Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Planting in April

The excerpt below comes from the first Farmer's Almanac in a combined package of year 1841-1844. And since many are now thinking of gardening I thought it might be interesting to look at what is on a Farmer's schedule for the month of April.

Farmer’s Calendar – April

Spring corn sowing should be now finished; let all remaining turnips be cleared from the land. The practice of keeping back turnips for late feed being at the expense of the succeeding corn crop, should be avoided; all plants which are suffered to run towards seed are, in that stage, great exhausters of the soil. The substitutes are rye, winter barley, and the mixed grasses. Lucern is well sown this month; it delights in a rich deep soil; contains sulphate of lime; gypsum, therefore, on most soils, makes it grow luxuriantly. Livestock prefer gypsumed lucern to any other. It is best sown in drills; by this means it may be easily kept clean by the hoe, and if the farmer takes the precaution to previously trench or subsoil the ground, it may be made to produce four or five good crops per annum or inferior dry land; the value of this grass in many parts of the country is unknown. If the farmer has procured any sprat or five-fingers, or any other oily fish, or animal manures, in the previous months, and mixed them with the earth, he may now be getting out the compost for his Swede turnips. In moist seasons all such oily manures produce very large crops. Cut and lay hedges, and roll and bush harrow grass land. All this work should be finished early in the month, to avoid the bleeding of the wood. Stone, pick, and clean meadows. Cubic petre and saltpeter may be advantageously employed this and the succeeding month, as a top-dressing for wheat, oats, barley (from say the 10th of April to the middle of May), and grass. Hand how your wheat, beans, and peas; it not only destroys weeds, but it facilitates the access of the gases and aquesous vapour of the atmosphere to the roots of the crop. Keep also the horse-hoe at work. Early fat lambs may now be selling off. If properly kept, good Down lambs, at thirteen weeks, will weigh five stone; but beware of any shortness of their keep, for they will never recover a check of this kind. Sell off the porkers; after warm weather commences, the sale of them is no longer certain. Sow carrots and parsnips, and subsoil the land on which you grow them. It does best when sown in fine powder (1 ½ cwt. per acre). on a moist morning. It increases both the produce of grain and of straw. It restores the colour of sickly-looking corn.
And the article goes on with stats from various farmers and the different soils and nutrients.

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