« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
In the first experiment, the cost of turnips per bushel, 9 3 10th cts. In tbe second experiment, the cost of turnips per bushel, 17 cts. Experiment testing the comparative value of Peruvian Guano and Coe's Super
Phosphale of Lime in the production of Strap Leaved Turnips. The ground upon which this experiment was tried, ie a gravelly loam, about cighteen inches decp; lying nearly level, underlaid by a compact hard pad, and having no artificial drainage, it is rather heavy though not very wet. It has been in beets, carrots and turnips three years. The whole piece was treated precisely the same, except in the application of fertilizers. The experiment was tried upon 67 square rods of ground, but for the purpose of inaking the result more readily appreciated, the cast is for one acre of each kind of fertilizer.
One acre dressed with 555 lbs. Coe's super phosphate, at 2 1-2 cts. per lb., or total cost of $13.87, producing 835 bush. turnips, at a cost for this fertilizer of 1 4-7ths per busbel of turnips.
One acre dressed with 733 lbs. guano, at 3 1-2 cts. per lb., or total cost of $25.65, produced 826 bushel of turnips; at a cost, for this fertilizer, of 3 1-10th cts. per bushel of turnips.
The guano produced a luxuriant growth of top, and a good crop of bulbs of large size. The phosphate gave less top with a greater yield of very fair roots.
Mr. Chamberlain submitted the following report of experiments in the use of Fertilizers :
May 30th, 1861. Planted western flat corn, one and a half bnshels on a balf acre, in drills five to a rod. Manured lightly with stable manure, evenly spread and harrowed. Put Coc's super phosphate in the drills at the rate of 200 lbs. per acre.
Marked four rows 22 yards long, two of them having the super phosphate, one having in it a half bushel of granite, burned and broken, the remaining row with no dressing in the furrow. Shown thus, with the result:
Row with phosphate, 250 lbs.; row with granite, 214 lbs. ; row with no manure, 185 lbs.; row with phosphate, 261 lbs.
Taking the average of the product of the two rows having the phosphate, and the excess over the row with no manure, shows a result of seven tons in green fodder per acre for the use of two cwt. of phosphate.
But little reliance should be placed upon the result of one experiment with granite as a fertilizer. In this case, the amount of fodder in a row 29 yards long, chanced to be 29 lbs. more than that of a row on one side without manure, and 36 lbs. less than a row on the other side having super phosphate.
With the best phase of the case, the benefit to the crop from the application of 100 bushels of pulverized granite per acre, is the product of 5800 lbs. of green fodder. But if beneficial in a degree for the first year, it may be continuously fo, when, as in this case, it is not reduced to fineness, but was mostly in the form of very coarse sand.
In the last week in May, 1861, I planted a piece to Jackson potatoes, putting in the bill Coe's super phosphate of lime, mixed with hall its quantity of gypsum. Lest one row without any application, and put in another row a hall busliel of granite, burned and broken to the condition of coarse sand.
Result. The row with nothing applied in the hill, produced 4 3-4th bushels; row with granite, 5 1.4th bush. ; row with phosphate, 6 1 2 bush.
Dr. J. C. Weston read the following paper on the topic assigned at the session in 1861, viz :
The DISEASES or VEGETATION. Numerous as are the maladies which afflict mankind, they are doubtless almost equalled by those morbid affections which prey upon the vegetable
part of creation and prove so destructive to the prosperity of the agriculturist. Scarcely a class of diseases can be mentioned aipong animals of which a parallel example cannot be found among plants. As far back as we can penetrate the dim vista of the past we see age after age that whenever blight and mildew destroyed the crops of the field, then famine, plague and pestilence followed quickly in their course, and only stayed their deadly ravages among mankind when the population had been so much reduced that the scanty food eould support the survivors.
Diseases in grain, esculent vegetables and roots, poison and diminish that food to which we are so largely indebted for health and life. And in our own gardens and fields, a year never passes during which more or less injury is not inflicted upon our cultivated crops; yet until recently this subject bas not been iprestigated with that diligence and zeal commensurate with its in portance.
