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may be done by drawing the back of a shovel, with a weight upon it, along the top of the drill.
The plants will in general make their appearance in about a week or ten days, according to the quality of the soil, and the state of the weather. When the second or rough leaves are about two inches high, a horse or hand hoeing is to be given between the ridgelets, to cut up the weeds close to the turnip-plants. The hand-hoe may shortly afterwards be introduced to thin the plants, leaving them at intervals of from eight to ten inches apart in the row.
Within a fortnight or three weeks after this has been done, the hoer must again go through the plants, removing the weeds which have sprung up in the interval, and trimming the earth round each plant, and at the same time cutting out any unnecessary plant which had escaped his previous notice; for if left too thick, or if there are two or more together, they will grow up long and weak, and not swell at the roots. After this they may be scuffled, or drill-harrowed, to loosen the earth and kill the weeds. When the plants have made tolerably large bulbs, a double mould-board plough is sometimes passed between the rows, for the purpose of ridging them, and earthing up the plants. This will serve to keep the ground dry, and assist their growth; and their rapid progress afterwards soon covers the intervals, and prevents the further growth of weeds.
On dry shallow soils in the south of England, raised drills have not always been found to answer for turnips, especially in dry seasons, the earth in the raised drill not retaining sufficient moisture to nourish the plant. In such cases, flat or level drilling, and broadcast sowing, are resorted to with advantage. When drilled flat, 20 inches apart, the crop may be cleaned with the horsehoe, and thus all the advantages of the raised drill are secured. If sown broadcast, the hoeing must be effected by hand, which is expensive, and will require to be repeated four or five times to keep down the weeds, and regulate the growth of the plants.
Bones constitute a most valuable manure, especially for turnips. Bone-dust drilled in with the seed, ensures
its early vegetation, which is essential to the production of a good crop; and in whatever shape applied to land, bones are highly beneficial. The farmer must however depend mainly upon the produce of his farm to supply the manure required for his crops, resorting to bones only as an auxiliary; and farm-yard and bone-manure may be used together in the cultivation of turnips with great advantage in the following manner :
Commence preparing the land intended for a turnip crop immediately after harvest, and give it as complete a cultivation as possible before winter. A good coating of farm-yard dung should be ploughed in, and it is not necessary that it should be rotten, as it will be thoroughly decomposed and incorporated with the soil before the land is again ploughed in the spring. In the beginning of summer, another ploughing must be given, with repeated harrowings to destroy the weeds, and the soil will then be in the best state for nourishing the young plants. The seed may be sown in rows, about 2 feet apart, by means of a turnip machine that drills the seed and bone-dust together, the latter being applied at the rate of 15 bushels per acre. The plants must be thinned, and the ground hoed, and all weeds carefully eradicated, as is directed in Drill-sowing.
This mode of proceeding has secured good crops, especially of Swedes, in situations where the practice of ridging has been found to fail; for when deposited under the ridgelets in the usual manner, the manure sometimes becomes parched and inert in dry weather, and the seed sown on the top of the ridgelets, vegetates feebly through want of moisture: but neither of these objections apply to the mode of cultivation above described, which may be safely practised wherever circumstances are favourable for its adoption.
In the cultivation of turnips, there are four things which ought to be carefully attended to: First, to have the ground in a finely pulverized state. This is accomplished by ploughing the land deep and roughly, before the frost sets in. Secondly, to force forward the young plants into rough leaf, in order to secure them against the attack of the fly. This is best effected by drilling the seed with bone-dust, rape-dust, prepared
compost, or other stimulating and nourishing manure. Thirdly, to have the ground clean and clear of weeds before the turnips are sown, and watching the growth of weeds afterwards, and cutting them off before they choke the crop. Fourthly, to keep the ground constantly loose and open about the plants, by stirring it between the drills in dry weather. The oftener the ground is stirred the better; and you may rest assured that every drill crop is improved by having the soil turned up frequently, provided you do not disturb the roots of the plants.
The average produce of a corp of turnips has been taken as high as 25 to 30 tons per statute acre (including the tops), and at 20 to 25 tons after the tops are removed. It may, however, be questioned whether this quantity can be generally realized, although there is no doubt that products exceeding this amount have been obtained, where the cultivation has been well conducted; but it will perhaps be safer to reckon the produce, on an average, at from 15 to 20 tons per statute acre, of the larger and white kinds, and 10 to 15 tons of the Swede.
