REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE EXPERIMENTAL FARM.
Sir: When I was appointed to take charge of this place, in September, I
found the southwest square and the southeast square had been manured and
planted with a variety of seeds and roots. The other portions of the ground
hid been ploughed several times, and a large quantity of first class manure from
the government stables had been applied as a top dressing, and subsequently
ploughed in. The grounds have been divided into six different lots, a drive
going round the whole, and cutting across at two places, with one centre drive,
so that all the several lots are of easy access. The land generally is of a clayey
nature, with a slight admixture of sand, and had not been ploughed and cultivated for a long period before it was granted to the Department of Agriculture.
The soil, naturally tenacious, had been trampled by many cattle while used as
a government corral, and the action of the hot sun made it very hard to break
up; but with constant stirring and the application of large quantities of well
fermented manure, combined with the exposure of as large a surface as possible
to the elements, it has become very friable and easily managed. The two south squares are of a more sandy nature, and are better adapted for growing vegetables than any of the other lots. There were no buildings on the place but a small office, but there has since been erected a good five-stalled stable for horses
also a seed-room and tool-house, and attached to the main building there is a
cart and wagon shed, also a yard in which the Angora goats are kept. A suitable office of two apartments has been erected at a convenient distance from the
other buildings. The several kinds of grain and grasses which had been sown
turned out remarkably well, considering the lateness of their planting and the
condition of the soil. The sorghum was a fine crop, and from the small quantity sown there was raised two barrels of very fine, pure seed. Seventy-seven
kinds of potatoes had been planted, fifty of them seedlings from Germany. The
seedlings did not all come to proper maturity, but those which did were selected
for further experiment. Some of the other varieties did very well, especially
Goodrich Early, and a kind called the Orono Unrivalled; this last yielded immensely, and seems to luxuriate in this climate and soil. When the potatotes
were dug, they were all pitted in the open air; first covered with six inches of straw, afterwards with twelve inches of earth, and then thatched with straw
again, and during very severe frost a covering of fresh horse-manure was added,
but removed on the return of thaw. All the potatoes kept well in this way and
were in a fine condition when opened in spring. A small portion of land was sown with buckwheat, called Silver-skinned, the whole of which was saved for
the purpose of sowing a greater breadth next season, as the kind is a very valuable one, being«a much clearer and thinner skinned variety than the usual kind
in cultivation, and quite as prolific. Two acres of corn were sown for fodder;
it grew very rapidly and produced an immense quantity of forage, which was
well cured and fed to the horses all winter.
The clovers, of which two varieties were sown, have taken with the ground
well. The Alfafa or Chili clover grows very luxuriantly in the early part of
the season, but dues not withstand drought so well as the Alsike clover. The
Alsike is perennial in its nature, and will prove a great acquisition to this country, as it produces a very abundant crop, and is likely to suit this climate.
Among this clover was found a millet, which appears to be a new variety, as
there is nothing of the same kind in cultivation in this quarter. The millet from the Crimea is also a very valuable variety. It produces an immense
amount of foliage, and grows about four feet high. There was a small yellow
corn from southern Russia, which seems to be of considerable value, as it ripens
in ninety days from the period of planting. All the seed is carefully saved for
further experiment. There was also a very small bean from Russia, more like
a pea than a bean in shape, which deserves especial attention. When first sown,
it comes up very slowly; and when other beans, sown at the same period, are
beginning to flower, this one has not made much show; but gradually it develops itself and spreads along the ground, covering a great breadth with a perfect mass of rich, dark green, luxuriant foliage, and producing an immense
quantity of pods, which are generally about five inches long. The small area
of ground experimented with produced at the rate of forty-two bushels per acre.
Next season it will be more extensively cultivated.
