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Title: What I know of farming: - a series of brief and plain expositions of practical - agriculture as an art based upon science
Author: Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "What I know of farming: - a series of brief and plain expositions of practical - agriculture as an art based upon science" ***

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                                  "I _know_
  That where the spade is deepest driven,
      The best fruits grow."



  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
  at the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.














        I. Will Farming Pay?                          13

       II. Good and Bad Husbandry                     18

      III. Where to Farm                              23

       IV. Preparing to Farm                          29

        V. Buying a Farm                              34

       VI. Laying off a Farm; Pasturing               39

      VII. Trees; Woodlands; Forests                  44

     VIII. Growing Timber; Tree-Planting.             49

       IX. Planting and Growing Trees                 56

        X. Draining; My Own                           62

       XI. Draining Generally                         69

      XII. Irrigation; Means and Ends                 74

     XIII. Possibilities of Irrigation                79

      XIV. Plowing, Deep or Shallow                   85

       XV. Plowing, Good and Bad                      91

      XVI. Thorough Tillage                           96

     XVII. Commercial Fertilizers--Gypsum.           102

    XVIII. Alkalis--Salt, Ashes, Lime.               107

      XIX. Soils and Fertilizers                     112

       XX. Bones, Phosphates, Guano                  118

      XXI. Muck--How to Utilize It                   124

     XXII. Insects; Birds                            129

    XXIII. About Tree-Planting                       134

     XXIV. Fruit-Trees--The Apple                    139

      XXV. More about Apple-Trees                    145

     XXVI. Hay and Hay-Making                        150

    XXVII. Peaches, Pears, Cherries, Grapes          156

   XXVIII. Grain-Growing--East and West              162

     XXIX. Esculent Roots--Potatoes                  170

      XXX. Roots--Turnips, Beets, Carrots            178

     XXXI. The Farmers' Calling                      183

    XXXII. A Lesson of To-day                        189

   XXXIII. Intellect in Agriculture                  195

    XXXIV. Sheep and Wool-Growing                    200

     XXXV. Accounts in Farming                       207

    XXXVI. Stone on a Farm                           212

   XXXVII. Fences and Fencing                        219

  XXXVIII. Agricultural Exhibitions                  225

    XXXIX. Science in Agriculture                    231

       XL. Farm Implements                           237

      XLI. Steam in Agriculture                      241

     XLII. Co-operation in Farming                   248

    XLIII. Farmers' Clubs                            254

     XLIV. Western Irrigation.                       260

      XLV. Sewage                                   266

     XLVI. More of Irrigation                        274

    XLVII. Undeveloped Sources of Power              280

   XLVIII. Rural Depopulation                        286

     XLIX. Large and Small Farms                     292

        L. Exchange and Distribution.                297

       LI. Winter Work                               303

      LII. Summing up                                308


Men have written wisely and usefully, in illustration and aid of
Agriculture, from the platform of pure science. Acquainted with the laws
of vegetable growth and life, they so expounded and elucidated those
laws that farmers apprehended and profitably obeyed them. Others have
written, to equally good purpose, who knew little of science, but were
adepts in practical agriculture, according to the maxims and usages of
those who have successfully followed and dignified the farmer's calling.
I rank with neither of these honored classes. My practical knowledge of
agriculture is meager, and mainly acquired in a childhood long bygone;
while, of science, I have but a smattering, if even that. They are
right, therefore, who urge that my qualifications for writing on
agriculture are slender indeed.

I only lay claim to an invincible willingness to be made wiser to-day
than I was yesterday, and a lively faith in the possibility--nay, the
feasibility, the urgent necessity, the imminence--of very great
improvements in our ordinary dealings with the soil. I know that a
majority of those who would live by its tillage feed it too sparingly
and stir it too slightly and grudgingly. I know that we do too little
for it, and expect it, thereupon, to do too much for us. I know that, in
other pursuits, it is only work thoroughly well done that is liberally
compensated; and I see no reason why farming should prove an exception
to this stern but salutary law. I may be, indeed, deficient in knowledge
of what constitutes good farming, but not in faith that the very best
farming is that which is morally sure of the largest and most certain

I hope to be generally accorded the merit of having set forth the little
I pretend to know in language that few can fail to understand. I have
avoided, so far as I could, the use of terms and distinctions unfamiliar
to the general ear. The little I know of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen,
&c., I have kept to myself; since whatever I might say of them would be
useless to those already acquainted with the elementary truths of
Chemistry, and only perplexing to others. If there is a paragraph in the
following pages which will not be readily and fully understood by an
average school-boy of fifteen years, then I have failed to make that
paragraph as simple and lucid as I intended.

Many farmers are dissuaded from following the suggestions of writers on
agriculture by the consideration of expense. They urge that, though men
of large wealth may (perhaps) profitably do what is recommended, their
means are utterly inadequate: they might as well be urged to work their
oxen in a silver yoke with gold bows. I have aimed to commend mainly, if
not uniformly, such improvements only on our grandfathers' husbandry as
a farmer worth $1,000, or over, may adopt--not all at once, but
gradually, and from year to year. I hope I shall thus convince some
farmers that draining, irrigation, deep plowing, heavy fertilizing, &c.,
are not beyond their power, as so many have too readily presumed and
pronounced them.

That I should say very little, and that little vaguely, of the breeding
and raising of animals, the proper time to sow or plant, &c., &c., can
need no explanation. By far the larger number of those whose days have
mainly been given to farming, know more than I do of these details, and
are better authority than I am with regard to them. On the other hand, I
have traveled extensively, and not heedlessly, and have seen and
pondered certain broader features of the earth's improvement and tillage
which many stay-at-home cultivators have had little or no opportunity to
study or even observe. By restricting the topics with which I deal, the
probability of treating some of them to the average farmer's profit is

And, whatever may be his judgment on this slight work, I _know_ that, if
I could have perused one of like tenor half a century ago, when I was a
patient worker and an eager reader in my father's humble home, my
subsequent career would have been less anxious and my labors less
exhausting than they have been. Could I then have caught but a glimpse
of the beneficent possibilities of a farmer's life--could I have
realized that he is habitually (even though blindly) dealing with
problems which require and reward the amplest knowledge of Nature's
laws, the fullest command of science, the noblest efforts of the human
intellect, I should have since pursued the peaceful, unobtrusive round
of an enthusiastic and devoted, even though not an eminent or fortunate,
tiller of the soil. Even the little that is unfolded in the ensuing
pages would have sufficed to give me a far larger, truer, nobler
conception of what the farmer of moderate means might and should be,
than I then attained. I needed to realize that observation and
reflection, study and mental acquisition, are as essential and as
serviceable in his pursuit as in others, and that no man can have
acquired so much general knowledge that a farmer's exigencies will not
afford scope and use for it all. I abandoned the farm, because I fancied
that I had already perceived, if I had not as yet clearly comprehended,
all there was in the farmer's calling; whereas, I had not really learned
much more of it than a good plow-horse ought to understand. And, though
great progress has been made since then, there are still thousands of
boys, in this enlightened age and conceited generation, who have
scarcely a more adequate and just conception of agriculture than I then
had. If I could hope to reach even one in every hundred of this class,
and induce him to ponder, impartially, the contents of this slight
volume, I know that I shall not have written it in vain.

We need to mingle more thought with our work. Some think till their
heads ache intensely; others work till their backs are crooked to the
semblance of half an iron hoop; but the workers and the thinkers are apt
to be distinct classes; whereas, they should be the same. Admit that it
has always been thus, it by no means follows that it always should or
shall be. In an age when every laborer's son may be fairly educated if
he will, there should be more fruit gathered from the tree of knowledge
to justify the magnificent promise of its foliage and its bloom. I
rejoice in the belief that the graduates of our common schools are
better ditch-diggers, when they can no otherwise employ themselves to
better advantage, than though they knew not how to read; but that is not
enough. If the untaught peasantry of Russia or Hungary grow more wheat
per acre than the comparatively educated farmers of the United States,
our education is found wanting. That is a vicious and defective if not
radically false mental training which leaves its subject no better
qualified for any useful calling than though he were unlettered. But I
forbear to pursue this ever-fruitful theme.

I look back, on this day completing my sixtieth year, over a life, which
must now be near its close, of constant effort to achieve ends whereof
many seem in the long retrospect to have been transitory and
unimportant, however they may have loomed upon my vision when in their
immediate presence. One achievement only of our age and country--the
banishment of human chattelhood from our soil--seems now to have been
worth all the requisite efforts, the agony and bloody sweat, through
which it was accomplished. But another reform, not so palpably demanded
by justice and humanity, yet equally conducive to the well-being of our
race, presses hard on its heels, and insists that we shall accord it
instant and earnest consideration. It is the elevation of Labor from the
plane of drudgery and servility to one of self-respect, self-guidance,
and genuine independence, so as to render the human worker no mere cog
in a vast, revolving wheel, whose motion he can neither modify nor
arrest, but a partner in the enterprise which his toil is freely
contributed to promote, a sharer in the outlay, the risk, the loss and
gain, which it involves. This end can be attained through the training
of the generation who are to succeed us to observe and reflect, to live
for other and higher ends than those of present sensual gratification,
and to feel that no achievement is beyond the reach of their wisely
combined and ably self-directed efforts. To that part of the generation
of farmers just coming upon the stage of responsible action, who have
intelligently resolved that the future of American agriculture shall
evince decided and continuous improvement on its past, this little book
is respectfully commended.

  H. G.

  _New York, Feb. 3, 1871._




I commence my essays with this question, because, when I urge the
superior advantages of a rural life, I am often met by the objection
that _Farming doesn't pay_. That, if true, is a serious matter. Let us

I do not understand it to be urged that the farmer who owns a large,
fertile estate, well-fenced, well-stocked, with good store of effective
implements, cannot live and thrive by farming. What is meant is, that he
who has little but two brown hands to depend upon cannot make money, or
can make very little, by farming.

I think those who urge this point have a very inadequate conception of
the difficulty encountered by every poor young man in securing a good
start in life, no matter in what pursuit. I came to New-York when not
quite of age, with a good constitution, a fair common-school education,
good health, good habits, and a pretty fair trade--(that of printer.) I
think my outfit for a campaign against adverse fortune was decidedly
better than the average; yet ten long years elapsed before it was
settled that I could remain here and make any decided headway. Meantime,
I drank no liquors, used no tobacco, attended no balls or other
expensive entertainments, worked hard and long whenever I could find
work to do, lost less than a month altogether by sickness, and did very
little in the way of helping others. I judge that quite as many did
worse than I as did better; and that, of the young lawyers and doctors
who try to establish themselves here in their professions, quite as many
earn less as earn more than their bare board during the first ten years
of their struggle.

John Jacob Astor, near the close of a long, diligent, prosperous career,
wherein he amassed a large fortune, is said to have remarked that, if he
were to begin life again, and had to choose between making his first
thousand dollars with nothing to start on, or with that thousand making
all that he had actually accumulated, he would deem the latter the
easier task. Depend upon it, young men, it is and must be hard work to
earn honestly your first thousand dollars. The burglar, the forger, the
blackleg (whether he play with cards, with dice, or with stocks), may
seem to have a quick and easy way of making a thousand dollars; but
whoever makes that sum honestly, with nothing but his own capacities and
energies as capital, does a very good five-years' work, and may deem
himself fortunate if he finishes it so soon.

I _have_ known men do better, even at farming. I recollect one who, with
no capital but a good wife and four or five hundred dollars, bought
(near Boston) a farm of two hundred mainly rough acres, for $2,500, and
paid for it out of its products within the next five years, during which
he had nearly doubled its value. I lost sight of him then; but I have
not a doubt that, if he lived fifteen years longer and had no very bad
luck, he was worth, as the net result of twenty years' effort, at least
$100,000. But this man would rise at four o'clock of a winter morning,
harness his span of horses and hitch them to his large market-wagon
(loaded over night), drive ten miles into Boston, unload and load back
again, be home at fair breakfast-time, and, hastily swallowing his meal,
be fresh as a daisy for his day's work, in which he would lead his hired
men, keeping them clear of the least danger of falling asleep. Such men
are rare, but they still exist, proving scarcely anything impossible to
an indomitable will. I would not advise any to work so unmercifully; I
seek only to enforce the truth that great achievements are within the
reach of whoever will pay their price.

An energetic farmer bought, some twenty-five years ago, a large grazing
farm in Northern Vermont, consisting of some 150 acres, and costing him
about $3,000. He had a small stock of cattle, which was all his land
would carry; but he resolved to increase that stock by at least ten per
cent. per annum, and to so improve his land by cultivation, fertilizing,
clover, &c., that it would amply carry that increase. Fifteen years
later, he sold out farm and stock for $45,000, and migrated to the West.
I did not understand that he was a specially hard worker, but only a
good manager, who kept his eyes wide open, let nothing go to waste, and
steadily devoted his energies and means to the improvement of his stock
and his farm.

Walking one day over the farm of the late Prof. Mapes, he showed me a
field of rather less than ten acres, and said, "I bought that field for
$2,400, a year ago last September. There was then a light crop of corn
on it, which the seller reserved and took away. I underdrained the field
that Fall, plowed and sub-soiled it, fertilized it liberally, and
planted it with cabbage; and, when these matured, I sold them for enough
to pay for land, labor, and fertilizers, altogether." The field was now
worth far more than when he bought it, and he had cleared it within
fifteen months from the date of its purchase. I consider that a good
operation. Another year, the crop might have been poor, or might have
sold much lower, so as hardly to pay for the labor; but there are risks
in other pursuits as well as in farming.

A fruit-farmer, on the Hudson above Newburg, showed me, three years
since, a field of eight or ten acres which he had nicely set with
Grapes, in rows ten feet apart, with beds of Strawberries between the
rows, from which he assured me that his sales per acre exceeded $700 per
annum. I presume his outlay for labor, including picking, was less than
$300 per annum; but it had cost something, to make this field what it
then was. Say that he had spent $1,000 per acre in underdraining,
enriching and tilling this field, to bring it to this condition,
including the cost of his plants, and still there must have been a clear
profit here of at least $300 per acre.

I might multiply illustrations; but let the foregoing suffice. I readily
admit that shiftless farming doesn't pay--that poor crops don't pay--that
it is hard work to make money by farming without some capital--that
frost, or hail, or drouth, or floods, or insects, may blast the farmer's
hopes, after he has done his best to deserve and achieve success; but I
insist that, as a general proposition, GOOD _Farming_ DOES _pay_--that
few pursuits afford as good a prospect, as full an assurance, of reward
for intelligent, energetic, persistent effort, as this does.

I am not arguing that every man should be a farmer. Other vocations are
useful and necessary, and many pursue them with advantage to themselves
and to others. But those pursuits are apt to be modified by time, and
some of them may yet be entirely dispensed with, which Farming never can
be. It is the first and most essential of human pursuits; it is every
one's interest that this calling should be honored and prosperous. If
not adequately recompensed, I judge that is because it is not wisely and
energetically followed. My aim is to show how it may be pursued with
satisfaction and profit.



Necessity is the master of us all. A farmer may be as strenuous for deep
plowing as I am--may firmly believe that the soil should be thoroughly
broken up and pulverized to a depth of fifteen to thirty inches,
according to the crop; but, if all the team he can muster is a yoke of
thin, light steers, or a span of old, spavined horses, which have not
even a speaking acquaintance with grain, what shall he do? So he may
heartily wish he had a thousand loads of barn-yard manure, and know how
to make a good use of every ounce of it; but, if he has it not, and is
not able to buy it, he can't always afford to forbear sowing and
planting, and so, because he cannot secure great crops, do without any
crops at all. If he does the best he can, what better _can_ he do?

Again: Many farmers have fields that must await the pleasure of Nature
to fit them for thorough cultivation. Here is a field--sometimes a whole
farm--which, if partially divested of the primitive forest, is still
thickly dotted with obstinate stumps and filled with green, tenacious
roots, which could only be removed at a heavy, perhaps ruinous, cost. A
rich man might order them all dug out in a month, and see his order
fully obeyed; but, except to clear a spot for a garden or under very
peculiar circumstances, it would not pay; and a poor man cannot afford
to incur a heavy expense merely for appearance's sake, or to make a
theatrical display of energy. In the great majority of cases, he who
farms for a living can't afford to pull green stumps, but must put his
newly-cleared land into grass at the earliest day, mow the smoother,
pasture the rougher portions of it, and wait for rain and drouth, heat
and frost, to rot his stumps until they can easily be pulled or burned
out as they stand.

So with regard to a process I detest, known as Pasturing. I do firmly
believe that the time is at hand when nearly all the food of cattle
will, in our Eastern and Middle States, be cut and fed to them--that we
can't afford much longer, even if we can at present, to let than roam at
will over hill and dale, through meadow and forest, biting off the
better plants and letting the worse go to seed; often poaching up the
soft, wet soil, especially in Spring, so that their hoofs destroy as
much as they eat; nipping and often killing in their infancy the finest
trees, such as the Sugar Maple, and leaving only such as Hemlock, Red
Oak, Beech, &c., to attain maturity. Our race generally emerged from
savageism and squalor into industry, comfort and thrift, through the
Pastoral condition--the herding, taming, rearing and training of
animals being that department of husbandry to which barbarians are most
easily attracted: hence, we cling to Pasturing long after the reason for
it has vanished. The radical, incurable vice of Pasturing--that of
devouring the better plants and leaving the worse to ripen and diffuse
seed--can never be wholly obviated; and I deem it safe to estimate that
almost any farm will carry twice as much stock if their food be mainly
cut and fed to them as it will if they are required to pick it up where
and as it grows or grew. I am sure that the general adoption of Soiling
instead of Pasturing will add immensely to the annual product, to the
wealth, and to the population, of our older States. And yet, I know
right well that many farms are now so rough and otherwise so unsuited to
Soiling as to preclude its adoption thereon for many years to come.

Let me indicate what I mean by Good Farming, through an illustration
drawn from the Great West:

All over the settled portions of the Valley of the Upper Mississippi and
the Missouri, there are large and small herds of cattle that are
provided with little or no shelter. The lee of a fence or stack, the
partial protection of a young and leafless wood, they may chance to
enjoy; but that it is a ruinous waste to leave than a prey to biting
frosts and piercing north-westers, their owners seem not to comprehend.
Many farmers far above want will this Winter feed out fields of Corn and
stacks of Hay to herds of cattle that will not be one pound heavier on
the 1st of next May than they were on the 1st of last December--who
will have required that fodder merely to preserve their vitality and
escape freezing to death. It has mainly been employed as fuel rather
than as nourishment, and has served, not to put on flesh, but to keep
out frost.

Now I am familiar with the excuses for this waste; but they do not
satisfy me. The poorest pioneer might have built for his one cow a rude
shelter of stakes, and poles, and straw or prairie-grass, if he had
realized its importance, simply in the light of economy. He who has many
cattle is rarely without both straw and timber, and might shelter his
stock abundantly if he only would. Nay, he could not have neglected or
omitted it if he had clearly understood that his beasts must somehow be
supplied with heat, and that he can far cheaper warm them from without
than from within.

The broad, general, unquestionable truths, on which I insist in behalf
of Good Farming are these; and I do not admit that they are subject to

I. It is very rarely impracticable to grow good crops, if you are
willing to work for them. If your land is too poor to grow Wheat or
Corn, and you are not yet able to enrich it, sow Rye or Buckwheat; if
you cannot coax it to grow a good crop of anything, let it alone; and,
if you cannot run away from it, work out by the day or month for your
more fortunate neighbors. The time and means squandered in trying to
grow crops, where only half or quarter crops can be made, constitute
the heaviest item on the wrong side of our farmers' balance-sheets;
taxing them more than their National, State, and local governments
together do.

II. Good crops rarely fail to yield a profit to the grower. I know there
are exceptions, but they are very few. Keep your eye on the farmer who
almost uniformly has great Grass, good Wheat, heavy Corn, &c., and,
unless he drinks, or has some other bad habit, you will find him growing
rich. I am confident that white blackbirds are nearly as abundant as
farmers who have become poor while usually growing good crops.

III. The fairest single test of good farming is the increasing
productiveness of the soil. That farm which averaged twenty bushels of
grain to the acre twenty years ago, twenty-five bushels ten years ago,
and will measure up thirty bushels to the acre from this year's crop,
has been and is in good hands. I know no other touchstone of Farming so
unerring as that of the increase or decrease from year to year of its
aggregate product. If you would convince me that X. is a good farmer, do
not tell me of some great crop he has just grown, but show me that his
crop has regularly increased from year to year, and I am satisfied.

--I shall have more to say on these points as I proceed. It suffices for
the present if I have clearly indicated what I mean by Good and what by
Bad Farming.



When my father was over sixty years old, and had lived some twenty years
in Erie County, Pennsylvania, he said to me: "I have several times
removed, and always toward the West; I shall never remove again; but,
were I to do so, it would be toward the East. Experience has taught me
that the advantages of every section are counterbalanced by
disadvantages, and that, where any crop is easily produced, there it
sells low, and sometimes cannot be sold at all. I shall live and die
right here; but, were I to remove again, it would not be toward the

This is but one side of a truth, and I give it for whatever it may be
worth. Had my father plunged into the primitive forest in his
twenty-fifth rather than his forty-fifth year, he would doubtless have
become more reconciled to pioneer life than he ever did. I would advise
no one over forty years of age to undertake, with scanty means, to dig a
farm out of the dense forest, where great trees must be cut down and cut
up, rolled into log-heaps, and hurried to ashes where they grew. Where
half the timber can be sold for enough to pay the cost of cutting, the
case is different; but I know right well that digging a farm out of the
high woods is, to any but a man of wealth, a slow, hard task. Making one
out of naked prairie, five to ten miles from timber, is less difficult,
but not much. He who can locate where he has good timber on one side and
rich prairie on the other is fortunate, and may hope, if his health be
spared, to surround himself with every needed comfort within ten years.
Still, the pioneer's life is a rugged one, especially for women and
children; and I should advise any man who is worth $2,000 and has a
family, to buy out an "improvement" (which, in most cases, badly needs
improving) on the outskirt of civilization, rather than plunge into the
pathless forest or push out upon the unbroken prairie. I rejoice that
our Public Lands are free to actual settlers; I believe that many are
thereby enabled to make for themselves homes who otherwise would have
nothing to leave their children; yet I much prefer a home within the
boundaries of civilization to one clearly beyond them. There is a class
of drinking, hunting, frolicking, rarely working, frontiersmen, who seem
to have been created on purpose to erect log cabins and break paths in
advance of a different class of settlers, who regularly come in to buy
them out and start them along after a few years. I should here prefer to
follow rather than lead. If Co-operation shall ever be successfully
applied to the improvement of wild lands, I trust it may be otherwise.

He who has a farm already, and is content with it, has no reason to ask,
"Whither shall I go?" and he may rest assured that thoroughly good
farming will pay as well in New England as in Kansas or in Minnesota. I
advise no man who has a good farm anywhere, and is able to keep it, to
sell and migrate. I know men who make money by growing food within
twenty miles of this city quite as fast as they could in the West. If
you have money to buy and work it, and know how to make the most of it,
I believe you may find land really as cheap, all things considered, in
Vermont as in Wisconsin or Arkansas.

And yet I believe in migration--believe that there are thousands in the
Eastern and the Middle States who would improve their circumstances and
prospects by migrating to the cheaper lands and broader opportunities of
the West and South. For, in the first place, most men are by migration
rendered more energetic and aspiring; thrown among strangers, they feel
the necessity of exertion as they never felt it before. Needing almost
everything, and obliged to rely wholly on themselves, they work in their
new homes as they never did in their old; and the consequences are soon
visible all around them.

"A stern chase is a long chase," say the sailors; and he who buys a farm
mainly on credit, intending to pay for it out of its proceeds, finds
interest, taxes, sickness, bad seasons, hail, frost, drouth, tornadoes,
floods, &c., &c., deranging his calculations and impeding his progress,
until he is often impelled to give up in despair. There are men who can
surmount every obstacle and defy discouragement--these need no advice;
but there are thousands who, having little means and large families, can
grow into a good farm more easily and far more surely than they can pay
for it; and these may wisely seek homes where population is yet sparse
and land is consequently cheap. Doubtless, some migrate who might better
have forborne; yet the instinct which draws our race toward sunset is
nevertheless a true one. The East will not be depopulated; but the West
will grow more rapidly in the course of the next twenty years than ever
in the past. The Railroads which have brought Kansas and Minnesota
within three days, and California within a week of us, have rendered
this inevitable.

But the South also invites immigration as she never did till now. Her
lands are still very cheap; she is better timbered, in the average, than
the West; her climate attracts; her unopened mines and unused
water-power call loudly for enterprise, labor and skill. It is absurd to
insist that her soil is exhausted when not one-third of it has ever yet
been plowed. I do not advise solitary migration to the South, because
she needs schools, mills, roads, bridges, churches, &c., &c., which the
solitary immigrant can neither provide nor well do without: and I have
no assurance that he, if obliged to work out for present bread, would
find those ready to employ and willing to pay him; but let a hundred
Northern farmers and mechanics worth $1,000 to $3,000 each combine to
select (through chosen agents) and buy ten or twenty thousand acres in
some Southern State, embracing hill and vale, timber and tillage,
water-power and minerals, and divide it equitably among themselves,
after laying it out with roads, a park, a village-plat, sites for
churches, schools, &c., and I am confident that they can thus make
pleasant homes more cheaply and speedily there than almost anywhere

Good farming land, improved or unimproved, is this day cheaper in the
United States, all things considered, than in any other country--cheaper
than it can long remain. So many are intent on short cuts to riches that
the soil is generally neglected, and may be bought amazingly cheap in
parts of Connecticut as well as in Iowa or Nebraska. When I was last in
Illinois, I rode for some hours beside a gray-coated farmer of some
sixty years, who told me this: "I came here thirty years ago, and took
up, at $1-1/4 per acre, a good tract of land, mainly in timber. I am now
selling off the timber at $100 per acre, reserving the land." That seems
to me a good operation--not so quick as a corner in the stock-market,
but far safer. And, while I would advise no man to incur debt, I say
most earnestly to all who have means, "Look out the place where you
would prefer to live and die; take time to suit yourself thoroughly;
choose it with reference to your means, your calling, your expectations,
and, if you can pay for it, _buy_ it. Do not imagine that land is cheap
in the West or the South only; it is to be found cheap in _every_ State
by those who are able to own and who know how to use it."

I earnestly trust that the obvious advantages of settling in colonies
are to be widely and rapidly improved by our people, nearly as follows:
One thousand heads of families unite to form a colony, contribute $100
to $500 each to defray the cost of seeking out and securing a suitable
location, and send out two or three of the most capable and trustworthy
of their number to find and purchase it; and now let their lands be
surveyed and divided into village or city lots at or near the center,
larger allotments (for mechanics' and merchants' homes) surrounding that
center, and far larger (for farms) outside of these; and let each
member, on or soon after his arrival, select a village-lot, out-lot,
farm, or one of each if he chooses and can pay for them. Let ample
reservations of the best sites for churches, school-houses, a town hall,
public park, etc., be made in laying out the village, and let each
purchaser of a lot or farm be required to plant shade-trees along the
highways which skirt or traverse it. If irrigation by common effort be
deemed necessary, let provision be made for that. Run up a large, roomy
structure for a family hotel or boarding-house; and now invite each
stockholder to come on, select his land, pay for it, and get up some
sort of a dwelling, leaving his family to follow when this shall have
been rendered habitable; but, if they insist on coming on with him and
taking their chances, so be it.



I write mainly for beginners--for young persons, and some not so young,
who are looking to farming as the vocation to which their future years
are to be given, by which their living is to be gained. In this chapter,
I would counsel young men, who, not having been reared in personal
contact with the daily and yearly round of a farmer's cares and duties,
purpose henceforth to live by farming.

To these I would earnestly say, "No haste!" Our boys are in too great a
hurry to be men. They want to be bosses before they have qualified
themselves to be efficient journeymen. I have personally known several
instances of young men, fresh from school or from some city vocation,
buying or hiring a farm and undertaking to work it; and I cannot now
recall a single instance in which the attempt has succeeded; while
speedy failure has been the usual result. The assumption that farming is
a rude, simple matter, requiring little intellect and less experience,
has buried many a well-meaning youth under debts which the best efforts
of many subsequent years will barely enable him to pay off. In my
opinion, half our farmers now living would say, if questioned, that they
might better have waited longer before buying or hiring a farm.

When I was ten years old, my father took a job of clearing off the
mainly fallen and partially rotten timber--largely White Pine and Black
Ash--from fifty acres of level and then swampy land; and he and his two
boys gave most of the two ensuing years (1821-2) to the rugged task.
When it was finished, I--a boy of twelve years--could have taken just
such a tract of half-burned primitive forest as that was when we took
hold of it, and cleared it by an expenditure of seventy to eighty per
cent. of the labor we actually bestowed upon that. I had learned, in
clearing this, how to economize labor in any future undertaking of the
kind; and so every one learns by experience who steadily observes and
reflects. He must have been a very good farmer at the start, or a very
poor one afterward, who cannot grow a thousand bushels of grain much
cheaper at thirty years of age than he could at twenty.

To every young man who has had no farming experience, or very little,
yet who means to make farming his vocation, I say, Hire out, for the
coming year, to the very best farmer who will give you anything like the
value of your labor. Buy a very few choice books, (if you have them not
already,) which treat of Geology, Chemistry, Botany, and the application
of their truths in Practical Agriculture; give to these the close and
thoughtful attention of your few leisure hours; keep your eyes wide
open, and set down in a note-book or pocket-diary each night a minute of
whatever has been done on the farm that day, making a note of each
storm, shower, frost, hail, etc., and also of the date at which each
planted crop requires tillage or is ripe enough to harvest, and
ascertaining, so far as possible, what each crop produced on the farm
has cost, and which of them all are produced at a profit and which at a
loss. At the year's end, hire again to the same or another good farmer
and pursue the same course; and so do till you shall be twenty-four or
twenty-five years of age, which is young enough to marry, and quite
young enough to undertake the management of a farm. By this time, if you
have carefully saved and wisely invested your earnings, you will have
several hundred dollars; and, if you do not choose to migrate to some
region where land is very cheap, you will have found some one willing to
sell you a small farm on credit, taking a long mortgage as security.
Your money--assuming that you have only what you will have earned--will
all be wanted to fix up your building, buy a team and cow, with the few
implements needed, and supply you with provisions till you can grow
some. If you can start thus experienced and full-handed, you may, by
diligence, combined with good fortune, begin to make payments on your
mortgage at the close of your second year.

I hate debt as profoundly as any one can, but I do not consider this
really running into debt. One has more land than he needs, and does not
need his pay for it forthwith; another wants land, but lacks the means
of present payment. They two enter into an agreement mutually
advantageous, whereby the poorer has the present use and ultimate
fee-simple of the farm in question, in consideration of the payment of
certain sums as duly stipulated. Technically, the buyer becomes a
debtor; practically, I do not regard him as such, until payments fall
due which he is unable promptly to meet. Let him rigorously avoid all
other debt, and he need not shrink from nor be ashamed of this.

I have a high regard for scientific attainments; I wish every young man
were thoroughly instructed in the sciences which underlie the art of
farming. But all the learning on earth, though it may powerfully help to
make a good farmer, would not of itself make one. When a young man has
learned all that seminaries and lectures, books and cabinets, can teach
him, he still needs practice and experience to make him a good farmer.

--"But wouldn't you have a young man study in order that he may become a
good farmer?"

--If he has money, Yes. I believe a youth worth four or five thousand
dollars may wisely spend a tenth of his means in attending lectures, and
even courses of study, at any good seminary where Natural Science is
taught and applied to Agriculture. But life is short at best; and he who
has no means, or very little, cannot really afford to attend even an
Agricultural College. He can acquire so much of Science as is
indispensable in the cheaper way I have indicated. He cannot wisely
consent to spend the best years of his life in getting ready to live.

He who has already mastered the art of farming, and has adequate means,
may of course buy a farm to-morrow, though he be barely or not quite of
age. He has little to learn from me. Yet I think even such have often
concluded, in after years, that they were too hasty in buying land--that
they might profitably have waited, and deliberated, and garnered the
treasures of experience, before they took the grave step of buying their
future home; with regard to which I shall make some suggestions in my
next chapter.

But I protest against a young man's declining or postponing the purchase
of a farm merely because he is not able to buy a great one. Twenty acres
of arable soil near a city or manufacturing village, forty acres in a
rural district of any old State, or eighty acres in a region just
beginning to be peopled by White men, is an ample area for any one who
is worth less than $2,000. If he understands his business, he will find
profitable employment hereon for every working hour: if he does not
understand farming, he will buy his experience dear enough on this, yet
more cheaply than he would on a wider area. Until he shall have more
money than he needs, let him beware of buying more land than he
absolutely wants.



No one need be told at this day that good land is cheaper than
poor--that the former may be bought at less cost than it can be made.
Yet this, like most truths, may be given undue emphasis. It should be
considered in the light of the less obvious truth that _Every farmer may
make advantageous use of_ SOME _poor land_. The smallest farm
should have its strip or belt of forest; the larger should have an
abundance and variety of trees; and sterile, stony land grows many if
not most trees thriftily: Even at the risk of arousing Western
prejudice, I maintain that New-England, and all broken, hilly, rocky
countries, have a decided advantage (abundantly counterbalanced, no
doubt) over regions of great fertility and nearly uniform facility, in
that human stupidity and mole-eyed greed can never wholly divest them of
forests--that their sterile crags and steep acclivities must mainly be
left to wood forever. Avarice may strip them of their covering of
to-day; but, defying the plow and the spade, they cannot be so denuded
that they will not be speedily reclothed with trees and foliage.

I am not a believer that "Five Acres" or "Ten Acres" suffice for a farm.
I know where money is made on even fewer than five acres; but they who
do it are few, and men of exceptional capacity and diligence. Their
achievements are necessarily confined to the vicinage of cities or
manufacturing villages. The great majority of all who live by
Agriculture want room to turn upon--want to grow grass and keep
stock--and, for such, no mere garden or potato-patch will answer. They
want genuine farms.

Yet, go where you may in this country, you will hear a farmer saying of
his neighbor, "He has too much land," even where the criticism might
justly be reciprocated. We cannot all be mistaken on this head.

There are men who can each manage thousands of acres of tillage, just as
there are those who can skillfully wield an army of a hundred thousand
men. Napoleon said there were two of this class in the Europe of his
day. There are others who cannot handle a hundred acres so that nothing
is lost through neglect or oversight. Rules must be adapted to average
capacities and circumstances. He who expects to live by cattle-rearing
needs many more acres than he who is intent on grain-growing; while he
who contemplates vegetable, root, and fruit culture, needs fewer acres
still. As to the direction of his efforts, each one will be a law unto

If I were asked, by a young man intent on farming, to indicate the
proper area for him, I would say, _Buy just so large a farm as half
your means will pay for_. In other words, "If you are worth $20,000,
invest half of it in land, the residue in stock, tools, etc.; and
observe the same rule of proportion, whether you be worth $1,000,000 or
only $1,000. If you are worth just nothing at all, I would invest in
land the half of that, and no more. In other words, I would either wait
to earn $500 or over, or push Westward till I found land that costs
practically nothing."

This, then, I take to be the gist of the popular criticism on our
farmers as having unduly enlarged their borders: _They have more land
than they have capital to stock and till to the best advantage._ He who
has but fifty acre has too much if he lets part of his land lie idle and
unproductive for lack of team or hands to till it efficiently; while he
who has a thousand acres has none too much if he has the means and
talents wherewith to make the best of it all.

I have said that I consider the soil of New England as cheap, all things
considered, for him who is able to buy and work it, as that of Minnesota
or Arkansas--that I urge migration to the West only upon those who
cannot pay for farms in the old States. I doubt whether the farmers of
any other section have, in the average, done better, throughout the last
ten years, than the butter-makers of Vermont, the cheese-dairymen of
this State. And yet there is, in the ridgy, rocky, _patchy_ character of
most of our Eastern farms, an insuperable barrier to the most economic,
effective cultivation. If the ridges were further apart--if each rocky
or gravelly knoll were not in close proximity to a strip of bog or
morass--it would be different. But the genius of our age points
unmistakably to cultivation by steam or some other mechanical
application of power; and this requires spacious fields, with few or no
obstacles to the equable progress of the plow. I apprehend that, for
this reason, the growth of bread-corn eastward of the Hudson can never
more be considerably extended, so long as the boundless, fertile
prairies can so easily pour their exhaustless supplies upon us. Fruits,
Vegetables, Roots and Grass, we must continue to grow, probably in
ever-increasing abundance; but we of the East will buy our bread-corn
largely if not mainly from the West.

He, therefore, who bays land in the Eastern States should regard
primarily its capacity to produce those crops in which the East can
never be supplanted--Grass, Fruits, Vegetables, Timber. If a farm will
also produce good Corn or Wheat, that is a recommendation; but let him
place a higher value on those capacities which will be more generally
required and drawn upon.

In the West, the case is different; for, though Wheat-culture still
recedes before the footsteps of advancing population, and Minnesota may
soon cease to grow for others, as Western New-York, Ohio, Indiana, and
Northern Illinois, have already done, yet Indian Corn, being the basis
of both Beef and Pork, will long hold its own in the Valley of the Ohio
and in that of the Upper Mississippi. As it recedes slowly Westward,
Clover and Timothy, Butter and Cheese, will press closely on its

Good neighbors, good roads, good schools, good mechanics at hand, and a
good church within reach, will always be valued and sought: few farmers
are likely to disregard them. Let whoever buys a farm whereon to live,
resolve to buy once for all, and let him not forget that health is not
only wealth but happiness--that an eligible location and a beautiful
prospect are elements of enjoyment not only for ourselves but our
friends; let him not fancy that all the land will soon be gobbled up and
held at exorbitant prices, but believe that money will almost always
command money's worth of whatever may be needed, so that he need not
embarrass himself to-day through fear that he may not be able to find
sellers to-morrow, and he can hardly fail to buy judiciously, and thus
escape that worst species of home-sickness--sickness of home.



Whoever finds himself the newly installed owner and occupant of a farm,
should, before doing much beyond growing a crop in the ordinary way,
study well its character, determine its capacities, make himself well
acquainted with its peculiarities of soil and surface, with intent to
make the most of it in his future operations. I would devote at least a
year to this thoughtful observation and study.

To one reared amid the rugged scenery of New-England; or on either slope
of the Allegheny ridge, all prairie farms look alike, just as a European
supposes this to be the case with all negroes. A better acquaintance
will show the average prairie quarter-section by no means an unbroken
meadow, "level as a house-floor," but diversified by water-courses,
"sloughs," and gentle acclivities--sometimes by considerable ravines and
"barrens" or elevated "swales," thinly covered with timber, or brush, or
both. But I will contemplate more especially a Northern farm, made up of
hill and vale or glade, rocky ridge and skirting bog or other low land,
with a wood-lot on the rear or not far distant, and clumps or belts of
timber irregularly lining brook and ravine, or lurking in the angles and
sinuosities of walls and wooden fences, and a ragged, mossy orchard
sheltered in some quiet nook, or sprawling over some gravelly hill-side.
A brook, nearly dry in August, gurgles down the hill-side or winds
through the swamp; while fields, moderately sloping here and nearly
level there, interposed as they can be, have severally been devoted, for
a generation or more, alternately to Grain and Grass--the latter largely
preponderating. We will suppose this farm to measure from 50 to 150

Now, the young man who has bought or inherited this farm may be wholly
and consciously unable to enter upon any expensive system of improvement
for the next ten years--may fully realize that four or five days of each
week must meantime be given to the growing or earning of present
bread--yet he should none the less study well the capacities and
adaptations of each acre, and mature a comprehensive plan for the
ultimate bringing of each field into the best and most useful condition
whereof it is susceptible, before he cuts a living tree or digs a
solitary drain. He is morally certain of doing something--perhaps many
things--that he will sadly wish undone, if he fails to study
peculiarities and mature a plan before he begins to improve or to fit
his several fields for profitable cultivation.

And the first selection to be made is that of a pasture, since I am
compelled to use an old, familiar name for what should be essentially a
new thing. This pasture should be as near the center of the farm as may
be, and convenient to the barns and barn-yard that are to be. It should
have some shade, but no very young trees; should be dry and rolling,
with an abundance of the purest living water. The smaller this
pasture-lot may be, the better I shall like it, provided you fence it
very stoutly, connect it with the barn-yard by a lane if they are not in
close proximity, and firmly resolve that, outside of this lot, this
lane, this yard and the adjacent stable, your cattle shall never be
seen, unless on the road to market. Very possibly, the day may come
wherein you will decide to dispense with pasturing altogether; but that
is, for the present, improbable. _One_ pasture you will have; if you
live in the broad West, and purpose to graze extensively, it will
doubtless be a large one; but permitting your stock to ramble in Spring
and Fall all over your own fields--(and perhaps your neighbors'
also)--in quest of their needful food, biting off the tops of the finer
young trees, trampling down or breaking off some that are older, rubbing
the bark off of your growing fruit-trees, and doing damage that years
will be required to repair, I most vehemently protest against.

The one great error that misleads and corrupts mankind is the
presumption that _something may be had for nothing_. The average farmer
imagines that whatever of flesh or of milk may accrue to him from the
food his cattle obtain by browsing over his fields or through his
woods, is so much clear gain--that they do the needful work, while he
pockets the net proceeds. But the universe was framed on a plan which
requires so much for so much; and this law will not submit to defiance
or evasion. Under the unnatural, exceptional conditions which environ
the lone squatter on a vast prairie, something may be made by turning
cattle loose and letting them shift for themselves; but this is at best
transitory, and at war with the exigencies of civilization. Whoever
lives within sight of a school-house, or within hearing of a
church-bell, is under the dominion of a law alike inexorable and
beneficent--the law that requires each to pay for all he gets, and reap
only where he has sown.

You can hardly have a pasture so small that it will not afford
hospitality to weeds and prove a source of multiform infestations. The
plants that should mature and be diffused will be kept down to the
earth; those which should be warred upon and eradicated will flourish
untouched, ripen their seed, and diffuse it far and wide. Thistles,
White Daisy, and every plant that impedes tillage and diminishes crops,
are nourished and diffused by means of pastures.

I hold, therefore, that the good farmer will run a mowing-machine over
his pasture twice each Summer--say early in June, and then late in
July--or, if his lot be too rough for this, will have it clipped at
least once with a scythe. Cutting all manner of worthless if not noxious
plants in the blossom, will benefit the soil which their seeding would
tax; it will render the eradication of weeds from your tillage a far
easier task; and it will prevent your being a nuisance to your
neighbors. I am confident that no one who has formed the habit of
keeping down the weeds in his pasture will ever abandon it.

I think each pasture should have (though mine, as yet, has not) a rude
shed or other shelter whereto the cattle may resort in case of storm or
other inclemency. How much they shrink as well as suffer from one cold,
pelting rain, few fully realize; but I am sure that "the merciful man"
who (as the Scripture says) "is merciful to his beast," finds his
humanity a good paying investment. I doubt that the rule would fail,
even in Texas; but I am contemplating civilized husbandry, not the rude
conditions of tropical semi-barbarism. If only by means of stakes and
straw, give cattle a chance to keep dry and warm when they must
otherwise shiver through a rainy, windy day and night on the cold, wet
ground, and I am sure they will pay for it.

In confining a herd of cattle to such narrow limits, I do not intend
that they shall be stinted to what grows there. On the contrary, I
expect them to be fed on Winter Rye, on Cut Grass, on Sowed Corn,
Sorghum, Stalks, Roots, etc., etc., as each shall be in season. With a
good mower, it is a light hour's work before breakfast to cut and cart
to a dozen or twenty head as much grass or corn as they will eat during
the day. But let that point stand over for the present.



I am not at all sentimental--much less mawkish--regarding the
destruction of trees. Descended from several generations of
timber-cutters (for my paternal ancestors came to America in 1640), and
myself engaged for three years in land-clearing, I realize that trees
exist for use rather than for ornament, and have no more scruple as to
cutting timber in a forest than as to cutting grass in a meadow. Utility
is the reason and end of all vegetable growth--of a hickory's no less
than a corn-stalk's. I have always considered "Woodman, spare that
tree," just about the most mawkish bit of badly versified prose in our
language, and never could guess how it should touch the sensibilities of
any one. Understand, then, that I urge the planting of trees mainly
because I believe it will _pay_, and the preservation, improvement, and
extension, of forests, for precisely that reason.

Yet I am not insensible to the beauty and grace lent by woods, and
groves, and clumps or rows of trees, to the landscape they diversify. I
feel the force of Emerson's averment, that "Beauty is its own excuse
for being," and know that a homestead embowered in, belted by, stately,
graceful elms, maples, and evergreens, is really _worth_ more, and will
sell for more, than if it were naked field and meadow. I consider it one
positive advantage (to balance many disadvantages) of our rocky, hilly,
rugged Eastern country, that it will never, in all probability, be so
denuded of forests as the rich, facile prairies and swales of the Great
Valley may be. Our winds are less piercing, our tornadoes less
destructive, than those of the Great West. I doubt whether there is
another equal area of the earth's surface whereon so many kinds of
valuable trees grow spontaneously and rapidly, defying eradication, as
throughout New England and on either slope of the Alleghenies; and this
profusion of timber and foliage may well atone for, or may be fairly
weighed against, many deficiencies and drawbacks. The Yankee, who has
been accustomed to see trees spring up spontaneously wherever they were
not kept down by ax, or plow, or scythe, and to cross running water
every half mile of a Summer day's journey, may well be made homesick, by
two thousand miles of naked, dusty, wind-swept Plains, whereon he finds
no water for fifty to a hundred miles, and knows it impossible to cut an
ax-helve, much more an axle-tree, in the course of a wearying journey.
No Eastern farmer ever realized the blessedness of abundant and
excellent wood and water until he had wandered far from his boyhood's

No one may yet be able fully to explain the inter-dependence of these
two blessings; but the fact remains. All over "the Plains," there is
evidence that trees grew and flourished where none are now found, and
that springs and streams were then frequent and abiding where none now
exist. A prominent citizen of Nevada, who explored southward from Austin
to the Colorado, assured me that his party traveled for days in the bed
of what had once been a considerable river, but in which it was evident
that no water had flowed for years. And I have heard that since the
Mormons have planted trees over considerable sections of Utah, rains in
Summer are no longer rare, and Salt Lake evinces, by a constant though
moderate increase of her volume of waters, that the equilibrium of
rain-fall with evaporation in the Great Basin has been fully
restored--or rather, that the rain-fall is now taking the lead.

I have a firm faith that all the great deserts of the Temperate and
Torrid Zones will yet be reclaimed by irrigation and tree-planting. The
bill which Congress did not pass, nor really consider, whereby it was
proposed, some years since, to give a section of the woodless Public
Lands remote from settlement to every one who, in a separate township,
would plant and cherish a quarter-section of choice forest-trees, ought
to have been passed--with modifications, perhaps, but preserving the
central idea. Had ten thousand quarter-sections, in so many different
townships of the Plains, been thus planted to timber ten to twenty
years ago, and protected from fire and devastation till now, the value
of those Plains for settlement would have been nearly or quite doubled.

A capital mistake, it seems to me, is being made by some of the dairy
farmers of our own State. One who has a hundred acres of good soil,
whereof twenty or thirty are wooded, cuts off his timber entirely,
calculating that the additional grass that he may grow in its stead will
pay for all the coal he needs for fuel, so that he will make a net gain
of the time he has hitherto devoted each Winter to cutting and hauling
wood. He does not consider how much his soil will lose in Summer
moisture, how his springs and runnels will be dried up, nor how the
sweep of harsh winds will be intensified, by baring his hill-tops and
ravines to sun and breeze so utterly. In my deliberate judgment, a farm
of one hundred acres will yield _more_ feed, with far greater uniformity
of product from year to year, if twenty acres of its ridge-crests,
ravine-sides, and rocky places, are thickly covered with timber, than if
it be swept clean of trees and all devoted to grass. Hence, I insist
that the farmer who sweeps off his wood and resolves to depend on coal
for fuel, hoping to increase permanently the product of his dairy, makes
a sad miscalculation.

Spain, Italy, and portions of France, are now suffering from the
improvidence that devoured their forests, leaving the future to take
care of itself. I presume the great empires of antiquity suffered from
the same folly, though to a much greater extent. The remains of now
extinct races who formerly peopled and tilled the central valleys of
this continent, and especially the Territory of Arizona, probably bear
witness to a similar recklessness, which is paralleled by our fathers'
and our own extermination of the magnificent forests of White Pine
which, barely a century ago, covered so large a portion of the soil of
our Northern States. Vermont sold White Pine abundantly to England
through Canada within my day: she is now supplying her own wants from
Canada at a cost of not less than five times the price she sold for; and
she will be paying still higher rates before the close of this century.
I entreat our farmers not to preserve every tree, good, bad, or
indifferent, that may happen to be growing on their lands--but, outside
of the limited districts wherein the primitive forest must still be cut
away in order that land may be obtained for cultivation, to _plant and
rear at least two better trees for every one they may be impelled to cut
down_. How this may, in the average, be most judiciously done, I will
try to indicate in the succeeding chapter.



In my judgment, the proportion of a small farm that should be constantly
devoted to trees (other than fruit) is not less than one-fourth; while,
of farms exceeding one hundred acres in area, that proportion should be
not less than one-third, and may often be profitably increased to
one-half. I am thinking of such as are in good part superficially rugged
and rocky, or sandy and sterile, such as New-England, eastern New-York,
northern New-Jersey, with both slopes of the Alleghenies, as well as the
western third of our continent, abound in. It may be that it is
advisable to be content with a smaller proportion of timber in the
Prairie States and the broad, fertile intervales which embosom most of
our great rivers for at least a part of their course; but I doubt it.
And there is scarcely a farm in the whole country, outside of the great
primitive forests in which openings have but recently been made, in
which _some_ tree-planting is not urgently required.

"Too much land," you will hear assigned on every side as a reason for
poor farming and meager crops. Ask an average farmer in New-England, in
Virginia, in Kentucky, or in Alabama, why the crops of his section are
in the average no better, and the answer, three times in four, will be,
"Our farmers have too much land"--that is, not too much absolutely, but
too much relatively to their capital, stock, and general ability to till
effectively. The habitual grower of poor crops will proffer this
explanation quite as freely and frequently as his more thrifty neighbor.
And what every one asserts must have a basis of truth.

Now, I do not mean to quarrel with the instinct which prompts my
countrymen to buy and hold too much land. They feel, as I do, that land
is still cheap almost anywhere in this country--cheap, if not in view of
the income now derived from it, certainly in contemplation of the price
it must soon command and the income it might, under better management,
be made to yield. Under this conviction--or, if you please,
impression--every one is intent on holding on to more land than he can
profitably till, if not more than he can promptly pay for.

What I _do_ object to is simply this--that thousands, who have more land
than they have capital to work profitably, will persist in half-tilling
many acres, instead of thoroughly farming one-half or one third so many,
and getting the rest into wood so fast as may be. I am confident that
two-thirds of all our farmers would improve their circumstances and
increase their incomes by concentrating their efforts, their means,
their fertilizers, upon half to two-thirds of the area they now skim and
skin, and giving the residue back to timber-growing.

In my own hilly, rocky, often boggy, Westchester--probably within six of
being the oldest Agricultural County in the Union--I am confident that
ten thousand acres might to-morrow be given back to forest with profit
to the owners and advantage to all its inhabitants. It is a
fruit-growing, milk-producing, truck-farming county, closely adjoining
the greatest city of the New World; hence, one wherein land can be
cultivated as profitably as almost anywhere else--yet I am satisfied
that half its surface may be more advantageously devoted to timber than
to grass or tillage. Nay; I doubt that one acre in a hundred of rocky
land--that is, land ribbed or dotted with rocks that the bar or the
rock-hook cannot lift from their beds, and which it will not as yet pay
to blast--is now tilled to profit, or ever will be until it shall be
found advisable to clear them utterly of stone breaking through or
rising within two feet of the surface. The time will doubtless arrive in
which many fields will pay for clearing of stone that would not to-day;
these, I urge, should be given up to wood now, and kept wooded until the
hour shall have struck for ridding them of every impediment to the
steady progress of both the surface and the subsoil plow.

