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This corn is not very extensively cultivated, as yet, in the State, but the usefulness of it makes it a subject worth mentioning, as it may be cultivated in localities adapted for it. Mr. Beebe, a farmer near Platteville, Illinois, is known to have cultivated this corn for about three years, raising, however, but a small quantity, until last year, when he planted about 12 acres, and obtained an excellent crop. The soil best adapted for it seems to be the broken sod of an old prairie or pasture. Any soil wbich will serve for the cultivation of Indian corn, is equally adapted for Broom corn. It is not necessary to apply manure if the soil is but of a middling quality. Broom corn is considered to be a crop which will hardly fail, if it is not sown too late. The soil is prepared almost in the same manner as for Indian corn, but should be tilled a little more with the roller and cultivator, because the seed is smaller, requiring a more loosened soil for sprouting. The ridges are laid about three and a half feet distant from each other, so that the sun's rays may penetrate to the roots; the hills 18 inches apart; and from 10 to 12 kernels are taken for each hill. It is best to plant as early as the season will permit. As soon as the corn is grown high enough to distinguish the rows, it is worked with the cultivator and the hoe, not leavirg more than four or five stalks to a bill; the hocing is usually performed twice.
There are two methods of harvesting,—the one is, to cut the stalks as soon as they are ripe, to bring them to the barn, remove the seed, and place the stalks on planks for drying. In this manner the stalks preserve their original bright color, and the brooms bring a higher price. The other method is to let the crop stand until the seed is perfectly ripened, then to cut it and spread it on the field for two or three days, to get dry; it is then taken to the barn and put on scaffoldings, for thorough drying, in such a manner as to allow the air to pass freely over it, and to prevent its rotting. By following this latter method, from 30 to 50 bushels of good seed per acre are obtained, which are equal in value to the same quantity of oats, for feeding poultry, cows, sheep, etc. The average yield is about 400 brooms per acre-100 pounds of good brush make about 70 medium sized brooms.
The brush of Mr. Beebe's Broom corn crop, of last year, was of the finest order; and he was engaged during the fall in manufacturing brooms. He intends to build larger shops, and carry on the business on a more extensive scale. He is ready to furnish seed, and will purchase, next fall, all good Broom corn which may be offered him. It is beyond any doubt, that the raising of this corn, will soon prove very profitable for the farmers in this State, as well as for those who are engaged in the manufacture of brooms made of this domestic material About one peck of seed is required per acre.
This seems to be a variety of the so-called “millet corn,” and as it may, perhaps, be little known as yet, I take this opportunity of presenting to the reader the information that was given to me with regard to this corn, by Mr. Feussner, in St. Clair County, Illinois; he says :—“I raise a plant for my household use, which seems to be a variety of millet, having a black seed. The right name of it I have not been able to find—we call it "chocolate corn,” a name which may be derived partly from the way in which it is used, and partly from the manner of its cultivation. We use it as a very delicious substitute for coffee ; and it sometimes also serves us as a savory dish at our meals. It is easy of digestion, and tastes precisely like weak chocolate, and even resembles it in color. It is sown in the beginning of May; it ripens about the beginning of September, and is not affected by light night-frosts. This plant is cultivated like Indian corn or potatoes; the seed, if sown, is covered but one inch high. The hills are to be kept apart a distance of three or four feet, and from five to seven plants are left to each bill.
“ The preparation of a beverage from this corn, is accomplished in the following mapper :
“We want for our table four pints of chocolate; we take one and a half ears, nearly filling the funnel of our coffee-mill, which is about 4} inches wide, and 14 inches high, and grind the kernels a little fine; having proceeded thus far, we mix the ground substance with two pints of water, and boil it until the starch contained in it forms into a lump, the liquid is then passed, to separate it from the grains, through a fine wire sieve, or tin colander; two pints of sweet milk, from which the cream has been skimmed, and a good tablespoonful of common
powdered sugar, and a little cinnamon are then added to the decoction; it is now boiled once more, and a most delicious beverage, which is scarcely distinguishable from light chocolate, is ready for use. If you wish to improve it still further, you may add an egg, and a little putmeg.”
If this corn could gradually be brought to serve as a substitute for coffee, considerable sums which are every year paid for this latter article would be saved.
CHINESE YAM. (Dioscorea Batatas.) This tuber has not been cultivated, as yet, in the State ; but as it · can be raised in Illinois, we think it a duty to call the attention of the farmers and settlers to it.
From a report made by the agricultural division of the Patent Office, it appears that this variety of tuber has lately been introduced into the United States, for experiment.
The method of cultivation as adopted by the Chinese, appears to be easy and simple.
