This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The President of the club mentioned below, allows us to extract the following proceedings from the "regular minutes": -
At a meeting of the Amateur Farmers of Clifton, held recently at the School-house, the following interesting discussion took place: -
Col. B. was called upon to preside, and John Quill appointed Secretary.
Upon taking the chair, Col. B. remarked, that the object of the meeting was to discuss subjects connected with agriculture, and the more important branches of horticulture - as for floriculture, he would leave that to the ladies. For himself, he was willing to impart such information as he had derived from ten years' experience as an amateur farmer, in hopes that the members present would express their views frankly on topics so interesting to all.
The subjects for discussion would be - The mode of preparing the ground for crops, manures, and their application; crops cultivated; rotation in crops, and modes of culture; the orchard; the garden; the poultry and the pig yard; and the dairy, and stock raising, etc. etc. Each of these deserved, and he hoped would receive, due consideration.
To commence, he would call upon Farmer R., to state his experience in subsoil ploughing.
Deacon R. said that he was not entirely satisfied with his experiments in that way. He had employed a team of seven yoke of oxen, with five Irishmen as aids, on a three acre field, for about ten days, with the subsoil plough; broke two ploughs, and had to pay for one of the oxen, for want of knowledge on the part of the Irishmen how to manage the bastes; had thought that the work might have been done better and cheaper with the spade.
Farmer R. B. thought the Irish plough - the spade - was the best, in the long run, for amateur farming.
Farmer W. R. was of that opinion decidedly. He had trenched, with the spade, three and one-half acres, two feet deep, and under-drained it with tile, at an expense of not over $165 per acre.
Deacon S. would prefer three feet deep; it would cost about fifty per cent. more. Had tried it on his garden, and was well satisfied with the result.
The Chairman stated that he was then experimenting in that way on a hill-side of several acres, but as to the cost he could not say, for he had long since burnt his books of farming expenditures as vexatious tell-tales.
W. R. said he had done the same thing with his mementos of that kind, considering them nuisances.
The Chairman asked for the experience of the members in planting. He would give his own. He was an admirer of forest trees, for their beauty and utility. Most of those on his farm, however, were, unfortunately, in the wrong place, and he had to cut them down and plant young ones in the place where the old ones should have stood. Planting his fruit-trees near the canal, he found to be an ingenious contrivance to keep depredators from his vegetables, as long as the fruit lasted.
Farmer D. said he had the same experience with his fruit, and had now to buy apples for family use.
Brother W. had found planting fruit-trees near the roadside to answer the same purpose. Other members concurred in this opinion.
Farmer S. had planted forest-trees around part of his farm, but more with a view to grow fuel than rail timber. In fruit planting, he had selected the dwarf-trees, being more convenient for children and visitors.
Brother W., by high culture, produced an immense growth of wood on his pear-trees, but no fruit; he had taken them up and root-pruned them.
Farmer B. had tried a coating of coal tar on some of his young fruit-trees, to prevent the rabbits from girdling them in winter. The remedy kept off the rabbits, but it Jailed the trees.
"Poultry" was next called for by the Chair.
Deacon S. said he would give in his experience. His poultry yard was unexceptionable, and he had procured some of the finest heavy-bodied, short-legged Cochin-China fowls, at $25 per pair, and Brahma Pootas at $20, tall enough to pick corn off the head of a flour-barrel - (Shanghais he considered a humbug) - but he had been more successful in rearing fancy chickens than in keeping them, for they were nearly all stolen in one night, about the time they were fat enough to eat.
A new member remarked that the same accident had happened to his harness and garden-tools, though he had no doubt but it was a very honest neighborhood. [The Chair called to order].
Farmer R. said that he had been tolerably successful with fancy chickens. Had reared about half the broods, and succeeded in keeping and selling them. Part of his stock had been spared to Brother S. (Here Brother S. groaned in the affirmative).
Farmer F. B. found no trouble in raising chickens; but his valuable English greyhound would eat them up about the time they were half-grown.
Farmer M. preferred the common stock. With proper attention, he generally raised half the broods.
Farmer B. said he had an old hen that could beat that; she seldom lost any; but he had some bad luck with the rest of them. In one night, four turkeys and six fine hens were stolen from him. One of the hens was a fancy Cochin China, that he was petting up to sell to Brother S, at a fair price. On another night, fifteen of his best fowls were killed by a rascally mink.
After some desultory remarks amongst the members, an adjournment was carried to meet at the same place on Saturday, the 17th inst., at early candlelight. The next subject before the meeting to be the culture of vegetables.
John Quill, Sec'y.