Were all the rocky crests and rugged acclivities of this County
bounteously wooded once more, and kept so for a generation, our floods
would be less injurious, our springs unfailing, and our streams more
constant and equable; our blasts would be less bitter, and our gales
less destructive to fruit; we should have vastly more birds to delight
us by their melody and aid us in our not very successful war with
devouring insects; we should grow peaches, cherries, and other delicate
fruits, which the violent caprices of our seasons, the remorseless
devastations of our visible and invisible insect enemies, have all but
annihilated; and we should keep more cows and make more milk on
two-thirds of the land now devoted to grass than we actually do from the
whole of it. And what is true of Westchester is measurably true of every
rural county in the Union.

I have said that I believe in cutting trees as well as in growing them;
I have not said, and do not mean to say, that I believe in cutting
everything clean as you go. That was once proper in Westchester; it is
still advisable in forest-covered regions, where the sun must be let in
before crops can be grown; but, in nine cases out of ten, timber should
be thinned or culled out rather than cut off; and, for every tree taken
away, at least two should be planted or set out.

We have pretty well outgrown the folly of letting every apple-tree bear
such fruit as it will; though in the orchard of my father's little farm
in Amherst, N. H., whereon I was born, no tree had ever been grafted
when I bade adieu to it in 1820; and I presume none has been to this
day. By this time, almost every farmer realizes that he _can't afford_
to grow little, gnarly, villainously sour or detestably bitter-sweet
apples, when, by duly setting a graft at a cost of two dimes, he may
make that identical tree yield Greenings or Pippins at least as
bounteously. I presume the cumulative experience of fifty or sixty
generations of apple-growers has ripened this conclusion. Why do they
not infer readily and generally that growing indifferent timber where
the best and most valued would grow as rapidly, is a stupid, costly
blunder? It seems to me that whoever has attained the conviction that
apple-trees should be grafted ought to know that it is wasteful to grow
Red Oak, Beech, White Maple, and Alder, where White Oak, Hickory,
Locust, and White Pine, might be grown with equal facility, in equal
luxuriance, provided the right seeds were planted, and a little pains
taken to keep down, for a year or two, the shoots spontaneously sent up
by the wrong ones.

North of the Potomac, and east of the Ohio, and (I presume) in limited
districts elsewhere, rocky, sterile woodlands, costing $2 to $50 per
acre according to location, etc., are to-day the cheapest property to be
bought in the United States. Even though nothing were done with them but
keep out fire and cattle, and let the young trees grow as they will,
money can be more profitably and safely invested in lands covered by
young timber than in anything else. The parent, who would invest a few
thousands for the benefit of children or grandchildren still young, may
buy woodlands which will be worth twenty times their present cost within
the next twenty years. But better even than this would it be to buy up
rocky, craggy, naked hill-sides and eminences which have been pastured
to death, and, shutting out cattle inflexibly, scratch these over with
plow, mattock, hoe, or pick, as circumstances shall dictate, plant them
thickly with Chestnut, Walnut, Hickory, White Oak, and the seeds of
Locust and White Pine. I say Locust, though not yet certain that this
tree must not be started in garden or nursery-beds and transplanted when
two or three years old, so puny and feeble is it at the outset, and so
likely to be smothered under leaves or killed out by its more favored
neighbors. I have experiments in progress not yet matured, which may
shed light on this point before I finish these essays.

_Plant thickly_, and of diverse kinds, so as to cover the ground
promptly and choke out weeds and shrubs, with full purpose to thin and
prune as circumstances shall dictate.

Many farmers are averse to planting timber, because (they think) nothing
can be realized therefrom for the next twenty or thirty years, which is
as long as they expect to live. But this is a grave miscalculation. Let
us suppose a rocky, hilly pasture-lot of ten or twenty acres rudely
scratched over as I have suggested, and thickly seeded with hickory nuts
and white oak acorns only: within five years, it will yield abundantly
of hoop poles, though the better, more promising half be left to
mature, as they should be; two years later, another and larger crop of
hoop-poles may be cut, still sparing the best; and thenceforth a
valuable crop of timber may be taken from that land; for, if cut at the
proper season, at least two thrifty sprouts will start from every stump;
and so that wood will yield a clear income each year while its best
trees are steadily growing and maturing. I do not advise restriction to
those two species of timber; but I insist that a young plantation of
forest-trees may and should yield a clear income in every year after its

As to the Far West--the Plains, the Parks, and the Great Basin--there is
more money to be made by dotting them with groves of choice timber than
by working the richest veins of the adjacent mountains. Whoever will
promptly start, near a present or prospective railroad, forty acres of
choice trees--Hickory, White Oak, Locust, Chestnut, and White
Pine--within a circuit of three hundred miles from Denver, on land which
he has made or is making provision to irrigate--may begin to sell trees
therefrom two years hence, and persist in selling annually henceforth
for a century--at first, for transplanting; very soon, for a variety of
uses in addition to that.

       *       *       *       *       *

--But this paper grows too long, and I must postpone to the next my more
especial suggestions to young farmers with regard to tree-planting.



Whoever has recently bought, inherited, or otherwise become the owner of
a farm, has usually found some part or parts of it devoted to wood; and
this, if not in excess, he will mainly preserve, while he studies and
plans with a view to the ultimate devotion to timber of just those
portions of his land that are best adapted to that use. In locating that
timber, I would have him consider these suggestions:

I. Land wisely planted with trees, and fenced so far as need be to keep
out cattle, costs nothing. Whatever else you grow involves labor and
expenditure; trees grow of their own accord. You may neglect them
utterly--may wander over the earth and be absent for ten or twenty
years, while your fences decay and your fields are overcropped to
exhaustion; even your meadows may be run out by late mowing and close
feeding at both ends of the season, till a dozen acres will hardly
subsist a span of horses and a cow; but your woods need only to be let
alone to insure that their value shall have decidedly increased during
your absence. They will richly reward labor and care in thinning,
trimming, and transplanting--you may profitably employ in them any time
that you can spare them--but they will do very well if simply let alone.
And, unlike any other product with which I am acquainted, you may take
crop after crop of wood from the same lot, and the soil will be richer
and more productive after the last than it was before the first. Whether
wholly because their roots permeate and break up the soil during their
life and enrich it in their decay, or for diverse reasons, it is
certainly true that land--and especially _poor_ land--is enriched by
growing upon it a crop of almost any timber, the evergreens possibly
excepted. So, should you ever have land that you cannot till to profit,
whether because it is too poor, or because you have a sufficiency that
is better, you should at once devote it to wood.

II. Your springs and streams will be rendered more equable and enduring
by increasing the area and the luxuriance of your timber. They may have
become scanty and capricious under a policy of reckless, wholesale
destruction of trees; they will be rëenforced and reinvigorated by
doubling the area of your woods, while quadrupling the number, and
increasing the average size, of your trees.

III. All ravines and steep hill-sides should be devoted to trees. Every
acre too rocky to be thoroughly cleared of stone and plowed should be
set apart for tree-growing. Wherever the soil will be gullied or washed
away by violent rains if under tillage, it should be excluded from
cultivation and given up to trees. Men often doubt the profit of heavy
manuring; and well they may, if three-fourths of the fertilizers applied
are soaked out and swept away by flooding rains or sudden thaws and
floated off to some distant sea or bay; but let all that is applied to
the soil only remain there till it is carted away in crops, and it will
hardly be possible to manure too highly for profit.

IV. Trees, especially evergreens, may be so disposed as to modify
agreeably the average temperature of your farm, or at least of the most
important parts of it. When I bought my place--or rather the first
installment of it--the best spot I could select for a garden lay at the
foot of a hill which half surrounded it on the south and east, leaving
it exposed to the full sweep of north and north-west winds; so that,
though the soil was gravelly and warm, my garden was likely to be cold
and backward. To remedy this, I planted four rows of evergreens (Balsam
Fir, Pine, Red Cedar, and Hemlock), along a low ridge bounding it on the
north, following an inward curve of the ridge at its west end; and those
evergreens have in sixteen years grown into very considerable trees,
forming a shady, cleanly, inviting bower, or sylvan retreat, daintily
carpeted with the fallen leaves of the overhanging firs. I judge that
the average temperature of the soil for some yards southward of this
wind-break is at least five degrees higher, throughout the growing
season, than it formerly was or would now be if these evergreens were
swept away; while the aspect of the place is agreeably diversified, and
even beautified, by their appearance. I believe it would sell for some
hundreds of dollars more with than without that thrifty, growing clump
of evergreens.

V. I have already urged, though not strongly enough, that crops, as well
as springs, will be improved by keeping the crests of ridges thickly
wooded, thus depositing moisture in Winter and Spring, to be slowly
yielded to the adjacent slopes during the heat and drouth of Summer. I
firmly believe that the slopes of a hill whose crest is heavily wooded
will yield larger average crops than slope and crest together would do
if both were bare of trees.

VI. The banks of considerable streams, ponds, etc., may often be so
planted with trees that these will shade more water than land, to the
comfort and satisfaction of the fish, and the protection of those banks
from abrasion by floods and rapid currents. Sycamore, Elm, and Willow,
do well here; if choice Grape-Vines are set beside and allowed to run
over some of them, the effect is good, and the grapes acceptable to man
and bird.

VII. Never forget that a good tree grows as thriftily and surely as a
poor one. Many a farmer has to-day ten to forty acres of indifferent
cord-wood where he might, at a very slight cost, have had instead an
equal quantity of choice timber, worth ten times as much. Hickory,
Chestnut, and Walnut, while they yield nuts that can be eaten or sold,
are worth far more as timber than an equal bulk of Beech, Birch,
Hemlock, or Red Oak. Chestnut has more than doubled in value within the
last few years, mainly because it has been found excellent for the
inside wood-work of dwellings. Locust also seems to be increasing in
value. Ten acres of large, thrifty Locust near this City would now buy a
pretty good farm; as I presume it would, if located near any of our
great cities.

VIII. Where several good varieties of Timber are grown together, some
insect or atmospheric trouble may blast one of them, yet leave the
residue alive and hearty. And, if all continue thrifty, some may be cut
out and sold, leaving others more room to grow and rapidly attain a
vigorous maturity.

IX. Wherever timber has become scarce and valuable, a wood-lot should be
thinned out, nevermore cleared off, unless it is to be devoted to a
different use. It seems to me that destroying a forest because we want
timber is like smothering a hive of bees because we want honey.

X. Timber should be cut with intelligent reference to the future. Locust
and other valuable trees that it is desirable should throw up shoots
from the stump, and rapidly reproduce their kind, should be cut in March
or April; while trees that you want to exterminate should be cut in
August, so that they may _not_ sprout. There may be exceptions to this
rule; but I do not happen to recollect any. Evergreens do not sprout;
and I think these should be cut in Winter--at all events, not in Spring,
when full of sap and thus prone to rapid decay.

XI. Your plantation will furnish pleasant and profitable employment at
almost any season. I doubt that any one in this country has ever yet
bestowed so much labor and care on a young forest as it will amply
reward. Sow your seeds thickly; begin to thin the young trees when they
are a foot high, and to trim them so soon as they are three feet, and
you may have thousands thriving on a fertile acre, and pushing their
growth upward with a rapidity and to an altitude outrunning all

XII. Springs and streams will soon appear where none have appeared and
endured for generations, when we shall have reclothed the nakedness of
the Plains with adequate forests. Rains will become moderately frequent
where they are now rare, and confined to the season when they are of
least use to the husbandman.

I may have more to say of trees by-and-by, but rest here for the
present. The importance of the topic can hardly be overrated.



My farm is in the township of Newcastle, Westchester County, N. Y., 35
miles from our City Hall, and a little eastward of the hamlet known as
Chappaqua, called into existence by a station on the Harlem Railroad. It
embraces the south-easterly half of the marsh which the railroad here
traverses from south to north--my part measuring some fifteen acres,
with five acres more of slightly elevated dry land between it and the
foot of the rather rugged hill which rises thence on the east and on the
south, and of which I now own some fifty acres, lying wholly eastward of
my low land, and in good part covered with forest. Of this, I bought
more than half in 1853, and the residue in bits from time to time as I
could afford it. The average cost was between $130 and $140 per acre:
one small and poor old cottage being the only building I found on the
tract, which consisted of the ragged edges of two adjacent farms,
between the western portions of which mine is now interposed, while they
still adjoin each other beyond the north and south road, half a mile
from the railroad, on which their buildings are located and which forms
my eastern boundary. My stony, gravelly upland mainly slopes to the
west; but two acres on my east line incline toward the road which bounds
me in that direction, while two more on my south-east corner descend to
the little brook which, entering at that corner, keeps irregularly near
my south line, until it emerges, swelled by a smaller runnel that enters
my lowland from the north and traverses it to meet and pass off with the
larger brooklet aforesaid. I have done some draining, to no great
purpose, on the more level portions of my upland; but my lowland has
challenged my best efforts in this line, and I shall here explain them,
for the encouragement and possible guidance of novices in draining. Let
me speak first of

_My Difficulties._--This marsh or bog consisted, when I first grappled
with it, of some thirty acres, whereof I then owned less than a third.
To drain it to advantage, one person should own it all, or the different
owners should coöperate; but I had to go it alone, with no other aid
than a freely accorded privilege of straightening as well as deepening
the brook which wound its way through the dryer meadow just below me,
forming here the boundary of two adjacent farms. I spent $100 on this
job, which is still imperfect; but the first decided fall in the stream
occurs nearly a mile below me; and you tire easily of doing at your own
cost work which benefits several others as much as yourself. My
drainage will never be perfect till this brook, with that far larger
one in which it is merged sixty rods below me, shall have been sunk
three or four feet, at a further expense of at least $500.

This bog or swamp, when I first bought into it, was mainly dedicated to
the use of frogs, muskrats and snapping-turtles. A few small water-elms
and soft maples grew upon it, with swamp alder partly fringing the
western base of the hill east of it, where the rocks which had, through
thousands of years, rolled from the hill, thickly covered the surface,
with springs bubbling up around and among them. Decaying stumps and
imbedded fragments of trees argued that timber formerly covered this
marsh as well as the encircling hills. A tall, dense growth of
blackberry briers, thoroughwort, and all manner of marsh-weeds and
grasses, covered the center of the swamp each Summer; but my original
portion of it, being too wet for these, was mainly addicted to hassocks
or tussocks of wiry, worthless grass; their matted roots rising in hard
bunches a few inches above the soft, bare, encircling mud. The bog
ranged in depth from a few inches to five or six feet, and was composed
of black, peaty, vegetable mold, diversified by occasional streaks of
clay or sand, all resting on a substratum of hard, coarse gravel, out of
which two or three springs bubbled up, in addition to the half a dozen
which poured in from the east, and a tiny rivulet which (except in a
very dry, hot time) added the tribute of three or four more, which
sprang from the base of a higher shelf of the hill near the middle of
what is now my farm. Add to these that the brook which brawled and
foamed down my hill-side near my south line as aforesaid, had brought
along an immensity of pebbles and gravel of which it had mainly formed
my five acres of dryer lowland, had thus built up a pretty swale,
whereon it had the bad habit of filling up one channel, and then cutting
another, more devious and eccentric, if possible, than any of its
predecessors--and you have some idea of the obstacles I encountered and
resolved to overcome. One of my first substantial improvements was the
cutting of a straight channel for this current and, by walling it with
large stones, compelling the brook to respect necessary limitations. It
was not my fault that some of those stones were set nearly upright, so
as to veneer the brook rather than thoroughly constrain it: hence, some
of the stones, undermined by strong currents, were pitched forward into
the brook by high Spring freshets, so as to require rësetting more
carefully. This was a mistake, but, not one of

_My Blunders._--These, the natural results of inexperience and haste,
were very grave. Not only had I had no real experience in draining when
I began, but I could hire no foreman who know much more of it than I
did. I ought to have begun by securing an ample and sure fall where the
water left my land, and next cut down the brooklet or open ditch into
which I intended to drain to the lowest practicable point--so low, at
least, that no drain running into it should ever be troubled with
back-water. Nothing can be more useless than a drain in which water
stagnates, choking it with mud. Then I should have bought hundreds of
Hemlock or other cheap boards, slit them to a width of four or five
inches, and, having opened the needed drains, laid these in the bottom
and the tile thereupon, taking care to _break joint_, by covering the
meeting ends of two boards with the middle of a tile. Laying tile in the
soft mud of a bog, with nothing beneath to prevent their sinking, is
simply throwing away labor and money. I cannot wonder that tile-draining
seems to many a humbug, seeing that so many tile are laid so that they
can never do any good.

Having, by successive purchases, become owner of fully half of this
swamp, and by repeated blunders discovered that making stone drains in a
bog, while it is a capital mode of getting rid of the stone, is no way
at all to dry the soil, I closed my series of experiments two years
since by carefully rëlaying my generally useless tile on good strips of
board, sinking them just as deep as I could persuade the water to run
off freely, and, instead of allowing them to discharge into a brooklet
or open ditch, connecting each with a covered main of four to six-inch
tile; these mains discharging into the running brook which drains all my
farm and three or four of those above it just where it runs swiftly off
from my land. If a thaw or heavy rain swells the brook (as it sometimes
will) so that it rises above my outlet aforesaid, the strong current
formed by the concentration of the clear contents of so many drains will
not allow the muddy water of the brook to back into it so many as three
feet at most; and any mud or sediment that may be deposited there will
be swept out clean whenever the brook shall have fallen to the drainage
level. For this and similar excellent devices, I am indebted to the
capital engineering and thorough execution of Messrs. Chickering & Gall,
whose work on my place has seldom required mending, and never called for

_My Success._--I judge that there are not many tracts more difficult to
drain than mine was, considering all the circumstances, except those
which are frequently flowed by tides or the waters of some lake, or
river. Had I owned the entire swamp, or had there been a fall in the
brook just below me, had I had any prior experience in draining, or had
others equally interested coöperated in the good work, my task would
have been comparatively light. As it was, I made mistakes which
increased the cost and postponed the success of my efforts; but this is
at length complete. I had seven acres of Indian Corn, one of Corn
Fodder, two of Oats, and seven or eight acres of Grass, on my lowland in
1869; and, though the Spring months were quite rainy, and the latter
part of Summer rather dry, my crops were all good. I did not see better
in Westchester County; and I shall be quite content with as good
hereafter. Of my seven hundred bushels of Corn (ears,) I judge that
two-thirds would be accounted fit for seed anywhere; my Grass was cut
twice, and yielded one large crop and another heavier than the average
first crop throughout our State. My drainage will require some care
henceforth; but the fifteen acres I have reclaimed from utter
uselessness and obstructions are decidedly the best part of my farm,
Uplands may be exhausted; these never can be.

The experience of another season (1870) of protracted drouth has fully
justified my most sanguine expectations. I had this year four acres of
Corn, and as many of Oats, on my swamp, with the residue in Grass; and
they were all good. I estimate my first Hay-crop at over two and a half
tuns per acre, while the rowen or aftermath barely exceeded half a tun
per acre, because of the severity of the drouth, which began in July and
lasted till October. My Oats were good, but not remarkably so; and I had
810 bushels of ears of sound, ripe Corn from four acres of drained swamp
and two and a half of upland. I estimate my upland Corn at seventy
(shelled) bushels, and my lowland at fifty-five (shelled) bushels per
acre. Others, doubtless, had more, despite the unpropitious season; but
my crop was a fair one, and I am content with it. My upland Corn was
heavily manured; my lowland but moderately. There are many to tell you
how much I lose by my farming; I only say that, as yet, no one else has
lost a farthing by it, and I do not complain.



Having narrated my own experience in draining with entire unreserve, I
here submit the general conclusions to which it has led me:

I. While I doubt that there is _any_ land above water that would not be
improved by a good system of underdrains, I am sure that there is a
great deal that could not at present be drained to profit. Forests,
hill-side pastures, and most dry gravelly or sandy tracts, I place in
this category. Perhaps one-third of New-England, half of the Middle
States, and three-fourths of the Mississippi Valley, may ultimately be
drained with profit.

II. _All_ swamp lands without exception, nearly all clay soils, and a
majority of the flat or gently rolling lands of this country, must
eventually be drained, if they are to be tilled with the best results. I
doubt that there is a garden on earth that would not be (unless it
already had been) improved by thorough underdraining.

III. The uses of underdrains are many and diverse. To carry off surplus
water, though the most obvious, stands by no means alone. 1.
Underdrained land may be plowed and sowed considerably earlier in Spring
than undrained soil of like quality. 2. Drained fields lose far less
than others of their fertility by washing. 3. They are not so liable to
be gullied by sudden thaws or flooding rains. 4. Where a field has been
deeply subsoiled, I am confident that it will remain mellow and
permeable by roots longer than if undrained. 5. Less water being
evaporated from drained than from undrained land, the soil will be
warmer throughout the growing season; hence, the crop will be heavier,
and will mature earlier. 6. Being more porous and less compact, I think
the soil of a drained field retains more moisture in a season of drouth,
and its growing plants suffer less therefrom, than if it were undrained.
In short, I thoroughly believe in underdraining.

IV. Yet I advise no man to run into debt for draining, as I can imagine
a mortgage on a farm so heavy and pressing as to be even a greater
nuisance than stagnant water in its soil. Labor and tile are dear with
us; I do not expect that either will ever be so cheap here as in England
or Belgium. What I _would_ have each farmer in moderate circumstances do
is to _drain his wettest field_ next Fall--that is, after finishing his
haying and before cutting up his corn--taking care to secure abundant
fall to carry off the water in time of flood, and doing his work
thoroughly. Having done this, let him subsoil deeply, fertilize amply,
till carefully, and watch the result. I think it will soon satisfy him
that such draining pays.

V. I do not insist on tile as making the only good drain; but I have had
no success with any other. The use of stone, in my opinion, is only
justified where the field to be drained abounds in them and no other use
can be made of them. To make a good drain with ordinary boulders or
cobble-stones requires twice the excavation and involves twice the labor
necessarily expended on tile-draining; and it is neither so effective
nor so durable. Earth will be carried by water into a stone drain; rats
and other vermin will burrow in it and dig (or enlarge) holes thence to
the surface; in short, it is not the thing. Better drain with stone
where they are a nuisance than not at all; but I predict that you will
dig them up after giving them a fair trial and replace them with tile.
In a wooded country, where tile were scarce and dear, I should try
draining with slabs or cheap boards dressed to a uniform width of six or
eight inches, and laid in a ditch dug with banks inclined or sloped to
the bottom, so as to form a sort of V; the lower edge of the two
side-slabs coming together at the bottom, and a third being laid widely
across their upper edges, so as to form a perfect cap or cover. In firm,
hard soil, this would prove an efficient drain, and, if well made, would
last twenty years. Uniformity of temperature and of moisture would keep
the slabs tolerably sound for at least so long; and, if the top of this
drain were two feet below the surface, no plowing or trampling over it
would harm it.

VI. As to draining by what is called a Mole Plow, which simply makes a
waterway through the subsoil at a depth of three feet or thereabout, I
have no acquaintance with it but by hearsay. It seems to me morally
impossible that drains so made should not be lower at some points than
at others, so as to retain their fill of water instead of carrying it
rapidly off; and I am sure that plowing, or even carting heavy loads
over them, must gradually choke and destroy them. Yet this kind of
draining is comparatively so cheap, and may, with a strong team, be
effected so rapidly, that I can account for its popularity, especially
in prairie regions. Where the subsoil is rocky, it is impracticable;
where it is hard-pan, it must be very difficult; where it is loose sand,
it cannot endure; but in clays or heavy loams, it may, for a few years,
render excellent service. I wish the heavy clays of Vermont, more
especially of the Champlain basin, were well furrowed or pierced by even
such drains; for I am confident that they would temporarily improve both
soil and crop; and, if they soon gave out, they would probably be
replaced by others more durable.

--I shall not attempt to give instructions in drain-making; but I urge
every novice in the art to procure Waring's or some other work on the
subject and study it carefully: then, if he can obtain at a fair price
the services of an experienced drainer, hire him to supervise the work.
One point only do I insist on--that is, draining into a main rather than
an open ditch or brook; for it is difficult in this or any harsher
climate to prevent the crumbling of your outlet tile by frost. Below the
Potomac or the Arkansas, this may not be apprehended; and there it may
be best to have your drains separately discharge from a road-side bank
or into an open ditch, as they will thus inhale more air, and so help
(in Summer) to warm and moisten the soil above them; but in our climate
I believe it better to let your drains discharge into a covered main or
mains as aforesaid, than into an open ditch or brook.

Tile and labor are dear with us; I presume labor will remain so. But, in
our old States, there are often laborers lacking employment in November
and the Winter months; and it is the wisest and truest charity to
proffer them pay for work. Some will reject it unless the price be
exorbitant; but there are scores of the deserving poor in almost every
rural county, who would rather earn a dollar per day than hang around
the grog-shops waiting for Spring. Get your tiles when you can, or do
not get them at all, but let it be widely known that you have work for
those who will do it for the wages you can afford, and you will soon
have somebody to earn your money. Having staked out your drains, set
these to work at digging them, even though you should not be able to
tile them for a year. Cut your outlet deep, and your land will profit by
a year of open drains.



While few can have failed to realize the important part played by Water
in the economy of vegetation, I judge that the question--"How can I
secure to my growing plants a sufficiency of moisture at all
times?"--has not always presented itself to the farmer's mind as
demanding of him a practical solution. To rid his soil and keep it free
of superfluous, but especially of stagnant water, he may or may not
accept as a necessity; but that, having provided for draining away
whatever is excessive, he should turn a short corner and begin at once
to provide that water shall be supplied to his fields and plants
whenever they may need it, he is often slow to apprehend. Yet this
provision is but the counterpart and complement of the other.

I had sped across Europe to Venice, and noted with interest the
admirable, effective irrigation of the great plain of Lombardy, before I
could call any land my own. I saw there a region perhaps thirty miles
wide by one hundred and fifty along the east bank of the Po, rising very
gently thence to the foot of the Austrian Alps, which Providence seems
to have specially adapted to be improved by irrigation. The torrents of
melted snow which in Spring leap and foam adown the southern face of the
Alps, bringing with them the finer particles of soil, are suddenly
arrested and form lakes (Garda, Maggiore, Como, etc.) just as they
emerge upon the plain. These lakes, slowly rising, often overflow their
banks, with those of the small rivers that bear their waters westward to
the Po; and this overflow was a natural source of abiding fertility. To
dam these outlets, and thus control their currents, was a very simple
and obvious device of long ago, and was probably begun by a very few
individuals (if by more than one), whose success incited emulation,
until the present extensive and costly system of irrigating dams and
canals was gradually developed. When I traversed Lombardy in July, 1851,
the beds of streams naturally as large as the Pemigewasset, Battenkill,
Canada Creek, or Humboldt, were utterly dry; the water which would
naturally have flowed therein being wholly transferred to an irrigating
canal (or to canals) often two or three miles distant. The reservoirs
thus created were filled in Spring, when the streams were fullest and
their water richest, and gradually drawn upon throughout the later
growing season to cover the carefully leveled and graded fields on
either side to the depth of an inch or two at a time. If any failed to
be soon absorbed by the soil, it was drawn off as here superfluous, and
added to the current employed to moisten and fertilize the field next
below it; and so field after field was refreshed and enriched, to the
husbandman's satisfaction and profit. It may be that the rich glades of
English Lancashire bear heavier average crops; but those of Lombardy are
rarely excelled on the globe.

Why should not our Atlantic slope have its Lombardy? Utah, Nevada, and
California, exhibit raw, crude suggestions of such a system; but why
should the irrigation of the New World be confined to regions where it
is indispensable, when that of the Old is not? I know no good reason
whatever for leaving an American field unirrigated where water to flow
it at will can be had at a moderate cost.

When I first bought land (in 1853) I fully purposed to provide for
irrigating my nearly level acres at will, and I constructed two dams
across my upland stream with that view; but they were so badly planned
that they went off in the flood caused by a tremendous rain the next
Spring; and, though I rebuilt one of them, I submitted to a
miscalculation which provided for taking the water, by means of a
syphon, out of the pond at the top and over the bank that rose fifteen
or twenty feet above the surface of the water. Of course, air would work
into the pipe after it had carried a stream unexceptionably for two or
three days, and then the water would run no longer. Had I taken it from
the bottom of the pond through my dam, it would have run forever, (or so
long as there was water covering its inlet in the pond;) but bad
engineering flung me; and I have never since had the heart (or the
means) to revise and correct its errors.

My next attempt was on a much humbler scale, and I engineered it myself.
Toward the north end of my farm, the hill-side which rises east of my
lowland is broken by a swale or terrace, which gives me three or four
acres of tolerably level upland, along the upper edge of which five or
six springs, which never wholly fail, burst from the rocks above and
unite to form a petty runnel, which dries up in very hot or dry weather,
but which usually preserved a tiny stream to be lost in the swamp below.
North of the gully cut down the lower hill-side by this streamlet, the
hill-side of some three acres is quite steep, still partially wooded,
and wholly devoted to pasturage. Making a petty dam across this runnel
at the top of the lower acclivity, I turned the stream aside, so that it
should henceforth run along the crest of this lower hill, falling off
gradually so as to secure a free current, and losing its contents at
intervals through variable depressions in its lower bank. Dam and
artificial water-course together cost me $90, which was about twice what
it should have been. That rude and petty contrivance has now been ten
years in operation, and may have cost $5 per annum for oversight and
repairs. Its effect has been to double the grass grown on the two acres
it constantly irrigates, for which I paid $280, or more than thrice the
cost of my irrigation. But more: my hill-side, while it was well
grassed in Spring, always gave out directly after the first dry, or hot
week; so that, when I most needed feed, it afforded none; its herbage
being parched up and dead, and thus remaining till refreshed by generous
rains. I judge, therefore, that my irrigation has _more_ than doubled
the product of those two acres, and that these are likely to lose
nothing in yield or value so long as that petty irrigating ditch shall
be maintained.

I know this is small business. But suppose each of the hundred thousand
New-England farms, whereof five to ten acres might be thus irrigated at
a cost not exceeding $100 per farm, had been similarly prepared to flow
those acres last Spring and early Summer, with an average increase
therefrom of barely one tun of Hay (or its equivalent in pasturage) per
acre. The 500,000 tuns of Hay thus realized would have saved 200,000
head of cattle from being sent to the butcher while too thin for good
beef, while every one of them was required for further use, and will
have to be replaced at a heavy cost. Shall not these things be
considered? Shall not all who can do so at moderate cost resolve to test
on their own farms the advantages and benefits that may be secured by



I have given an account of my poor, little experiment in Irrigation,
because it is one which almost every farmer can imitate and improve
upon, however narrow his domain and slender his fortune. I presume there
are Half a Million homesteads in the United States which have natural
facilities for Irrigation at least equal to mine; many of them far
greater. Along either slope of the Alleghenies, throughout a district at
least a thousand miles long by three hundred wide, nearly every farm
might be at least partially irrigated by means of a dam costing from
twenty-five to one hundred dollars; so might at least half the farms in
New-England and our own State. On the prairies, the plans must be
different, and the expense probably greater, but the results obtained
would bounteously reward the outlay. I shall not see the day, but there
are those now living who _will_ see it, when Artesian wells will be dug
at points where many acres may be flowed from a gentle swell in the
midst of a vast plain, or at the head of a fertile valley, expressly, or
at least mainly, that its waters may be led across that plain, adown
that valley, in irrigating streams and ditches, until they have been
wholly drank up by the soil. I have seen single wells in California that
might be made to irrigate sufficiently hundreds of acres, by the aid of
a reservoir into which their waters could be discharged when the soil
did not require them, and there retained until the thirsty earth
demanded them.

An old and successful farmer in my neighborhood affirms that Water is
the cheapest and best fertilizer ever applied to the soil. If this were
understood to mean that no other is needed or can be profitably applied,
it would be erroneous. Still, I think it clearly true that the annual
product of most farms can be increased, and the danger of failure
averted, more cheaply by the skillful application of water than by that
of any other fertilizer whatever, Plaster (Gypsum) possibly excepted.

I took a run through Virginia last Summer, not far from the 1st of
August. That State was then suffering intensely from drouth, as she
continued to do for some weeks thereafter. I am quite sure that I saw on
her thirsty plains and hillsides not less than three hundred thousand
acres planted with Indian Corn, whereof the average product could not
exceed ten bushels per acre, while most of it would fall far below that
yield, and there were thousands of acres that would not produce one
sound ear! Every one deplored the failure, correctly attributing it to
the prevailing drouth. And yet, I passed hundreds if not thousands of
places where a very moderate outlay would have sufficed to dam a stream
or brooklet issuing from between two spurs of the Blue Ridge, or the
Alleghenies, so that a refreshing current of the copious and fertilizing
floods of Winter and Spring, warmed by the fervid suns of June and July,
could have been led over broad fields lying below, so as to vanquish
drouth and insure generous harvests. Nay; I feel confident that I could
in many places have constructed rude works in a week, after that drouth
began to be felt, that would have saved and made the Corn on at least a
portion of the planted acres through which the now shrunken brooks
danced and laughed idly down to the larger streams in the wider and
equally thirsty valleys. Of course, I know that this would have been
imperfect irrigation--a mere stop-gap--that the cold spring-water of a
parched Summer cannot fertilize as the hill-wash of Winter and Spring,
if thriftily garnered and warmed through and through for sultry weeks,
would do; yet I believe that very many farmers might, even then, have
secured partial crops by such irrigation as was still possible, had
they, even at the eleventh hour, done their best to retrieve the errors
of the past.

For the present, I would only counsel every farmer to give his land a
careful scrutiny with a view to irrigation in the future. No one is
obliged to do any faster than his means will justify; and yet it may be
well to have a clear comprehension of all that may ultimately be done to
profit, even though much of it must long remain unattempted. In many
cases, a stream may be dammed for the power which it will afford for two
or three months of each year, if it shall appear that this use is quite
consistent with its employment to irrigation, when the former alone
would not justify the requisite outlay. It is by thus making one expense
subserve two quite independent but not inconsistent purposes that
success is attained in other pursuits; and so it may be in farming.

As yet, each farmer must study his own resources with intent to make the
most of them. If a manageable stream crosses or issues from his land, he
must measure its fall thereon, study the lay of the land, and determine
whether he can or cannot, at a tolerable cost, make that stream
available in the irrigation of at least a portion of his growing crops
when they shall need water and the skies decline to supply it. On many,
I think on most, farms situated among hills, or upon the slopes of
mountains, something may be done in this way--done at once, and with
immediate profit. But this is rudimentary, partial, fragmentary, when
compared with the irrigation which yet shall be. I am confident that
there are points on the Carson, the Humboldt, the Weber, the South
Platte, the Cache-le-Poudre, and many less noted streams which thrid the
central plateau of our continent, where an expenditure of $10,000 to
$50,000 may be judiciously made in a dam, locks and canals, for the
purposes of irrigation and milling combined, with a moral certainty of
realizing fifty per cent. annually on the outlay, with a steady
increase in the value of the property. If my eye did not deceive me,
there is one point on the Carson where a dam that need not cost $50,000
would irrigate one hundred square miles of rich plain which, when I saw
it eleven years ago, grew nought but the worthless shrubs of the desert,
simply because nothing else could endure the intense, abiding drouth of
each Nevada Summer. Such palpable invitations to thrift cannot remain
forever unimproved.

In regions like this, where Summer rains are the rule rather than the
exception, the need of irrigation is not so palpable, since we do or may
secure decent average crops in its absence. Yet there is no farm in our
country that would not yield considerably more grain and more grass,
more fruit and more vegetables, if its owner had water at command which
he could apply at pleasure and to any extent he should deem requisite.
Most men, thus empowered, would at first irrigate too often and too
copiously; but experience would soon temper their zeal, and teach them

  "The precious art of Not too much;"

and they would thenceforth be careful to give their soil drink yet, not
drown it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whoever lives beyond the close of this century, and shall then traverse
our prairie States, will see them whitened at intervals by the broad
sails of windmills erected over wells, whence every gale or breeze will
be employed in pumping water into the ponds or reservoirs so located
that water may be drawn therefrom at will and diffused in gentle
streamlets over the surrounding fields to invigorate and impel their
growing crops. And, when all has been done that this paper faintly
foreshadows, our people will have barely indicated, not by any means
exhausted, the beneficent possibilities of irrigation.

The difficulty is in making a beginning. Too many farmers would fain
conceal a poverty of thought behind an affectation of dislike or
contempt for novelties. "Humbug!" is their stereotyped comment on every
suggestion that they might wisely and profitably do something otherwise
than as their grandfathers did. They assume that those respected
ancestors did very well without Irrigation; wherefore, it cannot now be
essential. But the circumstances have materially changed. The
disappearance of the dense, high woods that formerly almost or quite
surrounded each farm has given a sweep to the heated, parching winds of
Summer, to which our ancestors were strangers. Our springs, our streams,
do not hold out as they once did. Our Summer drouths are longer and
fiercer. Even though our grandfathers did not, we _do_ need and may
profit by Irrigation.



Rules absolutely without exception are rare; and they who imagine that I
insist on plowing all lands deeply are wrong for I hold that much land
should never be plowed at all. In fact, I have seen in my life nearly as
large an area that ought not as I have that ought to be plowed, by which
I mean that half the land I have seen may serve mankind better if
devoted to timber than if subjected to tillage. I personally know
farmers who would thrive far better if they tilled but half the area
they do, bestowing on this all the labor and fertilizers they spread
over the whole, even though they threw the residue into common and left
it there. I judge that a majority of our farmers could increase the
recompense of their toil by cultivating fewer acres than they now do.

Nor do I deny that there are soils which it is not advisable to plow
deeply. Prof. Mapes told me he had seen a tract in West Jersey whereof
the soil was but eight inches deep, resting on a stratum of copperas
(sulphate of iron,) which, being upturned by the plow and mingled with
the soil, poisoned the crops planted thereon. And I saw, last Summer,
on the intervale of New River, in the western part of Old Virginia, many
acres of Corn which were thrifty and luxuriant in spite of shallow
plowing and intense drouth, because the rich, black loam which had there
been deposited by semi-annual inundations, until its depth ranged from
two to twenty feet, was so inviting and permeable that the corn-roots
ran _below_ the bottom of the furrow about as readily as above that
line. I do not doubt that there are many millions of acres of such land
that would produce tolerably, and sometimes bounteously, though simply
scratched over by a brush harrow and never plowed at all. In the infancy
of our race, when there were few mouths to fill and when farming
implements were very rude and ineffective, cultivation was all but
confined to these facile strips and patches, so that the utility, the
need, of deep tillage was not apparent. And yet, we know the crops often
failed utterly in those days, plunging whole nations into the miseries
of famine.

The primitive plow was a forked stick or tree-top, whereof one prong
formed the coulter, the other and longer the beam; and he who first
sharpened the coulter-prong with a stone hatchet was the Whitney or
McCormick of his day. The plow in common use to-day in Spain or Turkey
is an improvement on this, for it has an iron point; still, it is a
miserable tool. When, at five years old, I first rode the horse which
drew my father's plow in furrowing for or cultivating his corn, it had
an iron coulter and an iron share; but it was mainly composed of wood.
In the hard, rocky soil of New-Hampshire, as full of bowlders and
pebbles as a Christmas pudding is of plums, plowing with such an
implement was a sorry business at best. My father hitched eight oxen and
a horse to his plow when he broke up pebbly green-sward, and found an
acre of it a very long day's work. I hardly need add that subsoiling was
out of the question, and that six inches was the average depth of his

I judge that the best Steel Plows now in use do twice the execution that
his did with a like expenditure of power--that we can, with equal power,
plow twelve inches as easily and rapidly as he plowed six. Ought we to
do it? Will it pay?

I first farmed for myself in 1845 on a plat of eight acres, in what was
then the open country skirting the East River nearly abreast the lower
point of Blackwell's Island, near Fiftieth-st., on a little indentation
of the shore known as Turtle Bay. None of the Avenues east of Third was
then opened above Thirtieth-st.; and the neighborhood, though now
perforated by streets and covered with houses, was as rural and secluded
as heart could wish. One fine Spring morning, a neighbor called and
offered to plow for $5 my acre of tillage not cut up by rows of box and
other shrubs; and I told him to go ahead. I came home next evening, just
as he was finishing the job, which I contemplated most ruefully. His
plow was a pocket edition; his team a single horse; his furrows at most
five inches deep. I paid him, but told him plainly that I would have
preferred to give the money for nothing. He insisted that he had plowed
for me as he plowed for others all around me. "I will tell you," I
rejoined, "exactly how this will work. Throughout the Spring and early
Summer, we shall have frequent rains and moderate heat: thus far, my
crops will do well. But then will come hot weeks, with little or no
rain; and they will dry up this shallow soil and every thing planted

The result signally justified my prediction. We had frequent rains and
cloudy, mild weather, till the 1st of July, when the clouds vanished,
the sun came out intensely hot, and we had scarcely a sprinkle till the
1st of September, by which time my Corn and Potatoes had about given up
the ghost. Like the seed which fell on stony ground in the Parable of
the Sower, that which I had planted had withered away "because there was
no root;" and my prospect for a harvest was utterly blighted, where,
with twelve inches of loose, fertile, well pulverized earth at their
roots, my crops would have been at least respectable. When I became once
more a farmer in a small way on my present place, I had not forgotten
the lesson, and I tried to have plowed deeply and thoroughly so much
land as I had plowed at all. My first Summer here (1853) was a very dry
one, and crops failed in consequence around me and all over the country;
yet mine were at least fair; and I was largely indebted for them to
relatively deep plowing. I have since suffered from frost (on my low
land), from the rotting of seed in the ground, from the ravages of
insects, etc.; but never by drouth; and I am entirely confident that
Deep Plowing has done me excellent service. My only trouble has been to
get it done; for there are apt to be reasons?--(haste, lateness in the
season, etc.)--for plowing shallowly for "just this time," with full
intent to do henceforth better.

       *       *       *       *       *

I close this paper with a statement made to me by an intelligent British
farmer living at Maidstone, south of England. He said:

"A few years ago there came into my hands a field of twelve acres, which
had been an orchard; but the trees were hopelessly in their dotage. They
must be cut down; then their roots must be grubbed out; so I resolved to
make a clean job of it, and give the field a thorough trenching.
Choosing a time in Autumn or early Winter when labor was abundant and
cheap, I had it turned over three spits (27 inches) deep; the lowest
being merely reversed; the next reversed and placed at the top; the
surface being reversed and placed below the second. The soil was strong
and deep, as that of an orchard should be; I planted the field to Garden
Peas, and my first picking was very abundant. About the time that peas
usually begin to wither and die, the roots of mine struck the rich soil
which had been the first stratum, but was now the second, and at once
the stalks evinced a new life--threw out new blossoms, which were
followed by pods; and so kept on blossoming and forming peas for weeks,
until this first crop far more than paid the cost of trenching and

Thus far my English friend. Who will this year try a patch of Peas on a
plat made rich and mellow for a depth of at least two feet, and
frequently moistened in Summer by some rude kind of irrigation?

The fierceness of our Summer suns, when not counteracted by frequent
showers, shortens deplorably the productiveness of many Vegetables and
Berries. Our Strawberries bear well, but too briefly; our Peas wither up
and cease to blossom after they have been two or three weeks plump
enough to pick. Our Raspberries, Blackberries, etc., fruit well, but are
out of bearing too soon after they begin to yield their treasures. I am
confident that this need not be. With a deep, rich soil, kept moistened
by a periodical flow of water, there need not and should not be any such
haste to give over blooming and bearing. The fruit is Nature's
attestation of the geniality of the season, the richness and abundance
of the elements inhering in the soil or supplied to it by the water.
Double the supply of these, and sterility should be postponed to a far
later day than that in which it is now inaugurated.



There are so many wrong ways to do a thing to but one right one that
there is no reason in the impatience too often evinced with those who
contrive to swallow the truth wrong end foremost, and thereupon insist
that it won't do. For instance: A farmer hears something said of deep
plowing, and, without any clear understanding of or firm faith in it,
resolves to give it a trial. So he buys a great plow, makes up a strong
team, and proceeds to turn up a field hitherto plowed but six inches to
a depth of a foot: in other words, to bury its soil under six inches of
cold, sterile clay, sand, or gravel. On this, he plants or sows grain,
and is lucky indeed if he realizes half a crop. Hereupon, he reports to
his neighbors that Deep Plowing is a humbug, as he suspected all along;
but now he knows, for he has tried it. There are several other wrong
ways, which I will hurry over, in order to set forth that which I regard
as the right one.

Here is a middling farmer of the old school, who walks carefully in the
footsteps of his respected grandfather, but with inferior success,
because sixty annual harvests, though not particularly luxuriant, have
partially exhausted the productive capacity of the acres he inherited.
He now garners from fifteen to thirty bushels per acre of Corn, from ten
to twenty of Wheat, from fifteen to twenty of Rye, from twenty to thirty
of Oats, and from a tun to a tun and a half of Hay, as the season proves
more or less propitious, and just contrives to draw from his sixty to
one hundred acres a decent subsistence for his family; plowing, as his
father and grandfather did, to a depth of five to seven inches: What can
Deep Plowing do for _him_?

I answer--By itself, nothing whatever. If in every other respect he is
to persist in doing just as his father and his grandfather did, I doubt
the expediency of doubling the depth of his furrows. True, the worst
effects of the change would be realized at the outset, and I feel
confident that his six inches of subsoil, having been made to change
places with that which formerly rested upon it, must gradually be
wrought upon by air, and rain, and frost, until converted into a
tolerably productive soil, through which the roots of most plants would
easily and speedily make their way down to the richer stratum which,
originally surface, has been transposed into subsoil. But this exchange
of positions between the original surface and subsoil is not what I mean
by Deep Plowing, nor anything like it. What I _do_ mean is this:

Having thoroughly underdrained a field, so that water will not stand
upon any part of its surface, no matter how much may there be deposited,
the next step in order is to increase the depth of the soil. To this
end, procure a regular sub-soil plow of the most approved pattern,
attach to it a strong team, and let it follow the breaking-plow in its
furrow, lifting and pulverizing the sub-soil to a depth of not less than
six inches, but leaving it in position exactly where it was. The
surface-plow turns the next furrow upon this loosened sub-soil, and so
on till the whole field is thus pulverized to a depth of not less than
twelve inches, or, better still, fifteen. Now, please remember that you
have twice as much soil per acre to fertilize as there was before;
hence, that it consequently requires twice as much manure, and you will
have laid a good foundation for increased crops. I do not say that all
the additional outlay will be returned to you in the increase of your
next crop, for I do not believe anything of the sort; but I _do_ believe
that this crop will be considerably larger for this generous treatment,
especially if the season prove remarkably dry or uncommonly wet; and
that you will have insured better crops in the years to come, including
heavier grass, after that field shall once more be laid down; and that,
in case of the planting of that field to fruit or other trees, they will
grow faster, resist disease better, and thrive longer, than if the soil
were still plowed as of old. (I shall insist hereafter on the advantage
and importance of subsoiling orchards.)

Take another aspect--that of subsoiling hill-sides to prevent their
abrasion by water:

I have two bits of warm, gravelly hill-side, which bountifully yield
Corn, Wheat and Oats, but which are addicted to washing. I presume one
of these bits, at the south-east corner of my farm, has been plowed and
planted not less than one hundred times, and that at least half the
fertilizers applied to it have been washed into the brook, and hence
into the Hudson. To say that $1,000 have thus been squandered on that
patch of ground, would be to keep far within the truth. And, along with
the fertilizers, a large portion of the finer and better elements of the
original soil have thus been swept into the brook, and so lavished upon
the waters of our bay. But, since I had those lots thoroughly subsoiled,
all the water that falls upon them when in tillage sinks into the soil,
and remains there until drained away by filtration or evaporation; and I
never saw a particle of soil washed from either save once, when a thaw
of one or two inches on the surface, leaving the ground solidly frozen
beneath, being quickly followed by a pouring rain, washed away a few
bushels of the loosened and sodden surface, proving that the law by
virtue of which these fields were formerly denuded while in cultivation
is still active, and that Deep Plowing is an effective and all but
unfailing antidote for the evil it tends to incite.

We plow too many acres annually, and do not plow them so thoroughly as
we ought. In the good time coming, when Steam shall have been so
harnessed to a gang of six to twelve plows that, with one man guiding
and firing, it will move as fast as a man ought to walk, steaming on and
thoroughly pulverizing from twelve to twenty-five acres per day, I
believe we shall plow at least two feet deep, and plow not less than
twice before putting in any crop whatever. Then we may lay down a field
in the confident trust that it will yield from two and a half to three
tuns of good hay per annum for the next ten or twelve years; while, by
the help of irrigation and occasional top-dressing, it may be made to
average at least three tuns for a life-time, if not forever.

When my Grass-land requires breaking up--as it sometimes does--I
understand that it was not properly laid down, or has not been well
treated since. A good grazing farmer once insisted in my hearing that
grass-land should _never_ be plowed--that the vegetable mold forming the
surface, when the timber was first cut off; should remain on the surface
forever. Considering how uneven the stumps and roots and cradle-knolls
of a primitive forest are apt to leave the ground, I judge that this is
an extreme statement. But land once thoroughly plowed and subsoiled
ought thereafter to be kept in grass by liberal applications of Gypsum,
well-cured Muck, and barn-yard Manure to its surface, without needing to
be plowed again and reseeded. Put back in Manure what is taken of in
Hay, and the Grass should hold its own.



My little, hilly, rocky farm teaches lessons of thoroughness which I
would gladly impart to the boys of to-day who are destined to be the
farmers of the last quarter of this century. I am sure they will find
profit in farming better than their grandfathers did, and especially in
putting their land into the best possible condition for effective
tillage. There were stones in my fields varying in size from that of a
brass kettle up to that of a hay-cock--some of them raising their heads
above the surface, others burrowing just below it--which had been plowed
around and over perhaps a hundred times, till I went at them with team
and bar, or (where necessary) with drill and blast, turned or blew them
out, and hauled them away, so that they will interfere with cultivation
nevermore. I insist that this is a profitable operation--that a field
which will not pay for such clearing should be planted with trees and
thrown out of cultivation conclusively. Dodging and skulking from rock
to rock is hard upon team, plow, and plowman; and it can rarely pay.
Land ribbed and spotted with fast rocks will pay if judiciously planted
with Timber--possibly if well set in Fruit--but tilling it from year to
year is a thankless task; and its owner may better work by the day for
his neighbors than try to make his bread by such tillage.

So with fields soaked by springs or sodden with stagnant water. If you
say you cannot afford to drain your wet land, I respond that you can
still less afford to till it without draining. If you really cannot
afford to fit it for cultivation, your next best course is to let it
severely alone.

A poor man who has a rough, rugged, sterile farm, which he is unable to
bring to its best possible condition at once, yet which he clings to and
must live from, should resolve that, if life and health be spared him,
he will reclaim one field each year until all that is not devoted to
timber shall have been brought into high condition. When his Summer
harvest is over, and his Fall crops have received their last
cultivation, there will generally be from one to two Autumn months which
he can devote mainly to this work. Let him take hold of it with resolute
purpose to improve every available hour, not by running over the largest
possible area, but by dealing with one field so thoroughly that it will
need no more during a long life-time. If it has stone that the plow will
reach, dig them out; if it needs draining, drain it so thoroughly that
it may hereafter be plowed in Spring so soon as the frost leaves it; and
now let soil and subsoil be so loosened and pulverized that roots may
freely penetrate them to a depth of fifteen to twenty inches, finding
nourishment all the way, with incitement to go further if ever failing
moisture shall render this necessary. Drouth habitually shortens our
Fall crops from ten to fifty per cent.; it is sure to injure us more
gravely as our forests are swept away by ax and fire; and, while much
may be done to mitigate its ravages by enriching the soil so as to give
your crops an early start, and a rank, luxuriant growth, the farmer's
chief reliance must still be a depth of soil adequate to withstand weeks
of the fiercest sunshine.

