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Illinois, with regard to the “ Yam,” treats this interesting subject as follows:
“I cannot forbear to make mention of a plant, which may probably soon take its way to our Western States, and to which the general attention may already be directed, since it promises to bring greater benefits to the Eastern as well as to the Western Hemisphere, than perhaps any other plant heretofore known. A ‘Yam'tuber of the variety above mentioned, was sent some six years ago by the French Consul, M. de Montigny, at Shanghai, to Paris, where it was planted and cultivated with much care. From thence plants were sent to America."
Mr. Prince, on Long Island, has already obtained a full crop of yams. The accounts of Professor Decaines, at Paris, the Chinese and Japanese news, and the opinions of Mr. Prince, and others, establish this point, that the plant may be grown in all countries where potatoes succeed well. It does not suffer from frost, when kept in the ground, and may be preserved in cellars, in good and sound condition, for ten months. It is easy to transplant and increase it, and it is sure to give abundant yields, even on a small, but well cultivated piece of land. It is not liable at all to disease or rot, and is more nutritive, healthy, and palatable, than our common potatoe, and seems to be designed to become the nourishment of many people.
Small, sound tubers of the “Chinese Yam,” are sold at $6 per dozen, sent by mail, if ordered soon, at Ellwanger & Barry's, Mount Hope Nurseries, Rochester, New York.
GRASSES. This State, especially in the central part, may properly be considered a good grass-growing region. The cultivation of tame grass, was, in former years, when farmers were yet scarce, and the surrounding prairies still afforded a sufficiency of grass for hay-making, not deemed to be necessary, and was entered on by but few, till it was found that in the course of time, the natural prairie-grass in the neighborhood of farms, remarkably diminished by the pasturing of cattle. Farmers then came to the conclusion that the raising of grass crops would be highly important and even very necessary for them. The varieties generally grown are clover and timothy.
In order to get a permanently good pasture, it is necessary to cultivate the old land for some time in corn, wheat, and other grain, as by this method, the wild properties of the soil, the weeds, and the wild grass, will be effectually destroyed. For this, six or seven years' good tillage of the land that is to be prepared for grass, is required; and such land, if after this time sown with clover, may serve exceedingly well as pasture for 5 or 6 years. The sod may then be broken again, and the same rotation, commencing with the cultivation of grain, be repeated. In some parts of the State, timothy is better adapted for permanent pastures than clover. If timothy is on rich and good soil, two crops may be obtained; one mowing is then performed in the earlier part of the summer, and another, in the latter part of it.
The best time for sowing grass is considered to be in the month of March ; at least this may be the case in Central Illinois, while in more northern regions it may perhaps be more advisable to sow a little later. Some farmers in Central Illinois mix their grass-seeds together, and sow at the rate of one-third clover, and two-thirds timothy, using one bushel of clover, and two bushels of timothy, on twelve or thirteen acres. Stock should not be suffered to run on grass during March and April. If the seeds are not mixed, the average quantities required for sowing are about as follows: clover, one bushel to ten acres ; timothy, one bushel to five acres.
Blue grass is also cultivated, but not so extensively as clover and timothy.
Mr. Weinberger, a farmer in Marshall County, directs our attention to a variety which is known by the name of Millet grass. This variety would deserve greater attention if it were perennial, but it is only a one year's plant, and therefore must be sown every year. The va riety was made known and cultivated some years since in that county, and is very valuable, not only for the excellence of the blade, but also for its seeds, which are in fair demand. Dry land is best adapted for its growth; it grows to the height of seven or eight feet. If much attention is to be bestowed on the seed-crop of millet, it is better to sow the seed broad-cast, since this will promote a fuller development of the seeds. But if a good hay-crop is expected, one may sow thicker; the stalks will thus be prevented from growing too hard and coarse. The average yields of this variety may be about four tons of hay per acre, and twenty bushels of seed.
The culture of fruit has for many years been carried on more or less extensively, in those parts of this state in which the localities appeared to be adapted. In Middle and Southern Illinois, orchards have existed for a long while, and even in the north of this State, near the Lake Michigan, the culture of some kinds, especially the apple, has been attended with pretty good success. The principal varieties of fruit grown in Illinois, are, the apple, peach, pear, quince, plum, &c.
The State Fair held at Springfield, last year, offers great inducements to pomologists and fruit-growers in general. The most beautiful specimens of apples and other fruit were there to be seen, and several premiums were awarded.