In the early part of September, the middle west square was ploughed twice
and dragged before sowing with wheat. When the quantities were large, the
seed was sown broadcast; but when the quantities were small, which was the
case in all but two instances, the seed was drilled at 13½ inches between the
rows. Sowing was begun on the 15th of the month, and all the seed sown
came up very rapidly, and very soon covered the ground. In fact, some of the
kinds made too much headway, as the severe frost killed many of the finest
sorts. The following is a list of the kinds of wheat experimented with:
Nursery Wheat, Sole's Winter, Reid's White, Eastern Prussian Scheffell, Western Prussian Scheffell, Frumento Andriolo Esastico Rosso, (Froment Renfle
Glabre et Blanc,) Frumento Andriolo Esastico Bianco, (Froment Petanielle
Rouge et Glabre,) Frumento Rosso Collo Barbu, (Froment d'Odessa Rouge Barbee,) Granone Winter, Arnautka, Hallett's Pedigree, Tappahannock, Prussia No. 1, Prussia No. 2, seven varieties no name, (from Prussia,) Blue Stone,
Sherriff's White Bearded, Premium White Mediterranean from Port Mahon, Red
Bearded Mediterranean, Fenton, Trump [not to be confused with a more recent Trump-Wheat. The old variety is said to do best when grown with a Russian yellow peas.-ASC], Red Chaff, Hopetown, Tauntondean,
Tasmanian, Amber, English Wooley Eared, Chinese, Australian, Golden Drop,
Rough Chaff, Chiddam, Blue Cone or Rivetts, Sandomir, Small Cujavish, Sherriff's Red Bearded, Browick Red, Spaulding's Prolific, Red Nursery, Red Thick
set, Clover's Red, Red Lammas, Clever Highland, Hard or Horny, Kessingland,
Flickling's Hallett's Genealogical, Welch, numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, Puget
Sound, Weddell's, Oxford, Nairn Peige, A. Bell's, Champion, Wunder, Blue
Jacquin, Golden Swan, Vilmorin's, Dorking's Glory, Essex White, Drowed's,
Talavera, Piper's Thickset, Blue Refford, Tall Cluster, Algier, Flickling's Prolific, Brodie's, John Dunn's, A. Hay's, Old Red, Hunter's White, John Stevens', Schonermark's, Weizacker Winter, Nottingham Red, Eley's Reissen,
Eclipse Dwarf, Baxter's, Archer's Prolific, Canadischer, Club Headed, Grinnell's, Lammas, Red Chili, Black Sea.
Gherica, April Red Bearded, Arnautka Hard, Oregon, Summer Spelt, Fernor
The wheat crop generally, on this place, has been very good, with the exception of some of the varieties which did not stand the winter, and some kinds
received too late, and in such small quantities that their merits were not sufficiently tested. On the 15th of September, sowed two ridges of red bearded
Mediterranean wheat, and two ridges of premium white Mediterranean wheat,
from Port Mahon, both of which came up in four days, and, in consequence of
the fine, open weather which prevailed before frost set in, they made a very
fine appearance. Ou the 9th of October a sowing of both of the above kinds
was again made; they also came up well, but not so rapidly as the first sown
lots. During the winter, the first or September sowing of the premium white
Mediterranean wheat withstood the winter very badly, and during the severe
frost in the month of January, it was entirely killed; whereas the same wheat
sown in October withstood the winter much better than the red bearded Mediterranean wheat, kept ahead the whole season, and was harvested on the 27th
of June. This seems to be a wheat well adapted to this climate, large berry,
well filled and thin skinned; produced forty-eight bushels per acre. The red
bearded Mediterranean wheat sown in October did not stand the severe frost so
well as the same kind sown in September, showing that the best period for sowing the red bearded Mediterranean wheat is September, and for the premium
white Mediterranean, from Port Mahon, is October. The Tappahannock wheat
has been the earliest of all the varieties experimented with, although it does
not seem to be so productive as some of the other kinds; still the fine quality
of the grain, and its earliness, is very much to be regarded, as an early variety
is much less liable to disease and other contingencies. Some of the kinds
which promised to be fine crops when growing, turned out very coarse samples.
