Land, in general, signifies any kind of ground, but is particularly applied to such as is ploughed, or tilled for agricultural purposes.
As we treat, in alphabetical order, of the different methods of cultivating the earth, we shall at present confine our attention to the proper modes in which waste, or other soils, may be most advantageously converted from a natural and unproductive, into an artificial state.
The-best method of meliorating swampy ground, after it has been properly drained, is to pare and burn it. Where' the earth, however, is dry, and the soil or mould so thin that it will not admit of paring the surface, the most effectual mode of bringing it into tilth, will be to plough it well, and turn the grass-sods inward. As soon as the new surface is mellowed with frost, the field should be harrowed, in order to fill up all the seams : thus, the air will be excluded, and the sod become perfectly rotten. In this state, it ought to lie during summer, and the succeeding winter ; but early in the following May, it will be requisite to cross-plough the whole, after which the earth must be well pulverized with a brake-harrow, and thus prepared for a future crop.
Old heath-lands may be advantageously reclaimed from their barren condition, by first passing a drill roller over them; after which they should be sown with oats and grass-seeds at the same time. When the harvest is finished, the soil is directed to be fed hard with sheep, for two years; then repeatedly ploughed and harrowed, so as to render it fit for the reception of cole-seed : this vegetable is likewise to be fed off' with sheep, and the soil worked in a similar manner for rye, together with which grain, seeds are again to be sown. Such crop should now be suffered to remain as a layer, till it can be well manured with marl, in the proportion of about sixty loads per acre; after which it may be brought into a regular course of tillage. By this method, the whole flag will have sufficient time to. putrefy, and the soil will not be easily exhausted, as is frequently practised with new lands.
Ground, thus managed, has been found to be well calculated for luck-wheat;—the expence of manuring it with clay, or marl, varies from 21. to 41. per acre, according to the distance at which those substances are carried from the pits.
In the 13th vol. of the Transactions of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, etc. Mr. Rich. Ramsden Bramley communicates the most beneficial method of cultivating meadow or pasture land, that is over-run with coarse grasses, or which is either naturally, or has from neglect become, rough and uneven.—The first process he states to be paring, after which a small trench should be dug, in which a row of potatoe-sets may be planted, and slightly covered with the sods, serving as a nourishment to the rising crop, while they greatly contribute to form a light soil.
The ground is next to be completely cleaned by ploughing, harrowing, etc. ; then sown either with oats or barley in the ensuing spring; after which sixteen bushels of hay, and ten pounds of clover-seeds per acre, should be uniformly scattered, and harrowed in. Thus, the soil will be rendered very fertile for the culture of corn, or other grain; and Mr. Bramley adds, that the paring and digging (which cost upon an average about 31.12s. per acre) afford so decided an advantage to the crop, as amply to compensate tor the additional ex-pence : besides, the land will after-. wards be ready for cabbages, carrots, or onions, in case such crops should be wanted; and, if there be any inequalities in the ground, they will, by this management, be speedily remedied.
In the year 1799, a patent was granted to a Mr. Hayes, for his invention of various machines or implements for agricultural purposes, upon a new construction. These are applicable to the tillage and culture of every kind of soil, but, as they are too numerous to be detailed here, and as the manufacture of them is connfined to the pa ten-tee, we purposely omit their specification, and refer the inquisitive reader to the 12th vol. of the Repertory of Arts, etc. where the various articles are minutely described, and illustrated by an engraving.