' Bulletin 98. United States Department of
Agriculture..... . . ..... -
TEN ACRES ENOUGH. American News Co., N. Y. . . ..
Shows how intensive cultivation may be made to yield large returnson a small tract of land.
TILE DRAINAGE. By W. I. Chamberlain. Supplied by Orange Judd Co., N. Y. .35
VEGETABLE MOULD AND EARTIIWORMS. By Charles Darwin. D. Appleton & Co., N. Y. 1.50
A highly instructive work, showing the extensive part the earthworm has played in soil
Field Crops: Their Adaptations and Economic
Relations, with Specific Cultural Directions
By JOSEPH J. EDGERTON, B. S. A.
Instructor in Agricultural Physics, Iowa College of Agriculture
In the great plan of nature everything has a place. Each class of animate
objects has some office that it can fill better than can be done by any other class.
It is only when these various component parts find their proper places that the
forces of nature will work together harmoniously for their development. A plant,
for example, the ancestors of which for countless generations have lived in arid or
semi-arid regions, has become adapted to those climatic conditions and will not
develop naturally in a moist climate. Accordingly, it does not follow, merely
because a certain plant will produce valuable crops in one locality, that it is the
best plant to grow under all conditions. What are valuable plants in some local-
ities are weeds in others.
One of the problems of the agriculturist, therefore, is to find those plants suited
to his needs that are best adapted to his conditions of climate and soil.
Corn is native to a tropical climate, and hence is favored by a warm soil and a
warm atmosphere. By cultivation and selection its range of successful growth is
being extended. Where it can be successfully grown it is well calculated to form
the major part of the ration for all farm animals. The color of the grain has little
to do with its feeding value.
The composition of any variety of corn may be changed by selection and breed-
ing, thus developing breeds of corn adapted to specific uses. In the North, where
seasons are short, early varieties should be planted, and farther south, for early
feeding, they may comprise a portion of the crop. Bnt where the season is of
1 For notes on the selection of seed corn. see page 76.
sufficient length to allow the larger, later varieties to mature, they will usually
produce much the greater yield.
About one-half the food value of the average corn crop is contained in the
fodder portion, hence, leaving the fodder to stand in the field is a great waste.
The best point in a rotation at which to apply manure is just previous to the
corn crop, as the application of manure just before a crop of small grain is liable to
Culture -If land has been fall-plowed, stir thoroughly, preferably with a disk-harrow, as
early in the spring as the soil is in fit condition to conserve the moisture and warm up the seed-
bed. This will give the weed seed in the seed-bed an opportunity to germinate, so that by a
couple more diskings at proper intervals, the weeds may be very largely got out of the way before
planting. Thus the after cultivation of the crop will be materially simplified. If the land be not
fall-plowed, the plowing should, as a rule, be done as early in the spring as practicable and the
surface prepared as though the crop were to be planted at once, the weeds being killed as they
appear, the same as in the case of the fall plowing.
SPRING vs. FALL PLOWIN--As to which is the better, spring or fall plowing, much will
depend upon conditions. Much may often be gained by plowing a piece of ground early in the
fall, to turn under a crop of weeds before they ripen their seed. Sod, or manure that is somewhat
coarse, has more time to decompose and get in proper condition for the coming crop if turned
under in the fall. Fall plowing, by exposing certain insects that have buried themselves in the
soil for the winter, will often cause their destruction. On the other hand, early spring plowing,
especially of heavy clay soils, properly treated, may better conserve the moisture of the deeper soil
throughout the summer; will make possible the absorption of a larger portion of a dashing rain;
in cases of continued, excessive rainfall will allow the excess of water to percolate away more
readily; and will keep the soil more open and porous for the admission and circulation of air.
Planting should not be done too early; but it may be safely done earlier in a dry spring than
a wet one, as the soil will warm up earlier.
Corn, as has been observed, is native to a tropical climate, and if put in the ground before it
is thoroughly warmed up is very apt to germinate slowly and poorly. The result will be a very
uneven crop, many of the plants getting a weakly start and never recovering. The writer has
seen early-planted corn overtaken and passed, before the season of cultivation was over, by corn
planted two weeks later, on no better soil, but where the seed-bed had been put in proper con-
dition early in the spring.
Plant in hills from 42 to 48 inches apart and from two to three grains in a hill, according as
the land is rich or poor. On new clean ground drilling may give a larger yield, but unless hoeing
is to be practiced it is usually better to plant so as to cultivate in both directions.
TILLAGE--Where the soil has been put in proper condition and the weeds all killed before-
hand, the harrow and weeder, used at the right time, will give all the cultivation necessary, except
in wet seasons, until the corn gets a good start. The weeder may often be used to advantage to
run crosswise after the first plowing. Used at the right time it may be just as effective as another
plowing, and can be done a great deal faster.
KAFIR-CORN, SOY BEANS
On ground which, for lack of vegetable matter or for any other reason, tends to contract and
become solid, deep tillage, becoming shallower toward the last, should be practiced in order to
keep the soil properly loosened up and aerated. On light, loose soils, shallow tillage throughout
the season is preferable, as it conserves more moisture.
The argument against root pruning by deep cultivation, except where done in excess or late
in the season, is not well founded, as a little root pruning usually does no harm and may often do
The cultivation of the corn crop should not cease because the corn has become too large to
plow with the straddle-row cultivator. Very frequently conditions are such as to develop, after
this point is reached, a crop of weeds which, if left, will absorb moisture and nutriment that
should go to making corn. Or, a rain may destroy the dust mulch and establish capillary connec-
tion with the surface, causing loss of moisture by evaporation. This later cultivation is best
accomplished by means of one horse attached to a garden cultivator that stirs only the surface, and
that may be adjusted in width to conform to the width between the rows. For the conservation
of moisture, level culture is better than ridging, as it exposes less surface for evaporation; heavy
ridging may in some cases help the corn to stand against a storm, though it is doubtful if this
effect is often appreciable.
The grain from this crop is similar in composition to dent corn, the percentage
of fat being a little less and of starch a little greater. As would be expected from
the foregoing, its feeding value is hardly equal to that of corn, although experi-
ments indicate that there is no great difference. Its virtue as a grain crop lies in
its ability to thrive and produce a fair yield in regions so dry that corn can not be
The fodder portion of this crop is somewhat superior in feeding value to corn
Culture -Preparation of seed-bed and cultivation should be the same as for corn.
Soy beans are a highly nitrogenous crop belonging to that group of plants
which gather free nitrogen from the air by means of bacteria growing upon their
roots (Fig. 14). The beans are a very valuable feed when ground and used in con-
junction with corn or other starchy food, having an equal value for this purpose
with linseed and cotton-seed meal. In experiments made at the Kansas Experiment
Station the addition of soy bean meal to corn or kafir-corn effected a saving of 30
per cent in the amount of food necessary to produce 100 pounds of gain on hogs.
Aside from producing a valuable crop soy beans are highly beneficial to the soil.1
1 According to the Kansas Experiment Station, increase of five bushels per acre over that grown on
Bulletin 96, the yield of all crops is increased where adjoining land that had not been in beans.
they follow soy beans, wheat showing in large fields an
52 GRAIN CROPS
This crop also is adapted to a
A dry, hot climate.
Culture Preparation of soil should
be the same as for the preceding crops, the
S necessity for thorough preparation and for
-a warm seed-bed in which to plant being
even more urgent in the case of soy beans.
Furthermore, in order to get the best results
in crop and the greatest enrichment of soil
it is usually necessary, on ground where
this crop has not been grown, to inoculate
the soil with the root germs peculiar to this
species of plant. This is effected by sow-
ing with the seed dry soil from some field
fx where soy beans have grown and developed
s tubercles.' If grown for the beans north
of latitude 410, a sandy loam or soil rich
in vegetable matter should be selected, as
on a cold soil they may not mature in time
f to escape injury by frost. For this same
Reason seed should not be used that has
Seen grown farther south.
BSow in drills 26 to 30 inches apart and
St 2 to 3 inches apart in the row. Give thor-
i ough cultivation, letting the weeds at no
S time get an advantage.
Sugar beet machinery is very well
FIG. 14. Photograph showing nodules formed by nitrogen- adapted to the planting and cultivation of
fixing bacteria on roots of soy beans grown the second this crop, four rows being planted aton
season on the same soil. Both A and B, two-thirds
natural size. (Prof. H. Garman, Bulletin 98, Kentucky and two rows cultivated at once when
Agricultural Experiment Station.) desired.
The cow-pea is another tropical plant of the nitrogen-gathering family and, like
the preceding, is rich in protein. While called a pea, it belongs properly to the
bean family. It is a vigorous-growing, deep-rooted plant, especially adapted to
the improvement of old and lifeless soils.2 It is also a valuable addition to the
grain ration for all classes of animals. This crop requires even longer to mature
1 See Bulletins 96 and 100, Kansas Agricultural Ex- 2 Inoculation of the soil for this crop is also of great
periment Station, Manhattan, Kan.; Bulletin 2', Storrs importance where the germs that grow upon it are lack-
Experiment Station, Storrs, Conn. ing. Professor Duggar reports an increase of 600 per
cent in yield of crop as the result of such inoculation.
FIELD PEAS, WINTER WHEAT
than the soy bean, and only the earlier varieties should be grown in the North for
the production of seed. Some attempt is being made at present to develop by
selection and breeding a variety better adapted to northern conditions.
Culture -The same throughout as for soy beans, except to emphasize still more strongly
the importance of a warm seed-bed. Any plant to develop properly must make a continuous
growth. If held in check while young, they will seldom recover; for this reason, with many of
these tropical plants, time is gained by delay in the planting until the conditions are such as to
produce rapid development. The cow-pea, as far north as Central Iowa, should never be planted
before the 20th of June and then have the seed-bed well prepared beforehand.
The field pea is another nitrogenous food of the family of legumens, but adapted
to cooler climatic conditions. It is not injured by a light frost.
Culture -May be (a) sown early with oats and the mixture harvested and threshed together,
(b) sown broadcast by themselves on good clean ground, or (c) drilled in with a grain drill; or,
they may be (d) drilled farther apart and cultivated the same as soy beans and cow-peas.
If sown with oats, either the peas should be sown first and covered by plowing shallow with
a stirring plow, then the oats sown and covered by thorough harrowing; or, what is better, the
seed-bed should be prepared by the use of the disk and harrow, the oats and peas being then
mixed together and sown with a drill. Care is necessary, too, to get varieties of peas and oats
that will ripen together. If sown broadcast alone, the ground should be fairly free from weeds.
The peas may be covered by plowing as when sown with oats or put in with the drill. If sown in
rows and cultivated, the preparation of soil and tillage of crop may be same as for soy beans,
except that the peas should be planted early in the spring, so as to mature before the weather
becomes too hot.
Wheat, by its long cultivation and development, is adapted to a great variety of
climatic conditions. It may be sown in the fall in some localities, in others only in
the spring, and in some it may be sown in either fall or spring. It will survive a
great amount of cold, but some varieties endure much more than others. What
are spring varieties in cold climates may become winter varieties in warmer latitudes.
Wheat has been raised primarily for human food, but what is good food for man
is also good food for most other animals. Wheat, as such, is capable of forming
the bulk of the grain ration of any of our domestic animals, and the by-products,
especially bran, are a very valuable adjunct to the corn crib.
Culture-WINTER WHEAT -The matter of first importance is the selection of the proper
varieties. In the milder climates the basis of this selection should be the productiveness and mill-
54 GRAIN CROPS
ing qualities of the grain.' In colder portions of the country, however, the matter of first impor-
tance is to obtain a variety that will withstand the severity of the climate with a reasonable degree
of success. The locality from which the seed is obtained, whether more or less severe in climate,
will affect materially the hardiness of any variety, and a variety not entirely hardy in a given
locality may be improved in that respect by continued growth and acclimatization.
For the milder climates some of the best yielding varieties at the present time are: Poole,
Mealy, Red Russian, and Early Ripe, of the smooth varieties ; Nigger, Currell's Prolific, Gipsy, and
Egyptian, of the bearded varieties.2
Standard varieties for the South-Central West: Fultz, Extra Early Red, Currell's Prolific,
Hindostan, Jones's Winter Fife, American Bronze, and Missouri Blue Stem.3
For the region from Southern Iowa north the only variety that can be unhesitatingly recom-
mended at the present time is the Turkey Red. The Budapest is, so far as tried, standing the
winters well, but has no advantages over the Turkey Red, being, to all appearances, the same wheat
under a different name. Other varieties will come through most of the winters in good condition,
but there is much more risk in sowing them.
Ground that has been in corn or potatoes, and from which the crop can be removed in time for
proper fall seeding, makes a very congenial place for this crop. The best conditions, however,
are afforded by having the land previously occupied by some leguminous crop, as clover, cow-peas,
or soy beans. If corn or potato ground is free from weeds and other trash it may be prepared by a
thorough use of the disk and harrow without resort to the stirring plow. If the ground be such
as requires plowing with the stirring plow, this should be done early, if possible, to allow the trash
that is turned under to decompose and the plowed portion to settle. The seed-bed should be in
fine condition, but the lower portion of it and the soil immediately below should be well compacted.
