« AnteriorContinuar »
Lands once ploughed will not produce two successive crops, without fresh ploughing, always, and manuring, unless the soil is very rich and marshy; when manure is not necessary.
Rich lowland soils under the best culture, produce from forty to fifty bushels to the acre; but the upland crop is a good one if it yields you thirty.
CULTURE OF INDIAN CORN AND CASSADA.
The culture of corn, observing the proper time of planting, does not vary from the method pursued in America. As the crop grows during the rains, the upland soils are preferable to the marshy.
The preparation of the lands should be the same as for rice, and the best sea. son for planting, is in all the month of May. The crop ripens early in September. A good return is often made from seed planted in July, which matures in November and December. But the June rains, it should never be forgotten, are of more service to all African crops than any other, and ought never,
through neglect or sloth, to be lost. CASSADA may be raised from the seed, or propagated from the root, or the stem. The latter method is the least troublesome, and most commonly practised. All soils will answer for this valuable vegetable; but the dry and sandy are preferable to the marshy, even when the latter is much the richest. Cassada ought to be made to fill up all those lands which would otherwise remain vacant and neglected on account of their poverty. A succession of crops may follow each other on the same ground; the decayed stalks and leaves of the former crops, serving to keep the land in heart. It may be planted in any month of the year.
After preparing the ground, line it four feet asunder, and form on the lines, trenches three or four inches deep. Cut the stem into pieces containing each, two joints, and drop them horizontally into the trenches, two feet apart. Cover on three or four inches. Keep the weeds down, and hoe the crop once in two months. In six months, the young Cassada will be fit for use, at half growth. The crop can be dug as your own domestic uses require; and will last from 15 to 18 months. Pigs, cattle, and goats, may be fattened on this root, with very little trouble and expense; and Tapioca, a valuable article of sale, manufactured from it by a very cheap and simple process. Its produce is greater than that of any other known vegetable.
YAMS, SWEET POTATOES, PLANTAINS, BANANAS,
AND THE ORANGE.
The Yam grows spontaneously in some situations on the coast, and can be easily cultivated in all. The root improves in quality under proper management, and degenerates by neglect to a bitter, heavy and very inferior vegetable. It is propagated from the root.
Divide the upper half of a yam of good size, into two or three parts. Plant these, from twelve to twenty inches asunder, in trenches prepared as for Cassada, which ought to have four feet intervals between them. This crop requires manure, if the land is not newly cleared. See chapter V..
The most proper time for planting, is at the commencement of the rains, in May. But the vegetable will succeed at any time, except two or three months of the dry season, and even then, if the land is moist. Wet soils produce yams of an inferior quality.
They should be carefully hoed, at least three times; and at the end of the first month, they must be furnished with two poles, set along the row, at the distance of two and a half feet, for the vines to dispose themselves upon. Two crops may be made in the year.
Sweet Potatoes are another invaluable vegetable, which may be cultiva. ted on nearly every variety of soils, and at any season of the year. They may be reared from the seeds, the root, or the vines. To preserve the species from degeneracy, plant the roots, and even the seeds, occasionally. But the crop is much more conveniently and speedily reared from the vines.
Method.-In the month of May or June, (of preference,) dig your land into loose ridges about three feet asunder. Manure these ridges plentifully, and mix the compost well with the earth. Insert, by hand, along these ridges, and not more than fifteen inches apart, some of the thriftiest vines taken from the preceding crop. Keep the weeds from springing, by repeated hoeings; at the same time loosening the earth about the roots of the vine. In two months, the young potatoe will make its appearance, and about the end of the fourth, will have come to maturity.
PUMPKINS, are reared from the seed. They are a succulent vegetable, and will scarcely succeed if planted in the dry months. But vines which have obtained a thrifty growth during the rains, will flourish and bear fruit throughout the season.
Plant every variety. Manure the hills well, and a single vine will not find room in a square pole of ground to expand itself in. This vegetable acquires a much harder and thicker rind in this country, than it has in America.
PLANTAINS AND BANANAS are propagated from the suckers which spring out of the root of the parent tree. They may be separated from the old stock and transplanted at any period, but most successfully, in the early rainy months.
Let the earth be dug into a loose bed for the roots to spread in, and the ground be enriched by several shovelsfull of manure, during the year. The plants should be set at six feet distant, and commonly, in rows parallel to your garden fence, and not more than three feet from it. The first crop will come, in about a twelve month. Whenever the old stock begins to decline, cut it off near the ground, and remove it along with the fallen leaves, to your manure heap, and carefully cherish as many of the new shoots as are necessary to supply the place of the old. These are permanent fruits, which ripen and renew themselves throughout the year.
