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Treatise on the cultivated Grasses and other Herbage and Forage Plants, with the
Kinds and Quantities of Seeds for sowing dou'n Land to alternate Husbandry, permanent Pasture, Lawns, &c. By Peter Lawson and Son, Seedsmen to the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. Pamph. 8vo, pp. 49. Edinburgh and London, 1843.
This is a very carefully prepared work, and one which ought to be in the hands of every farmer who practises the alternate husbandry, and of every gardener who has lawns to form. The introduction contains the history of herbage and forage plants, in the early ages, in England, in Scotland, and in Ireland; and a history of the introduction of species and of varieties. Next follow descriptions of the true or natural grasses, and of the clovers or artificial grasses, followed by remarks on sowing by measure and weight, and a table of weights per bushel, and number of seeds per ounce. Then follow 13 tables of kinds and quantities of grass seeds required for sowing an imperial acre ;
1. for alternate husbandry ; 2. for permanent pasture, first mixture and second mixture ; 3. for permanent lawn pastures, first mixture and second mixture ; 4. for fine lawns, bowling-greens, &c.; 5. for lands in preparation for irrigation ;
6. for pasture and hay in orchards, &c.; 7. for pasturage and cover in thick shady woods; 8. for heathy and moory lands, &c.; 9. for improved dry mossy grounds, &c. ; 10. for marshy grounds, &c. ; 11. for warrens and light sandy links; 12. for dry gravelly situations, &c.; and 13. for drifting or blowing sands. The following quotations will afford a specimen of the valuable matter contained in this pamphlet.
" Weight of Seeds preferable to Measure. It was formerly an almost universal practice to sow the grasses by measure, and the clovers by weight ; but, of late, the more judicious innovation of sowing the whole by weight has been successfully introduced; for although the greater weight in one sort is no criterion of its superiority over less weight in another, yet a greater weight in the same kind always denotes a superior quality. Thus, when seed is light, and consequently inferior, the greatest number of seeds is obtained by adhering to a given weight; and hence there is a chance of nearly an equal number of plants springing up as when the seeds are plump and heavy. But a given weight or measure, applied to the seeds of different grasses, is no indication of the number of plants each sort will produce ; there being material differences both in the relative bulk and specific gravities of such seeds, as well as a difference in the number of each which germinate in a given quantity. In making out the tables, these variations have therefore been kept in view; and it has also been deemed useful, for the purposes of comparison, to subjoin a tabular statement of the average weight per bushel of each of the kinds of seeds recommended, with the average number of seeds required to weigh one ounce.” (p. 33.)
In this table, the greatest number of seeds contained in an ounce is in the case of Agrostis stolonifera, the marsh creeping bent-grass, or fiorin, amounting to 500,000 ; and the smallest number is in E'lymus geniculatus, the jointed sand lyme grass, an ounce of the seeds of which contains only 2300 seeds. With regard to weight, a bushel of Cynosùrus cristàtus, the crested dog's-tail grass, weighs 26 lb. ; while a bushel of Avena flavescens, the yellowish oat grass, weighs only 5 lb. In the case of the herbage plants not grasses, an ounce of Achillea Millefolium, the yarrow or common milfoil, an ounce contains 200,000 seeds, and a bushel weighs 294 lb. while an ounce of common red clover contains 16,000 seeds, and a bushel weighs 64 ib. As might be expected, the variation in the weight per bushel of the seeds of the dicotyledonous herbage plants is not nearly so great as in the case of the proper grasses.
" Sowing with and without a Crop. It is not our purpose here to discuss the question, as to whether it is better to sow grass seeds for permanent pasture with or without a corn crop. Both systems have their advocates, as well as their advantages and defects, and depend, in a great measure, on the varied circumstances which present themselves in practice; and therefore, in the following tables, separate columns are given for each of these methods; it being always expedient to sow a somewhat larger portion of seeds without than with a cori crop ; and, in that case, it is farther advisable, for affording shelter to the young plants, to add a bushel of rye to the mixture when sown in autumn, and a bushel of barley when sown in spring; to be depastured or cut green along with the young grass crop.” (p. 34.)
