|ADDENDA TO HORSE-HOEING.|
account of a crop of 100 acres of White Cone Wheat, drilled in
double rows, the partitions, some a foot, some ten inches wide ;
and of many other things which I think maybe acceptable and
useful to the Reader.
I WAS desired to take an exact account of the product of a single land of hand-hoed wheat, and of an acre in the middle of a field of twenty-five acres of horse-hoed wheat, in order to know the different quantities produced by them.
The first was in a common field, and planted upon the level, with the same drill that planted the other, whereby there was a space of ten inches between two rows, and a space of eighteen inches between those and the next row ; so that each row had fourteen inches of surface for the roots to spread in ; it was hand-hoed very well ; the land had not been dunged in any manner since the year 1719. This crop was reaped very low, and thrashed out
immediately ; it produced eleven bushels and a half ; the measure of the land being fifty-two perches, the product is at the rate of thirty-six bushels and six gallons to an acre ; it is situate next to the ditch of a meadow, and is all the land I have in the common field. The lands adjoining to it, of the same goodness, were judged, by all gentlemen and farmers who viewed them, not to have above half the wheat on them that this had, perch for perch ; and yet there was no difference in the management, except this being regularly planted and hand-hoed without dung, and the other sown
at random, and dunged (as they always are once in three years) ; the fallowings and ploughings of both were the same. Mine was said by several of the farmers of the place to be the best land of wheat in the parish.
This indeed ought to be allowed, that mine being mostly white-cone wheat, and the adjoining lands of clean Lammas, might make some part of the difference ; but ther being some of the same sort of Lammas amongst this cone, it was observed to be as high as the cone, and the ears of it to be of double the bigness of those in the contiguous sown lands.
As to the acre of horse-hoed wheat, it was measured eight perches broad and twenty long ; which is equal to sixty-six feet in breadth, and six hundred and sixty in length, this being the statute measure of an acre ; and we use no other for land in this country.
This acre being laid by itself, was after some time thrashed, and yielded twenty-nine bushels and six gallons of clean wheat.
Before it was thrashed it was somewhat diminished by cows that found a hole betwixt the boards of the barn, and pulled out some of it, and poultry eat more of it ; but the most extraordinary waste was made by bad reapers, to whose lot this acre fell : they cut it so high that many of the ears which by their great weight bended down very low, were cut off and fell on the ground, and were there left much thicker than is usual. This waste was greater than any I had ever seen ; so that, I believe, if it had been as well reaped as most of the rest of my wheat was, there would have been thirty-two bushels received from this acre.
The difference of the appearance of the hand-hoed and of the horse-hoed, whilst they were standing, was so great as to deceive many who saw them, and to induce some to imagine that the product of the former would be double to that of the latter ; though it was really very little more than an eighth part greater.
The horse-hoed shows the whole interval empty until the grain is almost full, which is a great advantage to the crop ; because unless the air did freely enter therein to strengthen the lower parts of the stalks, they would not be able to support such prodigious ears (some containing 112 large grains a-piece) from falling on the ground.
When the grains are full, the ears turn their upper ends downwards, and are all seen in the intervals, and nothing by straw on the rows ; this reverse posture of the ears defends them from the injuries of wet weather when ripe ; for the rain is carried off by their beard and chaff, which, like tiles, protect the grain from being discoloured, as sown wheat always is by much rain, when ripe.
This difference was fully shown the last harvest, when all my wheat was in the same posture ; none of the ears reached the ground, but some reached within a foot, others within half a yard of it, and some not so low ; none of the straws were broken by the weight of those large ears, they only bended round at the height of about a yard or higher, in a manner that I never saw in any other wheat but the horse-hoed.
In these intervals, notwithstanding this bending posture of the ears, one may walk backwards and forwards without doing any damage ; for the ears when thrust out of their places, will, by their spring, return to them again like twigs in a coppice.
If a field of such wheat for want of a good change of seed, or by any other cause, should be smutty, the smutty ears will stand upright over the rows, and may, at the expense of about a shilling an acre, be cut off with scissors by women and children, which is the only perfect cure for that malady when it happens ; and the damage of it is nothing but this small expense, and the loss of the ears cut off, which, though they should be but the fortieth part of
the crop (as they are seldom more), would spoil it ; but, being thus taken out, leave the remainder generally large bodied, and as fine as that which hath no smut amongst it, except that it is not fit for seed. There is not this convenience either in sown or hand-hoed wheat.
As to the different profit of the hand-hoed and the horse-hoed crops, it will upon examination appear to be contrary to the opinion of the vulgar. The soil of the hand-hoed being at least as good as of the other, let us suppose them equal, and also the expense to be equal (though generally that of the horse-hoed is the least).
The hand-hoed was planted on a fallow, but the other had a good crop of wheat the preceding year drilled in double rows ; and the year before that, had a crop of barley drilled in triple rows ; the ridges always of the same breadth. All these crops were horse-hoed ; but in the year before the first of these, the field had a crop of sown black oats ; so that there were four successive crops without any fallow or dung. And there is now growing a fifth crop, being wheat, likely to be much greater than any of the precedent, if the year prove as favourable ; therefore here being two crops of wheat for one, the profit of the horse-hoed is almost double to that of the hand hoed.
