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interfere with the coming crop that is not up; so that, in that way, the first growth of weeds is destroyed with very little trouble. You can go over an acre of ground with a drag which will drag a space eight feet wide in a very short time; and it does perfect work, and leaves the ground in very nice condition for the coming up of the crop that is to follow.
I did not intend to take the time of this meeting. I know there are men here of very great experience and wisdom in the growing of these crops. I wish they would tell us the facts that they know. We farmers generally, in our experience, get hold of something that our neighbor does not ; and some of us, perhaps, keep it to ourselves, while others are very willing to enlighten their neighbors. Now, at this meeting, if any of my brother-farmers bave got something that they have found out, although it may be worth dollars to them, I hope they will let us have it.
Mr. MURRAY. I would like to inquire if the gentleman ever tried air-slacked lime to destroy smut on the onion-crop. I have tried it myself, and have always been very successful, putting on a good coating of air-slacked lime before the onion-seed was sown.
I have seen it done even as long ago as when I was a boy.
Mr. WARE. I have had no experience in that particular.
Mr. HILL of Arlington. I heard Mr. Ware's lecture last winter, when he made the same statement that he has made to-day, - that it was not safe to undertake to raise onions upon a field where the smut had made its appearance. I had one corner of a large onion-field that was infected with smut last year; and, on listening to him, I thought I could not raise any onions there. But I put in the seed this year, and I did not see one leaf that showed any symptom or sign of smut. I had as good an onion-crop as I ever had. I think it must be something peculiar to him. I supposed I should have no success the present season; but I had a good crop where it was almost a perfect failure the year before on account of the smut.
In regard to mildew on lettuce: I do not think that is accounted for by the condition of the weather. We used to go through the same kind of seasons when we raised lettuce years ago as we do now, and I think we used to cultivate it in the same way; and for years I never saw any signs of
mildew. I do not think that the changes of weather have any thing to do with the potato-rot. We must have had the same peculiarities of climate and weather that we have now, as long ago as when I was a boy, when the potato-rot was unknown. I think the gentleman is entirely wrong in his theory.
Mr. WETHERELL of Boston. I rise to ask a question of Mr. Ware touching the potato-rot; and I wish to give a fact on which I predicate the inquiry. A farmer in Hadley told me that he raised a crop of potatoes in this wise: one half the field was manured with barnyard-manure, and the other half with the stems of tobacco, cut up, and used as manure in the hill; and the part where he used the manure rotted badly, while the part where he used the tobacco-stems did not rot at all : and, inasmuch as the same atmosphere overhung both sides of the field alike, if it was filled with spores, as we are told, why did not the spores affect the crop where the tobacco was used, as well as the crop where the barnyardmanure was used? And, furthermore, I would ask the gentleman whence come those spores that he speaks of, that float in the atmosphere.
Mr. WARE. In the first place, I will suggest an answer to Mr. Hill. I know that, a number of years ago, the potatorot was not known in this country. The probability is, that the variety of fungus that produces the potato-rot had not then been introduced into this country. It is a vegetable growth; and there are a number of varieties of fungi, and that peculiar variety which produces the potato-rot very likely had not been introduced into this country at that time. With regard to the crop of potatoes, where one part was planted with tobacco, and the other with manure, I would like to know if the gentleman knows that both parts of the field came forward alike. Did the manure force the crop along a little more rapidly than the tobacco-stems, or did the tobacco-stems force the crop to come forward a little before the manured part ? If there was any difference in either coming forward, when that part of the crop that was manured with barnyard-manure was in just the right condition, probably we had the kind of weather that was particularly adapted to the propagation of the spores that produce the potato-rot. If that was not the case, I can only say that I suppose tobacco
is just as repugnant to the spores of the potato-rot as it is
Mr. WETHERELL. I have only to say, in reply, that both parts of the field were just about an even thing in their growth; so that I do not think there is any force in that suggestion.
Mr. W. C. STRONG of Brighton. I rise, not because I pretend to know much about mildew; but I wish to express my pleasure that Professor Farlow is to lecture on this subject. I believe that he will be able to give us a good deal of information, and that the members of this Board will profit very much indeed, if they will remain to hear that lecture. I think, after hearing that lecture, they will doubtless have different opinions in regard to the potato-rot, and upon this subject generally. I think it is one of the most important subjects that is now arresting attention. I think that mildew, or fungus-growth, is very much more extensive than we have any idea of. It is not limited to the potato; it is not limited to the lettuce and onion, and the other things that have been alluded to this afternoon; but it extends throughout the whole vegetable kingdom. We shall find that our forest-trees are being injured year by year by fungi. I have no doubt whatever, notwithstanding what has been said, that the potato-disease is caused by a fungus, and that the blight or rot of the potato comes from the same cause. I think that Professor Farlow has made it clear almost to demonstration that the two are connected, and are caused by parasitic growth. The more recent investigations, in regard not merely to the vegetable kingdom, but to the animal kingdom, show that fungi are the cause of disease and death, not only in the vegetable, but in the animal kingdom. The germ-theory of disease has now become an accepted theory; and we are inclined to believe that most of the contagious diseases to which humanity is exposed are caused by fungus, vegetable growths.
