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vines, and brush-wood. February and March, for burning and clearing your plantations. April and May, for fencing and planting them.—You can have no crop without thoroughly burning over your new plantations, and you never cam burn well, after the tornadoes get in, towards the last of March.
THE SOIL OF LIBERIA,
Depends for its quality much on the situation of the lands. The upland of the Cape, and Coast, has two varieties of soil. The first is, that strong and deep mould which is always found, where the hard, brown granite rocks are most numerous. This soil is certainly very capable of being turned to a very profitable account. Observe every where in the beds of those rocks, the thrifty and sturdy growth of timber. The largest trees are commonly found in such situations. This is, however, a wet-season soil; and must not be ex. pected to give you a crop in the dry months. I shall call this, Phe Strong Upland Soil.
The other species of upland soil, is of a much inferior quality. It consists of a reddish, clayey earth, every where more or less mixed with soft, rust-colored rocks, stones and gravel. The red color of the soil and rocks is caused by the rust of the iron particles intermingled with it. Manure may, in time, render it productive. But the best mode yet discovered to fertilize this soil, is to burn over the surface in clearing the land; and to spread small quantities of ashes or lime over it, after the first crop. I shall distinguish this as The Weak Upland Soil.
There are three sorts of lowland soil. The first and richest is that formed on the sides of rivers, and from the wash of the uplands. It is always wet during the rains, consists of a loose, deep, black mould, and is entirely free from rocks and gravel. This soil will produce any crop which you choose to plant; but is especially adapted to early rice, and to all those regetables which thrive in the dry season. I shall call this, The Rich Lowland Soil.
The second variety of soil in the bottom land, I shall name, The Stiff Clayer Soil. It consists of a lightish colored clay, sometimes a little tempered with coarse sand. It is subject to the extremes of wet and drought; but produces good crops, and can be much improved by manuring.
The sandy soil is the third variety found in the level country. It is most prevalent wherever the land bas, in course of time, gained upon the ocean, or channels of rivers. It is a light, warm soil; and will yield only slender crops without manure. Sweet potatoes, beans, cassada, and succulent fruit trees, will succeed best in it.
METHOD OF CLEARING LANDS.
Before you can have plantations, your industry must conquer them from an almost impenetrable forest. In this laborious business, your success wholly depends upon your going properly to work in the right season. The time to clear lands is from December to March. Enter your forest in December and January, provided with an axe, and bill-hook. The axe is to be used with all the large trees and saplings, the hook to clear away the vines and brush-wood. Let every thing be cut near the ground. The saplings should be taken off even with the surface. After bringing a hanging mass of vines and trees to the ground, never quit it till you have trimmed every branch from the trunks of the trees, divided them into proper lengths, cut up every bush and twig by the ground, and piled the branches and brush-wood into two or three snug heaps for burning. This is the only neat and cleanly style of cleaning your lands. Let the whole lie 'till, not only the leaves, but the very wood itself is perfectly dried and combustible. Fire it then, on the windward side, at one o'clock in the day. The whole surface will be burnt black; and every thing except the trunks of the trees, consumed. Now lay these together in snug piles, saving out such pieces as will answer for timber and fencing, and burn them.
The advantages of this method are, to save immense labor—to kill at once, all the shrubbery and small roots--and to prepare the surface of your lands, in the best possible way, to receive a crop. A plantation managed in this way, never requires plowing, or digging for the first crop.
If you depart from these directions, either in the time of clearing, or the manner of heaping and burning your brush, you may depend on being obliged to fight against a forest of sprouts and weeds, all the year; and not get half a crop in harvest.
METHOD OF MAKING AND USING MANURE.
In cropping your lands, the first time, the seed is thrown upon the surface of the ground, and covered in. For the second crop, the soil requires ploughing, or digging with a grubbing hoe; and all the soils except the strong up. lands and the rich lowlands, require manure. Every particle of this substance should accordingly be saved, and the greatest possible quantity produced for enriching your lands. You must carefully collect all the impurities and rubbish about your plantations and town lots, into a heap, at a proper distance from your dwelling. Old mats, straw, bones, ashes, sweepings, the weedings of your gardens, every rejected thing, in short, of a vegetable and animal nature, should be collected into this heap, and the whole lest to ferment and mellow, till fit to be carried out and bestowed upon your plantations.
Manure should be given to your lands immediately besore or after planting your crop. For rice, the best way of applying it, is to spread it equally over the surface. For cassada, corn, sweet potatoes, indigo, canes, arrow-root, ginger, cotton and coffee, the proper method is to give it in shovels-full to the hills, or to lay it in a line along the upper side of the row. After once er twice cropping your new lands, their produce may be doubled by the use of
Next after sheltering your families with a good house, you ought to enclose your lots and plantations with a substantial fence.
Your town lot ought to be surrounded by a picket board fence at least six feet high. The upright pieces ought to be planed and pointed, and not exceed five inches in width. A stone wall ought, as soon as possible, to take the place of this fence.