And as the hand-hoed has but one wheat crop in three years, and one barley crop, which is commonly scarce half the value of a wheat crop, and the expense of the three years being in seed, tillage, &c., as much as of the three wheat crops, the profit of the horse-hoed will be more than double to that of the hand-hoed.
And this I think is a strong proof of the efficacy of deep hoeing, which, without a fallow, can (as in this case) cause one double row to produce as much wheat as two double rows of the shallow-hoed did with a fallow in an equal quantity of ground ; which could not be unless each row of the lesser number did produce more or
larger ears, or both, than each row of the greater number ; neither could this be, if the roots did not take the greatest part of their nourishment from the pulverised intervals, considering that the rows that had no fallow must, without the deep pulverisation, have produced much fewer and lesser ears than an equal number of rows that had the benefit of a fallow.
Vain, therefore, is the opinion of those who say the roots of wheat do not reach further than two or three inches from the stalks ; for if they did not, these horse-hoed rows could have very little or no nourishment from the pulverisation of the intervals not entering into them ; and then must have produced less than an equal number of rows of the hand-hoed (that had a fallow) did, instead of almost twice as much.
The other fields of my hundred acres of wheat, though the produce of all of them was not ratably so great as of the above-mentioned ; yet they brought crops much better than could be expected from the circumstances in which they were planted, viz., two fields whose staple is a cold sand laying upon chalk (which is naturally a poorish soil) after a sown crop of barley, had two successive crops of horse-hoed black oats, both of which were of a great bulk in straw, though the grain (I know not whether by too late planting or the unkindness of the years) was not so good as the bulk of straw was great.
They were drilled in triple rows upon ridges of fourteen to and acre ; but from the breadth of the partitions, and height of the ridges, there was very little earth left to be pulverised in the intervals. After this vast exhaustion, and little pulverisation, the crop of wheat was drilled in double rows with ten-inch partitions, and the ridges of the same breadth as before for the oats. This was the fourth crop without a fallow to any of them ; but there was part of one of these fields dunged for the first crop of oats.
I was persuaded, against my inclination, to suffer these two fields in such bad circumstances to be planted with wheat ; and when I got abroad in the spring to see it, I was in the mind to plough it up ; but considering the time requisite for doing it would hinder the hoeing of some of the other fields, it was suffered to stand, and was afterwards hoed, &c., as the other fields were ; but being planted late, could not be hoed til after the time of fruitication (i. e., tillering) was past, and then it was too late to increase the number of stalks by the pulverisation, though time enough to increase the bigness of the ears, as in truth it did ; for they were near as large as any, and hung down into the intervals in the same reversed posture of the rest of my crop ; yet for the fewness of the ears, I judged these two fields to have but half the crop of the best fields ; and the parson having thrashed out his tithe, I am informed, it shows this half crop to be sixteen bushels to an acre.
The present crop is likely to succeed much better ; because the precedent having single partitions, and lower ridges that the oats had, there was much more pulverised earth in the intervals ; for this present growing crop will thereby have the benefit of fruitication, in the first place, and of the repulverisation of that earth afterwards.
There were six acres on the brow of a chalky hill made so poor by several sown crops of barley, and after them a very poor crop of black oats and weeds, that I ordered the piece to lie fallow ; but when I got abroad, I found it to my surprise planted with wheat, without my knowledge, and was over and above the 100 acres. It was a little horse-hoed, too, in the oats, though it was not cleaned of the weeds ; but the crop of wheat had the weeds cleansed out by hand-work, and the intervals pulverised by the horse-hoe, and was a better crop than that of the two fore-mentioned fields. The piece is now in wheat again, and is vigorous and strong, making a very fine flourishing appearance.
Next to this is a field of nineteen acres, reaching from the top to the bottom of the same chalky hill ; it was fallowed, and all my dung laid upon the upper part of it. This field brought a crop, judged to be, by all who saw it, more than a third bigger than that of the last-mentioned piece.
The wheat on the bottom of this hill where no dung was laid, was (I suppose, by the different goodness of the land) as strong, and as good, as the part that was dunged, except an acre or two that was eaten by worms, a sort of millipedes, yellowish and horned, generally not an inch long ; they eat off the stalks from the root, and are sometimes found twenty in one plant of wheat ; they are said to be bred in dry mossy land. This worm-eaten part is a vein of the whitest land that I ever saw, it was four or five years ago in St.-Foin and a bed of moss ; before the fallow it had a crop of sown black oats, which was eaten by the worms in the same place where the wheat was eaten. I hoped the fallow would have killed them ; but it is said they generally live three or four years after the moss is ploughed up. I see no sign of them as yet in the present crop, and they did the damage long before this time the last year.
I must not forget to observe that the last sown crop of wheat upon this field was destroyed by poppies, and these winter and summer ploughings had so well pulverised the soil that the seeds almost all grew, and would infallibly have destroyed this whole crop (as the worms did an acre or two of it) had not these young poppies been timely clean taken out, which had been next to impossible in a random crop. They were almost as thick as if heir seed had been there spread with a shovel ; therefore it is certain this crop of wheat was owing to the regular planting and hoeing.