Some of the spring wheats are remarkable for their productiveness and early
maturity. The Arnautka hard spring wheat, April red bearded wheat, and
Black Sea wheat, are about the best, sown from the 12th to the 29th of March,
and harvested 10th of July.
The following varieties, mostly from Prussia, have done very well. The kind
called Eldenaer Bastard rye is very peculiar—more like wheat than rye, very
large and thin-skinned:
Probstier rye, rye from the city of Tirnia, in Saxony, Spanish Double, Corren's, John's Day, Seelander, Champagner, Eldenaer Bastard, Mandschure, Riesen
Standen, Shortheaded Oorren Standen, Poland, San Joaquin, Bushy Summer, from Saxony.
A few winter oats were sown in the fall, but they did not withstand the sudden frosts and thaws to which they were exposed. The following kinds were
sown in March, and all drilled in at 13½ inches between the rows. This was a
very favorable season for oats, and those experimented with were all good but
Potato oats, (from R. L. Dorr, Danville, New York.) Hopetown Potato, (from
England,) Black Prussian, Great Flag, Cumberland, White Swedish, Yellow Lithuania, White Tartarian, Black Tartarian, Black Poland, Dyoick's Early, Nun's,
Berlie, Blainslie, Late Angus, Early Angus.
Barley requires a colder and more humid climate than this to promote its early
growth; although some of the varieties grown did pretty well, still there was a
shortness of straw which was against its weight considerably. The varieties
grown are all first class of their kind when raised in England. The Hertfordshire Hero barley never came into ear at all. The following kinds have been
Chevalier barley, Hudson Golden Melon, Moldavian, Thanet, Hertfordshire
Hero, Golden Dfbp, Brewer's Delight, Page's Prolific, Peruvian, Great, Laland,
The last mentioned barley is grown very extensively on the low, formerly
swamp lands of the valley of the Oder, but which were drained during the reign
of Frederick the Great, and has since produced the very best barley known on
the continent of Europe. It is a very favorite variety for the porter brewers of
England, and for which they pay a very high price. The sample experimented
with, of this variety, was very small, and the season was too far advanced before
it was received to test it properly. It, however, came up vigorously, and appears to be of robust growth, but had not time to mature.
Four kinds of rice from Japan were sown; the seed must have got heated, or,
perhaps, was too old, as none of it ever germinated.
Four varieties of sorghum have been grown, viz: red sorghum, sugar, black
and rod, all from Shantung; the other is sorghum imported from China. They
have all been planted as far separate as possible, so as to preserve the different
kinds from hybridizing. They all look well, especially the first three varieties,
and seem to be something new.
About seventy varieties of peas were sown, four feet apart in the row, on the
game kind of rand, and all about the same date. The whole did well except a
few from Germany, which were in very small lots and did not appear to be of
any merit The following kinds were grown:
Early Sugar peas, Sugar, Green Dwarf Market, Knight's Dwarf Market,
Dwarf Smooth •Honey Market, Early Dwarf Market, Early English Crooked
"White Flowered, Pole, Green Mammoth, Small Mammoth, Large Mammoth,
Dwarf Blue Imperial, Tom Thumb, Bishop's Early Dwarf, McLean's Little
Gem, Philadelphia Extra Early, Emperor or Morning Star, Dwarf Sugar, Early
Frame, Daniel O'Rourke, Deacon's Double Extra Early, New Early Telegraph,
Veitch's Perfection, Eugenie or Alliance, Champion of England, Napoleon or
Climax, Blackeyed Marrow, White-eyed Marrow, Evergreen Marrow, Beck's
Gem, McLean's Epicurean, McLean's Princess of Wales, Bedman's Imperial,
McLean's Premier, the Yorkshire Hero, Small Prussian, Saxton's Prolific,
Carter's "first crop," Sutton's Long-podded Tom Thumb, Scimitar, Harrison's
Glory, King of the Marrow, Dickson's Favorite, Warner's Emperor, Beck's
Prizetaker, British Queen, Ne Plus Ultra, McLean's Princess Royal, Bishop's
Long-podded Dwarf, Dickson's First and Best Early, Wheeler's First Early,
Hair's Dwarf Mammoth, Knight's Tall Green Marrow, Advancer, Surprise,
Early Green Marrow, Wonderful. Sangster's No. 1, Competitor, Wonder of the
World, the Washington, White Russian, Partridge, Common Gray, Flack's
Victory, Denyer's General Havelock, Champion of Scotland, Fairhead's Excelsior, Magdeburg Gold, Spanish peas from Port Mahon, Naples.
