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(tho mostly judicious) I find nothing of novelty or excellence which was not, in 1794, before the public. The following incident in planting shows, in a striking manner, the utility of covering the soil of young coppice grounds;-agreeably to the practice of the district of Maidston. See my Southern
P. 56. The ashe, withe, and birch plantations, paying remarkably well, are an object, which I conceive worthy of great consideration. An experiment, made by a Kentish farmer, on an ash plantation, has succeeded so well, that I recommend every person having this kind of underwood, to make some trial like it; conceiving many substitutes may be found out, in lieu of the hop binds which he used.
Having a small shaw, or wood of ash, that was planted
and having a great quantity of hop binds, which 'he could not make serviceable in his farm yard; a thought struck him, that by laying them on his ash beds, he could do no harm, and it might tend to smother the weeds and rubbish, which grew up amongst the stems. He therefore, covered every other bed with the binds, when the whole plantation was three years old.-I saw this shaw, when it was five years old, and the hop binds were then, in a perfect state, and no weeds appearing. The wood was full six foot higher, on those beds where the binds were laid, than on the others; and the farmer supposed it would be better stuff, and more fit to cut, at seven years' growth, for hop poles, than the other beds would be, at ten years."
FARMS.-P. 19. "The greater proportion of this
county, is divided into what may be deemed large farms: for unless it is from some local circumstance, it is very rare to find a farm, under one hundred pounds a year. In the Vale of White Horse, indeed, some smaller dairy, and grazing farms are found; but I doubt there are more farms, from two to five hundred a year, than of any other size."
HOMESTEADS.-P. 20. "It may be said, that the farm buildings all over the county, are respectable, and convenient and their ox-stalls and yards, in the grazing parts, judiciously arranged for the fatting of cattle."
PLAN of MANAGEMENT.-P. 28. "The mode of cropping followed by the fair and best farmers, on the south side of the county, is divided into five shifts, thus; first year, a crop of wheat (which has been manured for), next year,
barley, then turnips fed off-The fourth year, barley or oats, laid down with clover; and the fifth year, clover mowed only once. After which, wheat comes round again."
P. 29. "In the Vale of White Horse, and the country: adjacent, where the soil is a rich deep loam, the general practice is, to take, 1st. wheat, 2d. beans, 3d. barley, or oats. with seeds, 4th. clover one year, 5th. fallow, vetches, or turnips. After which, the wheat crop comes in suc
In Mr. Pearce's "observations" on this subject, tho they are of considerable length, I perceive nothing of superior value. Yet the "Course of Cropping" is of all other subjects, in agriculture, the most requisite to be well understood by an estate agent. His remarks, however, show that he had not, at the time of writing, been inattentive to that point of his profession. Some of them are just; but not important.
WORKPEOPLE.-P. 40. "The husbandmen of this county, are well-disposed, tractable, and honest; and, when their powers are called forth by fair encouragement, skilful, and industrious.
"Their daily pay, in the winter, is from one shilling to one shilling and three-pence. They come to work about seven, and stay till five; and are allowed an hour in the day for meals.
"In the summer, their labour commences at six, and ends at six. They are then allowed two hours for meals; and the pay is increased to one shilling and two-pence, and more, according to the goodness of the hand, up to one shilling and sixpence."
P. 41. Some few farmers in this county, pay their labourers in kind; viz. with wheat and barley, when they choose to take it."
In his "observations" on this head, Mr. P. humanely recommends, to landholders, to bestow due attention on the comforts of the workpeople who reside, on their estates;intimating (and in some cases the intimation is, unfortunately, too well grounded) that "at present, they are too much left to the management and controul of the farmer, whose situation being only temporary, is too often induced to consider them merely as instruments, subservient to his interest, so that the poor man's spirit is depressed, as he sees himself abandoned by the landlord, who, having a permanent interest in the country, is, and ought to be, his Natural Protector." p. 41.
WORKING ANIMALS.-See Tillage, ensuing.
IMPLEMENTS.-Mr. Pearce speaks in high prai of the waggon and the cart of Berkshire; but condemns its plow
and minor implements. He does not, however, enter on a description of either of them.
MANURE.-Yard Dung.-P. 24. "Among the best farmers, the general custom is, to pot-dung' for their wheat crop, and feed off their turnips with sheep; so that each piece of land gets well manured every other year, besides occasional foldings, on the stubbles, as the course is proceeding.
"The downs, from the great distance they usually are from the homestall, have but little pot-dung bestowed on them; all their support arises from that quiet, generous animal, the sheep, which periodically bears to its fold, the nourishing means for future crops."