A loose, open condition in the lower portion of the plowed section will not permit the plant to
become so well established before the cold weather and it will be much more liable to winterkill.
The use of the roller, subsurface packer, disk, or a combination of these is usually necessary to
put plowed land in proper condition for the seeding of winter wheat,
Seeding in the milder climates should not be done too early, as there will be more danger of
trouble from the fly. For the central portion of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Southern Iowa the
best time is from the 10th to the 20th of September.
Seeding should be done with a drill, and in the colder sections always with a press drill.4
Seeding should be at the rate of four to six pecks to the acre, depending upon the size of the
berry, and the tendency of the variety to stool. The land should not be touched with any imple-
ment after the drilling is done. The ridges left between the drill rows hold the snow for a
protection during the winter and in the spring will crumble down and fill in around the plant
when the freezing and thawing weather is tending to lift it out of the ground.
SPRING WHEAT- This may follow to advantage the same kind of crops as the winter wheat,
1 An effort is being made to discover if there is any 2 Bulletin 118, Ohio Experiment Station, Wooster,
difference between the various varieties in withstanding Ohio.
the attacks of the fly. The Ohio Station, in Bulletin 118, 3 Bulletin 21, Missouri Experiment Station, Colum-
reports as follows: So far as we have been able to learn bia, Mo.
no variety of wheat is fly-proof, but some sorts have the 4 A drill having a wheel following each runner to
reputation of being less injured by the Hessian fly than press the dirt firmly over the seed.
others; of these the following may be mentioned: Mealy,
Mediterranean, Fulcaster, and Clawson.
MACARONI WHEAT, OATS 55
but is a little more liable to lodge if the land is very rich. It will stand better, however, than
oats. Spring wheat should not be grown where winter wheat can be grown successfully, as its
later ripening renders it more subject to damage by storms, chinch bugs, and hot, blighting
days at time of filling. Prepare the soil well and sow with the drill I as early in the spring as the
ground is in proper condition for working.
Macaroni wheat is a variety of wheat comparatively new to this country, but
grown in large quantities in the east and south of Russia. Its principal use at
present is for the manufacture of macaroni. There is a growing demand for this
variety of wheat in this country, and it is especially adapted to the hot and semi-
arid regions of the West and Southwest, where most cultivated grain crops are
uncertain. It is also adapted, by reason of its long residence on soils of that
character, to growing on soils that are somewhat alkaline. So far as it has been
grown in this country it gives promise of being proof against depredations of smut
and rust. In the northern sections it is a spring wheat, but in the South may be
grown as a winter wheat. Reports from Kansas indicate that this grain at present
is not sufficiently hardy for fall seeding so far north, but it can undoubtedly be
made so by selection. Fall seeding, where it can be practiced, will give the best
results. Macaroni wheat is a vigorous grower and where seeded in the fall will
make an abundance of winter pasture.
Culture -The same as for other wheats, using about the same amount of seed. The grain
should be thoroughly ripe before being harvested, and harvesting should not be done in damp or
cloudy weather if it can be avoided.
Oats also are adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions as well as uses.
Through selection and breeding there have been established varieties having a wide
range in time of ripening. The later ripening varieties, where the conditions are
favorable for their growth, will give a larger yield of grain than the earlier varieties,
owing to the greater length of time allowed for the gathering and elaboration of
food. On the other hand, for many conditions the early varieties are the more
satisfactory. They do not grow so rank, hence are better adapted to rich soils.
They are much less liable to be caught by storms or by hot days at filling time-
circumstances that will produce a poor-quality, light-weight grain. Not growing
1 All spring crops of small grain, as well as those liable to be killed, or at least stunted, by hot, dry days
sown in the fall, should be sown with the drill. A fifth soon after germination. Moreover, plants get a good,
less seed will produce as good a stand as in broadcast deep, vigorous hold that enables them to better with-
seeding and the seeds are all down where they are not stand droughts.
56 GRAIN CROPS
so rank and ripening earlier, they are a far better nurse crop with which to start
clover or grass crops than the later varieties.
Culture -The same as for spring wheat, except that oats will not stand up on quite so rich
land, not being quite so stiff in the straw.
REMEDY FOR LODGING- Lodging is due, except in cases of severe storm or extreme condi-
tions, to a lack of woody fiber in the stem, caused by undue shading by a heavy growth of foliage.
By pasturing with a sufficient amount of stock to eat off the excessive
growth before the seed stalks are started, or by mowing the crop just
as they are starting, the tendency to lodge may be very materially less-
Barley is an excellent food, when ground, for all classes
of animals, but is too hard to be properly masticated when
fed whole. It is not quite so well relished as corn, and ex-
periments indicate that its feeding value is a little less.
Barley is well adapted to cool climates and to rich lands.
Being shorter in the straw than oats or wheat it is less liable
to lodge than either of them, and this, combined with its
early ripening, makes it one of the best nurse crops we have.
Considerable objection is sometimes offered to the raising of
this crop on account of the beards; but with modern machin-
ery and methods of handling this objection should have but
little weight. Varieties of beardless barley are being devel-
S hoped, some of which give much promise for the future. The
Success is one of the best of these, but as yet they are far
outyielded by the six-rowed, bearded variety known as the
Culture Prepare the soil the same as for oats (except that richer
ground may be used) and sow early with the drill. Barley will stand
more freezing than oats, hence may be sown earlier. It is important to
sow all these small grains that are adapted to cooler latitudes as early
as conditions will permit. Their nature is to ripen about a certain time of
the year, regardless of the time they were sown; so that a given variety,
if sown early, has a longer time in which to gather plant food than if
sown late. For this reason the early-sown grain is better filled and weighs
more to the bushel.
FIG.15. Photograph show- RYE
ing a good type of ear,
Reid YellowDent corn. Rye is more resistant to cold and severe climatic changes
Fr an ear unishedwheat, hence, may begrown farther north. It
bfy L. 0. Brown.) than winter wheat, hence, may be grown farther north. It
is adapted also to places where for one reason or another
the soil can not be put in proper condition for wheat.
Being a more rugged plant and a coarser feeder it will
get hold where the wheat plant will not. This crop,
when ground, makes a valuable food for all kinds of
stock, there being no other feed that will make heavier
fleeces on lambs.
Culture While it is true, as stated above, that barley will
make a fair crop under conditions where wheat would fail, yet
FIG. 16. Photograph showing a there is no other crop that will respond more freely than rye to
good type of tip end, Reid Yel-
low Dent corn. (From an ear good treatment. To get the best results the ground should be
furnished by L. C. Brown.) as carefully prepared as for wheat and the rye drilled in in the
same manner It may be put in later than the wheat, but if put in early will make an abundance
of fall and early spring pasture and a good crop of grain besides.
Emmer is a cereal new to this country, but one that gives promise of great value
to particular sections. It comes from Europe, Russia, from which country we get
our best seed, raising the largest amount." The great value of emmer lies in its
drought-resisting qualities and its consequent adaptation to the regions of scanty
and uncertain rainfall. It will thrive, however, under a very wide range of climatic
conditions and is worth a trial in any section of the country. It is raised both as a
winter and a spring crop. Emmer is closely related to the wheats, although the
chaff adheres to the grain when threshed. It is similar in composition to oats,
containing a little less fat and a little more protein. For the year 1900, at the
Iowa Experiment Station, it gave a yield per acre of
2,200 pounds of grain, weighing 35 pounds to the struck
bushel. The North Dakota Experiment Station reports
a yield for 1900 of 63 bushels per acre. In a feeding
experiment with sheep, at the Iowa station, in which
were compared the feeding value of emmer, soy beans,
corn, and gluten-feed and corn, all other conditions
being the same, the largest gains were made by the lot
fed on emmer. The straw is shorter and stiffer than
that of wheat, making it much less liable to lodge; for Fi, 17 Photnoranh hnwin a
good type of butt end, Reid
Yellow Dent corn. (From an
ear furnished by L. C. Brown.
1 This grain is frequently improperly called speltz.
2 See Farmers' Bulletin 139, United States Department of Agriculture.
GRAIN AND ROOT CROPS
this reason it should prove an excellent nurse crop. Emmer seems thus far to be
more resistant to the attacks of rust than the more common cerelds of this country.
Not the least of its prospective value lies in the improvement that may be made in
our wheats by crossing them with it.1
Culture--Same as for wheat, except that the earliness of seeding should be emphasized,
and that the rate of seeding should be about the same as for oats.
Flax is a grain rich in fat and protein, which supplies the linseed oil of com-
merce on the one hand, and the oil cake, or oil meal for stock feeding on the other.
Culture -Flax is a strong-feeding plant adapted to the taming of freshly-broken wild land,
as it can be made to produce a fair crop where the sod is too resistant to be properly worked up
for any other crop. Such lands, however, should be put in as good condition as possible, as the
extra work will be more than repaid by the increased yield. A good heavy roller is a necessary
part of the equipment for properly putting in flax on freshly-broken wild land. If a soil that has
been under cultivation is used, it should be rich in vegetable matter and should be prepared the
same as for corn.
The flax plant is very tender and seed should not be sown until all danger of frost is past. A
press drill should be used in the seeding.
FLAX-SICK SOIL One of the necessities for a rotation of crops lies in the fact that if a given
species of plant is grown continuously on the same ground the various parasitic diseases that prey
upon it have an opportunity to multiply until they may destroy the crop. This is especially true
of flax, and for this reason it should not be grown two years in succession on the same ground. It
is the continued cropping that gives rise to what is known as "flax-sick soil."
Buckwheat, while used primarily for human food, is also a valuable food for
stock, experiments indicating that it has a feeding value almost equal to that of
Culture- One of the chief values of this crop lies in its adaptability to the production of a
crop late in the season on lands that have been too wet in the early part of the season for the start-
ing of other crops. It may be sown as late as the middle of July in sections as far north as the
center of Iowa. A good seed-bed should be prepared and the seed sown broadcast and well covered
or put in with the drill.
One of the urgent needs of winter feeding in sections of the country where
animals must be fed for a long time on dry feed is for some product that will furnish
1 See Bulletin 63, Iowa Experiment Station, Ames, Iowa.
the laxative that is obtained in summer from the grass. Too lax a condition in
cold weather is not desirable, but a certain degree of it is necessary in order for the
various food materials to be properly assimilated and carried
through the body. This is especially true of animals from
which it is desired to obtain a large flow of milk.
There is probably no other form of succulent food that
will so largely aid in the translocation of food materials from
the digestive tract to their proper destination as the unor-
ganized compounds found in the various root crops. Their-
value for use as a regulator of the system can hardly be over-
Of these several varieties are used for field crops. The
sugar beet, grown extensively for the manufacture of sugar,
is also valuable for stock food, being better relished by hogs
than the mangel varieties. Where used for the manufacture
of sugar tle pulp from which the juice has been expressed is
a valuable food.
The varieties of mangel are better adapted, however, for
exclusive stock feeding as they yield more heavily, are much
more easily harvested, carry less dirt with them to the cellar,
are better relished by sheep and cattle, and are about as good
Of the mangel varieties the Mammoth Long Red is one of
the best for light soils. It is usually the heaviest yielder and
is less liable to be damaged if caught in a little freeze before
being harvested, as the heavier growth of leaves affords
greater protection. In some sections the Golden Tankard
makes a better keeper, but this is not universally true.
Culture When growing for feed select a piece of soil rich in
vegetable matter or enrich well with well-rotted manure. This should
be free from trash, corn stalks, etc., that will interfere with hoeing, or
cause the small beets to be covered up when cultivating.
Plow thoroughly in the fall or early spring. Develop a seed-bed
early and kill all the weeds as nearly as possible before planting the crop. Flo. 1e. Photograph show-
ing ear with grain too
A fine seed-bed is necessary, but it must not be too loose. If loose in irregular. (JamesAtkin-
son, Iowa State College
the subsurface, the moisture will not be drawn up well around the seed of Agriculture.)
for their germination, and if there is too much loose earth on the immediate surface, a dashing
rain may bury and destroy the young plants soon after they come up.
The seed may be sown with any garden drill, or in large areas with horse drills made especially
for that purpose. If the horse drill is used, care must be taken not to get the beets planted too
deep, as a uniform stand is highly important. Use plenty of seed, as they must be thinned in any
case. From 5 to 15 pounds of seed to the acre will be required, according to the width between
the rows and the care used in planting. Much more seed should be used with the horse than with
the hand drill, as the former is not so accurate in its work and more of the seed may be buried too
deeply to come up.
Give thorough cultivation. If done at the right time and if the land has been well cleaned of
weeds, this may be done mostly with the horse, no hand work in many cases being needed, except
a hoeing with a wheel-hoe when beets first come up, and thinning after they get well started. The
thinning may be done, first, with the hoe -cutting through the row, leaving bunches of two and
three in a place-and afterward by going over them and hand-thinning to one in a place, having
one plant every 10 inches when through.
Beets should not be harvested in the fall until there is danger of freezing weather, as it is
more difficult to keep them if harvested before the warm days are past. A light freeze will do
them no harm, if they remain in the ground until thawed out. When pulled, the tops should be
cleanly removed and the dirt jarred off, as both affect their keeping. They should be stored in a
cool place where the temperature will be as uniform as possible and where there is fair ventilation.
