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whose duty it is to act for the Board in cases of emergency ; also a delegate is appointed to attend the fair of each society represented on the Board, who is to make report to the Board, at its next annual meeting, of the fair and of the condition and work of such society. The Board also holds an annual three days' public meeting for lectures and discussions, at such place within the Commonwealth as it may designate, beginning on the first Tuesday in December. It also requires that each agricultural society receiving the bounty of the Commonwealth shall arrange and hold not less than three farmers' institutes each calendar year within its limits, and the Board renders all the assistance in its power to make such institutes interesting and profitable. The secretary attends as many as is compatible with other duties of his office, and provides lecturers as far as the appropriation for this object will warrant.
There are also many other minor duties and requirements which want of space will prevent enumerating.
The secretary, from the nature of his position, early became the chief officer and organ of the Board, which in turn is the organ of the farming community. The office is placed near and connected with the government, so that the whole legislation in reference to bounties, premiums and general agricultural interest of the State is looked after and influenced by the department.
Since the formation of the Board, an entire change has taken place in public opinion with regard to the importance of agricultural education. It sustained and cherished the first general efforts for the establishment of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, now so favorably known and appreciated; it has done much for the improvement of the agricultural literature of the country, and in its office is gathered a valuable agricultural library of two thousand volumes; it originated the law for the protection of sheep and the law for the inspection of fertilizers, and appointed a State agricultural chemist; by its prompt and persistent action it greatly assisted the cattle commissioners in stamping out the plague of pleuro-pneumonia in 1860; it has brought together from time to time a band of the leading practical and scientific agriculturists, whose knowledge has been given to the public through the medium of its reports; it was instrumental in the formation of the State Experiment Station; it has published thirty-seven annual volumes, containing 23,000 pages of matter pertaining to agriculture and kindred pursuits, and embracing in all an issue of 375,000 copies, which have gone out not only to the people of our own Commonwealth, but may be found in almost all of the civilized countries of the globe.
LETTUCE AND CUCUMBER CULTURE
From Bulletin No. 2, Crop Report for June, 1890.
In presenting statistics relative to the culture of lettuce and .cucumbers under glass, it should be stated that the facilities for collecting information of this character are not of the best, and consequently the work done is not as complete as could be wished, but it is believed that the following will give an idea of the extent and importance of this branch of agriculture.
Inquiries were extended to the culture in regular greenhouses, sash-houses and hot-bed sash, which latter are usually six feet by three in size. It was found that the culture varied with the locality and with different individuals in the same locality, and that the price received for the products varied with the quality, season of the year, state of the market, and the favorableness of the season to out-door culture.
Lettuce is generally considered a hard crop to grow, and it requires much care. It does best on new soil and in new houses. After growing lettuce for several years, it is found advisable to discontinue its culture for two or three seasons. Lettuce is affected by mildew, especially in old houses, in sash-houses and under sash. It is sometimes overcome by putting sulphur on the heating pipes, and allowing the fumes to pervade the house; sometimes by allowing the temperature in the house to fill to 32° F., and remain so over night; sometimes by steaming the house, and then thoroughly airing it; and sometimes the lower leaves of the plants are picked off, and the rest allowed to head. Tobacco smoke is generally used to destroy lice on lettuce, and sometimes the tobacco stems are steamed, and the vapor used. It is said that tobacco water will spot lettuce if it comes in contact with the leaves. The lettuce season under glass is usually from September to May.
The cucumber season in houses is practically the whole year round, and under sash from March to July. Under the best culture, in houses, seventy-two days elapse between the setting out of the cucumber plants and the picking of the cucumbers. When cucumbers are grown under hot-bed sash, the sash and planks upon which they rest are usually removed about the first week in July, and the vines allowed to run. When grown in houses, the cucumber flowers are fertilized by bees, a hive of which is kept in or near the house for that purpose. The vines are affected, sometimes enough to destroy the crop, by plant lice, thrips, red spiders, black flies, timber rot, stump foot and foul soil. The best remedy for plant lice and thrips seems to be fumes from burning tobacco stems, and the odor arising from stems and dust strewn around on the ground. Too much tobacco smoke will cause the leaves to curl up. It is said that lice on cucumbers may also be destroyed by spraying with tobacco water. The red spiders may be destroyed by spraying with water, or by the use of steam. Considerable damage is done by timber rot, which frequently appears, especially in old houses, and may result from the decay of the flowers which have fallen upon the vines. It seems to be most common in cold, damp weather, in old houses. However, the nature of the trouble does not appear to be very well understood. In South Sudbury and Fitchburg some complaint was made of stump foot on cucumber and tomato vines.
On account of cold, cloudy, wet weather, the past year has been unusually bad for both lettuce and cucumbers.
In the vicinity of Boston, beets, radishes, dandelions, tomatoes and parsley are quite extensively grown as catch crops.
It may be said that the culture of these several crops under glass is a paying business when good crops are obtained; but, as in other branches of agriculture, there are many failures and discouragements, and success is not easily attained.
Arlington. — There were found to be twenty-three regular greenhouses and four sash-houses in this town, owned by twelve parties. Eighteen of these houses were heated by steam and nine by hot water. Of the growers, six used steam and five used hot water, and one had both. The greenhouses covered about 92,000 square feet, or over two acres, and the sash-houses about 8,000 square feet, or a total of 100,000 square feet. In the houses the past year it is estimated some 400,000 heads of lettuce were grown, selling for $1.25 per dozen down, or an average of about 60 cents per dozen. It was largely marketed in Boston and New York. In these houses it is estimated 350,000 cucumbers were grown, selling for from 18 cents apiece down, or an average of about five cents. The cucumbers were largely marketed in Boston, but when that market was crowded were shipped to New York and Chicago. But very little lettuce was grown in the sash-houses. There were also some 27,000 sash used in the culture of cucumbers, and it is estimated that some 1,500,000 cucumbers were grown in this way. Probably 20,000 of these sash were used for lettuce, under which one, two, three and in some few cases four crops of lettuce were grown. It is estimated that 1,000,000 heads of lettuce were grown in this way, and that in this town, during the past season, over 1,400,000 heads of lettuce and some 1,850,000 cucumbers were grown under glass.
Belmont. — There were found to be nineteen regular greenhouses and seven sash-houses in this town, owned by eleven parties. Ten of the greenhouses and three of the sash-houses were heated by steam, and nine of the greenhouses and three of the sash-houses were heated by hot water, while one sash-house was without artificial heating apparatus. Of the growers, six used steam, four used hot water and one grower had both. The greenhouses covered about 78,000 square feet, or nearly two acres, and the sashhouses about 20,000 square feet, or a total of 98,000 square feet. In most cases two crops of lettuce were grown, occupying the houses from September to May. The cucumber season was from January to August. In these houses it is estimated 320,000 heads of lettuce and 275,000 cucumbers