I have considered what is urged as to the choice of roots to run just
beneath the surface, and it does not signify. Roots seek at once heat
and moisture; if the moisture awaits them close to the surface, of
course they mainly run there, because the heat is there greatest. If
moisture fails there, they must descend to seek it, even at the cost of
finding the heat inadequate--though heat increases and descends under
the fervid suns which rob the surface of moisture. Make the soil rich
and mellow ever so far down, and you need not fear that the roots will
descend an inch lower than they should. _They_ understand their
business; it is _your_ sagacity that may possibly prove deficient.

I suspect that the average farmer does far too little plowing--by which
I mean, not that he plows too few acres, for he often plows too many,
but that he should plow oftener as well as deeper and more thoroughly.
I spent three or four of my boyish Summers planting and tilling Corn and
Potatoes on fields broken up just before they were planted, never
cross-plowed, and of course tough and intractable throughout the season.
The yield of Corn was middling, considering the season; that of Potatoes
more than middling; yet, if those fields had been well plowed in the
previous Autumn, cross-plowed early in the Spring; and thoroughly
harrowed just before planting-time, I am confident that the yield would
have been far greater, and the labor (save in harvesting) rather
less--the cost of the Fall plowing being over-balanced by the saving of
half the time necessarily given to the planting and hoeing.

Fall Plowing has this recommendation--it lightens labor at the busier
season, by transferring it to one of comparative dullness. I may have
said that I consider him a good farmer who knows how to make a rainy day
equally effective with one that is dry and fair; and, in the same
spirit, I count him my master in this art who can make a day's work in
Autumn or Winter save a day's work in Spring or Summer. Show me a farmer
who has no land plowed when May opens, and is just waking up to a
consciousness that his fences need mending and his trees want trimming,
and I will guess that the sheriff will be after him before May comes
round again.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no superstition in the belief that land is (or may be) enriched
by Fall Plowing. The Autumn gales are freighted with the more volatile
elements of decaying vegetation. These, taken up wherever they are given
of in excess, are wafted to and deposited in the soils best fitted for
their reception. Regarded simply as a method of fertilizing, I do not
say that Fall Plowing is the cheapest; I _do_ say that any poor field,
if well plowed in the Fall, will be in better heart the next Spring, for
what wind and rain will meantime have deposited thereon. Frost, too, in
any region where the ground freezes, and especially where it freezes and
thaws repeatedly, plays an important and beneficial part in aerating and
pulverizing a freshly plowed soil, especially one thrown up into ridges,
so as to be most thoroughly exposed to the action of the more volatile
elements. The farmer who has a good team may profitably keep the plow
running in Autumn until every rood that he means to till next season has
been thoroughly pulverized.

In this section, our minute chequer-work of fences operates to obstruct
and impede Plowing. Our predecessors wished to clear their fields, at
least superficially, of the loose, troublesome bowlders of granite
wherewith they were so thickly sown; they mistakenly fancied that they
could lighten their own toil by sending their cattle to graze, browse,
and gnaw, wherever a crop was not actually on the ground; so they fenced
their farms into patches of two or ten acres, and thought they had
thereby increased their value! That was a sad miscalculation. Weeds,
briars and bushes were sheltered, and nourished by these walls;
weasels, rats and other destructive animals, found protection and
impunity therein; a wide belt on either side was made useless or worse;
while Plowing was rendered laborious, difficult, and inefficient, by the
necessity of turning after every few hundred steps. We are growing
slowly wiser, and burying a part of these walls, or building them into
concrete barns or other useful structures; but they are still far too
plentiful, and need to be dealt with more sternly. O squatter on a wide
prairie, on the bleak Plains, or in a broad Pacific valley, where wood
must be hauled for miles and loose stone are rarely visible, thank God
for the benignant dispensation which has precluded you from half
spoiling your farm by a multiplicity of obstructing, deforming, fences,
and so left its soil free and open to be everywhere pervaded, loosened,
permeated, by the renovating Plow!



Prices vary so widely in different localities that no fertilizer can be
pronounced everywhere cheapest or best worth buying; and yet I doubt
that there is a rood of our country's surface in fit condition to be
cultivated to which Gypsum (Plaster of Paris) might not be applied with
profit. Where it costs $10 or over per tun, I would apply it
sparingly--say, one bushel per acre--while I judge three bushels per
acre none too much in regions where it may be bought much cheaper. Even
the poor man who has but one cow, should buy a barrel of it, and dust
his stable therewith after cleaning it each day. He who has a stock of
cattle should never be without it, and should freely use it, alike in
stable and yard, to keep down the noisome odors, and thus retain the
volatile elements of the manure. Every meadow, every pasture, should be
sown with it at least triennially; where it is abundant and cheap, as in
Central New-York, I would apply it each year, unless careful observation
should satisfy me that it no longer subserved a good purpose.

As to the _time_ of application, while I judge any season will do, my
present impression is that it will do most good if applied when the
Summer is hottest and the ground driest. If, for instance, you close
your haying in mid-Summer, having been hurried by the rapid ripening of
the grass, and find your meadows baked and cracked by the intense heat,
I reckon that you may proceed to dust those meadows with Gypsum with a
moral certainty that none of it will be wasted. So if your Corn and
other Fall crops are suffering from and likely to be stunted by drouth,
I advise the application of Gypsum broadcast, as evenly as may be and as
bounteously as its price and your means will allow. I do not believe it
so well to apply it specially to the growing stalks, a spoon-full or so
per hill; and I doubt that it is ever judicious to plant it _in_ the
hill with the seed. The readiest and quickest mode of application is
also, I believe, the best.

_How_ Gypsum impels and invigorates vegetable growth, I do not pretend
to know; but that it _does_ so was demonstrated by Nature long before
Man took the hint that she freely gave. The city of Paris and a
considerable adjacent district rest on a bed of Gypsum, ranging from
five to twenty feet below the surface, and considerably decomposed in
its upper portion by the action of water. This region produces Wheat
most luxuriantly, and I presume has done so from time immemorial. At
length it crawled through the hair of the tillers of this soil that the
substance which did so much good fortuitously, and (as it were) because
it could not do otherwise, might do still more if applied to the soil,
with deliberate intent to test its value as a fertilizer. The result we
all understand.

Gypsum is a chemical compound of Sulphur and Lime--so much is agreed;
and the theory of chemists has been that; as the winds pass over a
surface sown with it, the Ammonia which has been exhaled by a thousand
barn-yards, bogs, &c., having a stronger affinity for Sulphur than Lime
has, dissolves the Gypsum, combines with the Sulphur, forming a Sulphate
of Ammonia, and leaves the Lime to get on as it may. I accept this
theory, having no reason to distrust it; and, knowing that Sulphate of
Ammonia is a powerful stimulant of vegetable growth (as any one may be
assured by buying a little of it from some druggist and making the
necessary application), I can readily see how the desired result _might_
in this way be produced. For our purpose, however, let it suffice that
_it is_ produced, of which almost any one may be convinced by sowing
with Gypsum and passing by alternate strips or belts of the same clover
field. I suspect that not many fertilizers repay their cost out of the
first crop; but I account Gypsum one of them; and I submit that no
farmer can afford not to try it. That its good effect is diminished by
many and frequent applications, is highly probable; but there is no hill
or slope to which Gypsum has never yet been applied which ought not to
make its acquaintance this very year. I am confident that there are
pastures which might be made to increase their yield of Grass one-third
by a moderate dressing of it.

I have heard Andrew B. Dickinson, late of Steuben County, and one of the
best unscientific, unlearned farmers ever produced by our State,
maintain that he can not only enrich his own farm but impoverish his
neighbors' by the free use of Gypsum on his woodless hills. The
chemist's explanation of this effect is above indicated. The plastered
land attracts and absorbs not only its own fair proportion of the
breeze-borne Ammonia, but much that, if the equilibrium had not been
disturbed by such application, would have been deposited on the adjacent
hills. As Mr. D. makes not the smallest pretensions to science, the
coincidence between his dictum and the chemist's theory is noteworthy.

Now that our country is completely gridironed with Canals and Railroads,
bringing whatever has a mercantile value very near every one's door, I
suggest that no township should go without Gypsum. Five dollars will buy
at least two barrels of it almost anywhere; and two barrels may be sown
over five or six acres. Let it be sown so that its effect (or
non-effect) may be palpable; give it a fair, careful trial, and await
the result. If it seem to subserve no good purpose, be not too swift to
enter up judgment; but buy two barrels more, vary your time and method
of application, and try again. If the result be still null, let it be
given up that Gypsum is not the fertilizer needed just there--that some
ill-understood peculiarity of soil or climate renders it there
ineffective. Then let its use be there abandoned; but it will still
remain true that, in many localities and in countless instances, Gypsum
has been fully proved one of the best and cheapest commercial
fertilizers known to mankind.

I never tried, but on the strength of others' testimony believe in the
improvement of soils by means of calcined clay or earth. Mr. Andrew B.
Dickinson showed me where he had, during a dry Autumn plowed up the
road-sides through his farm, started fires with a few roots or sticks,
and then piled on sods of the upturned clay and grass-roots till the
fire was nearly smothered, when each heap smoked and smouldered like a
little coal-pit till all of it that was combustible was reduced to
ashes, when ashes and burned clay were shoveled into a cart and strewn
over his fields, to the decided improvement of their crops. Whoever has
a clay sod to plow up, and is deficient in manure, may repeat this
experiment with a moral certainty of liberal returns.



I do not know a rood of our country's surface so rich in _all_ the
materials which enter into the production of the Grains, Grasses,
Fruits, and Vegetables, which are the objects and rewards of
cultivation, that it could not be improved by the application of
fertilizers; if there be such, I heartily congratulate the owners, and
advise them not to sell. Nor do I believe that there are many acres so
fertile that they would not produce more Indian Corn, more Hemp, more
Cotton, and more of whatever may be their appropriate staple, if
judiciously fertilized. If there be farms or fields originally so good
that manure would not increase their yield, I am confident that the
first half-dozen crops will have taken that conceit out of them.
Prairies and river-bottoms may yield ever so bounteously; but that very
luxuriance of growth insures their gradual exhaustion of certain
elements of crops, which must needs be replaced or their product will
dwindle. Whoever has sold a thousand bushels of grain, or its equivalent
in meat, from his farm, has thereby impoverished that farm, unless he
has applied something that balances its loss. "I perceive that virtue
has gone out of me," observed the Saviour, because the hem of his
garment had been touched; and every field that had been cropped might
make a similar report whenever its annual loss by abstraction has not
been balanced by some kind of fertilizer. The farmer who grows the
largest crops is the most merciless exhauster of the soil, unless he
balances his annual drafts (as good farmers rarely fail to do) by at
least equal reënforcements of the productive capacity of his fields.

The good farmer begins by inquiring, "Wherein was my soil originally
deficient? and of what has it been exhausted by subsequent crops?" I
judge that my gravelly hill-sides would reward the application of two
hundred loads (or tuns) of pure clay per acre, as I think the clay flats
which border Lake Champlain would pay for a like application of sand or
fine gravel where that material is found in convenient proximity; and
yet, I know very well that, on at least three-fourths of our country's
area, such application would cost far more than it would be worth. Every
farmer must act on his knowledge of his soil and its peculiar needs, and
not blindly follow the dictum of another. Yet I know few farms which,
were they mine, I would not consider enhanced in value by a vigorous
application of _some_ alkaline substance--Lime, Salt, Ashes, or some of
the cheaper Nitrates. I should be very glad to apply one thousand
bushels of good house-made, hard-wood Ashes to my twenty acres of
arable upland, if I could buy them, delivered, at twenty five cents per
bushel; but they are not to be had. I doubt that there are a hundred
acres of warm, dry, gravelly or sandy soil east of the Alleghanies that
would not amply reward a similar application. But Ashes in quantity are
unattainable, since no good farmer sells them, and Coal is the chief
fuel of cities and villages. The Marls of New-Jersey I judge fully equal
in average value to Ashes which have been nearly deprived of their
potash by leaching, but not quite half equal, bushel for bushel, to
_un_leached Ashes. I judge that average Marl is worth 10 cents per
bushel where Ashes may be had for 25. But Marl is found only in a few
localities, and a material worth but 10 cents per bushel will not bear
transportation beyond 40 miles by wagon or 200 by water. Salt is only
found or made at a few points, and is too dear for general use as a
fertilizer. Where the refuse product of Salt-Works can be cheaply
bought, good farmers will eagerly compete for it, if their lands at all
resemble mine. I judge the tun of Potash I ordered fifteen years ago
from Syracuse, paying $50 and transportation, was the cheapest
fertilizer I ever bought. It was so impregnated with Salt (from the
boiling over of the salt-kettles into the ashes) as to be worthless for
other than agricultural purposes; but I mixed it with a large pile of
Muck that I had recently dug, and, six or eight months thereafter,
applied the product to a very poor, gravelly hill-side which I had just
broken up; and the immediate result was a noble crop of Corn. That
hill-side has not yet forgotten the application.

--If I should try to explain just how and why Lime is a fertilizer, I
should probably fail; and I am well assured that liming has in some
cases been overdone; yet I think most observers will concur in my
statement that _any region which has been limed year after year produces
crops of noticeable excellence_. I cite as examples Chester and
Lancaster Counties, Pennsylvania, with Stark and adjacent counties of
Ohio. Possibly, results equally gratifying might be secured by applying
some other substance; I only _know_ that frequently limed lands are
generally good lands, as their crops do testify. I heartily wish that
the flat clay intervales of Western Vermont could have a fair trial of
the virtues of liming. I should expect to see them thereby rendered
friable and arable; no longer changing speedily from the semblance of
tar to that of brick, but readily plowed and tilled, and yielding
liberally of Grain as well as Grass. I am confident that most farms in
our country will pay for liming to the extent of fifty bushels per acre
where the cost of quick-lime does not exceed ten cents per bushel; and
most farmers, by taking, hot from the kiln, the refuse lime that is
deemed unfit for building purposes, can obtain it cheaper than that.

I wish some farmer who gives constant personal attention to his work--as
I cannot--would make some careful tests of the practical value of
alkalis. For instance: the abundance and tenacity of our common sorrel
is supposed to indicate an acid condition of the soil; and all who have
tried it know that sorrel is hard to kill by cultivation. I suggest that
whoever is troubled with it should cover two square rods with one bushel
of quick-lime just after plowing and harrowing this Spring; then apply
another bushel to _four_ square rods adjacent; then make similar
applications of ashes to two and four square rods respectively, taking
careful note of the boundaries of each patch, and leaving the rest of
the field destitute of either application. I will not anticipate the
result: more than one year may be required to evolve it; but I am
confident that a few such experiments would supply data whereof I am in
need; and there are doubtless others whose ignorance is nearly equal to

Many have applied Lime to their fields without realizing any advantage
therefrom. In some cases, there was already a sufficiency of this
ingredient in the soil, and the application of more was one of those
many wasteful blunders induced by our ignorance of Chemistry. But much
Lime is naturally adulterated with other minerals, especially with
Manganese, so that its application to most if not to all soils subserves
no good end. In the absence of exact, scientific knowledge, I would buy
fifty bushels of quick-lime, apply them to one acre running through a
field, and watch the effect. If it doesn't pay, you have a bad article,
or your soil is not deficient in Lime.



A farmer is a manufacturer of articles wherefrom mankind are fed and
clad; his raw materials are the soil and the various substances he
mingles therewith or adds thereto in order to increase its productive
capacity. His art consists in transforming by cultivation crude,
comparatively worthless, and even noxious, offensive materials into
substances grateful to the senses, nourishing to the body, and sometimes
invigorating, even strengthening, to the mind.

I have heard of lands that were naturally rich enough; I never was so
lucky or perchance so discerning as to find them. Yet I have seen
Illinois bottoms whereof I was assured that the soil was fully sixteen
feet deep, and a rich, black alluvium from top to bottom; and I do not
question the statements made to me from personal observation that
portions of the strongly alkaline plain or swale on which Salt Lake City
is built, being for the first time plowed, irrigated, and sown to Wheat,
yielded ninety bushels of good grain per acre. I never saw, yet on
evidence believe, that pioneer settlers of the Miami Valley, wishing,
some years after settling there, to sell their farms, advertised them as
peculiarly desirable in that the barns stood over a creek or "branch,"
which swept away the manure each Winter or Spring without trouble to the
owner; and I have myself grown both Wheat and Oats that were very rank
and heavy in straw, yet which fell so flat and lay so dead that the
heads scarcely bore a kernel. Had I been a wiser, better farmer, I
should have known how to stiffen the straw and make it do its office, in
spite of wind and storm.

[And let me here say, lest I forget it in its appropriate place, that I
am confident that most farmers sow grain too thickly for any but very
poor land. If one thinks it necessary to scatter three bushels of Oats
per acre, I tell him that he should apply more manure and less
seed--that land which requires three bushels of seed is not rich enough
to bear Oats. He might better concentrate his manure on half so much
land, and save two-thirds of his seed.]

I do not hold that the remarkably rich soils I have instanced needed
fertilizing when first plowed; I will presume that they did not. Yet,
having never yet succeeded in manuring a corn-field so high that a few
loads more would not (I judge) have increased the crop, I doubt whether
even the richest Illinois bottoms would not yield more Corn, year by
year, if reënforced with the contents of a good barn-yard. And, when the
first heavy crop of Corn has been taken from a field, that field--no
matter how deep and fertile its soil--is less rich in corn-forming
elements than it was before. Just so sure as that there is no depletion
or shrinkage when nothing is taken from nothing, so sure is it that
something cannot be taken from something without diminishing its
capacity to yield something at the next call. Rotation of crops is an
excellent plan; for one may flourish on that which another has rejected;
but this does not overbear Nature's inflexible exaction of so much for
so much. Hence, if there ever was a field so rich that nothing could be
added that would increase its productive capacity, the first exacting
crop thereafter taken from it diminished that capacity, and rendered a
fresh application of some fertilizer desirable.

Years ago, a Western man exhibited at our Farmers' Club a specimen of
the soil of his region which was justly deemed very rich, taken from a
field whereon Corn had been repeatedly grown without apparent
exhaustion. A chemical analysis had been made of it, which was submitted
with the soil. It was claimed that nothing could improve its capacity
for producing the great Illinois staple. Prof. Mapes dissented from this
conclusion. "This soil," said he, "while very rich in nearly every
element which enters into the composition of Corn, gives barely a trace
of Chlorine, the base of Salt. Hence, if five bushels per acre of Salt
be applied to that field, and it does not thereupon yield five bushels
more per annum of Corn, I will agree to eat the field."

Many men fertilize their poor lands only, supposing that the better can
do without. I judge that to be a mistake. My rule would be to plant the
poorest with such choice trees as thrive without manure, and pile the
fertilizers upon the better. It seems to me plain that of two fields,
one of which has a soil containing nine-tenths of the elements of the
desired crop, while the other shows but one to three-tenths, it is a
more hopeful and less thankless task to enrich the former than the
latter. If you are required to supply to a field nearly everything that
your proposed crop will withdraw from it, I do not see where the profit
comes in; but if you are required to supply but a tenth, because the
soil as you found it stood ready to contribute the remaining
nine-tenths, it seems to me that the margin for profit is here decidedly
the greater.

How many tuns of earth ought a farmer to be obliged to turn over and
over in order to obtain therefrom a hundred bushels of Corn? Two
hundred? Five hundred? A thousand? _Five_ thousand? Other things being
equal, no one will doubt that, if he can make the Corn from one hundred
tuns of soil, it were better to do so than to employ five hundred or
five thousand. It seems clear to my mind that, though other conditions
be unequal, it is generally well to endeavor to produce the required
quantity from the smaller rather than the larger area.

I fully share the average farmer's partiality for barn-yard manure in
preference to most, if not all, commercial fertilizers. In my judgment,
almost any farmer who has cattle, with fit shelter and Winter fodder,
can make fertilizers far cheaper than he can buy them. I judge that
almost every farmer who has paid $100 or over for Guano (for instance),
might have more considerably enriched his farm by drawing muck from some
convenient bog or pond into his barn-yard in August or September and
carting it thence to his fields the next Fall. If he can get no muck
within a mile, let him cut, when they are in blossom, all the weeds that
grow near him, especially by the road-side, cart them at once into his
barn-yard, and there convert them into fertilizers. In Autumn, replace
the hay-rack on the wagon or cart, and pile load after load of
freshly-fallen leaves into your yard; taking them, if you may, from the
sides of roads and fences, and from any place where they may have been
lodged or heaped by the winds, your own wood-lot excepted. Plow the turf
off of any scurvy lot or road-side, and pile it into the barn-yard; nay,
dig a hundred loads of pure clay, and place it there, if you can get it
at a small expense, and your average soil is gravelly or sandy. The
farmer who is unable or reluctant to buy commercial fertilizers should
apply his whole force every Autumn to replenishing his barn-yard with
that material which he can obtain most easily which the trampling of his
cattle may readily convert into manure. A month is too little, two
months would not be too much, to devote to this good work. Some may seem
obliged to postpone it to Winter; but that is to run the risk of
embarrassment by frost or snow, and encounter the certainty that your
material will be inferior in quality, or not so well fitted to apply to
grain-crops the ensuing Fall.

--All this, you may say, is not instruction. We ought to know exactly
what lands are enriched by Gypsum, and what, if any, are not; why these
are fertilized, why those are not, by a common application; how great is
the profit of such application in any case; and what substitute can most
nearly subserve the same ends where Gypsum is not to be had. I admit all
you claim, and do not doubt that there shall yet be a Scientific
Agriculture that will fully answer your requirements. As yet, however,
it exists but in suggestions and fragments; and attempts to complete it
by naked assertions and sweeping generalizations tend rather to mislead
and disgust the young farmer than really to enlighten and guide him. At
all events, I shall aim to set forth as true no more than I know, or
with good reason confidently believe.

I close by rëiterating my belief that no farmer ever yet impoverished
himself by making too much manure or by applying too much of his own
manufacture. I cannot speak so confidently of _buying_ commercial
fertilizers; but these I will discuss in my next chapter.



I hate to check improvement or chill the glow of Faith; yet I do so
keenly apprehend that many of our people, especially among the Southern
cotton-growers, are squandering money on Commercial Fertilizers, that I
am bound to utter my note of warning, even though it should pass wholly
unheeded. Let me make my position as clear as I can.

I live in a section which has been cultivated for more than two
centuries, while its proximity to a great city has tempted to crop it
incessantly, exhaustively. Wheat while its original surface soil of six
to twelve inches of vegetable mold (mainly composed of decayed
forest-leaves) remained; then Corn and Oats; at length, Milk, Beef, and
Apples--have exhausted the hill-sides and gentler slopes of Westchester
County, except where they have been kept in heart by judicious culture
and liberal fertilizing; and, even here, that subtle element,
Phosphorus, which enters minutely but necessarily into the composition
of every animal and nearly every vegetable structure has been gradually
drawn away in Grain, in Milk, in Bones, and not restored to the soil by
the application of ordinary manures. I am convinced that a field may be
so manured as to give three tuns of Hay per acre, yet so destitute of
Phosphorus that a sound, healthy animal cannot be grown therefrom. For
two centuries, the tillers of Westchester County knew nothing of
Chemistry or Phosphorus, and allowed the unvalued bones of their animals
to be exported to fatten British meadows, without an effort to retain
them. Hence, it has become absolutely essential that we buy and apply
Phosphates, even though the price be high; for our land can no longer do
without them. Wherever a steer or heifer can occasionally be caught
gnawing or mumbling over an old bone, there Phosphates are
indispensable, no matter at what cost. Better pay $100 per tun for a
dressing of one hundred pounds of Bone per acre than try to do without.

But no lands recently brought into cultivation--no lands where the bones
of the animals fed thereon have been allowed, for unnumbered years past,
to mingle with the soil--can be equally hungry for Phosphates; and I
doubt that any cotton-field in the South will ever return an outlay of
even $50 per tun for any Phosphatic fertilizer whatever. That _any_
preparation of Bone, or whereof Bone is a principal element, will
increase the succeeding crops, is undoubted; but that it will ever
return its cost and a decent margin of profit, is yet to be demonstrated
to my satisfaction.

No doubt, there are special cases in which the application even of
Peruvian Guano at $90 per tun is advisable. A compost of Muck, Lime,
&c., equally efficient, might be far cheaper; but months would be
required to prepare and perfect it, and meantime the farmer would lose
his crop, or fail to make one. If a tun of Guano, or of some expensive
Phosphate, will give him six or eight acres of Clover where he would
otherwise have little or none, and he needs that Clover to feed the team
wherewith he is breaking up and fitting his farm to grow a good crop
next year, he may wisely make the purchase and application, even though
he may be able to compost for next year's use twice the value of
fertilizers for the precise cost of this. But I am so thorough in my
devotion to "home industry," that I hold him an unskillful farmer who
cannot, nine times in ten, make, mainly from materials to be found on or
near his farm, a pile of compost for $100 that will add more to the
enduring fertility of his farm than anything he can bring from a
distance at a cost of $150.

Understand that this is a general rule, and subject, like all general
rules, to exceptions. Gypsum, I think every farmer should buy; Lime
also, if his soil needs it; Phosphates in some shape, if past ignorance
or folly has allowed that soil to be despoiled of them; Wood Ashes, if
any one can be found so brainless as to sell them; Marl, of course,
where it is found within ten miles; Guano very rarely, and mainly when
something is needed to make a crop before coarser and colder
fertilizers can be brought into a condition of fitness for use; but the
general rule I insist on is this: A good farmer will, in the course of
twenty or thirty years, make at least $10 worth of fertilizers for every
dollar's worth he buys from any dealer, unless it be the sweepings or
other excretions of some not distant city.

I have used Guano frequently, and, though it has generally made its
mark, I never yet felt sure that it returned me a profit over its cost.
Phosphates have done better, especially where applied to Corn in the
hill, either at the time of planting or later; yet my strong impression
is that Flour of Bone, applied broadcast and freely, especially when
Wheat or Oats are sown on a field that is to be laid down to Grass, pays
better and more surely than anything else I order from the City, Gypsum,
and possibly Oyster-Shell Lime, excepted.

My experience can be no safe guide for others, since it is not proved
that the anterior condition and needs of their soils are precisely like
those of mine. I apprehend that Guano has not had a fair trial on my
place--that carelessness in pulverizing or in application has caused it
to "waste its sweetness on the desert air," or that a drouth following
its application has prevented the due development of its virtues. And
still my impression that Guano is the brandy of vegetation, supplying to
plants stimulus rather than nutrition, is so clear and strong that it
may not easily be effaced. It seems to me plainly absurd to send ten
thousand miles for this stimulant, when this or any other great city
annually poisons its own atmosphere and the adjacent waters with
excretions which are of very similar character and value, and which
Science and Capital might combine to utilize at less than half the cost
of like elements in the form of Guano.

My object in this paper is to incite experiment and careful observation.
No farmer should absolutely trust aught but his own senses. A Rhode
Islander once assured me that he applied to four acres of thin, slaty
gravel one hundred pounds per acre of Nitrate of Soda which cost him $4
per hundred, and obtained therefrom four additional tuns of good Hay,
worth $15 per tun: Net profit (after allowing for the cost of making the
Hay), say $30. He might not be so fortunate on a second trial, and there
may not be another four acres of the earth's surface where Nitrate of
Soda would do so well; but, should I ever have a fair opportunity, I
mean to see what a little of that Nitrate will do for _me_. And I hope
farmers may more and more be induced to conform in practice to the
Apostolic precept, "Prove all things: Hold fast that which is good." No
one's success or failure in a particular instance should be conclusive
with others, because of the infinite diversity of antecedent and
attendant circumstances; but if every thrifty farmer would give to each
of the commercial fertilizers--Lime, Gypsum, Guano, Raw Bone,
Phosphates, Ashes, Salt, Marl, etc.--such a careful trial as he might,
observing closely and recording carefully the results, we should soon
have a mass of facts and results, wherefrom deductions might be drawn of
signal practical value to the present and to future generations.

I firmly believe that great results of signal beneficence are to be
slowly but surely achieved by means of the household convenience known
as the Earth-Closet, and by kindred devices for rendering inoffensive
and utilizing the most powerful fertilizer produced on every farm and in
every household. That is a vulgar squeamishness which leaves it to
poison the atmosphere and offend the senses on the assumption that it is
too noisome to be dealt with or utilized. A true refinement counsels
that it be daily covered, and its odor absorbed or suppressed by earth,
or muck, or ashes, and thus prepared for removal to and incorporation
with the soil. It is far within the truth to estimate our National loss
by the waste of this material at $1 per head, or $40,000,000 in all per
annum: a waste which is steadily diminishing the productive capacity of
our soil. This cannot, must not, be allowed to continue. We must devise
or adopt _some_ mode of securing and applying this powerful fertilizer;
and I defer to that which is already in extensive and daily expanding
use. Let whoever can do better; but meantime let us welcome and diffuse
the Earth Closet.



The time will be, I cannot doubt, when chemists can tell us the exact
positive or relative value of a cord of Muck--how this swamp or that
pond affords a choice article, while the product of another will hardly
pay for digging. There may be chemists whose judgment on these points is
now worth far more than mine, since mine is worth exactly nothing. I
_do_ know, however, that Muck is a valuable fertilizer, and that digging
and composting it _does pay_. I judge that I have transferred at least
three thousand loads of it from my swamp to my upland; and the effect
had been all that I expected. Let me speak of Muck generally, in the
light, of my own experience.

Wherever rocks in ridges come to the surface of a valley, plain, or
gentle slope, water is apt to be collected or retained by them, forming
ponds or shallower pools, which may or may not dry up in Summer, but
which are seldom dry late in Autumn, when plants are dying and leaves
are falling. The latter, caught in their descent by the harsh winds of
the season, are swept along the bare, dry ground, till they strike the
water, which arrests their progress and soon engulfs them. Thus an acre
of watery surface will often collect, and retain the dead foliage of
five to ten acres of forest; and next Fall will render its kindred
tribute, and the next, and the next, for ever. There cannot be less than
fifty millions of acres of Swamps in our old States (including Maine);
whereof I presume the larger area was covered with water until the slow
contributions of leaves and weeds filled them above the level at which
water is no longer retained on the surface. And still, they are so moist
and boggy, and their rank vegetation is so retentive, that the leaves
swept in from the adjacent hills and glades are firmly retained and aid
to increase the depth of their vegetable mold, which varies from a few
inches to twenty and even thirty feet. In my old County of Westchester,
I roughly estimate that there are at least five thousand acres of bog,
whereof but a very few hundreds have yet been subdued to the uses of

Whoever digs a quantity of Swamp Muck and applies it _directly_ to his
fields or garden, will derive little or no immediate benefit therefrom.
It is green, sour, cold, and more likely to cover his farm thickly and
persistently with Sorrel, Eye-smart, Rag-weed, Parsley, and other
infestations, than to add a bushel per acre to his crop of Grain or
Roots. And thus many have tried Muck, and, on trial, pronounced it a
pestilent humbug.

But let any farmer turn his whole force into a bog or marsh directly
after finishing his Summer harvest (when it is apt to be driest and
warmest), and, having freed it of water to the best of his ability, dig
and draw out one hundred cords of its black, oozy substance, and he will
know better than to unite in that hasty judgment. If the bog be near his
farm-yard, let the Muck be shoveled at once into a cart and drawn
thither; but, if not, let it be simply brought out in wheel-barrows and
deposited, not more than two feet deep, on the most convenient bank that
is well drained and perfectly dry. Here let it dry and drain till after
Fall harvest, and then begin to draw it gradually into the yards, and
especially where it may be worked over by swine and scratched over for
seeds and insects by fowls. Assuming that the farm-yard is lowest in the
centre and allows no liquid to escape save by evaporation, the Muck may
well be dumped on the drier sides; thence, after being worked over and
trampled through and through, to be shoveled into the centre and
replaced by fresh arrivals. A hundred cords may thus be so mixed and
ripened as to be fit to draw out next May and used as a fertilizer for
Grain or Roots, though, if not so treated, it should lie exposed to sun
and wind a full year; being applied in the Fall to crops of Winter grain
or spread upon the fields to be planted or sowed next Spring. All the
manure made during the Winter should be spread over that which lies in
the yard at least monthly; and then new Muck drawn in, to be rooted or
scratched over, trampled into the underlying strata, and overspread in
its turn. Thus treated, I am confident that each hundred cords of Muck
will be equal in value to an equal quantity of manure, though it may not
give up its fertilizing properties so freely to the first crop that
follows its application. I have land that did not yield (in pasture) the
equivalent of half a tun of hay pet annum when I bought it, that now
yields at least three tuns of good hay per annum; and its renovation is
mainly due to a free application of Swamp Muck.

To those who have a good stock of animals, with Muck convenient to their
yards, I would not recommend any other treatment than the foregoing; but
there are many who keep few animals, or whose muck-beds lie at the back
of their farms, two or three hundred rods from their barns; while they
wish to fertilize the fields in this quarter, which have been slighted
in former applications, because of the distance over which manure had to
be hauled. If these possess or can buy good hard-wood, house-made Ashes
at twenty-five cents or less per bushel, I would say, Mix these well, at
the rate of two or three bushels to the card, with your Muck as you dig
it; work it over the next Spring, and apply it the ensuing Fall, so as
to give it a full year to ripen and sweeten, and it will be all right.
But, if you have not and cannot get the Ashes, and _can_ procure dirty,
refuse Salt from some meat-packer or wholesale grocer, apply this as you
would have applied the Ashes, but in rather larger quantity; and, if
you can get neither Ashes nor Salt, use quick Lime, as fresh and hot
from the kiln as you can apply it. The best Lime is that from burned
Oyster-Shells; I consider this, if nowise slaked, nearly equal to refuse
Salt; but Oyster-Shell Lime is too dear at most inland points; and here
the refuse of the kilns--that which is not good enough for
mason-work--must be used. Usually, the lime-burner has a load or more of
this at the clearing out of every kiln, which he will sell quite cheap
if it be taken out of his way at once; and this should be looked for and
secured. Being inferior in quality (often because imperfectly burned),
it should be applied in larger quantity--not less than four bushels to
each cord of Muck.

       *       *       *       *       *

I will not here describe the process of mixing Salt with Lime commended
by Prof. Mapes, because it is not easy to bring these two ingredients
together so as to mix them with the Muck as it is dug: and, though I
have used them after Prof. Mapes's recipe, and purpose to do so
hereafter, I do not feel certain that any positive advantage results
from their blended application as a Chloride of Lime. If I should gain
further light on this point before completing this series, I shall not
fail to impart it.



If I were to estimate the average absolute loss of the farmers of this
country from Insects at $100,000,000 per annum, I should doubtless be
far below the mark. The loss of fruit alone by the devastations of
insects, within a radius of fifty miles from this City, must amount in
value to Millions. In my neighborhood, the Peach once flourished, but
flourishes no more, and Cherries have been all but annihilated. Apples
were till lately our most profitable and perhaps our most important
product; but the worms take half our average crop and sadly damage what
they do not utterly destroy. Plums we have ceased to grow or expect; our
Pears are generally stung and often blighted; even the Currant has at
last its fruit-destroying worm. We must fight our paltry adversaries
more efficiently, or allow them to drive us wholly from the field.

Now, I have no doubt that our best allies in this inglorious warfare are
the Birds. They would save us, if we did not destroy them. The British
plowman, turning his sod with a myriad of crows, blackbirds, etc.,
chasing his steps and all but getting under his feet in their eager
quest of grubs, bugs, etc., is a spectacle to be devoutly thankful for.
Whenever clouds of birds shall habitually darken our fields in May and
(less notably) throughout the Summer months, we may reasonably hope to
grow fair crops of our favorite Fruits from year to year, and realize
that we owe them to the constant, and zealous, though not quite
disinterested, efforts of our friends, the Birds.

But I do not regard the ravages of Insects as entirely due to the
reckless destruction and consequent scarcity of our Birds. I hold that
their multiplication and their devastations are largely incited by the
degeneracy of our plants caused by the badness of our culture. On this
point, consider a statement made to me, some fifteen or twenty years
ago, by the late Gov. William F. Packer, of Pennsylvania:

"I know (said Gov. P.) the narrow valley of a stream that runs into the
west branch of the Susquehanna, which was cleared of the primitive
forest some forty or fifty years since, and has ever since been
alternately in tillage and grass. A road ran through the middle of it,
dividing it into two narrow fields. A few years ago, this road was
abandoned, and the whole of this little valley, including the road-way,
thrown into a single field, which was thereupon sown to Wheat. At
harvest-time, this remarkable phenomenon was presented: A good crop of
sound grain on the strip four or fire rods wide formerly covered by the
road; while nearly every berry on either side of it was destroyed by the
weevil or midge."

Now I do not infer from this fact that insect ravages are _wholly_ due
to our abuse and exhaustion of the soil. I presume that Wheat and other
crops would be devastated by insects if there were no slovenly, niggard,
exhausting tillage. But I do firmly hold that at least half our losses
by insects would be precluded if our fields were habitually kept in
better heart by deep culture, liberal fertilizing, and a judicious
rotation of crops. I heard little of insect ravages in the wheat-fields
of Western New-York throughout the first thirty years of this century;
but, when crop after crop of Wheat had been taken from the same fields
until they had been well nigh exhausted of their Wheat-forming elements,
we began to hear of the desolation wrought by insects; and those ravages
increased in magnitude until Wheat-culture had to be abandoned for
years. I believe that we should have heard little of insects had Wheat
been grown on those fields but one year in three since their redemption
from the primal forest.

But, whatever might once have been, the Philistines are upon us. We are
doomed, for at least a generation, to wage a relentless war against
insects multiplied beyond reason by the neglect and short-comings of our
predecessors. We are in like condition with the inhabitants of the
British isles a thousand years ago, whose forefathers had so long
endured and so unskillfully resisted invasion and spoliation by the
Northmen that they had come to be regarded as the sea-kings' natural
prey. For generations, it has been customary hereabout to slaughter
without remorse the birds, and let caterpillars, worms, grasshoppers,
etc., multiply and ravage unresisted. We must pay for past errors by
present loss and years of extra effort. And, precisely because the task
is so arduous, we ought to lose no time in addressing ourselves to its

The first step to be taken is very simple. Let every farmer who realizes
the importance and beneficence of Birds teach his own children and
hirelings that, except the Hawk, they are to be spared, protected,
kindly treated, and (when necessary) fed. They are to be valued and
cherished as the voluntary police of our fields and gardens, constantly
employed in fighting our battles against our ruthless foes. The boy who
robs a bird's nest is robbing the farmer of a part of his crops. He who
traverses a farm shooting and mangling its feathered sentinels
diminishes its future product of Grain and nearly destroys that of
Fruit. The farmer might as well consent that any strolling ruffian
should shoot his Horses or Cattle as his Birds. Begin at home to make
this truth felt and respected, and it will be the easier to impress it
also on your neighbors.

Next, there should be neighborhood or township associations for the
protection of insect-eating birds. We must not merely agree to let them
live--we must cherish and protect them. I believe that very simple cups
or bowls of cast-iron, having each a hole in its centre of suitable
size, that need not cost sixpence each, and could be fastened to the
side of a tree with one nail lightly driven, would in time be adopted by
many birds as nesting strongholds, whence they might laugh to scorn
their predacious enemies. If every harmless bird could build its nest
among us in a place where its eggs would be safe from hawks, crows,
cats, boys, and other robbers, the number of such birds would quickly be
doubled and quadrupled.

And we must summon the law to our aid. Though law can do little or
nothing against stealthy, skulking nest-plunderers, it can help us
materially in our warfare with the cowardly vagabonds who traverse our
fields with musket or rifle, blazing away at every unsuspecting robin or
thrush that they can discover. Make it trespass, punishable with fine
and imprisonment, to shoot on another's land without his express
permission, and the cowardly massacre of the farmers' humble allies
would be checked at once, and, when public sentiment had been properly
enlightened, might, in civilized regions, be arrested altogether.



I have had so little experience in Tree-Planting that I should have
preferred to say no more about it; but letters that have reached me
imply that the ignorance of others is even denser than mine. For the
sake of those only who are conscious that they know nothing, yet are not
unwilling to learn, I venture a few timid suggestions with regard to

I. Ten or twelve years ago, I bought a pound or more of Locust seed
rather late in the Spring, scalded it by plunging for a moment the
little cotton bag which held it into a pot of boiling water, and letting
the seed steep and steam in the bag till next morning, when the seed was
planted in rows in a newly broken bit of poor old pasture-land. This was
a mistake; I should have given that seed the richest available spot in
my garden, to say nothing of planting it as early as April 20th. My
locusts came up slowly and grew feebly that year, not to speak of the
many seeds that did not sprout at all. Still many came up and survived,
and my place is this day the richer for them. It might have been still
richer had I seasonably known more.

II. What I would now advise as to Locust and most other trees is that
the best seed be procured in the Fall, or so soon as it drops from the
trees; that part of it be sown in drills, two feet apart, with two
inches between seeds in the drills, and that the richest of dry, warm
garden-soil be devoted to this purpose. Fill a large box with rich loam,
stir four ounces of seed into this, and set the box in a cool cellar
where frost does not enter, and here let it remain till April; then take
out the seed and earth together, and sow in drills as above. If some one
who cuts Locust during the Winter or Spring will allow you to trace the
smaller surface-roots from the new-made stumps and cut or dig them up,
cut fifty or a hundred pieces of root the size of your finger each two
feet long, and plant these, about May 1, in the places where you want
Locusts to come forward most rapidly. Some of them may not grow, but I
think many will; and, from all these sources, I judge that you will
obtain a good supply of young trees. Let those you start from the seed
get two years' growth before you take them up and set them where you
want trees, whether in your present woods, in rugged, rocky pastures, on
the sides of steep ravines, or around your buildings. You cannot fail to
obtain _some_ trees if you follow these directions.

III. Begin early this Fall to gather Chestnuts, Hickory Nuts, Walnuts,
White Oak, Acorns, etc., to plant. Select the largest and finest nuts,
giving the preference to those which ripen and fall earliest. Keep them
in cool, damp earth in some barn or cellar where rats and mice cannot
reach them, and persist in collecting till December. Then plant a part
in your garden or in any rich ground where they are not likely to be
disturbed; letting the residue remain in the boxes of moist earth where
you first placed them till early Spring; then plant these, like the
former, in rows two feet apart, with six inches between seed and seed in
each row, and give the rows careful culture for two years; after which,
set them where you wish them to grow.

I venture to suggest that he who has a ragged, stony hill or other lot
which he wishes to surrender to forest should plow it, if it can be
plowed, next September or October; if too rocky to be even imperfectly
plowed, dig up the earth with pick and spade, and sow it thickly with
hickory nuts, walnuts, chestnuts, locust and other tree-seeds, expecting
that some will be dug up and carried off by squirrels, etc., and that
others will fail to germinate. Go over it with hoes the ensuing June or
July, killing all weeds and other infestations; and, nearly a year
later, repeat the operation, taking up young trees from your garden or
nursery, and filling them in wherever there is room. Plant thickly in
order to force an upward rather than a scraggy growth; and so that you
may begin to cut out the superfluous saplings for bean-poles,
hoop-poles, etc., three or four years thereafter. Cut late in Winter or
early in Spring, so that the stumps will each throw up two or more
shoots or sprouts, which usually grow much faster than the original tree
did. And the process of thinning may thus be continued indefinitely,
while the choicer trees are allowed to attain their stateliest
proportions. And thus a rocky, sterile hill-side or knoll may be made to
yield a crop annually after the first two or three years from planting,
while growing trees of decided value. I judge that almost any land
within fifty miles of a great city and not more than two miles from a
railroad depot or from navigable water may thus be made to earn a good
interest on $100 per acre, after meeting all the cost of breaking up and
planting. I confidently assert that many thousands of sterile, rocky
acres, which now yield less than $5 per acre annually in pasturage,
would net at least double that sum to the owner if wisely devoted to

       *       *       *       *       *

I have a hearty love of forests. They proffer gentle companionship to
the thoughtful and rest to the overworked, fevered brain. Our streams
will be fuller and less capricious, our gales less destructive, our
climate more equable, when we shall have reclothed our rugged slopes and
rocky crests with trees. Timber grows yearly scarcer and dearer, when it
ought to be becoming more plentiful and accessible, and _would_ be if we
devoted to trees all the land which we cultivate at a loss or fail to
cultivate at all. Let our boys be incited to gather seeds and plant
nurseries; let young trees be bought by the thousand where they now are
by the dozen, and let us all coöperate in covering our unsightly rocks
and making glad our waste places by a superabundance of choice, thrifty,
healthy trees.

Many of our young men have a taste for adventure and excitement which
leads them to the ocean, the mines, to Australia or some other far-off
land recently and scantily peopled by civilized beings. I will not
quarrel with their taste; but I judge that there are openings for their
enterprise and daring within the area of our own country. Let one
thousand of them resolve to devote the next five years to planting
forests on the treeless plains and virtual deserts of the Great Basin
and on either side of it; let them select locations where some acres may
cheaply and surely be irrigated, and, having carefully provided
themselves with an abundance of the best seeds, let them start patches
of woodland at points the most remote from present timber, until a
thousand different forests--one to each of the associates--shall have
been started and guarded till their roots have taken firm hold of the
earth. I presume Congress would grant them preëmptions to each section
on which they thus planted at least forty acres of forest, and that most
of these preëmption rights could, within ten years, be sold to settlers
for many times their original cost.



If I were asked to say what single aspect of our economic condition most
strikingly and favorably distinguished the people of our Northern States
from these of most if not all other countries which I have traversed, I
would point at once to the fruit-trees which so generally diversify
every little as well as larger farm throughout these States, and are
quite commonly found even on the petty holdings of the poorer mechanics
and workmen in every village and in the suburbs and outskirts of every
city. I can recall nothing like it abroad, save in two or three of the
least mountainous and most fertile districts of northern Switzerland.
Italy has some approach to it in the venerable olive-trees which
surround or flank many, perhaps most, of her farm-houses, upholding
grape-vines as ancient and nearly as large as themselves; but the
average New-England or Middle State homestead, with its ample
Apple-orchard and its cluster of Pear, Cherry and Plum-trees surrounding
its house and dotting or belting its garden, has an air of comfort and
modest thrift, which I have nowhere else seen fairly equaled. Upland
Virginia and the mountainous portion of the States southward of her may
in time surpass the most favored regions of the North in the abundance,
variety and excellence of their fruits; for the Peach and the Grape find
here a congenial climate, while they are grown with difficulty, where
they can be grown at all, in the North; but, up to this hour, I judge
that our country north of the Potomac is better supplied with wholesome
and palatable tree-fruits than any other portion of the earth's surface
of equal or nearly equal area.

On the whole, I deem it a misfortune that our Northern States were so
admirably adapted to the Apple and kindred fruit-trees that our pioneer
forefathers had little more to do than bury the seeds in the ground and
wait a few years for the resulting fruit. The soil, formed of decayed
trees and their foliage, thickly covered with the ashes of the primitive
forest, was as genial as soil could be; while the remaining woods, which
still covered seven-eighths of the country, shut out or softened the
cold winds of Winter and Spring, rendering it less difficult, a century
ago, to grow fine peaches in southern New-Hampshire than it now is in
southern New-York. Devastating insects were precluded by those great,
dense woods from diffusing themselves from orchard to orchard as they
now do. Snows fell more heavily and lay longer then than now, protecting
the roots from heavy frosts, and keeping back buds and blossoms in
Spring, to the signal advantage of the husbandman. I estimate that my
apple-trees would bear at least one-third more fruit if I could retard
their blossoming a fortnight, so as to avoid the cold rains and cutting
winds, often succeeded by frosts, which are apt to pay their unwelcome
farewell visits just when my trees are in bloom or when the fruit is
forming directly thereafter. Hence, I say to every one who shall
hereafter set an orchard, Give it the northward slope of a hill if that
be possible. Other things being equal, the orchard which blossoms latest
will, in a series of years, yield most fruit, and will be most likely to
bear when the Apple-crop of your vicinity proves a failure. I do not
recommend storing ice to plant or bury under the trees in April, for
that involves too much labor and expense; yet I have no doubt that even
that has been and sometimes might be done with profit. In the average,
however, I judge that it would not pay.

In locating and setting an orchard, the very first consideration is
thorough drainage. Nothing short of a destructive fire can be more
injurious to an apple-tree than compelling it to stand throughout Winter
and Spring in sour, stagnant water. Barrenness, dead branches, and
premature general decay, are the natural and righteous consequences of
such crying abuse. There are many reasons for choosing sloping or broken
ground for an apple-orchard, whereof comparative exemption from frost
and natural facility of drainage are the most obvious. A level field,
thoroughly undrained to-day, may, through neglect and the mischiefs
wrought by burrowing animals, have become little better than a morass
thirty years hence; but an orchard set on a tolerably steep hillside is
reasonably secure against wet feet to the close of its natural life.

A gravelly or sandy loam is generally preferred for orchards; yet I have
known them to flourish and bear generously on heavy clay. Whoever has a
gravelly field will wisely prefer this for Apples, not merely to clay
but to sand as well.

And, while many young orchards have doubtless been injured by immoderate
applications of rank, green manures, I doubt that any man has ever yet
bestowed too much care and expense on the preparation of his ground for
fruit-trees. Where ridges or plateaus of fast stone do not forbid, I
would say, Turn over the soil to a depth of at least fifteen inches with
a large plow and a strong team; then lift and pulverize the subsoil to a
depth of not less than nine inches; apply all the Wood-ashes you can
get, with one thousand bushels of Marl if you are in a Marl region; if
not, use instead from thirty to fifty bushels of quick Lime
(oyster-shell if that is to be had) with one hundred loads per acre of
Swamp Muck which has lain a year on dry upland, baking in the sun and
wind; and now you may think of setting your trees. If your soil was rich
Western prairie or Middle-State garden to begin with, you can dispense
with all these fertilizers; yet I doubt that there is an acre of Western
prairie that would not be improved by the Lime or (perhaps better
still) a smaller quantity of refuse Salt from a packing-house or meat
retailing grocery. There are not many farms that would not repay the
application of five bushels per acre of refuse Salt at twenty-five cents
per bushel.

Your trees once set--(and he who sets twenty trees per day as they
should be set, with each root in its natural position, and the earth
pressed firmly around its trunk, but no higher than as it originally
grew, is a faithful, efficient worker), I would cultivate the land, (for
the trees' sake), growing crops successively of Ruta Bagas, Carrots,
Beets, and early Potatoes, but no grain whatever, for six or seven
years, disturbing the roots of the trees as little as may be, and
guarding their trunks from tug, or trace, or whiffle-tree, by three
stakes set firmly in the ground about each tree, not so near it as to
preclude constant cultivation with the hoe inside as well as outside of
the stakes, so as to let no weed mature in the field. Apply from year to
year well-rotted compost to the field in quantity sufficient fully to
counterbalance the annual abstraction by your crops. Make it a law
inflexible and relentless that no animal shall be let into this orchard
to forage, or for any purpose whatever but to draw on manures, to till
the soil, and to draw away the crops. Thus until the first blossoms
begin to appear on the trees; then lay down to grass _without_ grain,
unless it be a crop of Rye or Oats to be cut and carried off for feed
when not more than half grown, leaving the ground to the young grass.
Let the grass be mowed for the next two or three years, and
thenceforward devote it to the pasturage of Swine, running over it with
a scythe once or twice each Summer to clear it of weeds, and taking out
the Swine a few days before beginning to gather the Apples, but putting
them back again the day after the harvest is completed. Let the Swine be
sufficiently numerous and hungry to eat every apple that falls within a
few hours after it is dropped, and to insure their rooting out every
grub or worm that burrows in the earth beneath the trees, ready to
spring up and apply himself to mischief at the very season when you
could best excuse his absence. I do not commend this as all, or nearly
all, that should be done in resistance to the pest of insect ravage; but
I begin with the Hog as the orchardist's readiest, cheapest, most
effective ally or servitor in the warfare he is doomed unceasingly to
wage against the spoilers of his heritage. I will indicate some further
defensive enginery in my next chapter.



