The Old Time Farm Magazines: Head Lettuce, Jerusalem Artichokes and More

Read articles from old farm magazines that give advice on growing produce, taking care of animals and selling livestock.

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Homesteading isn't always an easy practice and these old-time farm magazines help get you through the hard times.


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This page contains excerpts from issues of The American Agriculturist dated 1891.  

Raising Head Lettuce In Summer

James Leech , Allegheny Co., Pa., desires information about manure for lettuce. In our experience there is nothing better than ordinary barnyard manure, but, no matter what kind of manure is used, it is difficult to raise good, solid heads in hot and dry weather. A good deal depends on the kind of lettuce planted. The best heads we have ever been able to raise In summer were of the Deacon lettuce.

Keeping Jerusalem Artichokes

By W. H. Shaw, St. Francois Co., Mo 

Jerusalem artichokes may be wintered in the same manner as potatoes. The cooler they are kept without freezing the better they will come out In the spring. If it is a small quantity that Is to be kept, it Is better to put them in a frost-proof caller, in a barrel or box, and cover them with dry soil or sand.


B. S. X., Park City, Utah, desires to know whether a woman can manage an incubator alone, providing she has already some experience in raising chickens. Incubators can be managed by any intelligent adult, but of course there will be something to learn at first. All the incubators advertised In the American Agriculturist are reliable, differing only in preference and claims of manufactures.


By S. Rankin, Cincinnati. Ohio 

You may now use the word "vineyardist" for one who works in or takes care of a vineyard without fear that some one may tell you that it is not recognized by our lexicographers for it has at last found a place in a dictionary. The late edition of Webster's "International" admits it, and all cultivators of the grape should rejoice over the recognition of a good English word which has been in common use In this country for nearly or quite half a century. As horticulturists and agriculturists we may be thankful for small favors, and hope that our lexicographers will not forget us In future editions of their great lexicons.

Chickens Dying

By  Miss M. D. X., Hampshire Co., Mass.  

The fact that only those given liberty were affected Indicates a probability of the hens being poisoned in some manner, especially if you or your neighbors have carelessly allowed Paris green to be placed where they might reach It. Or, if not, they may be crop bound from eating dried grass, induced by their liberty and lack of green food.

Feeding Turnips

By Dairyman, Northampton Co., Pa 

You cannot feed turnips to milch cows without affecting the flavor of the butter and giving it a turnipy taste. It will make little or no difference whether the turnips are fed before or after milking, with or without salt, the scent of the turnips will pass into the milk veins and milk. Furthermore, if turnips, cabbages, and similar strong scented vegetables are cut up and fed to other animals in the same barn or stable where milch cows are standing, the very air breathed by the milch cows will be laden with the strong odor, and this will taint the milk. Pure and fresh air is just as Important as pure and nearly inodorous food for cows in order that they should give the best quality of milk for butter making. There are, no doubt, cows which are not so susceptible to the effect of poor and strongly-scented food as others but they and not, as a rule, animals that give the richest milk.

What Horses Sell Best?

J. Y. Gedney, Mitchell Co., Iowa desires to know what kind of horses sell best. This doubtless refers to horses for all purposes. There are many good horses brought from Iowa to New York State. Speed will not be noticed. Horses having the following form will always sell: A good sized bony head, full, kind eye, pricked ears, good crest, oblique shoulders, short on back, long on belly, somewhat arched at coupling, well ribbed up, heavy boned, short, flat legs, compact, blocky, active, good tempered, and a good walker. Also he should have size and weight, say from 1,000 pounds upward.

Grubs Eating Strawberries

By Edward R. Hastings, Middlesex Co., Mass. 

There is one good point in favor of nitrate soda that I have not seen noticed. I have used it in small quantities for a number of years. In applying large quantities of manure to strawberries I was troubled by muck worms (the larvae of the May beetle) eating the plants. A heavy application of nitrate of soda seemed to keep them away from a bed to which I applied it. We applied a heavy dressing of nitrate of soda last year to early cabbages. It made the cabbages grow rapidly but it had no apparent effect on the grubs which attacked the roots or stems of some of the plants. But we think it sometimes checks the ravages of the onion maggots. Probably because It makes the plants grow so rapidly.

Fowls Eating Sal

By R. L. Spencer, Monmouth Co., N. J. 

The symptoms of fowls having eaten salt would be excessive thirst, convulsions, mouth open constantly, resulting in death in a few hours, according to the quantity of saIt eaten.

Beat Use of Muck

Willard Agans, Herkimer Co., N. Y., has a muck swamp which is well drained, and desires information in regard to making it the most available as a fertilizer. The most profitable use to which muck can be put is to use it as an absorbent in the stable or barnyard. Mild winter days afford an excellent opportunity for digging and carting muck to places where it can be easily handled for these purposes.

Enormous Vegetables From Washington

Isaac Cathcart, Snohomish Co., Wash., has raised an Early Rose potato weighing five pounds four ounces. Robert T. Flynn, Kitsap Co., Wash:, has raised a turnip weighing twenty pounds and measuring thirty-six inches in circumference. The above specimens have been forwarded to New York for exhibition.

Selection of Breeds of Fowls

M. T. Waters. Hamilton Co., 0., proposes to start in the business of raising poultry with a few pure Leghorns for the production of eggs, and Light Brahmas or Plymouth Rocks for rearing chickens. This selection of breeds and proposed method should lead to success, if good management and care are given.

French Method of Fattening Fowls

The method of the French is to fatten fowls by confining them in coops or stalls, an attendant inserting a tube In the throat and the crop is filled by forcing food down the throat. In other words, the food is "pumped" down the fowl. The food Is mostly carbonaceous, ground grain and milk predominating.

"Phosphates" for Garden Crops

By S. K. Green, Monroe Co., N.Y. 

"I run a garden farm and have four acres of asparagus, three acres early cabbage, four acres onions, strawberries, etc., and use all the manure I can get. I have tried phosphate, but don't see much good from It." Our own experience confirms this statement so far as the crops named are concerned. With the exception of lettuce and turnips, we think the average "phosphates" are not rich enough in nitrogen to show any marked effect on garden crops. In buying fertilizers, the gardener and fruit-grower should either buy the phosphate, potash and nitrogen separately and do his own mixing, or he should buy a brand of fertilizer that contains a liberal percentage of nitrogen — say five or six per cent of soluble or readily available nitrogen.