The Orange Tree is of slower growth; but one of the most verdant, thrifty and beautiful trees of the woody species, in nature. Every man should keep a well tended nursery of these trees, which he can obtain from the seed in six months. Transplant them to your garden, and plantation, when three feet high, during the prevalence of the rains. The trees, in an orange orchard, or walk, ought to be set eight feet apart, and at the end of four or five years, every second tree cut away or transplanted. Let the earth about the roots be frequently stirred, and well mellowed with manure. The two first years, you may continue to crop the ground with corn or vegetables, as before. Liberia will afford ripe oranges every month in the year.
The orange tree is also propagated by scions taken from the branches of the full grown tree, and set in the earth, like the offsets of the currant tree in America.
THE LIME TREE
Is of a more hardy nature than the orange; and will thrive in a poorer soil. It is managed in the same way.
THE PAPAW May be raised from the seed to the height of two feet, or a suitable state for transplanting, in six weeks—set them eight feet asunder, and three plants together; manure and weed the ground. In six months, the flower will appear, and distinguish the sex of the tree. Cut up all the males, excepting one to every ten females; and reduce the females to one tree at each station. In ten months, the fruit will begin to ripen, and afford you a weekly supply for as many years as the tree lives.
THE GUAVA May be managed in the same way as the orange; and will commence bearing the third year. It may also be propagated by setting the scions.
THE PINE APPLE Requires a rich, moist soil, and is propagated by planting the bud and corn of leaves growing at the head of the ripe fruit, in hills two feet apart. The suckers cut from the base of the ripe fruit, answer the same purpose; and so do the young shoots springing from the root. Insert and transplant your suckers in the rains. Hoe and weed the plant with especial care; and the crop will come forward with the return of the season.
THE COTTON CROP.
It is believed that none of the varieties of the American cotton shrub answers in all respects, to the indigenous African tree. The cotton of this country is, on all hands, allowed to be of a good quality; and the mode of growing, curing, and manufacturing the article pursued in America, may be adopted here, making due allowance for the much greater size and duration of the African tree. It is raised from the seed, and ought to be reared to the height of three feet, in a nursery, and transplanted into the field in rows, six feet distant from each other. This process should take place in the rainy season. The same tree bears succession of crops for a great oumber of years.
The trees should be pruned into shape, and the plantation kept clean with a hoe.
The driest upland situations should be chosen for this crop; and weak upland soils will answer. It comes to maturity early in the dry season; and ought to be gathered as soon as the wool appears through the seams of the pod. Dry and separate the wool from the pod and base, to which it adheres. Gin it, and afterwards hand-pick it carefully, to separate broken seeds and damaged cotton from the good.
N. B. Cotton growers should carefully note every fact attending the culture of the article, till the most profitable culture is much better understood.
Is of biennial growth. Its culture in the Colony, ought at present, to be limited to your own domestic supplies. To make sugar for exportation would require more capital and more skill than any of you at present, possess. For
a family of seven persons, half an acre of canes will furnish an ample supply of sugar and vinegar.-To cultivate them,
Mellow the land to a good depth with the plough or pick. Trench it in lines four feet apart-cover in four inches of earth on the stems of the cane, cut into pieces containing two or three joints. Manure on the upper side of these trenches-hoe it repeatedly. In fifteen months, the crop matures--cut it with a sickle at the ground-top and leaf the stalks, and send them in bundles to the mill. The juice must be boiled on the same day in which it is expressed, or your sugar will not grain. Copper boilers are preferable to iron. The skimmings are to be reserved for vinegar.
To make good sugar, requires great skill, which can be acquired only by experience. You would often fail in attempting it. Syrup, or cane juice, boiled to a consistence of thin molasses, and carefully refined, will answer every pur. pose of refined sugar, and is better suited to the dampness and heat of this climate.
The rich lowland soil will produce the best canes. The season for planting is the three last rainy months.
Having cropped your cane field, either plough or dig the ground between the old rows, adding a new supply of manure. The old stocks will send up an abundance of suckers, which are to be thinned out, and managed precisely as the planted crop. This operation may be several times repeated; and it is considered a better method of renewing the plants than by planting the stems.
Every proprietor of lands, should keep a flourishing nursery of young coffee plants. No country will bring the product to higher perfection than Africa. Whether it is a native of the country, or was introduced at an early period, by the Portuguese and Spaniards, cannot now be certainly known. It is enough for you to know, that it has propagated itself on your hills, and along a great extent of the African coast, without culture, for many ages. South of your river, it grows every where; and the tree and berry attain a size unknown elsewhere.
Transplant the young trees at an early period of the rains. Few dry soils are unfavorable to their growth. And they are found in a state of nature in many situations where moisture predominates a great part of the year. The dry upland gives the small grained and fine flavored kernel; rich lowland for the greatest crop
Line your plantation into squares of six feet; and mellow the beds whick are to receive tbe plants. Let the young tree, at the time of transplanting it,