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gests three important considerations in reference to stock-growing; first, an abundant supply of coarse forage to aid in wintering young cattle ; secondly, the grain itself, to be used as occasion may require; and thirdly, the advantage of these productions to the fertilizers of the farm.
The friable nature of the soil renders the cultivation of roots easy and profitable. Used with coarse forage, they are of much value in wintering many kinds of stock that would otherwise require hay, and perhaps grain, to keep them in a desirable condition. They are also of much value in furnishing a healthful and desirable change of diet in mid winter. Turnips of various kind are grown here with but little trouble or danger of serious injury from insects. Turnips may be successfully used in fattening cattle for the shambles. I have been more successful with ruta bagas, as a principal food, than with corn itself. One year, I fattened three oxen, giving each (after he became accustomed to the feed,) three sheaves of oats per day, and as many turnips as he would eat, but no water.
Each ox gained one inch in girth per week, until he was deemed fit for slaughter.
Before closing, let me call attention to the abundant supply of muck in our bogs and cedar swamps. It is composed mostly of decomposed moss, and from the leaves of ever-green trees, and consequently contains a large amount of acid. It may be neutralized and rendered fit for the soil by an alkali, by exposure to the atmosphere for months, or by being placed in barn-yards, or used freely as a litter for cattle or bogs. By the use of this valuable absorbent and fertilizer, fields may be rendered more and more productive from year to year; and even exhausted lands need not await the slow process of nature to restore their fertility. The cedar swamps are also yielding a sufficiency of fencing timber, so that the farmer may enjoy the advantages of good fences, quiet cattle, and frequent change of pasture.
These advantages are so numerous and prominent, that they have already affected the public mind, and our farmers are rapidly increasing their berds and their flocks, not unmindful of the policy that leads to thrift and wealth. The wealth of New England has been, to a great extent, gathered from her grass-covered hills, by the docile animals that have become subservient to the will of man.
With the success of our fathers as a motive power to urge us forward; with their experience to direct our efforts, and with many superior natural advantages, may we not anticipate, with a confidence bordering upon certainty, a bright future for northern Maine ?
THE POTATO AND ITS CULTURE.
By E. B. Stackpole, Kenduskeag. S. L. GOODALE, Esq., Secretary, Loc.
Dear Sir:Near the close of the last session of the Board of Agriculture, " Potatoes and their Culture” was assigned to me, as the subject upon which I should write; I herewith send you my thoughts on the subject.
The potato, when first obtained from its native mountains, was a small watery tuber, and of but little value as food for man. Since then, by cultivation, it has been brought into so improved a state, that most of the civilized nations of the earth took to it, as one of the most important articles of food. I think it will be conceded by all, that no vegetable has so large a claim upon our attention, as farmers and cultivators of the soil. It has become a common dish upon most of our tables, and is well adapted to meet the wants of the people of this country. The potato grows best on green sward; old pasture land plowed up in the fall of the year, and planted early in the spring, is the best for raising potatoes. Such land appears to furnish, as its turf decomposes, the most natural nourishment for them; it preserves moisture in the soil, and forms a loose mass, in which they form and grow to a large size, and generally of good quality. I think it is not advisable to use fermenting manures in the hill; if such manures do not cause the potato rot, they no doubt are auxiliary to it. Ashes, lime, salt, plaster, coal dust, muck and old tanner’s bark, or a compost made of most or all of them, may be used with profit and safety. In Penobscot county, the best varieties raised for the table, are the Jacksons and the White Blue Noses; the best for a crop and a market, is the Orono or Reed potato. The seed—about eight bushels to the acre, of medium sized potatoes— should be put into the ground early, in drills three feet apart, one piece of seed in a place, fifteen inches apart in the drills, and cov
ered about three inches deep; they should be hoed as soon as they are large enough, and never after they begin to blossom, as late hoeing causes new sets of potatoes on the vines, which prevent the first from growing to a large size, and consequently we have a large number of small, and but few large potatoes at the time of harvesting. When harvested, they should be kept in a dark cellar, and as much from the light as possible; if kept in the light, the flavor becomes impaired; much more so than when buried in the earth, or kept in a dry, dark cellar.
The rot, for the last fifteen years, has destroyed nearly one half of the crop in this vicinity, and attempts have been made, here and elsewhere, to discover the cause, and to find a remedy. The disease has been investigated in almost every form and shape, but the labor has been lost; for we know no more about it to day, than we did ten years ago. With all the theories respecting potato rot, we are yet as much in the dark as ever. Potatoes deep in the ground do not rot as much as those near the surface; of different varieties planted side by side, some will rot and others will not; some kinds rot one year and others the year after—no two fields of the same ind potatoes produce the same results.