It is probable the Virgilians, on account of such weds, are afraid to plough such land above once for wheat, because, when poppies or
the like do grow in their wheat, they cannot take them out timely enough to save their random crop from destruction.
Another wheat-field of seventeen acres was planted in December after two successive crops of oats. I have found, indeed, that the white-cone wheat endures late planting better than any other sort that I know ; but this field lying far from any house and near to the rookeries, I was apprehensive that the rooks would devour my wheat at coming up, there being no other wheat thereabouts but what was then up and out of danger ; but my overseer taking upon himself the care of defending it, and engaging to be answerable for the rooks, I consented it should then be planted ; yet, contrary to his engagement, he went away upon pleasure and diversion, taking no care of the wheat at the critical time ; whereof the rooks took the advantage, and devoured a great part of it : whether they did eat the forth or half I know not, because the crop is stacked up in a rick alone by itself, not to be thrashed til next summer. But by what the rooks left, it appeared that it would have been one of the best crops I had if they had been kept from it.
This I am confident of, that I have more wheat yearly, than the tenant had on the same farm in four or five years.
The field which had last year the eleventh crop of wheat, has now the twelfth on it, very likely to be a good one.
Perhaps it may be asked, Why I drilled so many oats when a crop of wheat is much more valuable than a crop of oats, and the expense of both is nearly equal ? I say it was by the disappointment I had of a tenant, who I expected would have sown the wheat crop, so that I did not prepare to plant it ; and then I was forced to plant spring corn, or else let it lie for a fallow : but the following autumn I planted all such land with wheat that I
thought was in tolerable condition for it ; and the next autumn after that I drilled the hundred acres ; and now I have, in good condition, six score acres of wheat, a hundred acres of which are on the stubble of the last year's wheat crop.
It is true, I was at great loss by giving attention to that tenant ; but I was desirous of being out of all business, my infirmities increasing upon me, and having no one of my family whom I thought capable and proper to leave in it after me, it was the best way to let my farm, if I could have met with a good tenant.
Roots insume their Pabulum by Pressure. ---- Roots cannot have any nourishment from cavities of the earth that are too large to press against them, except what water, when it is in great quantity, brings to them, which is imbibed by the gentle pressure of the water ; but when the water is gone, those large cavities being empty, the pressure ceases ; and this is the reason that when land has few other but such large cavities, the plants in it always suffer more by dry weather, than in land which, by dung or tillage, has more minute and fewer larger cavities.
There may be some moisture on the superficies of larger cavities ; but, without pressure, the fibrous roots cannot reach it ; and very
little or no pressure can be made to one part of the root's superficies unless the whole that is included be pressed.
If it be objected that a charlock-plant, when pulled up and thrown upon the ground, will grow thereon, this proves nothing against the necessity of pressure, &c., for the weight of that plant presses some of its roots so closely against the ground, that they send out (unless the weather be very dry) new fibres into the earth, and there they are pressed in all their superficies, without which fibres the plant doth not grow.
Of the Destruction of Weeds. ---- I have now a piece of wheat, drilled early the last autumn upon a hill, fallowed and well pulverised ; part of it was drilled with wheat in double rows upon the level nine years ago, horse-hoed, and the partitions thoroughly hand-hoed to cleanse out the poppies, of which the land was very full ; the other part of this piece was never drilled till this year ; the whole piece hath not been before this winter horse-hoed ; now the partitions of the part that was never any way hoed, are so stocked with poppies matted together, that unless they are taken out early in the spring they will totally devour the rows of wheat ; but in the other part that was hoed so long since, there are now very few poppies to be seen. Both these parts have had several sown crops of barley together since, and have lain with St.-Foin these last five or six years.
The Cause of a Wheat-Crop following a drilled Crop being better than after a dunged Crop. ---- If the dung did pulverise as much as the hoeing, the cause must be from the different exhaustion.
Of preventing damage by Rooks. ---- It is true, that wheat which is planted early enough for its grain to be unfit for the rooks, before the corn that is left on the ground at harvest is either all eaten by
them or by swine, or else growed, ploughed in, or otherwise spoiled, is in no danger ; but as this sometimes happens soon after harvest, the time of which is uncertain, a timely care is necessary.
Many are the contrivances to frighten the rooks ; viz., to dig a hole in the ground, and stick feathers therein ; to tear a rook to pieces and lay them on divers parts of the field ; this is sometimes effectual ; but kites or other vermin soon carry away those pieces. Hanging up of dead rooks is of little use ; for the living will dig up the wheat under the dead ones. A gun is also of great use for the purpose ; but unless the field in time of danger be constantly attended, the rooks will, at one time or other of the day do their work, and you may attend often, and yet to no purpose, for they will do great damage in your absence.