The turnip is liable to several diseases, amongst which the fly is the most formidable. Various expedients have been adopted to check this evil, although no specific remedy has yet been discovered; but a mixture of soot and quick-lime, strewed along the drills, and dusted over the plants when the fly appears, is considered to be of great use in checking the disease, while it certainly promotes the growth of the plants.
The mixture may be applied at the rate of six or eight bushels per acre.
Turnips are generally allowed to remain in the field, and are taken up only as they are wanted. It may, however, be proper to take up a part of the crop towards the latter end of November, and store them for use in time of frost and snow; for which purpose the top leaves and tap-root should be cut off about an inch from the bulb, care being taken not to injure the bulb itself. The top leaves may then be given to cows or young cattle, and the turnips stored up against a wall, and covered with straw.
The farmer may easily save his own seed, by trans
planting in November the turnips of the best form, and cutting off the tops. They will ripen their seed in the following July; but they must be planted at a distance from other turnips, and from plants of the cabbage and colewort species, or the seed will be likely to be mixed and spoiled.
Mangel-Wurzel, is a large kind of beet, not liable to be injured by disease or insects; and it stands the climate well, and may be cultivated with advantage. It thrives best in a deep loose loamy soil, and requires a good supply of manure. It gives no unpleasant taste to milk or butter, and pigs as well as milch-cows are fond both of its leaves and roots.
From the 20th to the end of April is the best time for sowing the seed, and the process is as follows :-Prepare your land as if for drilling turnips, forming the drills two feet or thirty inches apart, according to the strength of the soil, and the deeper the better; fill them with short manure ; cover them with four or five inches of earth; roll them lengthwise; and then, on the smooth and level top, make holes with a dibbling-stick, about an inch or an inch and a half in depth, and twelve inches apart; and into every hole drop two seeds, covering them by hand as you proceed.
When the plants are about two inches high, draw out from each hole the extra plant or plants, leaving of course the strongest and healthiest plant behind. Keep them clear from weeds by hand-hoeing, but do not earth them up. If any of the plants appear to be running to seed, pull them out, and transplant others in their room (after stirring up the earth), from a small seed-bed, which should be prepared at the time you sow the main crop. In September pull off the leaves, and give them to the cows, sheep, and pigs. They are moreover not a bad substitute for greens or spinach.
You may calculate on 30,000 plants per acre, and
supposing them to average 3 lbs. each, you will have 90,000 lbs., or about 40 tons of firm nutritious food per acre, for your cattle, sheep, and pigs. This is a large produce, but greater has been frequently obtained.
Forty tons of mangel-wurzel will support twelve cows during four months, allowing 60 lbs. to each cow per day; and the manure made by these cows will be greater in quantity, and better in quality, than that produced from the same number of animals kept upon straw or hay. Clean the roots and cut off the fibres, and give them two or three chops with a spade or billhook, when you give the roots to your cattle ; and occasionally sprinkle a little salt on them at the time they are used. Salt, in moderation, is always good for cattle, with every description of food.
Mangel-wurzel will thrive in any kind of soil, but to grow it in the greatest perfection, a deep friable loam, on a dry substratum, is necessary. It does not strike very deep into the ground, but the roots swell above ground, much like turnips; and stirring and loosening the soil always helps their growth, and keeps their fibres near the surface. Watering the plants during the summer with liquid manure, will greatly promote their growth, and this is carefully attended to by the growers of mangel-wurzel on the Continent.
Mangel-wurzel is regarded as a fallow crop, and like turnips, it takes its rotation among manured green crops; but it requires a good quantity of manure, and may therefore be considered as an exhausting crop. If, however, the land has been well cultivated and manured, it will, after mangel-wurzel, be in as good condition for a corn crop, as after potatoes, cabbages, or turnips; whilst the yield is larger than either of these.
There are three varieties of the mangel-wurzel, the Red, the Yellow, and the Globe kinds. The latter is considered the most productive, and to be equal to the others in all other respects. Mangel-wurzel certainly ought to be included in the rotation, on account of its own merits, as well as for preventing the too frequent return of turnips, as is now the case in the four-course