Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tobacco cultivation June 11th, 1856 (& Recipe for Mock Strawberries)

The Planters' Advocate No. 42 Wed., June 11, 1856

Agricultural Department



            As the Tobacco plant grows and develops, a blosom[sic] bud put out from the top which is formed buttoning. The top must be pulled off along with such of the upper leaves as are too small to be of any value. The plants are thus left usually about two or 3 feet high. The plant also shoot out suckers from every leaf, which must be broken off, care being taken not to break the leaf from the mainstem. This causes the leave to spread.

            The most regular topping is performed by measure. The topper carries in his hand a measure 6 inches long, I occasionally applying which, he can regulate the priming with great accuracy; as the remaining leaves are numbered, this governs the operation, and gains the object of even topping. The topper should always carry his measure in his hand, as it serves to prevent excuses for negligence and uneven topping. Prime 6 inches, and top 28 leaves. We have found by experience that this is the best average height. We sometimes, but seldom, Barry from this general rule. If the land is poorer than common, or if, from the backwardness of the plant, and the advanced stage of the season we apprehend Frost, we do not prime as high; (say 4 inches.) If we have an uncommon rich spot, and there is danger that the top leaves will come to the ground, we should rise in the same proportion. The crop should be wormed and suckered at least once a week.
Topping and housing.

            In about three – months after setting out, the plants assume a spotted in yellowish appearance, indicating that they have obtained sufficient maturity for cutting and housing. This stage of tobacco culture is generally reckoned the most difficult and delicate part of the whole business; and the plantar, if he wishes to be successful, must give it all his attention, as the prophet of a whole plantation for the year greatly depends upon the diligence and skillful management exercise during the few days of cutting. He should therefore be well prepared for this state of the crop, by having the Barnes close, carts and wagons in good order, and everything arranged to dispatch business as much as possible, since it is hard work he has to encounter. To save a heavy crop in the best manner requires both energy and activity. The most judicious hands should be selected for cutters. The plants are cut with a knife near the ground, and suffered to lie in the sun for a few hours, cause them to "fall" or will. When the field is a pretty large one, a middling or average hand should count the whole number of plant teacups, so that, allowing each cutter the same number, we may arrive at nearly the whole quantity cut. —We should never cut more nor less than will fill the contemplated barn; otherwise there is labor lost in attending to a barn not full, or the over–plus is injured for want of firing. The tobacco after it has "fallen" or become sufficiently limber, is carried to the barn in carts are wagons, being from 6 to 10 plant on a stick, and stowed away for firing. It is also of great importance to be particular in the arrangement of the sticks. The equal and general circulation of heat throughout the house depends on the manner in which this is done. Our barns commonly have three firing tears above, and three below, the joists. We commence arranging the sticks on the most elevated tear in the roof, to which we give 5 inches distant; and on each tier, as we defend, we gain 1 inch; so that on the lowest year, nearest the fire, the sticks are placed 11 inches apart. The disposition of the sticks, we have ascertained by late experiment, is important. The sticks of tobacco being wider apart, next to the fires, gives freer circulation, and, consequently, a more equal temperature, then the usual way of equal distance from bottom to top. Beth having more space to offend, must be more equal and generally diffused, and will give a more uniform house of tobacco. We esteemed this a considerable improvement; and if we have house – room, and make a greater difference in the proportionate distance between the sticks, it will be a still better arrangement.

To Make Mock Strawberries. —A lady in Chicago, Illinois, says: "cut up ripe peaches and soft mild cutting apples, in the proportion of three to one, into pieces about the size of strawberries, and mix them with a proper proportion; and, after they have stood together a few hours, and thoroughly mingled their flavors, even an amateur, if he will not look at the hash, might easily mistake it for strawberries."         

(The Planters' Advocate & Southern Maryland Advertiser. No. 42 Wed., June 11, 1856, p.1)

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