For many years, the keepest intellects have studied human disease. They have accumulated a vast magazine of facts, both those that really occur in health, and those that occur in disease, and from these facts they have established the principles of that science that treats of the functions of life, or physiology ; and the principles of the doctrine of diseases, with their causes, effets and differences, or pathology, and then they have proceeded to their rational treatment by the use of remedial agents, preventive and curative. Thus scientific men, by the judicious use of medicine, have materially shortened the duration of diseasо and prolonged human life, and may reasonably be expected to make still further progress in future. They already possess the ability to cure nearly every kind of active inflammation, which, without treatment would tend to destroy lise. Even in chronic diseases, for which no eure bas been discovered, they can mitigate the anguish of the patient, and prolong his existence. The small-pos, which once decimated all ranks, from the monarch to the beggar, by vaccination and a more judicious management, has been deprived of its terrors, and now rarely proves fatal.
During the existence of the Roman Empire, when the practice of medicine by quacks was based on isolated facts, the majority of wbich were sullacious, the average duration of human life was ten years less than at the present time. This shows what has been accomplished by careful research, more accurate knowledge, more practical skill. The same careful study of all the laws which regulate the functions of vegetables in health ; the same attentive observation of those changes and modifications which result in disease and death; the same persevering endeavor to trace effects and differences to their producing causes, will conduce to the same rational and successful treatment. For there is a close similarity between the vital structures and phenomena of plants and animals. Both have the same chemical constituents. “The same acids, alkalies, earths and metals are components of both. They contain in common, sugar, mucos, jelly, coloring and other principles, gluten or albu. men, fibrin, oils, resins and extractives.''
The functions of animals are also closely analogous. Only in the one class they are more complicated, in the other more simple. Animals take their food by the agency of the mouth, digest, select and retain what is suitable for their nourishment. This in a liquid form, is mingled with the blood which constitutes the very fountain of life. The vital duid travels on to the lungs, where it comes in contact with the air, the oxygen of which unites with it, it gives out carbonic acid gas and vapor, and its color is changed from dark purple to bright vermillion. By this chemical union the blood is heated and puritied, and prepared to supply warmth and nourishment to all parts of the body. By the heart it is then sent by one set of tubes, the arteries and capillaries, and returned by the veins. As it circulates it takes up the worn-out material to be afterwards eliminated from the system, and at the same time repairs the waste.
In health no mistake is ever made. From one complex fluid, each and every part has the power to make selection, according to its wants, and construct substances the most dissimilar in properties and characteristics.
Plants take their food directly from the soil by myriads of mouths situated in their roots. It is in a state of the finest possible division and solution, consequently needs no tedious mastication and digestion. It goes by one set of vessels through the branches to the leaves, which constitute their lungs. Here it is exposed to the action of the air, its color is changed, oxygen and water are emitted by day, and a small quantity of carbonic acid gas by night. The purified sap or lymph returns by another set of vessels situated along the bark, ministering to the support and growth of the whole plant, each leaf, Auwer, fruit, seed and structure, selecting with unerring instinct, what is adapted to its peculiar organization. Thus the two sustain a mutual relation to each other. Plants emit oxygen which is essential to the existence of animals, while carbonic acid gas is nearly as important to healthy vegetation.
Vegetables have the principle of vitality which works in a mysterious manner peculiar to itself. Alone it eludes our knowledge, but when acting on matter and blended with it, we see its wonderful influence and power. From the simple corn or seed it builds up the sturdy oak and graceful elm. holds in ithegance all the laws of chemical decomposition. It may long delay the onward march of death, but when it ceases to act, all organic matter is resolved into its constituent parts. Then the very air and heat, that once were the sources of vigor and growth of plants, become the swist agents of their destruction. They return to dust from which they originated.
It should then be our endeavor to ascertain the conditions on which vitality depends and the various causes which impair it, that we may promote the one, and remove the other, and thus we may both prevent and cure the diseases of vegetation.
A correct knowledge of these conditions forms the basis of all systematic vegetable pathology. We proceed to enumerate some of the inost important. All vegetables with scarcely an exception, contain a considerable quantity of mineral ingredients which, dissolved by water, they absorb by their roots.
