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Agriculture History


 Pennsylvania Agricultural Society
First Exibition of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society (1823)
The Second Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society  (1824)

Agriculture News
Giant Radishes (1822)
How to Use Salsafy (1829)
Vineyards in Pennsylvania (1824)
How to Preserve Hams in 1830

Advise and Methods
Growing Millet for Hay and Grain for Bread (1822)
A New Method of Heading Cabbages in the Winter (1822)
Manufacture of Castor Oil (1823)
Cheat, Naked Barley, Field Pea, Grape and Other Vines (1823)
Preserving Apples (1823)
Horse Ointment (1823)
Method of Tanning Hides (1824)
Dying With Poke Berry Juice (1824)
Preventing Skippers in Bacon (1824)
Soaking Seed Corn to Prevent Worm Destruction (1826)
How to Raise the Nap on Cloth (1827)

Advise and Methods

Growing Millet for Hay and Grain for Bread

Gettysburg Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
October 9, 1822 Page 4

An article on the subject of Miller in the Watchman of the 6th inst., being in some particulars erroneous, we have been furnished by Mr. William Warner, with the following correct statement of facts. As we conceive it to be a very interesting subject, we think the editors of newspapers would subserve the farming interest generally by giving it as wide spread a circulation as possible - and every farmer who receives a paper containing the article, ought to preserve the same, in order to try the experiment.

Wilmington Watchman.

On the 5th of May last, I sowed half a bushel of Millet seed on an acre and one quarter of ground, which I had manured for the purpose. About the 28th of July following, when the heads were yellow and the stalks and blades green, I had it cut. It produced three tons of hay which my horses east with as much avidity as they would the best upland. It yielded 30 ½ bushels of clean seed, exclusive of what was left in the sheaves, weighing 49 ½ pounds per bushel.

When manufactured into flour it makes a cake equally palatable as buck wheat, and I believe more whole wholesome. By not mowing it till the seeds are ripe, all the advantages derivable from the seed will accrue to the farmer, and the hay will be equally good if not better than if cut earlier. I think I sowed mine rather too thin. I am informed, and from the experiment I made, I believe correctly, that it will produce more and better both hay and grain if 3 pecks or one bushel of seed be sown to the acre, according to the quality or strength of the ground. This crop has a great advantage over most others. It is sown and gathered at a time when it does not interfere with other work. My crop was cradles, shocked and bound, and same as wheat. It remained about five days in shock, and was thrashed in one day by two men, as it was hauled into the barn, so easy is it to thrash."

William Warner
Wilmington, Sept. 11, 1822

A New Method of Heading Cabbages in the Winter

Gettysburg Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
Wednesday, October 23, 1822 Page 1

Last fall, at the usual time of taking in Cabbages, I had a number well grown, but which had no appearance of a head. I dug a trench on the southern declivity of a hill, about 18 inches wide and 20 or 22 inches deep, and took 86 cabbages of the above description, and set them out in the bottom of the trench, in their natural position, with the roots well covered with sand: I then filled the trench with straw on each side of the cabbages and laid straw over the tops of them to prevent the sand from getting in, then placed a rail over the middle of the trench to prevent any pressure on the cabbages, and completed the work by throwing on more straw and forming a ridge of sand over the whole to keep out frost and water. In the latter part of March I opened the trench and took out the cabbages, and found each one with a common sized head, white, solid and well tasted.

Manufacture of Castor Oil

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
January 29 1823 Page 2

From the American Farmer

Mr. Skinner,

Having seen several inquiries in your valuable paper, concerning the manner of making Cold Pressed Castor Oil, to which no answer has been given, I am induced to make the following communication.

The direction of the Edinburgh Dispensatory, is to deprive the seed of their shell, (which must be useless) bruise them, put them into a hempen bag and express the oil by means of a cold press, in the same manner as linseed oil.

Not having seen an oil press, I am unable to direct how it should be constructed but suppose it very simple.

Why there should be so great a preference given to the cold pressed oil, I do not know. Many families in my neighborhood, prepare it, for their own use, by decoction, - and, on comparison, I have found it no more nauseous than the other. I have seen it two years old, without having become at all rancid, and the bottom of the bottle entirely clear from that cloudiness, which is observable in cold pressed oil of the same age.

To make it - bruise the seed, inclose them in a coarse bag, put his in a pot of water, and boil as long as any oil arises, which must be skimmed off and put into another pot, placed conveniently, to which apply a moderate heat, to evaporate the water taken off along with it, taking care not to overheat the oil, which may easily happen after all the water has been evaporated.

It is said the seed afford one fourth their weight of oil - if so, their culture must be very profitable at the present price of the article. Its value must depreciate very much, when its domestic preparation becomes more common, and this is only prevented by the unjust preference given the cold pressed oil, which cannot be so conveniently made in every family.

