The Winter Tares are usually sown at the wheat seed-time, remain all winter, and are usually cut in the spring, generally six weeks before the spring crop comes in. The Winter Tares are now considered a crop worth attention by the farmers near London, who sow them, and sell the crop in small bundles in the spring at a very good price. Tares are usually sown broadcast, about three bushels and a half to the acre. Persons should be careful in procuring the true variety for the winter sowing; for I have frequently known a crop fail altogether by sowing the Spring Tares, which is a more tender variety, at that season. It should be noticed that the seeds of both varieties are so much alike that the kinds are not to be distinguished; but the plants are easily known as soon as they begin to grow and form stems; the Spring kind having a very upright habit, and the Winter Tares trail on the ground. It is usual for persons wanting seeds of such to procure a sample; and by growing them in a hothouse, or forcing frame, they may soon be able to ascertain the kinds. Ellis in his Husbandry says, that if ewes are fed on Tares, the lambs they produce will invariably have red flesh.
61. Vicia sylvatica. Wood vetch.—A perennial plant growing in the shade; it seems to have all the good properties in general with the other sorts of Tares; but it is not in cultivation.
62. Vicia sepium. Bush vetch.—Is also a species much eaten by cattle in its wild state, but has not yet been cultivated: it nevertheless would be an acquisition if it could be got to grow in quantity.
So much having been said of the different kinds of Tares, perhaps some persons may be inclined to think that it would be superfluous to have more in cultivation than one or two sorts. To this I would beg leave to reply, that they do not all grow exactly in the same situations wild; and if they were cultivated, some one of them might be found to suit in certain lands better than others; and perhaps we never shall see our agriculture at the height of improvement, till by some public-spirited measure all those things shall be grown for the purposes of fair comparative experiment—an institution much wanted in this country.
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Having endeavoured to explain as nearly as possible the nature and uses of the plants which are likely to improve our meadows and pastures; I shall proceed to describe the best approved mode of sowing the land, on which depends, in a great measure, the future success of the husbandman’s labour.