In my opinion, Apple-trees, in most orchards, are planted too far apart
and allowed to grow taller and spread their limbs more widely than is
profitable. I judge that a pruner or picker should be able to reach the
topmost twig of any tree with a ten-foot pole, and that no limb should
be allowed to extend more than eight feet from the trunk whence it
springs. Our Autumnal Equinox occurs before our Apples are generally
ripe for harvest, and, finding our best trees bending under a heavy
burden of fruit, its fierce gales are apt to make bad work with trees as
well as apples. The best tree I had, with several others, was thus
ruined by an equinoctial tempest a few years since. Barren trees escape
unharmed, while those heavily laden with large fruit are wrenched and
twisted into fragments. And, even apart from this peril, a hundred
weight of fruit at or near the extremity of limbs which extend ten or
twelve feet horizontally from the trunk, tax and strain a tree more than
four times that weight growing within four or five feet of the trunk,
and on limbs that maintain a semi-erect position. I diffidently
suggest, therefore, that no apple-tree be allowed to exceed fifteen
feet in height, nor to send a limb more than eight feet from its trunk,
and that trees be set (diamond-fashion) twenty-four feet apart each way,
instead of thirty-two, as some of mine were. I judge that the larger
number of trees (72 per acre) will produce more fruit in the average
than the larger but fewer trees grown on squares of two by two rods to
each, that they will thrive and bear longer, and that not one will be
destroyed or seriously harmed by winds where a dozen would if allowed to
grow as high and spread as far as they could.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every apple-tree should be pruned each year of its life: that is, it
should be carefully examined with intent to prune if that be found
necessary. It should be pruned with a careful eye to giving it the
proper shape, which, from the point where it first forks upward, should
be that of a tea-cup, very nearly. I have seen young trees so malformed
that they could rarely, if ever, bear fruit enough to render them
profitable. And the pruning should be so carefully, judiciously done
from the outset that no wood two years old should ever be cut away. With
old, malformed, diseased, worm-eaten, decaying trees, the best must be
done that can be; but he who, pruning a tree that he set and has
hitherto cared for, finds himself obliged to cut off a limb thicker than
his thumb, may justly suspect himself of lacking a mastery of the art of

Sprouts from the root of an apple-tree remind me of children who
habitually play truant or are kept out of school. They not merely can
never come to good, but they are a nuisance to the neighborhood and
bring reproach on the community.

The apple-grower should never forget that every producer needs to be fed
in proportion to his product. If a cow gives twenty quarts of milk per
day, she needs more grass or other food than if she gave but two quarts;
and an acre of orchard that yields a hundred barrels of Apples per annum
needs something given to the soil to balance the draft made upon it.
Nature offers us good bargains; but she does not trust and will not be
cheated. When she offers a bushel of Corn for a bushel of dirty Salt,
Shell Lime, or Wood-Ashes, a load of Hay for a load of Muck, we ought
not to stint the measure, but pay her demand ungrudgingly.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now a last word on Insects.

My township (Newcastle) is said to have formerly grown more Apples per
annum than any other township in the United States; its apple-trees are
still as numerous as ever, but their product has fallen off deplorably.
I estimate the average yield of the last three years at less than a
bushel per annum for each full-grown tree; I think a majority of the
trees have not borne a bushel each in all these three years.
Unseasonable frosts, storms, etc., have borne the blame of this
barrenness--perhaps justly, if we consider only immediate causes--but
the caterpillar and other vermin are, in my view, our more potent,
though remoter, afflictions. Not less than four times within the last
sixteen years have our trees been covered with nests and worms; and I
have seen whole orchards stripped of nearly every leaf till they were as
bare (of every thing but caterpillars) in July as they should have been
in December. After the scourge had passed, the trees reclad themselves
with leaves; but they grew old under that visitation faster in one year
than they would have done in ten of healthful fruit-bearing; and they
are now prematurely gray and moss-covered because of the terrible

I lay down the general proposition that no man who harbors caterpillars
has any moral right to Apples--that each grower should be required to
make his choice between them. Slovenly farmers say, "O there are so many
of them that I cannot kill half so fast as they multiply." Then I say,
cut down and burn up the trees you can best spare, until you have no
more left than you can keep clear of worms.

If it were the law of the land that whoever allowed caterpillars to nest
and breed in his fruit-trees should pay a heavy fine for each nest, we
should soon be comparatively clear of the scourges. In the absence of
such salutary regulation, one man fights them with persistent
resolution, only to see his orchard again and again invaded and ravaged
by the pests hatched and harbored by his careless neighbors. He thus
pays and repays the penalty of others' negligence and misdoing until,
discouraged and demoralized, he abandons the hopeless struggle, and
thenceforth repels the enemy from a few favorite trees around his
dwelling, and surrenders his orchard to its fate. Thus bad laws (or no
laws) are constantly making bad farmers. The birds that would help us to
make head against our insect foes are slaughtered by reckless boys--many
of them big enough to know better--and our perils and losses from
enemies who would be contemptible if their numbers did not render them
formidable increase from year to year. We must change all this; and the
first requisite of our situation is a firm alliance of the entire
farming and fruit-growing interest defensive as to birds, offensive
toward their destroyers, and toward the vermin multiplied and shielded
by the ruthless massacre of our feathered friends.

Since the foregoing was written we have had (in 1870) the greatest
Apple-crop throughout our section that mine eyes did ever yet behold. It
was so abundant that I could not sell all my cider-apples to the
vinegar-makers, even at fitly cents per barrel. This establishes the
continued capacity of our region to bear Apples, and should invite to
the planting of new orchards and the fertilization and renovation of old



The Grass-crop of this, as of many, if not most, other countries, is
undoubtedly the most important of its annual products; requiring by far
the largest area of its soil, and furnishing the principal food of its
Cattle, and thus contributing essentially to the subsistence of its
working animals and to the production of those Meats which form a large
and constantly increasing proportion of the food of every civilized
people. But I propose to speak in this essay of that proportion of the
Grass-crop--say 25 to 35 per cent. of the whole--which is cut, cured and
housed (or stacked) for Hay, and which is mainly fed out to animals in
Winter and Spring, when frost and snow have divested the earth of
herbage or rendered it inaccessible.

The Seventh Census (1850) returned the Hay-crop of the preceding year at
13,838,642 tuns, which the Eighth Census increased to 19,129,128 tuns as
the product of 1859. Confident that most farmers underestimate their
Hay-crops, and that hundreds of thousands who do not consider themselves
farmers, but who own or rent little homesteads of two to ten acres
each, keeping thereon a cow or two and often a horse, fail to make
returns of the two to five tuns of Hay they annually produce,
considering them too trivial, I estimate the actual Hay-crop of all our
States and Territories for the current year at 40,000,000 tuns, or about
a tun to each inhabitant, although I do not expect the new Census to
place it much, if any, above 25,000,000 tuns. The estimated average
value of this crop is $10 (gold) per tun, making its aggregate value, at
my estimate of its amount, $400,000,000--and the quantity is constantly
and rapidly increasing.

That quantity should be larger from the area devoted to meadows, and the
quality a great deal better. I estimate that 30,000,000 acres are
annually mowed to obtain these 40,000,000 tuns of Hay, giving an average
yield of 1-1/3 tuns per acre, while the average should certainly not
fall below two tuns per acre. My upland has a gravelly, rocky soil, not
natural to grass, and had been pastured to death for at least a century
before I bought it; yet it has yielded me an average of not less than
2-1/2 tuns to the acre for the last sixteen years, and will not yield
less while I am allowed to farm it. My lowland (bog when I bought it) is
bound henceforth to yield more; but, while imperfectly or not at all
drained, it was of course a poor reliance--yielding bounteously in
spots, in others, little or nothing.

In nothing else is shiftless, slovenly farming so apt to betray itself
as in the culture of Grass and the management of grass lands. Pastures
overgrown with bushes and chequered by quaking, miry bogs; meadows foul
with every weed, from white daisy up to the rankest brakes, with
hill-sides that may once have been productive, but from which crop after
crop has been taken and nothing returned to them, until their yield has
shrunk to half or three-fourths of a tun of poor hay, these are the
average indications of a farm nearly run out by the poorest sort of
farming. Such farms were common in the New England of my boyhood; I
trust they are less so to-day; yet I seldom travel ten miles in any
region north or east of the Delaware without seeing one or more of them.

Fifty years ago, I judge that the greater part of the hay made in
New-England was cut from sour, boggy land, that was devoted to grass
simply because nothing else could be done with it. I have helped to
carry the crop off on poles from considerable tracts on which oxen could
not venture without miring. It were superfluous to add that no well-bred
animal would eat such stuff, unless the choice were between it and
absolute starvation. In many cases, a very little work done in opening
the rudest surface-drains would have transformed these bogs into decent
meadows, and the product, by the help of plowing or seeding, into
unexceptionable hay.

There are not many farmers, apart from our wise and skillful dairymen,
who use half enough grass-seed; men otherwise thrifty often fail in this
respect. If half our ordinary farmers would thoroughly seed down a full
third of the area they usually cultivate, and devote to the residue the
time and efforts they now give to the whole, they would grow more grain
and vegetables, while the additional grass would be so much clear again.

We sow almost exclusively Timothy and Clover, when there are at least 20
different grasses required by our great diversity of soils, and of these
three or four might often be sown together with profit; especially in
seeding down fields intended for pasture, we might advantageously use a
greater variety and abundance of seed. I believe that there are grasses
not yet adopted and hardly recognized by the great body of our
farmers--the buffalo-grass of the prairies for one--that will yet be
grown and prized over a great part of our country.

As for Hay-Making, my conviction is strong that our grass is cut in the
average from two to three weeks too late, and that not only is our hay
greatly damaged thereby, but our meadows needlessly impoverished and
exhausted. The formation and perfection of seed always draw heavily upon
the soil. A crop of grass cut when the earliest blossoms begin to
drop--which, in my judgment, is the only right time--will not impoverish
the soil half so much as will the same crop cut three weeks later; while
the roots of the earlier cut grass will retain their vitality at least
thrice as long as though half the seed had ripened before the crop was
harvested. Grass that was fully ripe when cut has lost at least half its
nutriment, which no chemistry can ever restore. Hay alone is dry fodder
for a long Winter, especially for young stock; but hay cut after it was
dead ripe, is proper nutriment for no animal whatever--not even for old
horses, who are popularly supposed to like and thrive upon it.

The fact that our farmers are too generally short-handed throughout the
season of the Summer harvest, while it seems to explain the error I
combat, renders it none the less disastrous and deplorable. I estimate
the depreciation in the value of our hay-crop, by reason of late
cutting, as not less than one-fifth; and, when we consider that a full
half of our farmers turn out their cattle to ravage and poach up their
fields in quest of fodder a full month earlier than they should, because
their hay is nearly or quite exhausted, the consequences of this error
are seen to diffuse themselves over the whole economy of the farm.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the hour in which grass falls under the Mower, it ought to be kept
in motion until laid at rest in the stack or the barn; keep stirring it
with the tedder until it is ready to be raked into light winrows, and
turn these over and over until they will answer to go upon the cart. In
any bright, hot day, the grass mowed in the morning should be stacked
before the dew falls at night; while, if any is mowed after noon, it
should be cocked and capped by sunset, even though it be necessary to
open it out the next fair morning.

I have a dream of hay-making, especially with regard to clover, without
allowing it to be scalded by fierce sunshine. In my dream, the grass is
raked and loaded nearly as fast as cut, drawn to the barn-yard, and
there pitched upon an endless apron, on which it is carried slowly
through a drying-house, heated to some 200° Fahrenheit by steam or by
charcoal in a furnace below, somewhat after the manner of a hop-kiln.
While passing slowly through this heated atmosphere, the grass is
continually forked up and shaken so as to expose every lock of it to the
drying heat, until it passes off thereby deprived of its moisture and is
precipitated into a mow or upon a stack-bottom at the opposite side;
load after load being pitched upon the apron continuously, and the
drying process going steadily forward by night as well as by day, and
without regard to the weather outside. I do not assert that this vision
will ever be realized; but I have known dreams as wild as this
transformed by time and thought into beneficent realities.

I ask no one to share my dreams or sympathise with their drift and
purpose. I only insist that Hay-making, as it is managed all around me,
is ruder in its processes and more uncertain in its results than it
should or need be. We cut our grass rapidly and well; we gather and
house it with tolerable efficiency; but we cure much of it imperfectly
and wastefully. The fact that most of it is over-ripe when cut
aggravates the pernicious effects of its subsequent exposure to dew and
rain; and the net result is damaged fodder which is at once unpalatable
and innutritious.



Our harsh, capricious climate north of the latitudes of Philadelphia,
Cincinnati, and St. Louis--so much severer than that of corresponding
latitudes in Europe--is unfavorable, or at least very trying, to all the
more delicate and luscious Fruits, berries excepted. Except on our
Pacific coast, of which the Winter temperature is at least ten degrees
milder than that of the Atlantic, the finer Peaches and Grapes are grown
with difficulty north of the fortieth degree of latitude, save in a few
specially favored localities, whereof the southern shore of Lake Erie is
most noted, though part of that of Lake Ontario and of the west coast of
Lake Michigan are likewise well adapted to the Peach.

It is not the mere fact that the mercury in Fahrenheit's thermometer
sometimes ranges below zero, and the earth is deeply frozen, but the
suddenness wherewith such rigor succeeds and is succeeded by a
temperature above the freezing point, that proves so inhospitable to the
most valued Tree-Fruits. And, as the dense forests which formerly
clothed the Alleghenies and the Atlantic slope, are year by year swept
away, the severity of our "cold snaps," and the celerity with which they
appear and disappear, are constantly aggravated. A change of 60°, or
from 50° above to 10° below zero, between morning and the following
midnight, soon followed by an equally rapid return to an average
November temperature, often proves fatal even to hardy forest-trees. I
have had the Red Cedar in my woods killed by scores during an open,
capricious Winter; and my observation indicates the warmest spots in a
forest as those where trees are most likely to be thus destroyed. After
an Arctic night, in which they are frozen solid, a bright sun sends its
rays into the warmest nooks, whence the wind is excluded, and wholly or
partially thaws out the smaller trees; which are suddenly frozen solid
again so soon as the sunshine is withdrawn; and this partly explains to
my mind the fact that peach-buds are often killed in lower and level
portions of an orchard, while they retain their vitality on the
hill-side and at its crest, not 80 rods distant from those destroyed.
The fact that the colder air descends into and remains in the valleys of
a rolling district contributes also to the correct explanation of a
phenomenon which has puzzled some observers.

Unless in a favored locality, it seems to the unadvisable for a farmer
who expects to thrive mainly by the production of Grain and Cattle, to
attempt the growing of the finer Fruits, except for the use of his own
family. In a majority of cases, a multiplicity of cares and labors
precludes his giving to his Peaches and Grapes, his Plums and Quinces,
the seasonable and persistent attention which they absolutely require.
Quite commonly, a farmer visits a grand nursery, sees with admiration
its trees and vines loaded with the most luscious Fruits, and rashly
infers that he has only to buy a good stock of like Trees and Vines to
insure himself an abundance of delicious fruit. So he buys and sets; but
with no such preparation of the soil, and no such care to keep it mellow
and free from weeds, or to baffle and destroy predatory insects, as the
nurseryman employs. Hence the utter disappointment of his hopes; borers,
slugs, caterpillars, and every known or unknown species of insect
enemies, prey upon his neglected favorites. At intervals, some domestic
animal or animals get among them, and break down a dozen in an hour. So,
the far greater number come to grief, without having had one fair chance
to show what they could do, and the farmer jumps to the conclusion that
the nurseryman was a swindler, and the trees he sells scarcely related
to those whose abundant and excellent fruits tempted him to buy. I
counsel every farmer to consider thoughtfully the treatment absolutely
required for the production of the finer Fruits before he allows a
nurseryman to make a bill against him, and not expect to grow Duchesse
Pears as easily as Blackberries, or Ionas and Catawbas as readily as he
does Fox-grapes on the willows which overhang his brook; for if he does
he will surely be disappointed.

Some of our hardier and coarser Grapes--the Concord preëminent among
them--are grown with considerable facility over a wide extent of our
country; and many farmers, having planted them in congenial soil, and
tended them well throughout their infancy, are rewarded by a bounteous
product for two or three years. Believing their success assured, they
imagine that their vines may henceforth be neglected, and in the course
of two or three more years they are often utterly ruined. I know that
there are wild grapes of some value, in the absence of better, which
thrive and bear without attention; but I do not believe that any grape
which will sell in a market where good fruit was ever seen, can be grown
north of Philadelphia but by constant care and labor, or at a cost of
less than five cents per pound, under the most judicious and skillful
treatment. In California, and I presume in most of our States south of
the Potomac and Ohio, choice grapes may be grown more abundantly and
more cheaply. Yet I think the localities are few and far between in
which a tun of good grapes can be grown as cheaply as a tun of wheat,
under the most judicious cultivation in either case.

I do not mean to discourage grape-growing; on the contrary, I would have
every farmer, even so far north as Vermont and Wisconsin, experiment
cautiously with a dozen of the most promising varieties, including
always the more hardy, in the hope of finding some one or more adapted
to his soil, and capable of enduring his climate. Even in France, the
land of the vine, one farm will produce a grape which the very next will
not: no man can satisfactorily say why. The farmer, who has tried half a
dozen grapes and failed with all, should not be deterred from further
experiments, for the very next may prove a success. I would only say, Be
moderate in your expectations and careful in your experiments; and never
risk even $100 on a vineyard, till you have ascertained, at a cost of $5
or under, whether the species you are testing will thrive and bear on
your soil.

In my own case, my upland mainly sloping to the west, with a hill rising
directly south of it, I have had no luck with Grapes, and I have wasted
little time or means upon them. I have done enough to show that they can
be grown, even in such a locality, but not to profit or satisfaction.

I would advise the farmer who proposes to grow Pear, Peaches, and
Quinces, for home use only or mainly, to select a piece of dry, gravelly
or sandy loam, underdrain it thoroughly, plow or trench it very deeply,
and fertilize it generously, in good part with ashes and with leaf-mold
from his woods. Locate the pig-pen on one side of it, fence it strongly,
and let the pigs have the run of it for a good portion of each year. In
this plat or yard, plant half a dozen Cherry and as many Pear trees of
choice varieties, the Bartlett foremost among them; keep clear of all
dwarfs, and let your choicest trees have a chance to run under the
pig-pen if they will. Plant here also, if your climate does not forbid,
a dozen well-chosen Peach-trees, and two each year thereafter to replace
those that will soon be dying out; and give half a dozen Quinces moist
and rich locations by the side of your fences; surrounding each tree
with stakes or pickets that will preclude too great familiarity on the
part of the swine, and will not prevent a sharp scrutiny for borers in
their season. Do not forget that a fruit-tree is like a cow tied to an
immovable stake, from which you cannot continue to draw a pail of milk
per day unless you carry her a liberal supply of food; and every Fall
cart in half a dozen loads of muck from some convenient swamp or pond
for your pigs to turn over: Should they leave any weeds, cut them with a
scythe as often as they seem to need it; never allowing one to ripen
seed. There may be easier and surer ways to obtain choice fruits; but
this one commends itself to my judgment as not surpassed by any other. I
think few have grown fruits to profit but those who make this a
specialty; and I feel that disappointment in fruit-culture is by no
means near the end. You _can_ grow Plums, or Grapes, or Peaches, outside
of the climate most congenial to them, but this is a work wherein
success is likely to cost more than its worth. Try it first on a small
scale, if you will try it; and be sure you do it thoroughly.



I disclaim all pretensions to ability to teach Western farmers how to
grow Indian Corn abundantly and profitably, while I cheerfully admit
that they have taught _me_ somewhat thoroughly worth knowing. In my
boyhood, I hoed Corn diligently for weeks at a time, drawing the earth
from between the rows up about the stalks to a depth of three or four
inches; thus forming hills which the West has since taught me to be of
no use, but rather a detriment, embarrassing the efforts of the growing,
hungry plants to throw out their roots extensively in every direction,
and subjecting them to needless injury from drouth. I am thoroughly
convinced that Corn, properly planted, will, like Wheat and all other
grains, root itself just deep enough in the ground, and that to keep
down all weeds and leave the surface of the corn-field open, mellow and
perfectly flat, is the best as well as the cheapest way to cultivate
Corn. And I do not believe that so much human food, with so little
labor, is produced elsewhere on earth as in the spacious fields of
Wheat and Corn in our grand Mississippi valley.

And yet I have seen in that valley many ample stretches covered with
Corn, whereof the tillage seemed susceptible of improvement. Riding
between these great corn-fields in October, after everything standing
thereon had been killed by frost, it seemed to my observation that,
while the corn-crop was fair, the weed-crop was far more luxuriant; so
that, if everything had been cut clean from the ground, and the corn and
the weeds placed in opposite scales, the latter would have weighed down
the former. I cannot doubt that the cultivation, or lack of cultivation,
which produces or permits such results, is not merely slovenly, but

The West is for the present, as for a generation she has been, the
granary of the East. In my judgment, she will not long be content to
remain so. Fifty years ago, the Genesee valley supplied most of the
wheat and flour imported into New-England; ten years later, Northern
Ohio was our principal resource; ten years later still, Michigan,
Indiana, northern Illinois, and eastern Wisconsin, had been added to our
grain-growing territory. Another decade, and our flour manufacturers had
crossed the Mississippi, laying Iowa and Minnesota under liberal
contributions, while western New-York had ceased to grow even her own
breadstuffs, and Ohio to produce one bushel more than she needed for
home consumption. Can we doubt that this steady recession of our Egypt,
our Hungary, is destined to continue? Twenty-three years ago, when I
first rode out from the then rising village of Chicago to see the
Illinois prairies, nearly every wagon I met was loaded with wheat, going
into Chicago, to be sold for about fifty cents per bushel, and the
proceeds loaded back in the form of lumber, groceries, and almost
everything else, grain excepted, needed by the pioneers, then dotting,
thinly and irregularly, that whole region with their cabins. Now, I
presume the district I then traversed produces hardly more grain than it
consumes; taking Illinois altogether, I doubt that she will grow her own
breadstuffs after 1880; not that she will be unable to produce a large
surplus, but that her farmers will have decided that they can use their
lands otherwise to greater advantage. Iowa and Minnesota will continue
to export grain for perhaps twenty years longer; but even their time
will come for saying, "New-York and New-England (not to speak of _Old_
England) are too far away to furnish profitable markets for such bulky
products; the cost of transportation absorbs the larger part of the
cargo. We must export instead Wool, Meat, Lard, Butter, Cheese, Hops,
and various Manufactures, whereof the freight will range from 2 up to
not more than 25 per cent. of the value." They thus save their soil from
the tremendous exaction made by taking grain-crop after grain-crop
persistently, which long ago exhausted most of New-England and eastern
New-York of wheat-forming material, and has since wrought the same
deplorable result in our rich Genesee valley; while eastern
Pennsylvania, though settled nearly two centuries ago, having pursued a
more rational and provident system of husbandry, grows excellent
wheat-crops to this day.

I insist that the States this side of the Delaware; though they will
draw much grain from the Canadas after the political change that cannot
be far distant, will be compelled to grow a very considerable share of
their own breadstuff; that the West will cease to supply them unless at
prices which they will deem exorbitant; and that grain-growing eastward
of a line drawn from Baltimore this north to the Lakes will have to be
very considerably extended. Let us see, then, whether this might not be
done with profit even now, and whether the East is not unwise in having
so generally abandoned grain-growing.

I leave out of the account most of New-England, as well as of Eastern
New-York, and the more rugged portions of New-Jersey and Pennsylvania,
where the rocky, hilly, swampy face of the country seems to forbid any
but that _patchy_ cultivation, wherein machinery and mechanical power
can scarcely be made available, and which seem, therefore, permanently
fated to persevere in a system of agriculture and horticulture not
essentially unlike that they now exhibit. In the valleys of the
Penobscot, the Kennebec, the Hudson, and of our smaller rivers, there
are considerable tracts absolutely free from these natural impediments,
whereon a larger and more efficient husbandry is perfectly practicable,
even now; but these intervales are generally the property of many
owners; are cut up by roads and fences; and are held at high prices: so
that I will simply pass them by, and take for illustration the "Pine
Barrens" of Southern New-Jersey, merely observing that what I say of
them is equally applicable, with slight modifications, to large portions
of Long Island, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas.

The "Pine Barrens" of New-Jersey are a marine deposit of several hundred
feet in depth, mainly sand, with which more or less clay is generally
intermingled, while there are beds and even broader stretches of this
material nearly or quite pure; the clay sometimes underlying the sand at
a depth of 10 to 30 or 40 inches. Vast deposits of muck or leaf-mold,
often of many acres in extent and from two to twenty feet in depth, are
very common; so that hardly any portion of the dry or sandy land is two
miles distant from one or more of them, while some is usually much
nearer; and half the entire region is underlaid by at least one stratum
of the famous marl (formed of the decomposed bones of gigantic marine
monsters long ago extinct) which has already played so important and
beneficent a part in the renovation and fertilization of large districts
in Monmouth, Burlington, Salem, and other counties.

Let us suppose now that a farmer of ample means and generous capacity
should purchase four hundred acres of these "barrens," with intent to
produce therefrom, not sweet potatoes, melons, and the "truck" to which
Southern Jersey is so largely devoted, but substantial Grain and Meat;
and let us see whether the enterprise would probably pay.

Let us not stint the outlay, but, presuming the tract to be eligibly
located on a railroad not too distant from some good marl-bed, estimate
as follows:

  Purchase-money of 400 acres at $25 per acre                   $10,000

  Clearing, grubbing, fencing and breaking up ditto at $20
  per acre, over and above the proceeds of the wood               8,000

  One thousand bushels of best Marl per acre, at 6 cents per
  bushel delivered                                               24,000

  One hundred loads of Swamp Muck, per acre, at 50 cents
  per load                                                       20,000

  Fifty bushels (unslaked) of Oyster-shell Lime (to compost
  with the Muck), per acre, at 25 cents per bushel, delivered     5,000

  One hundred tuns of Bone Flour at $50 per tun                   5,000
  [Net cost, $180 per acre.]            Total                   $72,000

I believe that this tract, divided by light fences into four fields of
100 acres each, and seeded in rotation to Corn, Wheat, Clover and other
grasses, would produce fully 60 bushels of Corn and 30 of Wheat per
acre, with not less than 3 tuns of good Hay; and that by cutting,
steaming, and feeding the stalks and straw on the place, not pasturing,
but keeping up the stock, and feeding them, as indicated in a former
chapter of these essays, and selling their product in the form of Milk,
Butter, Cheese and Meat, a greater profit would be realized than could
be from a like investment in Iowa or Kansas. The soil is warm, readily
frees itself, or is freed, from surplus water; is not addicted to weeds;
may be plowed at least 200 days in a year; may be sowed or planted in
the Spring, when Minnesota is yet solidly frozen; while the crop, early
matured, is on hand to take advantage of any sudden advance in the
European or our own seaboard markets. Labor, also, is cheaper and more
rapidly procured in the neighborhood of this great focus of immigration
than it is or can be in the West; and our capable farmers may take their
pick of the workers thronging hither from Europe, at the moment of their
landing on our shore. Of course, the owner of such an estate as I have
roughly outlined, would be likely to keep a part of his purchase in
timber, proving the quality thereof by cutting out the less desirable
trees, trimming up the rest, and planting new ones among them; and he
would be almost certain to devote some part of his farm annually to the
growth of Roots, Vegetables, and Fruits. But I have aimed to show only
that he would grow grain here at a profit, and I think I have succeeded.
His 60 bushels of corn (shelled) per acre could be sold at his crib, one
year with another, for 60 silver dollars; and he need seldom wait a
month after husking it for customers who would gladly take his grain and
pay the money for it. This would be just about double what the Iowa or
Missouri farmer can expect to average for _his_ Corn. The abundant
fodder would also be worth in New-Jersey at least double its value in
Iowa; and I judge that the farmer able to buy, prepare, fertilize, and
cultivate 1,200 acres of the Jersey "barrens," could make more than
thrice the profit to be realized by the owner of 400 acres. He would
plow and seed as well as thrash, shell, cut stalks and straw, and
prepare the food of his animals, wholly by steam-power, and would soon
learn to cultivate a square mile at no greater expense than is now
involved in the as perfect tillage of 200 acres.

This essay is not intended to prove that Grain is not or may not be
profitably cultivated at the West, nor that it is unadvisable for
Eastern farmers to migrate thither in order so to cultivate it. What I
maintain is, that Wheat, Indian Corn, and nearly all our great food
staples, may also be profitably produced on the seaboard, and that
thousands of square miles, now nearly or quite unproductive, may be
wisely and profitably devoted to such production. Let us regard,
therefore, without alarm, the prospect of such a development and
diversification of Western Industry as will render necessary a large and
permanent extension (or rather revival) of Eastern grain-growing.



In no other form can so large an amount and value of human food be
obtained from an acre of ground as in that of edible roots or tubers;
and of these the Potato is by far the most acceptable, and in most
general use. Our ancestors, it is settled, were destitute and ignorant
of the Potato prior to the discovery of America, though Europe would now
find it difficult to subsist her teeming millions without it. In
travelling pretty widely over that continent, I cannot remember that I
found, any considerable district in which the Potato was not cultivated,
though Ireland, western England, and northern Switzerland, with a small
portion of northern Italy, are impressed on my mind as the most addicted
to the growth of this esculent. Other roots are eaten occasionally, by
way of variety, or as giving a relish to ordinary food; but the Potato
alone forms part of the every day diet alike of prince and peasant. It
is an almost indispensable ingredient of the feasts of Dives, while it
is the cheapest and commonest resort for satiating or moderating the
hunger of Lazarus. I recollect hearing my parents, fifty years ago,
relate how, in their childhood and youth, the poor of New-England, when
the grain-crop of that region was cut short, as it often was, were
obliged to subsist through the following Winter mainly on Potatoes and
Milk; and I then accorded to those unfortunates of the preceding
generation a sympathy which I should now considerably abate, provided
the Potatoes were of good quality. Roasted Potatoes, seasoned with salt
and butter and washed down with bounteous draughts of fresh buttermilk,
used in those days to be the regular supper served up in farmers' homes
after a churning of cream into butter; and I have since eaten costly
suppers that were not half so good.

The Potato, say some accredited accounts, was first brought to Europe
from Virginia, by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1586 or 1587; but I do not
believe the story. Authentic tradition affirms that the Potato was
utterly unknown in New-England, or at all events east of the
Connecticut, when the Scotch-Irish who first settled Londonderry, N. H.,
came over from _old_ Londonderry, Ireland, bringing the Potato with
them. They spent the Winter of 1719 in different parts of Massachusetts
and Maine--quite a number of them at Haverhill, Mass., where they gave
away a few Potatoes for seed, on leaving for their own chosen location
in the Spring; and they afterward learned that the English colonists,
who received them, tried hard to find or make the seed-balls edible the
next Fall but were obliged to give it up as a bad job; leaving the
tubers untouched and unsuspected in the ground.

I doubt that the Potato was found growing by Europeans in any part of
this country, unless it be in that we have acquired from Mexico. It is
essentially a child of the mountains, and I presume it grew wild nowhere
else than on the sides of the great chain which traversed Spanish
America, at a height of from 5,000 to 8,000 feet above the surface of
the ocean. Here it found a climate cooled by the elevation and moistened
by melting snows from above and by frequent showers, yet one which
seldom allowed the ground to be frozen to any considerable depth, while
the pure and bracing atmosphere was congenial to its nature and
requirements. In this country, the Potato is hardiest and thriftiest
among the White Mountains of New-Hampshire, the Green Mountains of
Vermont, on the Catskills and kindred elevations in our own State, and
in similar regions of Pennsylvania and the States further South and

My own place is at least 15 miles from, and 500 feet above, Long Island
Sound; yet I cannot make the Potato, by the most generous treatment, so
prolific as it was in New-Hampshire in my boyhood, where I dug a bushel
from 14 hills, grown on rough, hard ground, but which, having just been
cleared of a thick growth of bushes and briars, was probably better
adapted to this crop than though it had been covered an inch deep with
barn-yard manure.

He who has a tolerably dry, warm sandy soil, covered two or three
inches deep with decayed or decaying leaves and brush, may count with
confidence on raising from it a good crop of Potatoes, provided his seed
be sound and healthy. On the other hand, all authorities agree that
animal manures, unless very thoroughly rotted and intimately mixed with
the soil, are injurious to the quality of Potatoes grown thereon,
stimulating any tendency to disease, if they do not originally produce
such disease. I believe that Swamp Muck, dug in Summer or Autumn,
deposited on a dry bank or glade, and cured of its acidity by an
admixture of Wood-Ashes, of Lime, or of Salt (better still, of Lime and
Salt chemically compounded by dissolving the Salt in the least possible
quantity of Water, and slaking the lime with that Water), forms an
excellent fertilizer for Potatoes, if administered with a liberal hand.
A bushel of either of these alkalies to a cord of muck is too little;
the dose should be doubled if possible; but, if the quantity be small,
mix it more carefully, and give it all the time you can wherein to
operate upon the muck before applying the mixture to your fields.

Where the muck is not easily to be had, yet the soil is thin and poor, I
would place considerable reliance on deep plowing and subsoiling in the
Fall, and cross-plowing just before planting in the Spring. Give a good
dressing of Plaster, not less than 200 lbs. to the acre, directly after
the Fall plowing; if you have Ashes, scatter them liberally in the drill
or hill as you plant; and, if you have them not, supply their place
with Superphosphate or Bone-dust. I think many farmers will be agreeably
surprised by the additional yield which will accrue from this treatment
of their soil.

Those who have no swamp muck, and feel that they can afford the outlay,
may, by plowing or subsoiling early in the Fall, seeding heavily with
rye, and turning this under when the time comes for planting in the
Spring, improve both crop and soil materially. But even to these I would
say: Apply the Gypsum in the Fall, and the Ashes or Lime and Salt
mixture in the Spring; and now, with good seed and good luck, you will
be reasonably sure of a bounteous harvest. If a farmer, having a poor
worn-out field of sandy loam, wants to do his very best by it, let him
plow, subsoil, sow rye and plaster in the Fall, as above indicated, turn
this under, and sow buckwheat late in the next Spring; plow this under
in turn when it has attained its growth, and sow to clover; turn this
down the following Spring, and Plant to late potatoes, and he will not
merely obtain a large crop, but have his land in admirable condition for
whatever way follow.

I am quite well aware that such an outlay of labor and seed, with an
entire loss of crop for one season, will seem to many too costly. I do
not advise it except under peculiar circumstances; and yet I am
confident that there are many fields that would be doubled in value by
such treatment, which would richly repay all its cost. That most
farmers could not afford thus to treat their entire farms at once, is
very true; yet it does not follow that they might not deal with field
after field thus thoroughly, living on the products of 40 or 50 acres,
while they devoted five or six annually to the work of thorough

A quarter of a century ago, we were threatened with a complete
extinction of the Potato, as an article of food: the stalks, when
approaching or just attaining maturity, were suddenly smitten with fatal
disease--usually, after a warm rain followed by scalding sunshine--the
growing tubers were speedily affected; they rotted in the ground, and
they rotted nearly as badly if dug; and whole townships could hardly
show a bushel of sound Potatoes.

A desolating famine in Ireland, which swept away or drove into exile
nearly two millions of her people, was the most striking and memorable
result of this wide-spread disaster. For several succeeding seasons, the
Potato was similarly, though not so extensively, affected; and the fears
widely expressed that the day of its usefulness was over, seemed to have
ample justification. Speaking generally, the Potato has never since been
so hardy or prolific as it was half a century ago; it has gradually
recovered, however, from its low estate, and, though the malady still
lingers, and from time to time renews its ravages in different
localities, the farmer now plants judiciously and on fit ground, with a
reasonable hope that his labor will be duly rewarded.

It seems to be generally agreed that clayey soils are not adapted to its
growth; that, if the quantity of the crop be not stinted, its quality is
pretty sure to be inferior; and I can personally testify that the
planting of Potatoes on wet soil--that is, on swampy or spongy land
which has not been thoroughly drained and sweetened--is a hopeless,
thriftless labor--that the crop will seldom be worth the seed.

As to the ten or a dozen different insects to which the Potato-rot has
been attributed, I regard them all as consequences, not causes;
attracted to prey on the plant by its sickly, weakly condition, and not
really responsible for that condition. If any care for my reasons, let
him refer to what I have said of the Wheat-plant and its insect

There has been much discussion as to the kind of seed to be planted; and
I think the result has been a pretty general conviction that it is
better to cut the tuber into pieces having two or three eyes each, than
to plant it whole, since the whole Potato sends up a superfluity of
stalks, with a like effect on the crop to that of putting six or eight
kernels of corn in each hill.

Small Potatoes are immature, unripe, and of course should never be
planted, since their progeny will be feeble and sickly. Select for seed
none but thoroughly ripe Potatoes, and the larger the better.

My own judgment favors planting in drills rather than hills, with ample
space for working between them; not less than 30 inches: the seed being
dropped about 6 inches apart in the drill. The soil must be deep and
mellow, for the Potato suffers from drouth much sooner than Indian Corn
or almost any other crop usually grown among us. I believe in covering
the seed from 2 to 2-1/2 inches; and I hold to flat or level culture for
this as for everything else. Planting on a ridge made by turning two
furrows together may be advisable where the land is wet; but then wet
land never can be made fit for cultivation, except by underdraining. And
I insist upon setting the rows or drills well apart, because I hold that
the soil should often be loosened and stirred to a good depth with the
subsoil plow; and that this process should be persevered in till the
plant is in blossom. Hardly any plant will pay better for persistent
cultivation than the Potato.

As to varieties, I will only say that planting the tubers for seed is an
unnatural process, which tends and must tend to degeneracy. The new
varieties now most prized will certainly run out in the course of twenty
or thirty years at furthest, and must be replaced from time to time by
still newer, grown from the seed. This creation of new species is, and
must be, a slow, expensive process; since not one in a hundred of these
varieties possess any value. I don't quite believe in selling--I mean in
buying--Potatoes at $1 per pound; but he who originates a really
valuable new Potato deserves a recompense for his industry, patience,
and good fortune; and I shall be glad to learn that he receives it.


[1] See Chapter XXII.



If there be any who still hold that this country must ultimately rival
that magnificent Turnip-culture which has so largely transformed the
agricultural industry of England and Scotland, while signally and
beneficently increasing its annual product, I judge that time will prove
them mistaken. The striking diversity of climate between the opposite
coasts of the Atlantic forbids the realization of their hopes. The
British Isles, with a considerable portion of the adjacent coast of
Continental Europe, have a climate so modified by the Gulf Stream and
the ocean that their Summers are usually moist and cool, their Autumns
still more so, and their Winters rarely so cold as to freeze the earth
considerably; while our Summers and Autumns, are comparatively hot and
dry; our Winters in part intensely cold, so as to freeze the earth solid
for a foot or more. Hence, every variety of turnip is exposed here in
its tenderer stages to the ravages of every devouring insect; while the
1st of December often finds the soil of all but our Southern and Pacific
States so frozen that cannon-wheels would hardly track it, and roots
not previously dug up must remain fast in the earth for weeks and often
for months. Hence, the turnip can never grow so luxuriantly, nor be
counted on with such certainty, here as in Great Britain; nor can
animals be fed on it in Winter, except at the heavy cost of pulling or
digging, cutting off the tops and carefully housing in Autumn, and then
slicing and feeding out in Winter. It is manifest that turnips thus
handled, however economically, cannot compete with hay and corn-fodder
in our Eastern and Middle States; nor with these and the cheaper species
of grain in the West, as the daily Winter food of cattle.

Still, I hold that our stock-growing farmers profitably may, and
ultimately will, grow _some_ turnips to be fed out to their growing and
working animals. A good meal of turnips given twice a week, if not
oftener, to these, will agreeably and usefully break the monotony of
living exclusively on dry fodder, and will give a relish to their hay or
cut stalks and straw, which cannot fail to tell upon their appetite,
growth and thrift. Let our cattle-breeders begin with growing an acre or
two each of Swedes per annum, so as to give their stock a good feed of
them, sliced thin in an effective machine, at least once in each week,
and I feel confident that they will continue to grow turnips, and will
grow more and more of them throughout future years.

The Beet seems to me better adapted to our climate, especially south of
the fortieth degree of north latitude, than any variety of the Turnip
with which I am acquainted, and destined, in the good time coming, when
we shall have at least doubled the average depth of our soil, to very
extensive cultivation among us. I am not regarding either of these roots
with reference to its use as human food, since our farmers generally
understand that use at least as well as I do; nor will I here consider
at length the use of the Beet in the production of Sugar. I value that
use highly, believing that millions of the poorer classes throughout
Europe have been enabled to enjoy Sugar through its manufacture from the
Beet who would rarely or never have tasted that luxury in the absence of
this manufacture. The people of Europe thus made familiar with Sugar can
hardly be fewer than 100,000,000; and the number is annually increasing.
The cost of Sugar to these is considerably less in money, while
immeasurably less in labor, than it would or could have been had the
tropical Cane been still regarded as the only plant available for the
production of Sugar.

But the West Indies, wherein the Cane flourishes luxuriantly and renews
itself perennially, lie at our doors. They look to us for most of their
daily bread, and for many other necessaries of life; while several, if
not all of them, are manifestly destined, in the natural progress of
events, to invoke the protection of our flag. I do not, therefore, feel
confident that Beet Sugar now promises to become an important staple
destined to take a high rank among the products of our national
industry. With cheap labor, I believe it might to-day he manufactured
with profit in the rich, deep valleys of California, and perhaps in
those of Utah and Colorado as well. On the whole, however, I cannot deem
the prospect encouraging for the American promoters of the manufacture
of Beet Sugar.

But when we shall have deepened essentially the soil of our arable
acres, fertilized it abundantly, and cured it by faithful cultivation of
its vicious addiction to weed-growing, I believe we shall devote
millions of those acres to the growth of Beets for cattle-food, and,
having learned how to harvest as well as till them mainly by machinery,
with little help from hand labor, we shall produce them with eminent
profit and satisfaction to the grower. On soil fully two feet deep,
thoroughly underdrained and amply fertilized, I believe we shall often
produce one thousand bushels of Beets to the acre; and so much
acceptable and valuable food for cattle can hardly be obtained from an
acre in any other form.

       *       *       *       *       *

So with regard to Carrots. I have never achieved eminent success in
growing these, nor Beets; mainly because the soil on which I attempted
to grow them was not adapted to, or rather not yet in condition for,
such culture. But, should I live a few years longer, until my reclaimed
swamp shall have become thoroughly sweetened and civilized, I mean to
grow on some part thereof 1,000 bushels of Carrots per acre, and a
still larger product of Beets; and the Carrot, in my judgment, ought now
to be extensively grown in the South and West, as well as in this
section, for feeding to horses. I hold that 60 bushels of Carrots and 50
of Oats, fed in alternate meals, are of at least equal value as
horse-feed with 100 bushels of Oats alone, while more easily grown in
this climate. The Oat-crop makes heavy drafts upon the soil, while our
hot Summers are not congenial to its thrift or perfection. Since we must
grow Oats, we must be content to import new seed every 10 or 15 years
from Scotland, Norway, and other countries which have cooler, moister
Summers than our own; for the Oat will inevitably degenerate under such
suns as blazed through the latter half of our recent June. Believing
that the Carrot may profitably replace at least half the Oats now grown
in this country, I look forward with confidence to its more and more
extensive cultivation.

The advantage of feeding Roots to stock is not to be measured and
bounded by their essential value. Beasts, like men, require a variety of
food, and thrive best upon a regimen which involves a change of diet.
Admit that hay is their cheapest Winter food; still, an occasional meal
of something more succulent will prove beneficial, and this is best
afforded by Roots.



If any one fancies that he ever heard _me_ flattering farmers as a
class, or saying anything which implied that they were more virtuous,
upright, unselfish, or deserving, than other people, I am sure he must
have misunderstood or that he now misrecollects me. I do not even join
in the cant, which speaks of farmers as supporting everybody else--of
farming as the only indispensable vocation. You may say if you will that
mankind could not subsist if there were no tillers of the soil; but the
same is true of house-builders, and of some other classes. A thoroughly
good farmer is a useful, valuable citizen: so is a good merchant,
doctor, or lawyer. It is not essential to the true nobility and genuine
worth of the farmer's calling that any other should be assailed or

Still, if one of my three sons had been spared to attain manhood, I
should have advised him to try to make himself a good farmer; and this
without any romantic or poetic notions of Agriculture as a pursuit. I
know well, from personal though youthful experience, that the farmer's
life is one of labor, anxiety, and care; that hail, and flood, and
hurricane, and untimely frosts, over which he can exert no control, will
often destroy in an hour the net results of months of his persistent,
well-directed toil; that disease will sometimes sweep away his animals,
in spite of the most judicious treatment, the most thoughtful
providence, on his part; and that insects, blight, and rust, will often
blast his well-grounded hopes of a generous harvest, when they seem on
the very point of realization. I know that he is necessarily exposed,
more than most other men, to the caprices and inclemencies of weather
and climate; and that, if he begins responsible life without other means
than those he finds in his own clear head and strong arms, with those of
his helpmeet, he must expect to struggle through years of poverty,
frugality, and resolute, persistent, industry, before he can reasonably
hope to attain a position of independence, comfort, and comparative
leisure. I know that much of his work is rugged, and some of it
absolutely repulsive; I know that he will seem, even with unbroken good
fortune, to be making money much more slowly than his neighbor, the
merchant, the broker, or eloquent lawyer, who fills the general eye
while he prospers, and, when he fails, sinks out of sight and is soon
forgotten; and yet, I should have advised my sons to choose farming as
their vocation, for these among other reasons:

I. There is no other business in which success is so nearly certain as
in this. Of one hundred men who embark in trade, a careful observer
reports that ninety-five fail; and, while I think this proportion too
large, I am sure that a large majority do, and must fail, because
competition is so eager and traffic so enormously overdone. If ten men
endeavor to support their families by merchandise in a township which
affords adequate business for but three, it is certain that a majority
must fail; no matter how judicious their management or how frugal their
living. But you may double the number of farmers in any agricultural
county I ever traversed, without necessarily dooming one to failure, or
even abridging his gains. If half the traders and professional men in
this country were to betake themselves to farming to-morrow, they would
not render that pursuit one whit less profitable, while they would
largely increase the comfort and wealth of the entire community; and,
while a good merchant, lawyer, or doctor, may be starved out of any
township, simply because the work he could do well is already confided
to others, I never yet heard of a temperate, industrious, intelligent,
frugal, and energetic farmer who failed to make a living, or who, unless
prostrated by disease or disabled by casualty, was precluded from
securing a modest independence before age and decrepitude divested him
of the ability to labor.

II. I regard farming as that vocation which conduces most directly and
palpably to a reverence for Honesty and Truth. The young lawyer is often
constrained, or at least tempted, by his necessities, to do the dirty
professional work of a rascal intent on cheating his neighbor out of his
righteous dues. The young doctor may be likewise incited to resort to a
quackery he despises in order to secure instant bread; the unknown
author is often impelled to write what will sell rather than what the
public ought to buy; but the young farmer, acting _as_ a farmer, must
realize that his success depends upon his absolute verity and integrity.
He deals directly with Nature, which never was and never will be
cheated. He has no temptation to sow beach sand for plaster, dock-seed
for clover, or stoop to any trick or juggle whatever. "Whatsoever a man
soweth that shall he also reap," while true, in the long run, of all
men, is instantly and palpably true as to him. When he, having grown his
crop, shall attempt to sell it--in other words, when he ceases to be a
farmer and becomes a trader--he may possibly be tempted into one of the
many devious ways of rascality; but, so long as he is acting simply as a
farmer, he can hardly be lured from the broad, straight highway of
integrity and righteousness.

III. The farmer's calling seems to me that most conducive to thorough
manliness of character. Nobody expects him to cringe, or smirk, or curry
favor, is order to sell his produce. No merchant refuses to buy it
because his politics are detested or his religious opinions heterodox.
He may be a Mormon, a Rebel, a Millerite, or a Communist, yet his Grain
or his Pork will sell for exactly what it is worth--not a fraction less
or more than the price commanded by the kindred product of like quality
and intrinsic value of his neighbor, whose opinions on all points are
faultlessly orthodox and popular. On the other hand, the merchant, the
lawyer, the doctor, especially if young and still struggling dubiously
for a position, are continually tempted to sacrifice or suppress their
profoundest convictions in deference to the vehement and often
irrational prepossessions of the community, whose favor is to them the
breath of life. "She will find that _that_ won't go down here," was the
comment of an old woman on a Mississippi steamboat, when told that the
plain, deaf stranger, who seemed the focus of general interest, was Miss
Martineau, the celebrated Unitarian; and in so saying she gave
expression to a feeling which pervades and governs many if not most
communities. I doubt whether the social intolerance of adverse opinions
is more vehement anywhere else than throughout the larger portion of our
own country. I have repeatedly been stung by the receipt of letters
gravely informing me that my course and views on a current topic were
adverse to public opinion: the writers evidently assuming, as a matter
of course, that I was a mere jumping-jack, who only needed to know what
other people thought to insure my instant and abject conformity to their
prejudices. Very often, in other days, I was favored with letters from
indignant subscribers, who, dissenting from my views on some question,
took this method of informing me that they should no longer take my
journal--a superfluous trouble, which could only have meant dictation or
insult, since they had only to refrain from renewing their
subscriptions, and their _Tribune_ would stop coming, whenever they
should have received what we owed them; and it would in no case stop
till then. That a journalist was in any sense a public teacher--that he
necessarily had convictions, and was not likely to suppress them because
they were not shared by others--in short, that his calling was other and
higher than that of a waiter at a restaurant, expected to furnish
whatever was called for, so long as the pay was forthcoming--these
ex-subscribers had evidently not for one moment suspected. That such
persons have little or no capacity to insult, is very true; and yet, a
man is somewhat degraded in his own regard by learning that his vocation
is held in such low esteem by others. The true farmer is proudly aware
that it is quite otherwise with _his_ pursuit--that no one expects him
to swallow any creed, support any party, or defer to any prejudice, as a
condition precedent to the sale of his products. Hence, I feel that it
is easier and more natural in his pursuit than in any other for a man to
work for a living, and aspire to success and consideration, without
sacrificing self-respect, compromising integrity, or ceasing to be
essentially and thoroughly a gentleman.



The current season is quite commonly characterized as the coldest, the
hottest, the wettest, or the dryest, that was ever known. Men
undoubtingly assert that they never knew a Summer so hot, or a Winter so
cold, when in fact several such have occurred within the cycle of their
experience. Hardly anything else is so easily or so speedily forgotten
as extremes of temperature or inclemencies of weather, after they have
passed away. I presume there have been six to ten Summers, since the
beginning of this century, as hot and as dry as that of 1870; yet the
fact remains that, throughout the Eastern section of our country, to say
nothing of the rest, the heat and drouth of the current Summer have been
quite remarkable. For two months past, counting from the 10th of June,
nearly every day has been a hot one, with blazing sunshine throughout,
rarely interrupted and slightly modified by infrequent and inadequate
showers; and, as a general result of this tropical fervor, the earth is
parched and baked from ten to forty inches from the surface; streams
and ponds are dried up or shrunk to their lowest dimensions; forests are
often ravaged and desolated by fires; our pastures are dry and brown;
while crops of Hay, Oats, Potatoes, Buckwheat, etc., either have proved,
or certainly must prove, a disappointment to the hopes of the growers. I
estimate the average product for 1870 of the farms of New-England,
eastern New-York and New-Jersey, as not more than two-thirds of a full
harvest; while the earth remains at this moment so baked and incrusted
that several days' rain is needed to fit it for Fall plowing and the
sowing of Winter grain.