Sheep-dung Compost. The following instance of practice, at WINDSOR, is entitled to an entry, here.-P. 66. " Eight hundred Wiltshire wethers are kept as a folding flock on the Norfolk farm, with the assistance of which, the land will be either mucked, or manured, twice in five years; viz. for wheat and turnips. The flock is constantly penned upon the fallows, or some of the meadow land, except when the sheep are foddered, in the hardest part of the winter, and then they are penned in a fixed fold, made large, and divided into two parts; this is generally done, during the months of December, January, and February. This fold, which is pitched in some sheltered spot, and is first laid a foot thick with maiden earth, is daily littered with leaves, moss, fern, stubble, or any litter that can be collected; and the fold is made use of at opposite ends, alternately every other night; hay being given in cribs, which are moved into the respective folds, as used. When the sheep leave this fold, the beginning of March, a layer of lime, chalk, or peat ash, is put upon the top, and the whole being mixed up together, makes excellent manure for the succeeding turnip crop. It is astonishing what advantages may be deduced, from a steady adherence to this practice. Six hundred loads of excellent compost, were made the first year of this experiment, in three months, from 600 sheep."
Peat Ashes.-The following notice of the NEWBURY PEAT WORKS, tho not so intelligent as might have been expected, is also admissible.-P. 51. "I was informed, by a gentleman, that has concerus in this peat country, that he
This is a West of England term, for yard dung; which was heretofore, universally, and, in the more hilly parts of Devonshire and Cornwall, is to this day, carried to the land in "dung pots" or panniers, on horseback. In Berkshire it would seem to be used, at present, in contradistinction to sheep's dung, or the fold.
last year sold the peat, on one acre of land, for 300 !!! "where the purchaser was limited,
"First, to cut no deeper than six feet.
"Secondly, to cut and clear off the whole in the course. of the year.
"And lastly, he was to pare off the sward, that was on the acre at the time of agreement, and relay it, in a proper manner, on the surface, after he had got out the peat; in order that it might, when returned to the landlord, be in a state for meadow land again.
"The reader, unacquainted with the properties of peat, may, with reason, exclaim, for what purposes can this earth be applied, to make it so very valuable?
"First-It is, like all other putrid vegetables, an excellent fuel.
"Secondly-It has a property, that the peat of no other country has," (?)" in the virtues of its ashes; which in Berkshire, and other parts, are used with great success, in dressing young crops, whether of wheat, barley, oats, or turnips.
"It is also an excellent improver of grass lands, particu larly clover lays, and sainfoin; which shew to an inch where the peat-ash has been bestowed on them. The quantity necessary to dress an acre, is reckoned from 15 to 25 bushels, according to the condition of the land, and which may be bought on the spot, from 2d. to 4d. a bushel, according to the strength and goodness of the ash.
"This cheap and striking improvement, has not been known in Berkshire more than seventy or eighty years. For a long time, like all other new methods, it had to combat the prejudices and obstinacy of many. But it seems now universally approved, and adopted by every cultivator, who lives within a reasonable distance, to procure the same."
TILLAGE.-P. 22. "To facilitate the operations of agriculture, and to adopt a system of economy in its necessary labour, are very material, and obvious advantages, and such as the farmer, for his own sake, ought to listen to, since his interest is highly connected with their adoption.
"I cannot, therefore, withhold censuring, not only the plough at present used in Berks, but the mode of working it. Four horses, and two men, employed a whole day; in turning up an acre of land, even if it be a third tilth, is so extravagant, and unnecessary, on land, such as I have described the greater part of Berkshire to consist of, that I cannot but consider it as a NATIONAL DRAWBACK and LOSS. I am persuaded, a Norfolk, or Suffolk farmer, would never, in the strongest soil of this county, put more than two horses to a plough, with one man, and he would do as
much work, if not more, than four horses, and two attendants now do, in many parts of Berkshire."
The Reporter, afterward, comments on this extravagant practice; showing its mischievous effects, in a private and in a public point of view.
On fallowing, it is no wonder that a pupil of Mr. KENT should speak irreverently;-not only as its being an unprofitable, but as a "slovenly" practice!! p. 26.
ARABLE CROPS, and their MANAGEMENT.-On this main branch of Agriculture, the Report under view affords a very scanty portion of information;-either concerning the general works of aration, or the culture of individual crops. The few paragraphs that follow are what I find entitled to extraction.
The Times of Sowing Arable Crops.-P. 25. "The wheat sowing, is necessarily very early on the downs, and light land. Some persons put their wheat in, so soon, as the first week in August, and their turnips, in May; but about Old Lammas, is the general time for sowing wheat, in the hill country. The Lent-corn, in the same situations, is got in, during the months of March and April, and unless the season is very backward, is completed before the middle of April, and the turnip sowing, about the middle of June. In the loamy, cohesive, and strong land, the periods of sowing differ, according to the tendency of the soil. The general busy time in these parts for wheat sowing, appears to be, from the middle of September, to the middle of October; and of the barley sowing, from Lady-day, to Mayday."
The Quantity of Seed.-P. 25. "The quantity of seed sown on a statute acre, is on an average, in the most parts of the county, nearly as follows:
Beans, or peas
Harvesting Arable Crops.-P. 35. "From the nature of the soil, it is to be expected, the harvest is forward in most parts of Berkshire; which is generally the case.
"The usual practice of the county, is, to let the harvest work by the great; and many of the women are employed in reaping, as well as the other labour, necessary for getting in crops.
"About Lammas, the reaping of wheat commences." SAINFOIN.-P. 52. "There is another obvious improvement, which, I understand, was introduced many years since into Berkshire; but not much attended to, till of late years; viz. the cultivation of sainfoin.