When the seed are freed from the shell and white skin, that covers them, and made into an amulsin, they operate in the same dose, as mildly and effectually as the oil. For every purpose, the fresh seed only should be used - those which are old are acrid, and unpleasant in their operation.

If you think these remarks would do any benefit to the public, you can publish them - tough I should be very glad if the necessity could be done away, by the subject being taken up by some one better able to do it justice.

Yours, & c.

F. - Charlotee Co., Va., Dec. 10

Cheat, Naked Barley, Field Pea, Grape and Other Vines

The Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, PA)

27 Aug 1823 Page 4

From the American Farmer

Washington, Pa., July 19, 1833

In this part of Pennsylvania, our crops, considered collectively are unusually fine. Altho' many fields of wheat were destroyed by the fly, such as escaped turn out well. It may be set down at about one fourth under an average crop. The rye may be set down at about as much above. We have not had so fine a prospect of corn for many years. Oats remarkably heavy. Grass nearly double last year's crop. The season has been uncommonly well. More rain has fallen during the last four weeks than fell the whole of the last two summers. (?)ats has produced a plentiful crop of cheat; if your friend "Plain Sense" were here, I could show him plenty in my timothy meadow, where cheat never grew. This upsets his first "premises."

One of my clover fields, where there has been neither wheat or cheat for several years, is now oat-lined cheat. A large portion of another of my clover fields is thickly set with a very troublesome article, commonly known here by the name of rag-weed. Now if "Plain Sense" will explain to me how this rag-weed got into my field, I will explain to him how the cheat got into his, without being oblidged to resort to transmutation.

I am clearly of the opinion that the cheat and the rag-weed are both produced precisely in the same way. I believe the seed was in the ground and the open and the changeable winter froze out my clover roots, and the Hessian Fly, or some other enemy, destroyed "Plain Sense's" wheat; and this furnished an opportunity for these pests to spring up. Let me here remark that nature will not be idle; and it becomes our place to keep her usefully employed, by furnishing the earth such seeds and plants as will produce the greatest quantity of wholesome and nutritious food for man and beast. I would ask the advocates fro transinutation if any of them ever saw a stalk of cheat and a stalk of wheat grow from the same root? I have frequently examined and never found this the case. I have inquired of many others and have uniformly been answered in the negative. It is somewhat singular, that the change should be always so complete, as to leave no traces or appearance of the wheat, in any of the numerous stalks that frequently grown from the same grain. I would further inform "Plain Sense," that I have frequently seen rye put in on wheat stubble, and no cheat made its appearance. I am lead to believe that the mistaken opinion that wheat actually change to cheat, arises from the circumstance of wheat being a crop more liable to failure than any other we cultivate, and thus more frequently leaves room for the cheat to take its place.

The naked barley and field pea you were so good as to send me, both turn out finely. The pea, I think, will be as suitable for the garden as the field. The Egyptian millet does not promise well. It is not now more than half the size of the common kind, and no appearance of its going to seed. I am lead to think it requires a warmer climate than ours.

I am pleased to inform you that the method recommended in the Farmer of planting the grape cuting, entirely under the ground has succeeded with me extremely well. A greater number than usual grew, and the shoots came up unusually strong. I also adopted the plan of prtecting my cucumber and melon vines by boxes covered with Millinett. I think it will answer an excellent purpose. We did not lose a single vine, whilst those of most of our neighbors were entirely destroyed by the striped bug.

I am very sincerely yours, & c.

To Preserve Apples

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
December 10, 1823 Page 3

Dry a glazed jar perfectly well; put a few pebbles in the bottom; fill the jar with apples, and cover it with a bit of wood made to fit exactly; and over that put a little fresh mortar. The pebbles attract the dampness of the apples; the mortar draws the air from the jar, and leaves the apples free from its pressure, which, together with the principle of putrefaction, which the air contains are the causes of decay. Apples thus kept, have been found quite sound, fair and juicy, in July.

Horse Ointment

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) December 17, 1823 Page 1

Into a clean pipkin (A small earthenware or metal cooking pot.), that holds about a quart, put the bigness of a pullet's egg of yellow rosin (a solid form of resin obtained from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers, produced by heating fresh liquid resin to vaporize the volatile liquid. It is semi-transparent and varies in color from yellow to black.); when it is melted, put in half a pound of hog's lard; when it is dissolved, put in half a pound of common turpentine - keep it gently boiling, and stirring with a stick all the time. When the turpentine is dissolved, put in two ounces of verdigrease (the common name for the chemical copper(II) acetate), you must take off the pipkin, (else it will rise into the fire in a moment,) set it on again, and give it two or three stirrings, then strain it through a coarse sieve into a clean vessel for use, throw away the dregs.