CULTURE FOR SUGAR -Where the sugar beet is grown for sugar, care should be taken, in the
first place, to obtain seed of beets that have been developed especially for that purpose. Secondly,
the soil must not be overrich, especially in fresh manure, as too large and rough a growth is less
productive of sugar. A smooth, clean beet of medium size gives the best quality of juice. Sugar
beets will also bear being left closer together in the row than where more size is desired, 6 to 8
inches being a good width on good soils.
These are grown more especially for horses. They start more delicately than
beets, are more difficult to harvest and do not yield so well, but horses are very
fond of them, whereas they are not so fond of beets. For this purpose a large
growing variety that will yield well should be selected. The Large White Vosges
is perhaps the best variety. The Long Yellow Orange is a good yielder, but grows
so long that it is more difficult to harvest.
Culture--The same as for beets except that they may be left nearer together in the row,
6 inches apart being a good distance.
A valuable crop for early winter feeding, but will not keep so well as beets.
Sheep are especially fond of them, and in the milder climates they may be fed off
the ground without harvesting.
RUTABAGAS, KOHLRABI, POTATOES
Culture-The best soil for turnips is one rich in vegetable matter. Prepare and sow in
drills, thinning and cultivating the same as for beets. Or, if the ground is free from weeds, they
may be sown broadcast. For winter feeding they should not be sown before the latter part of
June for Central Iowa. Turnips will stand considerable freezing weather, before harvesting,
without damage. They are better, however, not to be harvested while in a frozen condition.
If they are caught by a freeze, leave in the ground until the frost is again ou* of them.
RUTABAGAS OR SWEDISH TURNIPS
The rutabaga is a hard-fleshed turnip belonging to the same family as cabbage.
It is a much better keeper than the common turnip and in cool climates is a heavy
yielder and a very valuable crop; but it is not adapted to the dry, hot summers of
Iowa and localities farther south and southwest, developing practically no bulb in
Culture The same as for beets.
The kohlrabi is another plant closely related to cabbage, but differing from the
one just considered in that it produces the bulb entirely above ground. It is not
properly a root crop, but is treated here because of its similar economic relation in
the problem of stock food supply. The kohlrabi is a good keeper, is easy to raise
and easy to harvest, starting much more quickly than beets or carrots. It is adapted
to a much wider range of climatic conditions than the rutabaga; growing in warm
as well as cool climates and being resistant to drought.
Culture The same as for beets.
Culture--A good clover sod, well plowed and prepared, makes an excellent bed for the
potato. The potato likes an abundance of vegetable matter, but not much of this should be in the
form of freshly applied stable manure, especially if the crop is intended for market, as it tends
to produce a scabby tuber. Too rich a soil is apt to cause a very rank growth of vine and few
For an early crop, potatoes may be planted as soon as the frost is out of the ground and the
soil in workable condition. For a winter crop they should be planted late enough so that the
tubers will not be ready to set until the fall rains commence. They may be tended very largely
with the harrow if the soil is kept sufficiently loose for the harrow to be effective. A little drag-
ging, pruning, and burying of the tops will do them no harm. Use level culture until the tubers
set on, when they should be killed enough to protect the tubers from injury by the sun. Experi-
ments indicate that ridging does not increase the yield.
ROOT AND SOILING CROPS
Artichokes are a valuable food for maintaining hogs in a healthy condition
during the fall, when they are on a heavy feed of corn. They are very easily raised
and the hogs do their own harvesting.
Culture Plant moderately early on a piece of ground where it will be convenient to allow
the hogs to run in the fall. If the soil is not already rich in vegetable matter, manure well. Plant
and cultivate the same as potatoes. The tops, early in the season, will get large enough to shade
the ground and keep down the weeds.
The tubers are usually attached to the plant by much longer stems
than are potatoes, which makes them difficult to harvest, but by allowing
the hogs to do the harvesting this objection is removed. By not allowing
the hogs to dig them too close they will re-seed themselves and produce a
crop the following year, without the necessity of any planting or cultivation.
The pumpkin has a similar economic place in the feed yard
to that of the root crops. It is a valuable fall and early winter
feed for cattle, sheep, and swine, and is adapted to a very wide
range of climatic conditions.
Culture--Pumpkins may be grown with the corn crop, producing,
where the stand is not perfect or where the corn does not grow large, a
considerable amount of feed without materially affecting the yield of corn.
If grown as a separate crop, the ground should be prepared the same as for
corn. Plant about the same time, in hills 8 feet apart each way, putting
3 to 4 seeds in a hill. When the plants are well started, thin to one plant
in a hill. Give thorough cultivation. Harvest before freezing weather
and store in a cool, dry place.
In those portions of the country that are subject, during
the summer, to a period of two or more weeks' drought, in
which the grasses of the pastures cease to grow, there should
be planted each spring some crop of quick growth that may be
cut off and fed during this period. Such a practice not only
maintains a steady growth of the animals, but by saving the
FIG. 19. Photograph pastures renders them more productive. If pastures are eaten
showing ear too ta-
pering. James Atkin- very close, they may become so thoroughly burned out at such
on, Iowa State olmuch o the grass, making it slow in starting
lege of Agriculture.) times as to kill much of the grass, making it slow in starting
up again and much less productive for a long time afterward. This killing out, mak-
ing thin patches, gives the weeds their opportunity and thus makes weedy pastures.
A given amount of land may be made to carry a much larger amount of stock
by being handled in this way. In fact, a much larger amount of feed can be
produced per acre in this way in any locality than can be obtained by pasturing, so
that as lands become higher in price resort will have to be made more and more to
this method of summer feeding. Some of the crops best adapted for this use are
Sorghum is one of the best crops for soiling purposes. It grows very rapidly, is
ready early, yields abundantly, and above all is very much relished by all stock,
owing to its sweet, pleasant taste. It is also well adapted to the semi-arid regions,
being exceedingly resistant to both drought and heat.
Culture -Prepare the soil the same as for corn and sow with a grain drill at the rate of
100 pounds of seed per acre. Sorghum should not be sown until the ground is thoroughly warm,
or it will be slow in starting and the weeds will get a start For Central Iowa it should not be
sown before the 1st of June, and will make a good, heavy crop when sown as late as the 10th
In humid or semi-humid climates, when sown in this way on land that has been well prepared,
no cultivation is needed. In drier climates better results may be obtained by drilling in rows
26 to 30 inches apart and giving thorough cultivation to conserve the moisture.
SORGHUM POISONING-In the drier regions west of the Missouri River there have been
occasional deaths from what appeared to be a virulent poison, when cattle have been grazed on
this crop. This has prejudiced a large number of farmers against its use. So far as the writer
knows no trouble of this kind is ever experienced where sorghum is cut and fed green or as dry
There is a'prevalent belief that it is only the second growth of sorghum that causes this
trouble, but this is not correct. Most of the reported cases have occurred in pasturing the second
growth, for the reason that the first growth is seldom pastured, being cut for fodder instead.
It is not yet known what is the cause of these deaths, but present evidence indicates that they
are not due to any poison in or on the plant itself. Like the corn stalk disease, it is yet to be
Kafir-corn also is an excellent plant for soiling and for some conditions may be
preferable to sorghum. It is not as large a yielder as sorghum and usually not so
well relished by stock, although a few reports indicate that there are exceptions to
this rule. Being in a high degree drought-resistant, it is well suited to semi-arid
Culture-The same as for sorghum.
64 SOILING CROPS
Corn is not so well adapted for the use under consideration in the semi-arid
climates as the two crops just considered, but it is equal or superior to the kafir-
corn for humid and semi-humid climates, as it is just as well relished and, where
moisture is plentiful, will produce a larger yield.
Culture-Corn may be sown broadcast, drilled the same as the crops just considered, or
planted thickly in drills with a corn planter having a drill attachment. In the latter case it can
be given cultivation and will develop more grain. It should be planted thick enough so that the
stalks will be small and soft.
The chief value of this crop for soiling purposes lies in the fact that it will fur-
nish a supply of food earlier in the season than can be obtained from any of the
Culture The same as for a crop of grain except that 6 pecks of seed per acre should be
PEAS AND- OATS
Peas-and-oats is one of the earliest spring crops that can be sown for soiling,
being ready to follow immediately after the rye. This crop may be grown as a win-
ter crop in the South.
Culture -Sow very early on rich soil, mix the oats and peas half-and-half, and seed with
the drill at the rate of 3 bushels per acre.
Rape is especially well liked by sheep and swine, yields heavily, is very succu-
lent and will continue to grow until freezing weather. Its great succulence gives
it a tendency to produce bloat if eaten ravenously, especially while wet. It grows
best in a cool, moist climate, but is quite resistant to drought.
Culture If land is not rich, manure well and prepare thoroughly as for a root crop. Drill
with a grain drill, stopping two out of every three holes, or with a horse beet drill. Seed at the
rate of 5 pounds of seed per acre. Give thorough cultivation. This crop starts quickly and grows
rapidly and will soon shade the ground and keep down weeds.
Another method of growing this crop for a supplementary feed is to seed with the spring vari-
eties of small grain. In such cases seeding should not take place until the grain is well up, lest
the rape get the start of the grain. As so little seed is required, this entails very little expense,
and if the season is favorable a large amount of feed will be produced after the grain is cut off.
Still another plan that frequently meets with success is to sow in corn at the last cultivation.
The amount of feed that the rape will make in such cases will depend largely upon the condition
of the corn growth. If the corn is of good stand and rank in growth, the rape can make but little
SOY BEANS, COW-PEAS, TEOSINTE 65
The soybean is valuable for soiling, especially for use in conjunction with sorghum
or some of the more carbonaceous foods. It is especially adapted to use on lands
that need building up, as it will thrive better on this soil than
many of the other crops, and at the same time will improve the
soil. It is also well adapted to regions of light rainfall.
Culture The same as for the seed crop except that a little heavier yield
may be obtained by using more seed to the acre.
The cow-pea holds a similar economic place among soiling crops
as the one just discussed. In many parts of the country it pro-
duces a much larger quantity of feed and in such localities is pref-
erable to the former on that account. It is also well adapted to
growing on and improving thin lands.
Culture --More seed to the acre should be used than for a seed crop;
otherwise the culture may be the same; or, on good clean ground cow-peas
may be sown with a grain drill and not cultivated. The same observation
should be made in regard to securing the earlier, quick-growing varieties for
the northern sections, and also to securing seed grown as far north as possible.
Teosinte is a new crop for the North, but, so far as tried, does
not give promise of possessing any advantages over those pre-
viously mentioned for this region. It gives very large yields
under favorable conditions in the South and is reported as mak-
ing excellent forage. It is a native of Mexico, and is thought by
some botanists to be the original of our Indian corn.
Culture -Prepare the soil the same as for corn and plant in hills the
same distance apart each way; place two seeds in a hill, and cultivate the
same as for corn.
ANNUALS FOR DRY FORAGE
It not infrequently happens in many sections of the country FIG. 20. Photograph
showing ear too
that by reason of winterkilling on present mowing lands, or of open-space be-
teen rows too
failure to secure a proper stand on those intended as such, there great. (Iowa State
S College of A-ricul-
is a temporary shortage in the supply of dry roughage for winter ture.)
ANNUALS FOR DRY FORAGE
use. There are a number of annuals well adapted, when properly grown and cared
for, to supplying such deficiencies. On some of the higher-priced lands it may
even be economy to grow some of these crops each year and maintain a smaller
amount of mowing land, as many of these will return a much larger yield per
acre than can be obtained from the permanent meadows. Furthermore, by the
use of some of these crops, good winter feed may be obtained in regions where, for
lack of rain, the native grasses do not get large enough to mow and where our
common perennial grasses will not survive the summer's drought and heat. The
Experiment Station at Highmore, in the buffalo-grass region of South Dakota,
reports for 1901 a yield of three tons of dry fodder per acre in the case of yellow
Milo Maize and 2.9 tons per acre of Amber Cane.
The first thing that should be considered in this connection in a region where
corn is grown is the utilization of the fodder portion of the corn crop.
The corn should be cut when it is sufficiently matured, so that it will not shrivel up and
become loose in drying out. The grains on a majority of the ears should be well dented. Whether
or not this fodder maintains the value it has when first cut, will depend upon the manner in which
it is put up. This is a very important matter, even if the corn is only to stand in shock until it
is thoroughly cured, as an improperly built shock may become very much damaged within a few
days after cutting.
Whether the corn is cut by a machine and bound into bundles or set up loose, it is important
that each bunch be set up snugly at bottom and top, and that it be set up straight, not allowed to
lean to the one side or the other. No more time is required to set it up the right way than the
It should be cut close to the ground, not only to save the feed and leave less stubble in the
way. but to have the ears kept up off the ground in better shape. This is especially important if
the corn is to stand and be fed from the shock during the winter.
The manner of tying the shock is also of the greatest importance. The band should be placed
just as near the top as possible and yet enclose all but a few of the tops. This will not only save
twine, but it will be found that the shock will stand much better than if placed lower down.
