Value Of Fertilizers
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
" As soon as planting is all done about one ounce of nitrate of soda is applied around each plant, care being exercised that none is put on the plants, for where it is so left it will burn them. When it is all on, the tooth cultivator is put on, and the ground cultivated both ways to mix the soda in thoroughly. Cultivation is practiced- twice each week, first one way, then the other. Not much hoeing is required if cultivating is done carefully. I generally hoe but once, although no set rule will apply. I have given as a test two applications of soda to find out if it would increase the crop, and I find that there is little, if any, advantage.
I am of the opinion that with South American guano, which contains 3 per cent nitrogen, 2 1/2 to 3 per cent potash, and about i8 per cent phosphoric acid, built up with sulphate of potash 6 to 8 per cent, is a very efficient, safe fertilizer to use. I used this on a portion of my crop last year, with no barnyard manure, and had very nice, smooth fruit, and a liberal supply. On another portion of the crop I used well-decayed barn manure, with an ounce of soda to the plant, and picked during the fruiting season continuously from this lot. At the last picking, about August 20, I picked an 11-quart basket of as fine fruit as I had at any time during the season. Further tests will have to be made to determine just what fertilizers are the best and most profitable to use on tomatoes.
" Cabbage is started under glass and moved on flats, giving it about 3 X 3 inches space, and watered once a week with manure water, to which has been added 2 to 3 pounds of guano and i of soda. If the plants need further watering during the week I give them clear water alone. Cabbage is a gross feeder, and plenty of nitrogen should be given to make good, strong plants. I am fully convinced that a week to ten days can be gained in earliness of the crop if the plants are strong to begin with in the field. The soil should be very rich, well cultivated and conditioned before planting, and immediately after planting soda should be applied around each plant to the amount of at least one-half ounce, and hoed or cultivated in with a fine-toothed cultivator.
" In the course of a week I generally sprinkle about the same quantity of soda in the rows again around the plants, but a little farther away from the stem. Again, about June 1, another sprinkling of about 200 pounds to the acre is made in the centers of the rows and cultivated in at once, or cultivating may be omitted if a shower is on when applying. This dissolves the soda and carries it to the roots quickly.
" One year when my Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage was the finest I ever grew no manure was used, but a light coating was given the previous season for a melon crop, and before planting the cabbage a sowing of guano was made and the soil harrowed several times to mix or pulverize thoroughly. The plants were put in rows 3 feet apart and 2 feet in the row. Nitrate of soda was sown in the rows and cultivated, and in ten days another sowing was made during a light shower. These last-mentioned sowings would amount to about 15o pounds an acre at each sowing.
"Cucumbers and muskmelons are started under glass, the seed being sown in flats, and when in the third leaf are moved into other flats or pots as desired. The soil for these pots is composed of good garden soil, with the addition of about one-third its bulk of well-rotted horse droppings well mixed. Careful watering is required to keep up a steady and uniform growth. At planting time the pots are full of roots and ready to grow without interruption, weather conditions being favorable. I plant in the field about June 10. The soil should have bad a good coating of well-rotted manure, or a clover crop turned under and well harrowed down. Growth can be forced by the application oft ounce of soda well worked into the soil around, but not close to the plant."