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Bebotei to atarfcuIture, jgorttcuIture, ani the ©ousehoHr arts.
Agriculture is the nursing mother of the Tillage anr*>asturage are the two breasts Arts.—Xenophon. of the Stile.—Sully.
FRANK: G. RUFFIN, Editor.
P. D. BERNARD, Proprietor.
RICHMOND, JANUARY, 1852.
For the Southern Planter.
Mr. Editor,—By an order of the Hole and Corner Club of Albemarle the undersigned were appointed to write an article for your paper upon "Tobacco—its Culture and Management from the Plant Bed to the Warehouse, with an Exposition of the Comparative Profits of this Crop and other Staples."
The object of the Club being to get a full account of the management of this crop in the hands of the senior member of this committee, it is impossible so to condense what is to be said as to bring it within the limits of a single newspaper article. At your sugges- I tion, therefore, we divide it into several numbers, and begin with the varieties of tobacco, plant beds, and the preparation of the soil for the crop.
The varieties of tobacco are very numerous, a selection from which must depend upon the market proposed and the character of the soil upon which it is to be grown. On the rich lands within the range of the Club we cultivate no tobacco for manufacturing purposes, but only the heavier kinds, which are intended for foreign markets. The objects aimed at are early maturity, weight of plant, ease of culture and non-liability to accident. The varieties most in favor amongst us are Rvfjk, White Stem, Johnson, Shockoe, and the Priors, (yellow and blue.) Of these we give a most decided preference to the^Ruffleand White Stem—the former, perhaps^being the favorite of the two. HJhe Ruffle is a rich, heavy tobacco, and owing to its peculiar growth (the leaves tucking up at the end,) can be primed one leaf lower than the White Stem, and is consequently, a week earlier in ripening; while, on the other hand, the ruffle upon the stem (from which the variety takes its name,) affording a place of concealment for the hornworm, renders it more troublesome to worm than the other kinds. The White Stem is more liable to fire than the Ruffle, and the two being about equal in weight and quality of staple, it is difficult to choose between them. They are both easily injured by wind and in handling, as is the case, more or less, with all heavy tobacco, from brittleness of stem.
Of the Johnson we know personally but little. It is highly esteemed by many of our planters, particularly our friend and neighbor, Mr. Wm. Vol. XII.—1.
W. Gilmer, whose opinions upon all subjects connected with this crop are worthy of high confidence. He claims for it weight, nonliability to serious injury from storm and handling, and a great length of leaf which makes it yield a large proportion of strips.. He admits, however, the necessity of high priming to keep it out of the dirt. It bears so close a resemblance to the White Stem that it is supposed by many to be the same.
The Shockoe we believe to be nothing beat the Yellow Prior, with a reputation acquired by falling into the hands of a good manager. We class it with the two Priors, which find no favor in our eyes. They are light and trashy, and have only their toughness to recommend them. They may suit other soils, but we consider it a waste of labor to cultivate them where the other varieties mentioned will grow. •s
Saving Seed.—We turn out a few of the earliest plants on rich land for seed, priming them at the usual time, and as the plant progresses trimming off the upper leaves and shoots, leaving three or fourof the top branches for seed. From these we take off all late bloom and imperfect bowls, which, if left on, not only interfere with regular seeding, but cause the plants to "Walloon" in the beds. Seed plants are cultivated and suckered as the rest of the crop, and after frost, must be cut and hung in a dry place, out of the reach of rats, until perfectly cured, when they are ruby- red out, cleaned and bottled up for use.
Plant Beds.—Plants require a close, rich soil. In selecting land therefor care should be taken to guard against excessive wet or very dry seasons, by burning some dry and some moist beds. There is danger in depending upon swamp beds, as plants require but little moisture, while an excess of wet is fatal to them. If such locations are selected the land should be thoroughly drained the summer before the bed is burnt. The surest chance for plants is a rich mountain hollow with a southern or eastern exposure. The indications in this neighborhood of good plant land are alder and maple on low grounds, dogwood and hickory on high land. Where land is not sufficiently rich it is good policy to pen sheep upon it the summer before you propose to burn; and this may be done without injury to the flock by selecting the heat of the day in summer, at which time sheep do not graze.