The band (ordinary binding twine may be used) should be drawn tight, both to exclude the rain
from the shock and to keep it from getting out of shape. In order to secure the proper tightness
of the band the shock must first be drawn up with a rope. This should be done in such a manner
as not to twist the shock at all in the operation, as any twist given to it at this time will tend to
throw it over as it settles. The best and quickest method of drawing up and tying the shocks is
for two persons to perform the work together. The rope is passed around the shock, each takes
an end, both draw with force as nearly equal as possible, and while one holds the two ends the
other ties the band.
SHREDDING OR CUTTING-The cutting or shredding of the fodder, except for convenience of
feeding, for mixing with other grain, for spring feeding, or where it is desired to get the corn
separated from the stover, is not a profitable operation, as not enough more will be consumed, over
what would be consumed when fed whole and in a similar manner, to pay for the extra expense.
It is much easier, however, to feed the corn fodder when in this form, and if fed in the barn,
what is not eaten, if shredded or cut, is very good material for bedding. For spring feeding it
is much better to have fodder cut or shredded and under cover, as it damages rapidly in the field
after the warm weather comes on. It is also more difficult to get it from the field at this time and
the weather conditions are not so favorable for outside feeding. If fed whole, the fodder should
be fed in racks, or, during freezing weather it may be fed on a good clean, sheltered blue-grass
pasture, if well scattered. If corn is to be cut and fed with all the corn on, it will produce more
feed to the acre by planting somewhat thicker than for a grain crop, and the consequent lessening
in the size of the ears will enable the cattle to handle them better.
Sorghum makes excellent dry feed for winter use and is much relished by all
classes of stock.
Culture -The same as for producing a crop for soiling purposes. Cut when the seed is in
the dough stage. It may be cut with a corn binder and shocked the same as corn, or mowed and
handled the same as hay. It should be cured well before being shocked, and then should stand in
shock for some time before being put in stack or barn, as the stalks dry out very slowly In
sections where the winters are dry and cold, it will keep in very good condition in the field for
winter feeding, if put in large shocks.
MILO MAIZE-There are two varieties of this non-saccharine sorghum, the white and the
yellow. This is a heavy yielding crop and one that is also well liked by stock. For some sections
this may be a more profitable crop than sorghum. Its culture is the same as for sorghum.
Millet is a quick-growing plant of which there are many varieties, some of them
very resistant to heat and drought. Most of them make hay that is not nearly so
coarse, and is much more easily handled as such, than the crops previously con-
sidered in this connection. Some of them grow very large, Pearl Millet or Pencil-
laria, that is being so widely advertised by seedsmen, yielding a very large amount
of hay. Little satisfactory evidence can be obtained, however, at the present time
as to the character of the hay produced. The yield of most of the millets is very
much less than that of the sorghums.
Culture Sow on well-prepared soil from the middle of May to the 1st of July. In favor-
able seasons a crop of the earlier varieties may be obtained, as far north as Central Iowa, after a
crop of barley or early oats has been harvested. Millet should be cut when seeds are well formed.
ANNUALS FOR DRY FORAGE
The soy bean is a very valuable hay plant, especially if there is no clover or other
nitrogenous forage on hand. As has been observed, it is especially adapted to thin
lands and to sections of scant rainfall.'
Culture- The same as for soiling purposes. Cut when first pods begin to turn.
This crop produces a hay very similar to that of the soy bean, except that the
vines do not stand up so well, and it is difficult to obtain hay of as good quality.
Culture -The same as for soiling purposes. Cut when first pods begin to turn.
OTHER SOILING CROPS
Velvet Bean-In some sections of the South this plant produces a larger
crop of feed and greater improvement upon the soil than the cow-pea, but it is
adapted only to extreme southern conditions.
Oats and Field Peas--This crop furnishes a large quantity of excellent
forage and is especially adapted to northern sections where the more tropical plants
do not thrive so well. Varieties should be selected that will ripen together.
Culture -The same as when grown for soiling. Cut when the oats begin to turn.
Hairy Vetch-This is not a satisfactory hay crop when grown alone, on
account of its low trailing habit, but it may be grown with some kind of small
grain. It usually gives the best results when sown with winter wheat or, in the
milder climates, with winter oats.
Culture -Prepare the ground the same as for winter wheat and sow at the same time as for
a crop of winter wheat.
With winter wheat mix in equal parts, and with oats mix one part vetch to two parts oats.
Of the former mixture sow 4 to 6 pecks per acre; of the latter 8 to 10 pecks should be used. Sow
with a drill; in the North this must be a press drill.
Salt-bushes- This is a class of plants adapted to extremely dry and strongly
alkaline regions, where none of the commonly cultivated crops will grow. While
they are called a bush, the percentage of fiber in them is not large. While green, they
are quite succulent. They are relished by all classes of animals, and, for the con-
ditions above mentioned, are a very valuable supplement to the other feeds. As
they take up a large amount of salts, their growth on alkali lands tends to correct
1 Prof. H. Garman, of the Kentucky Experiment I qualities than any other forage plant that has recently
Station, says of this plant: "In short, it has more good 1 engaged the attention of our farmers."
CARE OF PERMANENT MEADOWS
that trouble. Owing to the large amount of salts taken up by them the hay made
from them should not be allowed to constitute the whole of the roughage, at least
until the animals become accustomed to it.
While the permanent meadow is not so productive as many of the annual crops,
yet a piece of good clean mowing ground is a source of great satisfaction to its
owner. This manner of obtaining forage can not be entirely dispensed with, if the
productivity of the land is to be conveniently maintained.
In order for each part of the farm to have an occasional rest from cultivated
crops and a thorough filling up with grass roots, these mowing lands should not be
made too permanent, and yet there may often be reason why they should stand for a
considerable length of time. In such cases some care is often necessary to keep
them in the most productive condition.
In some sections meadows are subject to killing by extreme cold and in others by extreme
drought and heat. When this occurs the sod should be scaritied with the disk or other efficient
implement and more seed sown. Frequently the same kind of seed will not produce a growth in
time to cut with the remainder of the crop the year that it is seeded. In such cases it will be
advantageous to seed with it some small grain or other quick-growing crop to help out the yield
of that year. A light dressing of manure immediately following this seeding will sometimes assist
in getting a good catch. This seeding should be done very early in the spring, before the ground
becomes settled by the spring rains.
In many parts of the country great difficulty is experienced in keeping the blue grass out of
the meadows for any considerable length of time. This, while a very valuable pasture grass for
such localities, is not a desirable grass to have mixed in the mowing land, as it ripens earlier than
most other plants used for that purpose and does not grow large, thereby lessening both the yield
and quality of the hay obtained. This grass can best be kept down by inducing as early and as large
a growth as possible of the other grasses. To this end the meadows should not be closely pastured,
the stock being kept entirely from them during the late winter and early spring. An occasional
dressing of manure will also help greatly in this direction. On farms that can all be cultivated,
less care need be exercised in keeping this grass out, if the meadow be turned into pasture when
the blue grass comes in, that which has been in pasture plowed up, and a newly-seeded section used
Where plants are used, for permanent meadows, that have a tendency to thicken up into a
very dense sod, there is often produced what is termed a sod-bound condition. The remedy for
such a condition is thorough cutting up with a disk and sowing some clover seed, in sections where
clover thrives, after disking; the harrow may then be run over the ground to advantage.
Manuring is also a help in correcting a sod-bound condition. A little manure is a good thing
for a meadow at any time, and, when it is not needed worse elsewhere, may be applied here to
70 PERMANENT MEADOWS
great advantage. It always should be well rotted, however. When spread on the surface there
is much less opportunity for decomposition than when incorporated in the soil, and any coarse
manure will be gathered up more or less with the succeeding crop of hay.
SEED MIXTURES FOR MEADOWS
Not only is there an adaptation of plants to climate as regards temperature and
moisture, but there is also an adaptation to soil conditions. Where there is more
than one valuable plant adapted to a given condition a larger yield can be obtained
by growing them together than by growing them separately, owing to the fact that
different plants will feed somewhat differently. It is, therefore, of advantage, so
far as time of ripening and habit of growth will permit, to grow these plants in
The following mixtures per acre' are given as in a general way adapted to the accompanying
described conditions. The variation of conditions, however, and the manner in which one may
shade off into another, make it advisable for each locality to do more or less experimenting for its
own peculiar conditions.
I. For Humid and Semi-humid Climates Having More or Less
(a) For Rich, Well-under- (b) Or, for Rich, TYell- (c) For Thin, High
drained Soils: underdrained Soils: Lands: (d) For Wet Lands:
Medium Red Clover 6 lbs. Medium Red Clover 7 lbs. Mammoth Red Clover 6 lbs. Alsike Clover...... 5 lbs.
Timothy ..------... 4 lbs. Orchard Grass.....18 lbs. Timothy ----------............ 4 lbs. Timothy .......... 4 lbs.
In some sections half the timothy may be replaced to advantage by red-top, although this
plant does not make as palatable hay as timothy.
These mixtures may be sown with either a fall or a spring nurse crop. In some localities
subject to severe, hot, dry weather at the time the nurse crop is removed, better results may be
obtained, in case a spring nurse crop is used, by seeding the timothy on the stubble at the close of
the hot weather say about the 1st of September.
II. For Humid and Semi-humid Climates Having Milder Winters
and Hotter Summers
(a) For Light, Sandy (b) For Richer, Heavier. (d) For Low, Wet
Soils: Well-underdrained Soils: (c) Or, instead of (b): Lands:
Medium Red Clover 6 lbs. Medium Red Clover 5 lbs. Medium Red Clover. 5 lbs. Alsike Clover.... 4 lbs.
Tall Oat Grass .....14 lbs. Orchard Grass .....15 lbs. Orchard Grass ......15 lbs. Red Top ...--------...... 4 lbs.
Rescue Grass.......10 lbs. Tall Fescue .........10 lbs. Large Water Grass 4 lbs.
As a rule, the best time to seed the foregoing mixtures, for the climates mentioned, is at the
beginning of the fall rains.
1 The quantity of seed here recommended contem- thorough preparation of the seed-bed. If either of these
plates the use of pure, clean, germinable seed and a conditions is lacking, more seed must be used.
TREATMENT OF PASTURES
III. For Semi-arid Regions
Orchard Grass-........-----------20 lbs. Alfalfa..........-....................... 20 to 30 lbs.
Meadow Fescue...........-----------------.....--------.....15 lbs.
Red Clover......- ...........----. ......- ---....... 3 lbs.
Seed (a) with a press drill, on thoroughly-prepared ground, well firmed in the subsurface.
Sow moderately early in the spring, without any other crop, and mow the weeds to prevent
smothering the first summer.'
Seed (b) alone, with a press drill, on soil thoroughly prepared, and with the subsurface well
firmed. Alfalfa2 should be seeded in the fall in localities having dry, hot summers. Where the
summers are more moderate and the winters more severe, seeding should be done early in the spring
and the weeds mown the first summer.
IV. For Arid Climates
Alfalfa.......--..-----------............----------20 to 30 lbs. Smooth Brome Grass.. -----------...----40 to 50 lbs.
Seed (b) on well-prepared soil, with well-firmed subsurface, early in the spring. Fall plowing
is best for this purpose. Owing to the coarseness and lightness of the seed, it does not seed readily
with a drill. Should be sown broadcast, and covered as well as possible with the disk and smooth-
ing harrow. No alarm should be felt over a somewhat thin appearance of the stand at first, as it
tends to thicken up very fast after the first year.
In most localities there is more or less land that is not suitable for cultivation
and that must be utilized in the form of a permanent pasture. In any case it is
usually desirable to have more or less land in this form. The value of such pastures
will depend very largely upon getting the varieties best adapted to the conditions
and upon the degree of care that is given them. They are subject to the same
damaging effects of extreme climatic conditions as are the permanent meadows,
and the' same remedy is applicable. The sod-bound condition, especially in the
blue grass regions, is even more liable to occur in pastures than in mowing lands.
The method of spreading by underground runners, that is characteristic of some of
the best pasture grasses, contributes largely to the development of such a condition.
The disking of such pastures, followed by a light seeding of clover and the appli-
cation of manure, as in the case of mowing lands, is the best method of improving
them. The native pastures may also be very greatly increased in productiveness
by thoroughly cutting them up with a disk and seeding with plants adapted to the
1 Bulletin 62, Kansas Experiment Station. to the difficulty of curing it into a good quality of hay in
2 Alfalfa is hardy and productive in the more moist such climates.
climates, but is not recommended as a hay crop owing
72 PERMANENT PASTURES
As in the case of mowing lands, a greater productiveness may be secured by
growing a mixture of plants for pasture. The variety thus afforded also makes the
product of greater value.
SEED MIXTURES FOR PASTURES
I. For Humid Climates Having Severe Winters
(a) (c) For High, Rather Thin Soils:
Medium Red Clover.............................. 3lbs. Mammoth Red Clover....................... 3 lbs.
Kentucky Blue Grass 1-- .............. ..... 8 bs. Kentucky Blue Grass ...---...- ............... lbs.
Orchard Grass----..........................---- 8 lbs. Orchard Grass----....--....-.......--.... 8 lbs.
Smooth Brome Grass------------- ....--------10 lbs. Smooth Brome Grass----..........................10 lbs.
(b) (d) For Low, Wet Lands:
Medium Red Clover ---...............-- ....------------.... 2 lbs. Alsike Clover -------.......---..--------------- 4 lbs.
