Page images

The dung is carried out in a wheelbarrow, and it takes a great many days to plant the whole, generally ten days.

Her husband always assists in digging, after his hours of ordinary labour. When the potatoes come above ground, the weeds are destroyed by the hoe, and the earth laid up on both sides to the shoots, and this is repeated from time to time, as the season requires. Hand-weeding is also used when necessary.

In the month of October when the potatoes are ripe, she takes off all the stalks or haulm of the potatoe, which she secures to produce manure by means of her pig. She now goes over the whole with a rake, and takes off all weeds, and before taking up the potatoes, she sows her wheat on as much of the ground as she can clear of potatoes that day. They are taken up with a three-pronged fork, in which her husband assists, and by the same operation, the wheat seed is covered deep. She leaves it quite rough, and the winter

frost mellows the earth, and by the earth falling down it adds much strength and vigour to the wheat plants in the spring. Her crops of wheat have been of late always good, and even this year, which in this country has not been favourable for the wheat crop, she has thrashed out fifteen Winchester bushels from her thirty-four poles, tho part of her wheat has suffered by the mildew. The average of wheat in moderate years to her near neighbours, is twenty-eight Winchester bushels per acre, which is more than the general average of the county, being near the town dung. The straw of her wheat she carefully preserves for litter to her pig, and to increase her manure,

When her potatoes are gathered, she separates the best for use, then a proper quantity for next year's seed, and the small sort are given to her pig. She has sixteen poles for her garden, upon which she plants peas, beans, and a part with cabbages; but has early potatoes and turnips

the same year on the same ground. She sells her early potatoes and peas and cabbages at Shrewsbury, and boils the turnips for her pig. The only other expense of feeding her pig, is two or three bushels of peas, and when fit to kill, it weighs about three hundred pounds. She buys it at the age of four or five months, about the month. of February, and it is killed about the month of January of the following year.

When she first began this method of alternate crops, and for several years after, she depended on the neighbouring farmers for ploughing the land and harrowing, both for the potatoes and the wheat; but as the farmers naturally delayed to work for her, till their own work was chiefly over, her land was not ploughed in proper time, or season. She has been now for the last six years independant of the farmer; and the planting the potatoes, and the mode of taking them up, is sufficient to prepare the land for wheat, which she generally sows herself about the middle of October, being

careful to sow no more land at a time, than she can clear of potatoes that day.*


This mode of culture proves, that both potatoes and wheat can be produced alter

*I do not presume to offer any estimate of the national advantages, which might be derived from the general encouragement of garden-husbandry among cottagers. The benefit would, probably, far exceed any calculation, if the system were but generally adopted, of supplying this species of domestic occupation to the cottager and his family for their vacant hours.-Horticulture was the primary and original occupation of man. It is familiar and congenial to his nature; and in our soil and climate, and under the British constitution, it is exempt from risk and danger. The speculation of industry and attention thus employed, may be more or less profitable; but it will always afford reward and encouragement to labour and exertion. The practice of it will tend to promote domestic habits,-will attach the labourer to his own possessions and family,will supply interesting occupation for his vacant hours, -and leave no space for the dissipation and idleness of the ale-house and the tap-room.-This is not vague and unsupported theory: but practical and experimental truth; for the evidence of which we may refer not only to this account of the family of Richard Milward, but to a succession and variety of facts, stated in the four preceding volumes of the Society's Reports. B. 27th April, 1805:

nately upon the same land for a long course of years, provided, that a small quantity of manure be every year used for the potatoes; and it shews that a cottager may procure food from a small portion of land by his own labour, without any expense or assistance for labour.

Both wheat and potatoes have been reckoned in the class of exhausting crops; but this mode of culture shews that great crops of both may be long alternately produced, which may probably be imputed to the culture by the spade and hoe, to the manuring every second year for potatoes, to the careful destroying of weeds, to the planting and sowing in the proper season, and to the preventing the earth from being too loose, by the mode of sowing the wheat before the potatoes are taken up.

An experienced farmer is of opinion, that the same culture and succession of crops will answer on almost any land, if properly drained and skilfully managed; for that

« PreviousContinue »