By interrogating analytical chemistry, we learn the quantity and kinds of mineral matter the different plants require, and also what missing or insuffi. cient ingredients to supply to the soil to enable us to raise any desired crop. Thus an average crop of wheat grown on an acre of ground needs only 30 pounds of potash, while turnips on the same surface must be furnished with 230 pounds, and potatoes still more. This is but one instance of a single element r«quired. "If then, any particular plant bas not supplied to its roots enough of the mineral substances it needs, or if water enough is not furnished to dissolve its solid food and to form a part of its own composition, it sickens and dies.
Besides, plants require carbon and other inorganic elements which once constituted living vegetable structure that has deciyed and been converted into mould or louin, to yield suitable food for another generation. They also need nitrogen, which as it respects our cultivated crops must have formed part of an animal organization. They must receive it in the form of ammonia. If an insufficient quantity of these elements is not supplied, disease and decay result.
All the different elements that compose the food must gradually be ndiled to the sip that is constantly contributing to the structure of the plant which has the ability to manufacture, from the circulating Guid, those albuminous, starchy and oily compounds adapted to its wants. If this power of assimilation, or changing them to its own substance by digestion is impaired, disease and death are induced.
The sip must flow in constant round from roots to leaves, there absorb carbonic acid giis, erolve oxygen, and then proceed onward to nourish all parte of the plant. If these functions of circulation and respiration be much impaired, fatal consequences must result.
Heat is another condition of the vitality of plants, varying in amount in diff'rent kinds. Wheat cannot mature at a lower temperature than 45 deg., potatoes at not less than 52 deg., barley at not less than 59 deg., and Iudian
corn is not certain to ripen in the northern part of this State. If the temperature around a plant becomes much less than its constitution requires, it eventually perishes.
Under the most favorable circumstances, vitality in plants is limited in duration. In annuals it continues about six months ; in biennials it lingers in tbe root through one winter, but cannot survive a second, while in the oak it endures for centuries. Wheat in Scotland requires six months to mature its grain, but in Venezuela only three. Vital action in deciduous trees and shrubs is nearly dormant every winter as it is in some animals.
A disease in a plant may be defined an alteration of one or more of its functions, which tends to interfere with the due play and performance of some of these conditions of vitility.
The causes of disease may be grouped in two classes, predisposing and exciting. Of the individual plants exposed to the ravages of any particular disease, some will be attacked, while others may escape. In tho one there must be a tendency to be affected which does not exist in the other. This tendency is termed a predisposition, while the agents which may call it into action are denominated exciting causes.
Amoug predisposing causes may be mentioned hereditary tendency. As certain families among men transmit certain peculiarities of form and feature from generation to generation, and are liable to certain constitutional diseases, 80 many kinds of plants inherit all the peculiarities of structure and constitution of their parents with a predisposition to the same maladies. It is owing to this law of nature tbat the different varieties of cultivated crops continue unchanged. It is not the discase but the hereditary proneness to it that is transmitted. This may long remain latent, but favoring circunstances will develop it. This predisposition is manifested in such affections as the potato disease, and disorders of assimilation, particularly in cereal crops ; bence the importance of using only good seed of healthy origin.
A plant that has once had a disease is more liable to it again. An excessive amount of sap and nutriment, and much exposure to heat is another predisposing cause. On the other hand, a deficiency and deterioration of the required food from want of soluble salts of the necessary mineral substances combined, with too little heat and light during a cloudy wet season, occasion a state of debility, and powerfully predispose to mildew, ergot, smut, and vari. ous other chronic affections.
Miasm or malaria, which produces such deleterious effects upon mankind, is believed to contribute to the nourishment of plants. It certainly has no bad influence upon them, for malaria causes essentially diseases of the pervous system which vegetables do not possess, though some have a remarkable sensibility. Dr. Cartwright states that an aquatic plant (Jussieua grandiflora,) which grows abundantly in the stagnant waters in the southern part of Louisiana, completely prevents the wiasmatic diseases peculiar to that region. It derives its sustenance wholly from water, making the foulest sweet and pure by consuming the products of vegetable decomposition as fast as they are formed.