White Clover-....................---------------...............------------ 2 lbs. Red Top ...............---------------------.--...------- 6 lbs.
Orchard Grass ------...--.....--..-----------------.......................... 8 lbs. Timothy ..---------.................----------------------- 4 lbs.
Meadow Fescue..-----.........---- --... -...... 5 lbs.
Smooth Brome Grass----.........---..-----------...........---- 8 lbs.
All the components of Mixture (a) start very early in the spring, and the clover and brome
grass will remain green and continue to grow during quite dry weather.
II. For Humid Climates Farther South
(a) For Light Sandy Soils:
Smooth Brome Grass .......15 lbs.
Tall Oat Grass---....-- ...15 lbs.
Hairy Vetch.----............15 Ibs.
(b) For Richer, Heavier, Well-
Orchard Grass............. 10 lbs.
Tall Fescue.................10 lbs.
Rescue Grass----.....---.......10 lbs.
Medium Red Clover........ 3 bs.
(or Hairy Vetch, 12 lbs.)
(c) For Low, Wet Lands:
Alsike Clover.......... ... 4 lbs.
Red Top.--..-----.. ......... 4 lbs.
Large Water Grass-......... 4 lbs.
Mixture (a), below the snow line, will afford growing pasture for almost the entire year.
One report from the South mentions orchard grass as not being relished by the stock, but as
a rule they are fond of it.
All the foregoing mixtures are best sown at the beginning of the fall rains.
III. For Semi-arid Regions
Meadow Fescue........----- -----------------------------------------.................--------------------------- 10 lbs.
Orchard Grass..------------------..........------........................------------------------------------------------...12 lbs.
Smooth Brome Grass ..---......................... .......... 15 lbs.
Medium Red Clover....-............................. ---------------------------------.2 lbs.
Alfalfa ------------......................................................_.... 6 l----------bs.
(a) Prepare the ground thoroughly, and seed with a press drill early in the spring for the
more northerly regions, and in the fall farther south.
(b) The same mixture may also be sown advantageously on the native pastures, after first
thoroughly scarifying them with a disk or other effective implement.
1 This grass once introduced into a locality to which 2 Bulletin 87, Kentucky Experiment Station, Lex-
it is adapted, will usually come into a pasture very ington, Ky.
quickly without seeding.
FIELD CROPS AND GRASSES 73
NAME. Inches Apart in Rows or Drills, Quantity Sown
Rows. Inches Apart. Per Acre.
Alfalfa ----..........-----.......... ...---....--
Artichokes ...........-..-- ..........------...
Beans, field, for forage.-..-....--..-.. ...--...
Ssoy, forforage---........ --- -
soy, for seed .-------------.-------
Svelvet, for forage ---- -----
Beets, for stock .. .....------------------
Sfor sugar----....... --------------------
Buckwheat .... ........................
Carrots .........- .........................
Clover, Alsike .....----------------.... -------
Corn, field, for grain ---.-----------
Sfor forage ...-------------.-----
Cow-peas, for seed....
S for forage -..-....... ..........
Cow-peas, for seed-------------------------------
Flax .................. ........................
Grass, blue ..
meadow fescue ----------------------
Srescue --------- ----------
timothy ...- -------------------------
Kafir-corn, for grain...................... -
for forage ......--------------------
Macaroni wheat, spring seeding--.... ......-----
1 fall seeding....-------. --.----.
Millet ....-..-- -------..............--.
ilo maize ............-----------------.........----.....-------
Peas, field ... -----... ..----------------
Peas and oats, for forage ...------------... -----
Pumpkins, alone........-------------..... --------
Rye, for grain -----.....------------------
f or forage ------.------------.--.---------
Sorghum, for forage ---...........-....------
Turnips.......------- ......... ........-----
Wheat ..---........ .--------------------
S and Hairy Vetch, for forage-...........
--- ---..--- -----
------- -- -^ -- --- -
42 to 48
10 to 18
20 to 30
26 to 30
26 to 30
26 to 80
42 to 48
30 to 36
26 to 30
836 to 40
28 to 30
30 to 3-- --- ---
-- 6 -- -- -
36. to..... 40 _
20 to 30 lbs.
6 to 7 bu.
3 to 4 pecks.
2 to 3 pecks.
1 to 2 bu.
5 to 15 lbs.
5 to 15 lbs.
2 to 3 pecks.
2 to 3 pecks.
3 to 4 pecks.
2 to 3 pecks.
4 to 6 pecks.
2 to 3 pecks.
7 to 10 lbs.
4 to 5 pecks.
4 to 6 pecks.
4 to 5 pecks.
4 to 5 pecks.
2 to 3 bu.
6 to 10 bu.
75 to 100 lbs.
100 to 125 lbs.
4 to 5 pecks.
5 to 6 pecks.
4 to 6 pecks.
SEED BREEDING AND SELECTION
Nothing is of greater importance in the production of any crop than that good
seed be used to start it. While there are reasons why a man or company making
seed-growing a specialty should be able to make the best progress in the develop-
ment of good seeds, there are, on the other hand, very strong reasons why the farmer
to a large degree should be his own seedsman.
Objections to Purchased Seed-As a rule, seedsmen are anxious to
supply the purchaser with good seed, since they know that spurious seed will lose
them customers. How well many of them do this depends entirely upon the intel-
ligence, vigilance, and integrity of their employes. Much seed is grown by con-
tract and often in a different part of the country from that in which the seed house
is located. In this way the purchaser may obtain seeds not adapted to his climate.
A lack of vigilance in keeping weeds out of the growing seed crop may result in
seeding the purchaser's farm with weeds that are very difficult to eradicate. The
handling of a large quantity of seed requires a great deal of care to prevent injury
to its germinating qualities. A little carelessness on the part of persons having this
work in charge, or a lack of integrity in reporting conditions, sometimes results in the
sending out of a lot of seed that is very poor in germinating qualities. The writer
has purchased from prominent seedsmen seed not 5 per cent of which would grow.
Some Tests of Purchased Samples-Some of the conditions that
may be met with in purchased seeds or in home-grown seeds that have not been
properly cleaned or cared for, are illustrated in Figs. 21, 22, and 23.1 In each
case tube No. 1 represents a pound of seed as it was obtained on the market; No. 2
the quantity of pure seed contained in the pound; No. 3 the amount of broken
seed and dirt; No. 4 the amount of spurious seed; No. 5 the total waste, and No. 6
the quantity of pure and germinable seed.
It will be observed that of the sample represented in Fig. 21, only about 60 per
cent was pure seed, and that if it were clover seed purchased at, say, $5 a bushel
the purchaser would in reality be paying nearly $10 a bushel for the pure seed.
In Fig. 22 is shown a sample which, while containing a larger percentage of
pure seed, at the same time contains very little germinable seed. Such a sample
would be of no value whatever as seed.
The sample represented in Fig. 23 shows a condition that should always
obtain, and that with proper care may always be secured in the home-grown seed.
1 From Farmers' Bulletin 111, United States Department of Agriculture.
IMPROVEMENT AND MODIFICATION
Advantages of Home Selection The im-
provement of the various crops depends largely upon
the care used in the growing of the crop from which
seed is to be selected whether the soil conditions and
the cultivation given are such as to produce the greatest
possible development, or only an imperfect crop. The
man who selects his own seed has the advantage of
knowing the condition of the crop from which he makes
In any field there is more or less variation in the
1 2 3 4 5 6
from those who handle it in
quantity is usually only an
average of that grown in
any one field.
It will not, of course,
be practical to select the
seed for the main crop
from individual plants of
such crops as oats, wheat, 3 4 6
and barley; but a small FIG. 22.
quantity of seed of these crops may be selected in this
way each year from which to grow seed the following year.
One of the chief advantages in the home selection of
seeds lies in the opportunity afforded by the variation
due to climatic and soil conditions. In this manner
crops may be made hardy, the time of ripening changed,
and in other ways improved in their adaptation to local
uevelopmenu of0 udierent
plants, due to various
causes. The man who se-
lects his own seed has an
opportunity to take advan-
tage of this and select from
only the best plants, while
the seed that is purchased
I I n n R
76 SEED BREEDING AND SELECTION
Running Out" of Seed There is a strong belief in many localities that
seed grown in a given place for a considerable length of time tends to "run out,"
i; e., to become less productive, and that the only way to maintain the yield is
occasionally to import fresh seed. No doubt there often is a tendency to deterio-
ration of this sort, but it is usually due to a lack of proper care in the selection of
seed and to poor soil conditions.
Requisites in Seed Selection- Some of the more important observa-
tions to be made in the selection of seeds are: Yield, quality, uniformity, hardi-
ness, time of ripening, freedom from attacks of smut and rust, and, in the case of
small grain, the stiffness of the straw.
CoRN-This crop requires, perhaps, as great care in the selection as any other, and merits
special attention. The rapid improvement that has been made in this crop, combined with the
readiness with which the different varieties cross and mix, renders it extremely subject to vari-
ation. Constant care is necessary in order to establish the desirable qualities that are brought out
in these variations and to more thoroughly eradicate those not desirable.
Some of the points (see Figs. 15-20) to be observed in the selection of seed corn are :
(a) Size and shape of ear; ear should approach as nearly as may be a uniform diameter from
end to end.
(b) Size and quality of cob, a medium-sized cob being much better than a large, spongy one.
(c) Depth of grain.
(d) Shape of grains; grains should carry their wedge shape uniformly to the end, so that the
ear may present as nearly as possible a solid surface.
(e) Covering of cob; cob should be as completely and evenly covered as possible at both ends.
(f) Hardness of grain, too hard and flinty a grain not being readily masticated and digested.
A hard grain, also, is more liable to be a shallow one.
(g) Grains of even, uniform size and similar shape, to make possible uniformity of planting.
(h) Color of grain, purity of color indicating purity of the corn.
Care of the Seeds-After the seeds have been selected they should be
thoroughly dried where they have room to be well spread, so that there will be no
possible chance for any fermentation. They should not be subjected to freezing
temperatures until well dried. They should be kept in a thoroughly dry place
during the winter.
Preparing for Planting-No matter how great care has been taken in
the handling of seeds, it is a very good practice always to test them before planting,
as they sometimes lose their vitality from unforeseen causes. This may be done by
spreading 100 average seeds on a piece of moistened blotting paper or cloth, cover-
ing with a similar moistened strip, laying them in a plate or pan and covering with
1 Characteristics (c), (d), and (e) very largely determine the relative percentage of grain and cob,
CLASSIFICATION OF WEEDS 77
another to prevent drying out, and setting in a room having a temperature of 650 to
80'. They should be examined occasionally, to see that they do not become too dry
for the process of germination to take place. The number that germinate (out of
100 tested) will give the approximate percentage of germinable seeds, and will serve
as a guide as to the quantity to plant.
In shelling the corn, the small grains on the tip and, where much unevenness
occurs, the irregular ones at the butt, should be kept separate from those of the
rest of the ear, as different sizes and shapes of grains mixed together will not
From the small grains and seeds all the smaller, weaker seeds should be, so far
as possible, removed.
All seeds should be thoroughly clean, so that the drills will not become clogged,
leaving parts of the field unplanted, and so that a portion of what is Cown shall not
be dirt instead of seed.
WEEDS AND THEIR ERADICATION
As stated in another connection, every plant has a place in the 'economy of
nature -some relation of conditions to which it is adapted better than any other.
To perform their greatest service, however, plants must be in their proper place.
When sufficiently out of place to be of no economic value, they become weeds.
Some grasses that are valuable fodder plants under some conditions, are very
troublesome weeds under the conditions of other localities.
Those plants that are not of economic value in a given locality and are therefore
termed weeds, should so far as possible be eradicated, as the moisture and nourish-
ment required to produce these plants should be utilized in the production of some
crop of greater value. No crop grown on the farm will make a maximum develop-
ment if weeds are allowed to occupy the ground with it. Weeds may also interfere
with realizing the value of the crop that is produced. The writer has seen pastures
in which large areas were so thickly set with thistles and other weeds as not only
to interfere materially with the growth of the pasture grasses but also to prevent
the animals obtaining what little feed was produced.
As regards general methods of eradication weeds may be divided into three classes.
Annuals are those plants that come from the seed each season. This is by far
the most numerous group, and the method employed should be such as to prevent
WEEDS AND THEIR ERADICATION
Eradication Seeding may be prevented by thorough cultivation with ordinary tools and
by the mowing of pastures and fence rows before the seeds are sufficiently matured to grow. The
least amount of cultivation required to kill any of these weeds is while they are very small, and a
great amount of extra labor may be saved by performing this operation at the right time.
If such plants can be entirely prevented from seeding and no weed seed is imported from
neighboring farms or in purchased seeds, it will be only a question of time when practically all the
seeds that are in the soil will have germinated and the farm will be entirely free from them.
There is one class of crops in which it is sometimes very difficult to prevent some of these
plants from seeding the various sorts of small grains. One of the best means of prevention in
these cases is the thorough preparation of the soil, so that no weeds shall be left growing at seeding
time, and there may be secured a good stand of strong, vigorous plants, that will keep the weeds
Where there are a few large scattering annuals that run up to a considerable height above the
grain, they may be clipped off with a scythe or sickle.
