This section is from the book "The Potato: A Compilation of Information from Every Available Source", by Eugene H. Grubb, W. S. Guilford. Also available from Amazon: The Potato: A Compilation Of Information From Every Available Source.
Now perhaps you will excuse me from boasting, but I had potatoes well started in boxes - Eclipse was the kind - and planted on these fields in March. This land is very light, and, as I said, very poor, and I wanted to get it cleared up as early as possible to sow for turnips, as getting a crop of turnips eaten off poor land succeeds splendidly here, makes us sure of a good grain crop (barley or oats) the following year, or, we can take another crop of potatoes. Well, I succeeded in getting all the potatoes off of that field 'green,' as we call it, and the land is now ready all in good time for the growing of turnips for this season, with every prospect of a good crop, and the potatoes have realized £276 ($1,380) - that is more than the purchase price of the land and I am very much pleased and rather proud of the result.
The cultivation was quite expensive. The field, after barley, had fifty tons of good cowyard manure made under cover and a good deal from feeding linseed and cotton cake, put on before being plowed. Then four hundredweight per acre of kainit was sown broadcast on top of the plowing, and after being ridged ready for planting six hundredweight of Peruvian guano was sown down the ridges, and after the potatoes were well up one hundredweight of nitrate of soda was sown straight down the rows.
The other field had no cowyard manure, but four hundredweight of kainit per acre was sown broadcast after plowing and then one ton of shoddy waste manure per acre was thrown on and pretty well spread. After ridging ready for potato planting we sowed ten hundredweight per acre of a compound potato manure, analyzing about 4 per cent. ammonia, 3 1/2 per cent. potash, and 25 per cent. soluble phosphate, and after the potatoes were well up and about ready for ridging up we sowed one hundredweight nitrate of soda straight down the rows.
You will see from the above that both fields were pretty liberally manured and the crops paid for it, because I find if we mean to dig potatoes early (and every day's delay makes a difference in price) we must be liberal with manure in order to force them along.
I have about forty kinds of new and old po• tatoes this year, and among the new ones perhaps two or three are showing some very good points. One tuber I got from America I am afraid will be of no use here. It has a pale green haulm with white flowers and much too floriferous for a new potato.
I have two tubers growing which were sent to me by a firm in Scotland, asking me to plant them both whole. I did so, one yard apart, and these two rows make a fine picture. The haulm is splendid, and although the tubers were, as I say, planted three feet apart, the haulms met on July 1st.
On the other hand, just lately, I had the pleasure of paying $37.40 for a few of the new kind that I am afraid are not worth 7 pence-ha'penny. Early Puritan, Duke of York, Sharp's Express, and Eclipse are the best early for earliest market purposes, and the grand old Up-to-Date is still the best main crop we have, but Ever Good, Royal Kidney, and Northern Star are largely grown for main crop in Lincolnshire. The finest quality of all for eating is the old Clarke main crop, now grown under many other names, such as Lang-worthy, East Anglian, etc. This potato grows well and produces a fairly good yield on good potato land, but on naturally poor land, no matter how well it is manured, it will not do so well.
My potatoes this year I think look as well as I have ever had them. I have about thirty acres of Eclipse growing from seed direct from Scotland, and I think if you saw them you would say they are a grand sight.
As to pigs, I still keep my usual quantity, 120 to 150, and I am always breeding and always feeding all the year round. I am a member of the Lincolnshire Curly-Coated Pig Breeders' Association, but I get up no pigs for showing and make no fancy prices. My pig business is principally feeding. The last two years, when prices have been good, I have sent away on an average of twenty fat pigs, weighing about twenty stone (280 pounds) each, live weight, every six weeks.
I feed all my waste potatoes to the pigs. I have a boiler which holds about 350 pounds of potatoes, and when we have plenty of waste potatoes, or our ordinary potatoes are making anything under 40 shillings per ton, we cook on an average of nine hundredweight per day. In my valuation I put all waste potatoes down at 15 shillings ($3.60) per ton, but I do not sell any under 20 shillings ($4.80) per ton.
As to meal, etc., for feeding pigs: When potatoes are plentiful, we cook liberal quantities and mix in a large cemented brick receptacle that will hold about 200 gallons. Say we shall throw into this about six hundredweight of potatoes and mix up with about four hundredweight of meal, one half barley meal and the other half wheat shorts. If the boiler is not freely employed cooking potatoes we fill up the time by cooking maize previously ground. This makes good food to mix in, and we consider cooked maize very good food for pigs. Also, if beans, peas, and wheat happen to be as cheap, or nearly as cheap, as barley, we grind them up pretty freely and mix with the barley meal. Barley meal, sold as barley meal, is well known to be often by no means ground from barley alone. If lentils or Indian grain are reasonable in price, all in moderation make excellent food for pigs, but sows that have just farrowed and which are suckling their pigs should have very little of any kind of meal except (where practicable) fine wheat shorts.
It is a good plan to begin to feed the young pigs when about four weeks old, by themselves, on a little wheat and shorts mixed with skimmed milk, if you have it. As to the breeding sows, I keep mine now at less than half the cost I used to twenty years ago. I generally have about fifteen or sixteen brooding sows or gilts, and most of these run out summer and winter with the boar in a grass field. In this field they have about five acres to themselves and have rough sheds to lay in. We take them about four buckets - say, about ten gallons (perhaps twelve gallons) - per day of slop made of meal and potatoes, and they get plenty of exercise picking up a living from the grass and a few rough roots such as very rough potatoes, mangles and waste grains of any kind when we have them. Sows and gilts in pig, in my opinion, require plenty of exercise and should only be shut up a few days before pigging."
After fully studying and investigating the Lincolnshire farm district, farm lands, livestock, grass, grazing, and potatoes, I cannot see wherein they have an earning capacity equal to the irrigated fertile lands that have a sufficient water supply, like Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and California. The latter exceed them in quantity and quality of everything produced. We (in the West) can and do grow more wheat, more grass, more oats, potatoes, and more hay, with a more healthful climate, and with all kinds of fruit. Lincolnshire is debarred from growing fruits. Above all, our continual summer sunshine enables us to harvest our crops without loss and in good condition when grown. I am safe in saying that these lands that are valued at $500 an acre on their revenue-earning capacity have an earning ability of 50 per cent. less than good Western irrigated lands.