Cootagion and epidemic influences of the air are efficient exciting causes. A disease is said to be contagious which is capable of producing by contact, by inoculation or through the medium of the atmosphere the same malady in other plants, propagating itself from its source in rapid succession to the surrounding plants, and gradually extending from one field to another; while a disease excited by some peculiar condition of the air which suddenly prevails simultaneously throughout a more or less extensive range of country, and differs in character, progress and disappearance from the ordinary complaints of the region, is called an epidemic. It may also be contagious, of which we have instances in the Asiatic cholera and potato disease.
In respect to the action and influence of insects and parasitical fungi as excitiog causcs, there is a difference of opinion among scientific men. Some
maintain that they are prolific sources of disease, others that they may excite it in a few instances, and others doubt whether they produce any at all, bat the weight of evidence preponderates in favor of the conclusion that insects produce a few diseases, aggravate others and convey morbid contagious matter; that fungi or parasitical plants, although they principally affect decaying vegetation, sometimes prey upon debilitated living tissues, which they destroy by their attacks; hence, practically, we may consider them in many cases as exciting, or at least secondary causes, and may more rationally take measures to prevent or destroy them.
The ravages of army worms, grasshoppers, and all the larger insects which eat the growing crops, thereby preventiog their growth, are not diseases, but mere accidents, like the depredations of cattle.
The disease of the potato, which, even during the past season has destroyed more than half the crop in Ireland, deserves particular consideration, on account of its wide prevalence, and the injury it has caused to an article of food of very general consumption. It may be defined an epidemic and contagious disease, in which black spots appear on the stems and gradually extend to the tubers, many of which are affected by putrid degeneration. It first appeared in the Islands of the Hebrides, but did not widely spread before 1844. lo that, and the two following years, it extended over Ireland and other parts of Great Britain, and prevailed also in the United States, every where making great bavoc in a crop which besore had been healthy and abundant. It rarely commences before the end of July, and sometimes not until October. In some instances it has not been discovered until the potatoes have been dug and stored; but generally it attacks the plants towards the end of August, often blackening and killing the leaves and stems of the most luxurious vegetation in a few hours. It may affect the foliage and tubers simultaneously, or the tubers may be diseased, while the foliage has a healthy appearance ; but usually, the “ potato tops” first look faded and sallow, then the dark spots are seen on the leaves and stems, and after an interval of some days, spots of a brownish color begin on the skin of the tuber, and gradually affect its substance, resulting in ulceration, with an offensive watery discharge, and terminating at length in gangrepe. As potatoes were mainly propagated from tubers, and the same variety was continued for a long series of years, the idea at first was, that it had grown old, and the disease was the effect of advanced age, and that new varieties just originated from seed might escape ; but it was 8000 ascertained that the new varieties equally fell victims. It was also at. tributed to changes of temperature, but it was found to prevail in all vicissi. tudes, in heat and cold, in rain and drouth; only long continued wet weather seen ed to promote its progress and dissemination. Certain kinds of soil are peculiarly liable, such as damp clay, wet land, gardens pampered with guano and animal excrement, and cultivated fields that have long been robbed of yaluable ingredients by annual crops of grain and vegetables.
When decay or putrefaction has once been induced in the plant, various parasitical growths fasten upon it. At least sis fungi have been noticed, of which particularly the kind called hotrytis infestaps penetrates the foliage and tubers, contributing to their rapid destruction. They are, however, mere attendants, not primary causes of the disease.
It is well knowo, when the Asiatic cholera swept so rapidly over the world, that it generally selected for its victims those whose constitutions had been impaired by previous disease, intem perance or debilitating causes ; 80 the potato epidemic bas always been most destructive to those plants which have degenerated and acquired a predi-position to it by long cultivation and improper treatment. It has been ascertained by careful investigation, that many soils have been exhausted of those elements essentially necessary to the healthy growth and robust vigor of the potato. Among the mineral substances, it especially needs large supplies of potash, of which ordinary soils possess much less than one part in the hundred; and yet a farmer, who cultivates five acres