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A Year's Residence in the United States of America Vol 3
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RUTA BAGA; OR, SWEDISH TURNIP.
To the Editor of the New York Evening Post.
Hyde Park, Long-Island,
3d Jan. 1819.
1049. MY publications of last year, on the amount of the crops of Ruta Baga, were, by many persons, considered romantic; or, at best, a good deal strained. I am happy, therefore, to be able to communicate to the public, through your obliging columns, a letter from an American farmer on the subject. You may remember, if you did me the honour to read my Treatise on the cultivation of this root (in Part I. of the Year's Residence), that I carried the amount of my best Botley-crops no higher than one thousand three hundred bushels to the acre. The following interesting letter will, I think, convince every one, that I kept, in all my statements, below the mark. Here we have an average weight of roots of six pounds and a half.
1050. I beg Mr. TOWNSEND to accept of my best thanks for his letter, which has given me very great satisfaction, and which will, I am sure, be of great use in promoting the cultivation of this valuable root.
1051. Many gentlemen have written to me with regard to the mode of preserving the Ruta Baga. I have, in the SECOND PART of my Years Residence, which will be published at New York, in a few days, given a very full account of this matter.
I am, Sir, your most humble
And most obedient servant,
New York, Dec. 30, 1818.
1052. I TAKE the liberty of sending to you the following experiments upon the culture of your Ruta Baga, made by my uncle, Isaac Townsend, Esq. of Orange county, in this state. The seeds were procured from your stock, and the experiments, I think, will tend to corroborate the sentiments which you have so laudably and so successfully inculcated on the subject of this interesting article of agriculture.
1053. A piece of strong dry loam ten feet square on the N. E. side of a mountain in Moreau township, Orange county, was thoroughly cleared of stones, and dug up twelve inches deep, on the 10th of June last; it was then covered by a mixture of ten bushels of charcoal dust and twenty bushels of black swamp mould, which was well harrowed in. About the 9th of July it was sown with your Ruta Baga in drills of twenty inches apart, the turnips being ten inches distant from each other. They came up badly and were weeded out on the 10th of August. On the 15th of August a table-spoonful of ashes was put round every turnip, which operation was repeated on the 20th of September. The ground was kept perfectly clean through the whole season. Six seeds of the common turnip were by accident dropped into the patch, and received the same attention as the rest. These common turnips weighed two pounds a piece. The whole yield of the Ruta Baga was three bushels, each turnip weighing from four to eight pounds. The roots penetrated about twelve inches into the ground, al though the season was remarkably dry.
1054. A piece of rich, moist, loamy land, containing four square rods, was ploughed twice in June, and the seeds of your Ruta Baga sown on the 4th of July in broad cast, and kept clean through the season. This patch produced twenty-five bushels of turnips, each turnip weighing from four to nine pounds. This, you perceive, is at the enormous rate of 1000 bushels an acre!
1055. It is Mr. Townsend's opinion, that on some of the soils of Orange County your Ruta Baga may be made to yield 1500 bushels an acre.
I remain, with much respect,
Your obedient servant,
P. S. TOWNSEND.
William Cobbett, Esq.
Hyde Park, Long Island.