Pasture Management, Earthworms and Soil, and Other Old Time Farm Magazine Stories

Pasture management and the value of earthworms and soil were among the stories covered in old time farm magazines in the second decade of the 20th century.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
May/June 1979
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Farmers who practice smart pasture management can count on having healthy, well-fed livestock.
ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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The following farm magazine stories originally appeared in Successful Farming magazine in 1915, and are reprinted by permission of Meredith Publishing. 


Pasture Management

The really proper way to meet the pasture shortage, is not to have any—provide for the pasture season before it begins.

Plan to have the pasture lands divided; then, while the stock are grazing one of these down, the other will be coming on, and can be profitably utilized when grass in the first lot is getting short. They thus can be alternated all through the summer, and if still another small lot can be held in complete reserve for late fall and early winter grazing, its value can hardly be over estimated. These plans not only yield greater profits from t he pasture lands right at the time, but their permanent growth, vigor and profitableness will be maintained by such management.

Where one sees that his pasture will run short if he keeps what stock he has on hand, and he does not wish to sell any, he may meet the usual pasture shortage by seeding some part of his fields to a growth that will furnish supplementary grazing at the period during which most herds are practically without pasture. Oats, cane and clover may be sown on some field, putting on about one and a half bushels of oats to the acre, thirty pounds of cane, and seven or eight pounds of clover. The soil should be well pulverized for a seed bed, and thoroughly harrowed after seeding.

Let it be understood that such a growth will furnish good grazing all summer, fall and early winter. The oats, coming on quicker than either of the other growths, will be ready for pasturing very early in the summer, probably about June. Then, the cane, which is somewhat slower of growth, is better adapted to withstanding the dry weather that usually comes with mid-summer, and 1t will furnish an abundant pasturage for late summer and early fall; the clover, being still slower of development than either of these, will supply the grazing for late fall and winter. Or, where it is desired to promote fertility of the soil, the clover can be pastured awhile, then turned under for the next season's cropping. Again, it can be left standing, a sprinkling of timothy and clover seed scattered over it the following spring, and a permanent meadow thus established. With all these advantages, and considering that such a pasturage will support stock at the rate of one head to the acre or a little more, it is a combination well worth trying—M.C.

Earthworms and Soil

The humble earthworm has other uses than to be impaled on a hook for bait; to the farmer and gardener it is very useful. The many ways that this lowly form of life aerates and assists in the disintegration of rocky soils is interesting.

In burrowing through the soil the worms render it more porous and permeable to gases, not merely by virtue of the air space formed, but by reason of the fact that the soils kept continually in a gentle motion. Again, the soil passing through the bodies of worms is excreted in a finer condition, being ground by attrition through the intestines. Darwin estimated that no less than fifteen tons of soil annually passes through the bodies of worms for every acre.

Further worms breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, and the latter gas, as is well known, readily dissolves in water, forming an acid solution that will render alkaline earths and metallic oxides, iron for instance, soluble.—J.T.T.

Exterminate Hay Worms

Clean out the old hay mows now that are infested with the clover hay worm. Burn the infested ·stuff and be rid of the whole trouble.

To Keep Cabbage From Bursting

When heads of cabbage become well formed and about done growing, if the weather is damp, the heads are likely to burst and much of a very fine crop may be damaged greatly or lost within a few days.

To prevent this, the heads appearing most likely to burst, should be taken in the hands carefully, and gently pulled a little, or twisted just a little to one side and the other simply to break off the smaller roots in the damp earth, but not to disturb the main or longer roots.

This will stop the bursting, and will not injure the cabbage at all; doubtless before other small roots start, the crop may be disposed of, or the weather is so changed there will be less danger of the heads bursting.—J.T.T.

Preparing Pineapple

The pineapple is one of the most delicious and healthful of fruits, its juice being a potent aid to digestion. It should be used freely on our tables, as it may be prepared in many attractive and appetizing ways.

The pineapple is found in northern markets most abundantly during the spring months, and its price is not then prohibitive. The last week of May or the first week of June is the proper time to buy for canning, as then they are generally cheapest and best. I find the largest size the most economical to buy, as there is so much less waste. A good test in selecting pineapples is to pull on the center spines at the top. If they come out very easily, the pineapple is ripe and fit for canning.

In preparing the fruit, cut crosswise in inch slices. The slices are then easily pared, and eyes removed.

Canned Pineapple—Pare and slice from the core in medium sized pieces. Add granulated sugar allowing 1c. to each pineapple. Stir well and set in a cool place over night. In the morning the fruit will be well covered with its own rich juice. Bring to a boil, skim and boil gently five or ten minutes. Seal hot in well sterilized glass jars.

Pineapple Preserve—For preserve, prepare in same way as for canning, allowing 2/3c. of sugar to 1 c. of pineapple, and cook till thick.

Pineapple Marmalade—Pare and cut from core, then put the pieces through a meat grinder. To every pound of this pulp add 3/4 pounds of granulated sugar, and cook for one-half hour. Seal.—Mrs. J.S.D.

Noses Off the Grindstone

Noses are not sickles. They should not be held too close to drudgery's grindstone.

Apple Blotch

Very little agitation has been made about apple blotch, yet it is a harder disease to combat than the dreaded San Jose scale. There are several reasons why it is very hard to combat, one of the most important of which is that it propagates or multiplies at a time, late in the season, when spraying operations are suspended, at a time when the heat of summer is intense, and one can excuse himself from these torrid sprayings with various reasons.

Apple blotch is a fungus disease and fastens its cankers on twigs, generally on growth of the current year. The canker extends entirely around the twig, and while it does not kill the twig except in extreme cases, the roughness of the canker can be seen for years, even after the limb reaches the diameter of four inches or larger. In this section of the country, blotch begins to ripen its spores about the first of July, so the bug men tell us, and I am quite sure most of the affected apples get their spores from the drops of water that fall off the ripe canker, for in practically all cases of infection we can trace the cause directly to blotch cankers on the limbs or twigs immediately above the apple. Some varieties of apples are much more easily affected by blotch than others, or else the wood-of certain varieties is more resistant to the canker. Certain varieties are very little affected.

The infection starts on the young apple in a spider shaped spot, gradually settling deeper, and gaining more surface, until toward fall the apples crack open in these blotched spots, and are thus susceptible to the entry of rot spores of all kinds.

Bordeaux mixture is the only spray that has effectually controlled blotch, and in order to be in plenty of time we make the first spraying about June 20th, following in seven to eight days with another spraying of the same material. Then we sometimes follow with still another in about a week or ten days and in this manner we have been able to control the blotch to less than one half of one per cent on trees badly infected by cankers. Arsenate of lead can be added to the first blotch spray and thus control your late brood of codling moth.

The very fact that it develops so late in the season puts it in a class by itself, requiring different sprayings and different material than for scale. It often gets a terrible hold on trees before you are aware of it; as the ordinary sprayings do not control it, it goes on multiplying unharmed. The proper sprays at the proper time, and properly applied will effectually control it. I would suggest that as far north as northern Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, its spores may not ripen until tenth to fifteenth of July and would advise that you consult your experiment station for definite date.—O.R.A., Ind.


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