Such seasons must not be regarded as extraordinary. The Summer of 1854
was nearly or quite as dry as this; and I presume one or two such have
intervened since that time. The heat of 1870 is remarkable for its
persistence rather than its intensity. Every Summer has its heated term;
that of 1870 has been longer in this region than any before it that I
can remember, though doubtless the recollection of others might supply
its perfect counterpart. Nearly every Summer has its drouth; the present
is peculiar rather for its early commencement than its extreme duration.
As our country is more and more denuded of its primitive forests,
drouths longer and severer even than this may naturally be expected.
What our farmers have to do is, to prepare for and provide against them.

Such seasons are disastrous to those only who farm as if none such were
to be expected. Those who plow deeply, fertilize bountifully, and
cultivate thoroughly, need not fear them, as fields of Hay and Oats
already harvested, and of Corn and Potatoes now hastening to maturity in
almost every township of the suffering region, abundantly attest. I
doubt that more luxuriant crops of Corn, Tobacco, or Onions, were ever
grown on the bottom-lands of the Connecticut Valley than may be seen
there to-day, with failures all about them, and under drouth so fierce
that Blackberries and Whortleberries are withered when half grown; even
the bushes in some cases perishing for lack of moisture.

My last trip took me along the banks of the upper Hudson, through the
rugged county of Warren, N. Y. The narrow, irregular intervale of this
mountain stream appear to have been cultivated for the last fifty or
sixty years by a hardy race, who look mainly to the timber of the wild
region north of them for a subsistence. In such a district, whatever
ministers to the sustenance of man or beast bears a high price; and
Corn, Rye, Oats, Buckwheat, Apples and Grass, are grown wherever the
soil is not too rugged or too sterile for culture. I presume half a crop
of Hay has been secured throughout this valley, with perhaps a full crop
of Rye where Rye was sown; but of Oats the yield will be considerably
less than that, while of Corn and Buckwheat it will range from ten
bushels per acre down to nothing. When I, last Summer, passed through
spacious field after field of Corn in Virginia that would not mature a
single ear, I spoke of it as something unknown at the North; but there
are fields planted to Corn, in the upper valley of the Hudson, that will
not produce a single sound ear, nor one bushel even of the shortest and
poorest "nubbins;" and alongside of these are acres of Buckwheat,
blossoming at an average hight of four inches, and not likely to get two
inches higher.

Now, if this land were so poor or so rocky that good crops could not be
extracted from it, far be it from me to disparage the agriculture
whereof the results are so meagre; but I am speaking of a river
intervale of considerable natural fertility, from which deep and
thorough cultivation would insure ample harvests, subject only to the
contingency of early frosts in Autumn. Were these lands fertilized and
cultivated as they might be, and as mine are, they would yield 30
bushels of Rye or 60 of Indian Corn per acre, and would richly repay the
husbandman's outlay and efforts. Now, I venture to say that all the
grain I saw growing in the valley of the Hudson through Warren County
will not return the farmer 75 cents for each day's labor expended
thereon, allowing nothing for the use of the land.

"But how shall we obtain fertilizers?" I am often asked. "We are poor;
we can afford to keep but few cattle; Guano, Phosphate, Bones, Lime,
etc., are beyond our means. Even if we could pay for them, the cost of
transportation to our out-of-the-way nooks would be heavy. We cannot
deal with our lands so bountifully as you do, but must be content to do
as we can."

To all which I make answer: No man ever lacked fertilizers who kept his
eyes wide open and devoted two months of each Fall and Winter to
collecting and preparing them. Wherever swamp muck may be had, wherever
bogs exist or flags or rushes grow, there are materials which, carted
into the barn-yard in Autumn or Winter, may be drawn out fertilizers in
season for Corn-planting next Spring. Wherever a pond or slough dries up
in Summer or Autumn, there is material that may be profitably
transformed into next year's grass or grain. In the absence of all
these--and they are seldom very far from one who knows how to look for
them--rank weeds of all sorts, if cut while green and tender, or forest
leaves, gathered in the Fall, used for litter in the stable, and thence
thrown into the yard, will serve an excellent purpose. Nay, more: I am
confident that the farmer who lacks these, but has access to a bed or
bank of simple clay, may cart 200 loads of it in November into an
ordinary farm-yard, have it trampled into and mixed with his manure in
the Winter, and draw it out in the Spring, excellently fitted to enrich
his sandy or gravelly land, and insure him, in connection with deep and
thorough culture, a generous yield of Corn, even in such a season as the
present. Dr. George B. Loring, the most successful farmer in
Massachusetts, uses naked beach sand in abundance as litter for his 80
cows, mixes it with his manure throughout the Winter, and draws out the
compound to fertilize his clay meadows in the Spring, with most
satisfactory results. Depend on it, no man need lack fertilizers who
begins in season and is willing to work for them.

And yet once more:

From the hills which inclose this valley of the upper Hudson (and from
ever so many other valleys as well), brooks and rivulets, copious in
Spring, when their waters are surcharged and discolored by the richest
juices of the uplands, pour down in frequent cascades and dance across
the intervale to be lost in the river. There is scarcely an acre of that
intervale which might not be irrigated from these streams at a very
moderate outlay of work at the season when work is least pressing: the
water thus held back by dams being allowed to flow thence gently and
equably across the intervale, conveying not moisture only, but fertility
also, to every plant growing thereon. I am confident that I passed many
places on the upper Hudson, as well as on the Connecticut and
Ammonoosuc, where 100 faithful days' work providing for irrigation would
have given 100 bushels of grain, or 10 tuns of hay additional this year,
and as much per annum henceforth, at a cost of not more than two days'
work in each year hereafter.

Farmers, but above all farmers' sons, think of these things.



If a man whose capital consists of the clothes on his back, $5 in his
pocket, and an ax over his right shoulder, undertakes to hew for himself
a farm out of the primitive forest, he must of course devote some years
to rugged manual labor, or he will fail of success. It is indeed
possible that he should find others, even on the rude outposts of
civilization, who will hire them to teach school, or serve as county
clerk, or survey lands, or do something else of like nature: thus
enabling him to do his chopping trees, and rolling logs, and breaking up
his stumpy acres, by proxy; but the fair presumption is that he will
have to chop and log, and burn off and fence, and break up, by the use
of his own proper muscle; and he must be energetic and frugal, as well
as fortunate, if he gets a comfortable house over his head, with forty
arable acres about him, at the end of fifteen years' hard work. If he
has brains, and has been well educated, he may possibly shorten this
ordeal to ten years; but, should he begin by fancying hard work beneath
him, or his abilities too great to be squandered in bushwhacking, he is
very likely to come out at the little end of the horn, and, straggling
back to some populous settlement, more needy and seedy than when he set
forth to wrest a farm from the wilderness, declare the pioneer's life
one of such dreary, hopeless privation that no one who can read or
cypher ought ever to attempt it.

A poor man, who undertakes to live by his wits on a farm that he has
bought on credit, is not likely to achieve a brilliant success; but the
farmer whose hand and brain work in concert will never find nor fancy
his intellect or his education too good for his calling. He may very
often discover that he wasted months of his school-days on what was
ill-adapted to his needs, and of little use in fighting the actual
battle of life; but he will at the same time have ample reason to lament
the meagerness and the deficiency of his knowledge.

I hold our average Common Schools defective, in that they fail to teach
Geology and Chemistry, which in my view are the natural bases of a
sound, practical knowledge of things--knowledge which the farmer, of all
men, can least afford to miss. However it may be with others, he vitally
needs to understand the character and constitution of the soil he must
cultivate, the elements of which it is composed, and the laws which
govern their relations to each other. Instruct him in the higher
mathematics if you will, in logic, in meteorology, in ever so many
languages; but not till he shall have been thoroughly grounded in the
sciences which unlock for him the arcana of Nature; for these are
intimately related to all he must do, and devise, and direct, throughout
the whole course of his active career. Whatever he may learn or dispense
with, a knowledge of these sciences is among the most urgent of his
life-long needs.

Hence, I would suggest that a simple, lucid, lively, accurate digest of
the leading principles and facts in Geology and Chemistry, and their
application to the practical management of a farm, ought to constitute
the Reader of the highest class in every Common School, especially in
rural districts. Leave out details and recipes, with directions when to
plant or sow, etc.; for these must vary with climates, circumstances,
and the progress of knowledge; but let the body and bones, so to speak,
of a primary agricultural education be taught in every school, in such
terms and with such clearness as to commend them to the understanding of
every pupil. I never yet visited a school in which something was not
taught which might be omitted or postponed in favor of this.

Out of school and after school, let the young farmer delight in the
literature illustrative of his calling--I mean the very best of it. Let
him have few agricultural books; but let these treat of principles and
laws rather than of methods and applications. Let him learn from these
how to ascertain by experiment what are the actual and pressing needs of
his soil, and he will readily determine by reflection and inquiry how
those needs may be most readily and cheaply satisfied.

All the books in the world never of themselves made one good farmer;
but, on the other hand, no man in this age can be a thoroughly good
farmer without the knowledge which is more easily and rapidly acquired
from books than otherwise. Books are no substitute for open-eyed
observation and practical experience; but they enable one familiar with
their contents to observe with an accuracy, and experiment with an
intelligence, that are unattainable without them. The very farmer who
tells you that he never opened a book which treats of Agriculture, and
never wants to see one, will ask his neighbor how to grow or cure
tobacco, or hops, or sorgho, or any crop with which he is yet
unacquainted, when the chances are a hundred to one that this particular
neighbor cannot advise him so well as the volume which embodies the
experience of a thousand cultivators of this very plant instead of
barely one. A good book treating practically of Agriculture, or of some
department therein, is simply a compendium of the experience of past
ages combined with such knowledge as the present generation have been
enabled to add thereto. It may be faulty or defective on some points; it
is not to be blindly confided in, nor slavishly followed--it is to be
mastered, discussed, criticised, and followed so far as its teachings
coincide with the dictates of science, experience, and common sense. Its
true office is suggestion; the good farmer will lean upon and trust it
as an oracle only where his own proper knowledge proves entirely

By-and-by, it will be generally realized that few men live or have lived
who cannot find scope and profitable employment for all their intellect
on a two-hundred-acre farm. And then the farmer will select the
brightest of his sons to follow him in the management and cultivation of
the paternal acres, leaving those of inferior ability to seek fortune in
pursuits for which a limited and special capacity will serve, if not
suffice. And then we shall have an Agriculture worthy of our country and
the age.

Meantime, let us make the most of what we have, by diffusing, studying,
discussing, criticizing, Liebig's Agricultural Chemistry, Dana's Muck
Manual, Waring's Elements, and the books that each treat more especially
of some department of the farmer's art, and so making ourselves
familiar, first, with the principles, then with the methods, of
scientific, efficient, successful husbandry. Let us, who love it, treat
Agriculture as the elevated, ennobling pursuit it might and should be,
and thus exalt it in the estimation of the entire community.

We may, at all events, be sure of this: Just so fast and so far as
farming is rendered an intellectual pursuit, it will attract and retain
the strongest minds, the best abilities, of the human race. It has been
widely shunned and escaped from, mainly because it has seemed a calling
in which only inferior capacities were required or would be rewarded.
Let this error give place to the truth, and Agriculture will win
votaries from among the brightest intellects of the race.



Ours is eminently an agricultural country. We produce most of our Food,
and export much more than we import of both Grain and Meat. Of Cotton,
we grow some Three Millions of bales annually, whereof we export fully
two-thirds. But of this we rëimport a portion in the shape of Fabrics
and of Thread; and yet, while we are largely clothed in Woolens, and
extensive sections of our country are admirably adapted to the rearing
of Sheep and the production of Wool, we not only import a considerable
share of the Woolens in which we are clad, but we also import a
considerable proportion of the Wool wherefrom we manufacture the Woolens
fabricated on our own soil. In other words: while we are a nation of
farmers and herdsmen, we fail to grow so much Wool as is needed to
shield us against the caprices and inclemencies of our diverse but
generally fitful climates.

There is a seeming excuse for this in the fact that extensive regions in
South America and Australia, are devoted to Sheep-growing where animals
are neither housed nor herded, and where they are exclusively fed, at
all seasons, on those native grasses which are the spontaneous products
of the soil. I presume Wool is in those regions produced cheaper than it
can permanently be on any considerable area of our own soil; and yet I
believe that the United States should, and profitably might, grow as
much Wool as is needed for their own large annual consumption. Here are
my reasons:

I. When the predominant interest of British Manufactures constrained the
entire repeal of the duties on imported Wool, whereby Sheep-growing had
previously been protected, the farmers apprehended that they must
abandon that department of their industry; but the event proved this
calculation a mistake. They grow more Sheep and at better profit to-day
than they did when their Wool brought a higher price under the influence
of Protective duties, because the largely increased price of their
Mutton more than makes up to them their loss by the reduced prices of
their Wool. So, while I do not expect that American Wool will ever again
command such high prices as it has done at some periods in the past, I
am confident that the general appreciation in the prices of Meat, which
has occurred within the last ten or fifteen years, and which seems
likely to be enduring, will render Sheep-growing more profitable in the
future than it has been in the past. At all events, while our farmers
are generally obliged to sell their Grain and Meat at prices somewhat
below the range of the British markets, it is hardly conceivable that
they should not afford to grow Wool, for which they receive higher
average prices than the British farmers do, who feed their Sheep on the
produce of lands worth from $300 to $500 (gold) per acre.

II. Interest being relatively high in this country, and Capital with
most farmers deficient, it is a serious objection to cattle-growing that
the farmer must wait three or four years before receiving a return for
his outlay. If he begins poor, with but a few cows and a team, he
naturally wants to rear and keep all his calves for several years in
order to adequately stock his farm, so that little or no income is
meantime realized from his herd; whereas a flock of Sheep yields a
fleece per head each year, though not even a lamb is sold, while its
increase in numbers is far more rapid than that of a herd of cattle.

III. Almost every farmer, at least in the old States, finds some part of
his land infested with bushes and briers, which seem to flourish by
cutting, if he finds time to cut them, and which the ruggedness of his
soil precludes his exterminating by the plow. In every such case, Sheep
are his natural allies--his unpaid police--his vigilant and
thorough-going assistants. Give them an even start in Spring with the
bushes and briers; let their number be sufficient; and they are very
sure to come out ahead in the Fall.

IV. Our farmers in the average are too much confined in Summer and
Autumn to salt meats, and especially to Pork. However excellent in
quality these may be, their exclusive use is neither healthful nor
palatable. With a good flock of Sheep, the most secluded farmer may have
fresh meat every week in haying and harvest-time if he chooses; and he
will find this better for his family, and more satisfactory to his
workmen, than a diet wherefrom fresh meat is excluded.

V. Now, I do not insist that every farmer should grow Sheep, for I know
that many are so situated that they cannot. In stony regions, where
walls are very generally relied on for fences, I am aware that Sheep are
with difficulty kept within bounds; and this is a serious objection. In
the neighborhood of cities and large villages, where Fresh Meat may be
bought from day to day, one valid reason for keeping them has no
application; yet I hold that twice as many of our farmers as now have
flocks ought to have them, and would thereby increase their profits as
well as the comfort of their families.

The most serious obstacle to Sheep husbandry in this country is the
abundance and depredations of dogs. Farmers by tens of thousands have
sold off, or killed off, their flocks, mainly because they could not
otherwise protect themselves against their frequent decimation by
prowling curs, which were not worth the powder required to shoot them.
It seems to me that a farmer thus despoiled is perfectly justifiable in
placing poisoned food where these cut-throats will be apt to find it
while making their next raid on his Sheep. I should have no scruple in
so doing, provided I could guard effectually against the poisoning of
any other than the culprits.

In a well-settled, thrifty region, where ample barns are provided, I
judge that the losses of Sheep by dogs may be reduced to a minimum by
proper precautions. Elsewhere than in wild, new frontier settlements,
every flock of Sheep should have a place of refuge beneath the hay-floor
of a good barn, and be trained to spend every night there, as well as to
seek this shelter against every pelting storm. Even if sent some
distance to pasture, an unbarred lane should connect such pasture with
their fold; and they should be driven home for a few nights, if
necessary, until they had acquired the habit of coming home at
nightfall; and I am assured that Sheep thus lodged will very rarely be
attacked by dogs or wolves.

As yet, our farmers have not generally realized that enhancement of the
value of Mutton, whereby their British rivals have profited so largely.
Their fathers began to breed Sheep when a fleece sold for much more than
a carcase, and when fineness and abundance of Wool were the main
consideration. But such is no longer the fact, at least in the Eastern
and Middle States. To-day, large and long-wooled Sheep of the Cotswold
and similar breeds are grown with far greater profit in this section
than the fine-wooled Merino and Saxony, except where choice specimens of
the latter can be sold at high prices for removal to Texas and the Far
West. The growing of these high-priced animals must necessarily be
confined to few hands. The average farmer cannot expect to sell bucks at
$1,000, and even at $5,000, as some have been sold, or at least
reported. He must calculate that his Sheep are to be sold, when sold at
all, at prices ranging from $10 down to $5, if not lower, so that
mechanics and merchants may buy and eat them without absolute ruin; and
he must realize that 100 pounds of Mutton at 10 cents, with 6 pounds of
Wool at 30 cents, amount to more than 60 pounds of Mutton at 8 cents,
and 10 pounds of Wool at 60 cents. Farmers who grow Sheep for Mutton in
this vicinity, and manage to have lambs of good size for sale in June or
July, assure me that their profit on these is greater than on almost
anything else their farms will produce; and they say what they know.

The satisfactory experience of this class may be repeated to-day in the
neighborhood of any considerable city in the Union. Sheep-growing is no
experiment; it is an assured and gratifying success with all who
understand and are fitly placed for its prosecution. Wool may never
again be so high as we have known it, since the Far West and Texas can
grow it very cheaply, while its transportation costs less than five per
cent. of its value, where that of Grain would be 75 per cent.; but
Mutton is a wholesome and generally acceptable meat, whereof the use and
popularity, are daily increasing; so that its market value will
doubtless be greater in the future than it has been in the past. I would
gladly incite the farmers of our country to comprehend this fact, and
act so as to profit by it.

But the new region opened to Sheep-growing by the pioneers of Colorado,
and other Territories, is destined to play a great part in the
satisfaction of our need of Wool. The elevated Plains and Valleys which
enfold and embrace the Rocky Mountains are exceedingly favorable to the
cheap production of Wool. Their pure, dry, bracing atmosphere; the
rarity of their drenching storms; the fact that their soil is seldom or
never sodden with water; and the excellence of their short, thin
grasses, even in Winter, render them admirably adapted to the wants of
the shepherd and his flocks. I do not believe in the wisdom or humanity,
while I admit the possibility, of keeping Sheep without cured fodder on
the Plains or elsewhere; on the contrary, I would have ample and
effective shelter against cold and wet provided for every flock, with
Hay, or Grain, or Roots, or somewhat of each of them, for at least two
months of each year; but, even thus, I judge that fine Wool can be grown
in Colorado or Wyoming far cheaper than in New England or even
Minnesota, and of better quality than in Texas or South America. And I
am grievously mistaken if Sheep husbandry is not about to be developed
on the Plains with a rapidity and success which have no American



Farmers, it is urged, sometimes fail; and this is unfortunately true of
them, as of all others. Some fail in integrity; others in sobriety; many
in capacity; most in diligence; but not a few in method or system. Quite
a number fail because they undertake too much at the outset; that is,
they run into debt for more land than they have capital to stock or
means to fertilize, and are forced into bankruptcy by the interest
ever-accruing upon land which they are unable to cultivate. If they
should get ahead a little by active exertion throughout the day, the
interest would overtake and pass them during the ensuing night.

Few of the unsuccessful realize the extent to which their ill fortune is
fairly attributable to their own waste of time. Men not naturally lazy
squander hours weekly in the village, or at the railroad station,
without a suspicion that they are thus destroying their chances of
success in life. To-day is given up to a monkey-show; half of to-morrow
is lost in attendance on an auction; part of next day is spent at a
caucus or a jury trial; and so on until one-third of the year is
virtually wasted.

Now, the men who have achieved eminent success, within my observation,
have all been rigid economists of time. They managed to transact their
business at the county-seat while serving there as grand or petit
jurors, or detained under subpoena as witnesses; they never attended
an auction unless they really needed something which was there to be
sold, and then they began their day's work earlier and ended it later in
order to redeem the time which they borrowed for the sale. I do not
believe that any American farmer who could count up three hundred full
days' work in every year between his twenty-first and his thirtieth ever
yet failed, except as a result of speculation, or endorsing, or
inordinate running into debt.

I would, therefore, urge every farmer to keep a rigid account current of
the disposal of his time, so as to be able to see at the year's end
exactly how many days thereof he had given to productive labor; how many
to such abiding improvements as fencing and draining; and how many to
objects which neither increased his crop nor improved his farm. I am
sure many would be amazed at the extent of this last category.

If every youth who expects to live by farming would buy a cheap
pocket-book or wallet which contains a diary wherein a page is allotted
to each day of the year, and would, at the close of that day, or at
least while its incidents were still fresh in his mind, set down under
its proper head whatever incidents were most noteworthy--as, for
instance, a soaking rain; a light or heavy shower; a slight or killing
frost; a fall of snow; a hurricane; a hail-storm; a gale; a decidedly
hot or notably cold temperature; the turning out of cattle to pasture or
sheltering them against the severity of Winter; also the planting or
sowing of each crop or field, and whether harm was done to it by frost
in its infancy or when it approached maturity--he would thus provide
himself with annual volumes of fact which would prove instructive and
valuable throughout his maturer years.

The good farmer will of course keep accounts with such of his neighbors
as he sees fit to deal with; and he ought to charge a lent or credit a
borrowed plow, harrow, reaper, log-chain, or other implement, precisely
as though it were meal or meat of an equal value. I judge that borrowed
implements, if regularly charged at cost, and credited at their actual
value when returned, would generally come home sooner and in better

But the farmer, like every one else, should be most careful to keep debt
and credit with himself and his farm. If a dollar is spent or lent, his
books should show it; and let items and sum total stare him in the face
when he strikes a balance at the close of the year. If there has been no
leakage either of dimes or of hours, he will seldom be poorer on the
31st of December than he was on the 1st of the preceding January.

Most farmers fail to keep accounts with their several fields and crops;
yet what could be more instructive than these? Here are ten acres of
Corn, with a yield of 20 to 40 bushels per acre--a like area and like
yield of Oats; a smaller or larger of Rye, Buckwheat, or Beans, as the
case may be. If the produce is sold, most farmers know how much it
brings; but how many know how much it cost? Say the Corn brings 75 cents
per bushel, and the Oats 50 cents: was either or both produced at a
profit? If so, at what profit? Here is a farmer who has grown from 100
to 800 bushels of Corn per annum for the last 20 years; ought he not to
know by this time what Corn costs him in the average, and whether it
could or could not with profit give place to something else? Most
farmers grow some crops at a profit, others at a loss; ought they not to
know, after an experience of five or ten years, what crops have put
money into their pockets, and what have made them poorer for the

Of course, there is complication and some degree of uncertainty in all
such account-keeping; for every one is aware that some crops take more
from the soil than others, and so leave it in a worse condition for
those that are to follow, and that some exact large reënforcements of
fertilizers, whereof a part only is fairly chargeable to the first
ensuing product, while a large share inures to the subsequent harvests.
Each must judge for himself how much is to be credited for such
improvement, and how much charged against other crops for
deterioration. He, for example, whose meadows will cut from two to three
tuns per acre of good English Hay may generally sell that Hay for twice
if not thrice the immediate cost of its production, and so seem to be
realizing a large profit; but, if he gives nothing to the soil in return
for the heavy draft thus made upon it, his crop will dwindle year by
year, until it will hardly pay for cutting; and the diminution in value
of his meadows will nearly or quite balance the seeming profit accruing
from his Hay. But account-keeping in every business involves essentially
identical calculations; and the merchant who this year makes no net
profit on his goods, but doubles the number of his customers and the
extent of his trade, has thriven precisely as has the farmer whose
profit on his crops has all been invested in drains permeating his bogs,
and in Lime, Plaster, and other fertilizers, applied to and permanently
enriching his dryer fields.

"To make each day a critic on the last," was the aspiration of a wise
man, if not a great poet. So the farmer who will keep careful and candid
accounts With himself, annually correcting his estimates by the light of
experience, will soon learn what crops he may reasonably expect to grow
at a profit, and to reject such as are likely to involve him in loss;
and he who, having done this, shall blend common sense with industry,
will have no reason to complain thereafter that there is no profit in
farming, and no chance of achieving wealth by pursuing it.



This earth, geologists say, was once an immense expanse of heated vapor,
which, gradually cooling at its surface, as it whirled and sped through
space, contracted and formed a crust, which we know as Rock or Stone.
This crust has since been broken through, and tilted up into ranges of
mountains and hills, by the action of internal fires, by the
transmutation of solid bodies into more expansive gases; and the
fragments torn away from the sharper edges of upheaved masses of
granite, quartz, or sandstone, having been frozen into iceberg,
floating, or soon to be so, have been carried all over the surface of
our planet, and dropped upon the greater part, as those icebergs were
ultimately resolved, by a milder temperature, into flowing water. When
the seas were afterward reduced nearly or quite to their present limits,
and the icebergs restricted to the frigid zones and their vicinity,
streams had to make their way down the sides of the mountains and hills
to the subjacent valleys and plains, sweeping along not merely sand and
gravel, but bowlders also, of every size and form, and sometimes great
rocks as well, by the force of their impetuous currents. And, as a very
large, if not the larger portion of our earth's surface bears testimony
to the existence and powerful action through ages, of larger and smaller
water-courses, a wide and general diffusion of stones, not in place, but
more or less triturated, smoothed, and rounded, by the action of water,
was among the inevitable results.

These stones are sometimes a facility, but oftener an impediment, to
efficiency in agriculture. When heated by fervid sunshine throughout the
day, they retain a portion of that heat through a part of the succeeding
night, thereby raising the temperature of the soil, and increasing the
deposit of dew on the plants there growing. When generally broken so
finely as to offer no impediment to cultivation, they not merely absorb
heat by day, to be given off by night, but, by rendering the soil open
and porous, secure a much more extensive diffusion of air through it
than would otherwise be possible. Thus do slaty soils achieve and
maintain a warmth unique in their respective latitudes, so as to ripen
grapes further North, and at higher elevations, than would otherwise be

The great Prairies of the West, with a considerable portion of the
valleys and plains of the Atlantic slope, expose no rock at their
surfaces, and little beneath them, until the soil has been traversed,
and the vicinity of the underlying rock in place fairly attained. To
farmers inured to the perpetual stone-picking of New-England, and other
hilly regions, this is a most welcome change; but when the pioneer comes
to look about him for stone to wall his cellar and his well, to underpin
his barn, and form the foundations of his dwelling, he realizes that the
bowlders he had exulted in leaving behind him were not wholly and
absolutely a nuisance; glad as he was to be rid of them forever, he
would like now to call some of them back again.

Yet, the Eastern farmer of to-day has fewer uses for stone than his
grandfather had. He does not want his farm cut up into two or three-acre
patches, by broad-based, unsightly walls, which frost is apt to heave
year after year into greater deformity and less efficiency; nor does he
care longer to use them in draining, since he must excavate and replace
thrice as much earth in making a stone as in making a tile drain; while
the former affords shelter and impunity to rats, mice, and other
mischievous, predatory animals, whose burrowing therein tends constantly
to stimulate its natural tendency to become choked with sand and earth.
Of the stone drains, constructed through parts of my farm by foremen
whose wills proved stronger than my own, but two remain in partial
operation, and I shall rejoice when these shall have filled themselves
up and been counted out evermore. Happily, they were sunk so low that
the subsoil plow will never disturb them.

Still, my confidence that nothing was made in vain is scarcely shaken by
the prevalence and abundance of stone on our Eastern farms. We may not
have present use for them all; but our grandsons will be wiser than we,
and have uses for them which we hardly suspect. I rëinsist that land
which is very stony was mainly created with an eye to timber-growing,
and that millions of acres of such ought forthwith to be planted with
Hickory, White Oak, Locust, Chestnut, White Pine, and other valuable
forest-trees. Every acre of thoroughly dry land, lying near a railroad,
in the Eastern or Middle States, may be made to pay a good interest on
from $50 up to $100, provided there be soil enough above its rocks to
afford a decent foothold for trees; and how little will answer this
purpose none can imagine who have not seen the experiment tried. Sow
thickly, that you may begin to cut out poles six to ten feet long within
three or four years, and _keep_ cutting out (but never cutting off)
thenceforward, until time shall be no more, and your rocky crests, steep
hillsides and ravines, will take rank with the most productive portions
of your farm.

In the edges of these woods, you may deposit the surplus stones of the
adjacent cultivated fields, in full assurance that moth and rust will
not corrupt nor thieves break through and steal, but that you and your
sons and grandsons will find them there whenever they shall be needed,
as well as those you found there when you came into possession of the

I am further confident that we shall build more and more with rough,
unshapen stone, as we grow older and wiser. In our harsh, capricious
climate, walls of stone-concrete afford the cheapest and best protection
alike against heat and frost, for our animals certainly, and, I think,
also for ourselves. Let the farmer begin his barn by making of stone,
laid in thin mortar, a substantial basement story; let into a hillside,
for his manure and his root-cellar; let him build upon this a second
story of like materials for the stalls of his cattle; and now he may add
a third story and roof of wood for his bay and grain, if he sees fit.
His son or grandson will, probably, take this off, and replace it with
concrete walls and a slate roof; or this may be postponed until the
original wooden structure has rotted off; but I feel sure that,
ultimately, the dwellings as well as barns of thrifty farmers, in stony
districts, will mainly be built of rough stone, thrown into a box and
firmly cemented by a thin mortar composed of much sand and little lime;
and that thus at least ten thousand tuns of stone to each farm will be
disposed of. It may be somewhat later still before our barn-yards, fowl
inclosures, gardens, pig-pens, etc., will be shut in by cemented walls;
but the other sort affords such ample and perpetual lurking places for
rats, minks, weasels, and all manner of destructive vermin, that they
are certain to go out of fashion before the close of the next century.

As to blasting out Stone, too large or too firmly fixed to be otherwise
handled, I would solve the problem by asking, "Do you mean to keep this
lot in cultivation?" If you do, clear it of stone from the surface
upward, and for at least two feet downward, though they be as large as
haycocks, and as fixed as the everlasting hills. Clear your field of
every stone bigger than a goose egg, that the Plow or the Mower may
strike in doing its work, or give it up to timber, plant it thoroughly,
and leave its stones unmolested until you or your descendants shall have
a paying use for them.

A friend deeply engaged in lumbering gives me a hint, which I think some
owners of stony farms will find useful. He is obliged to run his logs
down shallow, stony creeks, from the bottom of which large rocks often
protrude, arresting the downward progress of his lumber. When the beds
of these creeks are nearly dry in Summer, he goes in, with two or three
stout, strong assistants, armed with crowbars and levers, and rolls the
stones to this side and that, so as to leave a clear passage for his
logs. Occasionally, he is confronted by a big fellow, which defies his
utmost force; when, instead of drilling and blasting, he gathers dead
tree-tops, and other dry wood of no value, from the banks, and builds a
hot fire on the top of each giant bowlder. When the fire has burned out,
and the rock has cooled, he finds it softened, and, as it were, rotten,
on the top, often split, and every way so demoralized that he can deal
with it as though it were chalk or cheese. He estimates his saving by
this process, as compared with drilling and blasting as much more than
fifty per cent. I trust farmers with whom wood is abundant, and big
stones superabundant, will give this simple device a trial. Powder and
drilling cost money, part of which may be saved by this expedient.

I have built some stone walls--at first, not very well; but for the last
ten years my rule has been: Very little fence on a farm, but that little
of a kind that asks no forbearance of the wildest bull that ever wore a
horn. The last wall I built cost me at least $5 per rod; and it is worth
the money. Beginning by plowing its bed and turning the two furrows
together, so as to raise the ground a foot, and make a shallow ditch on
either side, I built a wall thereon which will outlast my younger child.
An ordinary wall dividing a wood on the north from an open field of
sunny, gravelly loam on the south, would have been partly thrown down
and wholly twisted out of shape in a few years, by the thawing of the
earth under its sunny side, while it remained firm as a rock on the
north; but the ground is always dry under my entire wall; so nothing
freezes there, and there is consequently nothing to thaw and let down my
wall. I shall be sorely disappointed if that wall does not outlast my
memory, and be known as a thorough barrier to roving cattle long after
the name of its original owner shall have been forgotten.



Though I have already indicated, incidentally, my decided objections to
our prevalent system of Fencing, I deem the subject of such importance
that I choose to discuss it directly. Excessive Fencing is peculiarly an
American abuse, which urgently cries for reform.

Solon Robinson says the fence-tax is the heaviest of our farmer's taxes.
I add, that it is the most needless and indefensible.

Highways we must have, and people must traverse them; but this gives
them no right to trample down or otherwise injure the crops growing on
either side. In France, and other parts of Europe, you see grass and
grain growing luxuriantly up to the very edge of the beaten tracks, with
nothing like a fence between them. Yet those crops are nowise injured or
disturbed by wayfarers. Whoever chooses to impel animals along these
roads must take care to have them completely under subjection, and must
see that they do no harm to whatever grows by the wayside.

In this country, cattle-driving, except on a small scale, and for short
distances, has nearly been superceded by railroads. The great droves
formerly reaching the Atlantic seaboard on foot, from Ohio or further
West, are now huddled into cars and hurried through in far less time,
and with less waste of flesh; but they reach us fevered, bruised, and
every way unwholesome. Every animal should be turned out to grass, after
a railroad journey of more than twelve hours, and left there a full
month before he is taken to the slaughter-pen. We must have many more
deaths per annum in this city than if the animals on which we subsist
were killed in a condition which rendered them fit for human food.

Ultimately, our fresh Beef, Mutton and Pork, will come to us from the
Prairies in refrigerating cars: each animal having been killed while in
perfect health, unfevered and untortured by days of cramped, galled, and
thirsty suffering, on the cars. This will leave their offal, including a
large portion of their bones, to enrich the fields whence their
sustenance was drawn and from which they should never be taken. The cost
of transporting the meat, hides, and tallow, in such cars, would be less
than that of bringing through the animals on their legs; while the
danger of putrefaction might be utterly precluded.

But to return to Fencing:

Our growing plants must be preserved from animal ravage; but it is most
unjust to impose the cost of this protection on the growers. Whoever
chooses to rear or buy animals must take care that they do not infest
and despoil his neighbors. Whoever sees fit to turn animals into the
street, should send some one with them who will be sure to keep them out
of mischief, which browsing young trees in a forest clearly is.

If the inhabitants of a settlement or village surrounded by open
prairie, see fit to pasture their cattle thereon, they should send them
out each morning in the charge of a well-mounted herdsmen, whose duty
should be summed up in keeping them from evildoing by day and bringing
them safely back to their yard or yards at nightfall.

Fencing bears with special severity on the pioneer class, who are least
able to afford the outlay. The "clearing" of the pioneer's first year in
the wilderness, being enlarged by ax and fire, needs a new and far
longer environment next year; and so through subsequent years until
clearing is at an end. Many a pioneer is thus impelled to devote a large
share of his time to Fencing; and yet his crops often come to grief
through the depredations of his own or his neighbor's breachy cattle.

Fences produce nothing but unwelcome bushes, briers and weeds. So far as
they may be necessary, they are a deplorable necessity. When constructed
where they are not really needed, they evince costly folly. I think I
could point out farms which would not sell to-day for the cost of
rebuilding their present fences.

We cannot make open drains or ditches serve for fences in this country,
as they sometimes do in milder and more equable climates, because our
severe frosts would heave and crumble their banks if nearly
perpendicular, sloping them at length in places so that animals might
cross them at leisure. Nor have we, so far north as this city, had much
success with hedges, for a like reason. There is scarcely a hedge-plant
at once efficient in stopping animals and so hardy as to defy the
severity, or rather the caprice, of our Winters. I scarcely know a hedge
which is not either inefficient or too costly for the average farmer;
and then a hedge is a fixture; whereas we often need to move or demolish
our fences.

Wire Fences are least obnoxious to this objection; they are very easily
removed; but a careless teamster, a stupid animal, or a clumsy friend,
easily makes a breach in one, which is not so easily repaired. Of the
few Wire Fences within my knowledge, hardly one has remained entire and
efficient after standing two or three years.

Stone Walls, well built, on raised foundations of dry earth, are
enduring and quite effective, but very costly. My best have cost me at
least $5 per rod, though the raw material was abundant and accessible. I
doubt that any good wall is built, with labor at present prices, for
less than $5 per rod. Perhaps I should account this costliness a merit,
since it must impel farmers to study how to make few fences serve their

Rail Fences will be constructed only where timber is very abundant, of
little value, and easily split. Whenever the burning of timber to be
rid of it has ceased, there the making of rail fences must be near its

Where fences must still be maintained, I apprehend that posts and boards
are the cheapest material. Though Pine lumber grows dear, Hemlock still
abounds; and the rapid destruction of trees for their bark to be used in
tanning must give us cheap hemlock boards throughout many ensuing years.
Spruce, Tamarack, and other evergreens from our Northern swamps, will
come into play after Hemlock shall have been exhausted.

As for posts, Red Cedar is a general favorite; and this tree seems to be
rapidly multiplying hereabout. I judge that farmers who have it not,
might wisely order it from a nursery and give it an experimental trial.
It is hardy; it is clean; it makes but little shade; and it seems to
fear no insect whatever. It flourishes on rocky, thin soils; and a grove
of it is pleasant to the sight--at least, to mine.

Locust is more widely known and esteemed; but the borer has proved
destructive to it on very many farms, though not on mine. I like it
well, and mean to multiply it extensively by drilling the seed in rich
garden soil and transplanting to rocky woodland when two years old.
Sowing the seed among rocks and bushes I have tried rather extensively,
with poor success. If it germinates at all, the young tree is so tiny
and feeble that bushes, weeds, and grass, overtop and smother it.

That a post set top-end down will last many years longer than if set as
it grew, I do firmly believe, though I cannot attest it from personal
observation. I understand the reason to be this: Trees absorb or suck up
moisture from the earth; and the particles which compose them are so
combined and adjusted as to facilitate this operation. Plant a post
deeply and firmly in the ground, butt-end downward, and it will continue
to absorb moisture from the earth as it did when alive; and the post,
thus moistened to-day and dried by wind and sun to-morrow, is thereby
subjected to more rapid disintegration and decay than when reversed.

My general conclusion is, that the good farmer will have fewer and
better fences than his thriftless neighbor, and that he will study and
plan to make fewer and fewer rods of fence serve his needs, taking care
that all he retains shall be perfect and conclusive. Breachy cattle are
a sad affliction alike to their owner and his neighbor; and shaky,
rotting, tumble-down fences, are justly responsible for their perverse
education. Let us each resolve to take good care that his own cattle
shall in no case afflict his neighbors, and we shall all need fewer
fences henceforth and evermore.



I must have attended not less than fifty State or County Fairs for the
exhibition (mainly) of Agricultural Machines and Products. From all
these, I _should_ have learned something, and presume I did; but I
cannot now say what. Hence, I conclude that these Fairs are not what
they might and should be. In other words, they should be improved. But

As the people compose much the largest and best part of these shows, the
reform must begin with them. Two-thirds of them go to a Fair with no
desire to learn therefrom--no belief that they can there be taught
anything. Of course, not seeking, they do not find. If they could but
realize that a Farmer's Fair might and should teach farmers somewhat
that would serve them in their vocation, a great point would be gained.
But they go in quest of entertainment, and find this mainly in

Of all human opportunities for instruction in humility and
self-depreciation, the average public speaker's is the best. He hurries
to a place where he has been told that his presence and utterance are
earnestly and generally desired--perhaps to find that his invitation
came from an insignificant and odious handful, who had some private ax
to grind so repugnant to the great majority that they refuse to
countenance the procedure, no matter how great the temptation. Even
where there is no such feud, many, having satiated their curiosity by a
long stare at him, walk whistling off, without waiting or wishing to
hear him. But the speaker at a Fair must compete with a thousand
counter-attractions, the least of them far more popular and winning than
_he_ can hope to be. He is heard, so far as he is heard at all, in
presence of and competition with all the bellowing bulls, braying,
jacks, and squealing stallions, in the county; if he holds,
nevertheless, a quarter of the crowd, he does well: but let two jockeys
start a buggy-race around the convenient track, and the last auditor
shuts his ears and runs off to enjoy the spectacle. Decidedly, I insist
that a Fair-ground is poorly adapted to the diffusion of Agricultural
knowledge--that the people present acquire very little information
there, even when they get all they want.

What is needed to render our annual Fairs useful and instructive far
beyond precedent, I sum up as follows:

I. Each farmer in the county or township should hold himself bound to
make _some_ contribution thereto. If only a good hill of Corn, a peck of
Potatoes, a bunch of Grapes, a Squash, a Melon, let him send that. If he
can send all of these, so much the better. There is very rarely a
thrifty farmer who could not add to the attractions and merits of a Fair
if he would try. If he could send a coop of superior Fowls, a likely
Calf, or a first-rate Cow, better yet; but nine-tenths of our farmers
regard a Fair as something wherewith they have nothing to do, except as
spectators. When it is half over, they lounge into it with hands in
their pockets, stare about for an hour, and go home protesting that they
could beat nearly everything they saw there. Then why did they not try?
How can we have good Fairs, if those who might make the best display of
products save themselves the trouble by not making any? The average
meagerness of our Fairs, so generally and justly complained of, is not
the fault of those who sent what they had, but of those who, having
better, were too lazy to send anything. Until this is radically changed,
and the blame fastened on those who might have contributed, but did not,
our Fairs cannot help being generally meager and poor.

II. It seems to me that there is great need of an interesting and
faithful running commentary on the various articles exhibited. A
competent person should be employed to give an hour's off-hand talk on
the cattle and horses on hand, explaining the diverse merits and faults
of the several breeds there exhibited, and of the representatives of
those breeds then present. If any are peculiarly adapted to the
locality, let that fact be duly set forth, with the simple object of
enabling farmers to breed more intelligently, and more profitably. Then
let the implements and machinery on exhibition be likewise explained and
discussed, and let their superiority in whatever respect to those they
have superseded or are designed to supersede be clearly pointed out. So,
if there be any new Grain, Vegetable, or Fruit, on the tables, let it be
made the subject of capable and thoroughly impartial discussion, before
such only as choose to listen, and without putting the mere sightseers
to grave inconvenience. A lecture-room should always be attached to a
Fair-ground, yet so secluded as to shut out the noise inseparable from a
crowded exhibition. Here, meetings should be held each evening, for
general discussion; every one being encouraged to state concisely the
impressions made on him, and the improvements suggested to him, by what
he had seen. Do let us try to reflect and consider more at these
gatherings, even though at the cost of seeing less.

III. The well supported Agricultural Society of a rich and populous
county must be able, or should be able, to give two or three liberal
premiums for general proficiency in farming. If $100 could be proffered
to the owner or manager of the best tilled farm in the county, $50 to
the owner of the best orchard, and $50 to the boy under 18 years of age
who grew the best acre of Corn or Roots that year, I am confident that
an impulse would thereby be given to agricultural progress. Our premiums
are too numerous and too petty, because so few, are willing to
contribute with no expectation of personal benefit or distinction. If
we had but the right spirit aroused, we might dispense with most of our
petty premiums, or replace them by medals of no great cost, and devote
the money thus saved to higher and nobler ends.

IV. Much of the speaking at Fairs seems to me insulting to the
intelligence of the Farmers present, who are grossly flattered and
eulogized, when they often need to be admonished and incited to mend
their ways. What use or sense can there be in a lawyer, doctor, broker,
or editor, talking to a crowd of farmers as if they were the most
favored of mortals and their life the noblest and happiest known to
mankind? Whatever it might be, and may yet become, we all know that the
average farmer's life is not what it is thus represented: for, if it
were, thousands would be rushing into it where barely hundreds left it:
whereas we all see that the fact is quite otherwise. No good can result
from such insincere and extravagant praises of a calling which so few
freely choose, and so many gladly shun. Grant that the farmer's _ought_
to be the most enviable and envied vocation, we know that in fact it
_is_ not and, agreeing that it should be, the business in hand is to
make it so. There must be obstacles to surmount, mistakes to set right,
impediments to overcome, before farming can be in all respects the
idolized pursuit which poets are so ready to proclaim it and orators so
delight to represent it. Let us struggle to make it all that fancy has
ever painted it; but, so long as it is not, let us respect undeniable
facts, and characterize it exactly as it is.

V. If our counties were thoroughly canvassed by township committees, and
each tiller of the soil asked to pledge himself in writing to exhibit
something at the next County Fair, we should soon witness a decided
improvement. Many would be incited to attend who now stay away; while
the very general complaint that there is nothing worth coming to see
would be heard no more. As yet, a majority of farmers regard the Fair
much as they do a circus or traveling menagerie, taking no interest in
it except as it may afford them entertainment for the passing hour. We
must change this essentially; and the first step is to induce, by
concerted solicitation, at least half the farmers in the county to
pledge themselves each to exhibit something at the next annual Fair, or
pay $5 toward increasing its premiums.

VI. In short, we must all realize that the County or Township Fair is
_our_ Fair--not got up by others to invite our patronage or criticism,
but something whereto it is incumbent on us to contribute, and which
must be better or worse as we choose to make it. Realizing this, let us
stop carping and give a shoulder to the wheel.



I am not a scientific farmer; it is not probable that I ever shall be. I
have no such knowledge of Chemistry and Geology as any man needs to make
him a thoroughly good farmer. I am quite aware that men have raised good
crops--a good many of them--who knew nothing of science, and did not
consider any acquaintance with it conducive to efficiency or success in
their vocation. I have no doubt that men will continue to grow such
crops, and to make money by agriculture, who hardly know what is meant
by Chemistry or Geology; and yet I feel sure that, as the years roll by,
Science will more and more be recognized and accepted as the true,
substantial base of efficient and profitable cultivation. Let me here
give briefly the grounds of this conviction:

Every plant is composed of elements whereof a very small portion is
drawn from the soil, while the ampler residue, so long as the plant
continues green and growing, is mainly water, though a variable and
often considerable proportion is imbibed or absorbed from the
atmosphere, which is understood to yield freely nearly all the elements
required of it, provided the plants are otherwise in healthful and
thrifty condition. Water is supplied from the sky, or from springs and
streams; and little more than the most ordinary capacity for observation
is required to determine when it is present in sufficient quantity, when
in baleful excess. But who, unaided by Science, can decide whether the
soil does or does not contain the elements requisite for the luxuriant
growth and perfect development of Wheat, or Fruit, or Grass, or Beets,
or Apples? Who knows, save as he blindly infers from results, what
mineral ingredients of this or that crop are deficient in given field,
and what are present in excess? And how shall any one be enlightened and
assured on the point, unless by the aid of Science?

I have bought and applied to my farm some two thousand bushels of Lime,
and ten or a dozen tuns of Plaster; and I infer, from what seemed to be
results, that each of these minerals has been applied with profit; but I
do not _know_ it. The increased product which I have attributed to one
or both of these elements may have had a very different origin and
impulse. I only grope my way in darkness when I should clearly and
surely see.

An agricultural essayist in Maine has recently put forth a canon which,
if well grounded, is of great value to farmers. He asserts that the
growth of acid plants like Sorrel, Dock, etc., in a field, results from
sourness in the soil, and that, where this exists, Lime--that is, the
ordinary Carbonate of Lime--is urgently required; whereas the
application of Plaster or Gypsum (Sulphate of Lime) to that field must
be useless and wasteful. If such be the truth, a knowledge of it would
be worth millions of dollars to our farmers. But I lack the scientific
attainment needed to qualify me for passing judgment thereon.

There is great diversity of opinion among farmers with regard to the
value of Swamp Muck. One has applied it to his land to good purpose; so
he holds Muck, if convenient, the cheapest and best fertilizer a farmer
can add to his ordinary barn-yard manure; another has applied cords upon
cords of Muck, and says he has derived therefrom no benefit whatever.
Now, this contrariety of conclusion may result from imperfect judgment
on one side or the other, or from the condition precedent of the diverse
soils: one of them requiring what Muck could supply, while the other
required something very different from that; or it may be accounted for
by the fact that the Muck applied in one case was of superior quality,
and in the other good for nothing. Where Muck is composed almost wholly
of the leaves of forest-trees which, through thousands of years, have
been blown into a bog, or shallow pond, and there been gradually
transformed into a fine, black dust or earth, I do not see how it can
possibly be applied to an upland, especially a sandy or gravelly soil,
without conducing to the subsequent production of bounteous crops. True,
it may be sour when first drawn from the stagnant pool or bog in which
it has lain so long, and may need to be mixed with Lime, or Salt, or
Ashes, and subjected to the action of sun and frost, to ripen and
sweeten it. But it seems to me impossible that such Muck should be
applied to almost any reasonably dry land, without improving its
consistency and increasing its fertility. But all Muck is not the
product of decayed forest-leaves; and that which was formed of coarse,
rank weeds and brakes, of rotten wood and flags, or skunk cabbage, may
be of very inferior quality, so as hardly to repay the cost of digging
and applying it. Science will yet enable us to fix, at least
approximately, the value of each deposit of Muck, and so give a
preference to the best.

The Analysis of Soils, whereof much was heard and whence much was hoped
a few years since, seems to have fallen into utter discredit, so that
every would-be popular writer gives it a passing fling or kick. That any
analysis yet made was and is worthless, I can readily concede, without
shaking in the least my conviction that soils will yet be analyzed,
under the guidance of a truer, profounder Science, to the signal
enlightenment and profit of their cultivators. Here is a retired
merchant, banker, doctor, or lawyer, who has bought a spacious and
naturally fertile but worn-out, run-down farm, on which he proposes to
spend the remainder of his days. Of course, he must improve and enrich
it; but with what? and how? All the manure he finds, or, for the
present, can make on it, will hardly put the first acre in high
condition, while he grows old and is unwilling to wait forever. He is
able and ready to buy fertilizers, and does buy right and left, without
knowing whether his land needs Lime, or Phosphate, or Potash, or
something very different from either. Say he purchases $2,000 worth Of
one or more of these fertilizers: it is highly probable that $1,500
might have served him better if invested in due proportion in just what
his land most urgently needs; and I unflinchingly believe that we shall
yet have an analysis of soils that will tell him just what fertilizers
he ought to apply, and what quantity of each of them.

Science has already taught us that every load of Hay or Grain drawn from
a field abstracts therefrom a considerable quantity of certain
minerals--say Potash, Lime, Soda, Magnesia, Chlorine, Silica,
Phosphorus--and that the soil is thereby impoverished until they be
replaced, in some form or other. As no deposit in a bank was ever so
large that continual drafts would not ultimately exhaust it, so no soil
was ever so rich that taking crop after crop from it annually, yet
giving nothing back, would not render it sterile or worthless. Sun and
rain and wind will do their part in the work of renovation; but all of
them together cannot restore to the soil the mineral elements whereof
each crop takes a portion, and which, being once completely exhausted,
can only be replaced at a heavy cost. Science teaches us to foresee and
prevent such exhaustion--in part, by a rotation of crops, and in part by
a constant replacement of the minerals annually borne away: the
subtraction being greater in proportion as the crop is more exacting and

What I know of Science applicable to Farming is little indeed; but I
know that there _is_ such Science, and that each succeeding year
enlarges, improves, and perfects it. I know that I should thus far have
farmed to far better purpose, if I had been master even of so much
Science as already exists.

