This poem about crop rotation will make the benefits easy to remember

Alfalfa farming in America
Alfalfa farming in America

The Rotation of Crops

By Sereno Edwards Todd
From The New York Tribune

The rotation system, which good tillers fix,
Embraces five seasons, and sometimes full six.
When one crop succeedeth through many long years,
Each harvest decreaseth, and dwarfeth the ears.

If herds of neat cattle or sheep be thy care,
Then grass in rotation must form a good share.
When corn, barley, clover, and turnips, and wheat,
Comprise the rotation, field peas will be meet.

Ere ploughing and sowing, the tiller should know
What crops the ground liketh the better to grow.
First, break up thy grass land and plant it with corn;
The field, the next season, let barley adorn.

Succeeding the barley, sow buckwheat or oats;
Then harvest a pea crop to nourish your shotes.
Oft ploughing and teasing and weeding the ground,
With liberal compost scattered around.

And sprinkled with ashes to make the land sweet,
With lime and some bone-dust to fatten the wheat.
The next, in rotation, a crop of red clover:
When blossoms are fragrant, then let the plough cover.

A six-years’ rotation now beareth the sway,
And showeth the tiller a progressive way;
A six years’ rotation will cattle increase;
Will multiply bushels and debtors release.

A six years’ rotation, when fairly begun,
Will harvest two bushels where now groweth one.
A six-years’ rotation, as all will agree,
Two years’ yield of clover is better than three.

When poor soil needs succor, to keep the land clean,
Grow clover and sowed corn to turn under green;
But where fertile muck and light soils abound,
Arrange the rotation as suiteth the ground.

A time to reap and a time to sow


Searching for some inspiration for a story idea, I ran across this e-book which was originally published in 1915. The publication is called The Craftsman: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine in the Interest of Better Art, Better Work, and a Better and More Reasonable Way of Living, Volume 28, United Crafts, 1915. It seems to cover a wide array of subjects, but one that seemed timely was how do you know when is the right time to plant your garden?

I found these practical tips worth considering.

When choosing a time to start planting in the Spring the soil should be dry, so that when you grab a handful, it slowly falls apart after being released. Heavy soils and clay should not be worked when wet. After these conditions are met, the upper 3 inches of soil should be worked and made fine by using a steel-tooth rake or hoe. All stone and debris should be cleared away, making an even surface that is sufficiently compact and level.

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