As a specimen of the care with which the tables have been drawn up, we give an extract from IV., which exhibits the mixture for “ Fine Lawns, Bowling-Greens, &c., kept constantly under the scythe.” There are three columns, viz. for light soils, heavy soils, and medium soils, and in each column there is the quantity for sowing with a crop and without a crop. We shall give a selection for a medium soil without a crop, viz. Cynosurus cristàtus, 6 lb.; Festùca duriúscula, 3 lb.; Festuca tenuifòlia, 2 lb. ; Lolium perénne ténue, 20 lb.; Pòa nemoralis, 1 lb.; P. n. sempervirens, 1 lb. ; Pòa trivialis, 1 lb.; Trifolium repens, 7 lb.; and T. r. mìnus, 2 lb. ; in all 454 lb. to a statute
“In walks, bowling-greens, &c., which are wished to be kept as dry as possible, especially towards the end of the season, Trifolium repens should be sparingly introduced; and when it is intended to mow the grass by machine, instead of the common scythe, greater proportions of the hard and fine-leaved fescues may be sown.” (p. 40.)
The prices of all the seeds enumerated in the tables may be ascertained by application to the authors for their priced list of agricultural seeds, which they publish annually.
Art. II. Literary Notices. REMARKS on the Laying out of Cemeteries and the Improvement of Churchyards, forming an octavo pamphlet of 130 pages, with above 50 engravings, will appear with the present Number. It contains the two articles already published, and those which are intended to appear ; therefore no reader of this Magazine need have recourse to the pamphlet.
London Nuisances ; viz. Smoke, Water, Fire, Sewerage, Roads, &c., will appear on April 1., and will be completed in 12 numbers. The author is A. Booth, Esq., chemical engineer, whose Guide to London is noticed in our Volume for 1839, p. 562.
To prevent Mice from destroying early sown Peas, take a few small slices of bread, and dust a little arsenic on them. Place these slices on different parts where the peas are sown, and cover them over with pots or any other thing, so that nothing but the mice can get to tbe bread.' This plan I have found quite sure of destroying the mice. — M. Saul.
Dámmara orientůlis has been found by M. Neumann to succeed when grafted on the Araucària imbricàta. The mode adopted is the wedge side-grafting, invented by Mr. Barron in grafting the deodara on the cedar of Lebanon, and described in our Volume for 1838, p. 80. One advantage of this mode of grafting (by which the stock is not cut over) is, that, if it does not succeed, the stock is not injured; but with M. Neumann there was hardly a single failure. Dámmara austràlis might probably be rendered half-hardy by being grafted on the Araucària. (Ann. d'Hort. de Paris, tom. xxx. p. 393.)
Art. II. Retrospective Criticism. CEMETERIES.—I have perused your paper on cemeteries with very great interest indeed. I clearly see how constant and deep has been your research in this department. But I could wish (pardon me) that your pen had here and there been guided by a Catholic hand. There are no midnight masses, except on one single night in the year ; and that mass is celebrated at Christmas. Père de la Chaise was one of the best of men, and did not deserve the abuse which the Calvinists heaped upon him. I have taken a good deal of notice of cemeteries, both here and abroad; but I should never think of handling the subject, because my remarks would not suit a Protestant eye. Till the Reformation, a universal belief in purgatory existed; that is, a place of punishment hereafter (not endless) for the expiation of tenial sins committed in this life, since nothing impure can enter heaven. The Reformers, solely on their own authority, thought fit to teach otherwise ; and this new doctrine of theirs quite changed the face of the churchyard, and rendered it a dreary waste. Far different was the appearance of our English churchyards in Catholic times. The cross over the grave was a noble and a consoling sign. It at once put the visiting friends of the departed in mind of what their Saviour had suffered for man’s redemption ; and, before they went away, they would kneel down and say the prayer “ De profundis” for the soul of him or of her whose remains lay there. Indeed, there is something so cold and forbidding, and dreary and desolate, in the reformed churchyards, that, when I am obliged to pass through them, I could fancy that Christianity had left the land. In Catholic countries, there is something exquisitely soothing to the mind when one sees the living bowed down in humble and fervent prayer before the cross at the head of the grave, to beg our dear Redeemer to take to eternal glory the soul of one who now can no longer help himself. – Charles Waterton. Walton Hall, March 8. 1843.