Understand that I am not a teacher of this Science--I stand very low in
the class of learners. I began to learn too late in life, and have been
too incessantly harassed by a multiplicity of cares, to make any
satisfactory progress. Any tolerably educated boy of fifteen may know
far more of Agricultural Science by the time he has passed his
eighteenth birthday than I do. What I know in this respect can help him
very little; my faith that there is much to be known, and that he may
master it if he will, is all that is of much importance. If I can
convince a considerable number of our youth that they may surely acquire
a competence by the time they shall have passed their fortieth year,
without excessive labor or penurious frugality, by means of that
knowledge of principles and laws subservient to Agriculture which their
fathers could not, but which they easily may attain, I shall have
rendered a substantial service alike to them and to our country.



A good workman, it is said, does not quarrel with his tools--which, if
true, I judge is due to the fact that he generally manages to have good
ones. To work hard throughout a long day under a burning sun, is
sufficiently trying, without rendering the labor doubly repugnant by the
use of ill-contrived, imperfect, inefficient implements.

The half-century which nearly bounds my recollection has witnessed great
improvements in this respect. The Plow, mainly of wood, wherewith my
father broke up his stony, hide-bound acres of New-Hampshire pebbles and
gravel, in my early boyhood, would now be spurned if offered as a gift
to the poorest and most thriftless farmer among us; and the Hoes which
were allotted to us boys in those days, after the newer and better had
been assigned to the men, would be rejected with disdain by the
stupidest negro in Virginia. Though there is still room for improvement,
we use far better implements than our grandfathers did, with a
corresponding increase in the efficiency of our labor; but the
cultivators of Spain, Portugal, and the greater part of Europe, still
linger in the dark ages in this respect. Their plows are little better
than the forked sticks which served their barbarian ancestors, and their
implements generally are beneath contempt. With such implements, deep
and thorough culture is simply impossible, unless by the use of the
spade; and he must be a hard worker who produces a peck of Wheat or half
a bushel of Indian Corn per day by the exclusive use of this tool. The
soil of France is so cut up and subdivided into little strips of two or
three roods up to as many acres each--each strip forming the entire
patrimony of a family--that agricultural advancement or efficiency is,
with the great mass of French cultivators, out of the question. Hence, I
judge that, outside of Great Britain and Australia, there is no country
wherein an average year's work produces half so much grain as in our
own, in spite of our slovenly tillage, our neglect and waste of
fertilizers, and the frequent failures of our harvests. Belgium,
Holland, and northern France, can teach us neatness and thoroughness of
cultivation; the British isles may fairly boast of larger and surer
crops of Wheat, Oats, Potatoes, and Grass, than we are accustomed to
secure; but, in the selection of implements, and in the average
efficiency of labor, our best farmers are ahead of then all.

Bear with me, then, while I interpose a timid plea for our inventors and
patentees of implements, whose solicitations that a trial, or at least
an inspection, be accorded to their several contrivances, are too often
repelled with churlish rudeness. I realize that our thriving farmers
are generally absorbed in their own plans and efforts, and that the
agent or salesman who insists on an examination of his new harrow, or
pitchfork, or potato-digger, is often extravagant in his assumptions,
and sometimes a bore. Still, when I recollect how tedious and how
back-breaking were the methods of mowing Grass and reaping Grain with
the Scythe and Sickle, which held unchallenged sway in my early boyhood,
I entreat the farmer who is petitioned to accord ten or fifteen minutes
to the setting forth, by some errant stranger, of the merits of his new
horse-hoe or tedder, to give the time, if he can; and that without sour
looks or a mien of stolid incredulity. The Biblical monition that, in
evincing a generous hospitality, we may sometimes entertain angels
unawares, seems to me in point. A new implement may be defective and
worthless, and yet contain the germ or suggest the form of a thoroughly
good one. Give the inventor or his representative a courteous hearing if
you can, even though this should constrain you to make up the time so
lost after the day's work would otherwise have ended.

I suspect that the average farmer of our completely rural districts
would be surprised, if not instructed, by a day's careful scrutiny of
the contents of one of our great implement warehouses. So many and such
various and ingenious devices for pulverizing the earth applying
fertilizers to the soil, planting or sowing rapidly, eradicating weeds,
economizing labor in harvesting, etc., will probably transcend not
merely his experience, but his imagination; and every one of these
myriad implements is useful in its place, though no single farmer can
afford to buy all or half of them. It will yet, I think, be found
necessary by the farmers of a school-district, if not of a township, to
meet and agree among themselves that one will buy this implement,
another that, and so on, until twenty or thirty such devices as a Stump
or Rock-Puller, a Clod-Crusher, Thrashing-Machine, Fanning-Mill, etc.,
shall be owned in the neighborhood--each by a separate farmer, willing
to live and let live--with an understanding that each shall be used in
turn by him who needs it; and so every one shall be nearly as well
accommodated as though he owned them all.

For the number and variety of useful implements increase so rapidly,
while their usefulness is so palpable, that, though it is difficult to
farm efficiently without many if not most of them, it is impossible that
the young farmer of moderate means should buy and keep them all. True,
he might hire when he needed, if what he wanted were always at hand; but
this can only be assured by some such arrangement as I have suggested,
wherein each undertakes to provide and keep that which he will most
need; agreeing to lend it whenever it can be spared to any other member
of the combination, who undertakes to minister in like manner to _his_
need in return.

I think few will doubt that the inventions in aid of Agriculture during
the last forty years will be far surpassed by those of the forty years
just before us. The magnificent fortunes which, it is currently
understood, have rewarded the inventors of the more popular Mowers,
Reapers, etc., of our day, are sure to stimulate alike the ingenuity and
the avarice of clever men throughout the coming years, and to call into
existence ten thousand patents, whereof a hundred will be valuable, and
ten or twelve eminently useful. Plowing land free from stumps and stones
cannot long be the tedious, patience-trying process we have known it.
The machinery which will at once pulverize the soil to a depth of two
feet, fertilize and seed it, not requiring it to be trampled by the
hoofs of animals employed in subsoiling and harrowing, will soon be in
general use, especially on the spacious, deep, inviting prairies of the
Great West.--But I must defer what I have to say of Steam and its uses
in Agriculture to another chapter.



As yet, the great body of our farmers have been slow in availing
themselves of the natural forces in operation around them. Vainly for
them does the wind blow across their fields and over their hill-tops.
It neither thrashes nor grinds their grain; it has ceased even to
separate it from the chaff. The brook brawls and foams idly adown the
precipice or hillside: the farmer grinds his grain, churns his cream,
and turns his grindstone, just as though falling water did not embody
power. He draws his Logs to one mill, and his Wheat, Corn, or Rye to
another, and returns in due season with his boards or his meal; but the
lesson which the mill so plainly teaches remains, by him unread. Where
running or leaping water is not, there brisk breezes and fiercer gales
are apt to be. But the average farmer ignores the mechanical use of
stream and breeze alike, taxing his own muscle to achieve that which the
blind forces of Nature stand ready to do at his command. It may not, and
I think it will not, be always thus.

Steam, as a cheap source of practically limitless power, is hardly a
century old; yet it has already revolutionized the mechanical and
manufacturing industry of Christendom. It weaves the far greater part of
all the Textile Fabrics that clothe and shelter and beautify the human
family. It fashions every bar and every rail of Iron or of Steel; it
impels the machinery of nearly every manufactory of wares or of
implements; and it is very rapidly supplanting wind in the propulsion of
vessels on the high seas, as it has already done on rivers and on most
inland waters.

Water is, however, still employed as a power in certain cases, but
mainly because its adaptation to this end has cost many thousands of
dollars which its disuse would render worthless.

I am quite within bounds in estimating that nine-tenths of all the
material force employed by man in Manufactures, Mechanics, and
Navigation, is supplied by Steam, and that this disproportion will be
increased to ninety-nine hundredths before the close of this century.

For Agriculture, Steam has done very much, in the transportation of
crops and of fertilizers, but very little in the preparation or
cultivation of the soil. Of steam-wagons for roads or fields,
steam-plows for pulverizing and deepening the soil, and
steam-cultivators for keeping weeds down and rendering tillage more
efficient, we have had many heralded in sanguine bulletins throughout
the last forty years, but I am not aware that one of them has fulfilled
the sanguine hopes of its author. Though a dozen Steam-Plows have been
invented in this country, and several imported from Europe, I doubt that
a single square mile of our country's surface has been plowed wholly by
steam down to this hour. If it has, Louisiana--a State which one would
not naturally expect to find in the van of industrial progress--has
enjoyed the benefit and earned the credit of the achievement.

Of what Steam has yet accomplished in direct aid of Agriculture, I have
little to say, though in Great Britain quite a number of steam-plows are
actually at work in the fields, and (I am assured), with fair success.
Until something breaks or gives out, one of these plows does its
appointed work better and cheaper than such work is or can be done by
animal power; but all the steam-plows whereof I have any knowledge seem
too bulky, too complicated, too costly, ever to win their way into
general use. I value them only as hints and incitements toward something
better suited to the purpose.

What our farmers need is not a steam-plow as a specialty, but a
locomotive that can travel with facility, not only on common
wagon-roads, but across even freshly-plowed fields, without
embarrassment, and prove as docile to its manager's touch as an average
span of horses. Such a locomotive should not cost more then $500, nor
weigh more than a tun when laden with fuel and water for a half-hour's
steady work. It should be so contrived that it may be hitched in a
minute to a plow, a harrow, a wagon, or cart, a saw or grist-mill, a
mower or reaper, a thresher or stalk-cutter, a stump or rock-puller, and
made useful in pumping and draining operations, digging a cellar or
laying up a wall, as also in ditching or trenching. We may have to wait
some years yet for a servant so dexterous and docile, yet I feel
confident that our children will enjoy and appreciate his handiwork.

The farmer often needs far more power at one season than at another, and
is compelled to retain and subsist working animals at high cost through
months in which he has no use for them, because he must have them when
those months have transpired. If he could replace those animals by a
machine which, when its season of usefulness was over, could be cleaned,
oiled, and put away under a tight roof until next seeding-time, the
saving alike of cost and trouble would be very considerable.

When our American reapers first challenged attention in Great Britain,
the general skepticism as to their efficiency was counteracted by the
suggestion that, even though reaping by machinery should prove more
expensive than reaping by hand, the ability to cut and save the
grain-crop more rapidly than hitherto would over-balance that
enhancement of cost. In the British Isles, day after day of chilling
wind and rain is often encountered in harvest-time: the standing Wheat
or Oats or Barley becoming draggled, or lodged, or beaten out, while the
owner impatiently awaits the recurrence of sunny days. When these at
length arrive, he is anxious to harvest many acres at once, since his
Grain is wasting and he knows not how soon cloud and tempest may again
be his portion. But all his neighbors are in like predicament with
himself, and all equally intent on hurrying the harvest; so that little
extra help is attainable. If now the aid of a machine may be commanded,
which will cut 15 or 20 acres per day, he cares less how much that work
will cost than how soon it can be effected. Hence, even though cutting
by horse-power had proved more costly than cutting by hand, it would
still have been welcome.

So it is with Plowing, here and almost everywhere. Our farmers have this
year been unable to begin Plowing for Winter Grain so early as they
desired, by reason of the intense heat and drouth, whereby their fields
were baked to the consistency of half-burned brick. Much seed will in
consequence have been sown too late, while much seeding will have been
precluded altogether, by inability to prepare the ground in due season.
If a machine had been at hand whereby 15 or 20 acres per day could have
been plowed and harrowed, thousands would have invoked its aid to enable
them to sow their Grain in tolerable season, even though the cost had
been essentially heavier than that of old-fashioned plowing. I traversed
Illinois on the 13th and 14th of May, 1859, when its entire soil seemed
soaked and sodden with incessant rains, which had not yet ceased
pouring. Inevitably, there had been little or no plowing yet for the
vast Corn-crop of that State; yet barely two weeks would intervene
before the close of the proper season for Corn-planting. Even if these
should be wholly favorable, the plowing could not be effected in season,
and much ground must be planted too late or not planted at all. In every
such case, a machine that would plow six or eight furrows as fast as a
man ought to walk, would add immensely to the year's harvest, and be
hailed as a general blessing.

I recollect that a German observer of Western cultivation--a man of
decided perspicacity and wide observation--recommended that each farmer
who had not the requisite time or team for getting in his Corn-crop in
due season should plow single furrows through his field at intervals of
3 to 3-1/2 feet, plant his Corn on the earth thus turned, and proceed,
so soon as his planting was finished, to plow out the spaces as yet
undisturbed between the springing rows of Corn. I do not know that this
recommendation was ever widely followed; but I judge that, under certain
circumstances, it might be, to decided advantage and profit.

I have not attempted to indicate all the benefits which Steam is to
confer directly on Agriculture, within the next half-century. That
Irrigation must become general, I confidently believe; and I anticipate
a very extensive sinking of wells, at favorable points, in order that
water shall be drawn therefrom by wind or steam to moisten and enrich
the slopes and plains around them. Such a locomotive as I have
foreshadowed might be taken from well to well, pumping from each in an
hour or two sufficient water to irrigate several of the adjacent acres;
thus starting a second crop of Hay on fields whence the first had been
taken, and renewing verdure and growth where we now see vegetation
suspended for weeks, if not months. I feel sure that the mass of our
farmers have not yet realized the importance and beneficence of
Irrigation, nor the facility wherewith its advantages may be secured.



The word of hope and cheer for Labor in our days is COÖPERATION--that
is, the combination by many of their means and efforts to achieve
results beneficial to them all. It differs radically from Communism,
which proposes that each should receive from the aggregate product of
human labor enough to satisfy his wants, or at least his needs, whether
he shall have contributed to that aggregate much, or little, or nothing
at all. Coöperation insists that each shall receive from the joint
product in proportion to his contributions thereto, whether in capital,
skill, or labor. If one associate has ten children and another none,
Communism would apportion to each according to the size of his family
alone; while Coöperation would give to each what he had earned,
regardless of the number dependent upon him. Thus the two systems are
radical antagonists, and only the grossly ignorant or willfully blind
will confound them.

A young farmer, whose total estate is less than $500, not counting a
priceless wife and child, resolves to migrate from one of the old
States to Kansas, Minnesota, or one of the Territories: he has heard
that he will there find public land whereon he may make a home of a
quarter-section, paying therefor $20 or less for the cost of survey and
of the necessary papers. So he may: but, on reaching the Land of
Promise, whether with or without his family, he finds a very large belt
of still vacant land beyond the settlements already transformed into
private property, and either not for sale at all or held on speculation,
quite out of his reach. The public land which he may take under the
Homestead law lies a full day's journey beyond the border settlements,
to which he must look for Mills, Stores, Schools, and even Highways. If
he persists in squatting, with intent to earn his quarter-section by
settlement and cultivation, he must take a long day's journey across
unbridged streams and sloughs, over unmade roads, to find boards, or
brick, or meal, or glass, or groceries; while he must postpone the
education of his children to an indefinite future day. Gradually, the
region will be settled, and the conveniences of civilization will find
their way to his door, but not till after he will have suffered through
several years for want of them; often compelled to make a journey to get
a plow or yoke mended, a grist of grain ground, or to minister to some
other trivial but inexorable want. He who thus acquires his
quarter-section must fairly earn it, and may be thankful if his children
do not grow up rude, coarse, and illiterate.

But suppose one thousand just such young farmers as he is, with no more
means and no greater efficiency than his, were to set forth together,
resolved to find a suitable location whereon they might all settle on
adjoining quarter-sections, thus appropriating the soil of five or six
embryo townships: who can fail to see that three-fourths of the
obstacles and discouragements which confront the solitary pioneer would
vanish at the outset? Roads, Bridges, Mills,--nay, even Schools and
Churches--would be theirs almost immediately; while mechanics,
merchants, doctors, etc., would fairly overrun their settlement and
solicit their patronage at every road-crossing. Within a year after the
location of their several claims, they would have achieved more progress
and more comfort than in five years under the system of straggling and
isolated settlement which has hitherto prevailed. The change I here
indicate appeals to the common sense and daily experience of our whole
people. It is not necessary, however desirable, that the pioneers should
be giants in wisdom, in integrity, or in piety, to secure its benefits.
A knave or a fool may be deemed an undesirable neighbor; but a dozen
such in the township would not preclude, and could hardly diminish, the
advantages naturally resulting from settlement by Coöperation.

Nor are these confined to pioneers transcending the boundaries of
civilization. I wish I could induce a thousand of our colored men now
precariously subsisting by servile labor in the cities, to strike out
boldly for homes of their own, and for liberty to direct their own
labor, whether they should settle on the frontier in the manner just
outlined, or should buy a tract of cheap land on Long Island, in
New-Jersey, Maryland, or some State further South. I cannot doubt that
the majority of them would work their way up to independence; and this
very much sooner, and after undergoing far less privation, than almost
every pioneer who has plunged alone into the primitive forest or struck
out upon the broad prairie and there made himself a farm.

The insatiable demand for fencing is one of the pioneer's many trials.
Though he has cleared off but three acres of forest during his first
Fall and Winter, he must surround those acres with a stout fence, or all
he grows will be devoured by hungry cattle--his own, if no others.
Whether he adds two or ten acres to his clearing during the next year,
they must in turn be surrounded by a fence; and nothing short of a very
stout one will answer: so he goes on clearing and fencing, usually
burning up a part of his fence whenever he burns over his new clearing;
then building a new one around this, which will have to be sacrificed in
its turn. I believe that many pioneers have devoted as much time to
fencing their fields as to tilling them throughout their first six or
eight years.

It is different with those who settle on broad prairies, but not
essentially better. Each pioneer must fence his patch of tillage with
material which costs him more, and is procured with greater difficulty,
than though he were cutting a hole in the forest. Often, when he thinks
he has fenced sufficiently, the hungry, breachy cattle, who roam the
open prairies around him, judge his handiwork less favorably; and he
wakes some August morning, when feed is poorest outside and most
luxuriant within his inclosure, to find that twenty or thirty cattle
have broken through his defenses and half destroyed his growing crop.

If, instead of this wasteful lack of system, a thousand or even a
hundred farmers would combine to fence several square miles into one
grand inclosure for cultivation, erecting their several habitations
within or without its limits, as to each should be convenient--
apportioning it for cultivation, or owning it in severalty, as they
should see fit--an immense economy would be secured, just when, because
of their poverty, saving is most important. Their stock might range the
open prairie unwatched; and they might all sleep at night in serene
confidence that their corn and cabbages were not in danger of ruthless
destruction. Among the settlers in our great primitive forests, the
system of Coöperative Farming would have to be modified in details,
while it would be in essence the same.

And, once adopted with regard to fencing, other adaptations as obvious
and beneficent would from day to day suggest themselves. Each pioneer
would learn how to advance his own prosperity by combining his efforts
with those of his neighbors. He would perceive that the common wants of
a hundred may be supplied by a combined effort at less than half the
cost of satisfying them when each is provided for alone. He would grow
year by year into a clearer and firmer conviction that short-sighted
selfishness is the germ of half the evils that afflict the human race,
and that the true and sure way to a bounteous satisfaction of the wants
of each is a generous and thoughtful consideration for the needs of all.

       *       *       *       *       *

And here let me pay my earnest and thankful tribute to Mr. E. V. de
Boissière, a philanthropic Frenchman, who has purchased 3,300 acres of
mainly rolling prairie-land in Kansas, near Princeton, Franklin County,
and is carefully, cautiously, laying thereon the foundations of a great
coöperative farm, where, in addition to the usual crops, it is expected
that Silk and other exotics will in due time be extensively grown and
transformed into fabrics, and that various manufactures will vie with
Agriculture in affording attractive and profitable employment to a
considerable population. I have not been accustomed to look with favor
on our new States and unpeopled Territories as an arena for such
experiments, since so many of their early settlers are intent on getting
rich by land-speculation--at all events, through the exercise of some
others' muscles than their own--while the opportunities for and
incitements to migration and relocation are so multiform and powerful.
Doubtless, M. de Boissière will be often tried by stampedes of his
volunteer associates, who, after the novelty of coöperative effort has
worn off, will find life on his domain too tame and humdrum for their
excitable and high-strung natures. I trust, however, that he will
persevere through every discouragement, and triumph over every obstacle;
that the right men for associates will gradually gather about him; that
his enterprise and devotion will at length be crowned by a signal and
inspiring success; and that thousands will be awakened by it to a larger
and nobler conception of the mission of Industry, and the possibilities
of achievement which stud the path of simple, honest, faithful,
persistent Work.



Farmers, like other men, divide naturally into two classes--those who do
too much work, and those who do too little. I know men who are no
farmers at all, only by virtue of the fact that each of them inherited,
or somehow acquired, a farm, and have since lived upon and out of it, in
good part upon that which it could not help producing--they not doing so
much as one hundred fair days' work each per annum. One of this class
never takes a periodical devoted to farming; evinces no interest in
county fairs or township clubs, save as they may afford him an excuse
for greater idleness; and insists that there is no profit in farming. As
land steadily depreciates in quality under his management, he is apt to
sell out whenever the increase of population or progress of improvement
has given additional value to his farm, and move off in quest of that
undiscovered country where idleness is compatible with thrift, profits
are realized from light crops, and men grow rich by doing nothing.

The opposite class of wanderers from the golden mean is hardly so
numerous as the idlers, yet it is quite a large one. Its leading
embodiment, to my mind, is one whom I knew from childhood, who, born
poor and nowise favored by fortune, was rated as a tireless worker from
early boyhood, and who achieved an independence before he was forty
years old in a rural New-England township, simply by rugged, persistent
labor--in youth on the farms of other men; in manhood, on one of his
own. This man was older at forty than his father, then seventy, and died
at fifty, worn out with excessive and unintermitted labor, leaving a
widow who greatly preferred him to all his ample wealth, and an only son
who, so soon as he can get hold of it, will squander the property much
faster, and even more unwisely, than his father acquired it.

To the class of which this man was a fair representative, Farmers' Clubs
must prove of signal value. Though there should be nothing else than a
Farmers' Club in his neighborhood, it can hardly fail in time to make
such a one realize that life need not and should not be all drudgery;
that there are other things worth living for beside accumulating wealth.
Let his wife and his neighbor succeed in drawing such a one into two or
three successive meetings, and he can hardly fail to perceive that
thrift is a product of brain as well as of muscle; that he may grow rich
by learning and knowing as well as by delving, and that, even though he
should not, there are many things desirable and laudable beside the
accumulation of wealth.

A true Farmers' Club should consist of all the families residing in a
small township, so far as they can be induced to attend it, even though
only half their members should be present at any one meeting. It should
limit speeches to ten minutes, excepting only those addresses or essays
which eminently qualified persons are requested to specially prepare and
read. It should have a president, ready and able to repress all
ill-natured personalities, all irrelevant talk, and especially all
straying into the forbidden regions of political or theological
disputation. At each meeting, the subject should be chosen for the next,
and not less than four members pledged to make some observations
thereon, with liberty to read them if unused to speaking in public.
Those having been heard, the topic should be open to discussion by all
present: the humblest and youngest being specially encouraged to state
any facts within their knowledge which they deem pertinent and cogent.
Let every person attending be thus incited to say something calculated
to shed light on the subject, to say this in the fewest words possible,
and with the utmost care not to annoy or offend others, and it is hardly
possible that one evening per week devoted to these meetings should not
be spent with equal pleasure and profit.

The chief end to be achieved through such meetings is a development of
the faculty of observation and the habit of reflection. Too many of us
pass through life essentially blind and deaf to the wonders and glories
manifest to clearer eyes all around us. The magnificent phenomena of the
Seasons, even the awakening of Nature from death to life in Spring-time,
make little impression on their senses, still less on their
understandings. There are men who have passed forty times through a
forest, and yet could not name, within half a dozen, the various species
of trees which compose it; and so with everything else to which they are
accustomed. They need even more than knowledge an intellectual
awakening; and this they could hardly fail to receive from the
discussions of an intelligent and earnest Farmers' Club.

A genuine and lively interest in their vocation is needed by many
farmers, and by most farmers' sons. Too many of these regard their
homesteads as a prison, in which they must remain until some avenue of
escape into the great world shall open before them. The farm to such is
but the hollow log into which a bear crawls to wear out the rigors of
Winter and await the advent of Spring. Too many of our boys fancy that
they know too much for farmers, when in fact they know far too little. A
good Farmers' Club, faithfully attended, would take this conceit out of
them, imbuing them instead with a realizing sense of their ignorance and
incompetency, and a hearty desire for practical wisdom.

A recording secretary, able to state in the fewest words each important
suggestion or fact elicited in the course of an evening's discussion,
would be hardly less valuable or less honored than a capable president.
A single page would often suffice for all that deserves such record out
of an evening's discussion; and this, being transferred to a book and
preserved, might be consulted with interest and profit throughout many
succeeding years. No other duty should be required of the member who
rendered this service, the correspondence of the Club being devolved
upon another secretary. The habit of bringing grafts, or plants, or
seeds, to Club meetings, for gratuitous distribution, has been found to
increase the interest, and enlarge the attendance of those formerly
indifferent. Almost every good farmer or gardener will sometimes have
choice seeds or grafts to spare, which he does not care or cannot expect
to sell, and these being distributed to the Club will not only increase
its popularity, but give him a right to share when another's surplus is
in like manner distributed. If one has choice fruits to give away, the
Club will afford him an excellent opportunity; but I would rather not
attract persons to its meetings by a prospect of having their appetites
thus gratified at others' expense. A Flower-Show once in each year, and
an Exhibition of Fruits and other choice products at an evening meeting
in September or October, should suffice for festivals. Let each member
consider himself pledged to bring to the Exhibition the best material
result of his year's efforts, and the aggregate will be satisfactory and

The organization of a Farmers' Club is its chief difficulty. The larger
number of those who ought to participate usually prefer to stand back,
not committing themselves to the effort until after its success has been
assured. To obviate this embarrassment, let a paper be circulated for
signatures, pledging each signer to attend the introductory meeting and
bring at least a part of his family. When forty have signed such a call,
success will be well-nigh assured.



I have already set forth my belief that Irrigation is everywhere
practicable, is destined to be generally adopted, and to prove signally
beneficent. I do not mean that every acre of the States this side of the
Missouri will ever be thus supplied with water, but that _some_ acres of
every township, and of nearly every farm, should and will be. I propose
herein to speak with direct reference to that large portion of our
country which cannot be cultivated to any purpose without Irrigation.
This region, which is practically rainless in Summer, may be roughly
indicated as extending from the forks of the Platte westward, and as
including all our present Territories, a portion of Western Texas, the
entire State of Nevada, and at least nine-tenths of California. On this
vast area, no rain of consequence falls between April and November,
while its soil, parched by fervid, cloudless suns, and swept by
intensely dry winds, is utterly divested of moisture to a depth of three
or four feet; and I have seen the tree known as Buckeye growing in it,
at least six inches in diameter, whereon every leaf was withered and
utterly dead before the end of August, though the tree still lived, and
would renew its foliage next Spring.

Most of this broad area is usually spoken of as desert, because
treeless, except on the slopes of its mountains, where certain
evergreens would seem to dispense with moisture, and on the brink of
infrequent and scanty streams, where the all but worthless Cotton-wood
is often found growing luxuriantly. A very little low Gamma Grass on the
Plains, some straggling Bunch-grass on the mountains, with an endless
profusion of two poor shrubs, popularly known as Sage-brush and
Grease-wood, compose the vegetation of nearly or quite a million square

I will confine myself in this essay to the readiest means of irrigating
the Plains, by which I mean the all but treeless plateau that stretches
from the base of the Rocky Mountains, 300 to 400 miles eastward, sloping
imperceptibly toward the Missouri, and drained by the affluents of the
Platte, the Kansas, and the Arkansas rivers.

The North Platte has its sources in the western, as the South Platte has
in the eastern, slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Each of them pursues a
generally north-east course for some 300 miles, and then turns sharply
to the eastward, uniting some 300 miles eastward of the mountains, where
the Plains melt into the Prairies. Between these two rivers and the
eastern base of the mountains lies an irregular delta or triangle, which
seems susceptible of irrigation at a smaller cost than the residue. The
location of Union Colony may be taken as a fair illustration of the
process, and the facilities therefor afforded by nature.

Among the streams which, taking rise in the eastern gorges of the Rocky
Mountains, run into the South Platte, the most considerable has somehow
acquired the French name of Cache la Poudre. It heads in and about
Long's Peak, and, after emerging from the mountains, runs some 20 to 25
miles nearly due east, with a descent in that distance of about 100
feet. Its waters are very low in Autumn and Winter, and highest in May,
June and July, from the melting of snow and ice on the lofty mountains
which feed it. Like all the streams of this region, it is broad and
shallow, with its bed but three to four feet below the plains on either

Greeley, the nucleus of Union Colony, is located at the crossing of the
Cache la Poudre by the Denver-Pacific Railroad, about midway of its
course from the Kansas Pacific at Denver northward to the Union Pacific
at Cheyenne. Here a village of some 400 to 500 houses has suddenly grown
up during the past Summer.

The first irrigating canal of Union Colony leaves the Cache la Poudre
six or eight miles above Greeley, on the south side, and is carried
gradually further and further from the stream until it is fully a mile
distant at the village, whence it is continued to the Platte. Branches
or ditches lead thence northward, conveying rills through the streets
of the village, the gardens or plats of its inhabitants, and the public
square, or plaza, which is designed to be its chief ornament. Other
branches lead to the farms and five-acre allotments whereby the village
is surrounded; as still others will do in time to all the land between
the canal and the river. In due time, another canal will be taken out
from a point further up the stream, and will irrigate the lands of the
colony lying south of the present canal, and which are meantime devoted
to pasturage in common.

Taking the water out of the river is here a very simple matter. At the
head of an island, a rude dam of brush and stones and earth is thrown
across the bed of the stream, so as to raise the surface two or three
feet when the water is lowest, and very much less when it is highest.
Thus deflected, a portion of the water flows easily into the canal.

A very much larger and longer canal, leaving the Cache la Poudre close
to the mountains, and gradually increasing its distance from that stream
to four or five miles, is now in progress by sections, and is to be
completed this Winter. Its length will be thirty miles, and it will
irrigate, when the necessary sub-canals shall have been constructed, not
less than 40,000 acres. But it may be ten years before all this work is
completed or even required. The lands most easily watered from the main
canal will be first brought into cultivation; the sub-canals will be dug
as they shall be wanted.

At first, members of the Colony arriving at its location, hesitated to
take farm allotments and build upon them, from distrust of the
capacities of the soil. They saw nothing of value growing upon it; the
little grass found upon it was short, thin, and brown. It was not black,
like the prairies and bottoms of Illinois and Kansas, but of a light
yellow snuff-color, and deemed sterile by many. But a few took hold, and
planted and sowed resolutely; and, though it was too late in the season
for most grains, the results were most satisfactory. Wheat sown in June
produced 30 bushels to the acre; Oats did as well; while Potatoes,
Beets, Turnips, Squashes, Cabbages, etc., yielded bounteously; Tomatoes
did likewise, but the plants were obtained from Denver. Little was done
with Indian Corn, but that little turned out well, though I judge that
the Summer nights are too cold here to justify sanguine expectations of
a Corn-crop--the altitude being 5,000 feet above the sea, with
snow-covered mountains always visible in the west. For other Grains, and
for all Vegetables and Grasses, I believe there is no better soil in the

To many, the cost of Irrigation would seem so much added to the expense
of cultivating without irrigation; but this is a mistake. Here is land
entirely free from stump, or stick, or stone, which may easily and
surely be plowed or seeded in March or April, and which will produce
great crops of nearly every grain, grass or vegetable, with a very
moderate outlay of labor to subdue and till it. The farmer need not
lose three days per annum by rains in the growing season, and need not
fear storm or shower when he seeks to harvest his grass or grain.
Nothing like ague or any malarious disease exhausts his vitality or
paralyzes his strength. I saw men breaking up for the first time tracts
which had received no water, using but a single span of horses as team;
whereas, breaking up in the Prairie States involves a much larger outlay
of power. The advantage of early sowing is very great; that of a long
planting season hardly less so. I believe a farmer in this colony may
keep his plow running through October, November, and a good portion of
December; start it again by the 1st of March, and commence seeding with
Wheat, Oats, and Barley, and keep seeding, including planting and
gardening, until the first of June, which is soon enough to plant
potatoes for Winter use. Thenceforth, he may keep the weeds out of his
Corn, Roots, and Vegetables, for six Weeks or two months; and, as every
day is a bright working-day, he can get on much faster than he could if
liable to frequent interruptions by rains. I estimate the cost of
bringing water to each farm at $5 per acre, and that of leading it about
in sub-ditches, so that it shall be available and applicable on every
acre of that farm, at somewhat less; but let us suppose that the first
cost of having water everywhere and always at command is $10 per acre,
and that it will cost thereafter $1 per acre to apply it, I maintain
that it is richly worth having, and that nearly every farm product can
be grown cheaper by its help than on lands where irrigation is presumed
unnecessary. There are not many acres laid down to grass in New-England,
whether for hay or pasture, that would not have justified an outlay of
$10 per acre to secure their thorough irrigation simply for this year



The great empires of antiquity were doomed to certain decay and
dissolution by a radical vice inherent in their political and social
constitution. Power rapidly built up a great capital, whereto population
was attracted from every quarter; and that capital became a focus of
luxury and consumption. Grain, Meat, and Vegetables--the fat of the land
and the spoils of the sea--were constantly absorbed by it in enormous
quantities; while nothing, or, at best, very little, was returned
therefrom to the continually exhausted and impoverished soil. Thus, a
few ages, or at most a few centuries, sufficed to divest a vast
surrounding district, first, of its fertility, ultimately of its
capacity for production. And so Nineveh, Thebes, Babylon, successively
ceased to be capitals, and became ruins amid deserts. Rome impoverished
Italy south of the Apennines; then Sicily; and, at last, Egypt: her
sceptre finally departing, because her millions could no longer be fed
without dispersion.

That some means must be devised whereby to return to the soil those
elements which the removal of crop after crop inevitably exhausts, is a
truth which has but recently begun to be clearly understood. Unluckily,
the difficulty of such restoration is seriously augmented by the fact
that cities, and all considerable aggregations of human beings, tend
strongly in our day to locations by the sea-side, in valleys, and by the
margins of rivers. Anciently, cities and villages were often built on
hill-tops, or at considerable elevations, because foes could be excluded
or repelled from such locations more surely, and with smaller force,
than elsewhere. From such elevations, it need not have been difficult to
diffuse, by means of water, all that could be gladly spared which would
aid to fertilize the adjacent farms and gardens. A kindred distribution
of the exuviæ of our modern cities is a far more difficult and costly
undertaking, and involves bold and skillful engineering.

Yet the problem, though difficult, must be solved, or our great cities
will be destroyed by their own physical impurities. The growth and
expansion of cities, throughout the present century, have been wholly
beyond precedent; and thus the difficulty of making a satisfactory
disposition of their offal has been fearfully augmented. The sewerage of
our streets and houses modifies the problem, but does not solve it.
Desolating epidemics, like the Plague, Yellow Fever, and the Cholera,
will often visit our great cities, and decimate their people, unless
means can be found to cleanse them wholly and incessantly of whatever
tends to pollute and render noisome their atmosphere.

SEWAGE is the term used in England to designate water which,
having been slightly impregnated with the feculence and ordure of a city
or village, is diffused over a farm or farms adjacent, in order to
impart at once fertility and moisture to its soil. To secure an equable
and thorough dissemination of Sewage, it is essential that the land to
which it is applied, if not originally level or nearly so, shall be
brought into such condition that the impregnated water may be applied to
its entire surface, and shall thence settle into, moisten, and
fertilize, each cubic inch of the soil. This involves a very
considerable initial outlay; but the luxuriance of the crops unfailingly
produced, under the influence of this vivifying irrigation, abundantly
justifies and rewards that outlay.

As yet, the application of Sewage is in its infancy; since the perfect
and total conversion of all that a great city excretes into the most
available food for plants, requires not only immense mains and
reservoirs, with a costly network of distributing dykes or ditches, but
novel appliances in engineering, and a large investment of time as well
as money. Years must yet elapse before all the excretions of a great
city like London or New-York can thus be transmuted into the means of
fertilizing whole counties in their vicinity. But the work is already
well begun, and another generation will see it all but completed.
Meantime, many smaller cities, more eligibly located for the purpose,
are already enriching by their Sewage the rural districts adjacent,
which they had previously tended strongly to impoverish. Edinburgh, the
capital of Scotland, is among them. The little village of Romford,
England, is one of those which have recently been made to contribute by
Sewage to this beneficent end; and a visit of inspection paid to it, on
the 15th of October last, by the London Board of Works, elicited
accounts of the process and its results, in the London journals, which
afforded hints for and incitement to similar undertakings in this and
other countries--undertakings which may be postponed, but the only
question is one of time. _The Daily News_ of Oct. 17th, says:

"Breton's Farm consists of 121 acres of light and poor gravelly soil;
and it now receives the whole available sewage of the town of
Romford--that is, of about 7,000 persons. This is conveyed to the land
by an iron pipe of 18 inches in diameter, which is laid under ground,
and discharges its contents into an open tank. From this tank, the
sewage is pumped to a height of 20 feet, and is then distributed over
the land by iron or concrete troughs, or 'carriers,' fitted with sluices
and taps, so that the amount of sewage applied to any given portion of
the field can be regulated with the greatest facility and nicety. To
insure the regular and even flow of the sewage when discharged from the
carriers, it was necessary to lay out the land with mathematical
accuracy; and it has been leveled and formed by the theodolite into
rectilinear beds of uniform width of thirty feet, slightly inclining
from the centres, along which the sewage is applied. The carriers or
open troughs, by which the sewage is conveyed, run along the top of each
series of these beds or strikes; and at the bottom there is in every
case a good road, by means of which free access is provided for a horse
and cart, or for the steam plow--the use of which is in
contemplation--to every bed and crop. These arrangements--the carrying
out of which involved the removal of six hundred trees and a great
length of heavy fences, the filling up of a number of ditches and no
less than nine ponds, as well as the complete underdraining of the whole
farm--were mainly effected last year; but it was not until the middle of
April, 1870, that Mr. Hope received any of this sewage from the town of
Romford, and not until the following month that he obtained both the day
and night supply. Satisfactory, therefore, as have been the results of
the present season's operations, they have been obtained under
disadvantageous circumstances, and cannot be regarded as affording
complete evidence of the benefits which may be derived from the
application of sewage to even a poor and thin soil, which had already
ruined more than one of those who had attempted to cultivate it. To
mention only one drawback which arose from the lateness of the period at
which the sewage was first received, Mr. Hope had not the advantage of
being able to apply it to his seed-beds: and thus many, if not all his
plants were not ready for setting out so early as they would be in a
future year, and some of the crops have suffered in consequence--that is
to say, have suffered in a comparative sense. Speaking positively, they
have in all instances been much larger, not only than any that could
have been grown upon the same land without the use of sewage, but than
any which have been raised from much superior land in the immediate
neighborhood. The crops which have been or are being raised on different
parts of the firm, are of diverse character; but, with all, the method
of cultivation adopted has been attended with almost equal success.
Italian rye-grass, beans, peas, mangolds, carrots, broccoli, cabbages,
savoys, beet-root, Batavia yams, Jersey cabbages, and Indian corn, have
all grown with wonderful rapidity and yielded abundant harvests under
the stimulating and nourishing influence of the Romford sewage. The
visitors of Saturday last, as they tramped over the farm under the
guidance of its energetic proprietor, had an opportunity of witnessing
the abundance and excellence of many of these crops. Even where the
mangolds, from being planted late, had not attained any extraordinary
size, it was noticeable that the plants were especially vigorous, and
that there was not a vacant space in any of the rows. All the plants
which had been placed in the ground had thriven, and would give a good
return. Where this crop had been specially treated with a view to
forthcoming shows, the roots had attained an enormous size, and, like
some of the cabbages, had assumed almost gigantic proportions. The
carrots were very fine and well-grown, and the heads of the Walcheren
broccoli were as white, and firm, and crispy, as the finest
cauliflowers; while the savoys, of unusual size and weight, were as
round and hard as cannon balls; and some of the drumhead cabbages,
although equally distinguished for closeness and firmness, were large
enough in the heart to hold a good-sized child, and might, as was
suggested upon the ground, very well be introduced into some pantomimic
scene representing the kingdom of Brobdingnag. The Indian corn had
reached the respectable height of some eight feet, and, with few
exceptions, each stalk carried a good-sized and well-filled cob or ear.
These, unless we should have another spell of exceptionally hot weather,
will not ripen; but in their green state they are readily eaten by
horses and cattle, and prove excellent fodder.

In the course of their peregrinations, Mr. Hope's guests of course paid
a visit to the tank in which the sewage is received before it is pumped
on the land. We need hardly say that the appearance of this miniature
lake of nastiness was anything but agreeable; but its odor was by no
means overpowering, nor, indeed, very offensive. The rill of bright,
clear water which flowed in at one corner, and some of which was handed
about in tumblers, looking as pure as the limpid stream which flows from
the most effective filters that are to be seen in the windows of London
dealers, had only a short time before flowed out of this hideous
reservoir in a very different state. We had met it in the "carriers"
flowing along in a dark, inky stream, not smelling much, but covered
with an ugly gray froth which reminded one of some of the most
disagreeable details in the manufacture of sugar and rum, or suggested
the idea that it had been used for a very foul wash indeed. With these
reminiscences fresh in one's memory, it required some courage to comply
with the pressing invitations to taste this 'effluent water.' There
were, however, many of the party who braved the attempt; and, by all who
tasted it, the water was pronounced to be destitute of any except a
slightly mineral flavor. In dry weather, this effluent water, which has
passed through the land and been collected by the drains, after mixing
with the sewage, is again pumped over the fields; in wet weather, it can
be turned into the brook which is dignified with the name of the river
Rom. * * * We have omitted to mention that the rent paid by Mr. Hope is
£3 per acre, and the cost of the sewage (at 2s. per head) £6 more."

--I think few thoughtful readers will doubt that here is the germ of a
great movement in advance for the Agriculture of all old and densely
peopled communities, and that our youngest cities and manufacturing
villages may wisely consider it deeply, with a view to its ultimate if
not early imitation. That we are not prepared to incur the inevitable
expense of a thorough system of sewerage with reference to the
application to the soil of all the fertilizing elements that a city
would gladly spare, by no means proves that we should not consider and
plan with a view to the ultimate creation and utilization of Sewage.



I have thus far considered Irrigation with special reference to those
limited, yet very considerable districts, which are traversed or
bordered by living streams, and, having a level or slightly rolling
surface, present obvious facilities for and incitements to the
operation. Such are the valleys of the Platte, and of nearly or quite
all its affluents after they leave the Rocky Mountains; such is the
valley of the upper Arkansas; such the valleys of the Smoky Hill and the
Republican, so far down as Irrigation may be considered necessary.
Irrigation on all these seems to me inevitable, and certain to be
speedily, though capriciously, effected.

I believe a dam across either fork of the Platte, at any favorable
point above their junction, raising the surface of the stream six feet,
at a cost not exceeding $10,000, would suffice to irrigate completely
not less than fifty square miles of the valley below it, while serving
at the same time to furnish power for mills and factories to a very
considerable extent; for the need of Irrigation is not incessant, but
generally confined to two or three months per annum, and all of the
volume of the stream not needed for Irrigation could be utilized as
power. Thus the valleys of the few constant water-courses of the Plains
may come at an early day to employ and subsist a dense and energetic
population, engaged in the successful prosecution alike of agriculture
and manufactures, while belts, groves, and forests, of choice, luxuriant
timber, will diversify and embellish regions now bare of trees, and but
thinly covered with dead herbage from June until the following April.

But, when we rise above the bluffs, and look off across the blank, bleak
areas where no living water exists, the problem becomes more difficult,
and its solution will doubtless be much longer postponed. To a stranger,
these bleak uplands seem sterile; and, though such is not generally the
fact, the presumption will repel experiments which involve a large
initial outlay. The railroad companies, which now own large tracts of
these lands, will be obliged either to demonstrate their value, or to
incite individuals and colonists to do it by liberal concessions. As the
case stands to-day, most of these lands, which would have been dear at
five cents per acre before the roads were built, could not be sold at
any price to actual settlers, even with the railroad in plain sight,
because of the dearth of fuel and timber, and because also the means of
rendering them fruitful and their cultivation profitable are out of
reach of the ordinary pioneer. Hence, so long as the valleys of the
living streams proffer such obvious invitations to settlement and
tillage, by the aid of Irrigation, I judge that the higher and dryer
plains will mainly be left to the half-savage herdsmen who rear cattle
and sheep without feeding and sheltering them, by giving them the range
of a quarter-section to each bullock, and submitting to the loss of a
hundred head or so after each great and cold snow-storm, as an
unavoidable dispensation of Providence.

But in process of time even the wild herdsmen will be softened into or
replaced by regular farmers, plowing and seeding for vegetables and
small grains, sheltering their habitations with trees, and sending their
children to school. This change involves Irrigation; and the following
are among the ways in which it will be effected:

The Plains are nowhere absolutely flat (as I presume the "desert" of
Sahara is not), but diversified by slopes, and swells, and gentle ridges
or divides, affording abundant facilities for the distribution of water.
A well, sunk on the crest of one of these divides, will be filled with
living water at a depth ranging from 50 to 100 feet. A windmill of
modest dimensions placed over this well will be rarely stopped for want
of impelling power: Wind being, next to space, the thing most abundant
on the Plains. A reservoir or pond covering three or four acres may be
made adjacent to the well at a small cost of labor, by excavating
slightly and using the earth to form an embankment on the lower side.
The windmill, left alone, will fill the reservoir during the windy
Winter and Spring months with water soon warmed in the sun, and ready to
be drawn off as wanted throughout the thirsty season of vegetable growth
and maturity. Carefully saved, the product of one well will serve to
moisten and vivify a good many acres of grass or tillage.

Such is the retail plan applicable to the wants of solitary farmers; but
I hope to see it supplemented and invigorated by the extensive
introduction of Artesian wells, whereof two, by way of experiment, are
now in progress at Denver and Kit Carson respectively.

I need not here describe the Artesian well, farther than to say that it
is made by boring to a depth ranging from 700 to more than a 1000 feet,
tubing regularly from the top downward until a stream is reached which
will rise to and above the surface, flowing over the top of the tube in
a stream often as large as an average stove-pipe. Such a well, after
supplying a settlement or modest village with water, may be made to fill
a reservoir that will sufficiently irrigate a thousand cultivated acres.
Its water will usually be warmer than though obtained from near the
surface, and hence better adapted to Irrigation.

Of course, the Artesian well is costly, and will not soon be constructed
for uses purely agricultural; but the railroads traversing the Plains
and the Great Basin will sometimes be compelled to resort to one without
having use for a twentieth part of the water they thus entice from the
bowels of the earth; and that which they cannot use they will be glad to
sell for a moderate price, thus creating oases of verdure and bounteous
production. The palpable interest of railroads in dotting their long
lines of desolation with such cheering contrasts of field and meadow and
waving trees, render nowise doubtful their hearty coöperation with any
enterprising pioneer who shall bring the requisite capital, energy,
knowledge, and faith, to the prosecution of the work.

These are but hasty suggestions of methods which will doubtless be
multiplied, varied, and improved upon, in the light of future experience
and study. And when the very best and most effective methods of subduing
the Plains to the uses of civilized man shall have been discovered and
adopted, there will still remain vast areas as free commons for the
herdsmen and sporting-grounds for the hunter of the Elk and the
Antelope, after the Buffalo shall have utterly disappeared.

I do not doubt the assertion of the plainsmen that rain increases as
settlements are multiplied. Crossing the Plains in 1859, I noted
indications that timber had formerly abounded where none now grows; and
I presume that, as young trees are multiplied in the wake of
civilization, finally thickening into clumps of timber and beginning a
forest, more rain will fall, and the extension of woodlands become
comparatively easy. But, relatively to the country eastward of the
Missouri, the Plains will always be arid and thirsty, with a pure,
bracing atmosphere that will form a chief attraction to thousands
suffering from or threatened with pulmonary afflictions. A million of
square miles, whereon is found no single swamp or bog, and not one lake
that withstands the drouth of Summer, can never have a moist climate,
and never fail to realize the need of Irrigation.

The Plains will in time give lessons, which even the well-watered and
verdurous East may read with profit. Such level and thirsty clays as
largely border Lake Champlain, for example, traversed by streams from
mountain ranges on either hand, will not always be owned and cultivated
by men insensible to the profit of Irrigation. Nor will such rich
valleys as those of the Connecticut, the Kennebec, the Susquehanna, be
left to suffer year after year from drouth, while the water which should
refresh them runs idly and uselessly by. Agriculture repels innovation,
and loves the beaten track; but such lessons as New-England has received
in the great drouth of 1870 will not always be given and endured in



The more I consider the present state of our Agriculture, the more
emphatic is my discontent with the farmer's present sources and command
of power. The subjugation and tillage of a farm, like the running of a
factory or furnace, involves a continual use of Power; but the
manufacturer obtains his from sources which supply it cheaply and in
great abundance, while the farmer has been content with an inferior
article, in limited supply, at a far heavier cost. Yet the stream which
turns the factory's wheels and sets all its machinery in motion
traverses or skirts many farms as well, and, if properly harnessed, is
just as ready to speed the plow as to impel the shuttles of a
woolen-mill, or revolve the cylinders of a calico-printery. Nature is
impartially kind to all her children; but some of them know how to
profit by her good-will far more than others. No doubt, we all have much
yet to learn, and our grandchildren will marvel at the proofs of
stupidity evinced in our highest achievements; but I am not mistaken in
asserting that, as yet, the farmers' control of Nature's free gifts of
power is very far inferior to that of nearly every other class of

I have been having much plowing done this Fall--in my orchards, for what
I presume to be the good of the trees; on my drained swamp, because it
is not yet fully subdued and sweetened, and I judge that the Winter's
freezing and thawing will aid to bring it into condition. And then my
swamp lies so low and absolutely flat that the thaws and rains of Spring
render plowing it in season for Oats, or any other crop that requires
early seeding, a matter of doubt and difficulty. All the land I now
cultivate, or seek to cultivate, has already been well plowed more than
once; no stump or stone impedes progress in the tracts I have plowed
this Fall; yet a good plow, drawn by two strong yoke of oxen, rarely
breaks up half an acre per day; and I estimate two acres per week about
what has been averaged, at a cost of $18 for the plowman and driver;
offsetting the oxen's labor against the work done by the men at the barn
and elsewhere apart from plowing. In other words: I am confident that my
plowing has cost me, from first to last, at least, $10 per acre, and
would have cost still more if it had been done as thoroughly as it
ought. I am quite aware that this is high--that sandy soils and dry
loams are plowed much cheaper; and that farmers who plow wall (with whom
I do not rank those who scratch the earth to a depth of four or five
inches) do it at a much lower rate. Still, I estimate the average cost
in this country of plowing land twelve inches deep at $5 per acre; and
I am confident that it does not cost one cent less.

Nor is cost the only discouragement. There is not half so much nor so
thorough plowing among us, especially in the Fall; as there should be.
The soil is, for a good part of the time, too dry or too wet; the
weather is inclement, or the ground is frozen: so the plow must stand
still. At length, the signs are auspicious; the ground is in just the
right condition; and we would gladly plow ten, twenty, fifty acres
during the brief period wherein it remains so; but this is impossible.
Others want to improve the opportunity as well as we; extra teams are
rarely to be had at any price; and our own slow-moving oxen refuse to be
hurried. Standing half a mile off, you can see them move; if your
eye-sight is keen, and you have some stationary object interposed
whereby to take an observation; but it is as much as ever. If your soil
is such that you can use horses, you get on, of course, much faster; but
all that you gain in breadth you are apt to lose in depth. There may be
spans that will take the plow right along though you sink it to the
beam; but they are sure to be slow travelers. I never knew a span that
would plow an acre per day as I think it should be plowed; though, if
your only object be to get over as much ground as possible, you may
afflict and titillate two acres, or as much more as you please.

