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The carrying off the Swedish turnips, and placing them elsewhere for consumption, is, however, principally recommended on strong soils and retentive sub-soils, where they cannot be eaten on the ground, without injury. But upon light soils and open subşoils, the turnips should be placed where they grow, and put into beds of a proper width for a common hurdle to cover them; a furrow of earth should be ploughed against the outside rows to protect them from the severity of the weather, and from the depredations of game.
The expense of placing a medium crop of Swedish turnips with tops and tails on, is about four shillings and sixpence per acre, and five shillings per acre, when the tails are cut from the bulbs.
When turnips are eaten where they are placed, the ground is hurdled off and folded in the usual way; they are chopped in pieces, and thrown about for full-mouthed sheep; but when given to young and old sheep, they are cut into slices by a machine, and given to the sheep in troughs, which are frequently shifted. The refuse is thrown about, and the bottoms of the beds, where the turnips were placed, are shovelled and spread about ; particular attention being paid to shifting the folds, so that the land is regularly manured.
It is not generally known that the texture of the larger Swedish turnips is firmer, and the specific gravity, consequently, greater than in the smaller ones, the reverse being the case in the common turnip. The rind, the least nutritive part, is also, in the same proportion, thinner; but were it equally thick, there would still be, proportionately, less of it, the surface of a large sphere bearing, obviously, a less proportion to the within contents, than the surface of a smaller sphere. These may appear trilling circumstances, but they not only shew the intrinsic superiority of the Swedish turnip, but the manifest advantage of endeavouring, by a superior cultivation, to grow large ones, thereby improving their quality as well as increasing their weight per acre ; and this, it is evident, can, in no way, be so completely effected as by the improved drill system, and which was never so convincingly apparent, as in the most magnificent crops of the year 1817, both at Holkham, and on Lord Albemarle's farm, at Quiddenham, in this county.
Mr. Coke is liberal in manuring for turnips: he allows not less than fourteen loads of manure per acre, the common quantity not often exceeding ten loads; he is enabled to do this by manuring his wheat with oil cake, which he drills in with the seed, one ton being sufficient for six acres ; or he puts it in between the rows, by the drill, in the following spring, and this not only saves time, labor of horses, &c. as well as manure, but certainly answers well, as his wheat crops sufficiently prove.
Mr. Coke mixes the farm-yard dung in compost heaps, by which
In a rainy
means he not only increases the quantity, but he seems to improve the quality of the manure, so much so that he now grows better crops of turnips upon the Northumberland ridge method, with compost manure, and without oil cake, than he has formerly done, when his turnips were sown upon the flat, either drilled or broad cast, with all his farm-yard dung in the common methodz and a large proportion of oil cake added to it; and he has the advantage of reserving the oil cake for the wheat crop, to which he considers it more adapted than to turnips. ini
The turnip crop, though so highly important, has hitherto, however, even under the best management, been considered as a very uncertain one, depending almost wholly on seasons. season it has been usually good ; but in dry seasons there is-frequently a general failure ; and independent of the plant suffering from a deficiency of moisture, in its very early state, it is liable, in all seasons, and peculiarly in dry ones, to become a prey to the ravages of
fly, which not unfrequently sweeps off whole and repeatedly sown' crops. Some ingenious mechanical contrivances have been applied to remedy this latter evil, and a curious trap, invented by Mr. Paul of Starston, a most intelligent and active farmer, has been successfully used in saving many crops ; but its application is necessarily attended with trouble, and it is, at least, an additional source of occupation at a time when all hands are more than ordinarily employed in making hay, &c. and it has never, therefore, been generally made use of.
Mr. Coke, however, no longer considers the turnip crop as an uncertain one ; under his improved, perhaps, I ought to say, under his perfected system of cultivation, it appears to be alike secure both from the seasons and the depredations of this inseci. His present crops (1818) having resisted the late unusual drought, and in such a season, the turnip crops having been uninjured by the fly, are sufficient proofs of it. - Nor will it be difficult to explain this.
- The obvious general reason why all Mr. Coke's crops have endured, with so little injury, the late singularly arid season of 1818, is, the land having been so long in a state of superior cultivation, being so perfectly free from weeds, and in the expressive language of the farmer, being in such excellent heart. As a general reason this operates on the turnip crop, equally as on the other crops; but other circumstances, under this system, still further con
| Mr. Blaikie has also lately published a useful pamphlet on the subject of Farm-yard Manure, &c. in which he gives a detai ed account of the most profitable way of forming dung heaps, &c. and he has added some judicious directions for making and repairing public roads; the whole well worthy the attention of the practical and economical farmer, and of parochial surveyors of roads.
tribute to the security of this crop, and to its singular preservation from the fly.
By depositing a much larger quantity. of seed than is usually sown, Mr. Coke produces a greatly increased number of plants, which, as the time of the insect feeding upon them is limited, obviously increases the chance of a greater number of them being ultimately left untouched ; and this chance is much increased by shortening the period of the existence of the leaf on which these little animals feed, and this is effected by accelerating the growth of the plants, by the stimulus of manure placed immediately under them, and also by the judicious method of depositing the seed immediately after the earth has been well stirred by the plough, by which, in all seasons, some moisture is evolved, and some chemical changes effected, which much favor the first process of vegetation. The leaf on which the insects feed is the first or cotyledon leaf, which is known to live only until the second or rough leaf is formed. The cotyledon leaf appears to be an expansion or evolution of the seed itself, and being probably nourished by the saccharine matter, which, from analogy, we may suppose is elaborated, during its process of germination, it acquires a degree of sweetness, which attracts the fly.