The only remedy that I have found infallible, is a keeper (a boy may serve very well) to attend from morning until night ; when he sees rooks either flying over the field, or alighted in it, he halloos, and throws up his hat, or a dead rook into the air, upon which they immediately go off, and it is seldom that any one will alight there, they finding there is no rest for them, they seek other places for their prey, wherein they can feed more undisturbed.
This was the expedient I made use of for preserving my present crop : it succeeded so well, that in six score acres, I believe there is not twopence damage done by the rooks : but I had two boys (one at fourpence and the other a threepence a day) to attend them ; because my wheat is on two sides of my farm ; the whole expense was about twenty shillings. The damage I received by rooks the last year in a field of seventeen acres was more than would have, in this manner, preserved my whole crops for twenty years running. I wish I could as easily defend my wheat against sheep, which are to me a more pernicious vermin than the rooks.
Of the Middle Row. ---- I have now entirely left out the middle row for wheat, for the following reasons :
It makes the cleansing from weeds more difficult, than when there is only a double row.
The hand-hoe cannot give near so much nourishment (i. e., pulverise so much earth) in two seven-inch partitions, as it can in one ten-inch partition.
There are four inches less earth to be pulverised by the horse-hoe from the surface of a ridge that has two seven-inch partitions, than from a ridge that hath one ten-inch partition.
The ridge must be almost twice as deep in mould for the triple as for the double row, or else the middle row will be very weak and poor, and then, according to the principles, the whole ridge will be more exhausted than by an equal produced by strong plants.
As the ridges may be much lower than have only one partition, so the intervals may be narrower, and yet have as much earth in them to be pulverised, as in wide ones that are betwixt triple rows, because the four inches that are in the two partitions more than in the single partition, being on the top of a ridge, may have more mould under then than eight inches on the side of a ridge : and the four inches being in the partitions, lose the benefit of horse-hoeing.
Instead of using the middle row as an alloy, it is better to plant such sorts of wheat as do not require any alloy to the double row, and these are the white cone, and above all other sorts the right Smyrna.
The white-cone wheat must not be reaped so green as the Lammas wheat may ; for if it is not full ripe, it will be difficult to thrash it clean out of the straw.
It happened once that my white cone being planted early, and being very high, the bade and stalk were killed in the winter, and
yet it grew high again in the spring, and had then the same fortune a second time ; it lay on the ridges like straw, but sprung out anew from the root, and made a very good crop at harvest ; therefore if the like accident should happen, the owner need not be frightened at it.
I have at this time for a trial five or six acres of right red straw wheat, that comes into this country as a rarity ; but I cannot tell how it may succeed till harvest comes.
One thing that made six-feet ridges seem at first necessary, was the great breadth of the two partitions (which were eight inches a-piece), which, together with the earth left on each side of the triple row not well cleansed by hand-work, made two large whole furrows, at the first ploughing for the next crop, that could not be broken by harrows ; these two strong furrows being turned to the two furrows that are in the middle of a narrow interval, for making a new ridge, would cover almost all the pulverised earth, not leaving room betwixt the two whole furrows for the drill to go in. But now the single partition and the earth left by the hoe-plough on the outsides of the double row, making two narrow furrows, and the one partition being cleansed and deeper hand-hoed than those of the triple row were or could be, are easily broken by the harrows : for besides their narrowness, they have no roots to hold their mould together, except the wheat roots, which being small and dead, have not strength enough to hold it ; and therefore that necessity of such broad ridges now ceases along with the triple row.
When the two narrow fragile furrows are harrowed and mixed with the pulverised earth of the intervals, the roots of the wheat will reach it, and it is no matter whether the crop be drilled after two ploughings, in which case the row will stand on the very same place whereon the row stood the precedent year, or whether it be
drilled after one or three ploughings ; and then the rows will stand on the middle of the last year's intervals.
I cannot prescribe precisely the most proper width of all intervals, because they should be different in different circumstances. In deep rich land they may be a little narrower than in shallow land.
There must be (as has been said) a competent quantity of earth in them to be pulverised, and when the soil is rich, the less will suffice.
Never let the intervals be too wide to be horse-hoed at two furrows, without leaving any part unploughed in the middle of them when the furrows are turned towards the rows.
Some ploughmen can plough a wider furrow than others that do no understand the setting of the hoe-plough so well.
By making the plant of the hoe-plough shorter and the limbers more crooked, we can now hoe in narrower intervals than formerly, without doing any damage to the wheat.
The poorer the soil is, the more pulverisation will be necessary to it.
When a great season of wheat is drilled, it cannot be expected that much of it can be ploughed dry, though it is advantageous when there happens an opportunity for doing it ; but, by long experience, I find that in most of my land it does very well when ploughed in a moderate temper of moisture.
It may not be amiss to harrow it once after it is drilled, which will in some measure disappoint the rooks, besides covering the wheat, if perchance any should miss being covered by the drill-harrow.
But these and all harrows that go on a ridge, both before and after it is drilled, should be fastened together ; for if they should go in the common manner, the ridges would be too sharp at top, and the partitions would lie higher than the rows, and some of their earth would be apt to fall on the rows when it is hand-hoed.
By means of this level harrowing there is left an open furrow in the middle of the interval, which much facilitates the first horse-hoeing.