Use of Charcoal in the Culture of Plants.— The following is the extract from the 2d volume of the Biblioteca Agraria of Professor Joseph Moretti and Carlo Chiolini, respecting wood charcoal, which I mentioned in my letter of the 7th of December. [p. 140.]
“ From numerous experiments made by the Abbé G. Piccone, this substance (charcoal] is considered as an efficacious manure. It consists principally of oxide of carbon, the primary element of vegetable productions, and is, therefore, undoubtedly calculated to be employed for the purpose specified. According to the above author, every sort of charcoal, whether of oak, chestnut, or of any other sort of wood, the refuse of the charcoal, the small particles, or still better the dust, can be used as manure for every species of plant and in every soil. The charcoal of close grained wood, therefore, should be the richer in nutritious particles, as it contains less ashes and earth. The effect is more speedy and vigorous according to the fineness of the pulverisation of the charcoal ; if it is coarse the effect is weaker but more durable. When the charcoal is intended to manure a field for several years, or the roots of vines and fruit trees, it is not necessary to pulverise it very fine. It is sufficient in such cases to triturate it so that the largest pieces may not exceed the size of a vetch. The means used for triturating the charcoal are, the olive presses, mallets, and large pestles of iron or heavy wood, suspended from a beam of wood like that of turners' and many other machines. The dust which is produced during trituration is easily laid by sprinkling it with water. When the pulverised charcoal is to be used in flower-pots, in furrows, in seed pans, or in seed beds, it is sprinkled on the surface and incorporated with the spade or with the watering-pot. This may also be done after the plants have germinated, and are 2 or 3 inches high, according to the nature of the species. In sown fields the same method is followed in applying it as with manure. Therefore, in treating ground burnt up by the sun, according to the opinion of the Abbé Piccone, it is laid on the ground towards spring, when French beans are to be sown, to preserve them from drought ; to these
succeed common beans, and afterwards wheat or any other grain without
In soils less arid, the rotation is begun with potatoes, hemp, buckwheat, and wheat. In every case the seed should be used sparingly. "On artificial meadows charcoal dust is sprinkled in spring on the surface, as is practised with chalk and lands containing saltpetre. As to the quantity, the Abbé Piccone computes about an equal weight between charcoal and woollen rags, skins, and even scrapings of bones : a rubbo (about 18 lb. avoirdupois) of charcoal to two of new urine; three of night-soil well digested; four of fresh, and six of common, manure. After this, he advises, for olive grounds, vineyards, orange gardens, or orchards, to allow an interval of four years for the first time, five for the second, and six for the third, and so on between every manuring, taking care always to increase the quantity according to the growth of the trees.” And since we are in the way, allow me to compare some articles in the Gardener's Magazine with some in the Latin authors de re rusticâ, on the preservation of fruit, &c.
Preservation of Grapes. In the Gardener's Magazine for 1841, p. 616., the author says, “and (1) cut the whole of the grapes remaining, with a joint or two or more of wood below the bunch. I make a clean cut, and apply sealing-wax, as hot as can be used, to it, and seal the wood closely, so that no air can enter in the tissues communicating with the bunch. I then hang the bunches upon cords suspended across a closet in a cool airy room, taking care that they do not touch each other; and, after this, they are cut down as wanted. To succeed, much depends on the situation where the grapes are preserved ; they must not be exposed to a current of warm air, nor yet be so damp as to cause mould. The bunches being well sealed is a most important point to be attended to.”