Some experiments have been made in the way of killing weeds in small grain by spraying with
various poisonous solutions. All plants are not affected alike by these solutions, hence, it is pos-
sible to kill some kinds by this means without doing much injury to others.
For example, at the North Dakota Experiment Station a 10 per cent solution of blue vitriol
was sprayed over an exceptionally weedy plat of wheat, the principal weeds being wild barley,
wild rose, penny cress, shepherd's purse, wild buckwheat, lamb's quarter, great ragweed, and char-
lock or wild mustard. The spraying was done June 7th, when the wheat was 8 to 5 inches high,
and on August 8th all the weeds, except the wild rose and the older plants of penny cress, were
dead. Some of the leaf tips of the wheat had been slightly burned, but the yield of grain was
considerably larger than from an equal area unsprayed.
On June 20th part of an oat field containing many weeds was sprayed with a solution of
1 pound of copper sulphate to 4 gallons of water. The oats at time of spraying were about 6 inches
high. On August 1st the treated area was free from all weeds, except pigeon grass and wild rose.
The oats on the treated area stooled well and were strong and vigorous, while those on the portion
not treated were weak and had stooled but little.
These were stronger mixtures than have generally been found most satisfactory, but in this
case appeared to result in no injury to the grain crops. Probably the best results will be obtained
under general conditions by using a 2 per cent solution (1 pound to about 6 gallons of water) and
applying at the rate of 40 to 60 gallons per acre.
Copperas is also quite effective for this purpose and its use will cause less danger from poison-
ing in case animals should gain entrance to the sprayed field. To have anything like the same
effect on the weeds it must be used much stronger, about a 10 to 15 per cent solution being necessary.
II. SEEDING PERENNIALS
In this class are included those perennials (plants that live from year to year),
which spread only by the distribution of their seed. A good example and one of
the worst of this class in many localities is the common dock.
POISONOUS WEEDS 79
The weeds of this class should not only be kept from producing seed but should be cut below
the crown with a thistle spud or a common spade and pulled up, as otherwise they will continue
to send up their seed stalks and require constant cutting.
III. SEEDING AND SPROUTING PERENNIALS
In this class are included the perennials, such as the Canada thistle, wild morn-
ing-glory, quack grass, horse nettle, sheep sorrel, and many others that spread by
means of seed distribution and also by underground stems or jointed runners.
Eradication This is by far the most difficult group to eradicate. These jointed runners
will not only send up new plants while they are attached to the parent plant, but if cut or broken
and carried about, the pieces will grow, forming new centers of distribution. These runners have
great vitality. They may often become dried and lie dormant for a long time; then, like a seed,
when the proper conditions are presented, spring into life. Thus it will be readily understood
how ordinary cultivation is a means of spreading rather than of destroying such plants.
The general treatment for this class of pests is to put the land into some hoed crop, where prac-
ticable, and by constant cutting off at the surface of the ground smother them out by not allowing
them sufficient leaf growth to gather the necessary food from the air.
Summer fallowing will accomplish the same result if thoroughly and properly done, not allow-
ing the plants to make an appreciable growth at any time and using surface tools that will shave
the whole surface, cutting off everything. Wild morning-glory may also be quite successfully
eradicated by close pasturing with sheep, as these animals are fond of it and will keep it very close,
soon smothering it out. It may also be destroyed by pasturing with hogs, and allowing them
to root up and eat the rather fleshy roots and underground stems.
The worst kind of weed to let grow is one that not only occupies ground and
consumes water and food that should be better utilized, but also actually endangers
the life of man and beast. There are many plants that to a greater or less degree
possess poisonous properties. Some will poison one kind of animal and not another.
Some are poisonous for man only when eaten, while others are liable to induce
poisoning by the handling, especially when they are wet. For a list of these plants,
together with descriptions by which they may be recognized, and antidotes for cases
of poisoning, the reader is referred to publications mentioned in the Bibliography.
Eradication--Use similar methods as for other weeds, working with great care about
those that are poisonous to the touch.
8^. j/\ G^^^
BOOKS ON CROPS, SEEDS, AND WEEDS
PUBLICATIONS ON FIELD AND FORAGE CROPS, SEED
SELECTION, AND THE ERADICATION OF WEEDS
NOTE--For additional publications on specific crops, see also the book list on page 108.
ALFALFA. By F. D. Coburn. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. . . .$0.50
A suggestive presentation of the best methods of growing this most valuable crop under
ALFALFA, OR LUCERNE. Farmers' Bulletin 31. United States Department of Agriculture -
CATTLE RANGES OF THE SOUTHWEST. Farmers' Bulletin 72. United States Department
of Agriculture ...................... -
CORN, BOOK OF. By Herbert Myrick. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. . .1.50
CORN CULTURE, INDIAN. By C. S. Plumb. Breeder's Gazette, Chicago. ... .1.00
CORN CULTURE IN THE SOUTH. Farmers' Bulletin 81. United States Department of
Agriculture . . . . -
COWPEAS. Farmers' Bulletin 89. United States Department of Agriculture . -
FARM GARDENING AND SEED GROWING. By Francis Brill. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. 1.00
FLAX CULTURE. Orange Judd Co., N. Y . . .30
FLAX FOR SEED AND FIBER. Farmers' Bulletin 27. United States Department of Agri-
culture . . . . -
FODDER AND FORAGE PLANTS. Bulletin 2, Division of Agrostology. United States
Department of Agriculture ... .. . . . .05
FORAGE CROPS OTHER THAN GRASSES. By Thomas Shaw. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. 1.00
FORAGE PLANTS. By Thomas Shaw. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. . .1.00
This is a thorough treatise on the various plants grown for forage, their characteristics,
and their adaptation to various conditions of soil and climate.
FORAGE PLANTS, SOUTHERN. Farmers' Bulletin 102. United States Department of
Agriculture . . . . -
GERMINATION OF SEEDS AS AFFECTED BY COMMERCIAL FERTILIZERS. Bulletin 24, Divi-
sion of Botany. United States Department of Agriculture . . .05
GOOD SEED, THE FARMERS' INTEREST IN. Farmers' Bulletin 111. United States Depart-
ment of Agriculture ..................... -
GRASSES, AMERICAN. Bulletin 7, Division of Agrostology. United States Department of
Agriculture . . ... . .20
GRASSES AND CLOVER. By H. A. Dreer, Philadelphia, Pa. . . .25
GRASSES, THE TRUE. By Edward Hackel. Henry Holt & Co., N. Y ..... .1.50
This is purely a textbook, treating of only the one family of plants.
BOOKS ON CROPS, SEEDS, AND WEEDS
HEMP. By S. S. Boyce. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. . . $0.50
HoP, THE. By Herbert Myrick. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. . . 1.50
HoP CULTURE IN CALIFORNIA. Farmers' Bulletin 115. United States Department of
Agriculture . . . -
HoPS. By Emanuel Gross. D. Van Nostrand Co, N. Y. . . ... 4.50
This is an exhaustive treatise on this crop, considered in its botanical, agricultural, and
technical aspects, and as an article of commerce.
KAFIR CORN. Farmers' Bulletin 37. United Statts Department of Agriculture . -
Treats of the characteristics, culture, and uses of this crop.
LEGUMINOUS PLANTS. By E. W. Hilgard. The Macmillan Co., N. Y .. 1.00
MANURING OF COTTON, THE. Farmers' Bulletin 48. United States Department of Agri-
culture . . .
MEADOWS AND PASTURES IN THE MIDDLE EASTERN STATES. Farmers' Bulletin 66.
United States Department of Agriculture . . . .
MILLETS, THE. Farmers' Bulletin 101. United States Department of Agriculture
PEANUT PLANT, THE. By B. W. Jones. Orange Judd Co., N. Y .... .50
PEANUTS: THEIR CULTURE AND USES. Farmers' Bulletin 25. United States Depart-
ment of Agriculture .................... -
POISONOUS PLANTS, THIRTY. Farmers' Bulletin 86. United States Department of
Agriculture . . . .
Gives information as to means of recognition, symptoms of poisoning, and treatment for
POISONOUS PLANTS OF TIE SOUTI. Bulletin 9, Volume XXII. North Carolina State
Board of Agriculture . .
PRINCIPAL POISONOUS PLANTS IN TIE UNITED STATES. Bulletin 20, Division of Botany.
United States Department of Agriculture .. . . .05
RED CLOVER SEED. Farmers' Bulletin 123. United States Department of Agriculture .
SOILING CROPS AND THE SILO. By Thomas Shaw. Orange Judd Co., N. Y 1.50
A comprehensive discussion of the crops best adapted to a line of work that should receive
increasing attention from the farmers of the country.
SORGHUM AS A FORAGE CROP. Farmers' Bulletin 50. United States Department of
Agriculture . . . .
SORGHUM SYRUP MANUFACTURE. Farmers' Bulletin 135. United States Department of
Agriculture . . -
SOY BEAN, THE, AS A FORAGE CROP. Farmers' Bulletin 58. United States Department
of Agriculture . .
SUGAR BEET, THE. Farmers' Bulletin 52. United States Department of Agriculture .
SUGAR BEET SEED, SELECTION IN GROWING. By Lewis S. Ware. Orange Judd Co., N.Y. 1.50
SUGAR INDUSTRY, AMERICAN. By Herbert Myrick. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. .... .1.50
82 BOOKS ON CROPS, SEEDS, AND WEEDS
TOBACCO, CULTURE OF. Farmers'Bulletin 82. United Slates Department of Agriculture .
TOBACCO CULTURE. By Fourteen Growers. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. ... .$0.25
TOBACCO LEAF. By Killebrew and Myrick. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. .... 2.00
A practical handbook, discussing methods of growing, harvesting, curing, packing, and
TOBACCO, METIODS OF CURING. Farmers' Bulletin 60. United States Department of
Agriculture . . .
TOBACCO SoILS. Farmers' Bulletin 83. United States Department of Agriculture .
WEEDS AND HOW TO KILL THEM. Farmers' Bulletin 28. United States Department of
Agriculture . . . . .. .
WEEDS: How TO ERADICATE THEM. By Thomas Shaw. Thomas Shaw, St. Anthony
Park, Minn... ..... ................ .1.00
WEEDS, LEGISLATION AGAINST. Bulletin 17, Division of Botany. United States Depart-
ment of Agriculture ..... ......... . .05
WHEAT CULTURE. By D. S. Curtis. Orange Judd Co., N. Y. . . .50
Vegetable Garden and Trucking Crops
By ARTHUR T. ERWIN
Assistant Professor of Horticulture, Iowa College of Agriculture
ESSENTIALS IN GARDENING
The Soil-Any fertile, well-drained soil, suitable for corn, will produce good
garden crops. With a home garden a first requisite is convenience to the kitchen,
hence, there is usually little choice as regards special soils. Certain soils have their
specific adaptation to special crops, however, and the grower who devotes attention
to particular kinds should make a close study of this local factor. In general,
"quick," sandy soils are best adapted for early crops. On the other hand, they do
not retain moisture so well in the heat of the summer, hence, for later crops a more
retentive soil is preferable. Aside from this, on a rolling soil a variation in eleva-
tion will often produce crops which mature several days earlier, and even on a small
plot this variation should be noted and used to best advantage.
Planning the Garden -It is a lamentable but indisputable fact that the
farmer's table is not supplied with its daily quota of fresh vegetables as it should be.
Poor planning and improper arrangement of the vegetable garden are no doubt
in large measure responsible for this. As commonly laid out, the garden requires
an endless amount of hand labor, which is always expensive and far in excess of
that required for any other proportionate area on the farm. The work should be so
planned that the "horse hoe" may be used whenever possible. To facilitate this,
the garden should be oblong in shape and the crops planted in long rows (Fig. 24).
At each end it is well to leave a strip of sod as a turning ground. Group crops
according to their season of maturing, placing all perennial crops, such as rhubarb
and asparagus, in adjoining rows, and early crops, such as peas and beans, together.
The prevailing system of growing the various crops in raised beds is a poor one,
except for a few of the very early crops. With these it has an advantage in providing
a soil which warms up earlier, but for general crops it is expensive and unnecessary.
The soil is also more exposed and likely to suffer from drought. Regarding this
matter, I can not do better than quote the words of Professor Bailey, the truth
of whose statement many a farmer's boy will verify:
The old practice of growing vegetables in beds usually entails more labor and
84 ESSENTIALS IN GARDENING
expense than the crop is worth, and it has had the effect of driving more than one
boy from the farm. These beds always need weeding on Saturdays, holidays, circus
days, and the Fourth of July."
Regarding the size of the area for the family garden, much, of course, depends
upon the size of the family and their fondness for vegetables. Bailey recommends
100 by 150 feet for a family of five. This is based upon the constant use of the
ground and a close succession of crops, a plan which is most essential in the limited
area of the city man's garden. In the country, however, conditions are different.
Land is more plentiful and help is the expensive item. In this case, less intensive
succession of crops, less hand labor, and a larger area of land seem advisable. For
the needs of the average farmer's family of five, including potatoes and vine crops,
from one-half to three-fourths of an acre is none too large. Essential requirements
in the family garden are variety and a regular supply, rather than a large crop of
any given kind.