But when, after a crop is taken off, the ridges are ploughed twice, as they may be where the partition hath been well hand-hoed, it is better to harrow the first-made ridges in the common manner ; because then some of the fine earth that is harrowed down will reach to the middle of the intervals whereon the ridges are to be made for drilling. Or if there should be time for ploughing thrice, the ridges of the first and second ploughings are to be harrowed in the common manner also.
The harrowing of the ridges must never be crosswise, unless when they are to be made level for cross-ploughing, in order to lay out the ridges of a breadth different to what they were of before.
When you perceive the ridges are too high, harrow them lower by the described manner of harrowing ; first with the heavy harrows for harrowing out the stubble, and then with light ones, which may be often, for making the earth on the ridges the finer for drilling, without throwing much of it down : frequent harrowings in this manner not being injurious like too much harrowing on level ground, which is sometimes trodden as hard as the highway by the cattle that draw the harrows ; for in harrowing these ridges the beast that
draws the harrows always treads in the furrows where there is none or very little mould to tread on.
The price of hand-hoeing of these double rows in a penny for thirty perches in length of row, which amounts to between eighteen and nineteen pence for an acre.
I should say that in hand-hoeing the earth must never be turned towards the wheat, for if it were, it might crush it when young ; neither could the partition be clean hoed.
The hand-hoes for hoeing the ten-inch partition have their edges seven inches long ; they are about four inches deep from the handle ; if they were deeper, they would be too weak ; for they must be thin and well steeled. The labourers pay for them, and keep therm in order for their own use.
These hoes must not cut out any part of the two rows, nor be drawn through them, as the four-inch hoes sometimes may through the triple rows.
If I am taxed with levity in changing my triple rows for double ones, it will not appear to be done of a sudden, for in my first directions I advised double rows where hand-hoeing was likely to be necessary. I also advised the trial of both sorts. And now upon fuller experience I find the double rows much preferable to the triple, especially for wheat.
When gentlemen saw the middle row on low ridges, so much inferior to the outside rows, they were convinced of the effect of deep hoeing ; for they said, there was no other reason for this so visible a difference, except the outside rows standing nearer to the pulverised intervals than the middle row did.
And when on high ridges the middle row was nearly or quite as good as one of the outside rows, I was not convinced that they were
not diminished by the middle row, as much as the produce of it amounted to ; and this I now find to be the case ; for four rows of oats without a middle row produced somewhat more than the same number that had a middle row ; two of which triple rows were taken on one side, and two on the other side of the double rows, purposely to make an unexceptionable trial. And it is, as far as I can judge, the same in wheat.
It is true, I began my horse-hoeing scheme first with double rows ; but then they were different to what they are now ; for the first had their partition uneven, being the parting space, whereby it was less proper for hand-hoeing, which I then seldom used, except for absolute necessity ; as to cleanse out poppies, and the like. The intervals also were too narrow for constant annual crops.
But all these three methods I have had very good crops ; but as this I now describe is the latest, and is (as it ought to be) the best, I publish it as such, without partiality to my own opinions ; for I think it less dishonorable to expose my errors, when I chance to detect them, than to conceal them. And as I aim at nothing but truth, I cannot with any satisfaction to myself suffer any thing of my own knowingly to escape that is in the least contrary to it.
I have a piece of five or six acres of land which I annually plant with boiling-peas, in the very same manner as wheat ; except that the second horse-hoeing (which is the last) throws the earth so far upon the peas as to make the two rows become one. These peas cannot be planted until after the 25th of March, else two horse-hoeings might not be sufficient. The same drill that plants wheat plants peas, only sometimes we change the spindle, for one that has its notches a little bigger.
I drill no more barley because it is not proper to be followed by a crop of wheat without a fallow ; for some of the shattered barley will
live over the winter and mix with the wheat in the rows, and can scarce possibly be thence timely taken out, its first stalk and blade being difficult to distinguish from the wheat, and this is a great damage to the sale in the market ; and for the same reason I plant no more oats.
Note, Where it is said that I had left off making low ridges, it is meant of six-feet ridges, on account of the triple rows, which, together with six-feet ridges, I have now left off for wheat.
A Barley Farm converted into a Wheat Farm. ---- My farm was termed a barley farm, not from the good crops of barley it produced, but because the land being almost all hilly was thought too light for wheat ; for in their old management it was often destroyed by poppies and other weeds, and seldom was there a tolerable crop of wheat.
In a dry summer the barley-crop failed for want of moisture, and of more pulverisation, and was not worth half the expense.
Land is seldom too dry for wheat ; and this dry soil in the hoeing culture brings very good crops of wheat, which is the reason I have now no barley, except what is sown on the level, as it always must be for planting St.-Foin and clover amongst it ; were it not for that purpose I should plant no barley at all.
That Wheat Ears do not lodge by reason of their weight. ---- This was proved by my whole crop the last harvest, and particularly by the measured acre, the ears of which, though prodigiously large and heavy, were none of them lodged, when those of sown wheat on the other side of the hedge were fallen down flat and lodged on the ground.
