The Botanist's Companion, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 241 pages of information about The Botanist's Companion, Volume II.

“I sowed some fields for the same gentleman in autumn in the same way, and found them to succeed equally well.”

The above remarks are part of a communication I gave six years since to the Society of Arts, for which I was honoured with their prize medal; and I have great pleasure in transcribing it [Footnote:  See Transactions of the Society of Arts, vol. xxvii. p. 70.], as I frequently visit the meadows mentioned above, and have the satisfaction of hearing them pronounced the best in their respective neighbourhoods.  Thus are my opinions on this head borne out by twelve years experience.  Let the sceptic compare this improvement with his pretended advantage of a crop of Barley.

It should be observed that our agricultural efforts are intended only to assist the operations of nature, and that in all our experiments we should consult the soil as to its spontaneous produce, from whence alone we can be enabled to adapt, with propriety, plants to proper situations.  The kinds of selected grass-seeds that are at this time to be purchased are few, and consist of Lolium perenne, Festuca pratensis, Alopecurus pratensis; Dactylis glomeratus, Cynosurus cristatus; with the various kinds of Clovers:  and it is not easy to lay down any rule as to the mixture or proportion of each different kind that would best suit particular lands.  Attention however should, in all cases, be paid to the plants growing wild in the neighbouring pastures, or in similar soils, and the greater portion used of those which are observed to thrive best.

In certain instances I have mentioned particular quantities of seeds to be mixed with others; but in general I have stated how much it would require to sow an acre with each kind separately; from which a person may form a criterion, when several sorts are used, as to what quantity of each sort should be adopted.  Taking into view, therefore, that nothing but a mixture of proper kinds of Grasses, &c. will make good pasturage, and that our knowledge is very imperfect on this head at the present season, we must advise that particular attention be paid to the subject, or little good can be hoped for from all our endeavours.

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SECT.  III.—­FODDER FROM LEAVES AND ROOTS.

The student in agriculture will find in this department a wide field for speculation, which, although it has been greatly improved during the last century, still affords much room for experiments.

During the last thirty-five years I have had opportunity of observing the great difference in the quantity of cattle brought to one of our largest beast-markets in the south of England; and it is well known that this has increased in a ratio of more than double; and I am informed by a worthy and truly honourable prelate, who has observed the same for twenty-five years previously, that it has nearly quadrupled.  I have also made it my business, as a subject of curiosity,

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