CORN AND ITS CULTIVATION.
By Hiram Russ, Farmington. As upon this subject there are various opinions—different soils rerequiring different treatment--and as there are others who differ from me on the subject, I will confine my remarks to the culture of corn on the intervales bordering on the Sandy River. Until a few years since,our farmers plowed their green manure in very deep; of late we find this mode of cultivation wrong; by keeping the dressing near the surface, we find our crops to be much better, and our ground holds out for grass equally as long. Our manner of cultivation now is to plow six to seven inches deep, sow to oats the first year, plow in the fall again, in order to kill the witch or twitch grass, so called; haul on the green dressing in the spring; spread it broadcast-some work it in shoal with a light plow, most of the farmers use the cultivator or horse-hoe-then furrow out the rows three feet apart;
chain off the rows three feet the other way, putting one shovelful of old, rotten barnyard, hog or compost dressing in each hill; drop about six kernels in each hill. I find on our back or highlands which are moist or wet, they spread their dressing, turn two furrows together, and plant on top of these furrows.
My own manner of cultivation is, in the first year, to plow five or six inches deep and sow to oats; the next fall plow nine inches, or three or four inches deeper than when broke up--this I call subsoiling; next spring, plow three to four inches—this lightens the soil; then spread on my coarse or green dressing, working it in well with a horse-hoe and harrow; plant my rows three feet each way, with a shovelful of old manure in each hill; use the Dutton corn mostly.
Some plant in ground broke up in the spring, treated in the same way as old ground. I consider this last method the best, if it was not for the worms—they are apt to get more than their share.
By W. M. Palmer, Palmyra. I enter upon this subject, which has been assigned me, with some diffidence and reluctance, both by reason of its nature as well as by the want of statistics necessary to present it in a proper light to the public. I am very well aware that the subject does not present that field for the display of learning and research, or one that is likely to excite the enthusiasm of the writer of genius, that many other topics might; though we read that ancient Rome was built upon
the prophetic site made known to the Trojan hero, by a "sow reclining upon
the ground surrounded by a litter of thirty wbite pigs." Whatever, then, in general, may be the political influence of swine, whatever connection in the minds of statesmen they may have with government, this is most certain, that they form a large part of the bone and muscle—" the sinews of war” of our country, and especially of the people of Maine. I desire, therefore to call the attention of the public to this department of husbandry, which by reason of its connection with the best interests of the farm, is one of the greatest importance, and yet it is one which seems to be neg
lected to an extent beyond what a reasonably enterprising spirit among our farmers would seem to warrant.
Our State, which is essentially an agricultural one, annually consumes many thousand dollars' worth of western pork, which it must be conceded by all, is less healthy than that of domestic growth. Now, since we labor under many disadvantages in respect to some agricultural products, we ought to make the best use of our facilities for rearing domestic animals, to which our climate is well adapted.
1 know of no difficulties or obstacles in the rearing of swine, that should prevent our supplying at least home consumption, thus annually saving to the State, a large amount of money, which could be successfully employed as capital, in other departments of industry, but wbich now adds to the wealth of other States. We are able to raise all that is necessary to fatten swine, and there is as little or less risk attending them than other domestic animals. In order to show that the usual prices of pork are sufficiently remunerative to make the raising of it profitable, I will add a statement of facts which came under my own observation, which is far from being as favorable to my object as in ordinary cases it should, since the farmer should raise his own pigs and corn.
A hired sixty dollars; with twenty dollars he purchased eight pigs; the remaining forty dollars he expended in corn. He afterwards disposed of four pigs, and expended the proceeds in corn. The remaining four yielded him one thousand pounds of pork, which he sold for eight cents per pound, thus netting him $16.46. And in addition to this he made manure sufficient for one acre of corn.
8 pigs, $2.50 each,
$20 00 1,000 lbs. pork at 8c., $80 00 40 00 Cost,
63 60 3 60
$16 40 $63 60
In this statement, I have taken it for granted, that the manure would be amply sufficient, to pay for the labor. But the profits are not confined exclusively to the sales of pork. Swine seem to be a natural accompaniment to the dairy; and true economy would demand of the farmer that the number of swine should bear a due proportion to the number of cows; otherwise he cannot