Use but three Bulls in a Hoe-plough. ---- I now use no oxen, properly so called ; but only bulls, bought in at the time when they
are cheapest, and have them castrated. These are hardier than oxen, though of a lesser size. Oxen being castrated whilst they are calves, grow much larger than bulls. We never put more than three of these (they are called bull-stags) to a hoe plough.
All Individuals formed and had their Existence in the first of their respective Species. ---- That is to say ; the first of each species that was created, contained in it all the individuals that have already, or ever will proceed from it.
Those who are of contrary opinion give no better reasons than they who hold equivocal generation : for, it is as unreasonable to suppose a power in an animal or vegetable body to produce animalcules or plantules from inorganical matter by secretions of the aliment, as they pretend.
But the opposers of this doctrine make no distinction between creation and production ; nor seem they to have any notion of infinite division, or infinite smallness ; if they had, they would not make the objections they do against the creation of all animals or plants, at once contained within one another.
Neither is the multitude of animalcules that are lost any objection ; for if the Creator had not known it necessary there should be an overplus of them, he would not have made them so numerous.
The Rotting of Roots a Manure to Land. ---- Some have objected against this opinion, and say the effect was rather to be imputed to the rows of St.-Foin shadowing the earth under therm, or else from their keeping the earth under them free from couch-grass, of which the intervals were full : but I think it more probable that the couch-grass, having very long horizontal roots, might draw nourishment from the earth, under the rows, and from the intervals equally.
And as to the shadow of the rows, though for the first and second years the St.-Foin plants were very large, yet being afterwards, for five or six years, until ploughed up, constantly fed by cattle, and being more sweet were eaten very low, whilst the couch-grass remained entire in the intervals, and shadowed them more than the earth of the rows was by the St.-Foin. Besides the rotten turnips, which were free from both these objections, had the same effect on the barley as the St.-Foin had on the oats.
Of exhaustion. ---- It is by this that both ends of these rows in time become equal ; for though ten plants that produce an ounce of wheat insume more pabulum than one plant that produces the same quantity, yet a plant that produces six or seven drachms insumes less than one that produces an ounce ; for a plant which produces six drachms of wheat, cannot be a poor one, and therefore insumes no more pabulum than in proportion to its augment and product. Thus the soil of those ends, which by being doubly exhausted by weeds and wheat-plants was made poorer, gradually recovers an equality with the other ends, by being for several years less exhausted than the other ends are, by larger plants, whilst the number of plants and the pulverisation of each are equal.
To the reasons already given there is another to be added, why horse-hoed wheat exhausts the soil less than sown crops, where the product of wheat produced by each is equal ; which reason is, that the former has much less straw than the latter ; and appears by the different quantities of grain that a sheaf of each, of equal diameter, yields ; one of the former yielding generally double to one of the latter ; for a sheaf of the sown has not only more small under ears, but also its best ears bear a less proportion to their straw than the other ; for a straw of sown wheat six feet high, I have found to have an ear but of half the size of an ear of drilled wheat on a stalk five
feet high, having measured both of them standing in the field, and rubbed out the grain of them. This difference I impute to the different supply of nourishment at the time when the ears are forming.
Thus the sown crop exhausts a soil much more by its greater quantity of straw.
And this is one reason why annual crops of sown wheat cannot succeed as crops of horse-hoed wheat do. There must be dung and fallow to repair the exhaustion of the sown; neither of which are necessary for crops of the horse-hoed.
Of Trials. ---- Gentlemen who can get the Smyrna wheat, I advise to make trials of it in single rows of between seventeen and eighteen to an acre ; in this method, there being no partitions, the intervals will be of the same width as in the ridges of fourteen to an acre, that have partitions of ten inches. Thus almost all the earth of the ridges may be pulverised by the hoe-plough in the field, or by the spade in this trail ; and very little hand-work will be necessary for cleansing out the weeds that come in the rows and on each side of them. The land will be the fitter for a succeeding crop of wheat with less harrowing. But this must be observed, that in regard to hard frosts in winter and very dry weather in summer, the alternate hoeing described in the chapter " Of Turnips" may be proper ; lest the little earth that may be left for the row to stand on, when the furrows are turned from both sides of it, should not be sufficient to secure the roots from the injuries that may happen to them by being exposed either to frosts or drought on both sides of the row at the same time.
In the field, when the ridges are all of an equal breadth, the best way is to plant two of the single rows at once.
Two gallons of Smyrna wheat, I judge, will be sufficient for an acre, especially if planted early.
Planting one row on a ridge I think is the most advantageous method of all ; but not being able to get any Smyrna wheat (though I have been often promised it), I have made no trial of it ; and I do not believe the plants of any other sort of wheat are large enough for such single rows.
I am not quite a stranger to this wheat ; for I have seen the product of it, both in the garden and in the field, about forty years ago.
I am now making trails in order to know how much a single row of white-cone wheat will exceed half a double one ; for this purpose, I cause one row of the double, with the partition, to be dug out with a spade, in part of very field, two or three yards in a place ; these I intend shall be hoed as the double rows are, and where the hoe-plough doth not reach, the spade shall supply its use.