In the garden a limited rotation of crops is essential. Certain crops have their
specific enemies, such as the club root of cabbage, and rotation is the only practical
method of keeping these foes in check, as well as aiding in maintaining soil fertility.
PARTIAL -SEASON CROPS
-----------M AIN -----------------------------------------
....-------..... --...........--------- ----------------C OP --- -------
PARTIAL-SEASON CROPS: MAIN-SEASON CROPS: PERENNIAL CROPS:
Turnips Beets Vine Crops (Melons, etc.) Asparagus Rhubarb
Turnips Beaets Corn Tomatoes Egg Plant Horse-radish
Peas Beans Cabbage Salsfy Spearmint
Lettuce Radish Parsnips Carrots Onions Spea
ei. 24. Plan for garden. A convenient arrangement, with a view to securing long rows, for horse cultivation-
Seed Seed should be purchased from a reliable seedsman and one
should expect to pay a good price for a good article. Cheap seeds and
bargain packages are invariably a dear investment at any price.
Varieties The testing of new varieties is a fascinat-
ing line of work, and every grower should devote a small
area to this purpose, but for the main crop,
"The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel."
The naming of varieties in
the following pages should be
regarded as tentative, those
mentioned being named as the -
representatives of certain types
which have a general adapta- FIG. 25. Typical single-wheel hoe and cultivator.
tion rather than as specific varieties. Environment is a ruling factor with varieties,
and one can determine the kinds best adapted to his peculiar conditions only by
Implements-Among the most important of the implements for general
cultivating and garden work may be mentioned the various types of horse hoes,
hand cultivators, and wheel hoes. These types of tools are invaluable and in a
single season will pay for themselves in labor saved. They should be regarded as
an essential part of one's equipment.
In dry seasons thorough preparation of the seed-bed is of special
importance. If the soil is cloddy and open it dries out
quickly, and poor germination results. The soil particles
should be fine and well worked together. Often the
roller is of special advantage for this work. For
summer planting the advice of Peter Hen-
derson, to "place your foot on
every seed you plant," may be
followed with profit.
transplanting, it is best to do
the work in the cool part of the
day, as this enables the plants to
revive during the night. Wilt- FI'. 26. Typical double-wheel hoe and cultivator, for straddling
ESSENTIALS IN GARDENING
ing is much less severe in a moist atmosphere, hence when possible it is an advan-
tage to transplant cabbage and other seed-bed crops just before a rain. Wilting
is caused by the uncompensated giving off of moisture from the leaves. In the
plant there is normally an equilibrium between the root system and the foliage.
In transplanting, the root system is partially destroyed and as a result the amount
of moisture required for the foliage is in.excess of the supply and wilting follows.
Hence, in transplanting crops of any kind it is important to cut back the tops to
make them balance with the root system. With such plants as celery and cabbage,
about one-half of the leaf surface should be cut back. On a small scale, good
results may be accomplished by placing a flower pot over each plant for the first
day or two. This keeps the plant cool and moist and enables it to become reestab-
lished before being exposed to the hot sun. If the soil is dry, watering after trans-
planting is advisable, though under average conditions for work done in the spring
of the year this is unnecessary. There is an ample water supply in the soil which
will be rendered available if pains are taken to firm the soil well, bringing the moist
particles into close contact with the delicate roots.
Hardening Off- Sudden changes in temperature are always trying on plant
life. Plants which have been started within doors should be gradually accustomed
to the outside temperature before being placed in the field. This process is known
as "hardening off." In hardening off, the plants are usually watered less freely
to harden up the growth somewhat, and the ventilation period is gradually length-
ened each day until the plants are accustomed to the outside temperature. As a
result, such plants readily become reestablished in the new soil, whereas, if suddenly
withdrawn from the higher temperature the check in growth would be severe and
earliness often would be sacrificed. This is of special importance, as earliness is
the essential object in starting any plants indoors.
Location and Construction-For the starting of tomato plants, early
cabbage, sweet potato, and similar vegetables, hotbeds are a necessity. The beds
should be located upon a south or east slope with a building or fence to protect
from the north and west winds. The soil for the frames is usually excavated to a
depth of about two feet and filled in with manure. This should be piled and allowed
to heat for a few days, and turned before being placed in the beds. It should be
thoroughly tramped as thrown into the beds, taking special pains to firm around the
edges. The temperature will again rise, and no planting should be done until the
HOTBEDS AND FORCING BOXES
temperature has reached its maximum and has fallen to about 900. Four inches of
mellow garden loam should now be placed over the manure, and the bed is ready
The seeds may be sown directly in this soil. Care must be taken, especially for
the first few days, to provide proper ventilation, as the heat is quite strong and
ammonia is given off freely.
In the prairie region the sash are apt to be blown off and broken by the wind.
To avoid this the frames should be slightly wider than the length of the sash, and
an inch strip placed along each side, extending up the height of the sash bar, to
prevent the wind from getting under the sash. The accompanying illustration,
Fig. 27, will indicate the gen-
eral plan and structure of a
forcing b6x is very cheap.in 501"' il. sl. :
construction, and will enable - r
one to secure crops of lettuce .7 1 ...:-
and radishes two or three weeks RE.N U
earlier than from out-of-doors.
These boxes are operated upon
the principle that heat is readily -
stored up under glass. The .27. A simple hotbed. (Erwin.)
soil is spaded and a bottomless box, the size of a window sash, is placed over the
area. The sash should be left closed for several days, during which period the
temperature will run up considerably if the weather be sunny. The seed should
then be sown, and as soon as the plants germinate ventilation and watering will be
necessary. If a number of sash are desired, 6-inch fencing boards may be used
for. the sides.
Those who are interested in the growing of special crops will find an extended
list of literature at the end of this section. In addition to special works, every
grower of garden plants should possess a copy of some general book on this subject,
such as Green's Vegetable Gardening, or Bailey's Principles of Vegetable Gardening.
88 CULTURAL DIRECTIONS
TUBER AND BULB CROPS
IRISH POTATO SWEET POTATO ONION LEEK
The Irish potato is a staple article of food throughout the civilized world, and
probably ranks second only to wheat as a food product. It is essentially a northern
crop, but thrives best in a warm soil of a slightly sandy texture. The pine lands
of this quality in Wisconsin and Minnesota seem to furnish ideal conditions for its
Culture The most important point is an ample supply of moisture. Without this, good
tubers can not be produced. It is not a bog plant, however, and good drainage is necessary. An
ample water supply throughout the season may be secured by early planting and frequent surface
tillage. The soil should be fertile, and it is a good plan to plow under a coat of manure in the
fall of the year, leaving the ground in the rough until spring. The manure should be thoroughly
decayed, however, as fresh manure seems to favor scabby potatoes.
It is often best, as a matter of fact, to apply a heavy coat of manure to some crop grown the
previous season, rather than the year the potatoes are grown. In addition to the scab, grub-
worms are also very much worse in freshly manured soil. The preparation of the ground should
be deep and thorough, as the tubers develop better in a loose soil.
If plowed in the fall, the ground should be replowed just before planting and the rows then
laid out, making the furrow at least four inches deep. With this thorough preparation before
planting, the tubers have ample room to form below the surface and they are much less liable to
grow above the soil and turn green.
nIo. G. aome notewortny vanrelies uox lsn puAUU. FrwUm.)
Seed potatoes should be cut with at least one sound eye to each piece. Cutting machines are
used, and for large planting are convenient, but no mechanical device can equal a knife in the
hands of an intelligent operator. There is much speculation as to the proper size of pieces and
number of eyes to a seed. It shouldte borne in mind that the eye is a young plant and the tuber
contains a storehouse of material for it to feed upon until it becomes established in the soil; hence,
the important thing is to hav. an amrpde '.1i1ly of fo. ,I f.r i(.h eye. Medium-sized tubers are
preferable, and a liberal .iz,-.1 pi-c.-. ishul.'l. I.-e allow. .oI i.',:h < ,y.:. The use of peelings and small,
inferior potatoes for see.ld urp..,'e-s i o hte r~.n,lkniut:d. a Ij:poor .rop and the "running out of the
variety" is an inevitable il--ili Pl.aLt 1 ;ol] he- apart. with 3: feet between the rows. At this
distance ten bushels o.f s-, d will 1b. r.:,lu;it.l p.'r r',.
After planting, the croimild hl.ulIl I.e barii..l. ii or,.kr to. mank:- it firm and smooth and to
,kill young weeds, and the opl ration hould. I.,- I i.-pr.t.u: fri-llu-ntly unill the plants appear. Until
the young plants have aatain..! a lh.:i.hr o.f 4 to i inui-hllA th.y may be cultivated with a light,
slant-toothed harrow or we,.Ir. Tlii is a u.'- .fftl- tiv..- ni.:tli.l of cultivating, as it destroys the
weeds in the hills, where: they art. (ditti:ult to ;.: t at with a 1pl...v. and it will not harm the potatoes.
After this plowing alo:e' can b- pra:ti:. dJ. Tlis shliol.l I..: continued until the plants have
attained full growth and the vin,-i b-iiln to lpr-i.ul. aft'.r whic-l no cultivation is necessary except
in very dry seasons. The cultivating should be shallow, and many prefer the one-horse cultivator
to the dbuble-shovel plow.
The last cultivating is done with a double shovel, throwing the furrow to the row, thus
ridging the ground slightly.
Digging--The maturing of the tubers is indicated by. the dying of the vines. With early
varieties and a good market, it will pay to dig at once. Later varieties handle better if left in the
ground until well ripened. If the soil is moderately dry it furnishes an ideal place for the maturing
of the tubers. In wet falls, however, they will rot instead of ripening if left in the ground after
the tops die away. Under such conditions it is advisable to harvest as soon as the tops are dead.
Hand digging is expensive and practiced only on a small scale. For large areas potato diggers
are largely used and are quite satisfactory.
Sorting and Storage--After harvesting the grower is confronted with the problem of
storing or selling at once. Spring prices are often glittering, but the fluctuation makes the risk
of holding all the greater The shrinkage and loss in storage must also be taken into account.
One must be one's own judge in taking account of existing conditions, but in general, Terry's
advice that "Cash in the bank is better than potatoes in the cellar" is good.
Before selling, the tubers should be carefully assorted into uniform grades. Often a graded
article will command a ready sale at a good price while a mixed crop will go begging, and in any
case the first-class tubers in a mixed lot are rated in and sold at the price of the seconds. The very
small tubers injure the sale of the product and should be kept at home for chicken feed. In the
spring, the work may be done very much more rapidly with a sorting machine. In the fall, how-
ever, the use of this machine is not advisable if the potatoes are to be stored or kept any length of
time, as the skin is quite tender and they are likely to be more or less peeled and bruised.
A dark, well-ventilated cellar with a temperature 6 to 8 above freezing is the best place for
storing. Raised floors and an interval of a few inches between the bins and the wall should be
90 TUBER AND BULB CROPS
provided to admit of proper ventilation. It is also an advantage to have the sides of the bins
constructed of slats rather than solid boards. The exclusion of light is important, as the tubers
develop chlorophyll and turn green in the presence of sunlight, which spoils the flavor of the tuber.
TemporqVry qtnrqnp mnqV bh
.1 II 11.1 I' E I II .1
I 1. 1 .. i 1. .
" ,I, I, I.. *.I. ** arid-
It h .,',lAl ,r; Ii..
r. 0 M.ist 1 11 1! 1. -1-
UI .- I r. i.i ': In, 1ji.-1, Y
Ii L._ It_.. n i iih j "I-
FI. 29. Well-known varieties of sweet potato. (Erwin.)
The sweet potato is distinctly tropical in its requirements. A light, warm soil,
rich in organic matter, is essential. Cold or heavy clay soils are unsuccessful. In
SWEET POTATOES, ONIONS 91
the South, level culture is practiced. In the cooler sections of the North the ridge
system secures a warmer soil, and is an advantage, especially in wet seasons.
Propagation and Culture-The sweet potato is usually propagated from shoots started
in hotbeds. The tubers are placed quite close together but not touching each other, and covered
with 2 or 3 inches of soil. The shoots are taken off when 3 or 4 inches in height, and transplanted
to the field when the ground becomes warm. Frequent cultivation of the surface soil is important
and will do much toward producing good-sized tubers. The question is often asked as to whether
or not it will pay to remove the vines in order to prevent their rooting. A number of experiments
have been conducted along this line, and the consensus of opinion is that it will not, there being
little difference in yield between the crops so treated and those where the vines have been allowed
to grow unmolested.
The sweet potato is a main-season crop and the vines remain green until frost. Before dig-
ging, the vines should be mown off with a brier scythe If the crop is caught by an unexpected,
heavy frost the vines should be cut away in the early morning before the sun blackens them, other-
wise the keeping qualities of the roots seem to be affected. The tubers bruise readily, and require
careful handling. They must have a higher storage temperature than that of other root crops,
keeping well in a temperature of 55 to 600. The roots are usually packed in barrels, buckwheat
chaff or sawdust being used as a filler.