This communication between the seed and cotyledon leaf, continues, however, only until roots are thrown out, whose office it is to supply nutriment, derived immediately from the soil, to the plant in its more advanced state, and simultaneously with their formation below the surface, are the second or rough leaves formed above ground ; and as soon as this curious economy between the roots and these leaves is established, the seed, no longer necessary as a source of nourishment, wastes away, the cotyledon leaves die and fall off, and the rough leaves not being sweet, the fly is no longer attracted, disappears also, and the crop is secure.
This excellent method of cultivating the turnip will, probably, be understood by the following brief detail of the process of sowing it. It is effected by forming trenches and raising ridges on a clean tilth, by a trench or double-breasted plought and a pair of horses, one of which always goes in the last trench, and this sets out the width and preserves the straight line with tolerable accuracy. A cart and two or three horses pass down the trenches, which are thus opened, dropping heaps of compost manure, which are spread by two men with forks, and the manure falls pretty equally in the rows; another plough, like the former, passes through the middle of the first formed ridge, divides it equally, covers the manure, and forms another ridge immediately over it; a boy with a mule, or little
· Darwin's Zoonomia, page 284 and 285.
horse, drawing a very light roller, follows this second operation, and flattens the top of the ridges ; another boy with a like horse, follows the roller with the drill, and deposits the seed on the middle of the ridges, and a light chain attached at each end to the back of the drill, and which, at first sight, appeared as if accidentally fallen from it, throws the earth into the drilled lines and covers
he seed, and thus the work goes on, the laborers and the relative progress of the work being so proportioned, that none are idle, none stand in each other's way; the manure is not left to dry in the sun, but the operation is completed as it proceeds, and about three acres in a day, with fourteen cart loads of manure on each, as before observed, may be accomplished with one complete set.
In drilling wheat, Mr. Coke allows much more than the usual quantity of seed ; ten pecks an acre are the utmost which most farmers drill or dibble, and even six pecks have sometimes been thought sufficient; but he allows four bushels an acre in October, and even five bushels in November.
In depositing so large a quantity of seed, and burying it so much deeper than when sown broad cast, it certainly does not seem so requisite to earth up the plants, as probably there will ever be a sufficient number of stems derived, in the first instance, from the seeds themselves; but then a question arises, and which may merit consideration, whether there would not, eventually, be an equal number to produce ears, were a less quantity of seed sown, and the plants afterwards judiciously moulded up.' It would seem, indeed, to come to the same thing, and if so, in the latter case there would be a manifest, and on a large scale, a very great saving of seed.
It cannot be expected that nature should conform her processes to calculations on paper, but if the production of buds and stems from the joints of wheat plants, when duly surrounded with earth, depends upon an established and unvarying law of nature, it must be the same thing whether twelve stems are produced, directly, from six grains of wheat, or six stems are produced from three grains, and six more are subsequently produced by surrounding the lower joints with earth.
few experiments, conducted as they usually are at Holkham, would decide the question.
Mr. Coke is an advocate for early sowing; and, as the drill puts in the seed quickly, and, as before observed, no time is lost in carting on marrure, I should think he has seldom much to sow in November. He says he has always the best crops when the wheat is very thick in the rows; and he never thinks it thick enough if he can easily pass his finger through the stems, near the ground. NO. XXVI. Pam. VOL. XIII.
He cuts his wheat very early, even when the ear and stem are greenish, and the grain not hard. He says the wheat, thus early reaped, is always his best sample, and he gets two shillings a quarter for it more than for wheat cut in a more mature state. He, perhaps, loses something in the measure, the skin being thinner, and the grain, probably, not quite so bulky; but, if this be true, it is fully compensated in his suffering no loss by shedding on the ground, which, when the ear is ripe and the weather windy, is often not inconsiderable.
He is equally early in cutting oats and peas : I observed to him, that in both these, the seeds were not all ripe ; his answer was, . that he should lose more by the falling of the ripe seed at the bottoms, than he should gain by waiting until the rest were ripe; and that the straw in this state, retaining some immature seeds, was of more value to his stock, in the yards, than if cut later.
To prove the utility of reaping wheat early, Mr. Coke had hung up, in his own room, a few handfuls of wheat which was greenish and immature ; in a few days he shewed us the seed which had ripened in the capsule. Mr. George Hibbert, of Clapham, a gentleman well skilled and much experienced in the cultivation of plants, was with us, and he has since, in a letter, observed to me that this is a common natural process, more especially when the capsules are of a succulent nature, and which all gardeners very well know; and he nientioned a remarkable instance which occurred to him respecting a plant, whose seed had no considerable envelopement. James Niven was employed-by him to collect the seeds of plants in Southern Africa : he sent a specimen of a beautiful Erica, lamenting, in his letter, that he had never been able to find one of that species advanced into fruit ; but out of that very specimen, which he seems to have gathered in the full vigor of flowering, Mr. Hibbert actually obtained ripe seeds, and produced plants here by sowing them. When Niven returned, he shewed him the specimen, and he said a very considerable progress towards fructification must have been made during the transit from the Cape of Good Hope, hither, by the rising of the sap within the specimen.
Mr. Coke's course of husbandry, that is the succession of his crops, varies but little from that which is general throughout the county of Norfolk. It is called the four or five course ;—first year, turnips-second, barley, laid down with clover or other grass seeds-third, grass to cut or feed--fourth, wheat. He has, within a few years, found it profitable to lay down a certain quantity of land with cock’s-foot grass, dactylis glomerata, and this lies two years, making the course, on this land, five