I do not expect this single row will equal the double row ; but I am in no doubt but that it will produce more grain than half a double row.
I cannot tell whether the sort of cone-wheat that sends out little branches on each side of the ear might not succeed tolerably will in single rows ; for its ear is, when well nourished, larger than the ear of the white cone ; though not near so large as that of the Smyrna.
Another experiment that I propose to be made as a trial for the satisfaction of such sceptical gentlemen who may doubt the truth of what I have related concerning the wonderful effect of deep hoeing. In a field of very poor old decayed St.-Foin, let two or three perches be hedged in, in a square piece, and two, three, or more intervals of three or four feet wide each, be well pulverised by the spade ; leaving between every two them two or three feet of the St.-Foin
unmoved. Begin this work in summer, and repeat the hoeing pretty often, observing the rules I have laid down for hoeing the intervals of wheat. Let not the back of the spade be turned towards the unmoved St.-Foin, from which it throws the earth at the first time of hoeing ; which is contrary to the first hoeing of wheat with a spade ; because there would otherwise be danger of moving the wheat roots ; but there is no danger of moving the St.-Foin roots, unless you wholly dig them out ; therefore the best way for hoeing is to dig with the back of the spade towards one or the other end of the interval ; this cuts off the fewest roots and covers the most of them, and may perhaps be sometimes best for wheat also. When the ear is turned towards the St.-Foin rows, the spade's face will be towards them of course.
Be sure to leave four or more feet untouched next to the hedge that bounds the piece, to the end that the increase of the hoed St.-Foin may the more plainly appear, by comparing its plants with those that are not hoed.
If the plants are very thick, make them thinner on one side of an interval, and on the other side let them remain thick. You will certainly find the thin plants most wonderfully increased in a year or two, and the thick ones in proportion ; and as is the natural grass, and all other vegetables that grow near to the intervals when they are well pulverised. I am confident mine, thus managed by ploughs, increased some to a hundred, some to a thousand times the size they were of before that pulverisation.
All the methods I have here and elsewhere described for the field, I advise to be tried in these few perches for experiments.
I think some of those ridges, where one end is to be managed differently from the other end, should be longer than six feet : else the roots of the wheat and weeds may so mix and draw nourishment
from one another in the middle of the ridge, that the difference of the managements may not so plainly be seen as when the ridge is longer.
The few perches of land, whereon any of the proposed experiments are to be made, should be bounded in with dead hedges, and should not be situate within three or four poles of a live hedge or tree.
The three instruments to be used in these unexpensive trails, are the spade to supply the use of the plough and hoe-plough, the hand-hoe, and a rake instead of harrows.
Answers to Objections. ---- I am very lately apprised of a particular objection which I will answer, although it be, except in the particularity of it, much the same with one already answered.
It was reported the last season at the Bath, that a certain deceased Lord, not far from thence, was a loser by my husbandry ; which the spreaders of that report seem to think may be fatal to the reputation of horse-hoeing. But if it can appear either that my scheme was not duly executed, or that there was, upon the whole, no loss by it ; or if that part wherein my scheme was duly executed did succeed, and that part which was done contrary to it did not succeed, this report must be groundless and false.
As for the errors there committed in the execution of the scheme, being more than I thought possible, the reader of Preface to my fore-mentioned specimen, may see some of them ; they were all committed in some part of his lordship's agriculture ; besides some other errors not therein specified.
And, after that Preface was published, I received a letter from thence, desiring my advice what to do with a field wherein a crop of wheat drilled in triple rows, being reaped, had the rows so full of poppies, that they, with the stubble, looked like cut hedges.
This field, as I was informed (for I was never there), was part of three or four hundred acres drilled the same year, which could not be all well hoed for
want of cattle, between twenty and thirty fine horses of too great a price for the plough, being dead, or spoiled by the contrivance of an old steward, enemy to the new husbandry.
The rows could not have made such an appearance, if the weeds and the middle row had been chopped out together, or if the weeds had been cleansed out the year before, instead of suffering them to ripen and shed their seed on the land, which, being then well prepared to receive it, produced this plentiful crop of weeds the following year.
If the part which had a contrary management should have succeeded not better than it may be supposed this did, there might have been grounds for the report ; but if it be true, as I have been informed by some who were privy to the accounts, that twelve hundred pounds were made of a crop of drilled wheat, when a much less number of acres were planted on land of a small rent, it is not likely there should be any loss by it.
Was ther every any sort of husbandry heard of that the owner, by bad management, could not be a loser by it ?
However, let the horse-hoeing husbandry be never so ill managed, the loss may be less than in the old husbandry equally ill managed with so vastly a greater expense as it generally is. And I have never yet heard of a drilled wheat-crop in the worst management, of so little value as I have often seen random crops of wheat to be.
Nor has any of the opposers produced one single instance where this scheme, tolerably well executed, according to the principles and directions I have written, has not had a reasonable success : I am sure, I have never known any such instance ; and doubtless, if
there had been any such, some of the opposers would have produced it, instead of their ridiculous cavilling and wretched arguments, which serve for no other purpose but to deceive themselves and others.
