The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 47
Course of Cropping
Course of Cropping.
After breaking up new land, perhaps a first crop of peas or oats is put in, or it is left as a summer fallow until the early part of October, when wheat is put into the ground. The crops commonly raised are—wheat, barley, oats, and peas. The green crops are—turnips (swedes), mangel-wurzel, vetches, potatoes, and all kinds of vegetables; cabbages and pumpkins attaining a very great size. Of the cereals, wheat does best; of the leguminous plants, peas are the most profitable.
Nowhere does the potato flourish more, or have a better flavour; it is grown in great quantities by the natives.
The rotation of crops in virgin soil is, wheat after fallow, then a crop of peas; wheat again, or oats; and then a fallow is made for turnips; and by this time the land will be pretty clean. After turnips, a crop of barley or oats (spring sown) is raised and followed by potatoes, the land being well manured, and thus mended. After this, farming operations are conducted on the same rotation four-course system as in Great Britain.
The above rotation, however, may be exchanged for whatever expediency dictates.
The following are the usual quantities of seed sown per acre:—of wheat, 1½ bushels; barley, 2½ bushels; oats, 2½ to 3 bushels; peas, 2 to 2½ bushels, vetches, 2½ bushels. The sowing times for oats, barley, peas, and tares are from middle of March to end of April. These crops are harvested 1st of August to end of September. Potatoes are planted in March and April, and are gathered early part of November. Turnips sown between 1st June and middle of July, and are gathered with the potatoes. Autumn cultivation not yet common. Clovers, lucerne, and trefoil are good fodder plants. Sown in October, they give bulky spring crops. Alsyke clover the best perennial; crimson clover should be cut in flower. Lucerne likes light page 41 sandy soil, with calcareous subsoil—8 years' successive crops. Trefoil, dry, elevated pastures, deep roots, remains green long; cattle like it. Other plants, sainfoin, tares, rye-grass, fescue grasses, do well sown in autumn.
Production on Good Farms in South-Eastern and Eastern Districts of Vancouver Island in 1872.
- Wheat from 30 to 35 bushels per acre.
- Barley from 40 to 45 bushels per acre.
- Oats from 50 to 60 bushels per acre.
- Pease from 40 to 45 bushels per acre.
- Potatoes from 150 to 200 bushels per acre.
- Turnips from 20 to 25 tons per acre.
- Timothy hay about 2 tons per acre.
Hops (equal to the best Kentish), 1000 to 1700 lbs. per acre.
Butter, per cow, after feeding calf, about 150 lbs. per annum.
Apples, pears, plums, cherries, white and red raspberries, red, white, and black currants, and most kinds of fruit thrive remarkably well. Apples have measured 13 inches in circumference, and weighed 19 ounces, and been well flavoured and good for cooking or eating. Pears, many of them 11 inches in circumference, juicy, and fine flavour.
Common winter cabbage have grown 3 to 4 feet in circumference. Red cabbage and cauliflower equally large and sound. Carrots, parsnips, onions large. Tomatoes equal to the best English.
Cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, and poultry do well; sheep (South Down), mutton choice, fleeces light, wool good; pigs easily reared; wolves and panthers (not dangerous to man) sometimes kill pigs and sheep.
The average production, of course, is not likely to be so good as the above over a number of years, even if an intelligent system of farming should be the rule; but the emigrant may see from the above the capabilities of the soil.
In England it is believed that the average production is—wheat, 28 to 30 bushels; barley, 35 to 40 bushels; potatoes, about 160 bushels, or 4 tons. The following Table will show to the reader the
I may also invite attention to the
As regards the United States, 17 bushels of wheat per acre may be assumed as the wheat average of Minnesota; Ohio, 9.96; Illinois from year to year not more than 8 bushels. Four States only, by the census of 1850, reached an average of 15 bushels per acre. Oats average, say 19 to 30 bushels. Potatoes 75 to 120 bushels per acre.
The following Articles of Produce and Stock were Exhibited at the Provincial Farming Show, Victoria, 1872, also at the Saanich Show (close to Victoria), and at the Cowichan, Chemanis, and Salt Spring Show, held at Maple Bay (up the east coast, 45 miles from Victoria).
Pure Short-horn Durham bull; other bulls; bull-calves; work oxen; cows; rams; ewes; boars; sows; stallions; brood mares; saddle, carriage, and draught horses.
Wheat; barley; oats; peas; hops.
Turnips (Swedish and white); mangel-wurzel; carrots; beet; cattle-cabbage.
Turkeys; geese; ducks; dorking-fowls; pigeons; eggs; butter salt and fresh; cheese.
Apples; pears; peaches; plums.
Potatoes; cabbages; lettuces; parsnips; vegetable-marrows; cauliflowers; celery; beets; onions; melons; tomatoes; pumpkins; squashes; cucumbers.
The same as the above, in quantity per acre, and in quality can be produced by the district of Nanaimo—(a flourishing coal port, 79 miles from Victoria) and by Comox district, farther up the east coast, 134 miles from Victoria.
Comox is a picturesque settlement—in one locality 12,000 acres well watered and dotted with oaks and alders—fine stock and crops at Comox—also church, school, &c.
Comox looks much to Nanaimo as a market.