X. MANURES (cont.)
Charred Peat. Soot. Salt.
Charred peat has been excessively extolled for its value as a manure, both when applied alone, and still more in combination with night-soil, sewage water, and similar matters, which it dries and deodorizes. So great were the expectations of an enormous demand for it, and of the benefits to result to Ireland by thus disposing of her bogs that a royal charter was granted to a company by whom its manufacture was commenced on an imposing scale. This charcoal is doubtless a useful substance; but, as Dr. Anderson has proved, peat, merely dried, is a better absorber and retainer of ammonia than after it is charred.
Sot has long been in estimation as an excellent top-dressing for cereal crops in the early stage of their growth, and for grasses and forage plants. It is applied at the rate of 15 to 30 bushels per acre. On light soils the addition of 8 or 10 bushels of salt to the above quantity of soot is said to increase materially its good effect. This mixture trenched, or deeply ploughed in, is also recommended as one of the most powerful of all manures for carrots.
In London Labour and the London Poor we find the following statistics as to metropolitan soot: ---
== TABLE ==
The price of soot per bushel is but 5d., and sometimes 4 1/2 d., but 5d. may be taken as an average. Now, 1,000,000 bushels of soot at 5d. will be found to yield £20,833, 6s. 8d. per annum." [Footnote 353-1]
Common salt has often been commended as valuable manure, but has never been used in this way with such uniform success as to induce a general recourse to it. We have already spoken of it as forming a useful compound with lime and earth. It can also be used beneficially for the destruction of slugs, for which purpose it must be sown over the surface, at the rate of four or five bushels per acre, early in the morning, or on mild, moist days, when they are seen to be abroad. It is used to destroy grubs and wireworm, for which purpose it is sown in considerable quantity on grass land some time before it is ploughed up. It can be used safely on light soils, but when clay predominates, it causes a hurtful wetness, and subsequent incrustation of the surface. Its application in its unmixed state as a manure is at best of doubtful benefit; but in combination with lime, soot, nitrate of soda, and perhaps also superphosphate of lime, it appears to exert a beneficial influence.
353-1 Farmers' Magazine for March 1852, p. 254.
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