Varro, in chap. lviii. De Re rusticâ, in answer to Cato, says, “ Cato ait, uvam Aminneam miniusculam et majorem, et Apiciam, in ollis commodissime condes :” and Cato, in chap. vii. De Re rusticâ, “ Hæc,” that is, the grapes, “ in ollis, ollæ in vinariis, conduntur ; eadem in sapa, in musto, in lora recte conduntur.” Thus far little or nothing can be understood ; but let us hear Columella, who describes the process at length in chap. xliii. “As soon as you have cut the bunches of grapes, either those with large berries, or hard or purple berries, pitch over the footstalks immediately with hard pitch ; then fill a new jar of burnt clay (new, because it should have no smell) with well dried straw free from dust, and spread the bunches on the straw ; then cover this with another vase, and smear them all round with clay very thick and mixed with small pieces of straw ; and in this state the jars are put on a dry floor, where they are surrounded with straw. Every sort of grape may be preserved, provided they are gathered in the waning moon, after it is set, in a clear sky, after the fourth hour of the day, when the sun has dried up the dew. But the fire should be lighted as near as possible to boil the pitch in which the stalks of the grapes are to be dipped.”
Now I ask, what difference is there in the application and effect, between the sealing-wax of G. G. and the dura pix of the rustici Latini? To succeed well, the English author observes that the bunches should neither be exposed to currents of warm air nor to damp; and this is what Columella effectually provides against by placing his grapes in burnt earthen jars on clean and dry straw, and covering them hermetically with other jars, which he besmears with clay.
The uncle of Columella, however, made use of another method. “ Marcus Columella, my uncle, ordered long jars, like dishes, to be made of the clay of which amphoræ are made, and desired them to be coated, outside and in, with a good coat of pitch. This being done, he had the grapes gathered, purple grapes, those with large berries, the Numidian, and hard-berried sort, and immediately immersed the stalks in boiling pitch, and put each sort of grapes in separate jars, so that the bunches did not touch cach other; he then fitted on the lids to the dishes, which he smeared with a thick coat of cement, and then plastered them with hard pitch melted at the fire, in such a way that no moisture could penetrate to them : finally, he plunged these jars in spring
water or in a cistern (or in wells, according to Pliny, lib. xv., in which it is said, 'Columella auctor est in puteos cisternasve in fictilibus vasis pice diligenti cura illitis mergi'), and put weights upon them, so that no part of them might emerge from the water. By this means the grapes were preserved in good condition ; but, when they were taken from the water, they turned sour if they were not consumed the same day.”—Giuseppe Manetti. Monza, Feb. 5. 1843.
The Bokhara Clover and Physospérmum cornubiénse. - I thank you much for the seeds of the Bokhara clover; I have given some to one of my brothers, who will also commence a series of experiments with them, the results of which shall be communicated to you. I will now beg of you to send me a packet of seed of Physospermum cornubiénse of DeCandolle, as I see it noticed in several papers (see our Vol. for 1842, p. 528.] as a plant which cattle eat with avidity. — Id.
Double Flower-Pots. (p. 136.)— It is remarkable that both I and Mr. Stephens should have proposed to have water at the outside of our pots; and that Mr. S. has no pecuniary object in view any more than myself. He states that there are but few creeping insects that will venture to cross from one rim to the other when the space between is full of water ; but there is one creature which, I think, will pass, and that is the slug. In the first volume of the Gardener's Chronicle a controversy arose respecting the galvanic protector. I was induced to try several plans to prevent the slug from destroying the flowers, and I found that riveting a piece of zinc to the rim of the pot, as in fig. 53., answered the purpose. The slug was able to Fig.53. Half of a Flower-Pot, showing shoot out its body and feelers, and pass over
a Band of Zinc riveted to the Rim,
to deter Snails and Slugs. water ; now, if the space betwixt the rims in the pots fig. 17. and 18. in p. 136. is not above 1} in., the slug will pass from one rim to the other, although there is water. - Figs. 5t. and 55. show
the slugs passing from one rim to the
through the water ; and I only wait
Section of Mr. Mr. Stephens's Pot.
them to the test. The result I hope to communicate to you, if I am spared to live, and try the experiment.M. Saul. Garstang, March 6. 1843.
Art. III. Queries and Answers. The Reason why Bees sometimes die while they have Plenty of Food, in answer to a Lady Bee-keeper. - This does happen, though rarely; and it has given rise to various conjectures. The most plausible reasons are, that some accident having befallen the queen, the bees have got unsettled, and many of them have perished abroad; the few remaining in the hive being too weak to keep up the