“In the autumn, they select the smallest tubers, preserving them from injury by frost, by covering them in a pit with earth and straw. The spring succeeding they plant them near each other, in a trench, in well prepared soil. When they have put forth shoots, one or two yards in length, the joints and leaves, containing the buds, are cut off and planted for reproduction. For this purpose, they form the ground into ridges, on the top of which a shallow trench is made with the hand, or some suitable implement, in which these joints are planted, covered slightly with finely pulverized earth, with the leaves rising just to the surface. Should it rain the same day, they shoot immediately; if not, they must be gently watered, until they do so. In fifteen or twenty days, they give birth to new tubers and stalks, the latter of which it is necessary to remove from time to time, to prevent them from taking root on the sides, and thus injuring the development of the tubers already formed.”
By the report of the gentleman to whom the yam was sent for ex. periment, we learn that it is growing finely, promises an abundant yield, and appears to be well adapted to the soil and climate.
Another communication, received from a gentleman in the State of
Illinois, with regard to the “ Yam,” treats this interesting subject as follows:
“I cannot forbear to make mention of a plant, which may probably soon take its way to our Western States, and to which the general attention may already be directed, since it promises to bring greater beDefits to the Eastern as well as to the Western Hemisphere, than perbaps any other plant heretofore known. A “Yam' tuber of the variety above mentioned, was sent some six years ago by the French Consul, M. de Montigny, at Shanghai, to Paris, where it was planted and cultivated with much care. From thence plants were sent to America."
Mr. Prince, on Long Island, has already obtained a full crop of yams. The accounts of Professor Decaines, at Paris, the Chinese and Japanese news, and the opinions of Mr. Prince, and others, establish this point, that the plant may be grown in all countries where potatoes succeed well. It does not suffer from frost, when kept in the ground, and may be preserved in cellars, in good and sound condition, for ten months. It is easy to transplant and increase it, and it is sure to give abundant yields, even on a small, but well cultivated piece of land. It is not liable at all to disease or rot, and is more nutritive, healthy, and palatable, than our common potatoe, and seems to be designed to become the nourishment of many people.
Small, sound tubers of the “Chinese Yam,” are sold at $6 per dozen, sent by mail, if ordered soon, at Ellwanger & Barry's, Mount Hope Nurseries, Rochester, New York.
This State, especially in the central part, may properly be considered a good grass-growing region. The cultivation of tame grass, was, in former years, when farmers were yet scarce, and the surrounding prairies still afforded a sufficiency of grass for hay-making, not deemed to be necessary, and was entered on by but few, till it was found that in the course of time, the natural prairie-grass in the neighborhood of farms, remarkably diminished by the pasturing of cattle. Farmers then came to the conclusion that the raising of grass crops would be highly important and even very necessary for them. The varieties generally grown are clover and timothy.
In order to get a permanently good pasture, it is necessary to cultivate the old land for some time in corn, wheat, and other grain, as by this method, the wild properties of the soil, the weeds, and the wild grass, will be effectually destroyed. For this, six or seven years' good tillage of the land that is to be prepared for grass, is required; and such land, if after this time sown with clover, may serve exceedingly well as pasture for 5 or 6 years. The sod may then be broken again, and the same rotation, commencing with the cultivation of grain, be repeated. In some parts of the State, timothy is better adapted for permanent pastures than clover. If timothy is on rich and good soil, , two crops may be obtained; one mowing is then performed in the earlier part of the summer, and another, in the latter part of it.
The best time for sowing grass is considered to be in the month of March ; at least this may be the case in Central Illinois, while in more northern regions it may perhaps be more advisable to sow a little later. Some farmers in Central Illinois mix their grass-seeds together, and sow at the rate of one-third clover, and two-thirds timothy, using one busbel of clover, and two bushels of timothy, on twelve or thirteen
Stock should not be suffered to run on grass during March and April. If the seeds are not mixed, the average quantities required for sowing are about as follows: clover, one bushel to ten acres; timothy, one bushel to five acres.
Blue grass is also cultivated, but not so extensively as clover and timothy.
Mr. Weinberger, a farmer in Marshall County, directs our attention to a variety which is known by the name of Millet grass. This variety would deserve greater attention if it were perennial, but it is only a one year's plant, and therefore must be sown every year. The va riety was made known and cultivated some years since in that county, and is very valuable, not only for the excellence of the blade, but also for its seeds, which are in fair demand. Dry land is best adapted for its growth; it grows to the height of seven or eight feet. If much attention is to be bestowed on the seed-crop of millet, it is better to sow the seed broad-cast, since this will promote a fuller development of the seeds. But if a good hay-crop is expected, one may sow thicker; the stalks will thus be prevented from growing too hard and coarse. The average yields of this variety may be about four tons of hay per acre, and twenty bushels of seed.