Dickson's "First and Best Early" pea is superior to any of the peas experimented with for earliness, productiveness, and general good qualities. The pod
of this pea was longer than any of the other early sorts, and was uniformly filled
with large well developed peas. Sown 24th March, bloomed 10th May, and
was ready for picking on 28th May.
Carter's "First Crop" is a very early pea, height 2½ feet, not quite so productive as Dickson's "First and Best" pea, but has the advantage of ripening all its
pods about the same time. Sown March 21st, bloomed 8th May, and ready for
picking 28th May.
Wheeler's "First Early" pea, said to be earlier by one week than "Daniel
O'Rourke" or "Sangster's No. 1," but did not prove so here; although a very
good early pea, resembling Carter's "First Crop" pea very much, not quite so
productive as " Sangster's No. 1." Sown 24th March, bloomed 9th May, and
was picked 29th same month.
Sangster's No. 1, a synonym of Daniel O'Rourke, height 3½ to 4 feet, very
nearly as productive as Dickson's "First and Best Early" pea, strong habit,
and early. Sown 24th March, bloomed 10th May, ready for picking on 29th
McLean's "Little Gem" pea, a dwarf, prolific, green wrinkled marrow pea,
is a great acquisition; having a fine flavor, sugary, early, and requires no stakes,
growing about 14 inches high. Sown 20th March, bloomed 10th May, and was
ready for picking 10th June.
Of second early peas, Advancer, Warner's Emperor, Ne Plus Ultra,
McLean's Epicurean, McLean's Princess of Wales, McLean's Premier, Saxton's
Prolific, Magdeburg Gold, The Yorkshire Hero, and Dickson's Favorite are all
good, and come in soon after the more early varieties, being all good bearers,
and suitable for general cropping.
Thirteen kinds of the long-pod Windsor bean, and four varieties of horse
beans, were planted. Very few of them ever came to any perfection, being entirely destroyed by insects, and the climate generally being too hot and dry for
them. The kidney bean comprises the several sorts grown, viz:
Early Six Weeks, White Kidney, China Red Eye, Newington Wonder,
Early Valentine, Robin's Egg Dwarf Kidney, Cream-colored Dwarf Kidney,
Canadian Dwarf Yellow, Common Brown Haricot, Variegated Dwarf, White Haricot, Dwarf White Sugar Pearl, Negro Long-podded French, Thousandfold Dwarf White, Dwarf White Kidney, Black and White Sugar, White Bush, Paris Sugar Dwarf, Dwarf Yellow Sugar, Large White Lima, Horticultural, Black Mexican, and five kinds without names.
White Kidney Pole Bean, Arabian White Flowered, Variegated Runner, Black Stake, Scarlet Runner, and Arabian Colored Runner.
GRASSES AND CLOVERS.
About three acres were seeded down with timothy the first week in October.
It came up very regularly, and the land being in good condition, it made a fine
start before frost. The winter was very severe, and in the spring its appearance
for a crop was very indifferent; but it gradually tillered out, and in the month
of June there was cut and cured about eight tons of splendid hay. The aftermath has grown tolerably, and produced about two and a half tons of good hay.
