1. A yellowish - brown peat, found in Scotland, Holland, and Germany. It is composed, according to Mr: Kirwan, of clay mixed with calcareous earth and pyrites, and sometimes contains a portion of common salt. When fresh, it is of a viscid consistence, but hardens by exposure to the air ; and, after separating the calcareous and stony matters, it is cut while soft, into oblong pieces, and thus sold for fuel.
2. Another species of a dark-brown colour, is dug up near New-bury, in the county of Berks, and consists of the branches, twigs, leaves, and roots of trees, together with grass, straw, plants, and weeds; which, after having lain for a long time in water, are converted into a soft mass, that may be cut through with a sharp spade. it is also principally employed as a substitute for sea-coal, or wood.
Independently of its utility as fuel, the ashes of peat afford a valuable manure. Having already stated, in p. 126, of our first, and in p. 160, of the present volume, the oils, as well as the man-ner in which they may be most beneficially employed, we shall only add a fact of great importance to the practical agriculturist.— Lord Dusdonalo, whose exertions for the public good we have had frequent occasion to mention, recommends peat mixed with salts, as a most excellent manure, but, where the latter are not easily to be procured, be advises the urine of every kind of cattle to be substituted. His Lordship farther suggests the propriety, and advantage, of incorporating lime with peat; and the patriotic Thomas Johnes, Esq. observes, that four parts of peat, and one of lime, make a very valuable compost. Such lime, however, ought to be carefully slaked before it is added; as it will otherwise occasion considerable trouble to re-mix the whole.—For an ingenious and practical method of cultivating peat-mosses, see the article Moss-land.
Peat. - In the 19th vol. of the " Transactions of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, " etc. we meet with a description of an implement contrived by Thomas Eccleston, Esq. of Scaresbrick-hall, Lancashire.. It is denominated a Peat-borer, and is designed for draining boggy land : as its application has been attended with uncommon success, we have given an engraved figure representing its construction.
Description of Mr. Eccleston's Peat-borer.
(Fig. 4. Plate I. Supplement).
A, is the cutter of the borer, which penetrates the peat.
B, is the body of the borer, six inches in diameter.
C, the aperture, through which the peat, Introduced by boring, is extracted from the ground.
D, represents a portion of the iron bar of the borer ; to the upper part of which a cross handle is to be affixed.
It frequently happens, that the bottoms of drains and ditches, when newly cut, rise so considerably from the pressure of the subjacent waters, as to be nearly filled up, and consequently to impede the course of that fluid which they were intended to carry off; so that the work is rendered ineffectual. To prevent such accidents, recourse is generally had to a common auger, or even to a pole, which procures a temporary passage for the water; but, the peat being thus pressed only in a lateral direction, without being cut, the sides speedily close ; and the course of the fluid again becomes obstructed. Mr. Eccleston's implement, therefore, is calculated to remove such impediment ; for, by means of his auger, a cylindrical column of peat, six inches in diameter, will be completely cut out and removed ; thus affording a free passage to the confined water, for a considerable length of time. Hence, the expence of draining boggy lands may be considerably reduced ; and they will eventually be rendered so firm, that the first drains will stand unimpaired.
The proper depth, to which the peat-borer should descend, must be regulated by the situation of the soil: - where moss-lands are very low, and liable to be inundated, it will be advisable to penetrate only to such a depth as will be sufficient to drain the surface; because deep boring would cause it to sink so low, as to be overflown by every sudden shower of rain.