On your plantations, you have the choice of a horizontal, or upright board fence, or one of posts and rails. The latter is cheapest at first, but must never have fewer than five or six rails. Less will turn neither goats nor bul. Jocks. For want of the last rail, you will often lose your whole crop. Plantations ought not to be fenced into larger fields than of two acres ; and those of smaller size, into fields of a single acre, in order to admit of a due rotation and change of crops, together with tillage, fruit and coffee plantations ; into which, every man should distribute his lands.
AFRICAN PRODUCTIONS-KITCHEN GARDEN.
The climate of Africa is adapted to a much greater variety of productions than those of America and Europe. But your attention must be given to the cultivation of such alone serve directly to supply your wants, promote your comfort, and lead to independence and wealth. Of these, RICE and CORN must always be leading articles. Without these grains, you have no bread. The demand for them will always be great; and the produce of the Colony can never exceed the demand. Cassada and yams are doubtless the best vegetable substitutes for the grains. They may be made the source of comfort, and in time, of wealth, from the abundance, cheapness and usefulness of the crop. Every plantation should grow sweet potatoes the year round. Light soils answer well--but manure improves them. The pumpkin is a natural product of Liberia ; and should never be forgotten. The flavor is superior to that of the American pumpkin. Twenty plantain and banana trees, well manured, will afford you the greatest abundance of those valuable fruits. Your residence should be surrounded with them. Oranges attain the greatest perfection; and require no more care than the commonest apple tree of America. Limes and guavas may be propagated from roots or offsets ; both of which are to be procured with a little pains, in any quantities. The thick rind or lemon species of the former, ought to be preferred. A walk of pine-apple plants ought to ornament every plantation. Half an acre of cotton trees will clothe yourself and family; and, except a little boeing, all the labor of rearing and manufacturing the article can be performed by your wife and children. The same quantity of land devoted to the culture of the sugar cane, will render you independent of all the world, for the sugar necessary for your family. Coffee, whether considered as a staple of trade, or a valuable article of domestic comfort, demands a large share of your attention. Two acres in every five, is not too great a proportion of your lands, to devote to the crop. The trees produce double the quantity here, that they do in the West Indies; and the article is of a superior quality. No man should be in Liberia twelve months, without, at least, two acres set with coffee plants. They afford a certain income, at small expense. Indigo, when successful, is a still more profitable production. It will admit of being cropped eight times in the year, at least. A quarter of an acre, well managed, will give you ten pounds at a cropping.Lose no time. Ginger, aloes, arrow-root, and pepper, are all valuable articles of export, and will abundantly repay your pains in cultivating them. The following chapters will point out the mode of their culture.
It is an important inquiry, how ought town lots to be occupied ?-I can, as a general direction, tell you, that every town lot ought to contain a substantial dwelling house, placed twenty-five feet in rear of the street; a kitchen in the rear of the house ; a store house and granary under the same roof; and a kitchen garden. This last should occupy at least one-half of the lot. It should be manured as highly as industry and skill can reach; and never exhibit a neglected plant, or an useless weed. The hoe should pass over it every week-cabbages, onions, charots, radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, simblins, and every sweet-scented and aromatic herb of American kitchen gardens, will flourish if planted, and produce you more domestic comforts than half your income would buy you without a garden. The man who neglects a kitchen garden, I set down for a very lazy, or a miserably improvident fellow. Remember, a garden will not support your family without a plantation; neither will a plantation render thein comfortable without a kitchen garden.
THE CULTURE OF RICE.
The natives of the coast never neglect this crop, without expecting a famine for their folly. Trade, pleasure, their natural indolence—all give way, on the return of the year, to the necessity of preparing a rice plantation.—Imitate them.
Three species of rice are cultivated on the coast: the round grained-the large white or Carolina rice; and the red African rice. They all succeed well; but I am told that the American is considered the best. This alone sueceeds well in a foreign market.
Rice answers in all soils ; but the best soils are to be chosen, and the mode of culture is to be regulated by the nature of the lands. For an upland crop, clear your plantation in the midst of the dry season
son; and burn and prepare it for planting in March and April, as directed in chapter IV. After the tornado rains become frequent, and the surface of the ground a little softened, put in your crop. Sow about two bushels of seed to the acre, and cover it with a hoe, or harrow on the same day. It is now necessary to see that the birds do not filch away the grain, and to continue to watch it until the blade is several inches out of the ground. Five or six weeks after planting a newly-cleared field, you must carefully destroy with a hook, all the springing sprouts, and pull the weeds, and if necessary, this operation must be gone over again before the crop ears.
The rice will be fit for the sickle early in September, and it ought to be dried and threshed or beaten, as early as convenient, afterwards. The grain is easily preserved in the chaff, or husk, if kept dry, and it can be hulled and cleared at your leisure.
The lowland crop, is sown in September, October, or November, on wet, marshy lands, which have been prepared during the rains. These lands shouk be so situated as to retain a large share of moisture 'till the crop is fully hal grown, and the weeds and sprouts kept down in the upland crop. The grai. will be fit for the harvest in March and April. The natives prefer the Summe [upland] crop, and it is presumed to be the most productive.
But the upland culture, it should be recollected, answers in bottom lands, except the most marshy, quite as well as in upland soils, and I think ought to take the place of the other altogether.
A second crop cannot follow the first, on new lands, without plowing up the soil to a good depth. The same directions must then be observed which bare just been given for cropping new lands.