Now, I have before me a letter to _The Times_ (London) by Mr. William
Smith, of Woolston, Bucks, who states that he has just harvested his
fifteenth annual crop cultivated by steam-power, and has prepared his
land for the sixteenth; and he gives details, showing that he breaks up
and ridges heavy clay soils at the rate of six acres per day, and plows
lands already in tillage at the rate of fully nine acres per day. He
gives the total cost, (including wear and tear,) of breaking up a foot
deep and ridging 65 acres in September and October in this year, 1870,
at £20 _6s. 6d._ or about $100 in gold: call it $112 in our greenbacks,
and still it falls considerably below $2 (greenbacks) per acre. Say that
labor and fuel are twice as dear in this country as in England, and this
would make the cost of thoroughly pulverizing by steam-power a heavy
clay soil to a depth of twelve inches less than $4 per acre here. I do
not believe this could be done by animal power at $10 per acre, not
considering the difficulty of getting it thoroughly done at all. Mr.
Smith pertinently says: "Horse-power could not give at any cost such
valuable work as this steam-power ridging and subsoiling is." He tills
166 acres in all, making the cost of steam-plowing his stubble-land _4s.
8-1/2d._ per acre (say $1.30 greenback). And he gives this interesting

"No. 5, light land, 12 acres, was ridge-plowed and subsoiled last year
for beans: that operation left the land, after the bean-crop came off,
in so nice a state, that cultivating once over with horses, at a cost of
_2s._ per acre, was all that was needed this Autumn for wheat next year.
The wheat was drilled four days back."

--Now I am not commending Steam as the best source of power in aid of
Agriculture. I hope we shall be able to do better ere long. I recognize
the enormous waste involved in the movement of an engine, boiler, etc.,
weighing several tons, back and forth across our fields, and apprehend
that it must be difficult to avoid a compression of the soil therefrom.
A stationary engine and boiler at either end of the field, hauling a
gang of plows this way and that by means of ropes and pulleys, must
involve a very heavy outlay for machinery and a considerable cost in its
removal from farm to farm, or even from field to field. Either of these
may be the best device yet perfected; but we are bound to do better in

Precisely how and when the winds which sweep over our fields shall be
employed to pulverize and till the soil, are among the many things I do
not know; but, that the end will yet be achieved, I undoubtingly trust.
I know somewhat--not much--of what has been done and is doing, both in
Europe and America, to extend and diversify the utilization of wind as a
source of power, and to compress and retain it so that the gale which
sweeps over a farm to-night may afford a reserve or fund of power for
its cultivation on the morrow or thereafter. I know a little of what has
been devised and done toward converting and transmitting, through the
medium of compressed air, the power generated by a waterfall--say
Niagara or Minnehaha--so that it may be expended and utilized at a
distance of miles from its source, impelling machinery of all kinds at
half the cost of steam. I know vaguely of what is being done with
Electricity, with an eye to its employment in the production of power,
by means of enginery not a tenth so weighty and cumbrous as that
required for the generation and utilization of Steam, and by means of a
consumption (that is, transformation) of materials not a hundredth part
so bulky and heavy as the water and steam which fill the boilers of our
factories and locomotives. I am no mechanician, and will not even guess
from what source, through what agencies, the new power will be
vouch-safed us which is in time to pulverize our fields to any required
depth with a rapidity, perfection, and economy, not now anticipated by
the great body of our farmers. But my faith in its achievement is
undoubting; and, though I may not live to see it, I predict that there
are readers of this essay who will find the forces abundantly generated
all around us by the spontaneous movement of Wind, Water, and
Electricity--one or more, and probably by all of them--so utilized and
wielded as to lighten immensely the farmer's labor, while quadrupling
its efficiency in producing all by which our Earth ministers to the
sustenance and comfort of man.



Complaint is widely made of a decrease in the relative population of our
rural districts; and not without reason, or, at least, plausibility. I
presume the Census of 1870 will return no more farmers in the State of
New York, and probably some fewer in New England, than were shown by the
Census of 1860. The very considerable augmentation of the number of
their people will be found living wholly in the cities and incorporated
villages. I doubt whether there are more farmers in the State of New
York to-day than there were in 1840, though the total population has
meantime doubled. Many farms have been transformed into country-seats
for city bankers, merchants, and lawyers; others have been consolidated,
so that what were formerly two or three, now constitute but one; and,
though every body says, "Our farms are too large for our capital," "We
run over too much land," etc., etc., yet, I can hear of few farms that
have been, or are expected to be, divided, except into village or city
lots; while the prevalent tendency is still the other way. An
inefficient farmer dies heavily in debt, or is sold out by the sheriff:
his farm is rarely divided between two purchasers, while it is quite
often absorbed into the estate of some thrifty neighbor; and thus small
farmers are selling out and moving westward much oftener than large
ones. Such are the obvious facts: now for some of the reasons:

I. Our State, like New England, was originally all but covered by a
heavy growth of forest. The removal of this timber involved very much
hard work, most of which has been done in this century, and much of it
by the present generation. When I first traversed Chautauqua County,
forty-three years ago, from two-thirds to three-fourths of her acres
must have been still covered with the primeval forest--a tall, heavy
growth of Beech, Maple, Hemlock, White Pine, etc., which yielded very
slowly to the efforts of the average chopper. Many a pioneer gave half
his working hours for twenty years to the clearing off of Timber,
Fencing, cutting out roads, etc., and had not sixty acres in arable
condition at the last. Outside of the villages, the population of that
county was probably as great in 1830 as it is to-day, though the annual
production of her tillage was not half what it now is. Her farms are now
made; her remaining woodlands are worth about as much per acre as her
tillage; there is now comparatively little timber-cutting, or
land-clearing; and two-thirds of the pioneers, or their sons who
inherited their farms, have sold out, or been sold out, and pushed
further westward. Meantime, Grazing and Dairying have extensively
supplanted Grain-growing; and farmers who found more work than they
could do on 60 or 80 acres, now manage 160 to 320 acres with ease. I do
not say that they ought not to farm better; I only state the facts that
they thrive by this dairy-farming, and are not exhausting their lands.
And what is true of Chautauqua is measurably true of half the rural
Counties in our State.

II. Formerly, Wood was the only fuel known to our farmers, while immense
quantities of it were burned in our cities, at the salt-works, etc. At
present, wood is scarcely used for fuel, except as kindling, in any of
our cities, villages, or manufactories, while the consumption of Coal by
our farmers is already very large, and rapidly extending. All this
reduces the demand for labor on our farms and in our forests, while
increasing the corresponding demand in the Coal Mines, and on the
railroads. Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, has doubled her population
within the last twelve or fourteen years; and this at the expense of our
rural districts.

III. Our agricultural implements and machinery grow annually more
effective, and at the same time more costly. The outfit of a good farm
costs five-fold what it did forty years ago. The farmer makes and
secures his Hay far more rapidly and effectively than his father did,
but pays far more for Reapers, Mowers, Rakers, etc.; in other words, he
makes Winter work abridge that of Summer--makes a hundred days' work in
some village or city save thrice as many days' work on his farm. This
enhances his profits, but swells our urban, while it diminishes our
rural population.

IV. Much has been said of the degeneracy and increasing sterility of the
New England Puritan stock. All this is shallow and absurd. There never
before were so many people who proudly traced their origin to a New
England ancestry as now. What is true in the premises is this: The New
England stock is becoming very widely diffused, and is giving place, to
a considerable extent, to other elements in its original home. Forty
years ago, at least seven-eighths of the inhabitants of Boston were of
New England birth and lineage; now, hardly half are so. The descendants
of the Pilgrims are scattered all over our wide country; while hundreds
of thousands have flowed in from Ireland, from Germany, from Canada, to
fill the places thus relinquished; and, since most of the immigrants,
whether into or out of New England, seek their future homes in the
spring-time of life, their children are mainly born to them after rather
than before their migration. The Yankees have no fewer children than
formerly; but they are now born in Minnesota, in Illinois, in Kansas;
while those born in New England are, for identical reasons, in large
proportion of Irish or of Canadian parentage. There are New England
townships, whereof most of the heads of families are long past the prime
of life; their children having left them for more attractive
localities, and the work on their farms being now done mainly by
foreign-born employés. As a general rule, the boys first wandered off;
leaving the girls only the alternative of following, or dying in
maidenhood. Marked diversities of race, of creed, and of education, have
thus far prevented any considerable intermingling of the Yankee with the
foreign element by marriage. And what is true of New England is
measurably true of our own State.

I have not intended by these observations to combat the assumption that
our people too generally prefer other employments to farming. The
obstacles to effective modern Agriculture--that is, to agriculture
prosecuted by the help of efficient machinery--presented by that
incessant alternation of rock and bog, which characterizes New England
and some parts of New York, I have already noted; and they interpose a
serious, discouraging impediment to agricultural progress. A farm
intersected by two or three swamps and brooks, separated by steep,
rocky, ridges, and dotted over with pebbly knolls, sometimes giving
place to a strip of sterile sand, is far more repulsive to the capable,
intelligent farmer of to-day than it was to his grandfather. So far as
my observation extends, there are more New England farms on which you
cannot, than on which you can, find ten acres in one unbroken area
suitable for planting to Corn, or sowing to Winter Grain. Hence,
Agriculture in the East will always seem petty and irregular when
brought into contrast with the prairie cultivation of the West. Grain
can never be grown here so cheaply nor so abundantly as there; while the
tendency of our pastures to cover themselves over with moss and
worthless shrubs, unless frequently broken up and reseeded, makes even
dairying more difficult and costly in New England and along its western
border than in almost any other part of our country.

Yet, these discouragements are balanced by compensations. Timber springs
luxuriantly and grows rapidly throughout this region; while our harsh,
capricious climate gives to our Hickory, White Oak, White Ash, and other
varieties, qualities unknown to such grown elsewhere, while prized
everywhere. Apples, and most fruits of the Temperate Zone, do well with
us; while our cities and manufacturing villages proffer most capacious
markets. Potatoes and other edible roots produce liberally, and
generally command good prices. Hay sells for $12 to $30 per ton, is
easily grown, and is in eager and increasing demand. We ought to produce
twice our present crop from the same area, and have need of every pound
of it; for neither our cattle nor our sheep are nearly so numerous nor
so well fed as they should be. In short, there is money to be made, by
those who have means and know how, by buying New England farms, tilling
them better, and growing much larger crops than their present occupants
have done. There are many who can do better in the West; but the right
men can still make money by farming this side of the Susquehanna and the
Genesee; and I would gladly incite some thousands more of them to try.



There is fascination for most minds in naked magnitude. The young
colonel, who can hardly handle a brigade effectively in battle, would
like of all things to command a great army; and the tiller of fifty
rugged acres has his ravishing dreams of the delights inherent in a
great Western farm, with its square miles of corn-fields, and its
thousands of cattle. Each of them is partly right and partly wrong.

There are generals capable of commanding 100,000 men, Napoleon says
there were two such in his day--himself and another: and these generally
find the work they are fit for, without special effort or aspiration. So
there are men, each of whom can really farm a township, not merely let a
herd of cattle roam over it unfed and unsheltered, living and dying as
may chance: the owners expecting to grow rich by their natural increase.
This _ranching_ is not properly farming at all, but a very different and
far ruder art. I judge that the farmers who can really till--or even
graze--several thousand acres of land, so as to realize a fair interest
on its value, are even scarcer than the farms so capacious.

But there is such a thing as farming on a large scale; and it is a good
business for those who understand it, and have all the means it
requires. The farmer who annually grows a thousand acres of good Grain,
and takes reasonable care of a thousand head of Cattle, is to be held in
all honor. He will usually grow both his Grain and his Beef cheaper than
a small farmer could do it, and will generally find a good balance on
the right side when he makes up and squares his accounts of a year's
operations. I could recommend no man to run into debt for a great farm,
expecting that farm to work him out of it but he who inherited or has
acquired a large farm, well stocked, and knows how to make it pay, may
well cling to it, and count himself fortunate in its possession. But the
great farmer is already regarded with sufficient envy. Most boys would
gladly be such as he is; the difficulty in the case is that they lack
the energy, persistency, resolution, and self-denial, requisite for its

We will leave large farms and farming to recommend themselves, while we
consider more directly the opportunities and reasonable expectations of
the small farmer.

The impression widely current that money cannot be made on a small
farm--that, in farming, the great fish eat up the little ones--is
deduced from very imperfect data. I have admitted that Grain and Beef
can usually be produced at less cost on great than on small farms,
though the rule is not without exceptions. I only insist that there are
room and hope for the small farmer also, and that large farming can
never absorb nor enable us to dispense with small farms.

I. And first with regard to Fruit. Some Tree-Fruits, as well as Grapes,
are grown on a large scale in California--it is said, with profit. But
nearly all our Pears, Apples, Cherries, Plums, etc., are grown by small
farmers or gardeners, and are not likely to be grown otherwise. All of
them need at particular seasons a personal attention and a vigilance
which can seldom or never be accorded by the owners or renters of large
farms. Should small farms be generally absorbed into larger, our
Fruit-culture would thenceforth steadily decline.

II. The same is even more true of the production of Eggs and the rearing
of Fowls. I have had knowledge of several attempts at producing Eggs and
Fowls on a large scale in this country, but I have no trustworthy
account of a single decided success in such an enterprise. On the
contrary, many attempts to multiply Fowls by thousands have broken down,
just when their success seemed secure. Some contagious disease, some
unforeseen disaster, blasted the sanguine expectations of the
experimenter, and transmuted his gold into dross.

Yet, I judge that there is no industry more capable of indefinite
extension, with fair returns, than Fowl-breeding on a moderate scale.
Eggs and Chickens are in universal demand. They are luxuries appreciated
alike by rich and poor; and they might be doubled in quantity without
materially depressing, the market. Our thronged and fashionable
watering-places are never adequately supplied with them; our cities
habitually take all they can get and look around for more. I believe
that twice the largest number of Chickens ever yet produced in one year
might be reared in 1871, with profit to the breeders. Even if others
should fail, the home market found in each family would prove signally

This industry should especially commend itself to poor widows,
struggling to retain and rear their children in frugal independence. A
widow who, in the neighborhood of a city or of a manufacturing village,
can rent a cottage with half an acre of southward-sloping, sunny land,
which she may fence so tightly as to confine her Hens therein, whenever
their roaming abroad would injure or annoy her neighbors, and who can
incur the expense of constructing thereon a warm, commodious Hen-house,
may almost certainly make the production of Eggs and Fowls a source of
continuous profit. If she can obtain cheaply the refuse of a
slaughter-house for feed, giving with it meal or grain in moderate
quantities, and according that constant, personal, intelligent
supervision, without which Fowl-breeding rarely prospers, she may
reasonably expect it to pay, while affording her an occupation not
subject to the caprices of an employer, and not requiring her to spend
her days away from home.

III. Though the ordinary Market Vegetables may be grown on large farms,
the fact that they seldom are is significant. Cabbages, Peas, Poled
Beans, Tomatoes, and even Potatoes, are mainly grown on small farms, as
they always have been. There are sections wherein no cash market for
Vegetables exists or can be relied on; and here they will continue to be
grown to the extent only of the growers' respective needs; but wherever
the prevalence of manufactures or the neighborhood of a great city gives
reasonable assurance of a market, they are grown at a profit per acre
which is rarely realized from a Grain-crop. No less than $100 per acre
is often, if not generally, achieved by the growers of Cabbage around
this city; and this not from rich, deep garden-mold, but from fair
farming land, underdrained, subsoiled, and liberally manured.

The careless, slipshod farmer may do better--that is, he will not fail
so signally--in Grain cultivation; but there are few more decided or
brilliant successes than have been achieved within the last few years
within sight of this City, and wholly in the tillage of small farms.

I trust I have here said enough to show that there is a legitimate and
promising field for agricultural enterprise and effort, other than that
which contemplates the acquisition and rule of a township, and that,
while farming on a large area is to many attractive and inspiring, there
are scope and incitement also for tillage on a humbler scale--for
tillage that permits no weed to ripen seed, and no nest of caterpillars
to flourish a month undisturbed--for tillage that achieves large crops
and profits from small areas, and rejoices in that neatness and
perfection of culture attainable only in the management of small farms.



The machinery whereby the farmer of our day converts into cash or other
values that portion of his products which is not consumed in his house
or on his farm, seems to me lamentably imperfect. Let me illustrate my

After three all but fruitless years, we have this year a bountiful
Apple-crop, in this State and (I believe) throughout the North. Our old
orchards being still, for the most part, preserved and in bearing
condition, while a good many young ones, planted ten to twenty years
ago, begin to fruit considerably, we had, throughout the three Fall
months, a superabundance of this homely, wholesome, palatable fruit. It
should have been cheap for the great body of our mechanics and laborers
to provide their families with all the ripe, good Apples that they could
consume without injuring themselves by gluttony. Good Apples should have
been constantly displayed on every workingman's table, to be eaten raw
as a dessert, or baked and eaten with bread and milk for breakfast or
supper. Each provident housewife should now have her tub of applesauce,
her barrel of dried apples, or both, for Winter use; while a dozen
bushels of good keepers should be stored in every cellar, to be drawn
upon from day to day during the next four or five months. In short,
Apples should have been and be, from last August to next May, as common
as bread and potatoes, and should have been and be as freely eaten in
every household and by every fireside.

How nearly have we realized this?

I will not guess how many millions of bushels have rotted under the
trees that bore them, been eaten by animals to little or no profit, or
turned into cider that did not sell for so much as it cost, counting the
Apples of no value. Living immediately on a railroad that rims into this
City, wherefrom my place is 35 miles distant, I should be able to do
better with Apples than most growers; and yet I judge that half my
Apples were of no use to me. Many of them sold in this City for $1 per
barrel, including the cask, which cost me 40 cents; and, when you have
added the cost of transportation, you can guess that I had no surplus,
after paying men $1.50 per day for picking and barreling them. I sold
all I could to vinegar-makers at fifty cents per bushel for
cider-apples--the casks being returned. But they could not take all I
wished to sell them, there being so many sellers pressing to get rid of
their windfalls before they rotted on their hands that even this market
was glutted. That it was much worse for the farmer a dozen miles from a
railroad and a hundred from the nearest city, none can doubt. I have
heard that, in parts of Connecticut, cider was sold for fifty cents per
barrel to whoever would furnish casks, and that their size was hardly
considered. Manifestly, this left nothing for the apples.

If Apples could have been daily supplied to our poorer citizens in such
quantities as they could conveniently take, at from fifty to
seventy-five cents per bushel, according to quality and comeliness, I am
confident that this City and its suburbs would have taken Two or Three
Millions of bushels more than they have done; and the same is true of
other cities. But the poor rarely buy a barrel of Apples at once; and
they have been required to pay as much for half a peck as I could get
for a bushel just like them. In other words: the hucksters and middlemen
set so high a price on their respective services in dividing up a barrel
of Apples and conveying them from the rural producer to the urban
consumer that a large portion of the farmer's apples must rot on his
hands or be sold by him for less than the cost of harvesting, while the
poor of the cities find them too dear to be freely eaten.

Nor are Apples singular in this respect. I would like to grow a thousand
bushels of English (round) and French or Swede Turnips per annum if I
could be sure of getting $1 per barrel for them delivered at the
railroad. If the poor of this City could buy such Turnips throughout
their season by the half peck at the rate of $2 per barrel, I believe
they would buy and eat many more than they do. But they are usually
asked twenty-five cents per half peck, which is at the rate of $5 per
barrel; and at this rate they hold them too dear for every-day use. So
the Turnips are not grown, or the cattle are invited to clear them off
before they rot and become worthless and nuisance.

Quite often, a green youth undertakes to get rich by farming near some
great city. He has heard and believes that Cabbages bring from $5 to $8
and even $10 per hundred, Squashes from $10 to $25 per hundred,
Watermelons from $20 to $50, and so on. He has made his calculations on
this basis, and sanguinely expects to make money rapidly. But his
products, in the first place, fall short of his estimates; they are not
ready for market so soon as he expected they would be; and, when at
length they are ready, every one else seems to have rushed in ahead of
him. The market is glutted; no one seems to want his "truck" at any
figure; he sells it for a song, and quits farming disgusted and
bankrupt. May be, his stuff would have sold much better next week or
the week after; but he could not afford to bring it to market and take
it back day after day, on the chance that the demand for it would
improve by-and-by. I judge that more young men have on this account
turned their backs on farming, after a brief trial, than on any other.
They might have borne up against the shortness of their crops, hoping
for better luck next time; but the necessity for selling them for a
price that would not have reimbursed their cost, had they been ever so
luxuriant, utterly disheartens and alienates them.

I preach no crusade against hucksters and middlemen. I hold them, in the
actual state of things, benefactors to both producers and consumers. In
so far as they deal honestly and meet promptly their obligations, they
deserve commendation rather than reproach. What I urge is, that more
economical and efficient machinery of exchange and distribution ought to
be devised and set at work--machinery that would do all that is required
at a moderate, reasonable cost.

I would like to see one of our solvent, well-managed Railroads advertise
that it would henceforth buy at any of its stations all the farmers'
produce that might be offered, and pay the highest prices that the state
of the markets would justify. Let its agents purchase whatever came
along--a basket of eggs, a coop of chickens, a barrel of apples, a sack
of beans, a pail of currants--anything that could be sold in the city to
which it runs, and which would conduce to human sustenance or comfort.
Its object should be Freight--the rapid and vast increase of its
transportations, not extra profit on the articles transported. But let
its agents be ready to buy at fair prices whatever was offered, paying
cash down, and pushing everything purchased directly into market, so as
to have the money back to buy more with directly. The Railroad Company,
thus owning nearly everything edible it brought into market, would buy
and sell at uniform prices, and not bid against itself, as a crowd of
hucksters and middlemen will often do. I am confident that a Railroad
that would inaugurate this system on a right basis, saying to every
farmer living near it, "Grow whatever your soil is best adapted to, and
bring it to our station: there, you shall have cash down for it, at the
highest price we can afford to give," would rapidly double and quadruple
its freights, and would thus build up a business which has no parallel
under the present system.

It is urged, in opposition to this proposal, that a Railroad so managed
would monopolize markets, and deal on its own terms with the producer
and consumer. If there were but one railroad entering a great city, and
no other mode of reaching it, this objection would be plausible, but not
in the actual case. Whoever chose would be at liberty to start an
opposition, and to use the railroad or dispense with it as he found



THE dearth of employment in Winter for farm laborers is a great and
growing evil. Thousands, being dismissed from work on the farms in
November, drift away to some city, under a vague, mistaken impression
that there must be work at some rate where so much is being done and so
many require service, and squander their means and damage their morals
in fruitless quest of what is not there to be had. When Spring at length
arrives, they sneak back to the rural districts, ragged, penniless,
debauched, often diseased, and every way deteriorated, by their Winter
plunge. For their sakes not only, but for the sakes also of those who
will employ and those who must work with them hereafter, this drifting
to the cities should be stopped.

In its present magnitude, it is a very modern evil. Far within my
recollection, there was timber to cut and haul to the saw-mill, wood to
cut, draw, and prepare for the year's fuel, with forest-land to be
cleared and fitted for future cultivation, even in New-England. Those
who chose to work with ax or team were seldom idle in Winter. Now, there
is little timber to cut, little land to clear, and coal is rapidly
supplanting wood as fuel. So a larger and larger number of farm laborers
is annually turned off when the ground freezes to live as they may for
the next three or four months.

I recognize the right of the farmer, who has given twelve or more hours
per day to the tillage of his acres and the saving of his crops
throughout the genial months, to take the world more easily in Winter.
He should now have leisure to return visits, to post and balance his
books, and to improve his mind by study and reflection. Having worked
hard when he must, he ought to rest and recuperate when he can. But he
gravely errs who supposes that, the ground being frozen, there is no
longer work to be done on the farm until the ground is fit to plow
again. On the contrary, he who realizes that the farmer is a
manufacturer of food and fibrous substances from raw materials of far
inferior value must see that, so soon as one harvest has been secured,
the cultivator should devote his attention to the collection and
utilization of the elements wherefrom a larger crop may be obtained from
the same acres next season.

And first as to Muck. No one who has not valued and sought it is likely
to know how generally abundant and accessible this material is. I have
found it in inexhaustible supply on the land of a pretty good cultivator
who, after working a fair farm ten years, sold it because (as he
supposed) it was destitute of this basis of extensive fertilization.
"Seek, and ye shall find," implies that those who do not seek will
rarely find; and such is the fact. Where rock abounds, Muck is rarely
wanting. It covers many thousand acres of Jersey sands, where rock is
unknown; but show me a region ridged or ribbed with rock, and I shall
confidently expect to find Muck on it, though none has been known or
supposed to exist there. And he who either has or can buy a bed of Muck
within half a mile of his barn, his sty, his hen-house, may dig and draw
from it all Winter with a moral certainty that it will generously reward
his outlay. Begin as soon after haying as you can spare the time, and
cut an outlet so deep that you may thereafter work dryshod; thenceforth,
dig and pile on the nearest accessible spot of dry ground, to be drawn
away to the barn-yard and out-houses as opportunity presents itself.
But, even though you have done nothing till the ground freezes, do not
say it is now too late, but set to work. You can often team in Winter
where you could not at any other season; and, in digging Muck from a
swamp or bog well frozen over, you are not apt to be troubled with
water. Draw all you can; but dig much more; for no money at lawful
interest pays so well as Muck left to dry and cure for months before you
draw it. I think I do not over-estimate the average value of a cubic
yard of Muck, well cured and mixed with warmer fertilizers before
application to the soil, at one dollar; and I think there are few
farmers in the Old Thirteen States who cannot obtain it for less than

Where Muck is not to be had, I believe the tiller of a sandy or gravelly
farm who can get access to a bed or bank of clay may profitably dig and
draw this, to be used as he would use Muck if he had it, and even for
direct application to the soil. I do not think this method the most
advisable; yet I feel sure that clay spread over a sandy or gravelly
field that has been laid down to grass is worth fifty cents per cubic
yard wherever Hay is worth $12 per tun; but I would wish to apply it not
later than December.

He who has fit places of deposit should draw all his Lime, Plaster, and
other commercial fertilizers, in Winter, so as to be ready for use when
required. Mix your Lime while fresh from the kiln with Muck, at the rate
of a bushel of the former to a cubic yard of the latter, and the Muck
will be ready for use far sooner than it otherwise would be. Be careful
_not_ to mix Lime with animal manures in any case, since it expels
Ammonia, whereas the sulphur of Plaster combines with that volatile
element and fixes it. There are some farmers who do, but twenty times as
many who do not, use Plaster enough about their stables and pig-pens.
They ought to realize that a bad smell implies a waste of Ammonia, which
a farmer, unless very rich, can hardly afford.

Fences should all be scrutinized as Winter goes off, and put into
thorough condition for next season's service.

Fruit-trees should be relieved of all dead or dying branches, all
suckers, and cut back where towering to high, or spreading too wide. It
may be better for the trees to do all pruning in May or June; but the
farmer who defers it to that season is very likely to be hurried into
postponing it to another year--and another.

There is scarcely a forest of second or later growth which would not pay
for thinning and trimming, if well done. That which is out may be turned
to good account as bean-poles, pea-brush, Summer fuel, etc., while that
which is left will grow faster, taller, and more shapely, to reward you
doubly for your pains.

--These are but suggestions. Any farmer can add to or improve upon them
if he will give an hour's thought to the subject. The best laborers can
be hired for a full year at a price not very much exceeding that which
will secure their services for eight or nine months. In the interest
alike of good crops and good morals, I urge every one who can to resolve
that he will henceforth hire by the year, or in some way manage to
employ his laborers in Winter as well as in Summer.



In the foregoing essays, I have set forth, as clearly as I could, the
facts within my knowledge which seem calculated to cast light upon the
farmer's vocation, and the principles or rules of action which they have
suggested to my mind. I have been careful not to throw any false,
delusive halo over this indispensable calling, and by no means to induce
the belief that the farmer's lot is necessarily and uniformly a happy
one. I know that his is not the royal road to rapid acquisition, and
that few men are likely to amass great wealth by quietly tilling the
soil. I know, moreover, that what passes for farming among us is not so
noble, so intellectual, so attractive, a pursuit as it might and should
be--that most farmers might farm better and live to better purpose than
they do. Of all the false teaching, I most condemn that which flatters
farmers as though they were demigods and their calling the grandest and
the happiest ever followed by mortals, when the hearer, unless very
green, must feel that the speaker doesn't believe one word of all be
utters; for, if he did, he would be farming, instead of living by some
profession, and talking as though his auditors did not know wheat from
chaff. I regard the Agriculture of this country as very far below the
standard which, it should ere this have reached: I hold that the great
mass of our cultivators might and should farm better than they do, and
that better farming would render their sons better citizens and better
men. If a single line of this little work should seem calculated to
cajole its readers into self-complacency rather than instruct them, I
beg them to believe that their impression wrongs my purpose.

I am fully aware that others have treated my theme with fuller knowledge
and far greater ability than I brought to its discussion. "Then why not
leave them the field?" Simply because, when all have written who can
elucidate my theme, at least three-fourths of those who ought to study
and ponder it will not have read any treatise whatever upon
Agriculture--will hardly have yet regarded it as a theme whereon books
should be written and read. And, since there may be some who will read
this treatise for its writer's sake--will read it when they could not be
persuaded to do like honor to a more elaborate and erudite work--I have
written in the hope of arousing in some breasts a spirit of inquiry with
regard to Agriculture as an art based on Science--a spirit which, having
been awakened, will not fall again into torpor, but which will lead on
to the perusal and study of profounder and better books.

In the foregoing essays, I have sought to establish the following

1. That _good_ farming is and must ever be a paying business, subject,
like all others, to mischances and pull-backs, and to the general law
that the struggle up from nothing to something is ever an arduous and
almost always a slow process. In the few instances where wealth and
distinction have been swiftly won, they have rarely proved abiding.
There are pursuits wherein success is more envied and dazzling than in
Agriculture; but there is none wherein efficiency and frugality are more
certain to secure comfort and competence.

2. Though the poor man must often go slowly, where wealth may attain
perfection at a bound, and though he may sometimes seem compelled to
till fields not half so amply fertilized as they should be, it is
nevertheless inflexibly true that bounteous crops are grown at a profit,
while half and quarter crops are produced at a loss. A rich man may
afford to grow poor crops, because he can afford to lose by his year's
farming, while the poor man cannot. He ought, therefore, to till no more
acres than he can bring into good condition--to sow no seed, plow no
field, where he is not justified in expecting a good crop. Better five
acres amply fertilized and thoroughly tilled than twenty acres which can
at best make but a meager return, and which a dry or a wet season must
doom to partial if not absolute failure.

3. In choosing a location, the farmer should resolve to choose once for
all. Roaming from State to State, from section to section, is a sad and
far too common mistake. Not merely is it true that "The rolling stone
gathers no moss," but the farmer who wanders from place to place never
acquires that intimate knowledge of soil and climate which is essential
to excellence in his vocation. He cannot read the clouds and learn when
to expect rain, when he may look for days of sunshine, as he could if he
had lived twenty years on the same place. Choose your home in the East,
the South, the Center, the West, if you will (and each section has its
peculiar advantages); but choose once for all, and, having chosen,
regard that choice as final.

4. Our young men are apt to plunge into responsibilities too hastily.
They buy farms while they lack at once experience and means, incur
losses and debts by consequent miscalculations, and drag through life a
weary load, which sours them against their pursuit, when the fault is
entirely their own. No youth should undertake to manage a farm until
after several years of training for that task under the eye of a capable
master of the art of tilling the soil. If he has enjoyed the requisite
advantages on his father's homestead, he may possibly be qualified to
manage a farm at twenty-one; but there are few who might not profitably
wait and learn, in the pay of some successful cultivator, for several
years longer; while I cannot recall an instance of a youth rushing out
of school or a city counting-house to show old farmers how their work
ought to be done, that did not result in disaster. It is very well to
know what Science teaches with regard to farming; but no man was ever a
thoroughly good farmer who had not spent some years in actual contact
with the soil.

5. While every one says of his neighbor, "He farms too much land," the
greed of acquisition does not seem at all chastened. Men stagger under
loads of debt to-day, who might relieve themselves by selling off so
much of their land as they cannot profitably use; but every one seems
intent on holding all he can, as if in expectation of a great advance in
its market value. And yet you can buy farms in every old State in the
Union as cheaply per acre as they could have been bought in like
condition sixty years ago; and I doubt their selling higher sixty years
hence than they do now. No doubt, there _are_ lands, in the vicinage of
growing cities or villages, that have greatly advanced in value; but
these are exceptions: and I counsel every young farmer, every poor
farmer, to buy no more land than he can cultivate thoroughly, save such
as he needs for timber. Never fear that there will not be more land for
sale when you shall have the money wherewith to buy it; but shun debt as
you would the plague, and prefer forty acres all your own to a square
mile heavily mortgaged. I never lifted a mill-stone; but I have
undertaken to carry debts, and they are fearfully heavy.

6. I know that most American farms east of the Roanoke and the Wabash
have too many fields and fences, and that the too prevalent custom of
allowing cattle to prowl over meadow, tillage and forest, from September
to May, picking up a precarious and inadequate subsistence by browsing
and foraging at large, is slovenly, unthrifty, and hardly consistent
with the requirements of good neighborhood. It is at best a miseducation
of your cattle into lawless habits. I do not know just where and when
_all_ pasturing becomes wasteful and improvident; but I do know that
pasturing fosters thistles, briers, and every noxious weed, and so is
inconsistent with cleanly and thorough tillage. I know that the same
acres will feed far more stock, and keep them in better condition, if
their food be cut and fed to them, than if they are sent out to gather
it for themselves. I know that the cost of cutting their grass and other
fodder with modern machinery need not greatly exceed that of driving
them to remote pastures in the morning and hunting them up at nightfall.
I know that penning them ten hours of each twenty-four in a filthy yard,
where they have neither food nor drink, is unwise; and I feel confident
that it is already high time, wherever good grass-land is worth $100 per
acre, to limit pasturage to one small field, as near the center of the
farm as may be, wherein shade and good water abound, into which green
rye, clover, timothy, oats, sowed corn, stalks, etc., etc., may
successively be thrown from every side, and where shelter from a cold,
driving storm, is provided; and that, if cows could be milked here and
left through night as well as day, it would be found good economy.

7. I know that most of us are slashing down our trees most
improvidently, and thus compelling our children to buy timber at thrice
the cost at which we might and should have grown it. I know that it is
wasteful to let White Birch, Hemlock, Scrub Oak, Pitch Pine, Dogwood,
etc., start up and grow on lands which might be cheaply sown with the
seeds of Locust, White Oak, Hickory, Sugar Maple, Chestnut, Black
Walnut, and White Pine. I know that no farm in a settled region is so
large that its owner can really afford to surrender a considerable
portion of it to growing indifferent cord-wood when it would as freely
grow choice timber if seeded therefor; and I feel sure that there are
few farms so small that a portion of each might not be profitably
devoted to the growing of valuable trees. I know that the common
presumption that land so devoted will yield no return for a life-time is
wrong--know that, if thickly and properly seeded, it will begin to yield
bean-poles, hoop-poles, etc., the fifth or sixth year from planting, and
thenceforth will yield more and more abundantly forever. I know that
_good_ timber, in any well-peopled region, should not be _cut off_, but
_cut out_--thinned judiciously but moderately and trimmed up, so that it
shall grow tall and run to trunk instead of branches; and I know that
there are all about us millions of acres of rocky crests and
acclivities, steep ravines and sterile sands, that ought to be seeded to
timber forthwith, kept clear of cattle, and devoted to tree-growing

8. I do not know that all lands may be profitably underdrained. Wooded
uplands, I know, could not be. Fields which slope considerably, and so
regularly that water never stagnates upon or near their surface, do very
well without. Light, leachy sands, like those of Long Island, Southern
Jersey, Eastern Maryland, and the Carolinas, seem to do fairly without.
Yet my conviction is strong that _nearly all land which is to be
persistently cultivated will in time be underdrained_. I would urge no
farmer to plunge up to his neck into debt in order to underdrain his
farm. But I _would_ press every one who has no experience on this head
to select his wettest field, or the wettest part of such field, and,
having carefully read and digested Waring's, French's, or some other
approved work on the subject, procure file and proceed next Fall to
drain that field or part of a field thoroughly, taking especial
precautions against back-water, and watch the effect until satisfied
that it will or will not pay to drain further. I think few, have drained
one acre thoroughly, and at no unnecessary cost, without being impelled
by the result to drain more and faster until they had tiled at least
half their respective farms.

9. As to irrigation, I doubt that there is a farm in the United States
where _something_ might not be profitably done forthwith to secure
advantage from the artificial retention and application of water.
Wherever a brook or runnel crosses or skirts a farm, the question--"Can
the water here running uselessly by be retained, and in due season
equably diffused over some portion of this land?"--at once presents
itself. One who has never looked with this now will be astonished at the
facility with which some acres of nearly every farm may be irrigated.
Often, a dam that need not cost $20 will suffice to hold back ten
thousand barrels of water, so that it may be led off along the upper
edge of a slope or glade, falling off just enough to maintain a gentle,
steady current, and so providing for the application of two or three
inches of water to several acres of tillage or grass just when the
exigencies of crop and season most urgently require such irrigation. Any
farmer east of the Hudson can tell where such an application would have
doubled the crop of 1870, and precluded the hard necessity of selling or
killing cattle not easily replaced.

Of course, this is but a rude beginning. In time, we shall dam very
considerable streams mainly to this end, and irrigate hundreds and
thousands of acres from a single pond or reservoir. Wells will be sunk
on plains and gentle swells now comparatively arid and sterile, and wind
or steam employed to raise water into reservoirs whence wide areas of
surrounding or subjacent land will be refreshed at the critical moment,
and thus rendered bounteously productive. On the vast, bleak, treeless
Plains of the wild West, even Artesian wells will be sunk for this
purpose; and the water thus obtained will prove a source of fertility
as well as refreshment, enriching the soil by the minerals which it
holds in solution, and insuring bounteous crops from wide stretches of
now barren and worthless desert. Immigration will yet thickly dot the
great Sahara with oases of verdure and plenty; but it will, long ere
that, have covered the valleys of our Great Basin and those which skirt
the affluents of the savage and desolate Colorado with a beauty and
thrift surpassing the dreams of poets. And yet, its easiest and readiest
triumphs are to be won right here--in the valleys of the Connecticut,
the Hudson, the Susquehanna, and the Potomac.

10. As to Commercial Fertilizers, I think I have been well paid for the
application of Gypsum (Plaster of Paris) to my upland grass at the rate
of one bushel per acre per annum, while my tillage has been supplied
with it by dusting my stables with it after each cleaning, and so
applying it mingled with barn-yard manures. Lime (unslaked) from burned
oyster-shells, costing me from 25 to 30 cents per bushel delivered, I
have applied liberally, and I judge, with profit. Bones, ground, (the
finer the better) I have largely and I think advantageously used; but my
land had been mainly pastured for nearly two centuries before I bought
it, and thus continually drained of Phosphates, yet never replenished:
so my experience does not prove that the farmers of newer lands ought to
buy bones, though I advise them to apply all they can save or pick up at
small cost. Pound them very fine with a beetle or ax-head on a flat
stone, and give them to your fowls: if they refuse a part of them, your
soil will prove less dainty. I am not sure that it pays to buy any
manufactured Phosphate when you can get Raw Bone; though I doubt not
that, for instant effect, the Phosphate is far superior. As to Guano, it
has not paid me; but that may be the fault of careless or unskillful
application. I judge that any one who has to deal with sterile sands
that will not bring Clover, may wisely apply 400 pounds of Guano per
acre, provided he has nothing else that will answer the purpose. After
he has produced one good stand of Clover, I doubt that he can afford to
buy more Guano, unless he can apply it to better purpose than I have yet

I have a strong impression that most farmers can do better at making and
saving fertilizers than by buying them. Lime and Sulphur (Gypsum), if
your soil lacks them, you must buy; but a good farmer who keeps even a
span of horses, three or four cows, as many pigs, and a score of fowls,
can make for $100 fertilizers which I would rather have than two tuns of
Guano, costing him $180 to $200. If he has a patch of bog or a miry pond
on his farm--any place where frogs will live--he can dig thence, in the
dryest time next Fall, two or three hundred loads of Muck, which, having
been left to dry on the nearest high ground till November or later, and
then drawn up and dumped into his barn-yard, pig-pen, and fowl-house,
will be ready to come out next Spring in season for corn-planting, and,
being liberally applied, will do as much for his crop as two tons of
Guano would, and will strengthen his land far more. If he has no Muck,
and no neighbor who can spare it as well as not, let him at midsummer
cut all the weeds growing on and around his farm, and in the Fall gather
all the leaves that can be impounded, using these as litter for his
cattle and beds for his pigs, and he will be agreeably surprised at the
bulk of his heap next Spring.

I am an intense believer in Home Production. We send ten thousand miles
for Guano, and suffer the equally valuable excretions of our cities to
run to waste in rivers and bays, poisoning or driving away the fish, and
filling the air with stench and pestilence. No farmer ever yet
intelligently _tried_ to enrich his land and was defeated by lack of
material. He may not be able to do all he would like to at first; but
persistent effort cannot be baffled.

11. Shallow culture is the most crying defect of our average farming.
Poverty may sometimes excuse it; but the excuse is stretched quite too
far. If a farmer has but a poor span of horses, or a light yoke of thin
steers, he cannot plow land as it should be plowed; but let him double
teams with his neighbor, and plow alternate clays on either farm; or, if
this may not be, let him buy or borrow a sub-soil plow, and go once
around with his surface plow, then hitch on to the sub-soil, and run
another furrow in the bottom of the former. There are a few intervales
of rich, mellow soil, deposited by the inundations of countless ages,
where shallow culture will answer, because the roots of the plants run
freely through fertile earth never yet disturbed by the plow; but these
marked and meagre exceptions do not invalidate the truth that
nine-tenths of our tillage is neither so deep nor so thorough as it
should be. As a rule, the feeding-roots of plants do not run below the
bottom of the furrows, though in some instances they do; and he who
fancies that five or six inches of soil will, under our fervid suns,
with our Summers often rainless for weeks, produce as bounteous and as
sure a crop as twelve to eighteen inches, is impervious to fact or
reason. He might as sensibly maintain that you could draw as long and as
heavily against a deposit in bank of $500 as against one of $1,500.

12. Finally, and as the sum of my convictions, we need more thought,
more study, more intellect, infused into our Agriculture, with less
blind devotion to a routine which, if ever judicious, has long since
ceased to be so. The tillage which a pioneer, fighting single-handed and
all but empty-handed with a dense forest of giant trees, which he can do
no better than to cut down and burn, found indispensable among their
stumps and roots, is not adapted to the altered circumstances of his
grandchildren. If our most energetic farmers would abstract ten hours
each per week from their incessant drudgery, and devote them to reading
and reflection with regard to their noble calling, they would live
longer, live to better purpose, and bequeath a better example, with more
property, to their children.

       *       *       *       *       *

My self-imposed task is done. I undertook to tell What I Know of Farming
through one brief essay for each week in 1870; and, in the face of
multifarious and pressing duties, and in despite of a severe, protracted
illness, the work has been prosecuted to completion. Had I not kept
ahead of it while in health, there were weeks when I must have left it
unaccomplished, as I was too ill to write or even stand.

I close with the avowal of my joyful trust that these essays, slight and
imperfect as they are, will incite thousands of young farmers to feel a
loftier pride in their calling and take a livelier interest in its
improvement, and that many will be induced by them to read abler and
better works on Agriculture and the sciences which minister to its
efficiency and impel its progress toward a perfection which few as yet
have even faintly foreseen.


    the causes of pecuniary failure, 207;
    loss from waste of time, 207;
    the author has found all successful farmers rigid economists of
      time, 208;
    farmers urged to keep a rigid account of how they dispose of their
      time, 208;
    keeping a diary recommended, 208;
    what it should contain, 209;
    accounts with neighbors, 209;
    the farmer should keep an account of the expenses of his farm, and
      the receipts therefrom, 209;
    importance of keeping an account with the several fields and crops,
    complication and uncertainty in account-keeping considered, 210-211;
    the advantage of keeping careful accounts, 211.

  AGRICULTURE. _See_ FARMING: books on practical, referred to, 30.

  ALABAMA, 50.

  ALDER, 53.



  ALLEGHANIES, the, 45, 49, 79, 81, 156.

  ALPS, 75.


  AMERICA, 44, 170.

  AMHERST. N. H., 52.

  AMMONIA, 104, 306.

  AMMONOOSUC, the river, 194.

  ANTELOPE, 278.


  APPLE, the, 53, 118, 129.
    FRUIT-TREES. THE APPLE, chap. xxix, 139;
      fruit-trees form a distinguishing feature of Northern farms and
        holdings, 139;
      unequaled in that respect elsewhere, 140;
      our country north of the Potomac excels, in its supply of
        tree-fruits, all other portions of the earth's surface of equal
        area, 140;
      the Northern States admirably adapted to the apple and kindred
        fruit-trees, 140;
      effects of such adaptability, 140;
      give an orchard the northern slope of a hill where possible, 140;
      the one which blossoms latest, yields, on the average, most fruit,
      storing ice to place under trees, not recommended, 141;
      importance of drainage, 145;
      some reasons for choosing sloping ground for an apple-orchard, 141;
      the soil for such, 142;
      preparation of the soil, 142-3;
      treatment and care of the land devoted to an orchard, 143-4;
    MORE ABOUT APPLE TREES, chap. xxv, 145;
      apple trees are planted too far apart, and allowed to grow too
        tall, 145;
      consequences, 145-6;
      trees should be set diamond fashion, 146;
      pruning should be attended to annually, 146;
      sprouts valueless, 147;
      the demands which apple-trees make on the soil should be supplied,
      apple-trees in the township of Newcastle, Westchester, N. Y., 147;
      causes of their unproductiveness, 147-8;
      caterpillars and their ravages, 148;
      duties of farmers and fruit growers, 149;
      the abundant apple-crop of 1870, 149;
      establishes the capacity of our regions to bear Apples, 149, 191,
        232, 291, 294;
      the apple-crop of 1870, as an illustration of the imperfect means
        of exchanging farm products, 297-8-9;
      loss to consumers and producers, 299-300.

  ARIZONA, 48.

  ARKANSAS, State of, 25, 36;
    the river, 73, 261;
    the upper river, 274.

  ARTESIAN WELLS, 77, 277-8, 316.

  ASHES as fertilizers, 108-9, 127, 128;
    use in preparing for an orchard, 142, 174.

  ATLANTIC, the coast, 156, 178;
    seaboard, 220;
    slope, 76, 157, 213.

  AUSTIN, 46.

  AUSTRALIA, 138, 200, 238.

  AUTUMN, 89, 97, 99, 116, 124, 173, 178, 179, 192, 193, 202, 262.

  BABYLON, 266.



  BARLEY, 245, 265.

  BARN, the use of stone recommended in building a, 216



  BEANS, 210, 271, 296.

  BEECH, 19, 53, 60, 287.

  BEEF, 37, 118, 220, 294.

  BEETS. _see_ ROOTS, also 143, 232, 264, 271.

  BELGIUM, 70, 238.

  BERRIES, 90.

  BIRCH, 60.

  BIRDS--INSECTS, BIRDS, chap. xxii, 129;
    birds our best allies against insects, 129;
    the destruction of birds not the sole cause of insect ravages, 130;
    birds should be protected and kindly treated, 132;
    associations should be formed to do so, 132;
    artificial nests, 133;
    legal measures to protect birds, 133.

  BLACK ASH, 30.

  BLACKBERRIES, 90, 158.




  BOARD OF WORKS (London), 269.

  BOISSIÈRE, E. V, DE, 253-4.

  BONES. _See_ COMMERCIAL FERTILIZERS, also 118, 119, 192, 317.

  BONE-DUST, 174.

  BONES, flour of, 121.

  BONE FLOUR, 167.

  BONES, raw, 317.

  BOSTON, farm near, 15, 289.

  BOTANY, 30.

  BUCKEYE, 260.

  BUCKWHEAT, 21, 189, 191, 210.

  BUFFALO, 278.


  BURLINGTON, N. J., 166.

  BUTTER, 38, 164, 167.

  BRIDGES, 250.

  BRITISH ISLES, 178, 245.

  BROCCOLI, 271.

  CABBAGES, 264, 271, 296, 300.

  CACHE-LA-POUDRE, the river, 82, 262, 263.

  CALIFORNIA, 26, 76, 80, 159, 181, 260.

  CANADA, 48, 165, 289;
    creek, 75.

  CANALS, 105.

  CAROLINAS, the, 166, 315.

  CARROTS. _See_ ROOTS, also 143, 271.

  CARSON, the river, 81, 83.

  CATTLE, 15;
    Pasturing, 19-20;
    Soiling, 20;
    treatment of herds of, in the Mississippi and Missouri Valleys, 20;
    rearing of, referred to, 35, 132, 150, 157, 219, 220, 224, 293.

  CATSKILLS, the, 172.

  CENSUS: the Seventh, 150;
    the Eighth, 150;
    the, of 1870, 286.

  CHAMPLAIN, the, basin, 72;
    lake, 279.


  CHAUTAUQUA Co., N. Y., 287, 288.

  CHEESE, 38, 164, 167.

  CHEMISTRY, 30, 119, 196, 231.

  CHERRIES. _See_ FRUITS, also 129, 139, 294.

  CHESTER CO., Penn., 110.

  CHESTNUT, 54, 55, 60, 135, 136, 215, 314.
    _See also_, TREES.

  CHEYENNE, 262.

  CHICAGO, 164.

  CHICKENS, 295.
    _See_ FOWLS.

  CHLORINE, 114, 235.


  CHOLERA, 268.

  CHURCHES, 250.


  CLIMATES, American, for the finer fruits, 156.

  CLOVER, 120, 153, 167, 318.


  COAL, 109, 288.

  COLONIES, advantage of settling in, 28;
    the course to adopt in organizing one, 28;
    Union Colony, 262;
    its location, 262;
    the City of Greeley, its nucleus, 262;
    irrigation canals of, 262-4;
    fertility of the soil at, 264.

  COLONISTS, English, 171.

  COLORADO, 181, 206, 317;
    river, 46.


  CONNECTICUT, 27, 171, 299;
    river, 194, 279;
    valley of the, 317.

  COMO, lake, 75.


  COMMUNISM: Differs radically from Co-operation, 248.

  CONCLUSIONS, General, SUMMING UP, chap. lli, 308;
    the facts set forth in the essays, 308;
    common misrepresentations, 308-9;
    object of the author in writing these essays, 309;
    the propositions sought to be established therein, 310;
    good farming must ever be a paying business, 310;
    thorough tillage advocated, 310;
    a location should be permanent, 310;
    the too great haste in incurring responsibilities, 311;
    the greed for land, 310;
    common abuses in fencing and cattle-raising, 312-13;
    tree-cutting and tree-planting, 314-15;
    underdraining, 315;
    irrigation, 316;
    commercial fertilizers, 317-8-9;
    shallow culture, 319-20;
    the need for study and inquiry, 320-21;
    concluding remarks, 321.

  CO-OPERATION, reference to, in regard to wild lands, 24;
      Co-operation is the word of hope and cheer for labor, 248;
      its meaning, 248;
      differs radically from communism, 248;
      the difficulties of a young farmer who migrates to Kansas,
        Minnesota or one of the Territories, 248-9;
      the different circumstances consequent on settlement by
        co-operation, 250;
      advantages of co-operation not limited to colonizing distant
        tracts, 250;
      would benefit colored men, 250-1;
      fencing as an illustration of the loss consequent on want of
        co-operation, 251-2;
      how co-operation would remedy it, 252;
      further application of the system, 252-3;
      Mr. E. V. de Boissière's co-operative farming, 254-5.