Varieties- In popular parlance the term "Yam" is used to designate the yellow-skinned
types of sweet potato. In the South this type reaches perfection and produces tubers with a high
percentage of sugar and of a rich, mealy character. In many parts of the North, however, the red
sorts are preferred. Vineless varieties of the sweet potato have attracted recent attention. Such
a type is no doubt desirable, but the varieties produced thus far have generally proved poor
bearers. Florida, Red Jersey, and Yellow Jersey are among the most productive sorts in the
The onion is a hardy plant and should be sown as soon as the ground will
Culture-A convenient plan is to sow with a drill, placing the rows 12 to 15 inches apart.
When the plants reach a height of 38inches, thin to 4 inches apart. In doing this care should be
taken that the remaining plants are left intact, with the soil firm around them. Careful hand-
weeding is necessary until the plants become well established. If neglected in the early stages
of growth, the young plants are easily smothered out by weeds. This is the most expensive
period in the growing of onions, and the Hazeltine weeder is an invaluable tool for this work
Later, some form of a hand wheel hoe can be used to excellent advantage.
When the tops die off the crop is ready for harvesting. Bunch three rows together and
allow them to lie until perfectly dry. This period is a critical one in the care of the crop. If
allowed to remain in the ground after the tops die they are likely to throw out new roots after
the first rain. On the other hand, the bulbs must be thoroughly dry before storing. A cool, dry
shed should be provided for this purpose. A series of shelves, four inches in depth and with
ample space between for free circulation of air, furnishes excellent conditions for storage.
92 PULSE CROPS
Freezing is not injurious, if. the building is well enclosed to prevent sudden freezing and thawing.
For small crops a portion of the haymow may be used for storage.
Onion Sets Sets are produced by sowing the seed very thickly and preferably on a poor
soil. On account of the crowded condition the young bulbs can not develop fully and growth is
arrested when they are about half size. To prevent the sets from overgrowing the seed should
not be sown until the middle of June. Bulbs one-half inch in diameter command the top price.
The sets are planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, and the crop is usually ready
for market by the first of June. The bulbs are set 3 inches apart and about 3 inches deep, taking
pains to firm the soil well around the bulb.
Varieties- There are three general types of varieties, white, red, and yellow skinned. The
white are usually more mild in flavor. In many markets the demand for red exceeds all others.
Early Red Wethersfield, Yellow Strasburg, and Silver Skin are general favorites.
These are a species of onion producing a straight stem. The stems are mild in
flavor and are highly prized for winter soups.
Culture The culture is similar to that of the onion. The leek requires the entire season
for growth and is stored in the green state, as in the case of celery.
Varieties- American Flag is a desirable sort.
Peas and beans belong to the family Leguminosce, and by the botanist are
regarded as closely related. Horticulturally, however, they differ essentially as
regards cultural requirements, beans being a tropical plant, while peas are hardy
and a cool-season crop.
Culture- Peas should be. sown as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. In
many sections successional crops may be had by planting every two weeks. In the drier atmos-
phere of the Northwest, however, they do not thrive well in late summer, and the early-season
crop is the main one. A fall crop may be secured by sowing early-maturing varieties the fore-
part of July. A good rotation may be secured by planting the ground to early potatoes, harvesting
these in July, and sowing to peas for a fall crop.
Varieties-There are two types of peas generally grown in the United States, those having
a small, round seed, and those having wrinkled seed. The wrinkled sorts are the less hardy and
should be planted later in the spring. While less vigorous than the smooth, round peas, they are
regarded by many as superior in quality, and for this reason are preferable for the main-season
crop. In addition to these there is a third type with an edible pod, known as the sugar pea.
While popular abroad, they are little grown as yet in this country.
POLE AND BUSH BEANS
The tall-growing varieties of peas are usually grown in double rows 5 feet apart and sup-
ported by brush or wire netting. The dwarf sorts are equally productive, however, and are
largely supplanting the tall kinds, because they require no support. On rich soil peas tend to
vine too heavily, and the best crops are secured on a moderately poor soil.
For early planting some of the best varieties are First of All, Extra Early, and Gradus; Main-
season crop' Junus, Nott's Excelsior,
The garden beans are na-
tives ot the warmer parts of
South Africa, and are very
tender to frost. For this reason
they should not be planted
until the ground has become
warmed. A good guide for : I .1, .... ,...,
planting time is "when the oak
leaves reach the size of squir-
rels' ears." If the seed is sown
too earlyit decays quite readily.
In their cultural require-
ments beans are divided into
two types: Pole Beans--climb-
ing varieties which require a
support- and the dwarf, com-
pact-growing sorts, known as
Bush Beans. ., *..* '
Pole Beans: Culture- IV ,'.~i A1 J
The climbing Lima bean belongs to
this type and is a kind, of high flavor,
much prized in the South and East.
It is more tender than the bush beans,
however, and for this reason is not- pf
so successful in the Northwest. In
that section the Dwarf Limas are
more satisfactory. In planting pole
beans it is best to place the poles, -I ... L.. ,
before planting, in rows 3 feet each
way. If the soil is thin it is a good Fie. 80. Some standard varieties of Lima beans.
practice to apply a shovelful of well-decayed manure under each hill. To insure a good stand, 6
to 8 seeds should be sown to each pole. Wire netting is a convenient support and in many sectioiis
is preferable to poles. Some of the standard varieties of pole beans are Dreer's Pole Lima, Siebert's
Lima, and Large Lima.
Bush Beans: Culture -Bush beans require a very much shorter growing season, and
by successional sowings may be had for table supply throughout the summer. The last planting
should be made at least seven or eight weeks before heavy frost.
To secure good snap or string beans a rapid growth is necessary. Otherwise the pods become
stringy. It is also necessary to keep all pods picked, allowing none to mature, for the ripening
seeds will check the growth of the plant and destroy the future supply of green pods. When
grown as a field crop for market the plants are pulled by hand and piled with the roots upward,
or harvested with a bean puller. If not allowed to stand until the pods shell too much they may
be mowed and raked up as hay. For small quantities, a hand flail and fanning mill may be used
for threshing and cleaning. By large growers, a regular bean thresher is employed.
Varieties-Bush Beans: Yellow Podded, Golden Wax, and Valentine Wax. Shell and
String Beans:. Stringless Green Pod and Early Refugee. For field use, the Navy is probably best
known. Dwoaf Limas, Henderson's Bush Lima, and Burpee's Bush Lima are common types.
Dwarf Limas are not equal to pole Limas in flavor and quality, but have the advantage of maturing
earlier and being more productive.
CUCUMBERS MELONS PUMPKINS SQUASHES
Vine crops are frost-tender and thrive best on a warm, sandy soil. They are
grown in hills and cultivated both ways so long as the vines will permit. In the
North they require the entire, season for growth and should be planted as soon as
the weather becomes well settled and warm. The flowers of vine crops are mone-
cious, i. e., the male flower is
Sborne upon one branch and
Sthe female upon another. The
pollen is transferred by bees,
hence this insect plays an im-
portant part in the growing of
this class of vegetables, failure
i being sometimes due to lack of
Culture Plant as soon as the
soil becomes thoroughly warm, in
Fia. 31. Popular varieties of cucumber. (Erwin.) hills 6 feet each way. To allow for
MUSKMELONS, WATERMELONS 95
insect ravages it is well to plant 6 to 10 seeds to a hill, and thin to 3 when the plants begin to vine
well. Cultivate both ways as long as possible. No fruit should be allowed to ripen on the vine,
as this will cause the plants to discontinue growth and cut short the crop.
Varieties -The White Spine, Long Green, and Cool and Crisp are standards.
There is much confusion regarding the use of the term muskmelon and canta-
loup. With some the terms are regarded as synonymous. According to Bailey's
Cyclopedia of American Horticulture the cantaloup is a special form of muskmelon,
having a deeper furrow and a hard rind.
ture of the muskmelon is
similar to that of the cu-
cumber. The fruits are
of a higher flavor if al-
lowed to remain on the
vines until they separate
readily at the shoulder.
type known as the Montreal
muskmelon has recently
aroused considerable in- NETTED
terest in the West. While G E Ml
of a superior size it is
coarse and low in quality.
In fact, as a class, the FiG. 32. An excellent variety of muskmelon, of the fine-netted skin type. (Erwin.)
varieties with a finely netted skin are the par excellence of quality. Of this type the Netted Gem
and the well-known Rocky Finrd, which is a slight variation of the Gem, are good examples.
The watermelon thrives best in the South. Good crops may be grown in the
North, however, if planted on an early "quick" soil.
Culture--The hills are usually placed 8 or 10 feet apart, and, if the soil is thin, a shovelful
of well-decayed manure should be placed under each hill. The fruit is borne on the side branches,
and many growers recommend the pinching back of the terminal buds to stimulate side growth.
Varieties--Mountain Sweet and Hungarian Honey are good northern sorts.
ANNUAL ROOT CROPS
Citron is a fruit very similar to the watermelon in appearance and culture, but
bearing a thick, hard, fleshy rind, which is used for preserving.
Pumpkins are coarse growers and, hence, are generally planted in the field
rather than the garden. A favorite plan is to plant in alternate rows in every sec-
ond hill in the cornfield. The fruit should be stored or covered with fodder upon
the approach of heavy frost. The crop is largely grown for stock, and finds only
limited use as a table vegetable.
The term "squash" is quite a broad one, including those classes of gourds
which produce an edible fruit. It is a popular error that squashes, pumpkins, and
melons will cross-fertilize if planted near one another. Those who have made
careful investigation, however, are emphatic in their statements that such is
not the case, and that squashes never cross with-watermelons and spoil their flavor,
as is sometimes stated. Hand crosses between the pumpkins and squashes failed
in the majority of cases, and in no case were the results apparent until the second
Culture--The general cultural requirements of the squash are similar to those of the
cucumber except with the long-vined sorts, for which the hills should be ten feet apart. Sow 6 to
8 seeds per hill and thin to 3. Of the summer squashes, Silver Custard and Crookneck are good
varieties; of the winter squashes, Boston Marrow and Hubbard.
Varieties--There are two distinct types of squashes-the summer and winter species.
The summer varieties mature early and are used before the rind hardens. The fall and winter
varieties are usually provided with a hard, flinty shell of a warty appearance. The Hubbard is a
well-known and excellent representative of this class. Winter varieties are readily stored if
handled carefully and held at a temperature of 400 to 50.
ANNUAL ROOT CROPS
BEETS CARROTS TURNIPS SALSIFY PARSNIPS RADISH
Root crops are of the easiest culture. The essential conditions are a deep, rich
soil, with ample moisture. A straight, symmetrical root is required, and to secure
this, deep plowing and a well-prepared seed-bed are necessary. The soil should be
fertile, but it is not advisable to plow under fresh manure, as the roots are apt to
acquire an astringent flavor and a forked growth. On poor, clay soils the roots are
usually leathery and of inferior quality.
BEETS, CARROTS, TURNIPS 97
There are two general types of beets the turnip-rooted and the long-rooted.
The turnip-rooted sorts mature the more quickly and are generally grown for the
Culture The beet ranks with the onion and pea in point of hardiness, and should be sown
as soon as the ground is in a tillable condition. Plant 1 inch deep in rows 3 feet apart. As the
seed usually germinates unevenly, it is well to sow thickly. Thin as the plants reach 5 or 6 inches
in height until they are 5 inches apart. The thinnings make excellent greens. By successional
sowing a supply may be had throughout the summer and fall. Upon the approach of heavy frost
the crop should be pulled and piled. The tops are cut off 2 inches above the crown. This is
important, as, if the crown of the root is cut, they readily decay. Store in a cool cellar or root pit.
If the atmosphere is dry they should be covered with slightly moistened soil or sand. If allowed
to dry out the roots become wilted and corky. Good corn land is well adapted to beet growing,
and for early varieties a quick, sandy soil is advantageous.
Varieties The Eclipse is a general favorite. Other standard varieties are the Early Turnip,
Egyptian, and Long Dark Blood.
Culture -Like other root crops, the carrot thrives best on a rich, deep, well-drained soil.
The plants are quite hardy and of the easiest culture when once established. The seed germinates
slowly, and hence it is a good practice to sow with it some companion crop, such as radish. This
will keep the rows defined and, insure early culture. Early culture is important, as the young
plants are rather delicate and easily smothered out by weeds if neglected. The seed should be
sown rather thickly and the plants thinned to 3 inches apart. Early varieties are sown as soon as
the soil will permit. The winter crop should be sown about the first of June. Crops intended for
storing should not be planted before this, as they may mature their growth and the tops will die
off while still in the soil. The roots which are harvested while still in a growing condition store
best and are of superior quality.
Harvesting-For convenience, the first step in gathering should be the mowing off of the
tops with a brier scythe or cropping off with a hoe. Digging may be facilitated by plowing a
furrow from the row on each side, or plowing out the roots.
Varieties Scarlet Horn and Improved Long Orange are among the best.
The turnip is a moisture-loving plant and does not thrive best in the hot, dry
atmosphere of midsummer; hence it is grown almost entirely as a spring and fall
Culture The seed is sown early and the roots usually reach marketable size in eight to
nine weeks. Turnips are often sown as a successional crop with early potatoes and cabbage.
The seed is sown broadcast and the only important point in culture is that the plants have an
ample supply of moisture. The soil is likely to be dry when the fall crop is sown; hence, thorough