This is an extraordinary ointment for a wound or bruise in flesh, or hoof, broken knees, galled backs, bites, cracked heels, mallenders, or when you cut a horse, to heal and keep flies away; nothing takes fire out of burn or scald so soon. -American Farmer.

Mice (it is said) have such antipathy for mint that they will not touch any thing that savors of it. Cheese, grain, or any other articles kept in store, and often injured by mice, may be secured from these destructive vermin, by strewing a few mint leaves, green or dry, on the article to be preserved.

Preventing Skippers in Bacon

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

June 16 1824

From the American Farmer

To Prevent Skippers in Bacon

Mr. Skinner

One of your correspondents, some time ago, recommended packing hams in dry oats, to prevent their being injured by skippers.

In the year 1822, having plenty of coarse salt on hand, I prepared dry casks, placed the hams and shoulders o their ends, and filled the interstices with dry coarse salt, covered the tops completely with salt, and settled it well; about mid-summer, I unpacked and examined the hams, replaced them again in the casks as before, and drew them out for use when required; there was not one skipper found, and the bacon was fine.

Last year, not having a sufficiency of salt, I packed my hams and shoulders in dry oats, in the same manner, examined them once in the summer and found they kept equally as well as when placed in salt. I have not seen a single skipper on bacon so treated; but I have, before I adopted this method, been sometimes very much injured by them. It is now the right time to pack hams in oats, and I shall take mine down in a day or two. It is a cheap and very practical method, no expense attending it, the oats are not injured, they can be used when you have used your old hams in the fall, and I would advise a general adoption of this method.

It is very little trouble to unpack them, and it may be best to examine them two or three times in the summer; it changes their position. When two pieces touch each other they may get moaldy, but being very particular to see mine well separated by the oats, not one would have injured if they had remained until the fall without being drawn. - A.

Dying With Poke Berry Juice

Dying With Poke Berry Juice

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

August 4, 1824

A new and important discovery in the art of Dying

"In the course of last autumn, I accidentally met with some yarn in a family, of humble life, the colour of which attracted my attention, which induced me to inquire into the process of dying. The information I received was, to cut off the end of the largest pumpkin that could be obtained, the seed only taken out, the yarn put in, and as much poke berry juice poured on as the pumpkin will hold, which should be set away in a warm place, the yarn frequently opened, and in about nine days it produces a permanent and brilliant lilac or crimson colour; it is to be washed out in soap suds." - American Farmer.

Method of Tanning Hides

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

August 18 1824


Mr. Joseph Gilles, of Bratteborough, is stated to have reduced to practice a method of obtaining a liquid extract from oak and hemlock bark, saturated with the tanning principle to so high a degree, that calf-skins immersed therein will be thoroughly and fairly tanned in 48 hours, and other hides in time equally short in proportion to their thickness.

One hogshead of this extract is said to contain the tanning power of four cords of bark, and that no foreign substance is used in the extract, which is obtained by an ingenious and peculiar process from the bark. Mr. Giles has secured the exclusive right to his discovery, and is erecting works for an extensive manufacture of the article. - ib.

Soaking Seed Corn to Prevent Worm Destruction

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) April 26, 1826

A correspondent of the New England Farmer speaks in strong terms of the benefit to be derived from soaking seed corn in a solution of copperas as a preventive of destruction by worms. He says that in a field planted with corn thus treated, scarcely a hill or even a spire was destroyed although cut worms had been observed when it was ploughed. Many of his neighbors lost the whole of their fields and some were under the necessity of replanting while his remained uninjured. He used about a pound and a half of copperas, dissolved in warm water for three pecks of corn and let the corn soak full forty-eight hours before planting. The subject is worth the attention of farmers.

We have long thought that steeping the seeds of radishes, &c. in a strong solution of copperas or perhaps mixing pulverized copperas with the soil would effectually check the ravages of the worm to which those vegetables have of late years been subject in the gardens of this town. The article is cheap and the experiments might easily be made. The result should be communicated. - York Recorder.

How to Raise the Nap on Cloth

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania May 23, 1827

From the American Farmer

Recipes to raise the nap on Cloth

When woolens are wore thread bare, as is generally the case in the elbows, cuffs, sleeves, &c. of men's coats, the coat, &c. must be soaked in cold water for half an hour; and then taken out of the water and put on a board and the thread bare parts of the cloth rubbed with a half worn hatters' car, filled with flucks, or with a prickly thistle, until a sufficient nap is raised. When this is done, hang your coat, & c. up to dry and with a hard brush lay the nap the right way. This is the method which is pursued by the dealers in old clothes.



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