  CORN, 20, 21, 22
      growing of bread-corn eastward of the Hudson, 37, 43, 67, 68, 81,
        86, 88, 92, 94, 99, 103, 107, 113, 114, 115, 118, 147.
    GRAIN GROWING--EAST AND WEST--chap. xxviii, 162;
      hoeing is of no use to Corn, 162;
      the best and cheapest way to cultivate corn, 162;
      the fields of the Mississippi Valley are the most productive in the
        world, 163;
      the tillage, in some places, seemed susceptible of improvement, 163;
      the West is the granary of the East, 163;
      a change imminent, 163;
      changes since twenty-three years ago when the author visited
        Illinois, 164;
      the course the West will ultimately adopt, 164;
      exhaustion of the soil in New England and Eastern New York, 164;
      in the Genesee Valley, 165;
      Eastern Pennsylvania profits by a provident system of husbandry, 165;
      the States this side of the Delaware will yet have to grow a large
        share of their breadstuffs, 165;
      can it be done with profit now, considering, also, if the East has
        wisely, so largely abandoned grain-growing, 165-9;
      the places not taken into account, 165;
      the "Pine Barrens" of New Jersey selected to illustrate the profits
        of grain-growing in the East, 168;
      their nature, 168;
      estimate of expenses thereon, 167;
      the product anticipated, 167;
      the favorable conditions the cultivator would enjoy, 168;
      the money value of his crop, 168;
      great economy could be achieved in the cost of cultivating, 169;
      conclusions, 169;
      also 177, 191, 192, 193, 210, 228, 238, 242, 246-7, 264, 265,
        271-2, 290.

  COTTON, 107, 200.

  COTTON-GROWERS, Southern, 118.


  CREDIT, buying a farm on, 25.

  CROPS, Fall, 97.

  CURRANTS, 129.

  DAIRYING, 288.


  DELAWARE, the State of, 165;
    the river, 152, 165.

  DENVER, 264, 277;
    Pacific Railroad, the, 262.

    the alleged decrease in the relative population of rural districts,
    no increase since 1859 in the number of farmers in the State of New
      York, 286;
    probable slight decrease in that of New England, 286;
    consolidating farms, 286;
    small farmers are selling out and migrating, 287;
    reasons therefore, 287;
    the changed character of the tillage, 287-8;
    the general use of coal has reduced the demand for labour, 288;
    labour-saving implements, 288-9;
    the supposed degeneracy of the New England Puritan stock, 289;
    the migration from New England, 289-90;
    the assumption that Americans prefer other pursuits to farming, 291;
    the rock and bog of New England form a discouraging impediment to
      agricultural progress, 290;
    compensation therefor, 291.

  DIARY, the keeping of one recommended, 31.

  DICKINSON, Andrew B., 105, 106.

  DISTRIBUTION (of farm products). _See_ EXCHANGE.

  DOCK, 232.

  DOGWOOD, 314.

  DOGS; their depredations on sheep, 203-4.

    DRAINING--MY OWN, chap. x, 62;
      the author's farm, 62;
      situation of the land thereon requiring drainage, 62-3;
      difficulties it presented, 63;
      blunders, 66;
      how repaired, 66;
      condition of the marsh before draining it, 61;
      how success was retarded, 67;
      evidence of success, 67;
      the crops of 1870 on the reclaimed land, 68;
    DRAINING GENERALLY, chap. xi, 69;
      general conclusions from the author's experience, 69;
      extent of land to be drained, 69;
      _all_ swamp lands and nearly all of some other kinds must be
        drained to be well tilled, 69;
      the many uses of underdrains, 69-70;
      no one should run into debt for draining, 70;
      tile and stone drains, 71;
      draining by a Mole Plow, 72;
      general direction, 72-3;
      covered mains recommended, 73;
      the question of labor, 73;
      a case where the rudest surface drains would have changed bog into
        decent meadows, 152;
      the stone drains on the author's farm, 214;
      the author's summing up on, 315.

  DROUTH--habitually shortens our Fall crops, 98;
    A LESSON OF TO-DAY (1870), chap. xxxii, 189;
      the popular view of hot and cold seasons, 189;
      the Summer of 1870, effects of the drouth, 189-190;
      general character of each Summer, 190;
      proof that drouth need not be feared by those who farm prudently,
      the author's observations during a trip through Warren Co., N. Y.,
      results to be attained there by right cultivation, 192;
      the inquiry: how are the people there to obtain fertilizers? 192;
      answered, 193;
      irrigation might be applied profitably, 194.


  EASTERN STATES, pasturing in, 19.

  EASTERN STATES, the, 23, 25-6, 37, 179, 189, 204, 215, 279, 311.


  EGGS, 294-5.

  EGYPT, 164, 167.


  ELK, 278.

  ELM, 59.

  EMERSON, R. W., 44.

  ENGLAND, 70, 89, 164;
    (Western) 170, 178, 268.

  ERIE Co., Pa., 23.

  EUROPE, 35, 74, 156, 163, 170, 171, 178, 180, 219, 238.

    the machinery for disposing of surplus farm products imperfect, 297;
    the abundant apple crop of 1870 as an illustration thereof, 297-8-9;
    apples should have been as common as bread or potatoes, 298;
    the actual facts, 298;
    cause of both the waste and dearness of apples, 299-300;
    consequent loss to producers and consumers, 299-300;
    turnips as a further illustration, 300;
    disappointments of inexperienced farmers, 300-1;
    hucksters and middlemen, 301;
    suggestion to have a railroad purchase and sell farm products, 301-2;
    results to be expected, 302;
    an objection answered, 302.

    author has attended at least fifty, 225;
    concludes they were not what they might and should be, 225;
    the reform must begin with the people, 225;
    the lot of the public speaker, 225-6;
    what is needed to render our annual Fairs useful and instructive
      detailed, 226;
    each farmer should hold himself bound to make some contribution to
      his, 226;
    an interesting and running commentary should given, 227-8;
    liberal premiums should be given for proficiency in farming, 228-9;
    need for improvement in the character of the public speaking, 229;
    counties should be canvassed to enrol exhibitors, 230;
    all in a locality should feel a common interest in their fair, 230.

  EYE-SMART, 125.

  FABRICS, 200.


  FALL, the, 126, 173, 174, 193, 318.

    WILL FARMING PAY, chap. i, 13;
      will it pay considered, 13;
      the case of a man without capital, 13;
      difficulties common to all pursuits, 13-4;
      Astor referred to, 14;
      earning the first thousand dollars, 14;
      instance of remarkable success in farming, near Boston, 15;
      case of a farmer in Northern Vermont, 15-6;
      Professor Mapes's success, 14;
      profitable return from a fruit farm on the Hudson, 15-6;
      that shiftless farming don't pay admitted, 17;
      good farming profitable, 17;
      farming not recommended as a pursuit to every man, 17;
      it can never be dispensed with, 17;
      it is the first, and most essential of human pursuits, 17;
      all are interested in having it honored and prosperous, 17;
      if unprofitable, it is from mismanagement, 17;
      the author's aim in these essays, 17.
    GOOD AND BAD HUSBANDRY, chap. ii, 18;
      good and bad farming considered, 18;
      necessity master of us all, 18;
      dictates the line to follow in farming, 18-9;
      application of the principle to pasturing, 19-20;
      illustration of good farming, 20-21;
      excuses for waste insufficient, 21;
      truths on which good farming depend, 21;
      good crops invariably practicable, 21-2;
      rarely fail to pay, 23;
      increasing productiveness of the soil the fairest single test, 22;
      where to farm considered, 23;
      experience of the author's father regarding the East and West, 23;
      circumstances qualifying it, 23;
      the difficulties of the pioneer's life, 23-4;
      purchase of an "improvement" recommended in certain cases, 24;
      civilized places are to be preferred for settlement, 24;
      co-operation may change matters, 24;
      good farming will pay everywhere, 25;
      no one having a good farm advised to migrate, 25;
      money is made by farming near New York as fast as in the West, 25;
      where migration is advised, and its advantages, 25;
      troubles attendant on buying on credit, 25;
      the West will grow more rapidly than the East during the next
        twenty years, 26;
      the South invites immigration, 26;
      great inducements offered, 26;
      combined effort recommended, 26;
      good farming land cheapest in the United States, 27;
      an incident in Illinois farming, 27;
      counsel to intending purchasers, 27;
      land cheap in every State, 28;
      advantages of settling in colonies, 28;
      the first steps toward doing so, 28;
      division of the lands, 28;
      laying out the town, 28;
      the progress it ought to make, 28;
      economy of capital accomplished, 28;
    PREPARING TO FARM, chap. iv, 29;
      counsel intended for young men unaccustomed to farming, 29;
      patience recommended, 29;
      penalties of over haste, 29;
      value of experience illustrated, 30;
      an inexperienced young man advised to hire out, 30;
      procure books, 30;
      general counsel, 31;
      how the course advised differs from running into debt, 31-2;
      experience and practice essential, 32;
      circumstances where theoretical study is approved, 32;
      qualifying remarks, 32-3;
      he who has mastered farming is competent to buy a farm, 33;
      exceptions, 33;
      a young man should not wait until he can buy a large farm, 33;
      twenty acres ample for $2,000 capital, 33;
      that extent is sufficient to test his aptitude, 33;
    BUYING A FARM, chap. v, 34;
      it is better to buy good land than poor, 34;
      poor land can be turned to account, 34;
      the smallest farm should have its strip of forest, 34;
      advantage of New England and countries of like surface over very
        fertile regions, 34;
      cannot be divested of forest, 34;
      "Five Acres" or "Ten Acres" not sufficient, 35;
      exceptions, 35;
      genuine farms, the general want, 35;
      the remark "he has too much land," 35;
      some men specially adapted for large farms, 35;
      individual circumstances control, 35;
      counsel to a young man intent on buying a farm, 36;
      means of buying to be the main guide, 36;
      capital the true limit, 36;
      New England farms comparatively as cheap as Western, 36;
      migration urged only for those who cannot buy farms in the Old
        States, 36;
      success of the butter-makers of Vermont, 36;
      also of New York cheese dairymen, 36;
      insuperable barriers in the East to effective cultivation, 37;
      cultivation by steam must render large farms necessary, 37;
      grain growing not likely to be extended in the East, 37;
      the West to be the source of supply of bread-corn to the East, 37;
      main considerations in buying land in the Eastern States, 37;
      in the West the case is different, 37;
      social considerations, 38;
      make a permanent investment, 38;
      have confidence that industry will be rewarded, 38;
    LAYING OFF A FARM, chap. vi, 39;
      the surface and soil of a farm should be carefully studied, 39;
      misconception of the similarity of prairie farms, 39;
      a Northern farm selected for illustration, 40;
      preparatory steps in laying off, 40;
      care necessary, 40;
      a pasture to be first selected, 40;
      what it should be, 41;
      the one great error in relation to this matter, 41;
      weeds inseparable from pasture, 42;
      treatment of a pasture, 42-3;
      it should have a rude shed, 43;
      fodder to be brought to cattle, 43;
      "too much" land and tree planting, 50;
      farming in Westchester County, N. Y., 51;
      management of grass lands a test of farming, 152;
    THE FARMER'S CALLING: chap. xxxi, 183;
      merits of farmers as a class, 183;
      the author would have advised one of his sons if spared to attain
        manhood to become a good farmer, 183;
      difficulties attending the farmer's calling, 184;
      author's reason for recommending farming as a vocation to his son,
      no other business in which success is so nearly certain as it,
      farming conduces to a reverence for honesty and truth, 185-6;
      it is conducive to thorough manliness of character, 186-7;
      advantages the farmer enjoys in that respect over persons in other
        pursuits, 187;
      incidents of the author's experience as a journalist in this
        regard, 187-8;
      independent position of the true farmer, 188;
      difficulties a young farmer encounters as a pioneer, 248-9;
      considerably obviated be co-operation, 250;
      co-operation admits of wider application, 250-1;
      fencing as an illustration of the want of co-operation, 251-2;
      wide adaptability of co-operation, 252-3;
      Mr. E. V. de Boissière's co-operative farm, 253-4;
      farming in Colorado, 265;
      mistaken calculations of inexperienced farmers, 299-300;
      summing up: the farmer's calling, 308;
      American farming, 309;
      good farming is and must ever be a paying business, 310;
      thorough tillage, 310;
      choosing a location, 311;
      prudence enjoined, 311-2;
      the greed for land, 312-3;
      shallow culture, 319;
      need for study and inquiry, 320.

  FARMS: LARGE AND SMALL FARMS, chap. xlix, 292;
    naked magnitude has fascination for most minds, 292;
    some men can farm a township, 292;
    large farmers, 293;
    the opportunities and expectations of the small farmer, 293;
    making money from small farms, 293-4;
    large farming can never enable us to dispense with small farms, 294;
    evidence thereof, 294;
    fruit culture, 294;
    the production of eggs and the rearing of fowls, 294;
    the inducements offered to fowl-breeders, 295;
    this industry should comment itself to poor widows, 295;
    the growing of market vegetables, 296;
    the profits realized therein; 296;
    general conclusions, 296-7.

  FARMERS' CLUBS--FARMERS' CLUBS, chap. xliii, 254;
    farmers divide into two classes, 254;
    characteristics of those who do too little work, 255;
    the farmers who work too much, 255;
    illustration thereof, 255;
    value of the club to them, 256;
    who should form the club, 256;
    its rules, 256-7;
    the chief end to be attained, 257;
    habits of observation and reflection, 257;
    evidence of the need thereof, 257;
    a genuine interest in their vocation is needed by farmers, 257-8;
    false fancies to be removed, 258;
    the officers of the club, 258;
    grafts, plants or seeds for gratuitous distribution, 258;
    an annual flower show, 259;
    an exhibition of fruits, 259;
    the organization of a farmers' club is the chief difficulty, 259;
    how removed, 259.

    labor arduous enough without adding inefficient implements, 237;
    improvements therein during fifty years, 237;
    proofs thereof, 237;
    the inferior implements used in the greater part of Europe, 237-8;
    the claim of inventors or their agents to attention, 238-9;
    the stock of an implement warehouse, 239;
    a co-operative plan will be found necessary to secure the needful
      implements, 240;
    reasons therefor, 240;
    greater inventions are certain to be made, 241;
    inventions for plowing, 241.

  FENCES, 100-1. FENCES AND FENCING, chap. xxxvii, 219;
    excessive fencing general, 219;
    fences are commonly dispensed with in France and other parts of
      Europe, 219;
    drivers must there keep their cattle from injuring the wayside
      crops, 219;
    American railroads have largely superseded cattle-driving, 220;
    fresh meat will ultimately come from the Prairies, in refrigerating
      cars, 220;
    owners of animals should be responsible for their care, 220-221;
    fencing bears with special severity on the pioneer, 221;
    fences, where necessary, are a deplorable necessity, 221;
    obstacles to introducing ditches and hedges, 221-2;
    wire fences, 222;
    stone walls, 222;
    rail fences, 222-3;
    posts and boards are the cheapest material for fences, 223;
    Red Cedar posts, 223;
    Locust posts, 223;
    posts set top-end down last longest, 224;
    general conclusions, 224;
    forms one of the pioneer's many trials, 251;
    it is different, but not better, with settlers on broad prairies,
    co-operation would secure an immense economy in, 252, 287;
    should be scrutinized in winter, 306;
    most American farms east of the Roanoke and Wabash have too many
      fences, 313.

  FERTILIZERS, Commercial.
      Gypsum might be generally applied to cultivated land, with profit,
      the case where it costs $10, or over, per ton, considered, 102;
      it should be used in all stables and yards, 102;
      on meadows and pastures, 102;
      _time_ and mode of application, 103;
      _how_ Gypsum impels and invigorates vegetable growth, referred to,
      its value practically demonstrated in and around Paris, 303-4;
      the nature of Gypsum, 104;
      the chemists' theory of it, 104;
      its actual effect assumed as the basis of these remarks, 104;
      Gypsum ought to be extensively applied to pastures and slopes,
      a farmer's observations on its effects, 105;
      it may be easily procured, 105;
      its trial requested, 105-6;
      soils can be improved by means of calcined clay, 105;
      a successful trial thereof, 106.
    ALKALIS ... SALT--ASHES--LIME, chap. xvii, 107;
      all our country's surface might be improved by the use of suitable
        fertilizers, 107;
      not many acres but might be made more fertile by their use, 107;
      comparative exhaustion of the soil soon renders them necessary,
      the good farmer's inquiry on the subject, 108;
      the state of each soil respectively, the true guide in using
        fertilizers, 108;
      alkaline substances might be universally applied with profit, 108;
      the use of ashes considered, 108-9
      Marls of New Jersey, 109;
      Salt, 109;
      Potash, 109;
      the author's trial of, 109-10;
      Lime as a fertilizer, 110;
      careful tests of the value of Alkalis suggested, 110-11.
    SOIL AND FERTILIZERS, chap. xix, 112;
      the farmer a manufacturer, 112;
      the opinion that some lands are naturally rich enough, 112;
      the great wheat product at the Salt Lake City Plain, 112;
      the author's experience regarding the imperfect manuring of land,
      more manure and less seed should be applied by most farmers, 113;
      the richest soils deteriorate after successive crops, 114;
      Nature's law of inflexible exaction, 114;
      rich soil from the West exhibited at the N. Y. Farmers' Club, 114;
      chemical analysis made of same, 114;
      Professor Mapes' remark thereon, 114;
      the mistake of fertilizing poor lands only, 115;
      better to produce the same quantity of Corn from a small than a
        large area in certain cases, 115;
      barn-yard manure, and its use, 115-6;
      no farmer ever impoverished by making and using manure of his own
        manufacture, 117;
      Lime has been used without advantage, 111;
      reasons therefor, 111;
      adulteration of Lime, 111;
      farmers advised to be discriminating, 111;
      experiment recommended where there is doubt, 111;
    BONES--PHOSPHATES--GUANO, chap. xx, 118;
      wasteful outlay for fertilizers, 118;
      fertilizers needed and used in Westchester Co., N. Y., 118;
      where not needed, 119;
      unprofitable use of Guano, 120;
      exceptions to the general rule, 120;
      the other fertilizers, 120;
      author's trial of Guano, 121;
      not of general application, 121;
      experiments and careful observation recommended, 122;
      results that may be expected, 123;
      the earth closet, 123;
      importance of it and kindred devices, 123;
      oyster-shell lime is the best, 128;
      the fertilizers to be used in preparing for an orchard, 142-3;
      treatment of swamp muck for potatoes, 173;
      fertilizers for potatoes when muck cannot be had, 173-4;
      supposed inquiry of the people of Warren Co., N. Y, "How shall we
        obtain fertilizers?" 192;
      answered, 193;
      a Maine essayist on sourness of the soil and its remedy, 232-3;
      necessity for scientific knowledge on the effects of, 232;
      importance of some standard to go by in using, 234-5;
      the digging and drawing of clay as winter work, 306;
      value of clay for grass land, 306;
      procuring commercial fertilizers, as winter work, 306.

  FRUIT: a profitable fruit farm on the Hudson, 14;
      culture of, 35, 37, 107;
      ravages of insects on fruits, 129-30.
    PEACHES--PEARS--CHERRIES--GRAPES, chap. xxvii, 156;
      adaptability of American climates as regards fruit-growing, 157;
      why the climates of some sections are unfavorable for the most
        valued tree fruits, 156-7;
      author's personal observations, 157;
      difficulties attending the growing of finer fruits, 158;
      counsel thereon to farmers mainly engaged in the production of
        grain and cattle, 157-8;
      grape-growing, 159;
      the mistake of neglecting vines, 159;
      experiment recommended, 159;
      necessary precautions, 160;
      the course recommended to a farmer who proposes to grow pears,
        peaches, and quinces, 160-1, 168, 228, 232, 259;
      the descriptions of fruit grown by small farmers, 294;
      fruit culture would decline should small farms be generally
        absorbed into larger, 294;
      treatment of fruit-trees in winter, 307.


  GARDA, Lake, 75.

  GENESEE, Valley of the, 163, 165, 292.

  GEOLOGY, 30, 190, 231.

  GERMANY, 289.

  GRAIN, 22, 35, 40, 107, 110, 118, 125, 126, 132, 157, 167, 186, 206,
    228, 235, 239, 264, 266, 291, 293, 294, 296.
    _See also_ CORN.

  GRAPES, 16, 59, 140, 226, 294.
    _See also_ FRUITS.

  GREAT BASIN, the, 138, 278, 317.

  GREAT BRITAIN, 179, 238.

  GRASS, 22, 40, 43, 67, 68, 95, 107, 110, 121, 152-3, 191, 232, 238,
    239, 264.
    _See also_ PASTURING AND HAY.

  GREELEY, Horace--Arrival in New York, 13-4;
    own experience of the difficulties of securing a good start in life,
    remark of his father to, on migration toward the West, 23;
    own evidence of the value of experience, 30;
    is descended from several generations of tree-cutters, 44;
    engaged for three years in land clearing, 44;
    reference to Amherst, N. H., his birthplace, 52;
    description of his farm, 62;
    drainage thereof. 63-8;
    observations in Italy, 74-6;
    experiments in irrigation, 76-7;
    observations in Virginia, 80;
    experience of the plowing of his plat in New York city, 87-8;
    tries deep plowing, 88;
    plowing of the hill-sides on his farm, 94;
    benefits thereof, 94;
    judges that the gravelly hill-sides of his farm would repay applying
      200 tons per acre of pure clay, 108;
    experience of guano, 121;
    raising locust from seed, 134;
    hay product of his farm, 151;
    helps in hay-making from swamps, 152;
    hoed corn in his boyhood, 162;
    observations on the corn-fields of the Mississippi valley, 163;
    observations at Chicago twenty-three years ago, 164;
    finds potatoes less prolific on his farm than in New Hampshire, 173;
    speaks as a journalist's and farmer's calling, 187;
    observations in Warren county, N. Y., 191;
    the stone wall on his farm, 218;
    experience of agricultural exhibitions, 225;
    the plowing on his farm, 281;
    mentions the sale of his apples as an illustration of the imperfect
      means of exchanging farm products, 298.

  GREELEY, the city of, 262.

  GUANO, 116, 120, 121, 192, 318.


  GYPSUM, 120, 121, 122, 174, 233, 317, 318.


  HAWK, the, 132.

  HAY, 20, 68, 78, 95, 119, 122, 147.
    HAY AND HAY-MAKING, chap. xxvi, 150;
      importance of the grass crop, 150;
      the portion made into hay, 150;
      its quantity, 150;
      the product and quality should be better, 151;
      author's experience, 151;
      the management of grass lands is a criterion of farming, 150;
      hay-making in New England fifty years ago, 152;
      too little grass-seed is now used, 152;
      too little discrimination used in sowing grass seeds, 153;
      the variety of good grasses will be increased, 153;
      grass is cut in the average too late, 153;
      consequences, 153-54;
      the plea that our farmers are short-handed in the summer harvest,
      treatment of grass when cut, 154;
      the author's anticipation of how hay-making will yet be carried on,
      the need for improvement in hay-making insisted on, 155;
      explanation thereof, 155. Also 167, 189, 191, 211, 235, 288, 291,
      _See also_ GRASS.


  HEMLOCK, 19, 58, 60, 66, 223, 287, 314.

  HICKORY, 53, 54, 55, 59, 135, 136, 215, 291, 314.

  HIGHWAYS, 249.

  HOES, 237.

  HOGS, 143.

  HOLLAND, 238.


  HOPS, 164.

  HORSES, 132;
    carrots as food for, 182.

  HUDSON, the, 16;
    a fruit farmer on the, 16;
    the valley of the, 165;
    banks of the upper, 191;
    the valley of the upper, 190, 191, 317.

  HUMBOLDT, the river, 81.

  HUMBOLDT, the, or Canada Creek, 75.

  HUNGARY, 164.

  ILLINOIS, State of, 37;
    Northern, 163, 164;
    prairies of, 164, 246, 264, 289.

  INDIANA, 37, 163.

  INSECTS--INSECTS--BIRDS, chap. xxii, 129;
    the serious loss to farmers from insects, 129;
    birds our best allies, 129;
    what good they can do, 130;
    ravages of insects not entirely due to the scarcity of birds, 130;
    degeneracy of our plants largely causes their ravages, 130;
    Gov. Packer of Pennsylvania's observations thereon, 130-31;
    the case of wheat and other plants, 131;
    a war against insects must continue for a generation, 131;
    the destruction of birds, 132;
    the measures to be adopted against insects, 132;
    birds should be preserved, 132;
    associations should be formed to do so, 132;
    artificial posts, 133;
    legal measures proposed, 133;
    their ravages in Newcastle township, Westchester, N. Y., 147-8;
    caterpillars, 148;
    numerous from neglect, 148;
    duties of farmers and fruit growers, 149.

  INTELLECT (in Agriculture)--INTELLECT IN AGRICULTURE, chap. xxxiii,
    years of rugged manual labor essential to success in hewing a farm
      out of the forest, 195;
    value of education to the farmer, 196;
    our average common schools defective in not teaching geology and
      chemistry, 196;
    the leading principles and facts of these sciences ought to
      constitute the reader of the highest class in the common schools,
    counsel to the young farmer on agricultural books, 197;
    their value demonstrated, 198;
    a two-hundred acre farm will be found to give ample scope, 199;
    instructions regarding particular books, 199;
    men of the strongest minds and best abilities will be attracted to
      farming so fast and so far as it becomes intellectual, 199.

  INTEREST, relatively high in this country, 202.

  IOWA, 27, 163, 164, 168.

  IRELAND, 170, 175, 289.

    IRRIGATION--MEANS AND ENDS, chap. xii. 74;
      need of water for crops not often kept in view, 74;
      the authors observations in Lombardy (Italy), 74-5;
      the Atlantic Slope and Irrigation, 76;
      author's experience in irrigation, 76-7;
      results, 76;
      irrigation of New England farms, 78;
      advantages that would result therefrom, 78.
      natural facilities for irrigation
      general, 79;
      artesian wells on the prairies, 79;
      wells in California, 80;
      water as a fertilizer, 80;
      crops in Virginia suffering from want of irrigation, 80-1;
      counsel to farmers on irrigation, 81-2;
      great profits to be realized by irrigation, 82-3;
      need of irrigation in the Eastern and Middle States considered, 83;
      the prairie States after 1900, 83;
      common objections to irrigation, 84;
      it must become general, 247;
      wells will be sunk for the purpose, 247;
      a steam locomotive for the purpose referred to, 247;
      irrigation will become general, 247;
    WESTERN IRRIGATION, chap. xliv, 260;
      irrigation is practicable everywhere, 260;
      the portion of our country which cannot be cultivated without
        irrigation, 260;
      its extent, 260;
      its climate, 260;
      it is spoken of as desert, 261;
      the readiest means of irrigating the plains, 261;
      their extent, 261;
      the North and South Platte rivers, 261;
      Union Colony, 262;
      its location, 262;
      location of Greeley, 262;
      the first irrigating canal of Union Colony, 262;
      branches and ditches therefrom, 262-3;
      how the water is deflected to it, 263;
      the larger and longer canal, 263;
      doubts at first entertained respecting the capacities of the soil,
      proved baseless, 264;
      products of the soil, 264;
      the cost of irrigation is not in excess of cultivating without it,
      demonstration thereof, 265;
      it would pay to expend $10 per acre for irrigating New England
        grass lands, 266;
    MORE OF IRRIGATION, chap. xlvi, 274;
      irrigation of places bordered by streams referred to, 274;
      the facilities the Platte offers for irrigation, 274-5;
      results that may be attained, 275;
      the Plains, 275;
      obstacles to their cultivation, 275-6;
      the change that will be yet effected, 276;
      how the plains will be irrigated, 276-7;
      artesian wells, 277-8;
      the co-operation of railroad companies anticipated, 278;
      rain increases as settlements are multiplied, 278;
      the permanent character of the Plains, 279;
      tracts needing irrigation in the East, 279;
      summing up of the author's views on, 315-6-7.

  IRON, 242.

  ITALY (Northern), 171.

  KANSAS, 25, 26, 167, 249, 261, 264, 289.

  KANSAS PACIFIC, the railroad, 262.

  KENNEBEC, the valley of the, 165;
    the river, 279.


  KIT CARSON, the, 277.

  LABORERS, Farm--Dearth of employment for, in winter, a great and
    growing evil, 303.

  LAKES, the Northern, 165.


  LANCASHIRE (England), 76.


  LANDS, public, 46.

  LARD, 164.

  LIEBIG'S agricultural chemistry, 199.

  LIME, 104;
    as a fertilizer, _see_ FERTILIZERS, COMMERCIAL;
      _also_, 104, 110, 111, 120;
    oyster shell, 121, 122, 128;
    use in preparing for an orchard, 142, 143, 147, 167, 174, 192, 211,
      232-3, 235, 306, 317, 318.

  LOCUST, the, tree, 53, 54, 55, 60, 134, 215, 223, 314.

  LOMBARDY, 74, 75, 76.

  LONDON, 269.

  LONDONDERRY (Ireland), 171;
    New Hampshire, 171.

  LONG ISLAND, N. Y., 166, 251, 315;
    Sound, 172.

  LONG'S PEAK, 262.

  LORING, Dr. George B. (of Mass.), 193.

  LUMBERING--How rocks in creeks are removed by a lumberman, 217.

  MACHINES, agricultural, 225.

  MAGGIORE, Lake, 75.

  MAGNESIA, 235.

  MAIDSTONE (England), 89.

  MAINE, 125, 171, 232.


  MANGOLDS, 271.

  MANUFACTURES, 164, 243.

  MANURE, 95.

  MAPLE, 287.

  MAPES, Professor, 16, 85, 114, 128.

  MARL, 109, 120, 122, 142, 167.

  MARTINEAU, Miss., 187.

  MARYLAND, 166, 251;
    Eastern, 315.

  MASSACHUSETTS, 171, 193.

  McCORMICK, C., 86.

  MEATS, 150, 164, 167, 200, 201;
    meat will be ultimately conveyed in refrigerating cars, 220, 266.


  MELON, 226.

  MEXICO, 172.

  MICHIGAN, State of, 163;
    Lake, 156.


  MILK, 115, 167, 171.

  MILLS, 249, 250.

  MINNEHAHA, the, 285.

  MINNESOTA, 25, 26, 36, 37, 163, 164, 168, 206, 249, 289.

  MISSOURI, valley of the, 20;
    State of, 168;
    the river, 260, 261, 279.

  MISSISSIPPI, valley of the upper, 20, 38;
    valley of the, 45, 69, 163;
    the river, 163.

  MOLE PLOW, the, 72.

  MONMOUTH, N. J., 166.

  MORMONS, tree planting by, 46.

  MORTGAGE, buying land on, 31.

  MIDDLE STATES, pasturing in, 19, 25, 69, 142, 179, 204, 215.

  MUCK, 95, 109, 116, 120;
      use in preparing for an orchard, 142.
    MUCK--HOW TO UTILIZE IT, chap. xxi, 124;
      chemists will yet be able to determine the value of all kinds, 124;
      use of muck profitable, 124;
      the author's trial of it, 124;
      how swamp muck forms, 124-5;
      its vast extent, 125;
      little benefit derived from applying it _directly_, 125;
      the true course to adopt to secure good returns, 126-7;
      practical evidence of its value, 127;
      the course to be adopted by farmers having few animals, 127-8;
      mixing salt with lime, 128, 147, 167;
      diversity of opinion about, 233;
      as an illustration of the need for more scientific knowledge,
      as an illustration of winter work, 304;
      it is abundant and accessible, 304;
      proof thereof, 305-6;
      value of muck, 305;
      where to procure, 318.

    _also_, 200, 220.

  NAPOLEON I, 33, 292.

  NEVADA, 46, 76, 83, 260.

  NEWBURG, N. Y., a fruit farm above, on the Hudson, 16.

  NEWCASTLE (township), Westchester Co., N. Y., 62, 147.

  NEW ENGLAND, 25, 34, 36, 39, 45, 50, 69, 78, 79, 139, 152, 163, 164,
    165, 171, 190, 206, 214, 266, 279, 286, 287, 289, 290, 291, 303.

  NEW HAMPSHIRE, 87, 140, 172, 237.

  NEW JERSEY, 49, 85, 109, 165;
    Southern, 166, 167, 168, 169, 190, 251, 305, 315.

  NEW RIVER, Va., 86.

  NEW YORK (city), 13, 60, 87, 129, 269.

  NEW YORK STATE, 37, 49;
    cheese dairymen of, 36, 47, 62, 68, 79, 102, 131, 140, 164;
    Western, 163;
    Eastern, 164, 165, 190, 286, 290.

  NIAGARA, the falls of, 285.

  NINEVEH, 266.



  NORTHERN STATES, 48, 139, 140, 192, 297.

  OATS, 67, 92, 94, 113, 118, 121, 143, 189, 191, 210, 238, 245, 264,

  OHIO, State of, 37, 163, 220;
    valley of the river, 38;
    the river, 53, 159.

  OLD STATES, the, 73, 249, 306.

  ONIONS, 191.

  ONTARIO, Lake, 156.


  PACIFIC, the coast, 156;
    valley, a broad, 101.

  PACKER, Gov. William F., of Penn., 130.

  PARIS, 103.

  PASTURES--Pasturing will soon disappear in the Eastern and Middle
    States, 19;
    its pernicious effects, 19;
    soiling is preferable to pasturing, 20;
    a pasture should be the first field selected on a new farm, 40;
    where it should be placed, 41;
    misconceptions respecting indiscriminate pasturing, 41;
    treatment of a pasture, 42-3;
    should have a shed, 43;
    appearance of pastures where there is bad farming, 152;
    summing up of the author's views on pasturing, 313-4.
    _See also_ HAY.

    _also_ 129, 140, 161.

    _also_ 129, 139, 156, 204.

  PEAS, 89, 90, 271, 296.

    Eastern, 165, 172, 288.

  PEMIGEWASSET, the river, 75.

  PHILADELPHIA, 156, 159.

    _also_ 119, 121, 122, 192.

  PHOSPHORUS, 118, 119, 235.

  PIPPINS, 53.

  PITCH-PINE, 314.

  PILGRIMS, the descendants of the, 289.

  PINE, 58, 223.


  PLAGUE, the, 268.

  PLAINS, the, 46, 101, 261;
    irrigation of, 275-9, 316.

    _also_ 80, 173, 211, 232, 233.

  PLATTE, the river, 82, 260, 261, 262;
    valley of the, 274.

  PLOWS, steel, 87.

    PLOWING, DEEP OR SHALLOW, chap. xiv, 87;
      the Deep Plowing of _all_ lands, not advocated, 85;
      reasons therefor, 85;
      instances where Deep Plowing was unadvisable, 85-6;
      the primitive plow, 86;
      plowing in New Hampshire in the author's boyhood, 87;
      will Deep Plowing pay? 87;
      author's experience of the plowing of a plat in New York city,
      plows deeply with profit, 88-9;
      an English farmer's trial of Deep Plowing, 89-90;
      the imperative reasons for Deep Plowing, 90.
    PLOWING--GOOD AND BAD, chap. xv, 91;
      misconceptions regarding Deep Plowing, 91;
      the right conditions for Deep Plowing, 91;
      case of a farmer of the old school cited, 91-2;
      how Deep Plowing will prove profitable to him, 92-3;
      how he should proceed, 92-3;
      subsoiling hill-sides, 94;
      author's own experience, 94;
      the revolution that steam-plowing will cause, 95;
      plowing of Grass land considered, 95;
      treatment of Grass land that has been plowed, 95;
      plowing of a poor man's rugged sterile farm, 97-9;
      Fall-plowing, 99-100;
      fences impede plowing, 100;
      favored lot of the squatter on the prairie in regard to plowing,
      the plows of sixty years ago, 237;
      the plows used in the greater part of Europe, 238;
      improvement in plowing inevitable, 241;
      the improved system would be adopted in the West, 241;
      steam plows and their inventors, 243;
      at work in Great Britain, 243-4;
      the locomotive that is needed for steam-plowing, 244;
      losses from want of such, 244-5;
      necessity for greater rapidity in plowing demonstrated, 246;
      advice of a German observer on plowing for Corn, 246-7;
      author's experience of the cost and delay of plowing, 281-2;
      not half so much or so thorough plowing done as there should be,
      the imperfect means of plowing, 282;
      steam-plowing in England, 283-4-5;
      application of the facts to this country, 284.
      _See also_ STEAM.

  PLUM-TREES. _See_ FRUITS, _also_ 129, 139, 294.

  PO, the river, 74-5.

  PORK, 37, 99, 143, 186, 191, 220, 238, 291.


  POTATOES, 88, 99.
    ESCULENT ROOTS--POTATOES, chap. xxix, 170;
      their productiveness, 170;
      cultivated universally in Europe, 170;
      they alone form part of the every-day food of prince and peasant,
      the poor of New England depended on them when the grain crop was
        cut short, 171;
      formed part of the regular supper in farmers' homes, 171;
      the history of the Potato, 171;
      it is essentially a mountainous plant, 172;
      it may have grown wild on the sides of the great chain traversing
        Spanish America, 172;
      everything there congenial to it, 172;
      results attained by the author in growing potatoes, 172;
      conditions which insure a good crop, 172-3;
      swamp muck treated as described, makes an excellent fertilizer
        for, 173;
      how to act where such is not to be had, 173-4;
      instructions to a farmer having a poor, worn-out field of sandy
        loam, 174;
      objections thereto considered, 174-5;
      the potato blights, 175-6;
      the kind of seed to plant, 176;
      drills are preferable, in the author's judgment, 176-7;
      preparation of the soil, 177;
      varieties considered, 177;
      growing from tubers tends to degeneracy, 177;
      the originator of a valuable new potato entitled to a recompense,
      also, 189, 264, 296.

  POTOMAC river, the, 53, 73, 140, 159;
    valley of the, 317.

  PORTUGAL, 237.

    the farmer's sources and command of power less than the
      manufacturer's, 280;
    both have the same opportunities, 280;
    author's experience of the delay and cost of plowing, 281-2;
    further illustrations of the imperfect means of plowing, 282;
    steam plowing in England, 282-3-4;
    steam not commended as a source of power to the farmer, 284;
    reasons therefor, 284;
    wind as a source of power, 284-5;
    the further anticipated sources, 285;
    the triumphs of the future, 285.

  PRAIRIE, 24;
    prairies, the, of the West, 213;
    the, 261.


  PRUNING, 146.

  PUBLIC LANDS, 24, 46.

  PURSLEY, 125.


  RAG-WEED, 125.

  RAILROADS, their influence on the progress of the West, 26, 105;
    suggestions to have one act as factor of farm products, 301-2.

  RALEIGH, Sir Walter, 171.

  "RANCHING," 292.


  REAPERS, American, 245.

  RED CEDAR, 58, 157, 223.

  RED OAK, 19, 53, 60.

  REPUBLICAN, valleys of the, 274.

  ROADS, 250.

  ROBINSON, SOLON, on fencing, 219.

  ROCK. _See_ STONE.

  ROCKY MOUNTAINS, 206, 261, 262, 274.

  ROMFORD, England, 269-70.

  ROOTS, culture of, 35, 43;
      all seek heat and moisture, 98, 126, 168, 206, 228, 242, 265;
    also 109, 114, 122, 127, 128, 143, 147, 174.

  SALT LAKE, 46.


  SAVOYS, 271.

  SCHOOLS, 249, 250.

    SCIENCE IN AGRICULTURE, chap. xxxix, 231;
      author disclaims being a scientific farmer, 231;
      men have raised good crops, who knew nothing of science, 231;
      science is the true base of efficient cultivation, 231;
      the elements of every plant, 231;
      necessity for scientific knowledge, 232;
      author's personal experience, 232;
      the assertion of a Maine essayist, as an illustration of the need
        of scientific information, 233;
      the diversity of opinion as to the value of swamp muck as a further
        illustration, 233-4;
      analysis of soils considered, 234;
      the necessity for some standard to go by in manuring land, 234;
      illustration thereof, 234-5;
      science explains the impoverishment of soils, 235;
      author's testimony on the value of science, from personal
        experience, 236;
      a competence is reserved for young men fully conversant with
        agriculture, 236.

  SCOTCH-IRISH, the, 171.

  SCOTLAND, 178, 269.

  SCRUB OAK, 314.

  SCYTHES, 239.


  SEWAGE--SEWAGE, chap. xlv, 266;
    causes which doomed ancient empires to decay, 266;
    illustrations thereof, 266-7;
    the soil must receive back the elements taken from it, 267;
    obstacles thereto, 267;
    location of ancient and modern cities, 267;
    imperative necessity for cleansing treat cities, 267-8;
    meaning given to sewage in England, 268;
    conditions necessary for its equable diffusion over the soil, 268;
    application of sewage, 268;
    difficulties of utilizing it, 268-9;
    the progress made, 269;
    the measures taken to utilize sewage at Romford, England, 269;
    farm whereon it was used, and the results attained, 269-70-1-2-3;
    conclusion therefrom, 273-4.

  SHEEP--SHEEP AND WOOL GROWING, chap. xxxiv, 200;
    production of wool in the United States insufficient, 200;
    they might profitably grow as much as they consume, 201;
    reasons therefore, 201;
    the increased price of mutton will make up for the reduction on
      wool, 201;
    sheep-growing in England as an illustration, 201;
    sheep soon make a return for the outlay on them, 202;
    they successfully contend with bushes and briars, 203;
    more mutton should be consumed, 202-3;
    all farmers are not counseled to grow sheep, 203;
    depredations of dogs, 203-4;
    precautions against them, 204;
    the change in the relative values of mutton and wool, 204;
    the relative prices and product the farmer must expect in the
      future, 205;
    growing sheep for mutton near New York, 205;
    profit thereof, 205;
    sheep-growing is no experiment, 205;
    encouragement thereto, 205-6;
    sheep growing in Colorado and other Territories, and its future, 206.

  SICILY, 267.

  SICKLE, 239.

  SILICA, 235.

  SMITH, WILLIAM (Woolston, Eng.), 283.

  SOCIETY, Agricultural, an, 228.

  SODA, 235.

  SOILS, analysis of, 234.

  SORGHUM, stalks of, 43.

  SORREL, 125, 232.

  SOUTH, 25;
    inviting immigration, 26;
    the inducements she offers, 26-7-8, 178, 311.

  SOUTH AMERICA, 200, 206.

  SPAIN, 86, 237.


  SPRING, 67, 70, 73, 75, 76, 78, 81, 87, 88, 99, 111, 126, 127, 134,
    135, 136, 137, 140, 141, 150, 168, 171, 173, 174, 193, 194, 202,
    258, 303, 319.

  SPRUCE, 223.

  SQUASH, 226, 264.

  STARK COUNTY, Ohio, 110.

  STEAM IN AGRICULTURE, cultivation by, 37;
      application of steam to plowing, 95.
    STEAM IN AGRICULTURE, chap. xli, 241;
      farmers have been slow in utilizing the natural forces around
        them, 241;
      evidence thereof, 242;
      steam as a source of power is hardly a century old, 242;
      the revolution it has effected, 242;
      it will effect still greater, 243;
      steam has contributed very little to preparing the soil, 243;
      disappointments of inventors of steam plows, 243;
      steam plowing in Louisiana, 243;
      steam plows in Great Britain, 243-4;
      the locomotive that is needed for steam plowing, 244;
      the saving it would effect, 244-5;
      American reapers in England, their value appreciated, 245;
      need for a machine to plow rapidly demonstrated, 246;
      recommendation of a German observer regarding plowing, 246;
      irrigation will become general, 247;
      the locomotive referred to above could be used for sinking wells,
      steam plowing in England, 283-4-5.


  STEEL, 242.


  STONE--STONE ON A FARM, chap. xxxvi, 213;
    formation of the earth, 212;
    diffusion of stones over the surface, 213;
    these are sometimes a facility, but oftener an impediment to
      efficient agriculture, 213;
    no rock on the surface of the great prairies of the West, and a
      portion of the valleys and plains of the Atlantic slope, 213;
    advantages and disadvantages thereof to the pioneer, 214;
    less use for stone now than formerly, 214;
    the stone on Eastern farms to be yet utilized, 214-5;
    very stony land should be planted with trees, 215;
    rough, unshapen stones will be more and more used for building,
    instructions for building a barn partly with stone concrete, 216;
    its advantages, 216;
    blasting out stone considered, 216-7;
    the mode a lumberman employs to remove rocks in creeks, 217;
    the author's experience regarding the fencing of his farm, 218;
    his stone walls, 218.

  STONES, 249.


  SUGAR, production of, from the beet, 180;
    maple, 19, 314.

  SULPHUR, 104.

  SUMMER, 47, 59, 64, 67, 78, 83, 84, 86, 88, 99, 103, 124, 126, 130,
    154, 173, 178, 189, 190, 191, 202, 260, 264, 279, 288.


  SUSQUEHANNA, the, 279, 292;
    the valley of the, 317.

  SWAMP LAND: about 50,000,000 acres of, in the old States (including
    Maine), 125;
    _See_ DRAINING.

  SWINE, 143.

    Northern, 171.


  TAMARACK, 223.

  TERRITORIES, the, 206, 249.

  TEXAS, 43, 205, 206;
    (Western), 260.


  THEBES, 266.


  THREAD, 200.

    rocky character of the author's own fields, 96;
    clearing off stones profitable, 96;
    cultivating wet lands without draining unprofitable, 97;
    the course a poor man with a rugged, sterile farm should adopt, 97;
    should reclaim one field each year, 97;
    should plow often, deeply and thoroughly, 98-9;
    reasons therefor, 99;
    Fall plowing, 99;
    enriches the soil, 99-100;
    fences, 100;
    the favored lot of the squatter on the prairie, 101.

  THE TIMES (London),282


  TIMOTHY GRASS, 38, 153.

  TOBACCO, 191.

  TOMATOES, 264, 296.

  TRIBUNE, the, New York, 188.

  TURKEY, 86.

  TURNIPS. _See_ ROOTS, also 178, 264, 300.

  TREES: clearing off timber, 30;
      New England must always be well wooded, 34, 37;
      the author not sentimental regarding the destruction of, 44;
      utility the reason
      and end of vegetable growth, 44;
      profit the main consideration, 44;
      the beauty and grace of trees, 44;
      New England a favored section in regard to tree-growing, 45;
      disadvantage of prairie land in that respect, 45;
      trees once grew on "the Plains," 46;
      tree-planting in Utah, and its climatic influence, 46;
      failure of congress to pass a bill encouraging tree planting, 46;
      mistake of the New York dairy farmers in destroying trees, 47;
      Spain, Italy, and portions of France suffering from the destruction
        of their forests, 47;
      other illustrations of improvidence, 48.
    GROWING TIMBER--TREE-PLANTING, chap. viii, 50;
      proportion of a farm that should be devoted to trees, 49;
      the question of "too much land" and tree-growing, 51-2;
      its general application, 52;
      timber should be culled out rather than cut off, 52;
      the care of apple trees applicable to all trees, 52;
      some woodlands, the cheapest property in the United States, 53;
      another profitable field of labor, 54;
      plant thickly, 54;
      a common objection answered, 54;
      the Far West and tree-planting, 55.
      timber general on most farms, 56;
      suggestions for locating trees, 56;
      trees once planted cost nothing for cultivation, 56;
      the soil is richer even after repeated crops of wood, 57;
      poor land improved by growing timber on it, 57;
      springs and streams will be rendered more equable and enduring by
        tree-growing, 57;
      trees should be set on all hill-sides and ravines, 57;
      trees accumulate manure, 58;
      they can be placed so as to modify agreeably the temperature of a
        farm, 58;
      author's experience, 58;
      trees on the crest of a hill improve the crops on the slope, 59;
      trees may be placed with advantage on banks of rivers, &c., 59;
      a good tree grows as thriftily as a poor one, 59;
      evidence thereof, 60;
      diversity profitable, 60;
      wood-lot should be thinned out, not cleared, 60;
      the future should be considered when cutting, 60;
      evidence thereof, 60;
      a plantation furnishes employment at all seasons, 61;
      tree-growing will make springs appear, and cause rain, 61, 97.
    ABOUT TREE-PLANTING, chap. xxiii, 134;
      author's experience in raising Locust plants, 134;
      general counsel on the raising of locust and most other trees, 135;
      sowing seed and raising plants therefrom, 135;
      the raising of Chestnut, Hickory, White Oak, 135-6;
      how a farmer, having a rugged, stony hill should act, 136;
      profits which can be realized, 137;
      the utility of forests, 137-8;
      tree-planting as a field for adventurous young men, 138;
      how they should proceed, 138;
      the great profits to be realized, 138;
      drouths may be expected as the country is more and more denuded of
        its forests, 100;
      how stony land may be advantageously used for tree-planting, 215;
      treatment of forests in winter, 307;
      summing up of author's views on, 314.



  UNION COLONY--Its location, 262;
    the city of Greeley its nucleus, 262;
    irrigating canals of Union Colony, 262-4;
    doubts of the fertility of the soil of its location, 264;
    proved groundless, 264.

  UNITED STATES, 27, 53;
    the annual hay crop of, 150, 151, 315.

  UTAH, 46, 76, 181.

  VEGETABLES, culture of, 35, 37, 90, 107, 168, 228, 264, 265, 266;
    the growing of market, as a source of profit, 296.

  VENICE, 74.

  VERMONT--A grazing farm in Northern Vermont, 15, 25, 36, 48, 110, 159,


  VIRGINIA, 50, 80, 86, 140, 166, 191, 237.

  WALNUT, 54, 60, 135, 136.

  WARREN COUNTY, N. Y., 191, 192.

  WARING, on drainage, 72;
    elements of agriculture by, 199;
    on drainage, 315.

  WATER, 231-2.
    _See also_ IRRIGATION.


  WEBER, the river, 81.

  WEEDS, in pastures, 43.

  WEST, the, a farmer who migrated to, 16;
    illustration of good farming drawn from, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 36, 37,
    regards tree growing, 45, 55, 142;
    the granary of the East, 163, 165, 168, 169, 179;
    the Far, 205;
    the Great, 241, 291, 311.

  WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N. Y., 49, 52, 62, 67, 118, 119, 125.


  WHEAT, 21, 22, 37, 92, 94, 112, 113, 121, 131, 162, 167, 169, 238,
    242, 245, 264, 265.
    _See_ also CORN.

  WHITE ASH, 291.





  WHITE OAK, 54, 55, 135, 215, 291, 314.

  WHITE PINE, 30, 48, 53, 54, 55, 215, 287, 314.

  WHITNEY, Eli, 86.

  WILLOW, 59.

  WINDMILL, 276-7.

  WINDS--Utilizing the Winds for power, 284.

  WINTER, 47, 59, 73, 81, 89, 113, 126, 135, 140, 141, 150, 154, 156,
    157, 171, 178, 179, 193, 206, 209, 222, 258, 262, 263, 288, 298.


  WISCONSIN, 25, 159;
    Eastern, 163.

  WOOD ASHES, 120, 147, 173.

  WOOL, 164. _See_ SHEEP.


  WORK, WINTER--WINTER WORK, chap. li. 303;
    dearth of winter work a great and growing evil. 303;
    consequences thereof, 303;
    it is quite a modern evil, 303-4;
    the hard-working farmer's claim to leisure, 304;
    he errs in supposing that there is no winter work to be done, 304;
    the drawing and preparing of muck as an illustration, 304-5-6;
    the work to be substituted where muck is not to be had, 306;
    procuring commercial fertilizers, 306;
    fences, 306;
    fruit trees, 306;
    forests, 307;
    general counsel, 307.

  WYOMING, 206.

  ZONE, temperate, 46;
    torrid, 46.




From the Opening of the Missouri Contest to the Downfall of Slavery.


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    |             Transcriber's Note:                |
    |                                                |
    | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the   |
    | original document have been preserved.         |
    |                                                |
    | Typographical errors corrected in the text:    |
    |                                                |
    | Page   20  lea changed to lee                  |
    | Page   99  transfering changed to transferring |
    | Page  224  breechy changed to breachy          |
    | Page  224  but changed to butt                 |
    | Page  272  Brobdignag changed to Brobdingdag   |
    | Page  283  consideraby changed to considerably |
    | Page  324  BROCOLI changed to BROCCOLI         |
    | Page  326  Mape's changed to Mapes's           |
    | Page  327  Bolsalere's changed to Boissière's  |
    | Page  332  ot changed to of                    |

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