So far as I have had experience with fungus-growths, I have found that sulphuric-acid gas is almost a sovereign remedy. In the greenhouse the use of sulphur in various forms, dissolved in lime, or in the form of a mild gas, - that is, not sulphuric-acid gas, but the mildest form, - is almost a specific for mildew upon grapes. It will arrest the growth of this
fungus upon the leaves, and destroy it completely. I believe that experiments have proved that the use of sulphur is one of the best remedies that can be devised. In the open vineyard, it is well known that dusting the foliage with sulphur, or syringing the foliage with diluted sulphur-water, sulphur dissolved by means of quicklime, is a remedy. I think, in various instances, sulphur is one of the very best remedies. In the propagating-bed, when the sand becomes impregnated with the spores of fungus, it is a good plan to dry the sand thoroughly, to bake it, and so exterminate all the seeds of this minute vegetable growth. If we had instruments by which we could examine more carefully, we should find that our vegetables and our plants are infested with fungus-growth oftentimes when we suppose they are perfectly healthy. I was surprised this year to notice upon the leaves of a peartree, apparently perfectly healthy, the minutest fungusgrowth, developing rapidly, and probably causing, very soon after, the blight with which we are all familiar. I would not say “very soon after." I think it may exist a considerable time before we are aware of it. I know that this growth is upon our coniferous plants, as well as upon our broad-leaved plants.
Before I sit down, I again wish to urge the members of this Board to be present at the lecture of Professor Farlow. I have no knowledge of what his theme will be; but I am sure that it will be a profitable one, because I am very confident he is one of the most promising scientific men of the country, and I think he will, at the present time, rank among the very foremost observers of the world.
QUESTION. The gentleman speaks of dissolving sulphur with quicklime. It strikes me that must be a very good thing, and I would like to ask him what proportions he uses.
Mr. STRONG. I am sorry that I am not able to state the exact proportions. I usually take a peck of quicklime, with from one to two pounds of sulphur. That will give a very strong solution of sulphur, which is diluted by a considerable quantity of water. I am sorry I am not able to give the proportions. I do it by my eye, and judge of the strength. It is possible to burn the foliage with a very strong solution of sulphur; and yet I have never found any difficulty.
It is a very inexpensive remedy. I have used it freely in the open
vineyard, syringing an acre of vines with this solution, and have found it produce a most important effect, though, of course, the seeds are propagated with wonderful rapidity, and in favorable weather the mildew is continued, and it will be necessary to make repeated applications; and, even then, I do not say it is a sovereign remedy.
Mr. MURRAY. In regard to the preparation of sulphur •with lime: I have used it for a great many years, more than forty years, at least; and I will state to the gentleman exactly how I have always prepared it. I take about half a peck of flour of sulphur; then I go and get quite a large lump of lime, a solid lump, probably as much as would go into a halfpeck measure. Without breaking it at all, I lay that in the centre of the bottom of a tub that I always keep for that purpose. I then take half a peck of sulphur, and lay it exactly over the lime, covering it all up. I then pour a pail of boiling water gently over the sulphur and lime, and it immediately begins to boil. I keep doing that until I have used three pails of boiling water; and the moment the third pail is put on, I commence stirring it with a stick, and continue stirring it until every thing is completely dissolved, and nothing is to be seen on the surface but the clear liquid. Then, after it has cooled, I always strain the liquid, and put it in either a glass or stone jug, - glass is decidedly the best, - and cork it tight. When I want to use it upon grapevines in the house, when there is an appearance of mildew, I take about half a pint of that clear liquid, and put it into a common water-pail of water, and syringe the vines with that; and, as Mr. Strong says, I will guarantee a perfect cure for mildew. It immediately vanishes. It is a very simple thing; but very few people seem to understand how to prepare it. I have prepared it so often, that I feel perfectly capable of giving an explanation to any gentleman here who has never used it. I have kept it several years, and it was just as good at the end of four or five years as it was the first year.
QUESTION. I have been very much pleased with the answer, and I would like to ask another question. This year, and every year, my cabbages have been covered with a sort of bluish-colored insect. I would like to know whether this liquid would be a remedy for that trouble. It looks