The Alsike clover and Alfafa, or Chili clover, both produced good crops of a
succulent and nutritious nature. The Alfafa, when young, would make a very
fine feed for foiling cattle, but it has a tendency to grow very woody and hard
when allowed to mature. The Alsike, on the contrary, keeps green and luxuriant up to its period of ripening, and has not the same tendency to get hard
and fibry. The other grasses sown are as follows:
Medicago lupulino, Trifolium filiforme, Trifolium repens, Trifolium incarnatum, Onobrychis sativa, Apium petroselinum, Cynosurus cristatus, Plantago
lanceolata, Festuca duriuscula, Festuca pratensis, Festuca ovina, Festuca
tenuifolia, Festuca elatior, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Alopecurus pratensia.
Poa pratensis, Poa trivialis, Poa nemoralis, Poa annua, Bromus Schraderi.
Dactylis glomerata, Avena Flavescens, Evergreen rye-grass, Ayrshire perennial grass, Pacey's Perennial grass, Esparset, Pimpernell grass, Franz Raygrass, Black Nonesuch or yellow clover, yellow suckling clover, white clover,
scarlet crimson or Italian clover, sainfoin, sheep parsley, crested dogstail, ribgrass, hard Fescue grass, meadow Fescue grass, sheep's Fescue, fine-leaved
Fescue, tall Fescue, sweet-scented vernal, meadow foxtail, smooth-stalked
meadow, rough-stalked meadow, annual meadow (from Australia,) orchard
grass, yellowish oat grass, burr clover, cocksfoot grass, English Italian rye
grass, clover from Richmond or Turkey clover, soft hairy cockle grass.
Eighteen varieties of cabbage have been grown, viz:
Little Pixie, Early Dwarf York, Nonpariel, Early Emperor, Sugar Loaf,
Couve Tronchuda, Carter's Matchless, Imperial Oxheart, Extra Fine Red,
Shilling's Queen, McEwan's Early, Enfield Market, Wheeler's Imperial, Fearnought, White Cwt., Robinson's Champion Drumhead, Winningstadt, Red Pickling.
Little Pixie, Early Dwarf York, Early Emperor, Carter's Matchless, and
Imperial Oxheart, are the five earliest of the above-named varieties. All were
sown in the drill March 31, never transplanted, and were fit for table 22d
June. Little Pixie is very small, but makes a compact head early. Early Emperor forms a good large firm head, but the best of the five was Carter's Matchless, having the largest and best formed head of any of those experimented with. Several of the others are very good, but later, especially Robinson's Champion Drumhead, which grows to an immense size.
The following kinds have been tested:
Feather Stem Savoy, Dwarf Ulm, Dwarf Green Curled, Drumhead.
The Dwarf Ulm Savoy is the earliest and decidedly the best. The Drumhead is also very good.
Fourteen varieties of lettuce have been tested.
Snow's Matchless, Hardy Hammersmith, Moor Park, and Neapolitan are the best
and much deserving of further experiment. Wheeler's Tom Thumb is very
good, said to be, by the raiser of the seed imported, the smallest, prettiest
and finest flavored lettuce in cultivation. It has proved itself to be so here. Some of the others are tolerably good, but not equal to those mentioned.
Thirteen sorts of onions have been grown, viz:
James Keeping, White Globe, Brown Globe, Brown Portugal, White Portugal, White Spanish, Giant Madeira, Nuneham Park, White Lisbon, Danvers New Yellow, Silver Skinned, Red Italian Tripoli, Blood Red.
The onions were sown on the 29th of March, the seed being drilled in three
feet apart. They were kept clear of weeds, and the earth constantly stirred
with horse hoes and cultivators all summer. The Giant Madeira, White Lisbon, and Red Italian Tripoli have yielded immensely; the others have turned
out tolerably well, but are not so large in size. Specimens of the Giant Madeira weigh 1¼ pound, White Lisbon 12 ounces, and Red Italian Tripoli 14
ounces, respectively. All of the different kinds of seeds not enumerated in any
of the above lots, but tested here, have turned out, with few exceptions, to be very
good. Some of them require to be harvested before much can be said regarding
their merits. About thirty-six varieties of seeds were received from Japan.
