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.
While some are talking of contrivances against drouth, Mr. C. M. Clay, of Madison, Ky., gives us the following excellent ideas:
Deep cultivation is therefore essential to all high culture. It gives more food and space to the roots of plants, and thereby increases production, but in dry times it especially secures more moisture. The deeper the culture the more rain is secured against surface drainage ; Hence, steep lands deeply ploughed are often saved from washing, the soil absorbing all that falls, and no surface drainage taking place. I am now eating roasting ears of sweet Mexican corn which grow upon stalks having had hardly a single inch of rain. The ground was ploughed deep and well pulverized; then the crop was ploughed and hoed often, not waiting for weeds. The space was small and used as an experiment. The light rains and dews were utilized by immediate hoeings, breaking all clods, and drawing the damp surface into broad, flat hills, thus covering up, to some extent, the moisture. Squash vines, which could not be hoed, laid down in the same soil and ploughing, are entirely dead; and watermelon vines in grass sod, turned ten inches deep, and followed by a small plow throwing five inches more soil upon it, making in all fifteen inches of depth, are barely alive.
Yet the corn grows under culture, the melons not permitting it.