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Applications of stable manure to light soils bave frequently prored of less benefit than composts containing clay, loam and vegetable matter. When stable manure is applied alone, it should be in autumn, and upon heavy loams. Unfermented stable manure directly from the barn-yard, applied in spring, is often unsatisfactory in its effects, besides which, it is apt to be left in lumps, which become dry and are liable to be raked up with the next crop of hay.
In every instance which has come to my knowledge where topdressing has been judiciously and fairly tried, satisfactory results have followed, and I cannot but urge its more general adoption in practice.
Perhaps upon no subject connected with grass culture have we more to learn, or in connection with which there seems room for greater improvement, than with regard to the mixtures of seed to be sown. The almost universal practice is to sow only timothy, redtop and clover, and while it is readily admitted that these are the best if we are to be confined to three, it is equally certain that a judicious mixture of more kinds would result in greater productive
We may profit by the teachings of nature in respect of this. Let the turf of a rich old pasture be carefully examined, and we almost invariably find a far greater number of species than in lands recently laid down to grass. When we reflect that each species has its own peculiar requirements and abstracts its constituents from the soil in different proportions from any other, and some perhaps requiring what is not wanted at all by others, we can easily understand how with a larger number we may obtain a larger product, and this too with no greater practical exhaustion of the soil.
And another advantage accrues which is worth bearing in mind, namely, the greater variety of food thus furnished. All feeding experiments show that animals thrive better on a given amount of nutritive matter furnished in a variety of foods, than if given in a single form, as in hay, roots or grain alone; and for the same reason, hay of equal quality in other respects, is better if made from mixed grasses.
Again, mixtures should undoubtedly vary according to the purpose in view, whether for mowing, for pasturage, for soiling, or for an alternate crop. If for mowing, we should aim to have as thick a bottom as possible, and the grasses of various hights, and in this way each may be well developed, according to its kind, and the ag
gregate crop be materially greater than if only one or two species be employed. For permanent pasture we would desire the most durable and nutritive grasses, affording food both early and late, and capable of resisting drought and bearing the closest cropping without injury. For soiling we might even employ annuals, like Millet, (Hungarian grass,) or Indian corn, which would be utterly unfit for pasture. For alternate husbandry, we would have an eye to amelioration of soil and the amount of vegetable matter to be furnished by and by in the decay of the roots.
Again, mixtures should vary according to the character of the soil upon which they are to be sown. We know perfectly well that some lo better on heavy soils and some on light, some on moist and some on dry. There
may be special cases where one would be as good, or better, than two, or ten, and there are many cases where five or ten would be better than one or two. All the above and a great many other considerations should be taken into account in deciding on the mixture to be used in any given case. It would be the hight of presumption to attempt to give directions for mixtures best adapted to the different purposes and soils of the Maine farmer, for the simple reason that the knowledge is not yet acquired, nor can it be learned except by numerous, careful and protracted experiments, and these have not been made. They should be made, and the results published for the benefit of others. It is only by experiment that progress in any branch of practical agriculture can be accomplished. Von Thaer very justly remarks: "Experiments, it is true, are not easy ; still they are in the power of every thinking husbandman. He who accomplishes but one, of however limited application, and takes care to report it faithfully, adrances the science, and consequently the practice of agriculture, and acquires thereby a right to the gratitude of his fellows and of those who come after."
A far greater degree of attention has been bestowed upon this subject in England than in this country; and although what would be good practice there, might be unfit here, we may yet obtain from it some useful hints, and I accordingly subjoin a few of the numerous mixtures which are recommended in foreign works, selecting such as scem nearest to our needs. They are intended to be sown with a grain crop :
For alternate Husbandry.
For one year's
lbs. lbs. lbs. Italian Grass,
9 9 9 Perennial Rye Grass,
18 18 18 Orchard Grass,
2 2 Timothy,
1 2 2 Yellow Clover,
1 1 Alsike Clover,
2 Red Clover,
8 4 2 Perennial Clover,
2 4 White Clover,
2 4 4 For our use, this would doubtless be greatly improved by substituting at least a peck (say eleven pounds) of Timothy at the expense of the rye grasses; and a similar change could advantageously be made with nearly all of them.
For Permanent Pasture.
3 Perennial Rye Grass, 8 June Grass,
Rough Meadow Grass, 2
2 Meadow Foxtail,
2 Ilard Fescue,
3 Meadow Fescue,
2 Tall Fescue,
47 lbs. For Hay and Pasture in shady places, Orchards, &c. lbs.
lbs. Orchard Grass, 6
2 Italian Rye Grass, 6 June Grass,
3 Perennial Rye Grass, 6 Lotus Major,*
2 Sweet Vernal Grass, 1 Perennial Clover,
3 Hard Fescue, 2 White Clover,
4 Tall Fescue,
* This plant, of which I know scarce any thing, beyond its botanical name, was once
For dry sandy or gravelly soils. Red Top,
3 lbs. Italian Rye Grass, 4 lbs. Tall Oat Grass,
3 Perennial Rye Grass, 6 Red Fescue Grass, 4 Yellow Clover,
4 June Grass,
38 lbs. For reclaimed bogs of peaty or mucky soii. Tall Oat Grass,
2 lbs. Perennial Rye Grass, 5 lbs. Orchard Grass,
3 Italian Rye Grass, 10 Rough Stalked Meadow
2 Grass, 3 Perennial Clover,
2 Meadow Foxtail, 2 White Clover,
3 Hard Fescue,
6 Timothy, 5
43 lbs. Upon peaty soils with us, Timothy usually succeeds remarkably well, and should form a large proportion of the seed.
The above examples are sufficient to convey an idea of the necessity which exists in the opinion of those most conversant with the subject, of employing a greater number of species of grass in seeding down than is customary among us.
It is in fact deemed indispensable to the best success.
My report for 1857 embraced statements from a number of practical farmers as to the amount of seed required per acre. In this connexion it is believed that the following table compiled from Lawson's Treatise on the Grasses, and a prize essay of J. D. Sterling's, will be found of value: COLuun 1.-Contains name of the grass.
2.-The average weight of the seeds per bushel, in pounds.
greatest number of seeds germinated.
half the number shot into growth. 6.--Shows, in inches, the least depth of cover at which none
of the seeds shot into growth.
mentioned to me by a foreigner of great attainments in agriculture, as an exceedingly nutritive ope, and probably well adapted for cultivation upon our clayey loams. I have not known of its being tried in this country.
The results in the last three columns were obtained by sowing the seed in finely sifted dark loam, which was kept moist throughout the process of germination, to which is attributable the circumstance of so many of the sorts vegetating best, as shown in column fourth, without covering, and under full exposure to the light. The combination of such favorable circumstances of soil and moisture can, however, be rarely or never calculated upon in field sowing. It would therefore seem the policy of the farmer to cover seeds, but as slightly as possible. The table is suggestive and instructive as to the quantity of seed to be sown, as well as regarding the proper depth of covering, for a little calculation will show that the amount commonly sown where a mixture of Timothy, redtop and clover is used, would suffice to give from one thousand to two thousand seeds to the square foot. Now as a sod can rarely be found containing a half or a quarter of that number of plants, it would seem that much seed fails, either from bad quality, too deep covering, or some other cause, and should suggest caution as to all the points on which success or failure may depend.
The practice of fall feeding, or pasturing meadow lands, is generally practiced by our farmers, and almost as generally condemned as injurious. The inquiry is an interesting one, whether the opinion, or the practice, is more correct, and an inquiry into their merits would likely show that much depends upon the manner and extent in which it is done. Upon mowing fields in good condition, (and