This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"A New Subscriber " in Iowa says : " I like the Gardener's Monthly for some things. It is a very peculiar paper, and unlike any that I have seen. I shall probably remain a permanent subscriber, though it seems to me that many of its practical recommendations are of no value at all out here. For instance, the whole burden of Eastern men is manure, manure, manure. The trouble here is we have all the manure we need and more. Our virgin soil is one vast bed of manure, and we could spare you half, and still have all we need".
Our " new subscriber" may remember that the editor of the Gardener's Monthly is personally acquainted with Iowa, and all the other Western States, and knows what is good there just as well as do the people of Iowa themselves. In regard to this manure question, we have heard it before, and now know people who use manure heavily, who not twenty years ago boasted of the "virgin soil," as our correspondent does now. Fearing, however, our correspondent might not be disposed to place as much weight on the editor's personal experience in Iowa, as on some one now resident there, he glanced through a series of Iowa exchanges, and finds the following, with the signature of John G. Stradley, Cresco, Howard County, Iowa, attached to it. It seems to cover the whole ground:
"The great majority of the farmers of Howard county have tried wheat farming as a business, and for over twenty years they never had a failure. For the past four years wheat has failed, and every farmer who stuck to it has lost his land and everything else he had made, while the men who made a business of stock and dairy farming are rich, and those who changed before it was too late are independent. We have had a chance here to compare the two systems and we find that wheat farming impoverishes the land, while stock farming enriches it. The wheat farmer is always a borrower; the stock farmer nearly always a lender. The wheat farmer is dependent, while the stock farmer is independent".