The apple, as a tree, as well as a fruit, is said to have reached a high degree of perfection in some parts of Central and Southern Illinois. The crops raised in a year of abundance are often superior to the best crops obtained in the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, both in quality and in quantity. It is an established fact, that each desirable variety of the apple has its own latitude, in which it attains its highest perfection, and that every departure from this particular latitude depreciates, in a greater or less degree, the value of the fruit. The orchards in the State contain, for the most part, grafted fruit alone. The soil best adapted for planting apple-trees is a mixture of loam, mould, and lime; a sloping hill is preferable to a level place. Among the numerous varieties, may be mentioned as the most approved : Red June, Early Harvest, Tops of Wine, Sine qua non, Rambo, Newark, Pippin, Alexander, Fameuse, Golden Pippin, Æsopus Spitzenberg, Yellow Bellflower, Priestley, Long Green, Nonpareil, Red Baldwin, Newton Pippin, Lansinburg, Michael Henry, and Pippin. The best cider is obtained from the Virginia, and Siberia Crab.
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Sweet apples are more nourishing and healthy than acid ones. For feeding stock of all kinds, an orchard of sweet apples is as profitable as anything which the land will produce.
The following are good kinds for planting: Early Golden Sweet, Hog Island Sweet, Ramsdell Sweet, Pound or Pumpkin Sweet, Tolman's Sweet, Peach Pond Sweet, &c. With regard to the crops, it may be said that they are sometimes very remunerating. Examples may be given, where single trees have yielded from five to ten dollars a year in fruit. Apple trees are generally transplanted from the purseries after one year's growth, at which time they will be from three to four feet high.
Apple trees, to any amount, and of all varieties, can be had in our nurseries from 121 to 15 cents a-piece..
With regard to the peach tree, it may be said that, in some portions of this State, it may be cultivated with considerable success, while here and there, in the northern regions, it is liable to be killed by the winter. The reason for this may be attributed to the tenderness of the tree, which is of eastern origin. Some peach-growers are of opinion that seedling peach trees are more successful in their growth than those raised from buds, and that it is the better plan to continue them through seeds.
The peach is considered rather an uncertain crop in North Illinois. The failures of crops usually arise from the winter killing of the fruitbuds.
A dry soil, containing but few organic substances, seems to be best adapted for peach trees. Mr. Harkness, a farmer in Peoria County, who, from his personal experience, knows the results of the fruit-crops in that portion, during more than twenty years, thinks that the peach tree, when cultivated, is not sufficiently cared for, and that it is not always planted in a sufficiently sheltered situation; therefore its blossoms will sometimes freeze in early spring. It is, however, not only the spring frost, but also a certain degree of severe frost during the winter, which is injurious to the peach tree, but if no damage of such kind has been done to the trees, they are sure to yield very full and abundant crops; and this will be still more the case if there be some little cultivation on such peach lands, in a bearing year; the cultivation needed, is a loosening and stirring up of the ground a little in the early part of the summer. Young trees often commence to bear in their third year. The peach, more than any other kind of tree, cau stand great drought. .
There are but few farmers who are entirely without peach trees, and they are found both wild and grafted. The principal varieties known in Illinois, are : 1. The Clingstone, or Plum Peach, which is juicy, aromatic, and hard. 2. The Freestone Peach, white, with a loose stone; and 3, the Nectarine, lum-like, with a smooth skin ; very delicious, but a little difficult to raise.
Although the pear is not frequently seen in this State, it may, in some districts, be found as large, as fine flavored, and as perfect in every respect, as anywhere in the United States. The pear, we know from good authority, to bave certainly been reared in western nurseries, some fifty years ago, and even for a longer time. Some men are not in favor of growing pears, from the mere prejudiced opinion that they do not promise a crop sufficiently profitable to make it worth while to cultivate this fruit. There is certainly much truth in the assertion, that the trunks and larger branches of the pear tree are frequently affected by the blight, and that then a large portion of the standard pear trees, which have come into bearing, are swept away. Those which have been but partly destroyed, will sometimes revive and begin to bear again. For planting, one should be careful to select a place where the soil is not too dry, and heavy rather than too light and too mellow; the trunks and roots should then be well screened from the influence of the heat, at noon. As manure, urine, soapwater, bones, ashes, etc., may be used. As a reason for the dying of the trees, carelessness in the treatment has been alleged, and a farmer whom we met, said that the destruction is caused by a neglect in the proper setting and trimming, and insufficient protection from insects. Good varieties of pears are not much found in our markets, and comparatively high prices are paid for them, on account of their scarcity;