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Crops fc. for 1801.
No. 5, is to be in corn, and to be invariably in that article. It is to be planted (if drills are thought to be ineligible until the ground is much improved) in rows, 6 feet by 4, or 7 feet by 3, the wide part open to the south. These hills are to be manured as highly as the means will admit; and the corn planted every year in the middle of the rows of the preceding year; by doing which, and mixing the manure and earth by the plough and other workings, the whole in time will be enriched.
The washed and gullied parts of this field should be levelled, and as much improved as possible, or left uncultivated. Although it is more broken than some of the other fields, it has its advantages. 1st, It has several inlets extending into it, with easy ascents therefrom; 2dly, It is convenient to the mud in the bed of the creek, whensoever (by means of the scow) resort is had thereto, and good landing places; and, 3dly, It is as near to the barn as any other, when a bridge and causeway shall be made over the Spring Branch. To these may be added, that it is more remote from squirrels than any other.
Nos. 6 and 7, or such part thereof as is not so much washed or gullied, as to render ploughing ineligible, are to be fallowed for wheat. One of which, if both cannot, is to have the stubble ploughed in and sown with rye, and the low and strong parts to have timothy or orchard-grass seeds, perhaps both, in different places, sprinkled over them, for the purpose of raising seed. On the rye pasture the sheep are to be fed in winter and spring, and treated in all respects as No. 3 in 1800.
In the Years 1802, 1803, and so on. The corn ground remaining the same, two fields, in the following numbers, will be fallowed for wheat, and treated in all respects as mentioned above; and if pumpkins, cymlins, turnips, pease, and such like growth, are found beneficial to the land, or useful and profitable for stock, ground may readily be found for them.
These are the great outlines of a plan, and the operations of it, for the next year, and for years to come, for the River Farm. The necessary arrangements, and all the preparatory measures for carrying it into effect, ought to be adopted without delay, and invariably pursued. Smaller matters may, and undoubtedly will, occur occasionally, but none, it is presumed, that can militate against it materially,
To carry it into effect advantageously, it becomes the indispensable duty of him, who is employed to overlook and conduct the operations, to take a prospective and comprehensive view of the whole business, which is laid before him, that the several parts thereof may be so ordered and arranged, as that one sort of work may follow another sort in proper succession, and without loss of labor or of time ; for nothing is a greater waste of the latter, and consequently of the former, (time producing labor, and labor money,) than shifting from one thing to another before it is finished, as if chance or the impulse of the moment, not judgment and foresight, directed the measure. It will be acknowledged, that weather and other circumstances may at times interrupt a regular course of proceedings, but if a plan is well digested beforehand, they cannot interfere long, with a man who is acquainted with the nature of the business, and the crops he is to attend to.
Every attentive and discerning person, who has the whole business of the year laid before him, and is acquainted with the nature of the work, can be at no loss to lay it out to advantage. He will know, that there are many things which can be accomplished in winter as well as in summer ; others, that spring, summer, and autumn only are fit for ; in a word, to use the wise man's saying, that "there is a time and a season for all things,” and that unless they are embraced, nothing will thrive or go on smoothly. There are many sorts of in-doors work, which can be executed in hail, rain, or snow, as well as in sunshine ; and if they are set about in fair weather, (unless there be a necessity for it,) there will be nothing to do in foul weather;
the people therefore must be idle. The man of prudence and foresight will always keep these things in view, and order his work accordingly, so as to suffer no waste of time, or idleness. These same observations apply with equal force to frozen ground, and to ground too wet to work in, or which if worked will be injured thereby.
These observations might be spun to a greater length, but they are sufficient to produce reflection, and reflection, with industry and proper attention, will produce the end that is to be wished.
There is one thing, however, I cannot forbear to add, and in strong terms; it is, that whenever I order a thing to be done, it must be done; or a reason given at the time, or as soon as the impracticability is discovered, why it cannot be done, which will produce a countermand or change. But it is not for the person receiving the order to suspend, or dispense with its
execution ; and after it has been supposed to have gone into effect, to be told, that nothing has been done in it, that it will be done, or that it could not be done, either of these is unpleasant and disagreeable to me. having been all my life accustomed to more regularity and punctuality. Nothing but system and method are required to accomplish any reasonable requests.
3. ROTATION OF CROPS.
Washington studied and practised for several years a system of rotation of crops, on some of his farms. The four following tables, printed from a copy in his own handwriting, will give some idea of his method in this respect. They apply to one farm only, which contained 525 acres, and was divided into seven fields. The rotation in this instance is extended to seven years. The first part of each table indicates the kind of products destined for each field, under the respective years. Then follow the times for ploughing the different fields, and the number of days it will take. Next, an estimate of the probable quantity and value of the products. Lastly, remarks on the plan of the table, and the results of the rotation.
In a note attached to these tables Washington says, “ The ploughing is calculated at three fourths of an acre per day. If, then, one pluugh will go over a seventy-five acre field in one hundred days, five ploughs will do it in twenty days. In some ground, according to the state of it, and to the seasons, an acre at least ought to be ploughed per day by each team ; but the estimate is made at three fourths of an acre in order to reduce it to more certainty.
“ The fields are all estimated at seventy-five acres each (althongh they run a little more or less) for the sake of more easy calculation of the crops, and to show their comparative yield.”
The following tables are a selection from a great many, in which the same general system is pursued.
Rotation No. 1. No. of the 1793. 1794. 1795. 1796. 1797.
1798. 1799. Fields.
Clover Clover Clover
Grass. Grass. Grass. Clover
Clover Clover Corn and 4 Wheat. wheat for Wheat,
or Potatoes. Grass.
Grass. Clover Clover
Clover Corn and 5 or or Wheat. wheat for Wheat.
or Potatoes. Grass. Grass.
Grass. Clover Clover Clover
wheat for Wheat. Grass. Grass. Grass.
Corn and 7 Wheat.
Corn and 1 wheat for Wheat.
Grass. Grass. Grass.
Corn and 2 Wheat. wheat for Wheat.
Grass. Grass. Grass. Number of Ploughings, Times at which they must be given, and number of Days it will take.
Sept. 377533 Total.
Clover or Grass.
£539. ls. 3d. REMARKS. The above rotation favors the land very much; igasmuch as there are but three corn crops taken in seven years from any field, and the first wheat crop is followed by a buckwheat manure for the second wheat crop, which is to succeed it, and which, by being laid to clover or grass, and continued therein three years, will afford much mowing or grazing, according as the seasons happen to be, besides being a restorative to the soil. But then, the produce of the saleable crops is small, unless increased by the improving state of the fields. Nor will the grain for the use of the farm be adequate to the consumption of it in this course, and this is an essential object to attend to. And quære whether the clover does not remain too long.
REMARKS. By the above rotation, 900 bushels of buckwheat, amounting to £75, is added to the proceeds of No. 1, at the expense of 200 days' more ploughing; and no two corn crops follow in immediate succession. Wheat, in one instance, follows a clover lay on a single ploughing; the success of this, though well ascertained in England, may not answer so well in this country, where our lands, from the exhausted state of them, require more manure than the farm can afford, and our seasons are very precarious.