They were all put into the ground, but scarcely one-half of the different kinds
came up. There is something very peculiar in the most of those which have
grown, and all are evidently new varieties unknown in this country.
There is a cucumber which beats anything grown on the grounds here, for
size and productiveness; all the seeds of this kind are being carefully preserved
for distribution. Some of the beans promise to be good, but they are not far
enough advanced to judge of them sufficiently. There were several varieties
of seeds sown which came from Vienna; among them is a white curled endive,
which is one of the finest grown. It seems to do well here, and is much superior to the others. There are also six varieties of radishes growing, and there
is a white variety called the white monthly radish which is very fine, and pronounced by those who have tested its qualities to be superior to anything they
have ever tasted. There are four varieties of Kohlrabi, which are quite distinct
from the common English kinds, seeming to be of much finer quality, and likely
to be better adapted for domestic purposes.
Several varieties of tomatoes have been tested, but the Tilden, and Carter's
Yellow tomato from London, England, are the best. The Tilden merits all that has been said about it by those who have recommended it to public notice;
but Carter's Yellow far surpasses it in richness and quality of flesh. Seed of
this kind is being carefully saved for further experiment.
Forty-three varieties of potatoes are being tested. Eight of them are directly
from the celebrated growers of seedling potatoes, viz., Messrs. Paterson & Son.
Dundee, Scotland, and are named, respectively, Paterson's Early, Paterson's
Blue, Paterson's Victoria, Paterson's Scotch Blue, Paterson's Alexandra, Paterson's Regent, Paterson's Napoleon, Paterson's Red. These, all have great
reputations in their native country, but time will develop what they will do
here. They look very well and appear to yield good crops here also. The
other varieties are very promising and are likely to turn out well. When they
are gathered, the ground will be measured, and the quantity produced of each
particular kind will be weighed, so that an estimate of their produce per acre
may be ascertained. The Goodrich Early keeps ahead of any of the varieties
tested, for earliness, although the Samaritan is not far behind it, but does not
yield as largely.
Upwards of thirty kinds of cantaloupes and watermelons have been tested.
Among the cantaloupes and muskmelons, particularly, there is one from Spain,
which has been very much regarded as superior to anything hitherto grown in
this country. There is also one called Michies's netted muskmelon, a very
superior variety. Several of those from Buenos Ayres and Port Mahon are very
good also. The watermelons were late planted, but notwithstanding the coolness of the season they have grown amazingly. There is a watermelon from
China which puts all the others in the shade for sweetness, firmness of flesh,
and general good qualities; the seed of this kind is perfectly white. There are
also some from Russia which have grown well and are very good, having a
very thin rind, and the flesh firm and solid.
Several kinds of pumpkins and squashes have also been planted, but at this
time have not sufficiently matured to speak of them definitely. [These aren't melons. -ASC]
One kind of tobacco [OK, why is tobacco in the Melons section? -ASC] was grown which was sent to you from Turkey, without
any name, but which, from its appearance while growing, resembles the Latakia
tobacco. It is quite different from any of the known varieties of tobacco grown
in this country. It does not produce such an amount of leave s as some of the
others—the leaves being wider apart on the stem—but they are much thinner
and finer in quality. All the seed has been carefully saved off this lot, and will
be distributed from the department.
On a place like this, where so many varieties of seeds have been tested, it is
almost impossible to arrive at a fair conclusion with one year's experiments;
but by carefully comparing the different qualities of each separate variety, and
experimenting in succeeding years with those known to be good, and comparing them with new varieties, a more reliable opinion will be arrived at, and also
better methods of managing and securing the different kinds of seeds, so that
only those which can be relied on will be secured; as it is almost impossible on
so limited a space to keep some kinds from hybridizing.
Hon. I. Newton.