Can it be reasonably believed that a person of his lordship's known good sense and judgment would have continued the practice of a scheme so many years and annually increased it, unless he had seen it succeed whenever it was well executed, or if upon the whole he had been a loser by it ?
I believe my lord might be two or three thousand pounds out of pocket or more ; but this money was mostly expended upon building walls, making new ways, enclosing common fields and commons, planting many miles of quick-hedges, building a new farm-house and all the other edifices necessary thereto, and new barns, &c., to others. The least part of this sum was laid out upon the agriculture itself, which when the crops and stock were sold, I never heard from any person who knew the affair, that there was any loss by the husbandry, but the contrary.
And as to the rest, by the enclosure, by a great deal of poor land drilled with St.-Foin, by the building, &c. (if my information be true), the estate is so much improved that it is now let for almost a thousand pounds a-year more rent than it was let fore before these improvements, which in all probability had not been accomplished without taking those lands into hand and managing them for some time in agriculture, which I suppose nobody believes would have been undertaken but on account of the scheme these Bath reporters calumniate ; for the year before his lordship began it, ther was, on the largest estate, only four acres of wheat, their whole product was so small as to be contained over the porch of a barn, and when thrashed yielded but twenty bushels of grain.
It would be the highest reflection upon the memory of a person of his lordship's honour and integrity, to imagine he would give an approving judgment (as he doth expressly by letter) on the scheme on which he had made observations for many years, if he had not been convinced by his own knowledge and experience that it was just.
The errors in the execution, many of which might be committed whilst his lordship was in parliament or elsewhere absent, he is so indulgent to his servants, as that he seems, in the letter, to take them upon himself.
After reading this letter, sure no man of sense will give credit to the report of scoundrel servants, contrary to the purport of it ; such commonly delight in propagating falsehoods to deceive the vulgar.
It was upon some such report that the last summer, the vulgar in general believed, in a country but twelve miles distant from me, that I always carried my dung and threw it into a river. Now there is no river near to the Barton, where my dung is made, than is the furthest of my land, so that the expense of losing my dung would be greater than spreading it on any part of my farm. Besides I live in a country where farmers buy dung at a good price ; but it is known that I neither sell nor waste any dung. Against such lying tongues there is no defence.
And since all truths that are new are sure to meet with opposition, I do not think that any relation of my scheme of husbandry should be entirely depended upon ; it is but hearsay and most commonly prejudice ; but a man may be thoroughly satisfied by making and repeating the trials I have described ; but then the whole process of them must be under his own inspection, which will be very little trouble or expense for discovery of a truth that may prove useful to the world. And as a gentleman who has any goút to agriculture may
easily see these trials made, he ought not in justice to listen to the uncertain reports of others, especially of prejudiced persons, as all must be who endeavour to disparage what they have never done or seen, but when very many have made the trials, the truth will doubtless appear.
As for all the facts I have related as to my own knowledge concerning the whole scheme, they are true to the best of my knowledge and belief, and of this, if it were of any use, I could safely make affidavit ; but that would be now needless, since every one who will be at the trouble of making the trials, may have the evidence of his own eyes and reason in confirmation of those facts ; and considering the general prejudice against things of this nature, he who is zealous for the truth in a matter of great importance, ought not by any insinuation of others to be hindered from making the trials himself, having always in mind the motto of the most unprejudiced searches of truth, the Royal Society, viz., Nullius in Verba.
The prejudice of prepossession hath a strange influence upon the understanding, else the following could not be thought an argument of weight, viz. ; Two lords talking together on the principles of agriculture agreed exactly in their sentiments ; but an honourable young gentleman unacquainted with the subject, was heard to say, he wished their lordships were right in their notions : this wish, though natural and just, was looked on by some as a strong argument against my husbandry ; but I cannot conceive how any prepossession could be strong enough to make it pass as such upon a person of distinction. Such a conclusion from such premises would scarce be drawn by the gossips at a country-bakehouse : though I am told it has by some polite philosophers that frequent the Bath.
In regard to our statutes that are a grievance to husbandry, I am far from advising any gentleman, who has a good tenant, to turn him out in order to practise agriculture, or rashly to change that scheme he doth already practise, if it brings him good crops, and the expense doth not run out the profit of them. But by all that I hear of, there are too many who do not enjoy either of these two happy circumstances ; and I am afraid ther will be , ere long, as things now go, very few or none that will enjoy them. I wish that time may not come before gentlemen have made themselves perfect in the theory and practice of the most profitable agriculture, whatever it be.
I hope that if all the lands in England should necessarily fall into the hands of the owners, it would be no prejudice to the public, but the contrary : for then it is probable those statutes that were the occasion of the tenants leaving the lands, might be altered ; not according to the late printed proposals for a new Poor Act ; for that seems likely to ruin the greatest part of the lands ; if would take away too many of the hands from most of the parishes, and much increase the poor's tax ; but altered according to our laws that were in force before those statutes ; or according to such laws of our neighbouring countries, which give liberty to the owners of lands to keep them in hand with pleasure and profit.